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

My wife the rabid Republican and her sister the not-quite-so-rabid Democrat are more or less no longer on speaking terms. I keep up a reasonably friendly relationship with the sister because I generally refuse to discuss politics (or religion).

Thanks. It was really shocking to me when this happened. I mean, obviously I know he and I differ politically, and he was really upset after the election, but we’ve had some discussions before that ended more or less okay even though we disagreed. For him to completely blow up at me like that (over something that was honestly very innocuous) was just out of left field. I really thought he was the sort of person who put family above everything else and who would never let politics interfere with a family relationship, but I guess I was wrong.

I think that my main problem with how I’ve been approaching Facebook is that I’ve been mentally lumping family and friends into the same category. For my friends, I feel pretty much as some others have mentioned: If they get offended by anything I post, meh, they don’t have to read it. They can defriend me if they don’t like it.

But family members are different for me. I am willing to jump through more hoops to make sure that our relationships stay unstrained and healthy. I guess I just didn’t jump through quite enough hoops on this one. I’ve decided that from here on out, I will have zero (0) conversations with family members about religion or politics, even in the most tangential way. I don’t care if someone posts the most outrageously incorrect and illogical crap that they got straight from Sarah Palin (or whoever). I’m not saying a damn word.

The silver lining, or maybe the irony, is that with my ultra-conservative uncle gone from my feed, most of the people left are pretty moderate and reasonable, so this may no longer be an issue. I don’t know, maybe it was for the best. Thanksgiving is going to be awkward, though.

Ditto, though in my case it’s the left-wing political comments I’m ignoring…


I didn’t like Romney, and damned near everyone on Facebook did. I just kept my mouth shut. Period.

I’ve got a couple of rabid posters on my FB whose views are different from mine. I just scroll right on by their posts. I’ve known both of them online elsewhere for a very long time, and they both do post more personal stuff; ergo, I don’t feel the need to defriend them.

As the saying goes, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

This is pretty much exactly what I do. I don’t have lists or groups, and I don’t self-censor much. I also don’t post things all that often, but I like to keep up with my friends and my sister, all of whom are a long way away from me.

As far as I’m concerned, Facebook is not the place for politics. It’s really not the place to try and talk politics with people you disagree with - the format just doesn’t lend itself to thoughtful discussion, I don’t know why. It’s REALLY not the place to try and talk politics with family you disagree with, because with family, stuff gets heated and hysterical much more quickly.

On Facebook, I ignore everything political that I disagree with - I discuss that stuff in real life, where the discussion has a way higher chance of being productive and/or interesting - and about 99.9% of everything political that I agree with. Politics isn’t what I’m there for and it’s unlikely to end well.

This is what I’ve done. I grew up in the D.C. area, most of my friends and family are highly interested in politics and it’s just going to be discussed on Facebook.

I have my main group of “friends” - this includes everyone. They see stuff I post about the kids, photos of family vacations, and posts about stupid trivial things going on in my life.

I have a separate list of “grown ups” - these are actual close friends and people who can have rational discussions about things I actually find interesting. These are my political junkie friends, of all political stripes. They are people who aren’t going to freak out if I post something political - they’ll engage, and in a rational way. I have a couple family members in this group, but most of my family (and childhood friends and people I know professionally) are not in this group.

On the flip side, I also hide people. I have a couple Christian fundamentalist, Tea Party relatives. I don’t want to engage with them at all about politics or religion. At all. I just hide them. Every once in awhile, when I’m in the mood, I’ll go look at their pages and get caught up on what their kids are doing, etc.

I’ve only defriended one person, and that was a relative who is a particularly rabid Tea Partier. She didn’t post anything except very, very ugly political comments. I actually completely blocked her, so I can’t even see anything she posts on other people’s pages. Bliss.

Given your introduction - which more or less details that it’s an ‘us or them’ mentality - have you not answered your own question?

People who take their opinion sharing to that level while over the internet are either people who don’t actually believe what they are saying, or they have difficulty articulating in real world situations.

Though if it IS family and close friends, why not have these discussions in person?
If you’re big enough to blog politics online(no matter how mild), then be big enough to take the heat - at least in the real world you get body language and you can have a heart to heart.

Honestly, and people wonder why things are so impersonal these days!

Yes. This. I really have no idea why people post political stuff in the first place, so I mostly ignore it, especially when I disagree. I figure their page is their space, and I wouldn’t want somebody coming into my space just to argue. (I’ve made very occasional exceptions for posting corrections to claims that are obviously, factually wrong, like the idea that Obama is the only president in recent memory who hasn’t voluntarily released his college transcripts, but only if I’ve got a link at hand to a reliable source that says otherwise.)

