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Having Friends With Opposing Morals

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Readers, when I got this question I didn’t know what to say first. What do you do when you and your friends have different morals? Morals are defined as a person's standards of behaviors or beliefs concerning what is acceptable for them to do. So that could look something like you don’t believe in eating meat because you think it’s wrong to kill animals. So you made a promise to be a vegetarian. But do you then expect your friends to all be vegetarian too? While this may fall on the lower end of the severity spectrum, there are some people who feel strongly about this. But what do you do when you get to topics that are a little more dicey? Are you able to hold friendships with people who have vastly different morals as you? Or do you think that you can work through them?

I gave this some thought and like anything in life, I think it depends. If one of my friends was a vegetarian, I wouldn’t expect them to eat meat just like I wouldn’t expect them to pressure me to not eat meat. We can respect both of our beliefs without jeopardizing the friendship and badgering the other. But, when it comes to more sensitive topics, I think there are some things that you just cannot come to terms with.

For example, I recently met someone who loved the aesthetic of plantations. Yes, you heard that correct. They were saying how plantation weddings shouldn’t be given the slack that it does get, because it’s just for the aesthetic. When I informed them that plantations have a terrible, racist, and horrific past, they tried to just make it seem as if it was a plot of land. They completely ignored the relevance of how plantations have killed and compromised lives. They thought there was nothing wrong with it and I saw that this was coming from a place of privilege.

It’s one thing to have a belief from a place of privilege, but it’s another to not want to change that belief when trying to be educated by someone else. I realize that this is not someone who I could really relate to or hold a friendship with. We had vastly different views when it came to race relations in America and how those race relations make minority people feel. Some might say this was trivial, but I don’t. If you can’t understand why something is a sensitive topic for people of color then I don’t think you can understand my experience or how I feel on a vast majority of issues. I decided right then and there that there was no need to pursue a friendship.

I think that you will come across people that you want to be friends with but your morals might say otherwise. I think when it comes down to it you have to look at everything holistically and think, is this something that I’m willing to bend on? Like I said, if it’s morals that you are personally convicted of, but you hold others to a different standard, then that’s completely fine. Just like if I had a friend who didn’t use recycled plastic whereas I do, I would just try to educate them and if they didn’t find the need to pursue avenues of using recyclable plastic, I wouldn’t cut off the friendship. But when it comes to things such as race, sex, education I think those things are a little more serious from my perspective. Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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