How do you let friends know that you’ve outgrown them without hurting their feelings? I have a couple of friends I would rather not socialize with anymore. I feel I have changed and grown into a different person. I’m sure these people will confront me one day about why I don’t return their calls or want to do things with them anymore. I don’t want to hurt their feelings or have an unpleasant confrontation with them. Can you help?
From Cleveland, Ohio
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It’s unfortunate that some friends don’t realize when they’ve worn out their welcome. Some people you need to hit over the head with a board in order for them to get the message, which is an option you may have to “literally” entertain. In the meantime, here are some ideas. Tell them that hanging around them is causing a reduction in your I.Q. Show them on a calculator what you mean, and hopefully they’ll be too stupid to argue the bogus numbers you’ll use to empirically insult their lack of intelligence. Or, you can try to convince them that they are worthless losers that’ll go nowhere in life, and you feel guilty because you feel you’re in the way of preventing them from dragging themselves down further. Or maybe you can encourage them to unwittingly not want to hang around you by having some really absurd radical ideas. Such as, you want to marry and have children with one of the aliens housed at Area 51 and you want your buddies (at their cost) to help you build a spaceship that can be used on your honeymoon to travel around the galaxy. But if you want them to stay away from you forever, this last suggestion should do it. Tell them that you need their assistance in a bank robbery. And if caught, tell them they should flip on each other, but because you are going to the brains of the criminal enterprise, emphasize to them they should never implicate you during their interrogation. And to drive your point further that will prompt them to keep their distance from you, hand both of them a ski mask, promising to give them the next time you see them some untraceable guns that have been used in several unsolved murders. I hope this helps.