What to do when your Friendship doesn’t go deep due to different Beliefs and Interests – 17 Dec 13

I yesterday explained that there may be friends in life whose beliefs completely differ from yours. What can you do if that is the case and you have developed a relationship that seems rather formal and not as deep as you would wish it to be?

The first thing that you can do is just to tell what you believe in. Express the issues in which you have different opinions so that both of you know where you are at. If you then feel that there is no way that either of you change, just accept the fact that you don’t agree with each other.

Don’t let this destroy the bond of friendship between the two of you. At the same time however, don’t expect too much of it. Keep up the love but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go deeper than meeting and seeing each other from time to time.

If I look at my grandmother and my father for example, I can see that they have changed a whole lot but of course they will never change as much as I have. They have spent their whole lives believing in religion and although they have left behind a lot of the things that go with it, they won’t completely change. And I am not demanding that either.

The key is that you need to understand and respect each other. Let them live as they like and live as you want as well. As family members remain family members, no matter what happens, it is mostly easier to do this with them than with friends but with friends as well, you can have such a relation. In fact, if you have a real friendship and love and one of you changes while the other remains the same, you will be able to go along with it.

One thing is for sure however: there is a certain gap in between you. You are not able to share what is deeply in your heart, you cannot get very much involved in each other’s lives and you won’t sit and talk for hours.

There is no dishonesty in this friendship. You still wish each other well but your thinking is so different from each other that you cannot have those pleasant experiences that you have with someone who shares your emotions.

Please accept it. If you can accept that the other one is different, then you also need to accept the fact that you won’t be as close as you could be if that was not the case. Respect the other one’s belief and keep love in your heart. That’s what you can do for the sake of this friendship.

How your Friendships may change when your Beliefs and Opinions change – 16 Dec 13

There have been a lot of changes in my life and I think to a certain extent, such changes happen in everybody’s life. The result is that your opinion may be fully different from the one you had before – and different from the people whom you previously shared same opinions with. What happens if those people are the close people in your life? When those around you have different ideas of life than you do?

I believe it is very common among family members that this happens. You love the people that you are related to by blood. Maybe you grew up with them or you enjoyed the most important celebrations of the years with them. They are close – but you cannot really talk about the things that really move you because they have just a very different opinion that doesn’t match yours at all.

What if you are in this situation with friends? This happens mostly with long-time friends, whom you got to know at a time when you still were of one opinion, when you were at school for example, still forming an opinion or when you were just simply still thinking something different. Over time, your opinions have changed away from each other.

In such situations you have the wish to meet these people because of the love that you have for them and you are looking forward to the meeting – but then there is not that charm of the great conversations that you could have with someone of your mind. You like to see them but when you are together for a longer time, you lack a topic to talk about. The weather, what is going on in your lives, the lives of people you know, maybe politics. That’s about it. You cannot really talk about the things that move you because you are just too different.

You thus create a system to talk to each other once a week or meet once a month. This is the effort that you do to keep your relation – but there is not that joy that you have with people with whom you can share what is deep inside your heart.

This is not the kind of friend where you go to when you need a shoulder to cry on. You just won’t feel sharing with particularly this person. Why? Because deep in your heart, you both think that the other one is wrong. That’s why you changed your belief or opinion in the first place, because you thought that it was wrong. And that’s why the other one did not change – because he believes that this change is wrong. You may not say that openly but that is the reality of your heart. In a situation when you are looking for emotional support, you would not go to someone who thinks you are wrong, would you? That’s how this person won’t ask you and you won’t ask him or her when you really need someone to hold you, let you cry or share your deepest sorrows.

So how to deal with such a friend? I will explain you my ideas about this question tomorrow.

Do not mind different Opinions among Friends – 17 May 11

Yesterday I wrote that if someone is a real friend, it doesn’t matter to your friendship if you change your belief or philosophy. Today I want to add that it should not even matter if you have a different opinion than each other from the very beginning. It is fully fine and it doesn’t mean that you cannot love each other.

I often give the example of my oldest friend Govind. We are very different from each other, have a lot of different habits and opinions. Still we are friends, see each other when we both are in Vrindavan, we meet, we talk and we love each other. It doesn’t matter that we have different opinions.

Opinions are a bit like different taste. When we three travel together, there can be several points in which we don’t fully agree. Ramona loves eggplant whereas Yashendu absolutely does not like it. We manage to cook eggplant from time to time so that we can enjoy it but also make something separate for Yashendu as well. It works and it doesn’t matter that they have different taste.

