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I'm in my mid 20s and I've been friends for 20 years with this person with whom I practically grew up. We were in the same middle school, played together almost every single day after school, same high school, etc. We're both in grad school now (different schools and fields of study) but frequently call each other, until about a couple months ago when I decided that I cannot be friends with him anymore. The primary reason is our polar opposite perception about a great number of topics, and my inability to stand his thoughts given their gravity. Following are top differences in our thoughts that I take issue with, the most.

  1. He is pro-life. Whereas I believe a woman should get to decide if she would like to birth the baby.

  2. He denies climate change and supports the idea of continuing to use fossil fuels. Whereas I'm very worried about what's going to happen because of climate change in my own life time.

  3. He is extremely political. I can bear mild doses of it. But he is way too enthusiastic about it.

  4. He thinks homosexuality is not real. He thinks it's a conspiracy. (More on conspiracies below) I'm extremely sensitive to the LGBTQ+ community and friends with several of them.

  5. He thinks we never went to the moon and that 9/11 was an inside job. He spends an unhealthy amount of time finding evidences that support his theories and is highly dogmatic about it.

There's a lot more I could list. A couple months ago I got fed up of all of this and decided it was time to let him go. It was heartbreaking because I spent my childhood with this guy and have so many fond memories but at the same time I don't want to be friends with someone whose thoughts are literally what I think is wrong with the world. Note that I've talked to him several times that I don't agree with his thoughts on several occasions.

We haven't called each other in 2 months which is a bit longer than than a typical time period between our calls. But we both have very busy school schedules.

If I tell him we can't be friends because we have different views on abortion, he's going to think that I'm insane and that this is not a valid enough reason. I guess I'm seeking specific interpersonal skills in the context of a break up. The demeanour, the verbiage, the tone, etc.

My questions is: I have never had to break up with anybody in my life (romantic or otherwise). I don't know how to talk to him. I'm seeking specific ways to let my friend know that I cannot be friends with him while being sensitive to the fact that he definitely isn't going to see this coming.

I don't wish to let the friendship fade away, however, I have reluctantly made up my mind to end the friendship. It's not his expression of views that is an issue, but the possession of these thoughts in the first place. I want him to know why I'm doing this. It's not common for a person to tell a friend that they don't wish to continue being friends anymore. But I want him to know why I'm doing this.

PS: I've listed several controversial topics. Please refrain from commenting on the validity of either mine or his thoughts on these matters of sensitive frame.

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    Why can't you just tell him waht you told us? That you don't want to be friends with him any longer because his ideas are completely different from yours and in your opinion that is not how any relationship can work. – XtremeBaumer Sep 26 at 9:58
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    I've never done anything like this before. I don't know what words to use. I'm seeking advice from the more experienced folk. If I tell all of the above to him, it will leave things very bitter between us. I want him to understand why I'm doing this without seeming egotistical. – user26635 Sep 26 at 10:04
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    Hi all, please remember we're fairly strict about comments at IPS; they should be focused on clarifying or helping to improve the question. Talking about what you think of OP's friend or decision is not an appropriate use of comments, and even with answers we require that they respect the OP's intent. – Em C Sep 26 at 15:27
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    From your comments, it seems you don't only want to inform him you want to end the friendship, but it seems important to you to tell him why. Why is that ? What do you want to accomplish ? And what is more important : ending the friendship the less painful way (it's the goal I understood from your question), or making it clear to him why you want to end it ? – MlleMei Sep 26 at 20:15
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    @MlleMei are you inclining towards frame challenge? I don't wish to let the friendship fade away. I want him to know why I'm doing this. it makes it clear that if there is a chance the the friend improves their behaviour, it should be done. For now, the question remains to convey the possible end of friendship. As for OP, please edit the question to update it. – ankii Sep 26 at 21:16
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Thank you all for taking the time to understand my question better. Thank you also for giving me plenty of useful advice and asking me questions that actually helped me think about why I wanted to do this, from all facets. I talked to him today for about 3 hours and I was able to achieve what I was looking for. Following is a summary of how I approached it. Please note that for personal reasons, I will delete my account here at IPS. I hope that this experience of mine will never have to be dealt by anybody ever again, but if you sadly need to break up with a friend, I hope my experience will help you.

I called him and we talked for a total of about 3 hours. We spent the first hour just catching up and talking about silly things. Thankfully, somehow our conversation took a turn and we ended up discussing the ethics of abortion among other things. We had a very rational discussion while both being respectful yet firm in our stance. I decided to talk about homosexuality next and we ended up talking about the importance of an inclusive society where people of any gender and sexual orientation feel loved and wanted. The details of these conversations are not important but the point is that I needed to have one last debate with him on these matters.

After about 2 hours of talking, I asked if he also felt like we were way too different in our views of the world and asked him how he expects me to be okay with his views. I told him that the only reason why I'm respectful of his views is because I love him and that I felt obligated, as a friend, to respect his controversial stance, that I normally take severe issue with.

There have been wrinkles in our friendship over similar issues in the past and he acknowledged that he indeed agrees that our friendship is being stretched while there isn't much that either of us is getting out of it. We had a heartfelt discussion on how it is better to end the friendship on a relatively high note rather than let it wither until the both of us stop caring about it altogether. We ended our conversation almost in tears and we wished each other good luck and he asked me that if I were to ever bump into him on the street, I at least acknowledge him and say hi. I wished him good luck with his studies and ended the call.

I don't want to belabor this answer. Thank you again all again for your comments and answers. For obvious reasons, I have to choose this answer as the accepted one. Good luck all.

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First of all, you should decide for yourself to cancel your friendship.

  • You should be 100% sure of your decision. This is important.
  • Explain it once why you would like to break up and you may leave feedback to your friend why you want to cancel your friendship.
  • From your words it should be understood that there is no way back. There is no way how he can restore this relationship.

I'm pretty sure it will be painful for you and for your friend. But this will be just once. If you leave even a small chance to him to restore this relationship then it will be painful again and again.

My experience:

I use this approach in similar situations. I'm dating different girls so when I want to finish the relationship I'm doing as in my answer.

I have tried another method like long talks, a lot of messages over messenger etc. This is a less painful method (as in my answer) on how to cancel relationship. Because I always fall in love with girls that I'm dating it is ALWAYS painful. The only question is how much painful will it be.

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