Does anyone here have trouble with friends?

Well the thing is, recently I’ve come out of my shell of shyness that has been preventing me from making any real friends and all around being a likable person for the past few years (I’m 19 BTW) and while I haven’t made any close friends yet, I’m scared that if I do I may lose them for various reasons which are:

a) my viewpoints on life and religion. I admit I’m not really devout as I don’t pray that much anymore but I still believe deeply in God and the intercessory power of Mary, I still study my faith, beleive all the dogmas of the Church, am absolutely utterly pro-life and against homosexual ‘unions’ etc… and because of this I’m scared that people are going to judge me badly. I’m somebody who does not discuss his religions of beliefs unless another party initiates such a conversation and even then I try to discuss the topic instead of going into some dumb debate which leads nowhere.

So for example, I’m scared that if I were to declare myself pro-life and against homosexual civil unions, the friends I’d have made would rile up against me because they are of differing belief or at least would look at me with contempt. Do you guys think that maybe I should avoid people like that and meet up with more devout and outgoing people or those who have the same beliefs like me?

I’m also scared that maybe people are going to hate me for trying to be a gentleman. I don’t want to sound all self righteous but I do want to be a kind of gentleman to everyone around me, being casually nice and caring and I’m scared that people, especially girls, will not reciprocate my intentions and would just glare at me or something. I know full well that good women aren’t weak emotionally and that they shouldn’t be regarded as some sort of supernatural creature but as human beings but at the same time, I can’t help but think that both men and women treat each other differently based on gender on things like modesty and manners.

What advice can you guys give me? Thanks!

Remember, if you are going to become friends with someone you want them to be friends with YOU, not somebody you are pretending to be. So if anyone judges you or dislikes you for your beliefs, they aren’t going to be a close friend.

I promise you though there are billions of people in the world who would love a friend like you though and share those beliefs.

Yes, it is hard to make friends. They say that if you can can’t all your friend on one hand you are lucky ie very few people have friends and most just have acquaintances or people they spend a lot of time with. I am introverted so a lot of people just did not understand my need for time to myself and I am sure that has made a lot of people not approach me.

As for being pro-life and against gay union. First off, there are certain situations to not discuss politics and religion. If someone invites you to a supper party, I don’t know why you would have to express your opinion. Why not talk about the whether or places you would like to travel to etc. If the topic comes up say ‘I think this could get heated can we talk about something else’.

Believe it or not, a friend worth having is someone where you can both respect each other’s opinion. There is this one lady I really like. She has a good friend that is a male homosexual. She is VERY angry at how the Catholic church calls it a sin. I explained to her that the temptation is not a sin but the action is and the reason the Catholic church is against it is because it is a form of self-destruction and no child of God deserve to be self harmed. She still disagrees with me but admires my devotion. I disagree with her but keep being her friend for her good qualities.

As for women being offended because you want to be a gentleman, I have no idea what you are getting at. If you offer to open a door for her and she gets offended, a gentleman would not insist. You don’t have to ask her out (after all, why would you want a woman who can not appreciate your kind acts). If she blows her lid at you for trying to open a door for her, keep being a gentleman and say ‘I never meant to offend you’ and walk in front of her and let go of the door.

Angie

A lot of young people your age are pro-gay and pro-choice, it’s true. So make friends with people in the pro-life group on campus! If there isn’t a pro-life group, start one! Sure, you’ll rattle some cages but you’ll also make friends who have similar morals.

If there are any groups at your church, join them too.

You don’t have to make friends only with people who agree with you. You can be friends based on other shared interests. So, for example, if you have a hobby such as fishing, you can have a fishing buddy and not really discuss things like gay marriage. It’s OK to have friends who are somewhat less than BFFs. And in fact you will find as you get older, that in many areas of your life, you will have to keep your beliefs a bit in your pocket, such as at work. There are places that are safe, and proper, and then there are places where stating your beliefs would be out of place and disruptive.

As for being a gentleman, do it with the best of intentions, and all will be well. If you are mannerly, women will appreciate it, trust me.

My advice: avoid religion and political subjects that the Church has a stated position on. If it’s brought up, ask to change the subject, or just ignore it until the subject changes. Certainly, don’t lie about your beliefs and principles.

If people try to bait you into talking about them, as they will (even friends in my experience), don’t take the bait. If they are insulting, ask politely and calmly that they not insult your beliefs and can we please change the subject. If they persist ask, calmly, “if you know it insults me why do you do that?” Let them know it insults you.

