When a friend makes insensitive and discriminatory remarks... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-03-2014, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend I've known more or less since I was 14, They were my sister's best friend growing up and she is more like family than a close friend- she stayed in touch with me long after my sister moved away and has been a supportive friend in the past when I was going through hard times. She's one of those people I keep in my life because I have known them so long, and they have always been kind and generous, and because they are single (no kids) and have a decent job, they always give really thoughtful nice gifts, while at the same time I can't typically reciprocate in the same way.

 

here's the issue. She has always been a little unpredictable, she will make random bold or thoughtless statements publicly, which is in contrast to her often level headed and liberal self. She has a college education and is in social work. She has also burned bridges- and often rebuilt them- in the past and my circle of mutual aquaintances and friends have varied opinions of her, but I have always defended her in the past, or in the least hold a balanced and fair view of things.

 

lately her commentary has been getting more and more snarky, crass, and thoughtlessly judgemental. I usually ignore it until the other day when she posted on her fb page some terrible comments about single/poor/struggling/young moms that sounded like some sort of conservative teaparty propaganda, which is so opposite of her typical politics and the views of her predominantly open-minded and liberal-ish friends. She got a lot of backlash for it, And I tried to reason with her, pointing out that I was a young/single/struggling mom and that she has lots of other friends like me, as well as pointing out the insensitivity, assumptions, overgeneralized judgements, and negativity that she was presenting in her arguments. All the women commenting kept a mellow tone, that addressed her personally and compassionately. She wouldn't back down, and she even had some of her newer friends chime in who said a bunch of demeaning things to the women standing up for other women. She also posted screenshots of local young moms asking for help or "in search of" ads on community fb pages. Her last one was of a mama who is past her due date who's power had been shut off, and she was asking if someone could direct her to a community action program. My friend posted this TO SUPPORT her argument!!! I am having one of those major, disillusioned moments where I feel like I don't know this person anymore, and i can't possibly support their behavior and judgements.

 

I feel torn, because it has been a long time since I've felt like I needed to cut someone out of my life due to their negativity. Also because my relationship with her is more like one with a family member, and has spanned so many years- it's different than dealing with someone who is simply a friend. For example, One of my relatives on my in-laws side is conservative and has said some insensitive things about state programs and poor families (in front of me, no less. Ugh.) and I don't disown them because of it, because they are family. I also know people grow and change and realize they have made mistakes, so i tend to forgive people. But I just feel unsettled about this.

 

 

 

What would you do, or have you done, in a scenario like this? If she were to have said racist things, I probably would have tried to reason with her and if it hadn't worked I would have cut he rout of my life then and there. Descriminating against women, mothers, children, the most vulnerable, those in need? Seems just as bad to me. I can't get over how heartless it was. My sister, who lives far away but saw her commentary, said she's done speaking with her. At what point do you give up on someone and walk away?

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#2 of 8 Old 04-03-2014, 11:05 PM
 
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You mention your friend does social work. Does she work with the population she is so critical of? If so, or maybe even if not, her comments could be symptoms of burnout. I have seen it often - social workers coming to have no respect or empathy for their clients, after hearing too much; seeing too much. In general, people go into social work optimistic, with a dream of being able to truly help people. After some years of trying to help, but just seeing more and more of the same issues, well, it gets hard to keep seeing the good in everyone. It hurts to give up that optimistic dream, and sometimes that grief is expressed in just this kind of negativity. If this sounds even close, could you gently ask her about it? Maybe it is her pain that you are seeing, disguised as judgmental comments.

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#3 of 8 Old 04-04-2014, 06:00 AM
 
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If it were me, I probably wouldn't go as far as cutting my ties with her entirely (for the reasons you give) but may wish to disconnect from facebook contact with her (you can hide her posts without having to unfriend her entirely).  This way you can avoid the issue that is causing offence - you have given her your balanced, fair argument against her position and she has refused to accept it - but maintain your friendship.  I certainly wouldn't refrain from giving the same argument again if the topic comes up between you - even letting her know that you find her judgmental views and comments very offensive. I equally may say that my opinion on her may well be altered by what has already passed, but probably I wouldn't cut her out of my life altogether for this alone.  If it gets to the point where you can't see her or spend time with her without her espousing these sorts of ideas to you, then maybe I would think of calling it a day.  

