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The friendships divided by politics

Friendships are difficult to keep even without political talk, and new types of challenges arise when it is added to the equation


"The age old tale of Red vs. Blue has tried and tested many friendships, especially in the Trump era." Illustration published on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. 

As college students develop their political identities, they also learn how to navigate rifts that may arise in daily conversations — even if it means the friendship ends.

What isn’t so easy, however, is when friends make you choose between standing up for what you believe in or overstaying in a problematic friendship. 

Not all ASU students share the same opinions, but one thing they do have in common is that politics have impacted friendships, causing some of them to ultimately end. 

This is something Hannah Mason, a freshman double majoring in nonprofit leadership and management and communication, has experienced.

Mason said she leans toward liberal ideologies, but that hasn't stopped her from making friends with people who don't share the same political beliefs.

But it has made her more cautious.

Mason said she would rather stand up for what she believes in rather than remain friends with someone who hinders her stances. 

“I have a lot of friends with different political views, and usually it doesn’t come in between us,” she said. However, there have been times when political views started to influence how her friends treated others.

Mason supports the LGBTQ+ community, and when a friend began to use inappropriate language toward that community, she couldn't sit idly by. 

Mason gave her former friend plenty of chances to apologize, but she said they didn’t care to respect her or her beliefs. His comments became more extreme and hurtful with time and that was the tip of the iceberg for Mason.

She had to end the friendship after realizing these homophobic and racist comments where hurting more people than just her — they could be affecting entire communities, and that didn’t sit right with her. 

“Regardless of his political opinion, his actions, the way he treated other people wasn’t something I wanted to be around,” Mason said.   

This taught Mason there is a difference between someone’s political views and “people that just don’t respect other humans.” 

Looking forward, Mason said she has become more careful as to who she associates herself with, as well as becoming more aware of the relationships she has with her current friends. 

Halah Berglin, a freshman studying public service and public policy, shares similar beliefs to Mason. She said while she believes “everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” there have been situations where friends made comments that didn’t align with facts or their comments disrespected others. 

And each time they would say something, Berglin felt the need to speak up.

When Berglin heard friends say offensive or disrespectful comments about people who disagree with their politics, she tried her best to remind her friends that, above all, respect is important.

There have been times where Berglin lost friends over disagreements about what the political facts are when it came to conspiracy theories concerning voter fraud by mail

Berglin’s friend had reposted information from a meme account onto Instagram that didn’t seem like a reliable source, which turned out to be false after doing some research. It upset Berglin that her friend was putting out misleading information about the election, and she confronted her friend, advising her to investigate sources more before posting. 

“I hope this doesn't offend you, I just want to make sure you are aware of other things,” Berglin recalled telling her friend at that time.  

But, her old friend did take the comment as a personal offense and the relationship was never the same again.

Despite these friendship fallouts, Berglin has stayed true to her beliefs and has taken opposing political discussions as a way to grow her own understanding of the world. 

Just because someone is your friend, it doesn’t mean they agree with you on everything, especially as it pertains to politics. 

“I will respect your opinion if your opinion doesn’t disrespect other people,” Berglin said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @adriana_gc_ on Twitter. 

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