I am pretty much the same person I have always been. I'm a type A, focused, competitive, athletic person. I am also a bit goofy, ditzy, anxious, clumsy, and nerdy. I have strong opinions but I am always interested to hear new points of view and I take the time to consider them thoughtfully. I am old fashioned and though I do think that all people are equal I would not consider myself feminist.
Once of my closest friends in high school was a girl I'll call Margo. She too was driven, a type A personality who was competitive about grades and focused on the future. She was loud, funny, ditzy, nerdy, and interesting. She was a little boy crazy and we spent lots of time discussing the boys in our high school and one day being bridesmaids inn each other's weddings. We were good friends and shared a lot.
We went to different schools as friends often do. I went to GW and she went to a school up North. I continued to be focused on school and fitness. I worked in the campus gym, went to classes, studied, and went inn occasional dates with men I met at school. Other than gaining confidence in my ability to be an independent adult and actually being one, I really didn't change who I was as a person. Margo did.
She too continued to be focused on classes. She also discovered drinking and smoking, things not uncommon in a college setting but things that I had almost no interest in doing. She also dated a few men and then, to my surprise, a woman. I was happy for her. She seemed to really love and care about this woman and I wanted her to be happy. When she officially announced on her Facebook page that she was a lesbian I was proud of her. She was confident in herself in a way that I hadn't seen before and it was great.
Our friendship continued basically unchanged. She would occasionally joke that I should give up men and try it her way and I would laugh at her and tell her that wasn't for me. We still would eat ice cream and watch trashy tv and we'd stay up talking about her girlfriend and the guys I had met recently. We discussed our classes and what we wanted to do post graduation. We reminisced about high school and talked about what people were doing now. Things seemed almost the same.
Over the last several months, things have changed a lot. She has become extremist in her views regarding sexuality, gender, race, and sic-economic status. I think everyone has their views and opinions on this subject and the range of viewpoints is huge. I have always supported her in whatever she wanted to do, whatever she wanted to study, and whoever she wanted to date. What has changed is that she no longer supports mine. She has developed a negative, discriminatory view on men. Straight, white men, though she isn't thrilled with most men, in particular are the group that she resents and speaks ill about.
My boyfriend is strong, protective, and makes me feel safe. He is also sweet, smart, loving, and compassionate. He is also a straight, white man. My father and my brother are also straight, white men. It hurts me deeply to hear how she now speaks about men of that race and sexual orientation. I find that we are speaking less and I am sharing less about my life with her. We have been friends for over eight years and been through a lot together. I want to preserve our friendship but, is that possible knowing the resentment and disdain that she has for the men in my life? I do not know the answer to that. What I do know is that I am happy in my life.
I think all you can do when a close friend goes through a drastic change is be there, be available, and be yourself. But, do not change to accommodate. To continue to be friends, we don't have to want the same things or love the same way but we need to be accepting of each other's choices.