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Ask Amy: My longtime friend is forcing her religion on me and it’s making me uncomfortable

Autor: Amy Dickinson

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In today’s Ask Amy column, Amy Dickinson responds to someone who is bothered by their friend forcing their religion on them.Dreamstime

Dear Amy: My friend “Tina” and I have been friends since college and are now in our 50s. When we met we were members of a campus religious organization, however as the years passed we both drifted away from our religious affiliations. I now would call myself agnostic.

Recently, Tina had a difficult break-up with a significant other. Since the split she has returned to religion and now mentions it often, which makes me somewhat uncomfortable, as it seems she may be trying to get me back in the fold.

Over Easter, she went to church and decided that she wanted to be baptized. She scheduled it at a friend’s church three hours away.

She said she would like for me to go, however, I explained that I would not be able to attend due to the short notice.

She was forced to cancel due to a family emergency, but then told me that she would reschedule her baptism so that I could plan on attending.

The problem is, I don’t have any desire to go. While I don’t begrudge her any comfort her faith is bringing her, I am not interested and don’t want to feel pressured to participate.

How do I back out gracefully without hurting her feelings?

– Agnostic

Dear Agnostic: I believe that in this context, honesty is not only called for, but it is also the most graceful way to handle this.

You need to state a version of the following: “I’m very happy for you to have renewed your faith, but over the years we’ve known each other, I’ve made my own choice about religion and don’t participate. I won’t be at your baptism ceremony, but I hope it is a joyous event for you, and I wish you all the very best as you move forward in your faith.”

You can’t really control your friend’s response to this, but while she has the right to affirm her faith, you also have the right to affirm your own stand on religion. Neither of you should proselytize, and you should determine to carry on in an attitude of mutual respect.

Check out prior Ask Amy columns

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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