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  • Writer's pictureAlanna Grayce

Episode 17: Don't Limit Your Circle

Ok guys I know this one sounds weird, especially because I am the queen of keeping a very small group of core friends. This is important, though: in this episode we are going to talk about the importance of not cutting people out of your life just because they don’t agree with you.


Now, bare with me here ok? Because this is very very situational and I want to recognize that from the get go. This isn’t exactly in reference to the toxic friend or the abusive partner. This isn’t in reference to the parent who tells you the way you choose to live your life is a sin. Those are very personal situations and only you can decide how to handle those.


This is in reference to your cousin or your parents' friend or whatever that you have on Facebook, maybe, who thinks that masks should be optional... Or something like that. The person who touts conspiracy theories as reasons not to vaccinate their children, the person who says that all cops are bad, or even the person who has some kind of trauma and in response they have convinced themselves of this certain idea, and surround themselves with people who allow that to continue in an unhealthy way.


I know those people can be super exhausting. Trust me. I fricking know. If one more person that I LITERALLY KNOW calls our governor a dictator on Facebook because he is doing his damnedest to keep coved cases down- I mean I’m going to lose my mind. I have some cousins who think that the confederate flag is just for fun and that the Confederacy was just some guys being doods. Those people- they drive me crazy. They literally make my blood boil. But you know what? As bad as i want to delete them, remove them from my life, never talk to some of them again (and honestly some of them I might not) I try my best to KEEP THEM AS MY FACEBOOK FRIEND. Are you ready to hear why?


I might be the only person in their life that gives them an opinion other than the one that they have in their head. I might be the only one to share something or comment something that goes against this narrative that they are convinced of. Most of these people don't seek out alternative news sources, they don't have conversations with friends who don't align with them, hell they might not even have friends whose opinions differ. These people focus on the narrative that they like and they don't listen to anything else. But if I’m the only one providing outside opinion, then that is really important.


I got really frustrated with this just recently, because this dude I don’t even know was trying to discredit my opinion (on not even a controversial topic?). My friend whose post I commented on agreed with me, and then this guy came in and was trying to argue with me on behalf of the person who fricking agreed with me. What...? Obviously he didn’t have a brain in the first place, but I told Adam how much it bothered me that he was trying to discredit me and wouldn’t hear my opinion out, just because it didn’t align entirely with his (but also didn’t go against his either).


Adam told me, "Alanna, I love that you want to change people's minds and challenge them and help them think differently about things. But Facebook is not the place for that. People don’t go there to have their minds changed."


And sadly, he’s right. Like he is totally right, people don’t go there to have their minds changed. They go to Facebook to spit vitriol, to share things without making sure the source is credible, to often unintentionally misinform people so that their narrative continues on. But that’s so sad. Why is something that could be used for so much good, and collaboration and information sharing, something that could easily create empathy and be used to garner support for people who need it- why is this used for spreading hate? For sitting in our own opinions and wallowing in them until we die, rather than inspiring us to look inwardly and examine who we are and why we think a way?


I recently heard or read, I don’t remember which, a story from somewhere about an old man who had a Trump flag in his yard. One day, the person telling the story came by and it wasn’t there anymore. They struck up a conversation, apparently not out of the ordinary, and the storyteller asked what happened to the flag. The old man replied that his grandson had admonished him for having that flag, and had talked to him about why he supported the Donald and encouraged his grandfather to do more research. He took the flag down, and told the storyteller- “if you lose the respect of your grandchildren, you don’t have anything”.


Politics aside, I think that is an incredible example of how open we should all be- and also, how we should be willing to put our ego aside to examine what’s going on in the world, who we support, and how they TRULY align with our beliefs. I’ve always said, I don’t care who you vote for, as long as you have a reason for it. I think that too often we vote with our balls, not with our brain or our heart. By that, I mean we vote with ego. We vote for the person who will continue allowing us to live the life we live- ignoring the person who could help lift others up, maybe.


I digress on the topic of voting. But the idea remains- why do we have such pride in believing one specific thing? Why are we not willing to open ourselves to other ideas, other ways of thinking? Why is that so difficult?


And that, my friends, is why we shouldn’t limit our social circle just to those who agree with us. Allison has said that she supremely regrets doing that, because she doesn’t feel like she is able to strike up natural conversations with people that could induce change for her or for them. My Facebook friends- hell, a lot of them think I’m some crazy radical hippie just because I think people should be treated like people. And because of that, I think of them differently as people. BUT, I keep them on my list (I delete some every now and then, don’t get me wrong) because they NEED to hear other opinions. I don’t care what they say about me, or how often they call my parents and ask what is going on with me and who I’m voting for. True story by the way.


Radicalization happens when you’re fed only one narrative. Trust me, I’ve studied this. It’s literally DANGEROUS to limit your circle, because in doing that you limit other people’s flow of information and opinion, but you also limit your own. Keeping a wide variety of people around you- well, it keeps you well rounded- and to an extent, grounded.



Takeaways:

Don't cut out people who don't agree with you

Different opinions are important

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