“Can I Dump My Pregnant Friend?”

I have been friends with Karen since grade school. Karen graduated from college a year after I did. When I graduated, I moved home and immediately began working full time and became closer with my friends from high school again. When Karen came home, I was still working, and she spent a lot of time lounging around, shopping, and pretending to look for a job. She would call me and text me several times a day, beginning as soon as she woke up in the morning and continuing well past my bedtime. I tried to make time for her, but my busy schedule didn’t allow for me to pay her all the attention she seemed to need. Karen expressed her boredom and loneliness, and I suggested she branch out and join some social clubs in our area to make friends, which she did.

The problem is, in the past year, Karen has become someone I don’t feel like I know anymore. She used to be a confident, sarcastic girl with a great since of humor. She used to talk about going to law school and working in politics. Since making these new friends she has changed her sense of fashion and her hobbies, and become extremely disrespectful to her parents, who have always doted on her. Not only that, but through her new group of friends she began “dating” this man who flat out told her at the beginning of their relationship that he didn’t want anything serious with her.

Despite expressing to me that she didn’t want to be someone’s “hook up,” she began sleeping with this man and spending a lot of her time with him, despite how badly she told me he was treating her. (Ex: While out spending time with her he would check out other girls and buy them drinks, and he made her cry on several occasions, including on her birthday. Apparently at one time they had an “arrangement” that he could do whatever he wanted as long as he promised not to “flaunt it in her face.”)

Every time I hung out with her we would spend the entire time talking about how bad he made her feel about herself, how disrespectfully he treated her, and how she knew she could do better. I always encouraged her to stop seeing him, but she never did. After months of this I finally asked her to stop complaining to me about how awful he was if she was going to continue to put up with his bad behavior.

Out of the blue recently she called me to tell me she is pregnant with this man’s baby and is now living with him and they are “making it work.” We went to lunch after she told me, and during the conversation she admitted to me that her parents had cut her off and kicked her out of the house when they found out she was pregnant, so she had no choice but to move in with this man. She also told me that she didn’t believe he would be with her if she weren’t pregnant, all while insisting she didn’t get pregnant on purpose.

Her behavior was already taking a toll on our friendship and this pregnancy and faux-happily-ever-after is just the icing on the cake. I feel so conflicted because Karen is my oldest friend and we used to have such good times together. I don’t want to be the type of friend who ditches people when the going gets rough. She sent me an invitation to her baby shower yesterday and I wanted to ask her to just leave me alone. Should I tell her I don’t want to be friends anymore or should I just try to be happy for her and be supportive during this time, knowing the drama will probably not end any time soon? — Over My Childhood Friend

It’s totally natural for friendships to change over the course of many years and for people who were friends as young children to drift apart as their adult lives take them in different directions. The mistake people make, though, is in trying to force intimacy that is no longer there or remaining “friends” out of a sense of obligation. For a friendship to be mutually satisfying, there needs to be authenticity, and if either party isn’t feeling it anymore, a wall of resentment will quickly build up, which takes us to the biggest mistake of all: dumping a friend for no better reason than you simply aren’t feeling it anymore.

That’s where you are now. From what you’ve written, it doesn’t sound like Karen has done anything to directly hurt you or betray you. She hasn’t behaved in a way that would warrant a cold breakup. At worst, she’s made some poor personal decisions. But what it really sounds like here is that you two simply don’t have very much in common anymore and you don’t enjoy her company. Do you have to have been betrayed to end a friendship with someone? No, of course not. But I do think there’s a fine line between dumping a friend and simply letting the friendship fade out.

If you tell Karen you no longer want to be her friend, that’s dumping her. If you slowly stop returning her calls and making plans with her — which it sounds like you’ve already done — that’s letting the friendship fade out. If you tell Karen you won’t be coming to her baby shower because you think her pregnancy is a huge mistake and you no longer want her in your life, that’s dumping her. If you make a quick, one-hour appearance at her shower, and then let another six months pass before seeing her again, that’s letting the friendship fade out.

