The concept of this listicle was inspired by Farid Hobeiche of the Farixtube's vlog on Instagram, proposing three points to adopt. We decided to take this more in-depth, considering its importance. Friends are precious, they matter, whether they concur with our ideologies and stances or not. This revolution is about building a better Lebanon for all, including our friends. So, I asked our team members at The961 what they have been doing in that context and we came up with this list of 12 ways to avoid losing your friends during this revolution:
#1. Set the status of your WhatsApp Group to: No Politics
According to Farid Hobeich (Farixtube), you might want to set the status of all your generic groups to "No Politics" and adopt the rule of one-warning-only, after which you take the person out of the group. Ideally, you should create your own "Revolution" WhatsApp Group.
#2 Select neutral grounds for your social outings
Also proposed by Hobeiche via his vlog, select neutral sites for your gatherings where there are no protests so no one feels targetted. It is also wise so you don't get to discuss the protests and open the pandora box, which could damage your relationship(s).
#3 Set topics' rule for your gatherings
While it is almost impossible not to talk about the ongoing events, consider that these outings are your break times and you need to enjoy them as much. From the moment you and your friends plan to go out, set the rule of "no-politics" and "no-revolution" topics. Whatever side you are, take a break and enjoy your time and friends.
#4 The Revolution is for all but it's not personal
Yes, it sounds debatable but here is the thing: Charging on your friend (as a person) for his or her stance or opinion will hurt him or her. That becomes personal and is felt like a personal attack on his or her person as an individual.
There is no "You" and no "I" when criticizing politics, including the revolution these days, unless your friend is a politician and responsible for the mess or the crises. There is "We" and there is "our Lebanon."
You neither should be taking these conversations personally. We are coming out of the divisiveness that has existed for so long, many have succeeded and are out and free, and some are still hanging onto that which caused it and could be feeling insecure to let it go. Give them time.
#5 Be considerate on social media
I guess this is the most challenging, especially if it's the Instagram platform you are most active in. Voice out your opinion without attacking or disrespecting your friends and/or their political affiliations. I believe we can all do that. Again, this is about all the nation, all the country, and not just a particular leader.
#6 Hide your Instagram story from opposed friends
We do want to mention this because some individuals have stepped out of their box to decide on their own whether this revolution is what they want or not for their future.
So, if you are one of them, and your network is mostly opposed, or just one or few friends are, you would do better hiding your Instagram stories from them; that if you really care about them.
#7 Abstain from contact when your emotions are leading
We all have those moments and this revolution is not void from intense flashes and periods. When you feel wanting to scream your lungs out (you know what I mean), getting in touch with your friends of opposed views is not a good idea at all. Remember, we seek to live in peace and harmony in our land; at the micro and macro levels. Let's try not to leave behind unnecessary wounds as we cross to safe shores.
#8 Counter with love and respect
Ah, the big challenge of all! When the emotions of your friend of opposed stance are running high and at you, remember that this is your friend, and don't take it personally, because it really isn't. Act with love instead. Remind him or her that your friendship matters and is important to you.
Answer with "Okay, let's have a coffee. We both need it." It will end the heated conversation and give you both time to calm down. Or give her/him a nice smile with an unexpected "I love you, too." That will switch the energy at once. You got it, I guess. There is really no need to break a friendship...
#9 Discuss on common ground, respectfully.
If a discussion rises unavoidable, lead the conversation into a common ground, and that is undebatable your common Love for Lebanon. Discuss facts rather than opinions, pointing out the issues and crises that we all have been suffering from and which led to this revolution. And do respond always in a respectful manner.
The people have suffered considerably these past decades, and increasingly in more recent years. Share heartbreaking stories. We are all humans, and we can all empathize. If your friend doesn't ...then, well, you have to reconsider your friendship.
#10 Take your discussion offline
Entering in online debates with your friends of opposed views is your one-way ticket to break your friendship. All too many of which we write in those discussions on social media, online forums, WhatsApp, and text messages often incite irritation then anger and then quarrels.
Should you really feel the need to discuss your stance or the matters related to the ongoing protests, take your discussion offline. A face to face disagreement, wherever it leads, can be settled on the spot with the energy of friendship along the line of "We disagree but that's okay."
#11 Avoid meeting them temporarily
It is simple wisdom when you know that neither you nor your friend will be able to control the emotions from running high, and you will be bumping heads inevitably. Give yourself and your relationship with your friends some safe space.
#12 And if all of the above doesn't work?
We did ask the team that question, and, the answers came unanimously similar. And while I am hesitant to share it with you, democracy obliges and the majority wins: "Block them." I would add though: "Temporarily."
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