The Atlantic

What a Liberal and a Conservative Learned From Their Friendship

“I think it’s important that you remember who your friend is, that they are not just a set of political policies.”
Source: Wenjia Tang

Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.

This week she talks with two friends who didn’t like each other when they first met as kids, and who grew up to hold very different political values. One is a Democrat, the other is a conservative who no longer considers herself part of the Republican Party since the election of Donald Trump, and both consider themselves feminists, though that wasn’t always the case. They talk about overcoming first impressions, going into business together, how they’ve shaped each other’s worldviews, and their advice for navigating friendships across the political aisle.

The Friends:

Annie Newman, 25, a campaign staffer who lives in Missoula, Montana
Lindsey Weiss, 25, an M.B.A. student at Dartmouth College who lives in Hanover, New Hampshire

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Julie Beck: What drew you to each other when you met? How did you become friends?

Lindsey Weiss: We met when I was 11 and we did not like each other!

Lindsey and I are both Jewish and grew up in north Texas. I remember Lindsey joined my temple [when she moved to town], and I walked into Yom Kippur breakfast and saw her. Lindsey was a “cool girl,” and I was super not. I saw her at the breakfast and was immediately judgmental, as an 11-year-old girl, and I was like, And we didn’t really become friends for

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