Dear Amy: “Caroline” has been a dear friend since we were teens 35 years ago. We both came from very religious, conservative families, and have always shared the same beliefs — until now.
Over the last five years, my way of life has changed a lot. For many reasons, I no longer attend church or believe in her religion. I defend equality rights that she views as sinful, and I even cuss and have a beer on occasion. It has been a long and liberating journey for me.
I have not explicitly told Caroline that I’ve changed. I only see her once a year. I realize that I am not what she thinks I am.
Perhaps I’m being a coward, but I just don’t want to discuss this with her. I know she will be disappointed, judgmental, and try to evangelize to me. She is smart and very good at debating, and has a quick answer for everything. Sadly, I stink at that, even when I feel very strongly that I’m right.
She is going to visit me in a few months. Is it necessary to have a conversation with her? If so, do you have any advice on how to have this conversation?
— Losing My Religion
Dear Losing: One of the many benefits of adulthood is that adults get to change.
Another benefit is that you don’t have to discuss anything you don’t want to discuss. It is not “necessary” to have any particular conversation.
Keep in mind that your old friend has the same benefits (toward change or stasis) that you possess. And, like you, she might have areas of her life that she would prefer to keep off-limits.
If you two spend time together and you find that you want to discuss the change in your faith-status, you should keep it simple. The more detail you overlay onto your point, the more points “Caroline” will find to debate.
Her disappointment regarding your life-change is her burden to bear. You should not assume responsibility for her reactions.
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If she feels the need to evangelize to you, ask her to stop, and say, “I’m completely at peace with my point of view, so this really isn’t up for discussion,” and change the subject.
There is nothing wrong with engaging in a hearty debate, by the way, if both sides are permitted to express themselves and each of you listen and respond respectfully.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle