I am pro-life. One of my best friends is pro-choice, and disagreeing has strengthened our friendship. We have been friends since elementary school and seldom agreed on anything from outfits to politics. Being polar opposites has allowed for us to strengthen and maintain our friendship into college.

Due to the recent abortion ban bill in my home state of Alabama, my social media has been flooded with opinions from all sides of the abortion spectrum. Sadly, much of the information being shared has been false, such as birth control being outlawed, the law was introduced by white men, and rapists receiving a shorter prison sentence than abortionists.

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Because of the falsities being spread, I have taken this opportunity to educate people on what the bill really says in a civil manner.

This is where my friend comes into play. She had shared a post containing one of the falsities, and I decided to comment on it. I stated that I respected her opinion and did not wish to argue, but the post she shared was false and told her why. Although I wasn’t the first pro-life person to comment on her post, I was the first to do it in a kind and understanding way. In today’s political climate, you won’t believe what happened next. She thanked me. My comment did not change her mind about the bill, or her pro-choice stance, but she gave me the opportunity to say my part and thanked me for doing it.

Since the beginning, we have had to agree to disagree on a lot of topics, even ones that we are extremely passionate about. Through the disagreements, our friendship has strengthened. This is because we listen to each other. We try to understand the point that the other is trying to make, even though we are almost certain that we won’t change either our minds. I let her talk to me about her feminist marches. She lets me tell her about what I’m doing with FFL.

I challenge you all to listen to your friends with different opinions. You will likely learn something, even if it’s just what the other side believes and the core of these beliefs. Your own beliefs and stances will become stronger because of the challenge of defending them. And if you agree to listen to and respect the other’s opinions, your friendship will only remain stronger.

We all believe that our opinion is the right opinion and strive to change minds. Yes, it is an amazingly victorious feeling to hear someone say, “I’m pro-life because of you,” but sadly, that is a rare occurrence. Strive to educate and understand your friend’s views. What fun would it be if we all believed the same thing about any aspect of life?

Instead of hitting the “unfriend” or “unfollow” button, try to start a civil conversation and respect their opinion instead. You won’t regret it!

Whitney E