Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“She’s Forcing a Friendship I Don’t Want”

My husband, who is from out of state, has lived here for four years now but has had a hard time making close guy friends. He does have one friend, “Greg,” whom he met on our coed softball team when he first moved here, and the two have become very close. The problem is not with Greg, who is a great guy, but rather with his wife, “Sarah.” When my husband and Greg first became friends, the four of us would socialize together fairly regularly. I liked Sarah well enough, but was was shocked when, two months after I met her and a week after Greg proposed, she asked me to be her maid-of-honor. I declined the role, but agreed to be a bridesmaid instead, although even that, felt inappropriate.

The following few years have been more of the same, with Sarah trying to force intimacy between us. She invited herself into my wedding party, constantly refers to us as “sisters” and best friends, throws fits when I hang out with my girlfriends without inviting her along, uses the silent treatment to punish me regularly, and once every few months confronts me, asking if everything between us is OK because she hasn’t heard from me in a while.

I would be more than happy to count Sarah as one of my friends, and I would enjoy most of the time we spend together, if she would only put the brakes on this “best friend” thing which drives me crazy. It was hard enough before; now, I’m newly pregnant and my husband and I have plenty of extra stress to iron out without me having to worry how to “handle” Sarah. I know I shouldn’t have to include someone in my life who makes me miserable, and if it were anyone else, I would simply have ended the friendship completely. But when I complain about Sarah to my husband, it breaks my heart to see him struggle with the situation.When I complain about Sarah to my husband, it breaks my heart to see him struggle with the situation. He knows she’s nuts and that I shouldn’t have to put up with her, but he also dreads losing Greg because Sarah and I can’t manage to work things out. Simply put, cutting Sarah completely out of my life is not an option.

There must be a way to let her know that she needs to back off, right? I’ve already explained to her that although I value her friendship, I also have other relationships in my life; I’ve cut back on answering her phone calls and text messages in the hopes that she gets the picture; and I’ve told her that I don’t have time for much else in my life because of my pregnancy. But I can’t hide behind my baby forever. I’m worried that with all the extra hormones I have coursing through me, I’m going to snap and say something to her that will effectively end the friendship, and I really don’t want to do that to my husband. Please, help me figure out how to deal with this without wrecking my husband’s friendship! — Stressed by Aggressive Friend


I can totally understand how someone like Sarah could be annoying, but it seems a little farfetched that her (fairly innocuous) behavior is making you “miserable.” When I read your list of complaints concerning Sarah — she invited herself into your wedding party, constantly refers to you as “sisters” and best friends, throws fits when you hang out with your girlfriends without inviting her along, uses the silent treatment to punish you regularly, and once every few months asks if everything between you is OK — I can’t help but think most of these issues are opportunities for you to draw some boundaries and even take a little personal blame. Like, when she invited herself into your wedding. Why didn’t you just say “no”? It was your wedding. If you “let” her be in it, that’s kind of on you, isn’t it? Just as it’s on you that you accepted her invitation to be in her wedding. No one forced you to. You could have made an gentle excuse. As for her getting angry when you hang out with other friends, how does she know when you’ve hung out with other friends? Do you tell her? Does your husband tell her husband? Do you post an update on Facebook about everything you do? Then, put a stop to all of that. Quit giving her a way to keep tabs on your personal life. Set some boundaries. Protect your personal time. And when she uses the “silent treatment” to punish you, count your blessings. If you’re already at a point when you’re avoiding her calls and texts, shouldn’t you be welcoming a little silent treatment? I don’t get the issue. And I don’t get the issue when Sarah asks if everything’s OK between you. That’s your chance to say, “Actually, I’m feeling overwhelmed by a host of stresses and obligations in my life right now and it would mean so much to me if you could be understanding that I simply don’t have the time or energy to be as emotionally available to you as you’d like. Just because I may go a few weeks without talking to you doesn’t mean we have issues in our friendship. It only means I’m focusing on the million of other things that demand my attention right now. Please don’t take it personally. I always enjoy spending time with you when I have the chance.”

And speaking of things that demand your attention, why can’t you hide behind your baby “forever”? Sure, he’s not always going to be a baby, but for the foreseeable future, he’s going to be a huge, huge responsibility and, frankly, a time and energy suck. It’s not at all unusual for parents to kind of disappear a little bit from the friends they dearly love, simply because their child demands so much of their focus. So, if it’s a challenge for parents to carve time for the people they really want to see, I can imagine what a convenient excuse a child would give parents for fading away from the people they don’t care to see quite as much. I think you’ll soon find that even your husband won’t have the time and energy he’s had in the past to do as much with Greg. And in that respect, maybe Sarah won’t take your limited availability so personally. But if she does? If she really gets her panties in a bunch when a new mother can’t drop everything to see her all the time, then that’s her problem and I wouldn’t waste your energy worrying about how that’s going to affect your husband’s relationship with her husband. Any decent human being isn’t going to dump a friend because his wife, who’s caring for a newborn, isn’t hanging out with his wife enough. That’s just ridiculous. And if Greg is the sort of guy who would pull a stunt like that, your husband would be better off making a new friend or two. Maybe you two should start or join a new parents group in your area…

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

64 comments… add one
  • FireStar

    FireStar October 5, 2011, 8:03 am

    Why do you have to socialize as a couple? Isn’t this situation what a ‘boys night’ was built for? With the baby you can fade from friend to just friendly and leave the husbands to hang out on their own.

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    Splashes October 5, 2011, 8:16 am

    I guess I don’t see the big deal…Sarah obviously wants to be friends. Maybe she is more emotionally invested in the friendship than you are…but I hardly see that as making you “miserable” or evidence that she is “nuts.” I have met women that I have had a quick and fast connection without having known them for years and years. If she felt a connection with you in six months, why is that inappropriate that she asked you to be a bridesmaid?

    I don’t know. Maybe Sarah should have taken a hint that you don’t want the kind of friendship with her that she wants with you…but I think you’re being a bit of a stick in the mud. She wants to be friends! I’m just getting that “Sarah isn’t worthy of being my friend and since she doesn’t get it, she’s obviously crazy!” vibe from you.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't October 5, 2011, 8:43 am

      OMG, yes! I’m totally getting the “I’m just doing Sarah a favour by even giving her any of my time, why isn’t she totally grateful for my willingness to indulge her???” Especially the part where Sarah “forced” herself into the LW’s wedding party. SERIOUSLY? No, she didn’t. You told her it was okay. You didn’t say no. That’s ALL on you. You’re just trying to paint yourself as a martyr here.

      Also, this letter raises so many questions.

      -Have you and your husband undergone some sort of mind-meld? Is there no reason you can socialize separately every once in a while?
      -why do you assume your husband’s friendship with Greg will end if your friendship with Sarah ends? This is what guy’s nights are for.
      – why is your husband so bad at making friends?
      – have YOU tried to make friends of your own, at all?
      – have you stopped to consider that Sarah may be lonely? Did she move here recently? Is her family far away? Is her marriage unhappy? All those things might contribute to her neediness.

      It’s too early in the morning for the self-righteousness in this letter.

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      • avatar

        cdobbs October 5, 2011, 9:33 am

        You said it perfectly!

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        Sleepy October 5, 2011, 9:34 am

        I don’t see this from her at all. Clearly you have never been in a situation that requires tact or empathy. She doesn’t want to hurt this girls feelings, and she feels hemmed in by her boyfriends, and thus their couple friendship, with these people. Have you really never been in such a situation. From your bitchy response, I would guess no, and I would also guess you are not a good friend.

        Sometimes people have a way of insinuating themselves into your life in a broader way than you would like and extricating yourself can be hard. I guess unless you lack human feeling.

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      • Budj

        Budjer October 5, 2011, 9:50 am

        I get where your coming from, I do…it is hard to say no…but…if she had been more *assertive* (not aggresive / offensive) about the situation from the get-go she wouldn’t be in this mess.

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      • avatar

        DebMoore October 5, 2011, 12:23 pm

        Yes but some people aren’t very good at being assertive. So it makes the situation hard.

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      • Budj

        Budjer October 5, 2011, 2:19 pm

        This goes back to the arguments people were having over people becoming passive-aggressive because they can’t just be assertive and how there is no sympathy for the situation because they put themselves into it. I used to be too timid, but it really is easy to be assertive once you start and life gets a lot easier.

        If you know you should be assertive to take care of something in your life…but you are too afraid to do anything about it…who’s fault is it?

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      • avatar

        Greebo October 5, 2011, 9:49 am

        “It’s too early in the morning for the self-righteousness in this letter”.

        *snicker* I want to tell some of my clients this, and I’ve already had coffee today. Thank you for that.

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      • avatar

        NOLAGirl October 5, 2011, 11:22 am

        AMEN! I feel this way often. Sadly, I can’t actually *say* that. haha

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 October 5, 2011, 10:38 am

        I think that you are looking at this a little to much. This women has been trying to be friends with this women for her husbands sake for a while now, it’s not like this just happened. She has known this women since before they were engaged, and they are married now. She clearly just got in way over her head, and let this go for to long so it makes it that much harder to pull away. The thing is that her husband only has one friend here, and the fact is that if she breaks things off with this women cold turkey her husband might lose that friendship. I know people are saying that the guys can be friend with out the wife’s being friends, but it’s to late for that to happen. That would have had to happen at the beginning of the relationship. Now if this women is so upset should could ask her husband not to hangout with Greg, because of how his wife treated her. It’s nice that everyone is telling her what she could have done, but that isn’t what she’s asking, if she did that she wouldn’t have had to write in. I don’t think this is a situation where you say you created this situation now just deal with it.
        I think the best thing for the LW to do is to help her husband find some more friends, and hope that with him spending less time with this women’s husband she can start to spend less time with his wife. Maybe start hanging out with your other friends and their significant others (why aren’t you doing that anyways?) I mean if he expects you to be friends with his friend’s wife, than he should at least try to be friend with your friends husbands, and boyfriends. If that doesn’t work then if this women does get under your skin that bad your husband will understand, and let you do what you have to do.

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      • Budj

        Budjer October 5, 2011, 10:48 am

        Yea – I still think if she stops putting so much pressure on the relationship based on how the other woman is acting that she will feel less stressed about this and be able to handle the situation better. She can’t just drop her….but if she is not as stressed about the relationship the friend won’t subconciously get desperate over it and exacerbate the problem.

        Including her in the group of friends would totally take the pressure of the LW too. However, based on the letter I would not be surprised if this is a situation where the LW is a personality that is content having companionship in her marriage with very few to no friends outside of family so that may not be an option.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 October 5, 2011, 11:02 am

        Well it does say she does hangout with her other friends so I’m not sure if she is 100% content with having just companionship in her marriage, she actually sounds like she wants to seperater her friends and her married life, and that is probably why they don’t hang out as couples with her other friends. It sounds like she likes having her independance, and going out for girls night, instead of doing stuff together. That personally doesn’t make sense to me when people do that, but that is why everyone is different! I have a friend that we were best friends in highschool, and she had a boyfriend since freshman year, that she eventually married. So since 1994 I have met her boyfriend/husband 3 times, and one of those times was at a bar on St. Patties day, and he was without her.

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    • becboo84

      BecBoo84 October 5, 2011, 10:55 am

      Just want to note, that Sarah didn’t ask the LW to be a bridesmaid after knowing her for 6 months, she asked her to be the MOH after knowing her 2 months. That, to me, does seem quite strange.

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        amber October 5, 2011, 11:13 am

        yeah bridesmaid and MOH are different to begin with, and after two months that would just be too much for me. but, the LW should have stood up then and found a way to gracefully get out of being MOH.

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        Blitzen October 5, 2011, 11:50 am

        Well, she did…

        “she asked me to be her maid-of-honor. I declined the role, but agreed to be a bridesmaid”

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      • avatar

        amber October 5, 2011, 11:58 am

        yeah should have said bowing out of being in the wedding. that’s what i was actually thinking but that’s not how i wrote it! i guess i wouldn’t have even felt comfortable being a bridesmaid after that short of time.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar October 5, 2011, 1:06 pm

      I think you are being overly harsh on the LW – she already said she doesn’t want to hurt Sarah’s feelings but Sarah sounds pretty passive-aggressive to me – constantly pushing to get closer and sulking when things don’t go her way. It’s one thing to set boundaries – which I think the LW should absolutely do – but it can get exhausting constantly reinforcing those boundaries with someone who just wants what they want irrespective of what the other party is comfortable with. In my experience, these “friendships” become tiring and while it’s sad that Sarah is lonely – it isn’t the LW responsibility to be her social circle – or to find her one.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 8:38 am

    Wendy’s right about how the baby will eat up your time. You really will have far less time to spend with friends and you will become picky about how you spend that time because it is much more precious. You will also probably become friends with other couples with young children and will have much less in common with friends who don’t have children. You will gravitate toward friends who have homes that are child friendly. The worst times we had with a toddler were when we went to a home that wasn’t child proofed and had to spend the entire evening following a toddler around to make sure they didn’t touch or break all of the photos and expensive decorations sitting on low tables. It is so exhausting to not be able to relax or sit down or talk with the people you are visiting. We would only go to a home like that once then would always make excuses and never go back. It’s also bad if you go to a home that has absolutely nothing for a young child to do. You can take along things for your child to do but the things you bring from home that they’ve already explored over and over don’t compete well with all the new things in the home you’re visiting, like their TV, stereo system and other electronics, so again it can be a tedious time with you doing nothing but vigilant child care while the person you visit, who has no children, thinks your child is horribly behaved. People with young children understand what young children are like and your visit can be fun and relaxing so having a child will change your social circle. You meet so many people through child centered activities that your social circle will grow rapidly once your child is big enough to take part in activities. But even before the baby is born you meet people through child birth classes who are at the same stage in life so you automatically have something in common.

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    • avatar

      Steph October 5, 2011, 9:39 am

      Um, I could be wrong here, but with my daughter I’ve always been under the impression that it was my job to entertain and keep track of her when I went to someone elses home. Just because someone is your host does not mean they assume all responsibility for your child. You should be bringing things to other people’s houses and you should be following your child around at their home.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 10:22 am

        I have never expected anyone to watch my child at their house. What I am saying is that if you do nothing at someone’s house except watch your child then it is no fun because you never get to sit down and relax. Especially if you have an active boy. They are incredibly interested in electronics and you must stay with them nonstop to make sure that they don’t do anything harmful to the homeowners belongings. It is just no fun to spend hours guarding expensive items.

        When we would go to the home of someone with another child, especially a boy, the home was child proofed and we could sit and talk to the couple without fear that our child would damage things. Our son could play with the other boy and everything was safe.

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        Flake October 5, 2011, 11:41 am

        We go through the same thing every time we visit friends’ houses. My little one simply never stays in place, especially when there are new and exciting things to explore. My friends are always saying that after watching him, they know how to childproof their house once they have kids. But for now, I and my BF take turns following the kid around and catching all the shiny glass things that are all over their house. Although, most of our friends are in the baby-having period too, so soon we will all understand each other better.

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        Steph October 5, 2011, 3:01 pm

        Okay. My apologies. I misconstrued the meaning entirely. Thank you ffor the clarification. I’m sorry for reacting so negatively!

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        sarita_f October 5, 2011, 10:40 am

        Hi Steph – while I do agree with your opinion that parents are responsible for watching their children while in someone else’s home, I think you missed Skyblossom’s point. She was simply stating that you will naturally gravitate toward people in your same situation in life, and going to other people’s homes where she doesn’t have to hover over a child is simply easier, and thus more enjoyable. I didn’t see anywhere in her letter where she wanted to assume a host was responsible for her child.

        Most of the friends I made when I moved to my current city 4 years ago are 5-10 years older than me (I’m 31). I’m far from having kids, may not ever have them. But almost every last one of my original group of friends has gotten married and started a family, and they just cannot take the time, energy and expense (if they want to hire a babysitter) to come on over to my place to drink beers all the time, at my decidedly non-child-proofed home. Instead, they make friends with other couples in their neighborhoods who have young children, and it’s just so much EASIER for them to cart the family over last minute and let the kids play in the kid-friendly backyard or basement while the adults have a glass of wine in the kitchen.

