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Toughest Conversation I Didn't Have


claireann
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Just got off Skype and am feeling quite down so I need to vent a little. An old good friend contacted me today wanting to catch up, she lives in the States and I live in Europe. The last time we spoke is probably 3 years ago but when we were younger and she was doing mission work here in our church we were as close as sisters, she is one of the closest friends I have ever had and when we speak it's like no time has past. We fell out of contact because she's not big into tech so she's not on Facebook and she doesn't really spend much time on email. With differing time zones and both of us having babies and kids we're busy mums so time goes by.

 

Right away we're chatting like we always have, catching up, and she is talking to me about her life as a homeschooling mom and her mission trip to Honduras, and the work the church is doing down there "helping people not just practically but spiritually". All this stuff that at one time I would have been so into. We were even going to become missionaries together at one time but it just didn't pan out. She was also explaining why she was homeschooling her two teenagers because the schools don't go deep enough and the curriculum all has an agenda and they don't read literature, they read books on bullying and gay rights. She also talked about how the science is all evolution and there can be no Christianity taught at all. Just chit chatting away like I would agree with every word and I felt awful. All the time I'm just looking at her thinking you are that homeschool middle America mum that takes their kid out of mainstream school and teaches them crazy Creationism and homophobia! But you're also my best friend sad.png

 

Her kids were in the room so I didn't feel like I could say anything and also I just couldn't bear to jump in and say, well actually I'm an atheist now and I think science ought to be teaching science and what's wrong with gay rights?! We've only just reconnected. So I said nothing and she's pretty chatty so I just let it go. Now I feel crap, we're going to chat again over the weekend and I know that I'm going to have to say something sooner rather than let it go on like this but I'm dreading the look on her face when I come clean.

 

Glad to be able to come here and let it all hang out!

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Wow, really sorry you have to deal with that situation. It sounds tough but you're right about being honest. It would be best for you to do so in my opinion. I think people should be more aware that Christians do in fact become non-Christians sometimes. Many are just unaware of this possibility aren't they? And if anything, maybe you'll plant the seed of reason and find that she has questions too?

 

Hopefully, it turns out for the better. :)

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Ugh, that's tough.  I recently had a chat with a Christian friend of mine who lives far from me, and I did tell her I am an atheist.  (I actually posted about this if you want to read about it...)  That must have been tough on Skype.  My conversation was difficult enough just being on the phone where I could hide my physical reaction to the things she said to me.

 

My friend was very surprised by the news, but I knew I had to tell her.  The only way to avoid it was to lie, and I would not want to do that to our friendship.  I was pleased at the end that we could still be friends at the end of the call.  I hope things work out for you and your friend, too.

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Thanks guys. Wow new2me, sounds like almost exactly the same situation as I'm in only you've actually had the conversation that I'm dreading. I hope mine turns out to be as positive as yours did! Well done on having the courage to say the words, I find they stick in my throat a lot of the time.

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Wow, that was aweful.  I can't imagine talking to my old buddies from when I was a fundie.

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Aw, no, it won't be easy, but if you want to stay real friends you'll have to tell her.  She's not the one that changed and assumes you are still the same believer she knew that would've done missionary trips with her, etc.  You can't talk to her once in a while and let her chat on and on about what she thinks you're agreeing with.  It would be embarrassing to her to find out much later that you had changed some time ago.  And you can't keep letting her chat while you're thinking "NO!" in your head the whole time.  That's just not being a friend.  If you want to retain the friendship, you have to tell her the truth, as gently as you can, of course.  Maybe the friendship can still work as I'm sure you have plenty of other things to talk about that don't include religion.  But honesty is still the best, or she'll ultimately end up feeling embarrassed and angry with you, and/or you'll ultimately get resentful at having to keep your mouth shut and smiling every time she says something you no longer agree with.

 

I wish you luck with the whole situation.

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     A lot of people don't just have friends like this but are stuck in families like this.

 

          mwc

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Well done on having the courage to say the words, I find they stick in my throat a lot of the time.

I pretty much had no choice.  She asked me flat out if we had found a church home.  But I knew the conversation would get to that point, and I knew I had to tell her.  It wouldn't be a real friendship if I didn't.  If she didn't accept "the new me", then there would be no point in maintaining the relationship - as sad as it would be to lose it.  I think the key in the conversation I had with her was focusing on my feelings and my journey, and not trying to tear down her beliefs.  It's a tricky balance - explaining that I don't believe something, but in a way that shows that I don't think badly of her because she does.  The other thing that I think helped the conversation is that we had something else to talk about after we beat the religion topic to death.  The transition was a little awkward at first, but we quickly slipped back into our normal rhythm.

 

I know it will be a difficult conversation to have, and I know it will be hard for your friend to hear.  Good luck - I hope it all works out for you.

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Just got off Skype and am feeling quite down so I need to vent a little. An old good friend contacted me today wanting to catch up, she lives in the States and I live in Europe. The last time we spoke is probably 3 years ago but when we were younger and she was doing mission work here in our church we were as close as sisters, she is one of the closest friends I have ever had and when we speak it's like no time has past. We fell out of contact because she's not big into tech so she's not on Facebook and she doesn't really spend much time on email. With differing time zones and both of us having babies and kids we're busy mums so time goes by.

 

Right away we're chatting like we always have, catching up, and she is talking to me about her life as a homeschooling mom and her mission trip to Honduras, and the work the church is doing down there "helping people not just practically but spiritually". All this stuff that at one time I would have been so into. We were even going to become missionaries together at one time but it just didn't pan out. She was also explaining why she was homeschooling her two teenagers because the schools don't go deep enough and the curriculum all has an agenda and they don't read literature, they read books on bullying and gay rights. She also talked about how the science is all evolution and there can be no Christianity taught at all. Just chit chatting away like I would agree with every word and I felt awful. All the time I'm just looking at her thinking you are that homeschool middle America mum that takes their kid out of mainstream school and teaches them crazy Creationism and homophobia! But you're also my best friend sad.png

 

Her kids were in the room so I didn't feel like I could say anything and also I just couldn't bear to jump in and say, well actually I'm an atheist now and I think science ought to be teaching science and what's wrong with gay rights?! We've only just reconnected. So I said nothing and she's pretty chatty so I just let it go. Now I feel crap, we're going to chat again over the weekend and I know that I'm going to have to say something sooner rather than let it go on like this but I'm dreading the look on her face when I come clean.

 

Glad to be able to come here and let it all hang out!

 

Come clean in an email if you want to avoid the look on her face.

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Yeah, pretty much sounds like most conversations with my mom lately. >>  (btw, she did pull me and my brother out of public school to homeschool for a brief period, but thankfully abandoned that dream. My brother and I are both already very shy, I'm sure several years of little to no contact with peers our age could have turned that shyness into agoraphobia or something). It's annoying, but you know you can't change their mind. 

 

I don't know what kind of person she is; remember you shouldn't feel guilty for having your own beliefs and it IS her right to believe whatever she wants (though I do think the anti-gay and anti-science agenda is stupid)-- and as an American she will probably remind you of this, never mind you're not living in the same country, lol! I always wonder what will happen when my Mom finds out; will she flip out, insist I still believe, cut me off, tell my brother and sisters they can't chat with me (which has happened in the past over other things), I don't know. It's frustrating. 

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