The truth is, Karen is going to be so busy once that baby comes, she’s not going to have time for the kind of friendship you’ve had in the past anyway. It will be very, very easy to let your conflicting schedules be the excuse you need to stay away. And unless you have a reason to cut her out of your life dramatically — like, she’s asking to crash at your place or asking to borrow money or depending on you in a way you no longer feel comfortable with — and you want to make a deliberate point that you aren’t her friend anymore and cannot help her, it’s kind of cruel to dump her.

The fade-out may take a little longer, but the advantage is you can still remember each other fondly and you don’t cast a shadow over the long history you share. You may feel nostalgic some day and actually enjoy catching up with her over a coffee or bite to eat. Why burn a bridge — especially one that leads to happy childhood memories — if you don’t really need to?


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. WWS. there are times where a “i cannot be friends with you anymore because of X” is appropriate, but it just seems to complicated and drama-filled for this situation. just fade out.

  2. WWS.

    Frankly it sounds like Karen has done a bit of the fade out on her own anyway.

  3. spark_plug says:

    LW, you’re a nice person. From your letter you sound like you’re very caring and conflicted over this Karen situation, but this friendship has run its course… for now. Who knows, maybe in the future, Karen will come back to her sense and become the person she use to be, but you need to let it go for now.

    I had a friend that I made my freshman year of college. She was witty, fun, sarcastic, basically awesome overall. Then after about 2-3 years, something happened. She became moody, depressed, difficult, always negative. No more fun to be around. My other friends told me that she even had a secret competition with me because I’m “smarter and prettier than her”. After we graduated, it just got worse. She would just complain about her work and school and life all the time – even though it was great! I did the slow fade out, emailed back and forth once in a while, met up once a year or so. And everytime I’d talk to her I’d just leave feeling so drained and upset that I would make a resolution to no longer be her friend. Time passed, I’d forget, we’d chat again.. etc.

    I recently saw her over thanksgiving (I was in town and had no one to hang out with and caved in) and she’s back to her old self. She seems happy, confident and maybe for the first time ever – a more positive outlook on life than I had! I don’t know what happened, but I felt like I was back to freshman year of college. I can’t wait to see her again!

    The point of my novella is that things happen, people change, for the worst, for the better and sometimes back and forth. It’s not worth to burn bridges because you don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes people need to be beat up by life for a few years to really understand their own worth and I think that friendships are like relationships, sometimes it’s not right, sometimes it’s perfect, sometimes its on and off (and thats okay) and sometimes you need to spend some time apart before you can grow together.

  4. Wendy’s right…it sounds like you guys are just leading two different lives & have been slowly growing apart for some time now, anyway. Make an appearance at the baby shower, bite your tongue, & let your friend pretend to be happy. You don’t need to put on a show of being supportive & happy FOR her (hint: she’ll know you’re faking), but it’s also unnecessary to “tell her [you] don’t want to be friends anymore”.

    It’s frustrating to watch friends make repetitively poor personal decisions, but really…what “drama” do you have to deal with? It’s pretty much all her problem right now–sounds like she’s not really confiding in you at this point. So listen to the advice Wendy gave, & just continue fading out.

  5. LW, friendships go in cycles. Sometimes you are closer and sometimes more distant. To be honest, when she has this baby, she will have much less time. The text messages will slow way down. I would not make this a dramatic thing when it doesn’t have to be.

    Also, I don’t think this is a faux happy. You said she was lonely and loved this guy. They are now having a baby and moved in together. Whether down the road this turns into a train wreck is still to be determined. She is about to bring a baby into the world that she will love and will fill that whole in her life and has a man willing to try to make it work. Just because you see the writing on the wall doesn’t mean right now, in this moment, she isn’t happy in the belief that she has everything she ever wanted. So let her be happy for now no matter how long it lasts.