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#4 of 8 Old 04-04-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

You mention your friend does social work. Does she work with the population she is so critical of? If so, or maybe even if not, her comments could be symptoms of burnout. I have seen it often - social workers coming to have no respect or empathy for their clients, after hearing too much; seeing too much. In general, people go into social work optimistic, with a dream of being able to truly help people. After some years of trying to help, but just seeing more and more of the same issues, well, it gets hard to keep seeing the good in everyone. It hurts to give up that optimistic dream, and sometimes that grief is expressed in just this kind of negativity. If this sounds even close, could you gently ask her about it? Maybe it is her pain that you are seeing, disguised as judgmental comments.
I was thinking the same thing.
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#5 of 8 Old 04-05-2014, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the response- She does not work with young moms, or anything regarding young parents, low income, reproductive health, or pregnancy. I would be more understanding if that was the case. The situation has just soured further because she just attacked a friend of hers online in a post's comments, where the girl was again trying to stand up for women and be a voice of reason. My friend proceeded to expose this girl's private life and work and make totally unfounded judgements about it, AND posted revealing- and offensive- stuff to the girl's fb page where her family and other people she wouldn't want to know could see! So many boundaries are being crossed on top of her attitude and statements. On top of this even more men came and egged her on, supporting her attitude and statements and it just seemed to feed into it. It makes me worry for her because it makes me think she way be headed into a bad place mentally or emotionally, but we are all way too old for this- I am 30 and she is nearly 30. After our argument she started sending me texts- "do you want me to pick up a shirt for you at the concert tonight?" "do you want to use one of my garden beds? (she just built a huge garden)" and stuff like that- all kind of bribe-ish and totally skirting any of the issues or tension. I was just going to let it be and like one of you mentioned- unsubscribe from her feed- but now she is at it again and it was even more vicious this time. Ugh.

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#6 of 8 Old 04-22-2014, 11:37 PM
 
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Something similar happened within my family, and all on Facebook. I try to stay polite and respectful in a public format. But she got so ugly I called her out right where she started some thick hateful drama. She broke ties with me. But I hold no bitterness over it, and there is always an open door to her in my life.
If you feel the need to say some thing, then say it. But I'm personally not a fan of cutting people out of my life. I've only done it once and still regret it.
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#7 of 8 Old 04-23-2014, 01:14 AM
 
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FB is the nastiest of soapboxes.  People tend to "say" things "aloud" that they would otherwise filter in real life situations, wild declarations and assertions.  I mention this because I think that some people get ballsy about what they put out there, not even really believing what they post, but then if they get support (in the form of 'likes' or 'comments') they run with it. 

 

I am also not one to cut people out of my life, but I have done a lot of sifting through my FB friends.  I have even hid several family members.  I know that I am the odd duck in my family, especially now that I am a parent.  They have never said to my face that they disagree with my parenting choices (to put it mildly), but they feel free to make bold posts that are in complete opposition to my lifestyle and then passive aggressive remarks in the comments area.  Rather than engage at all, I hide them.  I don't mind discussing or arguing my choices in person, but I will not participate in social media bashing/trashing/defending.

 

Do you value her friendship, or did you, beside the fact that she has just been part of you life for so long?  Could you talk with her, maybe while gardening (I find talking while gardening so much easier)?  I think that sometimes people don't even realize that they are being judgmental, they are wrapped up in their own story and don't see that it is not the only truth out there.  I hope you find an easy resolution. 

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#8 of 8 Old 04-23-2014, 09:23 AM
 
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You seem like a really kind person, offended not so much for yourself, but for others who may be hurt by such attitudes. Since this is an actual friend, not just an acquaintance, I might try calling or meeting face to face. I would try to calmly ask if she felt burdened by being friends with a single mother, offering to unburden her if she desires. I would NOT do this on Facebook or any other written forum; i would make her say it out loud.
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