INDIANAPOLIS — Like most things in 2021, getting a COVID vaccination has become a polarizing issue.
There are those that are for it, and there are those that are against it.
But now, it appears to be a topic Americans are prepared to lose friends over.
According to a recent survey by Onepoll that looked at why people ended friendships within the past year, about fourteen percent of respondents (that identified as vaccinated) said they parted ways with friends who didn’t want to get vaccinated. The overwhelming majority of those respondents said they considered their now former friends to be “anti-vaxxers” who could never be convinced of the importance of the vaccine.
While vaccine status wasn’t the only reason people listed as reasons for dumping friends, other notables include: having different political views (16%), dating or sleeping with an ex (15%), making up rumors about them (12%) and being liars (7%).
Danielle Henderson, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry for IU Health, told CBS4 in some ways the survey results aren’t all that surprising:
“We often develop friendships with people because of our shared values and enjoyment of that person‘s company, and I think the pandemic and everything that has come along with it has highlighted how our values or certain beliefs that we hold might be different from our friends. So, the tension around those differences and may be decreased enjoyment with being around someone may have led some people to decide it’s best we take a pause or end this friendship.”
While some question if cutting friends out of your life over something like vaccination status is a healthy response, Henderson says that’s completely up to you.
“If you come to that decision of do I need to cut this person out of my life or take some time away from this person, or be really careful with how much time I spend with this person and in the way in which we spend time with each other, I think that it’s perfectly ok.”
Henderson also points out that the breaks in relationships don’t have to be forever.
She adds it’s important to give yourself time to process to happen and space for yourself, or your “former friend” to potentially change.
Henderson emphasizes that relationships between people are not “black and white,” so how you manage things is completely up to you.,