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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I had a quick, but significant, argument with my best friend,

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I had a quick, but significant, argument with my best friend, whom I have known since high school (we're 31 now). We were talking about interracial dating, and he asked what would my parents think if I brought home an African-American woman (I'm Caucasian). I said I don't know, there's a chance they wouldn't like it. And we talked some more (this was all by texting), and he said "yeah, a couple of rich, right-wing Republicans definitely wouldn't go for that (referring to the interracial dating). And I asked if he was talking about my parents, and he said yes. That made me very angry and resentful because it is totally unfair. First of all, he has had a resentment towards my parents for years, because he thinks they have money and that instead of doing things like buying two vacation houses, they should give their money to charity (I told him pointedly it's none of his business what they do with their money). So we've had arguments about this before, and he mentioned something or other about them and their beliefs during the election in 2012, which I let slip. So I asked him in my text what exactly their "sin" was: being rich or being Republican? And I told him that if he thinks I'm just going to join in as he insults my parents, he mistakes me for someone else. And I told him that maybe he could be wealthy, happy, and successful too, if he weren't a jealous, lazy bum. And then I signed it with an expletive (a**h**e). He got back completely taken aback, like where was all this coming from? And we haven't spoken since. Was my response overboard? Will I hear from him? I'm not making the first move because (a) we've been through this before, and (b) calling someone "rich," "Republican," or "right-wing" is definitely an insult in his mind and was intended as one. It's unfair because my parents are two of the nicest, most generous people I know, and they have two gay children, and are very understanding, definitely not right-wing (he knows about the gay children and their favorable and supportive reaction to it, which is why I'm so angry at his response).
Hello, I'd like to help you with your questions.

Your response to him was understandable. He continued to target your parents regardless of your feelings until you became defensive. He will most likely cool down and call you. If not, you can give this some time and contact him in the near future when you feel ready to deal with him.

It sounds like your friend has issues of his own and instead of dealing with them directly, he is using your parents as a way to express his resentment over his own situation. People who are critical of others are usually insecure. They typically feel that others "have it easy" and get what they want without having to work for it (which is untrue of your parents). They tend to project their own discrimination on others they resent the most while at the same time criticizing others for being discriminatory.

It may help to keep in mind that your friend is not doing this because there is anything wrong with your parents. It is easy to try to defend your parents because he is making them his target. But if he was not criticizing your parents, he would be criticizing someone else who he feels is better than he is.

Therefore, it helps to try to change how you are seeing this situation. For one, your friend is insecure and possibly has low self esteem. So anything he says about others comes from his own issues and does not mean anything about who he is targeting. Two, think about your own views of your parents. Do you feel what your friend says is untrue? Then it is untrue and you do not have to listen to it. The next time your friend criticizes anyone, you can change the topic or end the conversation. Simply tell him that you wish to talk about something else or you need to go. After some time, he should get the message.

I hope this has helped you,
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