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Carolyn Hax: Tell your friend why you’ve drifted

Wed., June 11, 2014, midnight

Dear Carolyn: My husband and I are good friends with a couple whose dietary needs have slowly changed over the eight years we’ve known them. Now they have started the Paleo diet. I can tell she is feeling better physically, and I am truly happy for her.

However, we don’t hang out with them as a couple anymore. She and I may get together at a coffee shop where she can have tea, but the days of getting together for a meal seem to be over.

I also can’t get together with her without the discussion turning to how dangerous gluten is, with the distinct implication that my husband and I should start following it as well. I find myself avoiding her, and also just wanting to shake her and say, “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! And I want to die with a piece of baguette slathered in triple-creme brie in my hand!!”

This does not seem like a sound approach. Suggestions? – I Want My Cake and My Friendship Too

I think that’s the perfect approach.

Seriously. You are friends! And you are happy for her! You simply don’t want to make the same lifestyle change she did!

So why not just say that, in the you-know-I-love- you way that only true friends can pull off?

As I sift through questions submitted to this column, I spend a shocking (to me) amount of time reading different versions of virtually the same story: of people who are so dismayed by changes in a friendship that they’re avoiding the friend.

So for you and all of you, I advise this: Since you’re already ending the friendship, passively or otherwise, what do you have to lose by stating how you feel, what you loved, why you’ve drifted?

Truths feel mean, I get it, but surely you’ve been on the receiving end of a once-good friend’s dwindling attention – and doesn’t that feel pretty mean, too? And gutless? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’d rather have an exasperated friend say, “For the love of baguettes, would you please stop dissecting my diet?!” than just demote me to thrice-a-year tea.


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