This topic contains 20 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Hannah 3 weeks, 5 days ago.
November 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm #727182
A little background: I’m a 23 year old female and my toxic friend (lets call her Emma) is 21. We were roommates for about a year (friends for 3) and I recently moved out as I’m relocating to another state. While we shared a lot of laughs and had some meaningful conversations, she became more and more negative and selfish as time went on. I noticed it at first but it definitely has worsened over the past few months. One might think me moving would resolve this issue, but there’s more to the situation.
A friend of mine works for music festivals and was kind enough to give us free passes to a 2-day festival this past weekend. She had never been to one before and since I didnt know anyone else going, I figured it be safer and more fun to bring Emma along. I told her upfront to please not let negativity or insecurities ruin the weekend and she promised not to. Well, she was extremely negative and shitty throughout the festival. Not the entire time, but enough to piss me off. She lost her phone at one point and basically broke down crying in the middle of one of our favorite sets. Rather than actively trying to find the phone, she ruined the set and went on and on about how “the whole festival is ruined now.” (Someone turned it in a couple hours later which I told her would probably happen. And even if she hadnt found it, no need to ruin everyone else’s time over your inability to hold onto your phone).
She also is VERY insecure about her body and spent a lot of time either putting down other girls looks or asking guys for reassurance that she looked hot. This is annoying and embarassing behavior. I told her directly that she needed to stop, and she toned it down but still continued.
Well, the issue is that while at the festival, my friend who gave us passes mentioned another festival I plan to go to on my birthday and do NOT want to go with her. He told her he’ll put us on the guest list for free passes again. Fortunately I no longer live with her, but as of right now she thinks she’s going to this festival next month. Emma doesn’t have my friend’s info and is not able to attend the festival unless I make it happen. I want to do the adult thing and tell her exactly why she’s not coming, but I know her well enough to know she will throw a tantrum and not be understanding.
Should I: a) ghost her completely b) fade her out over time, and not reply in regards to the festival, or c) deal with the extreme rage and tantrum of angry Emma by telling her she’s not ruining my birthday with her negative shit
I’ve been slowly fading her out since having moved as I know ghosting her completely would result in a severe reaction, but no matter what I do I’ll probably have to deal with it eventually.
No clue why I stayed friends with her so long. Like I said the negativity has majorly worsened recentlyNovember 18, 2017 at 5:07 pm #727190
https://captainawkward.com/2012/07/28/313-314-broken-friendships/#more-3674 is an example of a rough guide that might help. Though I only took a quick look at her archive to possibly another is better. Just striaght up honesty is best way I feel, unless your former friend has abusive tendencies.November 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm #727192
You sound like a lovely friend. Full of support for your insecure/”negative” Emma.November 18, 2017 at 5:45 pm #727193
The next time she brings it up just say you have another plus one for this festival and change the topic. There isn’t much you can say when someone says they invited someone else with their extra free ticket. It’s yours. It’s okay if you promised it to someone else. Tell your friend who is hooking you up the new names for the guest list and that’s it.November 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm #727194
I agree with Firestar. In regard to her negativity, it’s fine to decide you don’t enjoy the friendship anymore. It’ll be better for both of you. But it’s also a good time to have some perspective and realize that what is unpleasant for you is probably a lot more unpleasant for her. I’m not sure I’d call her toxic as much as someone who clearly has anxiety issues and potentially other stuff, like self confidence or depression issues. I have a friend who I think could be described similarly, and it’s not that she was a bad person — she just felt really bad about herself. Not saying you should be friends with her, just that it’s a good time to practice some empathy in the way that you see her.November 19, 2017 at 10:32 am #727215
It’s one thing to have empathy and another to let that empathy put you into unpleasant situation after unpleasant situation. We all know people that we don’t like to be around because They are always negative and everything is all about them and there is nothing uplifting or positive about being around them. You can have empathy for their situation and still know that you can’t spend much time around them. If they become your emotional vampire then you need distance, even if you understand that they are unhappy or depressed or have anxiety or are sad or are lonely. They have to work that out because you can’t fix it for them. It isn’t your job to take on the angst of your friend. Even if you want to help “fix” her you can’t. That is her job and until she does her job it is okay to remove her from your life because she is making your life too unpleasant. It is your job to create the boundaries in your life that maintain a good quality of life.
How to tell her she isn’t going is difficult. You need to talk to the friend who is getting you on the list for the tickets and make sure her name isn’t on the list or she may end up going anyway. If he keeps her name on the list I’d find something else to do for my birthday. Maybe he likes her and wants her there. If her name isn’t on the list then you can tell her he didn’t get her name on the list.
You don’t seem to think it would work to tell her the truth. If she won’t accept the truth and will go ballistic then don’t go with the full truth. If she can’t handle being told that she is too negative then tell her something else. In a perfect world you could tell someone the truth and they would accept it but the world isn’t perfect. You should be able to go out for your birthday without a severe reaction. Her reactions are manipulative. She will demand what she wants until she gets it. You can’t live your life that way. So, because she can’t handle the truth, I’d tell her your friend didn’t end up getting her name on the list unless that would make her go ballistic against him. If she would go ballistic against him then consider doing something else for your birthday because your friend getting the tickets deserves your consideration so don’t let him be the fall guy if it is going to hurt him. If that’s the case then tell her you can’t go to the festival on your birthday and tell her you hope she goes and has fun. You need to protect both yourself and your existing positive relationships.November 19, 2017 at 11:23 am #727218
I wasn’t saying that she should have empathy by continuing to hang out with her. I specifically said that it is a good idea for her to stop spending time with the “friend.” You can have empathy for someone without having to be their friend — it has more to do with how you think about them and talk about them.November 19, 2017 at 11:36 am #727219
I think when you are in the middle of a toxic friendship it is hard to feel empathy when the negativity is beginning to overwhelm every interaction. You need some distance to see them more humanely and with more empathy. I think the intense, negative interaction puts you into a fight or flight mode at some point and you have to take care of yourself before you can have more empathy for them. The distance gives you the room to process your feelings and then see them more clearly and feel more empathy.
I agree that empathy will help her have a better attitude about this person and be more understanding.November 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm #727220
I honestly think the friend doesn’t sound “toxic” from the examples LW wrote. May be a very negative person, but not toxic IMO. I’ve met toxic people and this doesn’t sound like it. Crying because you lost your phone? That sounds like a normal reaction to me. Especially if no one helped her look for it.
It sounds like these two friends just have very different views of life which is fine, and you can dump a friend if you don’t have the same views. But LW doesn’t sound like a good friend. Insecurity and anxiety are not solved telling the friend to cut the crap. So, yeah, LW, dump her. It sounds like she could find more supportive friends.November 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm #727222
The example is that the friend is a pessimist, anxious and self absorbed. That can be exhausting and unpleasant. So I completely agree that this isn’t the right event for said friend.
LW – if you tell her that she’s not going to the festival and why – do you think she’d still want to be friends? Is that what you want?November 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm #727223
The body insecurity that includes putting down other young women would end it for me. I’m not going to spend my time around that kind of negative rudeness by someone trying to build their self-esteem by putting down others. I consider that toxic. I have more sympathy about the phone but none for the rest of it.November 19, 2017 at 6:52 pm #727225
She sounds annoying — but TOXIC is a bit much. Tell her the truth. That you are going with somebody else. So much drama over — well, nothing.