    1. Bon Vivant says:

      I’m having a hard time with the baby “filling a hole in her life” and the man “willing to make it work” aspects here. He didn’t want anything serious, treated her badly, and in her own admission, wouldn’t be with her if not for this situation. This sounds like denial to me…

      1. Hey, I wrote above that the LW might be able to see how this is going or fear how it might end. But right in this moment, her friend is happy. So why not support her in this time because it might be fleeting.

  6. I’m with Wendy on this one. Times infinity.

    I know, some people hate personal antecdotes, but here it goes . . . .

    My BFF “Jane” and I were super close from 9th grade through sophmore year of college. My mom treated her like a daughter and she was part of our family.

    Anyway, like your friend, LW, she was outgoing and funny and smart. She wanted to go places and do things. But she also had a shitty boyfriend and I could slowly start to see my friend fade away. She lost weight she didn’t need to. She didn’t smile as much. She was no longer outgoing. She opted to go to college in town instead of a prestegious school, which was paid for, because she feared leaving her boyfriend. She was sad all the time.

    While in college I wrote her a letter telling her I missed my friend and that she was becoming a shell of herself but had so much potential. She didn’t like that one bit. We stopped talking after that letter.

    Fast forward a few years later. Unbeknownst by me, she was still talking to my mom and sis’s. And she broke up with her loser boyfriend because she finally had proof he continuously cheated on her. Jane asked my mom if she thought I would talk to her again. My mom said all she could do is try. She did. And we picked up where we left off. We were that good of friends. And we’re still BFF’s. More like sisters.

    I visit her and her family every summer. On one of the visits, she told me she still had that letter and reads it from time to time because it reminds her of how far she went and what it took to return. We know each other so well and I will always fight for her happiness. And I know she’ll do the same for me. She had done the same for me.

    So, LW, as Wendy said, if you need a break from your friend for a while, take it. But don’t completely write her off. One day, you might need her again.

    1. I like this. 🙂

      While I definitely agree that sometimes childhood friends drift apart as adults, I think the beauty of strong friendships from childhood/adolescence is that they become like surrogate family than friends. At least in my experience, even when I’ve drifted apart from those kinds of friends over the years (not due to some horrible and dramatic betrayal on either end), we always find our way back to one another. The friendships changed, but on some level, the closeness is always there even if we go a long time without speaking. They know me in a way that people I met later in life can’t/don’t.

      So, I agree with ktfran that you don’t need to write her off entirely.

  7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    I can’t get past the fact that this friend is presumably 23 or 24 years old, was still living at home, unemployed, and is now pregnant. WHY DON’T PEOPLE USE BIRTH CONTROL!?!?!?! FFS.

    Also, listen to Wendy, let it fade out.

    1. I was pleased to see usage of FFS. After my years in Europe watching BBC exclusively, it always makes me think of Gordon Ramsey. Curses like a sailor. Love it.

      1. and i just learned what ffs means. thank you.

  8. I’m torn. It would be nice if everyone could just recognize a friendship has run it’s course and sign on to the fade out plan…but a lot of the people you try and fade out are clueless and they keep calling and even if you screen 5 out of every 6 calls they still end up taking up your time…and by taking up I mean wasting. I had a friend that kept telling me the SAME story with every guy she dated – getting increasingly bitter and jealous and resentful. Even with the lessened contact it was exhausting sitting there listening to her increasing sense of entitlement and her refusal to take responsibility for her life. It was all too negative all the time …and it took someone from me to listen to all of it. It is not ALWAYS the guys’ fault for the love of all things holy.
    Sometimes you just need to rip off the band-aid. Sure confrontation is not great but one conversation and it’s over. I know people hold on to ‘old’ friends like a badge of honour but unless those people are actually your friends – that you like and respect and enjoy – then all you are doing to keeping people in your life you have known a long time that you have nothing in common with. And isn’t that what Facebook is for? I guess it depends on your schedule if you have time to devote to people that don’t enrich your life at all but I know for me I have friends I love and I would rather spend my free time with them rather than with someone I no longer like, respect or enjoy just because I happen to have known them from time.
    The confrontation discussion doesn’t have to be about telling her about herself either – I would vote that it shouldn’t be actually. It can be as simple as – sorry all of this is too overwhelming for me. I’m going to need to take a step back from our friendship but I wish you well. Take care.

