Can I Cut a Person Off If the Interaction with Them Is Not Good for Me?
Question for the spiritual father of St Elisabeth Convent
Question: From time to time I get caught up in a wave of strong hostility towards my friend. I am annoyed by the fact that she gossips about me, and that she constantly calls and tells me about her life and much more. I pray for her but I realize that I dislike her. I don't wish anything bad to happen to her, but I don't want to chat, discuss husbands and, most importantly, listen to her for hours. It hurts to hear her tell me about her sins. How to act correctly in a Christian way? How not to be judgmental?
Answer: Thank God that you pray for your friend and that you are not angry. When a person starts talking and demanding attention, and when it is unhelpful for you, your soul begins to feel pain, and you may get annoyed and have bad feelings.
You and your friend should definitely talk about it somehow. If she wants to be in touch with you in the future, you have to keep her at a distance. Why talk about things that are not beneficial at all? You should reduce your communication time and choose it yourself. If you listen to any of these things, they all get into your head. Why hurt your soul? We have enough troubles with our own sins, don't we?
It is one thing to talk about something good, constructive, enlightening, and to give advice and support to the person. If she just rants, gossips, and pries into someone else's dirty laundry, that's another thing, and you don't need it at all. You shouldn't be shy about it, you shouldn't tolerate it. It is fine for the time being, and then everything will blow up anyway.
You just need to talk about your relationship and specify what you would like to talk about, what you consider to be useful and what isn’t. If the person is sensible, he or she will hear what you say, and your friendship will continue. If, on the other hand, the person takes offense and turns away – well, keep praying for him or her, and maybe one day he or she will figure it out.
September 16, 2019