I generally avoid political debating, except with the most intelligent of my FB friends, who can handle it without hating me, but I do post links from time to time about specific issues, like a homeowner being foreclosed under improper circumstances, the girl in Pakistan that tried to improve education and was shot by the Taliban, etc… Nothing majorly controversial.

There’s no point in debating the dumber, less well-thought-out of my conservative friends/family on FB. I respond to their political posts every once in a great while, but generally calmly and very matter-of-fact.

I have exactly one FB friend who has the brainpower to debate me intelligently on politics, but is still conservative. We debate every once in a while, and I still am good friends with him. he’s an old college friend, a wonderful computer geek friend who I’d hate to lose.

Family and co-workers have access to the Facebook page under my real name. I don’t use that one often, as my Wife is the social coordinator in this household. I do not need to see any religious glurge or political screeds from anyone I just happen to be related to.

I avoid politics and religion on the Doctor’s page, and since a great many of Dr Fidelius’s friends are also fictional, we are more likely to avoid “real-life” arguments.

Right on. I never say anything remotely controversial about politics on my facebook page. If someone tried to start a political debate with me on there I’d just ignore it.

I disagree with the politics of my in-laws (and the views of my fiance, though my fiance’s views are far more nuanced and I respect them more than the views of people who totally buy into the mainstream political parties). My in-laws are the kind of people who will make political comments all the time regardless of the social setting, so of course leading up to the election I was bombarded with like 5-10 political memes a day from them.
I learned to ignore it. I actually get along with them very well in other ways, so there’s no need to poison the relationship by taking a political stand that won’t change anything anyway.

As for the uncle in the OP, well, he probably is feeling very emotional right now. This was a very important election, the Republicans had gotten their hopes up that they might be able to win, and the loss was pretty hard to take. I’m sure that’s more of why he lashed out at you than anything personal. Just give him some time to get past it and I’m sure you guys can repair your relationship.

I feel incredibly lucky that having grown up in an extremely liberal area, having liberal relatives (as well as hardly any that are on Facebook) and now living in New York City that I honestly don’t personally know any Republicans at the present time. I know that sounds ridiculous and is not the norm, but it’s true. There are a few people who post conservative viewpoints on Facebook that I knew in high school but I don’t care about their opinions nor do I care if they’re offended by mine. So far there’s been no de-friending so I’ll assume the feeling is mutual.

I have a very close relative who I love dearly, so I’d never screen his posts so I don’t see them. However, we differ quite a bit politically and religiously, and he likes to post ranty stuff (mostly political–he’s pretty mellow about the fact that he’s Christian and I’m a heathen!). I’ve learned not to engage him about the political stuff–I just skip over it and move on. It’s better for the blood pressure that way. :slight_smile:

I have another acquaintance who’s a bit of a wingnut, and she goes through spates where she posts lots of wingnutty stuff (extreme animal rights and a lot of strange Ron-Paul-related material). Again, I just zoom on by to get to the cat pictures and George Takei memes, and everybody’s happy.

The only person I ever defriended was an acquaintance from grade school who was weird back then and I find out he’s still weird–he was posting creepy sex-related stuff, so I dropped him like a rock.

To me Facebook is for very light conversation and keeping up with friends and family. I have dumped some annoying acquaintances. Not family. I don’t really care what their political viewpoint is.

With family? If they are annoying, I hide them*, and avoid politics when I need to speak with them. With friends? I make a polite but firm argument. If they can’t take me arguing with them (in a much nicer tone than I use on here, BTW. You guys like it rough, IMO) they are free to delete me from their friends. I won’t.

*Even before Facebook included it automatically, I had a group (or whatever they call it) for people who I didn’t actually want to interact with, but added out of courtesy. It was called “Just to be nice.”)

This, mostly. But I don’t have many friends who post things like that. There’s only one friend I have that occasionally posts “Praise Jesus” posts, and they’re pretty innocuous. I’m not even sure who that person is. Probably a IRL friend of my aunt. I’m not sure how she got to be on my friends list.

I do have a bunch of friends that post spiritual and political things, but I tend to agree with them.

I generally don’t post much of anything myself.

If someone posts something factually wrong on a Snopes level I will correct and cite (sorry about your Devil Dogs Sharon, Drakes is owned by Hostess) but if its opinion I let it slide.

Family members who post things that annoy me get hidden.

People who argue in bad faith or lecture get restricted out of statuses and shares.

People who delete my comments on their stuff lose the ability to comment on any of my stuff.

People who defriend me don’t ever get a friend request from me and if they send a refriending request later, I will deny it.