This year, two friends sadly decided to unfriend me on Facebook. The problem is that my friends are extremely varied. I have blog friends, internet friends, old school friends and assorted relatives all rolling about with fans of my books and poems. They span every race, religion (including atheists), sexual orientation and political party. Whilst I like all of them, we don't always see eye to eye.
The two friends I lost were deeply offended by the facts I'm (friend #1) not a vegan and (friend #2) I'm not feminist enough. Written that way it sounds absurd, but it still makes me sad. The vegan in particular was a dear friend. I had no problem with her world view and dietary choices. I just wish she'd shown mine the same respect. I'm still proud of my vegan friend for standing up for her beliefs that our world could be kinder to animals. I was proud of the fact my feminist friend stood up for equality until she turned it into "man-bashing." When I told her to stop being rude to men, she left.
Your Way, My Way or the highway... it shouldn't have to come to that. The fact each and every one of us has something we hold important shouldn't become a reason to walk out on our friends or begin to hate each other.
And that's the really ironic part - most of the people I know who are likely to argue with me on Facebook or elsewhere are those who want the world to be a better place. People who don't care never argue. It's only those who care deeply that fight with each other, because their concern becomes a passion and too often that passion becomes "The Way". Looking at all my friends and family I can say honestly that there is no single Way: there are hundreds. All of them worthy and all of them geared to improving the planet or humankind.
Can you imagine how powerful we'd all be if we supported each other as we each followed our own Way instead of trying to force everyone onto our chosen path? And all it takes is respecting our differences and taking a little time to find out what we have in common. I know my life is so much better for having friends who are vastly different from me. I would never want to only have friends just like me, how boring would that be!