Hi Rene:

I have a good friend, well we used to be good friends, until she found God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for her; having grown up in a Christian home I know how important religion is to some people. But Martha’s recent “enlightenment”, has led to her estrangement from many of the people in her life.

Martha and I used to talk several times a week, now she won’t return my calls and when we do get together, she only talks about things that support and align with her worldview.

I’m happy for her but how can I make her see that not everyone believes as she does? And why does it seem people who find God get a little crazy?

Frustrated Friend

Dear FF:
Wow, well, I think the best way to handle this is to first dial it back a bit. I get it though, you’re hurt, confused maybe put off by Martha’s behavior. But painting her and all Christians as “a little crazy” is wrong and a tad bit ugly. Here’s what I would do if I were you.

GIVE HER TIME: Remember when you got that new car? Remember how good it smelled and how jazzed you were to drive it, even just down the street? You wouldn’t let anyone come near it with that cup of hot chocolate. It was bright and shiny and new, just like Martha’s religion. It doesn’t mean she’ll lose it or her excitement about it, as much as, it will level off  at some point and she’ll probably figure out a way to incorporate it into her former life.

BE UNDERSTANDING: I may make some enemies with this but one of the things that has always been troubling to me is the number of religious people who are frankly, intolerant of others (remember THIS dust-up?). I have friends like Martha, who I have known for years who won’t bother to visit my website or my Facebook page because the things I talk about and believe are so divergent from their own.  The chance for real learning, understanding and change (on both sides) is lost before it even starts as my friends (or Martha) shut it down, like the woman in the abstinence piece. Work hard at being open-minded and understanding; she may reciprocate.

ACCEPT THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP HAS CHANGED: Even if things level out, you’ll have to accept the fact that your relationship with Martha may never be the same again. That doesn’t mean it won’t be GOOD, just different.  The things you used to see eye-to-eye on you might not be now so figure out a way to deal with that.

You’re never going to “make her” see that the world the way you do so let me give you one more piece of advice. Stay away from contentious, potentially incendiary topics. I think you can learn, share and grow in this new phase of your relationship without putting things like politics and religion front and center.

Good luck to you!

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