Say goodbye now, before it gets too obvious. But don’t let them know you’re saying goodbye. Just invite them out to lunch or over for a barbecue. Or meet for coffee … just casual … no big deal.
Nobody need know that it’s really a bit of a farewell. They may get over it … after a decade or so … and your friendship can resume. But I speak from the experience of one who has lost many, many “close, personal friends” after Presidential elections.
The charade will require Herculean effort on their part to keep from gnashing their teeth to the nubs, and the general tension arising at this farewell meeting of not discussing the elephant (literally) in the room will be excruciating — but keep a gentle smile omnipresent and love them graciously and sweetly. And hug them at your departure the hug of someone watching a friend going off to die.
They of course won’t die. But the pain of losing their hope and change, and worse … that newly reignited fear deep, deep down inside of them … that terror of the possibility that everything they’ve been professing with such arrogant condescension all their lives, that certainty of correctness and intellectualism that they’ve clothed themselves in, crowned themselves with, setting them so far above us common sense cretins for decades … that spark of consciousness will threaten them to their core … with the possibility that everything they believe in is total horseshit.