MICHELLE: The community quarantine has made it harder for Dess to see her friends. She loves them but she’s the only “DDS” (Duterte Digong Supporter) in the group. Given the situation, their friendship has started to become toxic. Social distancing is real in every sense of the word for her and them. She’s asking if they can still get back to where they were before 2016? Yes and no. It depends if she’s also willing to tone down her beliefs or lighten her stance toward their beliefs and if she agrees not to talk about politics or anything divisive.
DJ: Debates like whether there should be a complete lockdown or not, or whether closing our airports at the onset of Covid-19 can be quite tricky to navigate. I think political beliefs were never this sensitive, personal and dramatic until 2016. I also supported a presidential candidate different from my friends’ choice and I had my share of being emotionally bullied. I can relate. But there’s something I learned through time—telling people that they’re wrong is unlikely to change their minds or improve the friendship.
M: During these challenging times, we should not let the toxicity of the world around us affect our innermost being. It will not be Covid-19 that might kill one but the stress. We can fear a lot of things but we can also choose to respond to our fears in a more sensible way. Let us temper fear with reason as we should temper our ideology with respect for one another. It should not matter if friends do not share the same political beliefs. If they share a deep and abiding respect and care for the other person, a friendship or a relationship can flourish despite the odds.
DJ: Conversations between friends are not supposed to be about who is right and who is wrong. What if someone brought up something one thinks is incorrect? Switch from debater to listener. Say something like, “Oh really? Where did you get that information?” Now, if Dess’ friends’ posts on social media are stuff she disagrees with, it is okay to unfollow them. That way she can’t be distracted from real-life friendship. It is okay to take a break. And it doesn’t have to be permanent.
M: We have to learn to let go of the things that are making our lives miserable. We have to let go of anger, hate, and biases and let in love. We live in a world that is so wide but for the meantime we have to stay home and keep to ourselves lest we cannot contain that which we do not want to spread. Politics should not widen the gap and friendships should not be lessened because of differences in what we believe in. In these times, we need to be brave. But we need more to be kind.
DJ: It’s cool to have friends who think differently. This leads to new perspective. It’s understandable to get too emotional on something she feels strongly, but it’s best not to forget the qualities that drew her to this friendship. Politics is way smaller than the friendship they’ve built through the years. These political figures just come and go. They’re probably living a dream. Why should Dess and her friends ruin their friendship because of them?