As the decades pass I’ve lost too many friends to the great beyond who had different views than I have on various subjects (yet we remained committed friends), and I’d hate to lose anyone who enriches my existence. I could continue this association and avoid the topic, but that’s ethically dishonest. He will remain as he is, I can’t change his mind any more then he can change mine. I asked him why he felt this way and he couldn’t articulate anything beyond “It’s just wrong.”
I feel disappointed, angry and hurt. How can I resolve my conflicting emotions with this individual. Should I remain his friend? — Equality Rules
You have to decide for yourself whether your friend’s homophobia/bigotry is a deal-breaker for you in terms of continuing a friendship. It’s just like when two people are dating and getting to know each other and they stumble upon differences that speak to value incompatibilities. Are those value incompatibilities large enough to pose a threat to the relationship? Does your value incompatibility with your friend pose a threat to your friendship? Does remaining chummy with him threaten your integrity?
It seems it must or you wouldn’t say that continuing the friendship while avoiding the topic you disagree on is “ethically dishonest.” Avoiding something, especially if you’ve already expressed your opinion about it, isn’t “dishonest.” But what may feel ethically dishonest to you is carrying on like you’re this person’s friend when your opinion of him has changed enough to not consider him someone worthy of your respect and admiration, let alone free time.
I can’t tell you whether or not you should continue your friendship with this person. You have to decide for yourself whether bigotry is a deal-breaker. I do think that since your friendship is several years old and you have enjoyed what sounds like lengthy discussions on a range or topics, you might be in a better position than you believe to “change his mind” about his views on homosexuality. Who better than someone he likes and trusts and whose company he enjoys to help open his mind a little? That said, if being friends with him feels more like a chore or a mission rather than the companionship you’ve enjoyed in the past, I’d move on. And I’d tell him why, too. You may not be able to ever change his mind, but you can let him know that his intolerance won’t be tolerated.
You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.