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by Abigail Van Buren

Turning Over New Leaf Means Turning Away Bigoted Friends

DEAR ABBY: My friendships have always included people of different races, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, professions, etc. A few years ago, I had an experience that was both devastating and humbling on several different levels. It caused me to do a lot of introspection and self-improvement, which led to my becoming a more empathetic person.

Over the last few years, I have distanced myself from old friends and acquaintances who were racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I have replaced them with new relationships with people who embrace diversity. Some of the people I no longer see ask me why we don't talk or get together anymore. I don't want to give them excuses like, "I've been too busy." How do I explain to them that I don't enjoy associating with people who hold bigoted views? -- OPEN-MINDED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR OPEN-MINDED: Because you no longer wish to associate with them, why not just respond with the truth? Say: "As you may know, I had an experience a few years ago that was life-changing. It made me re-evaluate my life and my relationships, so I decided to 'edit' them down and spend more time with people who think the way I do about life."

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics