Virginia Tech hosts Frenemies Day following Election Night

Published: Nov. 9, 2016 at 7:21 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

With an election between two polarizing candidates, people across the country went from having friends to frenemies. But with the election over, it can be time to heal and talk things out.

It was the idea of a professor at Virginia Tech who thought the day after the election would be a good time to offer a safe space for people, not just students, to come out and talk with their friends.

A frenemy is a term created to describe a person you don't agree with, but you can't cut them out of your life completely.

Todd Schenk, an Assistant Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, explained, "There are a lot of issues where we, kind of, have to get along. We don't have a choice always of who we work with or who you live next door to. So if we can't avoid everybody, then maybe we can find some strategies for having conversations that are more civil in nature."

Wednesday dozens of people took the opportunity to talk things through with their friends and family that they don't agree with.

Virginia Tech Senior Diego Anleu said, "Me and a couple friends, we've become really good friends within a month, month and a half. But within that time period, we also realized that our ideologies or just the way that we think is very different."

Fellow Senior Samantha Scott said of her visit, "I know there's some things that my dad and I disagree on so I thought who better to bring in and talk about it than him."

Scott admits she's very opinionated, so she usually can't find a safe way to talk over topics.

"I refuse to talk about almost anything with my friends and most of my family too because I didn't want their views because I have very strong opinions," she said.

But the issues don't have to be over the election.

Some of the people admit they agree completely with their frenemies in politics. It's other issues they're disputing over.

Virginia Tech Senior Jessica Doherty explained, "We weren't on the same page with GMOs. Hearing out why she viewed them that way, I think it helped me understand a little bit more about the subject."

And that's exactly the point, Schenk said. Having a civil talk to get both sides out, without the animosity.

"We don't expect people to radically shift their opinion," he said. "But at least if they can have a conversation with each other, if they can humanize each other, it's a good start."

Schenk said this kind of talking can be done anywhere, he just figured Wednesday made for a good day to get people out.

But there are tips and advice on

to lead people through these kinds of talks.