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