Having an Atheist in the Friends circle


#1

Hey everyone. I have a question that has been eating me up for sometime now and I figured since I am on this forum I would ask for some advice and see my options.

In my main circle of friends I have an Atheist female friend. we dated for a few months several years back, but when we ended it, she wanted to remain friends. So I agreed. As time went by our circle changed. My best friend, moved to LA to find work in film. Of course he is still my best friend. my other best friend is near me in a neighboring town, and the friend that is Atheist is a little further away. Well the thing I think that split us apart was the fact that I was a Catholic, even though at the time I rarely if at all attended Church. Now even though she is a nice person me and her are pretty black and white when it comes to a lot of things. she smokes pot I don't, she is pro choice, i'm not, and she voted for Obama (sorry I had to add that in). Any way my friend in the neighboring town and her have apparently this rekindling friendship, nothing romantic, even though she is very attractive. They apparently get along really well according to him.

But we never hang out together me and her, it's always with my other best friend. Thing is I don't know if he really knows how opposites we are. She's a smart girl but didn't go to college and didn't better herself. Now I have this struggle in me that doesn't want anything to do with her, but I also want to stand by my faith and except people. But it's really hard to be around her because we don't talk. If we were at a coffee shop we would probably just sit and sip coffee and not say anything to each other I try to start conversations but she's really introverted and secretive and I don't think that has really changed.

So what should I do. If you need me to elaborate more just ask, this is a big subject for me because I had to be in the circle with her for more than two years.


#2

I have several athiest/agnostic/nontheist/I-don't-care-about-religion friends. I love them to death, pray for them, and we either make it a point not to talk about religion or we keep it civil. It's really simple, actually. I don't pick and choose my friends based on their religious status. (Not saying you do either)

If you can't talk about religion, then talk about something else. If she/he brings it up, politely talk about it, don't preach and be a jerk.


#3

Hi,
Just because you are different and do not see eye to eye, does not mean that you cannot be friends or a least be civil. Can you just not muck it up and talk about neutral subjects when you hang out with her?

If she is a 'nice person' like you say, than what is the problem? There seems to be no direct conflict or issues here... ?? Just the fact that you are a little uncomfortable around her.


#4

Obviously I don't know all the details, so this could be inaccurate.. But it sounds to me like you two are simply growing apart. I wouldn't sweat it if I were you, it happens. If being around each other doesn't bring you happiness anymore then maybe it's best to peacefully grow apart and develop some new friends.


#5

[quote="ndeparis88, post:1, topic:240563"]
But we never hang out together me and her, it's always with my other best friend. Thing is I don't know if he really knows how opposites we are. She's a smart girl but didn't go to college and didn't better herself. Now I have this struggle in me that doesn't want anything to do with her, but I also want to stand by my faith and except people. But it's really hard to be around her because we don't talk. If we were at a coffee shop we would probably just sit and sip coffee and not say anything to each other I try to start conversations but she's really introverted and secretive and I don't think that has really changed.

[/quote]

Sounds to me like the two of you already aren't friends.

No where is it written that simply because I'm friends with Sue and Sue is friends with Stanley that I have to be friends with Stanley as well. That has nothing to do with accepting people, it's simply picking and choosing your friends. As long as you don't repudiate this girl or talk trash about her behind her back, I don't see how you'd not be accepting of her. Just be pleasant and polite when you're in her company and leave it at that.

I feel compelled to check you on one thing: Attending college does not necessarily mean that one has bettered oneself. And the converse also is true. One of the wisest, smartest, most honorable and well-read people I've ever known was my grandfather, whose formal education stopped in the 3rd grade. He improved himself entirely under his own steam with the help of the public libraries, and continued to better himself until he died at age 75. He was a much better person that I'll ever hope to be, and I've got 10 years of college and a two post-grad degrees under my belt.


#6

When we are young we think friendships last forever, or that we are obligated to be friends with someone just because we once were.

People grow and change. Some friendships are forever, others are just for a time.

You’ve changed, grown apart. There is nothing wrong with letting this friendship die.


#7

Sadly enough, drifting apart is something that happens a bunch of times. Sure, we'd like to think our friends will be there our whole life, especially if we're talking about someone who's really important...but sometimes we just have to accept what's in front of us.

I don't think it has so much to do about her being an atheist...perhaps it does! I cant know. I was an atheist for 7 years, and, simple as this: I lost 90% of my friends when I came back to the Catholic Church (funny thing is...they're ALL Catholics!! Well, and one Anglican. But none of them are really practicing, so yeah). I struggle with accepting it most of the time. At first I was struggling with accepting THEM and thought I was wrong for not being "able to accept them"...but soon I realized what I needed to accept is that we're all growing up and changing with time....and, sadly, in some cases that has meant that close friendships with some of this people have had to be left behind.

In the end, only you can know what this means. It's your heart that'll tell you whether you need to accept this friend, or if you need to accept the friendship is no longer there. Don't pray for strength to accept her, pray for clarity and for the courage to follow what your heart tells you.

The best of luck! You're in my prayers.