        I’m used to going to them, now, to socialize and play with the little monsters and meet their new family friends. I’ve gone so far as to bring ingredients and cook for them, in their kitchens, using the excuse that my apartment kitchen is tiny and it’s a treat for me to cook in a big kitchen. That way I feel like I’m paying back a little bit of the social debt that accumulates because they tend to have me over far more often than they can come to me these days.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 10:59 am

        Exactly! Your friends are lucky to have you be willing to come over and see them at their house and for you to cook is an added bonus.

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        honeybeenicki October 5, 2011, 10:59 am

        I thought Skyblossom was saying that she was keeping track of her toddler and brings stuff for them to do (but they have already played with/explored those things and they are surrounded by new things). I didn’t pick up an expectation for the host to do any of that. I think the point I got from it was that it makes a nice relaxing conversation difficult if you are at a person’s house with your child and they don’t have children, so you are following around your own making sure they stay out of trouble.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 3:58 pm

        What I was trying to say, and did a poor job of it, was that when you have children your social needs change and so does your social circle. You also meet a huge number of new people and some of them will be a great fit with you and your husband.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 5, 2011, 4:38 pm

      My mom has always said that you don’t child-proof a house. You house-proof a child. Yes, children are curious and adventurous, but it’s not impossible to discipline a child enough to have them not going through everybody’s stuff. That’s ridiculous. If that happened at my house, I wouldn’t think the child was terrible. I would think that the parent had been pretty lax with teaching the child how to behave.

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      • theattack

        theattack October 5, 2011, 4:42 pm

        I do understand your point though. That it’s easier to take a child somewhere that has entertaining things for them to do than somewhere that has nothing. But I don’t believe that houses should be “child-proofed” to the point of taking down nice decorations. Children should just be taught to not touch them. But I get where you’re coming from about having stuff for your kid to do.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 5:54 pm

        A two-year-old just doesn’t get it yet. They don’t know that certain things belong to them and they can do what they want with their own things and that other things don’t belong to them and can’t be touched. So when you go to someones house you spend your time telling your child over and over that it isn’t theirs and they can’t touch it. By the time they are three and half to four they get it but it takes a while. It takes a while to grasp the concept of ownership. So you do spend your time teaching your child to be respectful of other people’s belongings but it certainly isn’t a fun or relaxing evening and it isn’t the way I want to spend my evening out. The teaching takes time and the development of certain concepts.

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        jess October 6, 2011, 3:09 am

        toddlers are different than kids, they don’t have the kind of rational/memory to understand what is a toy and what isn’t, so you can’t “train” them not to touch things

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  • avatar

    TheOtherMe October 5, 2011, 9:05 am

    …”I would be more than happy to count Sarah as one of my friends, and I would enjoy most of the time we spend together, if she would only put the brakes on this “best friend” thing which drives me crazy.”….

    Why can’t you just say that to “her” ?

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    • Tracey

      Tracey October 5, 2011, 10:33 am

      And use those words exactly. When you do, don’t use them when she has worked your last nerve, because that will create a bunch of drama you don’t want. Take a deep breath, be calm, be gentle but firm, pick a moment when it’s just the two of you (do not have this conversation amongst a group of your friends) and tell her how you’re feeling. She can only behave in a way that crosses your boundaries and irritates you as long as you let her do so.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG October 5, 2011, 9:30 am

    When I was reading this letter, part of me did feel sympathy for the LW. I know I personally don’t have that many close female friends outside of my family. If you need my love and support during a trying time, I can be there for you when you ask – but I also understand the need to do your own thing so you can be the best individual you can be in our friendship together, so please respect my need for that as well. Yet there’s something about the way that most female friendships are portrayed in magazines, in Hollywood, in books that gives me this tick because I honestly don’t think I get it. I can appreciate a night of girly-abandon or the fancy Sunday brunch with the best of them, but the commiserating of the opposite sex, the silent treatments, the DRAMA – I can do without that, thankyouverymuch. I can be friendly, personable and up for a good time with the best of them, WITHOUT that together-forever magical bond in sisterhood that is manufactured and capitalized with a female friendship.

    Because of those “expectations” of what a female friendship entails, part of me also felt sympathy for Sarah. I’m willing to bet that her expectations of what female friendship involve that insta-click through fate, the bonding to the point of near sisterhood and the “we’re going to do everything together and love it because we’re exercising GIRL POWER! till then end” mentality. I’m also guessing that Sarah probably never had that many female friends to begin with as well as never had any sisters growing up. Poor Sarah probably bought into the manufactured sisterhood mentality that the industry wants to capitalize within female friendships and is pushing it on the LW because it’s the only way she knows how to be a friend.

    LW, you have to give it to Sarah straight and tell her the kind of friendship you want from her. My sister (whom I consider my closest friend) has done this with great success – she gladly tells all the female friends she has that she loves them and is willing to be there for them however they need be but she has a “No Drama” rule with everyone. If you give Sarah an expectation of what you want out of her friendship with her, tell her to stick with it, and if she doesn’t comply, tell her you can’t be friends. Part of the reason you feel Sarah is a problem now is because you’re not telling her how you TRULY feel without fear of hurting your husband’s friendship with Greg. No one can force you to maintain a friendship, but you are contributing to the scene through your silence – so speak up to whoever you need to about this. A good friend will want to share their time with you, a great friend will recognize those alone times you need to be a friend to yourself and an excellent friend will be wise enough to know when to really be there or not.

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    • avatar

      Soup October 5, 2011, 1:25 pm

      I’m glad someone else had sympathy for the LW. I’ve been in her shoes before, too. Not everyone is good at setting boundaries, mainly out of concern for otehrs’ feelings. I thought Wendy (and many of the early commenters) were pretty harsh on the LW. I think more empathy would have been nice. Instead, the LW basically got a lot more drama from responses. That’s too bad.

