Dear Annie: I’m having some issues with a friend.
We are polar opposites politically, and it is now causing problems. I dislike one side, which happens to be her side — and she dislikes the other, which happens to be mine. I read many sources of news, including from overseas, and don’t rely on one source only.
While on the phone, she railed against a prominent newspaper that I like, saying that she would “pray for them.”
When I sent my friend an article in support of the paper’s position, she refused to read it. Her views are one-sided, and she refuses to read anything contrary.
Though I try to not talk about current events, she’ll throw in her comments and will leave me so aghast, it’s difficult to respond in any way, as I’m left speechless.
Do I pull the plug on this friendship? I wonder how we can continue as friends as I don’t respect her views and we have many differing ideals. All I can feel is anger. — Friends?
Dear Friends: You can certainly continue your friendship with her. If we all shared the same views on everything, then what a boring, robotic place we would live in. Try to examine why you feel so angry when someone doesn’t share your views. The world could do with more understanding; why not start with yourself?
As for your friendship, make a pact with your friend that you will agree to disagree on world affairs and promise to stop bringing up politics to each other. If she refuses, or if she agrees and then keeps making cracks, then it is not the politics that separate you so much as her lack of respect for your request. Of course, this means that you can’t initiate political commentary either.
Dear Readers: A great number of you wrote in with helpful tips for people experiencing loneliness later in life. Here are just a few letters.
Dear Annie: I read too frequently about seniors who feel alone and isolated. There is an organization called OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) which operates classes for people 50-plus at colleges, junior colleges and other organizations in many cities around the country. They are great places to meet other seniors and to find people to relate to and talk about something other than the weather. They certainly have made a difference in my life. — No Longer Isolated
Dear No Longer Isolated: Thank you for this suggestion. I will always pass on helpful ways to help people of all ages connect with each other. Many others wrote in about the same extraordinary program.
Dear Annie: I have been involved with the OLLI program at the University of North Florida for many years. There are about 120 around the country, and there are many other senior learning programs as well. Many friendships have started as a result of participating in such programs. It has been my experience that some people are a little intimidated about participating perhaps they are shy or didn’t go to or finish college. Have no fear! You will be welcomed and know more than you think. Go for it! — OLLI Love
Dear OLLI Love: Thank you for the reminder of how much we all have to contribute and the joy of being a lifelong learner.
Dear Annie: I read the letter about an older woman having trouble making friends. We have moved frequently and have found our best friends by joining a local church and by simply walking our dog around the neighborhood. Today, it is easier to get a dog than to join a church, given COVID-19. A dog would be her best friend and would improve her health by increasing her physical activity. — Human’s Best Friend
Dear Human’s Best Friend: Our best friends can be furry friends — or the owners of other furry friends. Great suggestion.
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