If I have a friend who smokes but I don’t smoke, we can be friends anyway. I even write in my diary that I don’t approve of smoking but I still love my friends who smoke. I am a vegetarian and openly and always advocate vegetarianism but still have many good friends who are not vegetarian. There can be many examples like these but the main point is that even if I don’t agree with a point of my friends’ lives or if they don’t agree with a certain aspect of my life, we still can be friends.

So if I write something in my diary about one of these points, for example that I think people should recycle their garbage but you do not recycle or if I believe one should not drink alcohol, especially if one’s children are around but you do exactly that, we can still be friends.

I have made the experience that people minded it very much whenever I wrote negatively about something that they actually did in their lives. Some people even got very angry, thinking that I am writing about them in particular. This made me think from time to time, before writing a diary entry: ‘Oh, if I write this, maybe he or she could think I am writing about them! I should talk to them before!’ The reality is however that I cannot warn everybody every time that I write something that could concern them, too. To how many people can I talk?

I explained before, too, that nothing that I write is in any way personal. Of course I get inspiration from everything around me but I like to talk in a wider range. You may think that I am talking about you but what you don’t realize is that your neighbor has the same problem. I usually write about things that concern many people, not only individuals.

This is why, if I have written something in the past or write something in the future that you find in your life and that fits to you please don’t take it personal and don’t mind it. It is meant for a large number of people to read, not only for you, the individual. And it is only my opinion. If yours is different, it is fully fine for me, too. You, your love and your friendship is valuable to me. I love you.

No Opinions on Sex from the free Western Countries? – 24 Jul 10

Day before yesterday I wrote in the diary about small condoms sold in magazines. I asked my readers to give an opinion in the form of a comment. We see that many people are reading and especially this topic with much interest.

I usually receive some comments, not necessarily posted on the website but by email or in other ways. This time however, there was one comment only. Nobody wrote a response even though I asked for an opinion. I asked how they would deal with this kind of topic if they would be in this situation, if the question came into their house to buy these small condoms or not. For their son or daughter, what would be the solution?

This gives a sign about the topic of sex and how people deal with it. Here in the west people say everything is free, everybody deals freely with sex and sex education. You can feel though that this is not true. You do see sex shops and magazines which you will still not see in a country like India. And sex is everywhere, in nearly every advertisement, newspaper or book you buy.

We know that most of our readers are from the west, not from India. We got no response. So it seems that even here sex is still in a way a taboo. With a couple of people I had some interaction about this topic and they feel that it is strange but they maybe don’t know how to express their opinion. Or is it because people like to give lectures to others but get silent when it comes to their own family?

The interesting thing is that I wanted to gather opinions from both sides, those who are in favor and those who are against it. None of the two sides answered. There was nobody who spoke against condoms for children but also nobody who liked the idea. Maybe they feel one thing in their heart and don’t have the courage to express it? Are they confused like me, not knowing if they should be in favor or against it? Or would they like to avoid this topic and not decide whether it is right or wrong, actually hide and look away?

We will try again and give readers the possibility just to press one button and show if you are in favor or against it. Here is a survey, fully anonymous, for just finding out what the general opinion is. I would still be interested to read your lines and words but for those who are too shy we made this survey. So you just need to tic Yes or No and then click ‘Next’. You will immediately see the results, without any names, just how many people clicked on Yes or on No:

Stable Happiness with a Stable Opinion – 15 Dec 09

If you start having your own opinion it can obviously be that some people are not very happy about it but already yesterday I wrote that those who love you will be happy about it. There are a few reasons for this.

One is that everyone who really loves you wants you to be happy and strong and stable in your happiness. It is difficult to have stable happiness if you cannot have a stable opinion because all the time you actually worry in which direction you have to change your opinion now!

It is also really more fun to talk with someone who has his own opinion. Even if this means that you disagree with this person in a few points but at least you can talk deeper about something. Imagine you are talking with someone about your favourite sport and you tell him your favourite team. He immediately agrees with you and you start talking about different players and their records. If this person actually has no idea about that team or even that sport and just said it to make you happy, you will not get even one satisfying answer. 

Now imagine this person says instead that he is actually more interested in arts. If you also like arts you will find a nice topic of common interest and if you don’t know much about it, you could learn something. I tell you, even if you find art as boring as sport is for your conversational partner, you will certainly find another topic to talk about.

In each way and whatever happens, it is better to be clear and honest about your feelings. Then everything is just clear, there are no doubts and no miracles. I promise that this is an easier way to live!