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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Tired of Indulging Mom's Proselytizing Friend

DEAR ABBY: There's this woman I've known since I was a child. She's a Jehovah's Witness I'll call Beatrice. She comes by my house every so often to share pamphlets and talk about her religion. She is a casual friend of my mother's (who I live with), so I feel I have to let her inside when she's at the door. If it were anyone else, I'd say a polite "No, thank you, goodbye," and shut the door. But because it's Beatrice, I'm roped into listening to her spiel.

More often than not, Mom's not even home when Beatrice comes over with her pamphlets because they work similar hours. And each time, I find myself trapped into listening to her jabber away while I politely smile and nod.

Not only am I non-religious, but I am a member of the LGBTQ community, and I know for a fact that Beatrice shunned a family member after he came out as gay.

I don't want to keep pretending I'm interested in listening to her script, or even talking to her in general, but I also don't want to ruin my mother's friendship with her by offending her by being honest.

Is there a polite way to tell Beatrice that, with all due respect, I don't want to hear about her pamphlets, and she should come by to discuss them only when my mom's home? Or must I just continue to smile and nod politely like I always do? -- NOT INTERESTED IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR NOT INTERESTED: No rule of etiquette demands that you listen to Beatrice's religious diatribes. All you need to say to her is, "My mother isn't home, and I'm not interested in taking your pamphlets or hearing you preach. Because you're a friend of Mom's, come back when Mom is home, and be sure to call first."

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics