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How to not discuss Religion with a friend(s)
March 19, 2010
2:57 pm
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BAREFOOTGIRL
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How do you do this and not be mean at the same time? I have a friend who knows I have serious doubts and just rather not discuss it, she however keeps bringing it up but not directly, she will usually tell me how she is helping the poor in Africa through her church or sponoring a family new to her church and how wonderful it makes her feel.

It never made me happy and to be honest I do not just cause you do good and etc that makes you good, not to say she isn't, cause she is, but I am just growing tired of hearing bout her church life.

it is a big part of who she is and she genuinely does like it, but I do not and its sad cause we are like sisters and feel so close to one another that its a shame this causes bad feeling with me.

I have told her on several occassions on how I felt, but I now feel bad to say how I feel anymore, I feel as if I am somehow invading her beliefs by saying anything to her cause I know its not on purpos and its what she believes...

I just don't...I do not get the peace or the feelings she does from it, and to be honest I strongly suspect there is alot of brainwashing going on in organized religion...so much so that it scares me to be quite honest.

She I just politely listen or change the subject or tell her I do not like her church or beliefs? I do not want to lose her, I value her as a person and as a good close friend...

Thanks for any HELP!

March 19, 2010
4:26 pm
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curious64
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If you are that close to her, I would just be honest and tell her that this is an area that you will have to agree to disagree. Let her know that you are happy she finds peace in her faith, and you appreciate her concern for you, but that it is an issue you would prefer not to discuss.

You will however, have to understand that because her faith is a large part of her life there will be times when it comes up in conversation when she is telling you about her life and what is going on.

This is a tough one, but if your friendship is really sound I think she will understand and you will be able to continue with your friendship. Good luck ((hugs))

March 19, 2010
7:02 pm
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fantas
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I agree with Curious. I think it's okay to tell her your views on religion but since this is who she is, you will have to be a little more tolerant. Has it always been this way or is she getting more conversational about it. My thing is my girlfriend who talks too much about her partner. I find that as annoying but it's also possible I have a bit of envy tucked in there as well. Have you tried telling her she talks too much about her church and you wanna about stuff that is more common with both of you?

March 19, 2010
10:41 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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The same could be true about friends who really really REALLY want to talk politics all the time. Yikes! I don't know, I usually just change the subject, or if I'm on the phone, I tell my mother that the Christmas tree is burning down and that I gotta go. *laugh* So help me, one more rant on socialized medicine and how this or that political party is running the country into the ground and I'll have to change my phone number! 🙂

March 19, 2010
11:23 pm
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Lillabit
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I think a true test of what kind of friend I am is acceptimg someone for who they are, even if their beliefs are differnet than mine. if it makes her feel good to help poeple, does it really matter which avenue she uses to do it?

March 20, 2010
9:07 am
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Ned 348
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Boy, does this one hit a cord. My soon to be ex-wife was so involved with her church I couldn't stand it anymore. She wasn't that way when I met her. She took it to the 10th degree. Being that these things cause a division among people it becomes sort of obnoxious and overbearing that people put you though that sort of trip. Everyone has a right to believe what they want but that everyone includes you and me too. I'm not going on a rant here but people that have strong beliefs and religion is included in that, want to shout it from the rooftops and think it is so good and that you're missing out on that something that is good. They don't take into acount that it really isn't good for you. In fact it may upset you. Each to his own. Don't feel bad about telling her, maybe one day she'll get it maybe not. But I think you must keep telling her as long as she persists because she is not respecting your position.

March 20, 2010
9:45 am
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atalose
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That’s a hard one because as you mentioned, religion and church and church activities are a major part of her life and who she is.

Personally I too used to get turned off from all the “church” talk, my thoughts were exactly like your’s, it appeared to me to be more like a cult and brain washing thing then it was religious. The key word there MY THOUGHTS, which were anything but healthy at the time.

I’ve had friends who’ve had activities in their lives that I had no interest in or desire to pursue, yet, it was the religious activities that used to bother me the most. WHY, that is what I needed to discover. The religion/g*d of my childhood was very punishing and unforgiving. G*d was used as a tool to manipulate me and guilt me into doing things in life and I grew to resent it all. Hearing others talk of their own religion was just one big turn off to me until I understood my own deep resentful feelings.