      I do agree that she needs to work on setting boundaries and being as clear in her communications with Sarah as possible – while being kind and considerate. It’s hard to take those first few steps, but it’s incredibly empowering. It makes it easier to draw boundaries with others in the future.

      SGMcG, you nailed it. The LW needs to be her authentic self with Sarah, and strive to communicate her needs. I don’t think it will need to damage her husband’s relationship with Greg, but being clear about the “no drama” expectations would help. Perhaps Sarah hasn’t even realized how she’s coming across. This may be a great opportunity for them to better relate and better understand their friendship. Best of luck to the LW.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs October 5, 2011, 9:31 am

    What? Just because your husband has a friend does not mean you are under any obligation to hang out with the friend’s wife. thats just stupid. if you don’t want to hang out with her than just politely decline her offers of hanging out. i can see the need to hang out once in awhile as a foursome or in a group, but i mean there is no law that states you have to be BFFs just because your husbands get along.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 5, 2011, 4:46 pm

      No, but that would have been a pattern to set in the beginning, not now. At this point, she has to deal with the fact that withdrawing totally from Sarah could harm her husband’s friendship. You can only make that sort of a decision at the beginning, not after it’s already started.

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  • avatar

    sweetleaf October 5, 2011, 9:33 am

    I would have no problem just telling this girl to bounce and I think that’s just what you need to do.

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  • avatar

    blueskies October 5, 2011, 9:54 am

    I almost never comment….but… I also have a friend who is like the one the letter writer describes. Since I met her, I realized that I would have to establish boundaries, as she lacks interpersonal skills and reading social cues (and tends to smoother!). I would definitely suggest being more verbal about what you want from the friendship, and laying out some ground rules. If she really is a lovely person like you say she is, your friendship will thrive when you hit a balance of what you BOTH can feel comfortable with. I meet up with my friend for a weekly walk. If she starts texting/emailing too much, I’ll just respond that I have lots to say too– and can’t wait to update her when we meet for our walk.
    And it’s totally possible that the type of friendship you want, won’t be something she wants. But at least she won’t be stuck trying to read your “hints”, and she can try to expand her social circle without you.

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  • avatar

    Bethany October 5, 2011, 9:58 am

    LW, I get where you’re coming from, because I’ve been in similar situations. You need to learn to SPEAK UP. As Wendy pointed out, you have had many chances to explain yourself, and plenty of opprotunities to show her what kind of friendship you want. If you haven’t done that, then really the blame is on you at this point. personally I’ve had a hard time setting limits or explaining to people that the kind of relationship that they want to have with me is not one I can give to them, and when you don’t do this, you only suffer more in the long run. Just be honest. If you don’t want to be her BFF, don’t be, and if she questions you about it, be honest with her and explain that you really like hanging out with her socially, but that you have other relationships that are a priority to you that you really need to focus on.

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  • Budj

    budjer October 5, 2011, 9:16 am

    LW,

    Recognize that some people throw those endearing terms around more loosely than others (you don’t need to reciprocate, just not look awkard when she says them because that is a source of insecurity for her) and that the 6 month relationship in adult life may have been enough time to put you in the wedding party over her college friends she stopped talking to 3 – 10 years ago….

    She probably has like 4 best friends….don’t put so much pressure into her labels of the relationship because it only can progress as far as you allow it to….maybe with that realization she will feel less suffocating.

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    lk October 5, 2011, 10:23 am

    That picture is so funny… It totally looks like the one girl is kind of Mean Girls & the other one is just excited & about to get her feelings hurt…

    Anywayzzz… be nice, LW, but don’t be a doormat. If Sarah can finally get the picture that you aren’t going to besties, she can put her energy into finding a better friend match for herself & you can put your energy into trying to do everything you do now, times two, on half the sleep.

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    H October 5, 2011, 10:35 am

    It is hard for me to really judge this situation as I have not met this overzealous friend.

    I have a friend (that I have known since I was a child), who I have at times dubbed “crazy”. She is extremely socially awkward. Talks loudly- says whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She has very little tact. But, you know what? She does have a good heart. She came from a crappy family. And she really just wants to be “BEST FRIENDS” with everyone she meets (and has no problem saying that and giving you a gigantic hug upon first meeting you). I find that hard to be mad at. I do limit how often I see her as she can really wear me out.

    And yes- you can certainly limit your contact with her without being a mean girl. It’s not so hard as you are making it out to be. If this friend of mine invited herself to be in my wedding party, I would just kindly say “I really wanted to have a small wedding and unfortunately, I have already committed to have a few other ladies be my bridesmaids. Thanks for the sweet offer!” And, that would be that. You LET her be in your wedding.

    This girl just sounds lonely. Check your snobbery at the door. Maybe invite her to go have lunch with you and a few other of your female friends. She could possibly become friendly with some of the other ladies in your circle and require less time from you. If she calls and you’re busy, well… say just that… “I’m busy!”.

    Like I said- I haven’t met her. Maybe she is being inappropriately irritating and borderline rude. But, it sounds like she just needs a friend and you come across as being a little too cool for school…

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary October 5, 2011, 10:49 am

      I agree that I think this girl is probably lonely. I know a couple of women like this in my life and they usually don’t have a ton of female friends so they get overly excited whenever they feel like they’ve made a connection. Sometimes it’s because of personal issues they have with abandonment or loneliness. I think that this woman probably has a good heart and doesn’t know that she’s coming on too strong. If the LW spoke up a little more I think this situation could be resolved easily.

