For Facebook participants: How do you handle family/friends with differing beliefs?

I would like to start this thread by saying that I fully acknowledge that some people prefer not to participate on Facebook. Some people think Facebook is stupid and a giant waste of time. Some people would rather gnaw their own hands off at the wrist than participate on Facebook. This thread and the issues that people may discuss in it are exactly why some people will never participate on Facebook. Some people think that Facebook and playing stupid games on it all day are the reason that our civilization is going to fall.

This thread is not for those people.

For those of us who do participate on Facebook (or other social media sites, but let’s be honest, it’s basically just Facebook), my question is how you approach the problem/situation of having politically or religiously differing friends/family on your friends list. I’m curious about what approaches people take.

This has become more of an issue for me in the last couple of weeks, because I have a family member who is deeply beloved to me who rage-defriended me after attacking me about some fairly mild comments I made online about politics. This is someone who I thought was definitely in the category of “people who will love and support you no matter what,” and his reaction was surprising and upsetting to me. (Understatement.)

I’m half-inclined to just remove all of my family members from my Facebook friends list and tell them that I love them but that maybe it’s better for us just to enjoy each other’s company at Christmas and Thanksgiving. But then, a lot of them do interact with me quite a bit on there and seem to enjoy my posts. Maybe I should just use better filters. Maybe not talking about politics at all is the answer. I don’t really know, and that’s why I’m asking how other people approach this problem, if it’s a problem you even have.

When you type a status, you can set who exactly gets to see it. So, if you have a friend or a family member or a set of people that you know are going to fly off the handle when you hit submit, just set it up so they won’t see it.

And don’t forget to use it for more innocuous reasons as well. I had a family member that would comment on just about every single status of mine to ask about my daughter. So, I’d put something out asking if anyone was up for going out to get a drink, a couple of posts later, I’d have a group of friends, and we’d be going back and forth trying to figure out where and when to meet…then all of a sudden she’d pop in with “Hi Joey, haven’t seen you in a while, how’s your daughter doing, she must be getting so big now.”
Or I’d post “Wow, last night’s It’s Always Sunny was funny as hell” and she’d comment “Tell your dad I said hi”.
Not just once in a while…every single one.

She doesn’t get ANY status updates any more.

This. Keep your mouth shut, and ignore those who don’t.

Mostly I just roll my eyes and ignore right-wing political and religious posts by others.

Occasionally, I will hide those posts that I just can’t even stand to look at.

Once in a very great while, like every couple of years, I will post a rebuttal, like the other day when one of my Mormon friends posted some political glurge about giving government assistance to freeloaders and I quoted back to her Jesus’ supposed statement about “whatever you do to the least of these…” But I rarely do that. Mostly I just ignore.

I have a very firm policy of No Facebook With Family. Sometimes it would be convenient to communicate with my college aged cousins, but on the whole this is how it works best for me with the fewest tears and hurt feelings.

On the friend side, if people can’t disagree politely, we aren’t facebook friends-- or friends at all.

Yeah, that too. I was brought up being taught not to speak about politics, money or religion. The only exception was that you shouldn’t be ashamed of the money you/we had, but don’t flaunt it.

After innumerable posts from my friendly Republicans about the evils of Obama, I have been posting very obnoxious things since the WIN! I don’t worry now or ever about being completely the opposite of any of my facebook friends on any issue.

Yeah, I generally avoid ranty political posts on Facebook and at least hide the ones that don’t. There are various people that are on my friends list for professional purposes and some of them are real whackadoodles…on both sides of the aisle. Those that thank Jesus for everything in their lives from bowel movements to surgical success, those that blame Obama for all the ills of the world, etc. It gets tiresome.

I’ve actually been using filters to keep my family members from seeing any of my political posts for a long time. The post that prompted the defriending was actually made by my mom, who posted a link to a story about those people who are signing petitions to secede from the US and worried that this meant the country was going to fall into civil disorder or something. I posted a reply telling her not to worry about it because this was a bunch of silliness and nothing would come of it, just like all the people who say they’ll move to Canada after an election that doesn’t go their way.

Then my uncle roared in and started yelling at me about how I need to take this stuff more seriously and he’s stocked up on ammo and gold (??) and people like me are the problem with America, etc. I decided I didn’t want to reply to him on a political level and told him that his posts like that (he’s made several lately) are hard for me to read and on the hurtful side. He replied with more yelling and to make a long story short, it ended with me telling him he had reduced me to tears and him responding by defriending me and deleting all of his posts in the thread. Ugh. This person was like a father figure to me in my childhood. I’m still really not over it.

OK, that was all sort of tangential to the point. I’d actually like to go back in time and simply not friend my family members, but at this point they’re all on there, and defriending them would cause an insane amount of drama. I’m considering just putting them all into a filter group where they can’t see any of my posts, and hiding all of them from my feed. Feels extreme, but I can’t handle another situation like this one. My family is important to me, even the ones who are holing up with guns and gold in preparation of the oncoming Obamacalypse.

sounds sensible to me, not extreme at all.