    1. WFS! Two years back, I attempted a fade-out with a friend that would keep calling me on it. I kept insisting that nothing was wrong, and that I was just busy. Thinking back, I really, regret that I didn’t just take the Haxian route of “I feel like our friendship has run it’s course and that we have grown apart, I’m sorry” right away – because when she finally got the picture after a year or so, she was so hurt that we’re beyond even saying “hi” when running into each other. Some people just won’t accept a fade-out, and I wish I would have handled the situation accordringly.

      1. I think this is a good example of why a fade-out isn’t always the answer (and see my story below).

        But it totally depends on the situation. If someone is fading out on a person that they were very, very close to at one point, it can be very hurtful for the person that is on the receiving end of that especially if they have no idea what happened to cause the change. If it’s someone that can’t be bothered to return your phone calls, you aren’t very close, or something awkward happens, then a fade-out might be appropriate and even unnoticed.

      2. Yes, exactly!

        My situation was with a quite close friend, and it would probably have turned out better if I had gone the route of frankness and risked some discomfort on both of our parts. You described what she probably felt during that last year.
        Live and learn, I guess – it was a mistake that I’ll never make again, that’s for certain.

    2. I feel like you have a different definition of “fade out”. I have a ton of “once a quarter” friends. I see them 4 times a year. speak, facebook, things like that too. It keeps those lines of communication open but takes the pressure off. Then you don’t become the daily person who gets all the little bs stuff but more of the bullet points. But let me tell you, years later, when you are old, married, with kids. It is SOOOO important to have your friends who knew you when you were young.

      1. This is an important distinction too! Changing someone’s friend status to “once a quarter” from “daily” is very different than totally fading out on someone (which to me means that you are no longer talking at all or so infrequently that you may as well not talk to them at all).

      2. I just think that having old friends is so important. And if someone is a good person who is going through a phase or a wierd time, it is worth just backing off and maintaining that tie. I am now a well respected professional who lives in an uptight suburb and I am glad that I am here. However, I love my friends who know my “remember that time…” stories. My friends have taken many different roads and our differences get bigger and bigger, but we have a shared history and that is important.

      3. I agree. I’ve had many of the same friends since high school and before. We’ve gone through phases where we talked less – sometimes life takes us in different directions – but we can always get together and it feels like “old times.” It’s great to have that sense of history with people. And I know that after all these years, no matter how far apart we drift, we can always count on each other when we really need it.

      4. totally agree.

      5. I think a shared future is more important that a shared history… there’s something to be said for old friends who knew you so well, and there’s also something to be said for not wanting to relive a particular time in your life or identify with someone who you no longer are. I have a handful of friends that I grew up with, but plenty of people I spent a lot of time with growing up that I would want no parts of now. Just cause they can tell a story from 7th grade doesn’t make them good people.

        Plus, I just would hate for someone who didn’t have the opportunity to have those “old friends” – maybe they were military and/or moved a lot, maybe there was a family illness or something that prevented them from having friends or the time to build those memories – to feel bad or inadequate because someone knowing you 15 years ago is NOT more important than someone who knows and supports you now. It’s a different friendship, but one isn’t better than another.