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      Splashes October 5, 2011, 11:13 am

      Exactly on your last 2 paragraphs!!

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    cookiesandcream October 5, 2011, 10:56 am

    I get the feeling that Sarah either has a really hard time making friends and is determined to make you her new BFF, or she had a falling out with her regular group of friends and is trying to make them jealous by parading you around. Either way, she sounds a little lonely and desperate.

    I used to have a friend that sounds like Sarah (and her name was Sarah!) and drawing clear boundaries and making sure she respects them is key to handling friends like that. Good luck, LW, and congratulations on your soon-to-be newborn!

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    Bossy Italian Wife October 5, 2011, 11:28 am

    I understand that this is tough situation for you… a sort of take on “What About Bob?” where she keeps popping up and being overbearing, but enough is enough. You are contributing to the situation by not asserting yourself. That has to end, pronto.

    You need to confront her, wisely and calmly. Don’t re-hash the entire litany of the things you feel are invasive because, as Wendy stated, you are a bit at fault for letting this go on so long. You’ve got to state it simply…. and to be perfectly honest, her behavior sounds a little desperate. So, if you assert your feelings a draw a line, chances are she will adhere to them because she’s desperate for a bestie.

    And let’s talk about that a second–it sounds like she really likes you as a friend and wants very badly to be your friend. So do treat her kindly with that in mind.

    Explain to Sarah that you really enjoy your time together, but that the silent treatments and tantrums have got to stop. Tell her that you are a very social person and that you will sometimes socialize without her, and it is in no meant to offend her (and that you hope she can accept this about you). Lastly, tell her that things are really changing right now with you being pregnant and that means less time for drama as well as socialization.

    Let her know that you are telling her these things in an effort have a better friendship with her in the long run.

    Overall, you generally sound like you have a problem with asserting yourself… so put on your big girl pants and get to it!

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    oppositeofzen October 5, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I can’t help but wonder if the LW has actually said anything to Sarah. Maybe the LW thinks she’s been dropping hints, but what about flat out telling her (nicely, of course)? I’m one of those people that doesn’t always pick up on hints and has to be told if I’m bothering someone.

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    AKchic October 5, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Darlin, darlin, darlin. I see you are suffering from “I must be friends with my husband’s friend’s wife” syndrome. Get over it. Yes, your husband has a hard time making friends. Did he ALWAYS have a hard time, or was it since he met/married you? You seem a little snobby in this letter, but I’m giving you a small pass because of your pregnancy (hormones can make one sound that way when they aren’t).

    Now, you could have set boundaries up from the get-go. You didn’t. You could have let your husband and Greg have a friendship without insisting on being buddy-buddy with the wife. You didn’t.
    You can back away from the friendship and allow your husband and Greg their guy-ship without the “womenfolk” in the picture. That IS absolutely allowed. In fact – it’s healthy. You have other friends. Go play with them. Are you worried about hurting Sarah’s feelings? Well – she seems to be getting some of those hints you’ve been sending via vibe, and she’s been calling you out on them, and you keep lying to her – so stop lying and tell her what you think. That she’s coming off as needy, clingy, etc and that you need space.

    Yeesh – was that so hard?

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    silver_dragon_girl October 5, 2011, 2:09 pm

    LW, I sympathize with you here, I really do, but also…this whole letter is the reason why I’m so terrified every time I try to make a new friend. Seriously, it’s like my worst nightmare that I will one day find out I’m like “Sarah” and my friends don’t really like me and only tolerate my presence because they don’t want to be out-and-out rude.

    So just think about that a little bit, ok?

    Now, I do think that this lady is pushing herself on you, especially with the whole MOH after 2 months thing. Yes, that is a little weird.

    But have you considered just giving in and embracing this friendship? I mean, really…maybe you should just *let* her be your friend. One of my very best friends started out our relationship annoying the s*** out of me, but I kept hanging out with her because we were in a foreign country and I didn’t know anyone else. Guess what? In less than two weeks I was over it and we’ve been super close ever since.

    So I guess I would just advise you to MAKE A DECISION here. Either let Sarah be your friend, or tell her that you don’t want to be friends with her, but quit stringing her along and hating her behind her back. That’s just mean.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 5, 2011, 4:52 pm

      I so agree with you! I’ve sort of isolated myself over the past few years by transferring schools, being in a soul sucking relationship, and then breaking up, losing the only friends in town I did have through the ex. Now I’m trying to make new friends, and this scares me so much. How do you know when to start texting and emailing more without it seeming crazy? Sarah may have fewer friends, so this friendship may seem more important to her than it does to the LW. It doesn’t make her crazy. Just means that she has a different timeline for those friendship progressions. I feel for Sarah here.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 4:56 pm

      silver_dragon_girl I don’t think you need to be terrified of making new friends, you just need to take it slow and see if it goes anywhere. Good friendships take time to develop. If you eat lunch with a group of coworkers, over time you will find that you find some of them more fun or with similar interests to yourself. If you mention something that you’re planning on doing over the weekend and someone is enthusiastic in saying that it sounds fun or wishes they could do that you can invite them to join you. If nobody sounds interested you don’t invite anyone else along. Another way is to do something that interests you and slowly get to know the people who are also doing the same thing. You will already have something in common and you just need to watch for someone with a similar personality or sense of humor or sense of fun. I was in our local coffee shop this past weekend and a group of women came in together all carrying yoga mats and they were coming from a shop a couple doors down where their class met. They had a great time talking with each other. If you take babysteps you will make friends in a slow but natural manner.