#8

Yeah I agree, I do accept her as a person and her being an Atheist doesn’t bother me. I still want to talk to her about other things. I mean I think that she was really intimidated by my faith, but she doesn’t berate me because I am Catholic. I think the main problem comes in us talking in general. She really doesn’t communicate with me. I’m never preachy around her because it’s not my job to convert. I think people just don’t see us in the right light, like they think we are ok or getting to be better friends. But the reason that’s not true is that we never hang out together. I have tried on multiple occasions to have her hang out but she never showed up and she doesn’t initiate anything with me. It’s just that I don’t think my other friend sees this, I just don’t think he knows that even if I talk to her about it it won’t change anything, because I tried. I mean it’s not like I don’t care about her, but if I do I don;t think she will respond back.


#9

I just would like to have something to say to her, but I don’t know what it is. More so I’m not trying to be friends with her for me as much as I am trying to be friends with her for my other friend. If that makes any sense.


#10

I think you have just identified the problem…

“I am not trying to be friends with her for me, but more so for my friend”

Maybe instead of beating yourself up for not knowing how to communicate with her, you would be better off telling your friend that your relationship with her isn’t possible, but you still want to be friends with him.

Just my two cents worth. Good luck, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

:twocents:


#11

I wasn’t clear I should have put in an apostrophe. I didn’t mean it like that, but she didn’t go to college in part because she didn’t want the responsibility yet. also she isn’t like your grandfather. He still bettered himself, she is doing no such thing. It’s like she doesn’t like the idea of it because she would have to work harder, and be tied down. She would rather smoke pot.


#12

I'm sorry about my harshness in my last post. this just goes to show how much my hearts spinning in a spiral because of this.


#13

Is it possible you are jealous that someone you can no longer be friends with is capable of being friends with your other guy friend?

If you feel that she does not respond to your efforts to spend time alone with her, they just don’t initiate anything. There is no rule that says you have to avoid her all together. You can be polite when your guy friend asks both of you to do something and leave it at that.

However, I can’t help but think perhaps you want her to stop smoking pot so that YOU won’t be left out. If your friend can accept her pot smoking and her atheist beliefs and the fact she is ‘not bettering herself’ that is his choice. Are you scared he will become like her and forget you? As much as I can sympathize because I would feel left out as well… it doesn’t change the fact they both have the right to their opinions and perhaps it is time to try to make other friends. I know it is easier said than done

CM


#14

No It’s not jealousy. It’s just I know how far we drifted, I’m not saying I can’t accept her and what she does. But the fact that I don’t do those things, puts me outside with her. I’m not afraid my buddy will become like her because he actually talks about things. I don’t feel left out and now I decided that the course of action is to not initiate anything, which I already have covered. If we do get into a situation where we are around each other, then I have no problems being polite because I am that way any way. my buddy doesn’t smoke pot so I don’t feel left out at all. The thing is is that with my volunteer work , the job i’m at and since I’m going back to school I’m meeting people and getting involved in things so I don’t really have a lot of time to spend with my buddy. We have been through a lot and I have stuck by him, but loyalty as a friend is to him. I tried it with her and it really did fail. We just don’t click and sure the way she is and what she does plays a part in how we don’t clique well. I don’t hold it against her, but I think that others around us don’t really see that, and they think we can still be a close circle.


#15

Are we missing the glaringly obvious? :confused:

Jesus was friends with prostitutes, tax collectors and other assorted groups of disrespected people. Surely you can find it in your heart to befriend an atheist.


#16

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:15, topic:240563"]
Are we missing the glaringly obvious? :confused:

Jesus was friends with prostitutes, tax collectors and other assorted groups of disrespected people. Surely you can find it in your heart to befriend an atheist.

[/quote]

The hard part isn't the ability for me to be friends as much as it is that every time I have tried, our closeness never grew it just got more and more father apart. I think about that fact often and I know that I can be, but when I then put the ball in her court there isn't anything there.


#17

I don’t think her being an atheist has much to do with this. You two are just growing apart–you are working & looking toward your future, she is hanging out & smoking pot. If you still want to be friends with the 3rd person, just find times when you 2 can go do something without her. Look around and find new friends in your town, church, workplace. We don’t need to remain close friends with everyone we’ve ever known–whether you dated her in the past or whether she’s friends with another friend of yours.


#18

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:17, topic:240563"]
I don't think her being an atheist has much to do with this. You two are just growing apart--you are working & looking toward your future, she is hanging out & smoking pot. If you still want to be friends with the 3rd person, just find times when you 2 can go do something without her. Look around and find new friends in your town, church, workplace. We don't need to remain close friends with everyone we've ever known--whether you dated her in the past or whether she's friends with another friend of yours.

[/quote]

Thank Mrs Sally. I started reaching out and trying to befriend fellow Christians. I joined the youth ministry at my Parish, and since I am a Knight of Columbus I meet fellow brothers in Christ. It's a good start for me, and I also tailored or am at least trying to the people I decide to hang out with. My two best friends are still important to me, but since one is in LA I'm down my best man.


#19

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