When you don't approve...

That sounds snottier than I intended, so let me try to explain.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that each of us has a set of standards for what is right and what is wrong, and they’re not necessarily universal. In a perfect world, either we’d all agree or we’d live as we wish and accept that others will do the same. Our world is far from perfect, however, and I expect we frequently encounter people whose choices do not meet with our approval.

So, what do you do? It’s easy to say “Accept all individuals for who they are” but when faced with someone who you consider to be immoral or unsavory or undesirable, must you be PC?

I’m not going to offer specifics, because this could devolve into an argument of what is and isn’t socially acceptable, and that’s not what I want. And I’m not using the word “approve” as if I’m Commissioner for Approving All Things, but in a more personal sense. But whether it involves something illegal, immoral (by whatever your standards are), or distasteful, how do you deal with another person?

For myself, if I am repulsed by another person’s actions or lifestyle, I will avoid dealing with that person if at all possible. If I know something about someone before we meet, I may do what I can to keep from having to meet. Most difficult of all, if I find out something about someone I know, not gossip but fact, I am likely to break off the acquaintance.

I suppose there are those who would consider that to be narrow-minded or hyper-critical of me. I can’t socialize with or befriend a person who does things that I consider to be wrong - even if it’s something that “society” seems to condone. I’m not sitting in judgement in that I’m not suggesting that anyone who doesn’t conform to my standards is damned to firey torment for eternity. But I’m not going to subject myself to the company of anyone who I cannot respect - maybe that’s what it comes down to.

Is that petty? Or does that fall within my right to choose with whom I will associate for whatever reason? I think I’m pretty good at accepting people for who they are, but I don’t think that acceptance necessarily includes a relationship on any level.

Does that make sense? Do you think such a method of choosing friends/ acquaintences/ associates is fair and right? What do you do if you don’t “approve”?

I will go into a specific in my own case. I have a friend who in all other ways is a wonderful person - except that she’s horribly and unapologetically racist. I’ve called her on it a few times, only to be told that I don’t know what I’m talking about. And I spend a LOT less time with her than I would otherwise as a result.

I keep hoping that I can lead by example, so I haven’t cut her out of my life completely. It’s hard to be tolerant of the intolerant.

I thought that’s what most people do. I didn’t know there was an unwritten rule that I have to hang around with drug users just because they’re people, too. Or shoplifters. Or wife beaters. Or people that don’t neuter their pets.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding your post?

Or maybe you specifically mean the “gray areas”, like extramarital affairs and tax cheats? Not that those are gray areas in my opinion, but considering how widespread they are apparently a lot of people think that kind of behavior is okay.

Sure, why not?

you are free to adopt any standard for friendship, IMO.
I tend to hold these type of people at arm’s length–I am not cutting them directly, but neither am I doing the sanctimonious outraged bit, either.

dying to know what the specs were, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to go there.

I once was involved in a lay pastoral care program. One of the things I learned about myself was that by refusing to interact with people that had beliefs I found repugnant (racism in this particular case), I was cheating myself out of the experience of learning about their positive qualities. This was quite a revelation for me.

That said however, I am sure that sufficiently repugnant behavior would force me to cut off contact with the offender.

It depends. Sometimes I can be outspoken - “Hey, you’re cutting in line!” “Excuse me, the sign says no sampling.” Other times I Glare Disapprovingly. But these are tactics for folks I don’t know. For folks I do know, I usually keep my mouth shut and make a mental note not to bring up the subject again. Avoidance is a last resort. I can’t afford to be judging people left and right.

Well, I can’t really be friends with or hang around people who I do not respect. If a person does things that I disapprove of (bad parenting, for example), I can’t just pretend like it doesn’t bother me. I will avoid that person and cut them out of my life, if possible.

If someone says something overtly racist or homophobic in front of me, I will always say something. I feel like if I’m not part of the solution then I’m part of the problem. It makes for the occasional tense situation, but I’d rather have that than let the person believe that I agree with what they’ve said.

There are no specs here - I was thinking about people in general who I’ve encountered. I get really bored when I’m commuting to work in the dark, so I think about random stuff. And this is what I was thinking about this morning.

Shunning is a very useful technique. We do have the freedom of association - one should not be forced to associate with people one finds reprehensible.

I agree with Indygrrl that I cannot have a friendship with someone I cannot respect; but I can maintain a polite relationship. Whether it is neighbors, co-workers, people in my general social scene, I am at least polite to everyone - most of the time.

I’d handle it like most people have already mentioned: cut them out of my life.

I’m a pretty tolerant person, and up to a certain point, I’ll let things be. If, however, like Indygrrl mentions, they lose my respect - well, for me, it depends entirely on the situation and how much respect was lost (if it’s possible to be regained, or if they’re even willing to try to gain it back), but I usually just cut them loose. It doesn’t have to be in a rude way, just stop calling, be busy more often, find new things to do that have nothing to do with that person, or just say it straight, tell them, “Look, I don’t feel comfortable with you.” Or something along those lines - since I’m not using a specific example, that line probably sounds harsher than it should.

I’ve cut out about eight people from my life, for good, including some family members. With family, I stuck it out as long as I could, but once I realised that I couldn’t help them, and they wouldn’t let me help them, I had to step back and say “Okay. I did all I could. The rest is up to you. I can’t let you bring me down with you.”

I agree with you. If I do not like, respect or approve of someone/someone’s actions, they will not be a friend of mine. The person will get the civility and basic respect granted to a stranger, not “cherished friend” status. How else would you choose your friends, if not by their personalities/actions?

I have to say that I think the same way as FCM and others here have stated.

I’ll be polite, but not “buddy, buddy” and tend to keep people like that at somewhat of a distance. Once I lose respect for someone, I find that I don’t really want to spend that much time around him/her. I tend to call less, and move on to other things and other friends. I’m still unfailingly polite, but the connection (at least for me) is gone. I can’t change what I feel.

Depends on the nature of the offense. I have an uncle who got busted for molesting his 14 year old step daughter. He’s gotten nothing but ice from me since I found out about it. I have so little use for him that I flat turned down his influnce in getting me a job as an air traffic controller (he’s an FAA boss, and in a position to make things happen). My alternative was 6 months of unemployment and 10 years later I’m making half the income I would have STARTED at as an atc. There is no way in hell I’ll be beholden to him.

Folks who have different moralities from my own I seperate into two categories: those who simply preach a different sermon from mine, and those who practice that sermon.

For instance, I have a coworker who could be Rush Libaugh’s twin brother. We do NOT consult with each other in matters of religion or politics except when we are both entertaining a desire to debate a point. The guy’s a total 'phobe and thinks Bush walks on water. But he’s got a good heart–for all of being a 'phobe and right wing nutjob, he’d never actively harm someone or allow a person to be harmed. A good Christian in that regard, and a bad Christian by passively allowing the persecution of others. People with good hearts I will accept and allow them to enhance my life as they can.

People who actively seek to cause harm to other people I deem evil and will do what I can to avoid all contact with them. I don’t care if they can make my life easier, or even further my own agenda of making other people’s lives easier. “You can’t shake The Devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.” Such people could die a fiery death right in front of me and I’d piss to the side to avoid dousing the flames…so I say. The reality is I’d still put out the flames and provide comfort as I can, 'sjust my nature.