“They agreed to a parting of the waves.”

Dear friend,

I know I haven’t returned your phone calls, as difficult as it’s been for me. After the desperation in your last message, I wanted to dial your number and see how you were, but I can’t. I can’t be your friend anymore.

I’m sure you think it’s my wife’s idea, but it’s not. She’s merely given me the strength to avoid calling you back. We’re not the same people we used to be, and no matter how much time has passed since we met, I can’t let history define my relationships.

To put it bluntly, I don’t want to compete with you, but you leave me little choice when we’re together.

You insist on expressing your viewpoints, which are contrary to mine—and those most of the people I know. Normally, I wouldn’t hold this against you, but you are so pushy and downright mean with your beliefs. You belittle the intelligence of those who disagree with you, and the worst part is, you don’t even think you are doing it. You fully believe you have an open mind, but I listen to you parrot the opinions of blowhards and deny facts, and ignore me when I try to change the subject.

Being the Devil’s Advocate is in your nature, but the point of such a role is not to crush your opponent, but to strengthen them. I can be friends with and respect people with your public philosophy, but that is because they, in turn, respect people with my philosophy. It’s one thing to have a certain ideology, but it’s another to proclaim this ideology, then do nothing to support it. Your morality is inconsistent and shallow. I could rattle off examples, but that would do no good. You, in your own eyes, are never wrong.

Mostly, in regards to respect, I don’t see it in the way you treat others. You are pushy, selfish, and bristle against anyone who finds offense at your behavior. The thing that appalls me the most, these days, though, is your behavior towards women. Your chivalry is merely misogyny. Your interest in the welfare of the female species exists in entirely in the realms of their undergarments. You expect others to get out of your way if you’ve chosen a female, and you take any obstacle as a challenge, as if the person you’re pursuing is merely a prize. You’ve butted chests with me over the affections of one particular woman, not considering that I don’t look at her in a sexual manner, nor considering that she may not look at you in a sexual manner. And when we last saw each other, you asked a friend of mine to stay out of the way of another object of your desire, despite the fact that this “object” had no interest in you.

Over the years, we’ve been good friends. I’ve laughed in your company as much as—if not more than—I have with anybody. You’ve been loyal and consistent and honest with me at all times. That’s what makes this hard. I’ve thought long and hard about what it takes to be my friend, and I’ve found a few qualities to be non-negotiable. One is “Criticism.” My friends have to be able to take it constructively, and they have to dispense it to me when I need it. Another is “Respect.” Not just to me, or, as I suspect is the case is with you and I, to our history, but to my thoughts and beliefs, and the thoughts and beliefs of those I hold dear. You don’t have to like my friends, but I insist that you appreciate the fact that I like them. You don’t have either of those qualities.

It saddens me to say this, because you have been like a brother to me. But I don’t respect you anymore. You haven’t, and won’t, mature. I’ll always look back on our past with a smile, but I can’t say the same about the future.

Sincerely …


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