Ask Angela: What she posts on social media sites offends me

Published: Saturday, July 20 2013 10:50 a.m. MDT

A Mormon young single adult asks what to do when fellow ward members post things on social media that makes her upset.

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Dear Angela,

This may sound dumb, but It’s hard for me to listen to my visiting teacher teach me about anything because I think her Facebook status updates are so offensive. We were kind of becoming friends until I realized that the way she views the world is not only so different from how I view the world, but she seems incredibly narrow-minded. Now I’m not interested in her being my visiting teacher or being my friend. What can I do to fix this?

Sincerely,

Shocked

Dear Shocked,

You may be right about your visiting teacher, but a key word in your question is the word “seems.” She “seems” incredibly narrow-minded. But, what if she’s not actually narrow-minded?

Yes, she really could be so offensive and maybe you two will never be friends, but if you were to judge everyone based on the eloquence, pertinence and veracity of their social media updates, you’d probably end up with no friends at all. In short, people aren’t always what they seem to be on Facebook.

So, instead of taking the above route, the next time you see her say, “Hey, saw your status about X. Tell me more about that?” Then use this opportunity to engage in real, meaningful dialogue about stuff.

You may find that her thoughts weren’t articulated very well. You may end up offering her a new perspective that causes her to see things differently. Or, you may find that things are just as you thought and you’ll rush home and “unfriend” her and all of your mutual friends — just to be thorough.

The idea is that it’s possible to disagree politically, ideologically — even religiously — and still be great friends and still be able to teach one another new things. Sometimes the best “fix” is simple conversation to develop better understanding, and it’s hard really get that through social media communications.

Try this and let us know what comes of it!

Love,

Angela

Readers: How do you build friendships with those whom you disagree? Have you ever “unfriended”/”unfollowed” someone based on a status update? Like us on Facebook and leave your own thought on the matter!

Angela Trusty is a young single adult advice columnist for the Deseret News and Washington Times communities. Twitter: angelatrusty Email: askangela.dn@gmail.com

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