Dear Christine, Sad in Saline

  • Posted on June 4, 2017 at 11:54 am

Dear Christine,

My group of close friends consists of 6 couples. We’ve been tight for more than 20 years even going on vacations together. This past election was hard on us as many of our group worked hard to get Hillary elected and Trump as president is giving us much anxiety. Last night, one of the couples invited the group to dinner saying they needed to get something out in the open. Much to our surprise, they let us know that they are republicans, have always been republicans but have kept it to themselves…until now. They are sick of us bashing Trump and asked if we could keep politics out of our group. After their shocking announcement, there ensued a passionate debate and even some tears. We decided the remaining 5 couples would go off on our own to discuss and absorb the news.The majority of the group is so disgusted that our two friends can defend Trump even after all we have seen that they want to cut them lose. Me and my wife hope for a reconciliation of some kind and to not throw away 20 years of friendship. We just don’t know if there is a way to overcome such polarizing views. Perhaps there is group counseling?? Can this be fixed or is this long lasting group about to part ways? So sad.

Signed, Sad in Saline

Dear Sad, I hear you loud and clear. Many of my clients have discussed deep divisions with family members and friends since the election. It’s very painful to have your brother or your best friend of 20 years, or your aunt, or your neighbor so deeply disagree on politics that the relationship is broken. Some people have found that their family member who voted for Trump didn’t fully realize how LGBTQIA rights would be effected and regretted their vote once educated. But there are plenty of Trump voters who still back him and his policies. I know one person who has been a life long friend with a woman who has cancer and gravely ill. They disagreed on the election, and the woman with cancer and her family love to talk about how they agree with Trump. It drives my friend crazy, so she limits her time with them and tries to make sure they have topics ready to talk about instead or suggest watching a movie together. My friend doesn’t walk away from that friendship because the other woman is dying.

The election continues to have far reaching impact on each of us as individuals and on nations, both friendly (NATO) and not so friendly (North Korea, Russia). We don’t know where this is going to go, but we probably have 3.5 more years of the same. Treating each other with respect and civility is crucial. To maintain friendships that are in jeopardy, avoid topics like current politics. People just don’t see eye–to–eye and there is a lot of defensiveness, anger, hurt and misunderstanding on all sides. My condolences on the break up of a long lasted group of good friends. The only constant in life is change, and you certainly are experiencing that. Take care, Christine Cantrell, PhD


Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

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