  9. WWS! Reading this I was thinking, yes this friend just needs the slow fade out approach. I’ve found that after graduating college my friendships all changed. In high school and college it seems like your friendships are some of the most important relationships in your life. I know my best girlfriends lives were so interconnected with mine bc we spent a great deal of time together. As a result, we were very emotionally invested in each others love lives and choices. Out in the real world, as we got jobs, settled down in serious relationships, got married, etc, that emotional involvement changed with our priorities. It seems to me that even though you don’t spend much time with this friend and don’t really want to be her friend anymore, you’re still very wrapped up in her life emotionally. You know, it sounds like she’s making bad choices and has been for a while and that can be very frustrating- especially when you know where she came from, how she was raised and how different her values and morals are now. But you have to mourn the loss of who your friend used to be and move on from the frustration. You can’t make her live the life you want her to. She has to learn from her own mistakes. As tempting as it would be to give her a stern lecture of how she’s throwing her life away and your friendship along with it, the compassionate thing to do is the “fade out”.

    Part of being an adult is making mistakes and learning from them. Seeing as how she’s in for a very hard road regardless, if you care about her, there’s no need for a grand “friendship dumping” ceremony just to make yourself feel better. To want to do that is normal, to actually do it would be immature and sanctimonious. There will come a point in your life, probably sooner than later, where you’ve realized you’ve made some poor choices. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the friends who spare you lectures and “I told you so’s” and just love you instead.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      “There will come a point in your life, probably sooner than later, where you’ve realized you’ve made some poor choices.”–YES. While it’s not the point of this letter, I got a little upset by all of the judgement passed by the LW. I think her friend is making poor choices. But who hasn’t fallen for a guy that they are just hooking up with (even though he’s made his intentions clear)? And who hasn’t settled for less then they are worth just because they really really like someone? I know I have. And I know there are more than a handful of readers who have gotten accidentally pregnant. I agree with Wendy that the LW just doesn’t have as much in common with Karen anymore, but there’s no reason for the LW to sit on her high horse about how well her life is going.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        THANK YOU! 100% agree.

      2. Totally agree. I believe that you make choices then you make them the right ones. Hey, her friend might be going down a tough road. Or, this friend just vents to the LW when she is having a bad day. So the guy could be much nicer but the LW has no idea.

      3. 100000000% agree. It sounds like LW just wants to create unnecessary drama. I also think it’s cruel to heartless dump this poor girl just because LW is now too good for her. Friendships have highs and lows and cycle in and out. I just can’t understand why someone would want to purpose burn a bridge and cause emotional pain for someone they supposedly care(d) about. LW, if you don’t feel like hanging out with her anymore, just cut back. (And no, the baby shower is NOT the time to do this–seriously, LW!!!) Don’t “dump” her. She might come out of this rough patch one day, and I bet you’ll miss her. Especially when life one day knocks you off of your high horse and deals you a tough set of cards.

    2. I think there is a difference between having a friend making choices you don’t agree with and having someone in your life that you have nothing in common with, whose company is draining and who doesn’t enrich your life any. I have friends that live their lives in ways that make no kind of sense to me but they still care about me, I still care about them, we still enjoy our time together and we can even laugh at how different we are. I think the bar – for me anyway – is if I met you today would I want to be your friend? And if the answer is a resounding no then I don’t’ think you have to cling to someone out of loyalty to some notion from the past when you no longer even think well of them.
      Maybe the LW is just frustrated and if she takes the judgement out of her friend’s choices, they can still have common ground and enjoyment in each other’s company and the friendship can survive. But if there is nothing in common any more and talking to her is a burden then why cling to what used to be? If this was her boyfriend who she felt so differently about, would we tell her keep him around in some fashion? Or would we tell her – life is short and some times these things run their course and don’t waste any more time or energy on this person?

      1. I totally agree with you that the friendship has run its course in this situation. But I also think given the length of and history behind the friendship, LW should be compassionate in her approach when ending and try not to let her judgement of how this friend is living her life interfere with her delivery.

      2. Completely agree. At no point should she try and tell the friend all the things “wrong” with her. You just walk away without commentary.

  10. Regina Chapman says:

    I agree with Wendy, but I also see kfran’s point above.

