The Importance of Being Expressive Yet Respectful (In Friendships)

Friendship may be defined as “a relationship in which the persons involved are of like or similar minds where familiarity, trust, kindness, and compassion pervades. People in this kind relationship trust each other and help with their problems. They usually have similar interests.

Trending now on social media, more so on Facebook, is the line, “I hope we still remain friends even though we have different beliefs and/or political leanings. Let’s just respect each other.”
It’s campaign season once again here in the Philippines, especially for the presidential elections, on May 9, 2022. Seven months to go and the populus in general are getting hyped up as well as seemingly divided due to each other’s political leanings, notwithstanding each one’s religious beliefs and nonbelief thereof.

Here are my four-top contenders for the presidential seat and a brief description of their respective character.
1. A person who was bred in Politics and knows his platform of service by heart.
2. A former actor who rose from being a garbage collector to a life of public service.
3. A boxing champion who shifted from sports to politics.
4. The current Vice President who believes she can serve the country better in a higher position.

Exciting as it may seem, and based on armchair experts, the current political rat race will definitely wedge a gap among supporters and would-be voters of each of the abovementioned candidates. In my opinion, having a few contenders is better than just two. But then again, two among the said four will surely emerge as the top candidates in the long run, when the counting draws to a close.

*The Right to Choose*
Everyone has the right to choose their own political candidate. But in so doing, and among friends and relatives, relationships seem to be sacrificed given that the belief and/or political leanings of one may be entirely different or even opposed to that of the other. Should this be really the result of one’s choice? Do friendships need to suffer because of this?

From a societal perspective, people commonly clash on these top 3 concepts: Religion, Politics, and Gender Equality. Given these controversial topics, the ideas presented are usually formed based on culture and tradition, which will eventually lead to a specific choice and decision. This is under the premise that, based on the values that each promotes, they would have something to gain from the choice that they made. The clash only becomes predominant when between two people (or groups), one thinks that his choice is better than that of the other or that what he proposes is correct whereas the other’s is wrong.

Opinions matter. Remember that these are formed based on what a person knows, experienced, and believes in, which may be right or wrong. Only a test based on logic that produces a well-formed result will determine the validity of a given opinion. If one feels strongly about a certain opinion, then the other should rationalize and so on. The main goal of the discussion, after all, is not to prove that one is correct but to introduce change. If at all each does not agree, then why not just agree to disagree?

To arrive at a well-formed result based on logic, it will be good to practice the following:
1. Understand that different opinions exist.
2. Check your facts well.
3. Veer away from throwing invectives (name-calling).
4. No to Ad Hominem attacks (attack on the person’s character).

Overall, attitude is everything. Treat others with respect as you would want yourself to be treated. There is no better way to promote peace than being amicable towards each other. Recognizing and understanding that, while each one’s interests and opinions differ, there will always be a certain amount of commonality that will draw people together.
In the grand scheme of things, human beings–given each other’s differences, whether apparent or not–can be friends amidst the inanities of the world…as long as they can maintain a reasonable and respectable degree of respect and tolerance for each other.

*Currently working at the Philippine International Convention Center, where she began services 22 years ago, Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim is an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College–Manila; she finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, major in Sociology, at the University of Santó Tomás; drawing and writing are her primary avocations.