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      YouGoGirl October 5, 2011, 5:58 pm

      Just like looking for a job is best when you have a job, trying to make new friends seems easier when you already have friends. In other words, you are already doing interesting things in your life. There is intense shame and embarrassment at not having friends.

      There are many reasons why a woman may not have friends. Abusive spouses often isolate women from their friends and make it very difficult for them to make new friends. Women who grew up in abusive families also do not have the opportunity to develop the social skills required to make friends. For these reasons, my social skills were poor and I found it very difficult to make friends after my abusive husband died. I tried extremely hard to work on my social skills and do everything “right”, but try as I might there were women who regarded me as a nuisance like the LR considers Sarah. Eventually I did read their vague cues and I figured out that I was supposed to get lost, so I did.

      I do have friends now and my friends tell me my social skills are good now, but these painful experiences have made me extremely cautious.

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    B.A. October 5, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I’ve had friendships forced on me, and while I wasn’t “miserable” about it to begin with, they turned into one-sided toxic relationships that ended in very unpleasant friend-break-ups both times. I can understand how it’s hard to say no to someone being nice to you and wanting a positive relationship – but that, in my experience, has always been a sign that they were going to end up being a little…crazy. That’s just my experience!

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    • avatar

      moonflowers October 5, 2011, 3:42 pm

      Seconded! Sooner or later, folks pick up on your lack of enthusiasm, and then drama ensues. Doesn’t ever end well. People who throw themselves at new “best friends” tend to be desperate, socially awkward, or poorly adjusted in the first place – not the kind of folks who handle rejection well.

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    YouGoGirl October 5, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Like Silver_dragon_girl, I find making women friends very scary because of people like the LR. When I meet new people, I try very hard to respect boundaries. I ask if it is ok to call, when should I call and so forth. When I ask these kind of questions, I am relying on the person to be honest about what is acceptable for her. But I have learned from very painful personal experiences there are a lot of passive aggressive women like the LR who say something is fine but do not really mean it. These kind of women seethe inside over something I am doing that I thought was acceptable and then drop very ambiguous hints that I do not always get.

    Sarah is annoying to the LR because she does not like her, although she has not done anything that terrible except use superlative words like “best friend”. But Sarah is not totally lacking in social skills because she has picked up on the LW’s dislike. The kindest thing the LW can do is to set some boundaries on what is acceptable to her so that she can lose the resentment towards Sarah for doing things that she never told Sarah are not acceptable. Or maybe the LW likes feeling superior to Sarah.

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    thyme October 5, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I was really hoping to read a lot of great advice on this thread because I’ve had this problem too. But it seems like many commenters here today are more into judging the LW than giving her actual concrete advice. She can’t go back and change choices she already made, so telling her that she should have chosen differently in the past isn’t very helpful.

    LW, I don’t have any good advice for you; I wish I did. I was in this situation with a gay guy friend a few years back. We actually were very close for a while and had a lot of fun, but he had a lot of emotional issues that he started spending all of our time together dumping on me. Every single phone call or hang-out time turned into sob-on-thyme’s-shoulder time. We’re talking hysterical, heaving, snot-bubble sobbing. Meanwhile, he wasn’t doing anything he could be doing to better his situation, and just continued in his downward spiral. It became exhausting to be his friend, and I took the chicken-shit way out and just stopped answering his calls. I was relieved after I moved (for unrelated reasons) and he couldn’t show up at my house unannounced anymore. I’m not proud of the way I handled it.

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    Shadowflash1522 October 5, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I can empathize with the LW on this one. I’m not at all the touchy-feely, hey-let’s-be-besties-since-we’ve-known-each-other-2-hours type. I like having friends and I like making friends, but I dislike the sensation of forced intimacy. I also have a tendency to wander between friend groups, so my “bestie” today might not be someone I want to hang out with tomorrow.

    However, I take control of the situation. There’s one in every group who gets clingy when you want to hang out with someone else; it’s pretty much inevitable. I always find a time to take them aside and explain (gently if possible, firmly if necessary) that the more they hang on to me, the more I want to dump them. If they really want to be my friend, they need to let go and have some faith that I’ll cycle back around to them when I’m ready. If they can’t trust me that far, why call themselves my friend? I’ve had to have this talk with a number of friends, a couple of whom later in life really did become my best friends–because they respected my boundaries, not because of their smothering persistance.

    Incidentally, I can’t help but compare the LW’s situation to a scenario with a boyfriend moving too quickly. How would you respond then, and how is this different?

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  • avatar

    Sassygirl1610 October 5, 2011, 4:36 pm

    When you say “i can’t hide behind my baby forever” it made me think of you using your baby as a human shield. 🙂

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 5, 2011, 4:45 pm

    The fact that Sarah asked you to be her MOH after knowing you for only two months indicates that she had no friends and no close relationship with any relatives. When someone is that isolated it indicates that they have trouble making and maintaining friendships. It sounds like she tries hard but the trouble is she comes on too strong and too hard. At the beginning of the relationship you don’t always realize that someone is going to push the friendship fast and furious so you don’t know that you will have to establish strict boundaries. So now you’re at the point where you need some strict boundaries but want to establish them in a positive, friendly, nonconfrontational way.

    One thing you can do is to say that you’re needing more sleep, which is true, and that you have less time to go out so will be seeing her when you and your husband are out with her and her husband. If she wants to know why you go out with other friends without your husband you can tell her your husband isn’t friends with those other friend’s husbands/boyfriends and so you see them separately from your husband. Tell her you’re glad that you can see her and her husband as a couple because you enjoy seeing them with your husband. Let her know that the time you spend with them as a couple is special because it is different than the way you see your other friends.

    As for the phone and texting you can tell her you’ve realized you are spending too much time on your phone and that other things in your life are suffering/being neglected and you’ve decided it would be healthier/more productive/whatever you want to say to not spend so much time using the phone. I had this happen with a friend where they called repeatedly every day and it kept disrupting what I was trying to get done. I had to tell them that I needed to get things done and couldn’t chat on the phone but was glad to talk to them in person when I saw them. Tell her you love talking to her in person because it is so much more personal than a text and that you look forward to being able to see her rather than doing it in such an impersonal way over the phone. You can also tell her you are turning the ringer off on your phone so that when you nap it won’t wake you. I have reached the point where I tell people I will not answer the phone during dinner or when I am helping my daughter with homework or if I’m in the middle of making dinner or when I have a limited amount of time to get a list of things done. Getting disrupted puts me behind on everything and if that is the case with you it is fine to tell her that.

    So, try to be honest while also setting boundaries that work for both you and your husband. Be aware that you will also probably be resetting those boundaries soon after your baby is born and that’s fine. Life changes and so our needs change and so our boundaries change.

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  • avatar

    EmSquared October 5, 2011, 7:53 pm

    LW here. First, I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my letter and think about the situation. I want to address a few things that a few comments brought up.

    I agree that I should have been more assertive at the beginning of this relationship, but unfortunately I’m sort of stuck where I am now. Some of you mentioned that there’s no reason wives have to be friends just because their husbands are. I completely agree with this, too; unfortunately for my husband and “Greg,” “Sarah” doesn’t usually let Greg socialize without her presence. That’s part of the discomfort in this situation. My husband does have other friends, but keep in mind that as adults, it’s sometimes more difficult to develop friendship that go beyond a certain level. He happens to have found that with Greg, and while he would love to develop other close friendships in town, it’s slower work at 28 that it was at 10 years old.

    Some of you suggested I am being mean in not wanting to be Sarah’s best friend. Is that really fair? Does a person necessarily have to befriend every other person she meets in life? Sarah is someone I can spend a few hours at a time with and have fun; but I have to be clear in that we are very different people. Just because I didn’t list every one of our differences in my letter doesn’t make me judgmental or picky in my friends. Some comments put it perfectly when they mentioned that not everyone wants immediate intimacy in her friendships. Does that really make me a bad person?

    I will also say that I took offense to being called “snobby.” I took care not to lambaste Sarah too much in my letter because I thought that would be unfair, and really, irrelevant as well. But it seems that because I didn’t thoroughly justify my position, a lot of you labeled me a mean girl.

    I do think there was very little advice given in response to my letter. It’s not an option for me to tell her straight-up how I feel. Sarah is very sensitive, and were I to do that, I can confidently expect the end of my husband’s friendship as a direct result of that conversation. Maybe this is just a situation which has no good solution. I’d started to suspect that before I wrote in, and the answers so far seem to have confirmed this.

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    • avatar

      Splashes October 6, 2011, 9:08 am

      Then i guess I am confused as to what you are looking for from “us.” You can’t tell her to back off or tell her you are busy and can’t hang out with her. You can’t stop hanging out with her. But, you say she is “nuts” and makes you “miserable”…so to summarize, you don’t want to hang out with her but you can’t not hang out with her?

      Either you want to change the situation and are willing to do so, or you can’t and you wrote in to complain about someone who wants to be a friend and doesn’t know about boundaries you will not communicate to her.

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 October 6, 2011, 10:46 am

      Points of confusion:

      1. Why are you so confident in the end of your *husband’s* friendship? Does “Sarah” really have them both wrapped around her finger? Not to condescend, but your husband and “Greg” are both adults. If they cannot carry on an independant friendship, how is that any fault of yours? If you stay classy and respectful but distant then you’ve done all you can.

      2. Advice has been given. You have decided that it is not acceptable. There is no perfect time to be assertive; now or 10 years from now, the only difference is how long you agonize over it. Lots of people are sensitive–it’s what makes us human–but the human spirit is a resilient thing. If subtle, kind hinting and/or the simple fade-out isn’t working and you can’t possibly live with it, you really are down to the last option: being blunt. I’m sorry, but I can think of nothing else.

      Good luck!

      PS For the record, I don’t think that not wanting to jump right into intimate friendships makes you a horrible person. It’s called “taking it slow”. But you have to be clear about that with other people, otherwise you send confusing signals.

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  • katie

    katie October 5, 2011, 10:13 pm

    so it seems to me that the big question here is if you really honestly like this girl or not. i can totally understand liking someone, but not wanting see them every second of every day… i mean, i think that is called normal. thats not weird. so i think you just need to think about it really hard and try to figure out if this is a person that you honestly DONT want to see, ever. if so, then the question is staying friends with her just for the sake of your husband. if she is someone who you can be friends with, then just be friends with her. if she doesnt like the level of friendship you are willing to give her, then i say tough. but you will definitely have to explain to her that you do have other friends, you are allowed to go out without her, ect…

    everyone has a friend problem like this. the friend who only ever wants to go out and party.. the friend who never returns your calls.. the friend who talks badly about everyone else when she is with you… whatever. everyone has things about their friends that they dont like. if i were you, i would be friends with her and just accept that she is a little neurotic about being absolute best friends forever… and thats ok.

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