Backstory: I live in Jamaica and there’s a great deal of homophobia and sexism and transphobia and really all the -phobias and -isms. Like you can hear it on the radio, in the music. As such it’s hard to make friends who not only have your interests but also don’t court bigotry. Eventually, I settled into a couple friends who either shared my views or respected them enough to not be shitlords in my presence.
Fast forward maybe two years. All of us are in a massive group chat with people from our high school year. As you no doubt all know, group chats represent the summit of hilarious and sometimes very uncomfortable conversation. In this group chat, some one will drop a slur as shorthand for bad (or longhand???). I tried to call it out when it happens, and sometimes I’d get backup, but a lot of times it was just unanswered bigotry. Eventually I became complacent myself and felt deeply uncomfortable talking to LGBTQ+ friends who were adamant that cis men especially needed to help more. After a year of calling out just general unpleasantness I left the group, beginning my first stage of isolation.
I do have some level of sympathy for people when it comes to calling out things. It can definitely make things uncomfortable and sometimes you don’t want to make waves. What I didn’t have sympathy for, being in a friend’s house, a formerly close friend, and hearing folk in his house just throwing around ugly words and thoughts. I couldn’t reconcile my ‘woke’ good friend, saying nothing in his own house, not wanting to stir the pot, just allowing this to happen.
Ever since I’ve been very distant from pretty much all my friends. They call me out on that (the irony), and point out that they’re growing. I’m not sure that’s a valid argument, I was raised to be just like them in many ways and had to do a lot of work to get where I am today (and I’m definitely still working).
So, friends, what limits exist or social math you do in your head before you are just done with a person? Can you balance problematic friends with your own ethics? Does seniority matter at all?