Taking the awkward silence out of interfaith friendships, one conversation at a time.
Every day you come into contact with people of different faiths—someone at the grocery store, your doctor, an office mate. Even your best friend might belong to another religious denomination and go to a church across town.
Having meaningful conversations about faith with others—even a good friend—can be tricky when you don’t share the same beliefs. There’s the potential for each of you to feel misunderstood, hurt, or offended. So what do you do? Avoid talking about faith? No! Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll discover that interfaith conversations can be inspiring and uplifting.
Friendship first. Let your friend know you value your friendship first above what they believe. Show genuine care for them and their perspective. Love is key.
Show respect. Respect your friend’s beliefs, even if they are unfamiliar or don’t make sense to you. Avoid joking about their religious clothing, leaders, or traditions. How would you feel if someone said the same things about what you believe? Everyone deserves respect, and so do you.
Be curious. Ask questions with an attitude of genuinely wanting to know more. Don’t just try to convert them to your point of view. Have an open mind. If you’re open to new ideas, you can find common ground in unexpected places.
Stay true to your faith. Talk about your beliefs. Don’t be afraid to share something about who you are and what you believe. In times when you might be tempted to compromise your values, give a brief explanation about your faith and your true friends will actually respect you for standing up for your beliefs.
Listen. If you feel like your friend has said something insensitive, take a minute to listen to their point of view and collect your thoughts before you react. Try not to jump into the conversation and immediately get defensive of what you believe. Saying something hastily or out of anger can damage an otherwise great relationship. Sincere listening and understanding can go a long way.
Interfaith friendships can be extremely rewarding. Through respectful conversations with people of faith, you’ll get the chance to consider life from other perspectives. You may find that you have a lot more in common than you think, and you’ll avoid a lot of awkward silences in the process.