Maybe try and discover your own feelings regarding religion to gain an understanding of why this subject is such a hot spot for you.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

March 20, 2010
6:59 pm
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gettnthere
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Sounds like she is being sanctimonious and probably getting a kick out of 'spreading the word' like some people who feel enlightened about ANYTHING or any religion. I met a Buddhist nun who was the same. It's about saving your soul I think. And it's on the same principal as any other unsolicited advice-it's arrogant to preech a solution to someone who hasn't asked for one. And especially to continue doing so after being told politely they are wasting their breath. If you find it offensive and she is ignoring that, I would consider it toxic and very insensitive. You have an issue with her ideals being preeched to you adinfinitum. If you have an issue with her religion that is your perogative. You do not need to defend yourself. You are not on trial. Much like she is not. If you can't respectfully come to an understanding that you need to agree to disagree, then perhaps you might need to keep her at arms length, or have a break from seeing her. Friends should be respectful and supportive. Not bully you psychologically to subscribe to their beliefs. You are an intelligent person and probably very kind which is why you are giving her so much rope. She is taking advantage of this generosity.... Just my 2 cents worth!!!

March 20, 2010
7:12 pm
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gettnthere
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Just another thing I thought of; I don't know about where you live but where I do there is a law against religious abuse. I know that's not what is going on here but just to think about it ethically, it is an issue that can be used to control and damage. And that's ANY religion/belief system. Consent is the key. Sorry to rave, but I feel strongly about friends respecting your intellectual and spiritual property as you do for them. It is a two way street. Absolutely.

March 20, 2010
7:45 pm
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chelonia mydas
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It is reasonable to expect a balance in this relationship. She should be able to talk about all the activities in her life, including church but at the same time she should keep it just to that and not go on and on about her specific beleifs.

I can relate to being someone that has extreme beleifs and strong convictions because I'm a vegetarian and have been for a couple decades now. But that said, most of the people I know are omnivores. In fact I only have 3 aquantances that are vegetarian and no close vegetarian friends.

This is very similar to being a strong religious person because there are certain things that people need to respect and that need to be respected about other non-believing people. For example if it is part of a belief to fast during the day for a period of time, then the friend should support that and not keep asking them to lunch during this observance. But also the believer should understand that the friend doesn't need to fast with them and be respectful if their friend eats lunch before they go to the concert.

I have enountered situations where people feel I'm pushing my vegetarian beleifs on them because I won't eat regularly at restaurants where I can't find enough to eat. If they really want to go to Red Lobster for their birthday, I will join them and have a few side dishes for $20. But usually if I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want to have a nice meal too. Its not like I'm asking them to not eat meat, just go places where we both can enjoy the meal. Once I explain that I'm OK with them eating meat then we both understand each other better and things either get better or we decide that its better to be with people that share our same beleifs because this difference just isn't working out.

I would rather talk about this with my friends so we can try to understand each other better. If we can't agree to be different and the arrangement doesn't work, its better to at least know we tried instead of one getting resentful of the other or one just leaving out. At least with communication there is a chance to make it better. Without it continues to decay until there isn't anything left.

You don't have to share the same beleifs to be friends as long as there is tolerance, respect and communication on BOTH sides.

March 20, 2010
9:07 pm
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It No Longer Matters
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Chelonia, I would go out with you and have veggies as long as I didn't have to eat tofu yuckers!!!

There is an old saying that Southerners were the first American Vegetarians because we couldn't afford meat.

Except for a steak I could be perfectly happy just eating veggies ( especially the Summer when everything is fresh) but some dairy and meat slips in to my veggies and I don't know enough about it to get a balanced diet.

See? That is how you compromise between belief systems.

Bitsy

March 22, 2010
9:28 am
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BAREFOOTGIRL
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Thank you very much for your posts everyone! I just finishe reading them and I agree with you all have said...I guess its just doing it and learning to keep an balance that is most critical. Politics always comes up and that is another area I will not discuss cause we both differ greatly in that area and its imo best to avoid that anyhow, only causes divisions...thanks again!

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