Does it always have to be about oil and water, rubber and glue?
December 28, 2012 8:46 AM Subscribe
We are a relatively new couple in our friends' lives, both in our 40s, socially functional and generous, but not always gracious. Not always the best and most skilled hosts. We have very different kinds of friends who are unused to each other - some are dedicated to not getting along with each others' philosophies ad beliefs - and we'd like to know how to integrate everyone in our parties in the most fair ways with the best chance of getting folks to know and like each other. We'd like our guests to be comfortable and to want to come back and visit again. There is a fly in the ointment of communal friendship (and, frankly, we're afraid that some of our friends may come to shouting matches with each other) and I'm looking for good coping mechanisms and strategies for achieving this among potentially contentious friends.
posted by kalessin to Human Relations (42 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The contentiousness is that I come to the relationship largely with Skeptics and pro-science folk as friends and she comes to the relationship largely with Alternative Medicine friends, both folks who trade on and consume those services. My sweetie and I tend to bridge that gap, being tolerant of and having positive experiences from Alternative Medicine, but at the same time being pragmatic and knowing that some empirical knowledge seems to be pretty apt and effective (and knowing and being frustrated by empiricist limits as well).
As separate people, we've become friends with or are friendly with each other's friends, but the challenge is getting our friends to get along with each other.
And while the TCM And homeopath friends are good with getting along with everyone, the Skeptics aren't. The Skeptics are capable of being in the same room with the homeopaths, but it's clear they're not enjoying themselves, that their ire is in conflict with their social graces and they're on edge and feeling incapable of themselves being entirely gracious. I suspect but do not know for sure that this inability to change is near vendetta level (for familial loss).
It would be difficult for us, but not impossible, to do as the gracious people from the movies do and do deep introductions and get folks talking about the things they enjoy and the things they have in common. It would also be difficult but not impossible for us to keep track of who we invite to what gathering and try to keep the oil and water friends separate in separate parties. It would be difficult but not impossible for us to never invite either set of incompatible friends over, to only visit them at their homes.
But our ideal would be for everyone to get along and everyone to enjoy themselves at our parties, and our Christmas Eve party seemed to establish that that wasn't going to happen on its own.
I've done some searching and reading and found some interesting suggestions, among them:
I'd like to know what strategies and social graces and other methods you've used to keep friends who are unwilling or unable to get along with each other friends of yours, especially if you enjoy entertaining and, if all other things were equal you'd like to keep your friends close and invite all of them to all of your parties.
It almost feels too obvious to say this, but I'm uninterested in strategies and methods focused on changing friends, fighting with them about their philosophies or not being their friends.