I’m Deleting You

I have a relative I was close to as a child and as a young woman. In recent years, her views on social issues and politics have hardened. When we talked, she’d go on and on about how the science teachers in her teenage daughter’s school were “pushing evolution” and how upset this made her. But the specifics of these encounters don’t matter at all: What matters is that the last several years have convinced me that I’m too worn out to put up with people who disturb my peace and want to convert me – to anything. There was a time when a historical connection between me and a friend or a relative took real precedence over any particular views they pushed – no matter how unkind or silly they seemed to me. Now, I’ve come to the hard-won conclusion that, as the sages say, the days may be long but the years fly past; and though I sometimes be forced to put up with someone who upsets me, I don’t’ have to choose to do that.  My brother told me recently that he texted an old friend who’d been increasingly vocal about protecting the right to the whole spectrum of firearms, including assault weapons. “I’m deleting our friendship,” my brother said.  They grew up together: They’d been friends for 40 years. His friend replied, “You refuse to see.” And his friend is correct: My brother does refuse to see. And so do I. I refuse to see past the pronouncements of the present to ancient attachments. I’m deleting this relative, once and for all. I’m deleting this friendship. When a friendship makes you more anxious than happy, it’s time to hit that button.

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