i want to make a new friend…

But we may be moving.

Back story: she’s a neighbor, who I don’t know very well, but we’ve always been cordial. She’s not tight with the other neighbors, but she and her family seem to have her own circle, so that’s not too surprising. I recall several years ago her husband talked with mine about the bank bailouts, and how unfair they were. I recall hearing from some other neighbor that she was really into her church. That, along with the fact that many in our neighborhood at the time expressed initial fascination with Sarah Palin, I jumped to a conclusion: Tea Party.

I got skittish.

My skittishness: it shames me now. And that fact that now it shames me, shames me. Because:

This neighbor? She posted on her facebook page a link to barackobama.com’s run-down of why the Affordable Care Act (ooooooh “Obamacare!”) is good for women. Several of her friends, one in particular, unleashed a torrent of vitriolic posts about it. It was scary. My neighbor didn’t respond to any of it. She did however, later shares a link that I posted on my facebook page, from The Daily Beast, about Paul Ryan’s extreme abortion views. More vitriolic, unhinged posts on her wall. She remained calm, didn’t really respond to it. I read all of it last night, as it happened, and I became incredibly anxious.

“Oh crap,” I thought. “I’ve turned her into somebody her facebook friends won’t like… somebody like me!”

So this morning, I posted numerous dry analyses and articles about Paul Ryan’s and Mitt Romney’s budget and tax plans, trying to give her fuel for her own facebook wall, in case she wanted to share with her vitriolic friends. I took a news quiz by Pew, about the candidates. (I scored 11/11. 🙂 ). I posted it on facebook. And within MINUTES, this neighbor shared it on her wall. I also noticed that she shared her own disagreement with another of her friends on her friend’s wall; her friend took it in stride, and my neighbor said, “I appreciate your humor. I expressed my opinion on my wall and it unleashed a firestorm.”

She was not obsessing, not taking it personally. Perhaps even finding it funny. I could learn from her!

I want to invite this neighbor out for coffee, or a beer. I want to hang out with her and get to know her better, because I’ve wasted four years thinking she was nothing like me, but she actually is at least a little bit like me.

What more does anybody need, really?

What’s to become of me in another country if I get skittish anytime anybody seems like they may not dig my views? What’s to become of me if somebody does express disagreement, and I get all bent out of shape? I’ll be so unhappy.

I need to get over this. I need to make a new friend. I don’t have much time.

And I need to stop rejoicing in the fact that she may in fact dig my views.

Because I should have just reached out anyway. She’s my neighbor. She’s nice.

What more does anybody need, really?

I have time to learn.

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