At least women who are worthy of your attention will appreciate it…yes, it’s ok to have high standards! :wink:

If you really don’t want this type of discussion then say something like "Oh you know what they say about Religion and Politics!LOL!HA HA!! How 'bout them 'Hawks! (just gave away my geographical location!! LOL!!) and they will hopefully get the hint. If they don’t, it just gives you further insight into their personality and possibly their agenda for your friendship…

To begin with, if someone is truely your friend, then they will accept you for who you are, not because you are pro-life or you are averse to homosexuality.
However there is an unwritten tradition amongst Naval Officers in the USN: There are three topics that are never discussed amongst Officers in the Wardroom (Officers Lounge)aboard ship: Politics, Religion, and Women (especially by name).
If you follow that rule, you will always be acceptable in polite society.
Lastly, if a so-called friend prooves not to be a friend and irks you, stop and think of how necessary he/she is in your life. When, if ever have the bought you so much as a cup of coffee or a coke? Do they have any effect on you earning a living? If not, let them go. Ignore them. If they really value your friendship they will seek you out. Otherwise go on with your life!

I don’t have any friends, because I am catholic. I’m telling you the truth. The friends I did have hate catholics.

Hopefully you will find new friends, or make friends with the people in your church.

Hi,

I raised three boys. We moved eighty miles or so away from the neighborhood and school that they knew and they, especially my oldest, were very fearful of being the new kid at school. I will tell you what I told them in case it will help.

I advised them to never ever “try” to make friends. “Be interesting and people will get interested” was the motto. It’s great that you have now come out of your shell. That is a terrific start. Begin by developing your skills and/or interests. Are you interested in skiing? In the winter it was too cold for the beach so up the mountain we went and we bought our boys skiing lessons (along with ski clothes boots gloves etc). It was a bit expensive but it gave them confidence. Maybe you would be interested in some water sports. I know a guy who learned sailing and eventually joined a team to compete in sailing races. I don’t know if they won many races but that was okay because he was interesting and never worried about making friends. If you aren’t yet good at something you like, take lessons. No one is the best at something right away. You are only 19. What a wonderful age to begin.

I’m giving one of my sons and his wife kayak lessons for their b/day. Maybe you’d like that. I always wanted to kayak but never got around to it so I’ll have fun watching them. If you are wondering why all the water stuff, I grew up at the beach. And don’t worry about the ladies. They will notice. This has worked for all three of my boys so I thought that I’d share.

However, I’m not one of those who would advise you to keep your pro-life and Catholic opinions to yourself. Did you ever think about joining a walk for life or volunteering in some other capacity? When you become this confident accomplished fella you can lead others in your direction. When we joined a group who prayed at abortion clinics there was a young man there whom everyone admired. Most young men don’t do that sort of thing. Several women were disappointed to learn that he was married because they wanted to introduce him to their daughters.

This sort of thing backfired a bit on me. One of my boys got into a band that played in different venues around here. I asked him why oh why he had to get into THAT band. (I hated the so called music that he played) his reply, wait for it…. Mom, I’m being interesting. 

Annie

I don’t think good types of people will dislike you for being a gentleman. I am an 18 year old girl, and I WISH more guys had better manners/were more gentleman-like.

I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. About a month or two ago, I was talking to a (very liberal and atheist) friend of mine, and the topic of abortion came up - I told him that this wasn’t even a religious debate, that even non-believers should be able to see how abortions are murder.

It soon devolved into a discussion where I tried correcting his gross misunderstandings, such as “The Catholic Church has always been the shackles on progress and society!” and “The Catholic Church is against freedom! A woman should be able to decide if she wants to get an abortion!” :rolleyes:

Eventually, we agreed to disagree and we’re still friends, so everything is A-OK.

Think of this as a way of discerning true friends from fair-weather friends; your real friends will accept you regardless of your beliefs.

Thanks everyone for your replies:).

I have a number of friends who are very liberal. It’s becoming a problem because they post very anti-Catholic, anti-Republican, anti-Christian things on facebook pretty much daily. They have some pretty ugly things to say about pro-lifers and conservatives. I just stay off their page. But you can bet they’re right on top of anything I post. And one of them in particular has been all over my kids’ pages, too, ‘correcting’ them on their posts. Yet she got angry at my oldest for replying to her posts in kind. :shrug:

It has strained the friendships, to say the least.

Join groups for things you love.

Hi! Coming from a fellow recovering introvert (I’m just shy), I know what you mean. Here’s the thing: I’m 18, and an incoming freshman at a local university, and a former homeschooler. Here is the tips I’ve been given going into this year of changes:

  1. Don’t change to please people and gain “friends.” Is it worth it to hide/muffle your Catholic beliefs to gain the “friendship” of people that you are worried will leave you if you let your true beliefs slip?

  2. Your closest friend needs to be Christ. This means spending time getting to know and love Him so you can serve Him on earth and ultimately be happy with Him in Heaven. So, take fifteen minutes out of your day to sit down and talk and LISTEN to Him.

  3. Your 19, so it’s the perfect age to meet people you can form life long friendships with. Have you checked with your archdiocese to see what things they have for young adults? Theology on Tap (you don’t have to drink :p), or even just classes to go to build up your faith. Check out morning Mass and make a point to introduce yourself to peers. Check out your local college Catholic campus center - you don’t have to be a traditional student to hit some of their events.

On a side note - please don’t stop being a polite and considerate gentlemen. There really isn’t enough guys like that in the world, and, as you can see, us girls really do appreciate it.

