Friends who avoid violent pal feel rejected
Dear Amy: A few years ago, my partner and I, both artists, moved from Europe to the USA's West Coast.
We already had close connections and friends in the States -- a very nice circle of open-minded spirits. Other friends moved here from other big cities, and we quickly helped bring all the circles together through gatherings and art shows.
A big falling-out happened with one of our closest longtime friends. This falling-out involved drugs, weapons and violence (on his part). We decided to completely sever ties and changed the locks of our doors and phone numbers. We felt unsafe and threatened, and because as aliens on U.S. soil, we couldn't afford to be brought into anything illegal, which would jeopardize our status.
Our other friends are aware of the situation, and in conversation seem to understand us. We've never initiated discussions about this, nor gossiped about our friend, but his issues are well known and hard to miss, so our friends do talk about it.
Despite all that, our friends keep inviting him and us to the same gatherings. We have been opting to NOT attend gatherings in order to avoid conflict, but we now feel alienated from our friends. We even feel that our buttons are being pushed.
Not attending events separates us from everyone, including a lot of friends we introduced to each other.
We have not been vocal about the reasons of our absence, because we do not want to gossip, nor ask to ban anyone, especially a troubled person, from attending. However, we do NOT want our lives or legal status endangered.
Amy, how should we address this situation, when we feel like we are excluding ourselves from circles we helped bring together? We miss our friends.
-- Left Aside
Dear Left Aside: One obvious thing you should do is to host events, inviting these overlapping circles of people who seem to mean so much to you, excluding the person you need to avoid.