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I'm 27 M (living in India). I have this friend (say John). We were school classmates for 9 years. We shared a good relationship during school days but our mentality and perspectives to look at the world changed later significantly. He has following positives (which I have noticed and respect him for these):

  • He has helped me once when I was in deep trouble during lockdown in India and no one else except him helped me.

  • I have shared so many funny moments with him in the past and enjoyed a lot together.

But there are following traits in him which I really dislike and it irritates me a lot and prompts me to stop talking to him and ignore him:

  • Discussion about politics: Whenever we meet or talk on phone, from nowhere, he introduces politics in the discussion and starts making everyone feel like an idiot with his arguments. He says that he read several newspapers everyday which both praise and criticize the government and so, he knows the most. According to him, one who is not interested in political talk/discussion is a fool and doesn't love his country.

  • Discussion about religion: Both me and him are Hindus. And in almost any discussion, he brings his religious views and starts abusing Muslims. According to him, in every riot or rape/kidnapping cases in India, there are Muslims around that. I told him that is not that case and for me, humanity is above any religion. If there are 3-4 bad people in any religion of 1000 people, you can't say that whole religion is bad. Hindus are also involved in rapes, kidnapping and killing. Even I have many Muslims in my professional network, who are really good people. He says they are faking this niceness. He is kind of pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim.

  • Changing his personality in front of girls: Whenever both of us have met and have been around girls, then he tries to become over-smart in front of girls (so as to impress them) and starts making fun of every other boy in the group to show the girls that he is the best one and extremely cool. I imagine him like a hungry dog (sticking his tongue out) chasing girls, while forgetting everything.

  • Only his passion is the ultimate one: Similar to above points, he believes that whatever he likes, whatever he is passionate about whether particular politician or religion or sports or any other topic; if someone doesn't share the same passion or liking towards that topic, that person is a moron. When I told him that I don't like to discuss politics or watching TV Interviews of his favorite political leader, his ego hurts and he starts to convince me on why he is right and why I am wrong and why I should follow what he is following.

Sometimes, his traits seems similar to a narcissist. Sometimes, I want to block him because of this behavior but stops when I remember the time when no one except him helped me.

Here's what I've tried to solve this issue:

  • I have stopped calling him and whenever he calls me, he brings political and religious discussions and whenever I try to say something, this discussion gets transformed into argument until I say, "Ok, I got your point, you were right."
  • I try to remain silent whenever we are around girls because I think the more I will speak, the more it will increase his over-smart behavior.

After almost every call or interaction with him, my mood gets very bad. Can anyone suggest on how do I avoid further conflicts with this person and stop getting affected by his behavior?

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    Hey @WarWithSelf! While you've done a good job describing your friend, in order to help you, with your Interpersonal Skills, there are two things you'd need to clarify. First, you need a clear goal: What do you want the outcome of 'dealing with' this person to be? Secondly, you'd also need to include what you have done so far to try and achieve that goal, so that answers won't be repeating things that haven't worked so far. There's a bit of that in your last paragraph already, but the more you include about your part in the interactions, and how you tried to reach your goal, the better.
    – Tinkeringbell
    May 8 at 14:36
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    @Tinkeringbell Thanks, I have reframed my question based on your suggestions.Hope, it is clear now. May 8 at 14:42
  • "[...] and stop getting affected by his behavior?" seems pretty much like an intrapersonal issue though... so even though it's improving, we're still at VTC-level :)
    – OldPadawan
    May 9 at 7:06
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I have an older sister who is a bit eccentric (but then, who isn't?)

Whenever we telephone she turns the conversation onto politics, and she has some very extreme opinions. Or if the family meet up she starts it and gets into big arguments with anyone who is present. It doesn't help that she is a bit silly; she believes what she last saw on television. Tomorrow she might believe something else. On Facebook she just forwards endless links to whackjob articles.

So anyway, after blocking her on Facebook, what can you do? She is our sister and we love her. At the next big family meet we others declared "No Politics!". This applies to all of us. So if she starts we all chorus "No Politics!" This has saved many a long afternoon and barbecue party.

So you can say to your mate; We can't agree on this. If we are going to keep meeting, we have to stick to talking about things we have in common. "No Politics!" and "No Religion!"

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    Thanks. That sounds like a good advice. May 29 at 2:03

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