God’s got plans for you - people He’ll put in your life who will draw you closer to Him. Trust Him with everything, He’s pretty good at lining things up :smiley:

God bless!

Chloe M.

My impression is that younger women do not find it off-putting to have a fellow open a door for them or pull a chair out for them. You will not, however, find them waiting at the door for you to open it. If you are going to extend little courtesies to the able-bodied, including able-bodied women and your able-bodied elders, you have to beat them to it. It feels a little silly in these times for someone who routinely opens her own doors to wait around for someone else to do it for her, after all. It feels like you’re waiting for a cab when you have a car in the parking lot. You also do not want to put someone on the spot to open a door when you can’t assume he’ll be inclined to do it…you’d both wind up looking foolish.

You do have to be ready for them to open doors for you, too. Still, if you are in pants and they are in a skirt or especially if you are in flats and they are in heels, you have room to insist that it is easier for you and they ought to allow you to do it, just as you have to be ready for them to open the door for you when you are carrying something and they are not (the person not carrying a load ought to open the door for the one who is) and so on. If they are your age and attired in a manner that is just as athletic as you are, then you may have to graciously allow them to open a door for you once in awhile. A woman who waits for others to open doors for her in our times is left kind of feeling as if she expects others to wait on her, which does not feel like an attractive expectation.

You should be kind and polite to peers who do not have a value system you admire, but there is usually an obvious limit to how much you’re going to be their confidante, or vice versa. There are some out there who will help you figure out how to make your own decisions based on your own lights, without interjecting theirs or taking offense that you do not value their advice enough to always take it, but that is a rare gem in a friend. Luckily, however, you do not have to have stacks of close friends. If you limit the events you go to and what you are willing to do and say such that you aren’t compromising yourself, I think you’ll find your social circle will limit itself without you having to kick anyone out of it bodily.

It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, we all have to remember that “friends” who will reject you because of your religious and political beliefs are not true friends anyway, as some here have pointed out. I myself have problems with this sometimes, not necessarily on these topics, but yes sometimes I’ll shy away from saying things that perhaps need to be said (in context of a conversation, for example, where the subject comes up and my silence is obviously being taken for consent to ideas I don’t condone) to avoid offending someone, so I realize how difficult it can be to be openly honest when you think people whom you like will reject you.

I, however, have found that most of the people I would genuinely want for company are not the sort of people who are going to loathe me for having a differing opinion from theirs. People who are that easily angered tend to come across as bitter, bossy, and quite temperamental, and that’s just not my cup of tea for forming friendships beyond an acquaintance. :shrug:

As for being a gentleman, I personally have never met anyone, male or female, who was visibly offended by an attempt to be gentlemanly, to hold a door open, etc. The most of a “rejection” I’ve ever gotten was a cordial “That’s okay, I’ve got it.” But then, I live in the South, so maybe it’s a culture thing here to be more tolerant of some of those “old fashioned” etiquettes even if you yourself don’t hold them? I don’t know about that.

But I will say that if anyone were to be offended by your being a gentleman, you probably need the friendship of that person even less than someone who is offended by your religious or political beliefs. Anyone who can find having a door opened for her to be controversial and offensive, in my opinion, is just looking for reasons to be offended, and I personally would feel like I was walking on several layers of eggshells around her all day if she was that easily offended even when I was specifically trying to be nice. Not exactly what you want in a relationship, be it friendship or otherwise.

I wouldn’t say that you have to limit your friendships, by the way, to only people who are devoutly practicing Catholics, but you’ll probably need to get a feel for whether any given potential friend is at least friendly toward Catholicism. Catholic or no, a potential friend, at least a close one, should be someone around whom you can feel fairly comfortable talking about things that are most important to you, without feeling that he or she will jump down your throat. I’m not saying you should expect an atheist or pagan to sit idly by even as you actively bash their beliefs, but you should be able to talk freely about what your beliefs mean to you, how they affect and order your life and decisions, ethically, politically, etc. At the very least, you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide these things; even if they wouldn’t be regular topics of conversation with friends who disagree, a good friend should be someone who knows where you stand on important issues, even if only from having been told once or twice to establish an understanding, and yet doesn’t reject you for that.

So in the end, it’s all a matter of perspective. You just have to ask yourself if the sorts of people who are going to reject you over these things are really the sorts of people you need in your close circles anyway. In my opinion, if anyone would reject you for being a devout Catholic and/or a gentleman, it’s their loss, not yours.

Blessings in Christ,
KindredSoul

People will either like you for who you are or not. It’s not something you can control.

To be honest, I think you should tell them off and stop being friends with them. I know I’m Christian but I would never try to force my beliefs on a child or a teenager because I’d want them (not that I have a right to) to find out things for themselves and not be forced through humiliation and guilt to accept something as good. If I had a friend like that, I’d meet them up in private and tell them just that and how I’m am frankly ticked off at how they’re not even attempting to enter discussion but are just spouting off random stuff just to annoy me. Even if you can bear an opinionated friend, having them force their beliefs upon your children is sick and wrong.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.