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Wedding Woes

You may not be able to 'save' Katie.

Dear Prudence,

When I first moved to my city, I hardly knew anyone. My one friend here invited me to join their social circle, which I appreciated at first, but I’ve come to realize I hate these people and want out. My “friend” turned out to be violently racist. So is most everyone else (and transphobic, and sexist, and all other flavors of bigotry). They pick on people with mental health issues, make horrible jokes, the works. So I’ve spent the year cultivating my own hobbies, meeting new people, and making new friends, which has made a big difference.

But there was one diamond in the rough of the original group, “Katie.” She’s sweet, kind, makes dad jokes, and is an all-around good person. I really want her to be part of the new friend circle I’m forming! The problem is she is bad at saying no or speaking ill of anyone, so she has trouble seeing anything wrong with the original crowd, even when they bully her to her face. I was part of lots of group activities she organizes—Dungeons & Dragons, weekly craft night, holiday parties, etc.—and at some point, I’m going to run out of excuses for why I can’t attend thismeetup, or why I only want my friends to join our D&D group but veto everyone she grew up with. What’s the best way to tell someone “I love you, but everyone you hang out with is a horrendous bigot?” How can I surgically remove myself (and her) from this horrible crowd without being rude? Normally I would just ghost on these jerks, but it’s hard when Katie still assumes they’re what a normal friendship is like and wants to include me.

—Leaving the (Friendly) Nest

Re: You may not be able to 'save' Katie.

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I had a similar situation, in that I became friends with a neighbor and her friends. We were both renters, and shared a driveway (and the same landlord), and our front doors faced each other. We did a ton of fun stuff together, and then slowly she and her friends started letting the racist shit fly. The final straw for me when was one of her friends said the N word. 

    Thankfully though I already had my own friend group, and could easily cut ties with these jerks. But let me tell you - there were some awkward times in our shared driveway. 

    Anyway, I agree in that you she won't be able to save Katie. 

  • If it were me, I'd try to cultivate a friendship with Katie outside the "previously mutual" friend group.  Hang out with Katie, just us.  And/or also invite her to occasional outings with my new friend group.  But I'd even be hesitant about that, because I wouldn't want Katie suddenly inviting my new friend group out with the old friend group.

    If she questions why I don't do "this" anymore or go out with the group, depending on how blunt I felt comfortable being, I would either leave it a more general "better match with new friend group/drifted apart" with a little...or a lot...of things I was uncomfortable with, with them.

    Really, though.  She can't "save Katie", unless Katie comes to that conclusion on her own.  Katie is an adult who is responsible for her own choices.  And, while I hear where the LW is coming from.  She thinks that friend group is a bad influence on Katie and hurts her feelings.  It's still rubbing me a little the wrong way that he/she seems to want to take charge of who Katie's friends are.  It's fine to show Katie a "better way", without coming right out and saying it.  But putting any pressure or manipulation on her is similar controlling behavior to what the "bad" friends are doing.

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  • Is it rude to say "I feel uncomfortable with a lot of the things they say?" I don't think that is rude. For a random example, if I, being a meat eater, talked a lot about eating meat, and I had a vegan friend who came up to me and said "I feel uncomfortable with how much you talk about eating meat", I wouldn't consider that rude. It's just a statement that indicates that my values are different, or that I am talking way too much about a particular thing.
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