Do Friends Need to Agree About Politics?

In this time of uncertainty, friends are more important than ever, but with current political events, is it possible to be friends with those who disagree with your political views?


Myles Hazen

People often break up friendships over political issues, which can be for various reasons, from disagreements on guns to racism. It begs the question, since it’s so common, can people have different politics and still be friends?

Furthermore, do friends have to share politically similar views, or can they become friends while politically different? If they are friends, can they even talk about politics?

We set out to answer these questions and prove that people can bridge the gap between politics and still be friends.

In these times of political polarization, it can seem extremely difficult to be friends with a republican or democrat depending on your political beliefs.

However, two fellow students have bridged an even more significant gap. Evan and Rory are very close friends even though Evan is an anarcho-capitalist, and Rory is an authoritarian communist.

When they first met in seventh grade, they competed in various math competitions together, which allowed them to bond. Back then, they didn’t talk about politics, they were more focused on math and the odd game they played together.

We asked: How has your relationship changed as your political views changed? “If there is a difference, it’s only been positive,” Evan said. “I totally agree… oh wait, I’m not supposed to agree, the opposite of what he said,” Rory said.

Even though politics characterize their interactions, they are still capable of having fun together and joking around.

Since COVID, all of Evan and Rory’s interactions occur online through a political discord server, they run. They always debate politics, yet they are still best friends.

We talked to them about how debate has affected their relationship, and they both just said it brought them closer together.

“That might have happened anyway if we were to join a discord server that was about something that wasn’t politics,” Rory added.

While politics doesn’t have to be a link in a friendship, it can bring people together even though they argue.

We asked them about their debates, “I think it helps that we were friends before we talked about politics a lot,” Rory said.

This brings us back to one of the questions brought up earlier. Do friendships have to start politically similar, or can friendships develop with people who are politically different?

One thing to mention is that Rory and Evan were friends before they radicalized. Perhaps this made it easier for them to maintain their friendship.

Would this be possible with those where two people start from politically different places?

Talking about politics could potentially alienate one of the people in the friendship and ruin it.

We asked Rory and Evan this question to see if they could help us find an answer.

“I think it’s totally possible… I think it helps that we are dissidents and don’t agree with anyone around us, and we are both very much pro debate… if you have an open mind, you can be a friend with everyone,” Evan said.

Rory agreed. “If Evan and I had met now, we could still get along. We’d just have to not talk about politics until after we had already become friends.”

While Evan brought a reasonably straightforward answer to the question, Rory’s response is a bit more puzzling.

Is it possible to start a friendship by talking about politics?

Evan and Rory make clear that it is possible to be friends even if you disagree on everything.

They prove that friends can have different opinions.

However, some things remain vague. For example, it is harder to say whether friends can start off talking about politics when they disagree and continue forming friendships.

Some people are sensitive about some issues, such as recognizing Kosovo, supporting Palestine or the Armenian genocide.

Rory acknowledges this when he spoke about some of his friendships.

He spoke about a Ukrainian friend and said that he wouldn’t talk about his opinions on the annexation of Crimea with that friend.

Evan summed the idea of sensitivity up when he said anyone with an open mind could be friends with each other, but it’s important to note that not everyone is open-minded.

The same would have to be true about people who can’t talk about politics with their friends.

The bottom line is that if you are open-minded, you can be friends with anyone, no matter their politics if you both share being open-minded. However, not everyone is open-minded enough to be friends with someone with a different opinion.