Now that Election Day is over, it's time to repair those Facebook friendships

Social media friendships suffered during the combative presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and some Facebook users unfriended those who had opposing political views.

Now that Election Day is over, are those friendships worth rekindling?

Friendship expert Dr. Irene Levine said tumultuous election cycles can permanently alter the dynamic between friends.

"It can do irreparable harm to relationships," the psychologist told the New York Post. "I think some people learned their friends' values and positions in a way that wasn't apparent before, so it can really affect the relationship going forward."

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A Monmouth University Poll attests to that. Researchers found in September that more than 2 in 3 voters believed that this year’s presidential race brought out the worst in people. Seven percent of voters admitted to losing friends as a result.

When asked about refriending certain individuals who showed obvious favor for either Clinton or Trump, Levine said it comes down to how serious the differences are and how strong the relationship was before the election season.

“It depends on how objectionable their comments were. If it were merely supporting a candidate then it’s easy to forgive, but if it’s values that are so discrepant from your own, it can be hard to reconnect, and why would you want to reconnect?” she said.

Opinions on sensitive issues, such as abortion and gun control, could cost a friendship. Levine said Facebook users should think twice before refriending people with whom they strongly disagree.

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“If it’s a person that’s into gun control and the other person is a gun advocate and the gun advocate is always talking about guns, why would you refriend the person? You should probably assess why you unfriended them to begin with and decide if there’s other things that are important,” she said.

When dealing with family relationships, George Washington University social media guru Dave Karpf said users should “tread lightly.”

“If this is your brother-in-law, then you should probably refriend him after tempers have cooled because if they don’t, Thanksgiving will probably be a little more awkward,” the political scientist and associate professor said.

Karpf agreed with Levine that, depending on the length and strength of the friendship, refriending could be either worth the fight or completely useless.

“If this is someone you met once at a party or knew in high school that you haven’t seen in 20 years, it’s OK to let that social network tie go,” he said. “But if you unfriended someone because once a month they were posting something about Clinton, the election’s over. Take a deep breath and reconnect with that person.”