Friday, October 2, 2009

When You Become Too Frum For Your Friends

Or the other way around, to be open-minded. I think most people have experienced this in some form or another. You change and your friends don't and you wonder how to, or if you should, stay friends with them. With chassidishkeit, it can be a little more complicated, because you know that the changes you make are usually for the better.
So I'm putting the question to you, fellow bloggers.
Tell us your story, and how you dealt, what choice you made.


fakewood inc. said...

you have to evolve the relationship. obviously you might not be able to hang out the same way and you might not be as close anymore but thats life.

Altie said...

It's very hard. When I went away for high school and made the decision to be more chassidish and stop watching TV and movies, imagine my shock to discover that the girls in my class were exactly what I was trying NOT to be. 4 years of struggles ensued, for me to accept them as they are, and for them to accept me, and for me to accept myself. Identity crisis.

Wel in the end, we decided if our friendship was more important, then we could put aside our differences for it. And no, they never really came closer to my side, I kind of went closer to theirs.

And now I have no idea what I am, and we are still great friends!

Feivel ben Mishael said...

All of my real friends aren't at all wierded out by my religiosity. We always arrange things that everyone can do (some of my friends are not religious at all, some are in between, and some religious). It is only difficult in gray areas. If we hang out at someone's place inevitably TV gets put on at some point and its hard to say anything because there are other frum friends who watch so if I say something I am already being radically militant frum. I just try to distract myself with my laptop so I am sort of participating in watching without actually watching. That isnt always amazingly succesfull. I think my bigger problem is that I am too frum for my family. It's not that I am self righteous it is just difficult to live with a parents and a sibling in a one bedroom apartment that always has goyish music blasting and a TV in each room with MTV or VH1 or something else. There is literally nowhere to escape to here.

Altie said...

Get out of the house. That's what I do when I feel stifled.

C said...

I don't find it an issue at all. I have friends who are super-chassidish and frum, as well as friends who are very open and not so frum. If we connect, we connect. Frumkeit doesn't change that.

I do different things with different friends. Obviously, we respect each other and plan things accordingly.

I guess I am lucky that all my friends accept me for who I am, and visa versa.

Crawling Axe said...

Three possible answers:

1) You came into this world to elevate the world. A neshama has to be b’guf. And a guf has to be normal guf, not an invalid. So, sure, some things that a guf should not do it shouldn’t do. But the rest must be done so that the guf remains a guf — albeit in a way that serves the neshama too.

So, it’s the same with everything. Just because you became more chassidish doesn’t mean you should go live in a cave. You should remain in the world and do what you did (unless it is directly against your elevation as a Jew or as a chossid), but now with the purpose of connecting it to Eibeshter.

Nu, but sometimes it’s not apparent how to do it (connect something to Eibeshter). Should one let go of it? Somebody (a shliach) once told me: if it means breaking who you are (not fighting your nefesh ha’bahamis, but breaking your personality), then not. Chassidus needs to exist inside a healthy person.

2) What’s required is required. What’s not required is unnecessary. If something has not way of connecting you to Hashem, why have it?

3) Sometimes people drift apart, and it’s normal. Interests and priorities change. One should not make a big deal out of it — force it one way or another. If someone is a real friend, you will remain friends despite your (or his/her) changes.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I have friends ranging from shmoineh begoodim chassidim to goyim. I can remember only two instances where there were religiosity problems in the last five years. Before that they were quite common but I learned to deal.

e said...

Back in the day, this used to be a problem for you. How did you deal with it? And what were the two that happened in the last five years?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Basically, I grew up. I realized that I didn't have to be like everyone and I came to that a lot sooner than most people my age because I already knew that everyone was not like "everyone". As far as pragmatics go:
1- do not go to a goy's house on shabbos and with very few exceptions, do not invite him to yours.
2- It is possible to hold a normal conversation with a non-tznius female and make normal eye contact w/o eye-anywhere-else-contact
3- There is a certain amount you have to do not to offend other people. When visiting a shtarke snags house, if I think his father will be offended by me not wearing a hat, I wear one. By the same token, I do not speak yiddish to 5th generation American Jews who are not shomer shabbos.

Mostly it's a matter of sechel and knowing, in the words of my rabbi "what's a d'oraisa, what's a drabbanan, what's a minhag and what's stam a shtus."

yitz.. said...

i actually started blogging for exactly that reason..

after making aliyah and leaving most of my friends in the states, and studying torah/hassidut pretty intensely in my spare time, i met friends occasionally when they came to visit in Jerusalem. Even though they were the same people I knew and cared for, their world view was so shockingly different from mine, after only a few years.

So my blogging is for me a sort of breadcrumbs, so i can follow myself back to how i used to think, the world i used to live in, so I can relate to them, and so they can follow me forward and relate to me where I am now.

e said...

yitz..: what's up with the 2/3 ellipses/double period after you name?