Day 91: When is it time to cut someone out of your life?

I don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I don’t want to surround myself with people who agree with everything I say and pat me on the back for saying it. I like being exposed to a diverse array of political opinions. I like seeing differing viewpoints, and I still hold the belief that regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, deep down most of us want good things for this country. I don’t delete people from my Facebook account just because they have a different opinion, but some opinions are just unforgivable. I’ve definitely deleted a handful of people who are blatantly racist. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in another post, ignorance can often be confused for blatant racism. I believe most people are redeemable to a certain point, and I try to keep the dialogue open and encourage a new perspective. However, some people have nothing positive to offer. Some people are truly full of hate. And some people never research for themselves. How do I distinguish between a person who just needs more time to learn and one who’s beyond help? When is it time to cut somebody from my friend’s list?

I’ve started deleting people who are hell-bent on spreading hatred. I’ve seen a few make remarks about various races, minority groups, women, and people that practice other religions that are bigoted and hate-filled. I have no interest in maintaining a friendship with someone who wants to spread hate and make this world worse. There are enough problems already. I don’t believe having a different political view means a person is fueling the hate, but if you’re consistently negative and not offering real solutions, I see no opportunity for a productive conversation.

I’ve also started deleting trolls, especially the ones that never provide any kind of source or citation for their opinions. Like I said, I’m totally open to different perspectives and ideas, but if you can’t back up your claims with substantial evidence from non-biased sources, then you’re just making a lot of noise. It’s really not that hard to conduct unbiased research, and there’s no excuse for all the talking points without the facts. Opinions, anecdotes, and personal biases contribute absolutely nothing to a conversation. Show me your research, your life experiences, and your ability to think critically or else get off my newsfeed. If the only purpose you serve is to pick fights with people who disagree with you without ever providing a source for your opinions, then I see no reason why I should keep you in my life.

I will never cut somebody out of my life just because they have a different opinion than me. But if that differing opinion is undermining the life and well-being of others on account of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other lifestyle, then we’ve got a problem. I have plenty of friends who disagree with homosexuality on account of their religion, for instance, but only a handful that are hateful toward the LGBTQ community. I believe hate stems from fear and fear stems from the unknown. Perhaps all they need is exposure to others to help them understand that just because someone is different doesn’t mean they’re a threat. So then should I give these people another chance on the grounds that maybe they just haven’t had enough exposure to differing lifestyles? I find hate to be unforgivable, so it’s hard to be optimistic and think maybe they just need to talk to more people to overcome it.

Currently, I’m only deleting people who are either spreading hate and negativity, refused to do any kind of research or provide evidence for their statements, and those who are only interested in causing problems and not offering any real dialogue. What are your criteria for deleting people from your Facebook list or cutting people out of your life all together? And does the same criteria apply to family members?

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