    If I were friends with someone who changed so dramatically in front of my eyes, I’d want to address that change at least once and ‘be there’ (on a minimal level) for that person as a kind of beacon from their past, so they could keep in touch with their old identity and maybe, one day, find the way back.

    In fact I’m doing this with at least one old friend right now. Am I still getting a lot out of that friendship? No. And I’ve definitely let it fizzle to a very manageable frequency/intensity. But I do feel that not all friendships have to directly benefit you all the time. In this case, I’m doing it because it doesn’t ‘cost’ me very much, and I have a gut feeling that my old friend is kind of lost and needs some kind of stable reminder that she can still find herself back. Or something.

    That’s what I got from this letter, anyway. The LW’s friend sounds pretty unhappy and delusional in her choices (not to mention she must have suffered some serious blows to her self-esteem). If the LW could stand a very low-intensity communication (like Wendy proposes), her presence in her friend’s life might still do a lot of good.

  11. This is sad. I’m sorry, LW! I agree that your friendship probably needs to fade out, although I know you’d feel like it would be a relief to just tell her you’re done.

    I have a friend who followed nearly the exact pattern you describe in Karen, and I had no patience for it. I took huge steps back, and I haven’t talked to her much in maybe two years. But I’ve missed her recently, for some reason, and I’ve reached out to her again to let her know I was thinking of her, and we had a nice chat. I believe we’ll soon get together for coffee. And I’m glad to have the option to do that. It seems like we’re in a more similar place now, and I’m glad I didn’t burn a bridge.

    Best of luck to you!

  12. lets_be_honest says:

    Am I the only one who thought this lw sounds very judgmental?

    1. No LBH, you are definitely not alone. I think the pregnant friend should fade out on the LW.

    2. i dont think so.. its really hard to just have to sit by and watch people make absolutely terrible choices about their life. and most people will pass judgement, right or not, about it to try to make them see the truth! my friend’s little sister did this when he up and decided he and his girlfriend were going to get married… and i told her, as much as it sucks, as much as you and i both know this is a bad idea, you just have to let him figure that out himself… and he is now going through a terrible divorce/annulment/whatever they are deciding on. were we right? yes. was it a terrible life choice? yes. did we judge? yes. did it matter in the end? no. but it sucked hardcore to watch.

    3. Nope, you’re not alone! I thought she did, as well– I tried to be restrained in my response, but I definitely caught a judge-y vibe from her. Letters that are mostly a chronological, negative account of somebody else’s love life never sit well with me, though.

    4. I was thinking the same thing. I know when I finished school and was living at home, I was bored and would text my friends a lot. And I was looking for jobs but it may not have looked like it since out of 90 applications, I only had 3 interviews. It sounds like Karen was depressed about not finding a job, and that.feeling of failure can make you want to give up. She probably started hanging out with this guy out of loneliness and is just happy someone pays attention to her. As for the pregnancy, I highly doubt it was on purpose. It sounds like she is trying to make the best of a bad situation. Honestly, it sounds like she really needed(needs?) emotional support from the LW. Also, the LW is extremely lucky if she graduated and had a full time job lined up.

      1. lets_be_honest says:


      2. theattack says:

        WKS for sure!

      3. My first WKS!!! Yay!!!!

      4. Oh I just wanted to add I’ve been the depressed friend that makes bad decisions and had someone do the fade away…and it sucks. I didn’t get pregnant or date someone bad for me or anything like that, but I definitely was emotionally needy and annoyed my friend. And then she told me I was a slut and that’s why guys treated me badly and tried to take advantage of me even after I said no. She also told me I should kill myself since I was depressed and then told the guy that I was seeing not to talk to me anymore because I had a bad childhood and wouldn’t take her advice and get my life together.

        Of course now this friend is like “Can we meet up when I’m back in town? I miss you love!!!!”. No, we cannot.

