Esther Perel on how to pull up a racist friend

published on July 13, 2020

How do you pick up people who are your friends that might be a fantastic person but they say some racist things every now and then? Or homophobic things? I've had the experience, I've had the experience particularly with one very dear friend who I knew was quite anti-semitic actually And so I also knew that she came from that And what I did over the years is basically say you know, there was a way in which they talked in your family about Jews that you know, I can see where you got some of these ideas

And I just would say, "I just would like you to know one thing; don't just love me and then say 'some of my best friends are' Or think I'm different I'm not And I hope that over time you will incorporate my messages and those of the people you meet through me like you incorporated those from your family Then we'll review" And did she understand? Yes Yes, yes, yes That took a while I knew she loved me, she just didn't love my people!

(laughs) So, it's a tough one I myself am friends with people of colour and sometimes i say you know, do you feel that there's something uncomfortable between us about this? You know at this point I make it almost a case of me to bring up the stuff which I think often we will avoid, because sometimes I think I know, and maybe I don't So, I want to surprise myself And I put myself in these uncomfortable situations and I say to these people, "Am I missing something? When you're with me or when you with my friends and you're the

Only person of colour, you know, tell me what it's like for you" And would not have done that 10 years ago This is new Do you think it's our duty as friends to communicate hard truths? I would say yes but that's because it's a personal opinion I understand that other people think differently And you know I can sound very confident that doesn't mean I'm right Yes, I think that friends more than anybody else because they are so "chosen"

You kind of want to say, "You know, I adore you But there's something I need to tell you And you know that the only reason I'm telling it to you is because I care Because if I didn't care I wouldn't say a word But because I adore you I'm going to be a little bit tough Do you think you can handle it?" You need a buy in before you open your mouth "Are you up for it? Do you want me to tell you? It's not gonna feel good but it will get better" And then you tell your message

"I think that what's happening between you and your kid, what's happening between you and your mother, what's happening between you and your partner, what's happening which you and your boss" And on you deliver the truth And I think it is one of the fantastic experiences of friends especially when you have long friends that have been with you "Listen darling, at 15 you were this way, and at 29 you're still this way, and at 39 I'm sorry to tell you, it's time to move on from this thing"

Sounds like you've done that before I've done it before and i've been the recipient of it too I have had very honest friends with me and sometimes I even I would ask you know? And I thank them I think I'm a much better person I think that friends have a concerted interest in making us become a better version of ourselves

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