Except in certain limited cases of child rearing, incompetence, or danger to others, it is always an abusive act to interfere with the personal autonomy of another human being. We do not browbeat, threaten, cow, or manipulate our friends, family, and lovers into acting, believing, and talking as we wish; we accept that sometimes their opinions may differ from ours, and that they may have good reasons for their opinions, and that their reasons, autonomy, and intellectual integrity are as fundamental a human right as their bodily integrity.
This doesn't mean we can't argue with them, or even lose our tempers, or chose not to associate with them if they believe things we find odious and hurtful. It doesn't mean we can't set boundaries. It doesn't mean we can't point it out when we feel they're making mistakes.
It does mean that we respect their boundaries, and we don't assume we're better equipped to decide how they navigate their lives, relationships, politics, and identities than they are.
If I find myself policing my friends' behavior, perhaps the first question I should ask myself is, "What part of my own identity is so unexamined that I can't stand somebody else's choices making me question my own?"
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