Long time friends, life changes, appropriate distance


So, I am 29 and have had the same group of friends for thirteen years or so; I met them in high school. I moved around when I was younger and then attended a Catholic middle school for three years in the same town as my HS but didn’t make good friends with anyone. I am still in school and have a year and a half left… I even moved back home.
I love my friends to death… we hung out every day for years and still see each other often although some of us have moved to different cities. My friends are more like brothers to me… and I mean that seriously. We have been through a lot together and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world.
The problem that I am facing is that hanging out always involves drinking (most of the time). We were a pretty wild bunch back in the day. I don’t drink at home and don’t go out myself for alcohol. I will have a beer or some wine at a family get together but I don’t like to drink alone and just don’t do it… if it weren’t for family or friends I would probably drink very very rarely. However, when I hang out with my friends we all usually drink too much… we love to have a blast and usually do.
BTW, none of my friends are Catholic… that is just the way it worked out for me in life. None of them are religious either… some have asked me questions about my faith and I have given them advice and have shared my position and we have a mutual respect.
The question is this: I feel that I am being called to be a better man and hope to have a family some day… how do I go about managing these friendships? I would really like a response from someone that has had the same experience… I can think of the “just stop hanging out with them” response myself and am praying about it. Men, what did your wife think when she met your friends?


I went through a similar period several years ago. If you're not comfortable with, or not into the drinking anymore, why still do it? If these guys are really your friends, it won't make a difference and you should be able to enjoy their company sober just as much as you do while drinking. If they don't like the idea of you trying to settle down or make something better of yourself, then they're not very true friends.


Tell you my experience: My wife, though Catholic, was out of the church since a new priest kicked her out, being she 10 years old and a smart girl, from being a catechist teacher for the youngsters.

She did University and had all the prejudices of the intelectuals. But she loved me and I insisted with her to go to the mass every week. I would let her choose which mass to go.She wanted always to go fo Fatima, 25 km away so for 10 years we went there at the time she wanted.

So she got into it and now, though we have different religious viewpoints, she is a practicing Catholic.

If your friends are good persons, take one of them. through love you can change. Look at Bill Gates a completely agnostic person. It was his wife who changed him and now he is one of the persons I admire most in the word for the work, the intelligent work he is doing for the poor.

And sometimes,in the church, you find people who are there for the wrong reasons!


Catholicism isn’t Mahometanism: it’s not a tee-total religion. There’s nothing wrong with drinking, only with getting, as they call it “sh-faced drunk” constantly, drunk to the point that you lose control of your faculties, or that you become an addict to the alcohol and can not do without it.


I don’t think you need to stop hanging out with your friends completely, but I do think that if you want to attract a good woman as your wife you should try surrounding yourself more frequently with people who act like adults.

I’m the same age as you, and some of my fiance’s friends are like this- can’t get together without drinking too much and acting stupid. It’s really unattractive, and I rarely go out with them because of it. He goes out with them occasionally, but doesn’t drink much and stays mature. They still invite him out, but I think they do see him as somewhat “boring”.

They’re just not at a point in their lives where it’s important to them to be mature. Maybe as we all get older, this will change, but for right now they’re just a bunch of obnoxious fools to me. I don’t think it will hinder your own dating life unless you drag a girlfriend along with you all the time. There’s no reason to cut them out of your life (presumably, they’re all good people with some growing up to do), but try to be sensitive to anyone you’re dating by being mindful of how you behave yourself, and if they make her uncomfortable try to arrange outings at places outside of bars, so they can still get to know her.


Dear pmankow, Thank you for sharing your story about your friends. It is not an easy circumstance. Please be assured of my prayers!

I am assuming from your post that you beleive this is basically a good group of men and that you would like a way to maintain contact. Is that correct? Because of that I am not going to encourage you to cut them out of your life because it doesn't seem like that is what you are seeking.

Can you find activities to do with them earlier in the day? Arrange to go out for breakfast? Maybe you can invite someone over for lunch? Do you play golf? Are there any kind of sporting activities running, biking, that you can enjoy with some of them that likely won't involve drinking? You can also keep in contact with phone calls and emails especially with the ones further away (guessing you probably already do this.)

I don't think it is uncommon for someone your age to be going through this. Perhaps some of your friends are as well. Getting drunk with buddies is one thing when you are 21, another thing when you are 31...people grow and mature and desire different things in life. I beleive it is okay to put some distance between you and your friends but I would encourage you to do what you can not to hurt their feelings or make them feel that you don't care about them as that might be unchariable. Keep in contact in other ways as best as you can. Not sure if this helps much I don't think there is an easy answer. Please take care.


Things tend to naturally change on their own as you move into a relationship and toward marriage. You desire to spend time with this one person more than anyone else. That doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with your buddies, but it’ll *naturally *help those common occurrences become more and more rare… and when they do rarely happen, they’ll probably be more appreciated as a way to bond with your friends when that rare opportunity arises.
I would inwardly focus and pray to be guided toward a holy vocation… it sounds like you are being called to marriage, so pray that God leads and guides you to that special person SOON.
These things will NATURALLY work themselves out as your free time becomes dedicated to that one person.


Thank you everyone for your replies. You have all been very charitable. I was somewhat fearing condemnation rather than support; unfortunately that happens sometimes.
Yes, we do other things… some of them live in Chicago and we see music shows and ride bikes around the city. It just seems that the night brings on the drink. I have made big changes with what I do around them. I don’t drink as much, some of them smoke weed but I don’t… they are secular so there are other things that they do too that I don’t. I just worry about it sometimes. I ask myself if I am handling the situation correctly and I question myself. I guess as long as you are working towards improving yourself and you situation with honesty then you are probably on the right track.
Some of you are right though. They are not seeking marriage or family life at this time; still living the bachelors 'dream?'
Thanks again.


I think the biggest obstacle you’re going to run into with them isn’t their drinking or other activities, but their attitude of wanting to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence. Regardless of what euphemism you want to apply to it, it sounds as though they want to keep living life as though they were in their late teens to early 20’s, which seems to be an all-too-common trait nowadays. If that really is the case, you’ll likely have to deal with at least some of them not respecting your decisions in the slightest and doing everything they can to tear down anything you do. I’ve deal with way too many friends and family members who fall into this category and they deeply resent every bad decision or horrible misstep we & others make. Then again, most people view these failings as “growing up and making mature decisions,” so a lot of it’s an issue of perspective. You may view starting a career, getting married and having kids as a natural progression, but they may view those things as betrayals, stupidity, outdated psychological crutches, etc. You’ll have to decide for yourself just how much of an influence you want that to be in your life.


I am not going to tell you whether or not to cut contact with these guys because you know the whole picture and are the best person to weigh the pros and cons and come up with the best decision.

However, since you asked men what their wives though of their friends, I will tell you what this woman though of an ex’s friends.

I met a man (when I was 29) who was like you in the sense that the Catholic religion meant the world to him and all his friends had no use for it. He rarely drank and never smoked weed but his friends did it all the time and were always going to the strippers. My ex went with them. Unlike you however, half of my ex’s friends were married with kids (so that did not make them grow up)

So what did I think. Long story short, that is the main reason he is an ex. All I could think is, if I have kids with this man, there is no way I want them to see daddy hang out with these guys. I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking ‘there is nothing wrong with bad boys, my dad hangs out with them all the time’

So, in a nutshell, only you know how bad your friends really are, But yes, in a girl’s mind, the fact that you hang out with them is a reflection of your character



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