A couple of months ago, I talked about making sure that you didn’t narrow your world and only choose friends that are just like you just because you homeschool.
Strangely, I now find myself in a situation where I am considering doing just that – narrowing my world and getting rid of friends that I disagree with. My gut is telling me that I should end those friendships, but my own commitment to making sure that we have a variety of people in our lives (and setting that example for my children) is making me question myself.
I’m usually firmly in the ‘trust your gut’ camp. I believe that if your intuition tells you something is wrong, then it’s wrong. But I feel torn in this situation.
But my kids are friends with the children of these friends, and that is where I am torn. My conflict comes from trying to figure out what is truly best for my kids in this situation.
In one case, it’s mostly the friendship between the children that presents a problem for me. I want to end the friendships (adult and child) to protect my children, but I wonder if it’s not a situation that would be better served by trying to teach my kids how to handle it themselves. The problem with that is that if my kids don’t get it, or things escalate faster than I can teach them, the consequences could be downright disastrous.
In another, my ‘friend’ has some very different beliefs than I have. But in some of those beliefs, she has reached a point where she is personally insulting to me. She says things about groups of people that include me. Perhaps she doesn’t realize/remember that I would fit those groups, but it still bothers me. I can deal with different beliefs, but it really feels like there’s no common ground on which we can stand in friendship anymore. My kids aren’t friends with hers, so that’s not an issue for me. What is, though, is figuring out how to explain to my kids that this isn’t about her having different beliefs, but about how those beliefs are affecting me personally. There is a difference, in my mind, but I’m not sure that I can put that difference into words.
Of course, one of the biggest things that is making me so conflicted is that even if I end these friendships, I will still likely have to see these people on occasion, and we have several mutual friends. So I’m concerned about the situation expanding out to our circle of friends. I’m concerned that, in at least one case, the person involved may not be mature enough to keep it between us and may revert to the childhood ‘you can’t be friends with her if you’re friends with me.’ Do I think the rest of our friends are immature enough to choose a side like that? No, not really. But I do think it could create a very awkward dynamic that makes it impossible for anyone to get together anymore, at least in groups as we’ve done for years.
Any advice or suggestions for how to make this decision easier? Any stories about when you’ve dealt with a situation like this? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.