Friday, May 8, 2020

Opinions Are Like Assholes: everyone has one but not everyone wants to see it

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

my “Secret Subject” is:

Are you able to be close friends with people who think differently than you do? Or do you think that friends have to have similar core beliefs in order to be close?

It was submitted by:


I feel like my answer to this might not win me any friends, but by the end it will probably become clear that I'm okay with that.

Fundamentally, I don't think I can truly answer this question without clarifying what we mean here by "think differently."

Since having chronic fatigue syndrome I experience a lot of cognitive issues. Memory loss, executive dysfunction, loss of balance, trouble speaking words even when I know what they are and trouble recalling words period, trouble thinking clearly... It's a long list. And I guess at this point my brain works differently than what is "normal." I'm not neurotypical. I have friends like me. I have friends who are neurodivergent on a developmental level. And I know people who are neurotypical. We literally think differently, and not one group of us is better or even better off. We're different. End of.

Are we talking about someone who thinks pineapple not only belongs but MUST be on pizza? Because despite how "differently" I feel about it--like someone who eats it is the wrongest kind of wrong-- I love someone who is like this albeit begrudgingly. I feel some kind of way about this blasphemy to everything that is good about pizza, but who does it hurt for him to eat it? (Obviously besides my own feelings.) Superficial opinions like this are fine. You want to put mayo on things? Knock yourself out even though I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. Don't like the color purple? Ok. I don't get it but I can still love you. Hate The Big Lebowski? Well, I might not think much about your taste in films, but ultimately you're only hurting yourself here so what does it matter in the end? I mean, I'd like you better if you got my constant references, but we could still be close. I have core fundadamental beliefs about foods and movies and music that I think are important to who I am as a person, but if someone I love doesn't agree I silently judge but we can still be close.

I suppose though this prompt is perhaps more about politics and those kinds of core beliefs. And once we cross into that territory things are no longer simple. When we discuss politics we aren't usually talking about how we think the President should use the Federal Reserve to react to an impending recession. We aren't typically talking about states using income or sales tax to fund their budget. Admittedly even those topics can understandably get heated, but more times than not we're arguing over fundamental differences in VALUES. How I feel about socialist programs, queer rights, feminism, reproductive health, anti-imperialism, and nationalism involve respect for humans, help for humans, and basic human rights aligns with how I view the world, society, and what I see as important. These things are no longer just an opinion. They're a reflection of my morals and concern for my fellow human beings. It's not the same as saying you don't like cake which, yeah, fucking sucks but not nearly as much as it sucks to know someone thinks my trans friends shouldn't exist or have access to equal rights. How can I have people in my life that think so differently about my and my friends' and my own child's right to exist? How can I be friends with someone who thinks people like me who can't work are a drain on society? How am I supposed to respect someone who doesn't think food and water are basic and fundamental human RIGHTS????

The answer is an easy one for me. I can't.

I can't wait around for some asshole who doesn't understand that my kid's genderqueer identity doesn't mean he's mentally ill to finally get that he's a person just like anyone else. I can't spend my time arguing with them over it hoping maybe they'll come around. I can't wait for the Trump supporters that still lurk around in my life to finally see what so many others do... it's not just a "think differently" situation anymore. I have to look out for my own and my kid's safety. I was out of the closet in the 90s. I know how much is at stake. I've been threatened with violence from the moment I was out and throughout my life. I don't have room in my life for people who lack basic respect for human life unless those humans love, live, worship, and have sex the exact same way they do.

My point is that at the end of the day we don't "think differently" when it comes to politics more often than not. What we have is an absolute mismatch of values, ethics, morals, and understanding, and with that difference comes a lack of respect and unconditional love that is an absolute requirement for a close, personal relationship. Can we be friends? Maybe but probably not. Not really. But we absolutely can't be close. At best I can stand in the outfield and not wish illness or harm to come to you or yours but that's as good as it's going to get.

When it comes to having those same core values and beliefs but thinking differently about how to achieve those goals or the root causes of identifiable issues or perhaps how to make changes to or reform or deconstruct systems, there's less at stake here. When I think of someone who is "different" than me, it's not these issues that come to mind because we don't "think differently" in my eyes. We have a different approach. We aren't so fundamentally different that working together and having mutual respect is impossible. And there lies the crux of the issue--how differently we think really matters in how to approach this question and these relationships.

I've never minded cutting people out of my life that treat or react to people badly. I'm not gonna be your friend if you don't tip in the u.s. either. I mean really. I don't mind cutting out people that don't make me feel good, that I groan when I see it's them commenting or texting or calling. I have one life, and I'm not giving it to people who make it shitty. The end.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

Wandering Web Designer

A ‘lil HooHaa

Southern Belle Charm

Part-time Working Hockey Mom


  1. I'm struggling with this right now. I have a few friends, ones I had been really close to, who believe the exact opposite of what I do when it comes to core things like humanity, and what is truth. I've "unfollowed" but not "unfriended" them, not wanting to cut them out, but also not wanting to see what they have to say on a daily basis. It's a tough line to walk.

  2. I love where you said, "I'll secretly judge, but we can still be close lol! I agree the way I see the world changed drastically when the idiot became president. Then/Now. It's like pulling the curtains back and finding out we're living among the KKK because here in the south it's basically the same way. Some big fat white guy telling us what is best for us while he slowly rapes the country of everything it has. I would love to know where all of that money was distributed to. Crooks and basically murderers.

  3. I have been friends with people for years when one of us changes our minds about what we believe in political arenas. That doesn't mean I drop them as a friend. We can agree to disagree. I haven't "unfreinded" many, but those that I have it's been because of a total disrespect for others opinions that differ from their own. I will, like Karen stated, unfollow, because I don't want to see their post in my feed, but I still care about them as a person. Their political or religious views do not affect me unless they push them on me, then it's a different story.

    1. It must be nice for others politics not to affect how your day to day life might go. Its not that simple for a lot of people, and my values are too important to me to be close, as the prompt stated, to someone who would put the people I love and myself in harm's way. My existence isn't up for debate, and it's not an opinion.