I know some people who have separate accounts for different groups of people in their lives: family, work friends, etc. that seems unnecessarily complex to me but whatever works for a person.

I was actually mildly worried about my sister in law, who seemed to have disappeared for now reason. turned out the reason was she had de-friended me over political posts. I was shocked, hurt, and then got used to it. her loss, is my theory at this point.

Like others have said, I mostly just ignore. I’m democratic and agnostic and in my family, that’s completely unheard of. So needless to say, I do a lot of ignoring. I never post anything political or religious mostly because I know it’ll only start a fight. I never respond to any of their own political/religious posts for the same reason. It actually works the same way in real life too. It’s gotten to the point where I just politely excuse myself when political/religious topics come up.

I had someone I blocked becasue she was relentlessly GOP. Since the election’s over and she having another baby, and I’d like to say,“Congrats” when the rugrat comes, I’m gonna unblock her.

I also unsubsribe from people if their lives feed into my own inadequacies. (my neurosis, not theirs)

I have three situations I have handled very differently.

  1. College buddy who is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I am independent but very left-leaning. During the election he would post this invective against Obama with no facts to back it up, linking to a right wingnut “news” web site. I kind of enjoy a good fact-based debate but this guy’s argument was basically, “I hate Obama.” I got so tired of seeing his invective that I unfriended him.

  2. Another college buddy who is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. He posts very right-wing opinions and article links, and I engage him in fact-based discussion/debate, which can be spirited but never mean or hateful. He’s rational but biased. We kind of have this “agree to disagree” situation.

  3. My wife is from the Middle East and very pro-Palestine, to an emotional extent that ignores many facts and rationality. My father’s side of the family is Jewish and I have a second cousin who is very pro-Israeli, to an emotional extent that ignores many facts and rationality. This is a very emotional subject and my rebutting my cousin’s posts would not advance the debate at all, and stress family harmony. So I just ignore her political posts.

With the really outrageous political stuff from the nutjobs, I look for a calm, reasoned, non-partisan rebuttal and post a link. It won’t convince the nutjob (he won’t even read it) but maybe someone else might see it and consider an alternate viewpoint. I don’t like giving up.

I am a live and let live, different strokes kind of person, so in general I just glance at it, shrug, and scroll on by. When people get overbearing with it, like a relative of mine with pretty much opposite political views from me who posted probably 50 political posts a day on fb in the weeks before the election, I hid her from my newsfeed. Didn’t unfriend, just hid her posts so they didn’t annoy me. It also led me to make different choices, I used to post rare but occasional politically oriented posts on facebook, and the nonstop political glurge before the election made me decide to never, ever, no exception, make any more political posts. It is not going to change anyones’ mind and only serves to annoy others.

I use Facebook primarily to communicate with my family–pictures of the grandkids, etc. I avoid posting anything political and pretty much ignore other people’s political stuff. We do tend to post some mild religious things–such as please pray about x. I suspect other people ignore these. I am amazed at the vitriol some people post. I wonder if they are that unkind and uncivil in real life.

I don’t use any filters on FB. It occasionally crosses my mind that I shouldn’t swear or post potentially offensive things when my great-aunts are reading, but I do it anyway. If my posts offend or annoy anyone, they are free to hide or unfriend me, no hard feelings.

Every so often, I go through my friends list and unfriend people who I’m not interested in anymore or not interacting with. Generally, they are people I assume would not notice or mind. Or, if they do mind, I don’t care. With family (or friends who I don’t want to offend), when someone is bothering me for whatever reason, I hide them from my feed. I have two exceptions: an aunt and a cousin who I can’t stand. For a while I had them blocked. Now I have unblocked them, but I have no intention of friending them. Pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

I have created groups — my “family” group doesn’t see the majority of my posts.

I have a couple high-school frends on FB who are staunch republicans. I… don’t post too much in comments to the things they say.

Most of my friends are laid-back enough that they either don’t mind or don’t respond when my more enthusiastic friends post; the pagans in the crowd don’t have anything to gain by twitting my devout Christian friends, and the Christians don’t have anything to gain by mocking the astrologer/magickkk types, so they all stay pretty quiet.

Closest I came to an actual confrontation amongst friends was when a black friend posted a picture of herself in a hoodie following the Martin/Zimmerman altercation & murder, and an ex-Marine SCA friend posted what would be a joke in reply in his circle of Wisconsinite ex-military liberal types. By the time I had put out the brushfires, they were good friends. :dubious:

I think it’s all about context. My cousin removes anything I post in response to her political screeds, no matter how polite, so I don’t bother. I have friends who will occasionally engage me in respectful debate but we mostly have a ‘‘to each his own’’ attitude. I have people who just show no sign of rationality or propriety, and they get removed pretty quickly. As the election season drew to a close I pretty much avoided all political commentary altogether. I just don’t see the point in further pissing my conservative friends off. I think the only thing I posted after the election was something about what a great victory it was nationwide for the LGBT community… and if anyone has a problem with that fuck 'em. I mostly vent politically on other people’s walls, not my own. I think it’s really sad that something like a political opinion would be such a huge issue between loved ones. I’m really sorry to hear about your uncle.