People who’ve been doing personal or spiritual development work for a while invariably end up asking this question, ‘What should I do about my friends who aren’t interested in this sort of thing? I don’t want to go out late and party anymore. I don’t want to sit around bitching about men or our jobs. But I’m worried we’re going to have nothing in common if I don’t get involved. This is what we’ve always done.’
There’s no doubt about it, the spiritual path is rough in a lot of ways and this might be one of the ways it challenges us most. Once you dive headlong into being really truthful about your life, your motivations and your thoughts; once you’re willing to face and clear old pain, you change as a human being.
(That was the point after all.)
You become interested in having different kinds of conversations and it becomes impossible to pretend any more. With anyone.
So what to do?
1. Don’t become a missionary
Converting their loved ones is one of the most common tactics people employ. Because their spiritual path has brought them so much joy or relief or ease, they want to share it. They want everyone to come along for the ride.
I always say don’t push it. Don’t try to change your friends. We’re all ready when we’re ready and not a moment before. So don’t try to drag them along. They won’t appreciate it and you’ll probably cause more harm than good.
2. Try to find some middle ground
See if you can find new ways to get together. Shift catch ups from dinner and drinks to brunch. See if they’re willing to meet you for a walk or to have a picnic. It doesn’t always have to be a question of whether to attend kirtan night at your local yoga studio or drink with your buddies until 2am.
Alternatively if your friendship has been based on your mutual single status and you just can’t bare another conversation about how all the good men are either gay or taken, then simply change the topic. Stop being drawn into the poor me, pity pool. People are varied and complex beings, if you dig deep enough you might be surprised to find a mutual love of something totally unexpected – cross stitching, reading ancient Greek plays or watching darts on TV. [Read more]