    5. I think it’s hard to be compassionate when you watch someone make bad choices over and over. It’s so frustrating. From the clear distance we have as readers, it’s easier to feel sympathetic toward the friend –at least I do. I mean it’s easy enough to imagine from the other point of view.

      Graduate college, feel stifled and depressed about living under your parents after college, can’t find the job you thought you’d get, your old bestie is too busy for you, dating sucks, you end up with a loser who you stick with in desperation because you don’t have any other parts of your life that are fufilling, etc. It’s not that unusual of a story …….. just spinning wheels and making stupid decisions for a year. 5 years later most get to look back on it and shake their head. But in this girl’s case, she gets pregnant instead. And that’s where the story hits a sad sad note.

      I do have to add that I don’t have sympathy for her mistreatment of her parents though. That’s always a sensitive point with me. I have a particular disgust for people who take their parents for granted.

    6. Nope, to me it sounds like the LW has had a problem with her friend since she moved back to town, and she actually seems a bit jealous that her friend got to still live the easy life when she came back, and she had to go right into the work force.
      “I was still working, and she spent a lot of time lounging around”
      I mean I don’t think he friend has made any good choices, and her parents enabled them, but I do think the LW is very jealous of that.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Hmm, interesting. I didn’t pick up on jealousy.

      2. I agree; I also picked up on jealousy.

    7. I don’t really have a problem with judging. Commenters here judge LWs all the time.

      It’s not just a matter of making one or two mistakes, hooking up with the wrong guy and getting pregnant. The friend is spending all her time lounging around, shopping, and pretending to look for a job. She’s disrespectful to her parents. She;s basically not at all making the transition from college to becoming an adult. That’s not just a “different” life she’s building, it’s an objectively worse one, and we may as well be honest about that.

      I also disagree with the idea that LW has no standing to alter the friendship until the friend does something directly to her. It’s perfectly normal to choose our friends in large part based on how they treat other people (like the thing about how if your date treats you like a queen and the waiter like crap, then RUN AWAY).

      LW has some hard choices here. If she tries the subtle fadeout, it’s very likely that the friend won’t take the hint, and that the friend will pressure LW for money, babysitting etc. once the baby comes. The baby deserves better than what he/she is about to get, and it would be wonderful if LW could find it in her heart to help that baby as she can. But I wouldn’t judge (!) her too harshly if she decides she needs a clean break.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Why would you assume the friend would pressure the LW for money and babysitting? I was nodding along seeing your point until the last paragraph.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:


      3. Her parents cut her off, she doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t have any interest in getting a job, her boyfriend is a loser. 2+2. I could be wrong, but that’s my hunch.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        If you could point me to where she’s been a mooch before, maybe I could agree.

      5. “her parents, who have always doted on her”.

        Not that she necessarly mooched off her parents, but she’s never needed to mooch off of anyone until now.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Having doting parents does not mean mooching, at all. It just means her parents love her. Its very presumptuous to say she will mooch off her friend. There is literally nothing to back that up.

      7. “Doting” doesn’t just mean her parents love her, it also means they failed to prepare her to become an independent, self-sufficient adult.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m thinking you might think doting means something else. Plenty of people who have doting parents turn out independent and self sufficient. Doting just means they were caring, loving parents.

      9. Yes, we could be working from different definitions of doting. I take it to mean that the parents took care of her every need, paid for everything along the way. I could be wrong, LW may have simply meant that the parents were very loving and the friend is not reciprocating that love right now.

        *If* my definition is right, spoiled children have an entitlement mentality and become mooches when cast out into the real world.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree that very spoiled children will take that entitlement mentality with them in life.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        And even if you were right, how does that turn into she will be nothing but a mooch to her friend?

      12. Like I said, it’s a hunch (one I now see bgm shares). Maybe we’ll get an update and find out someday.

      13. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I agree, there is nothing that says her friend will start hitting her up. I wrote about my friend who was in basically the exact same situation (except hers was actually worse) and my friend never asked me for a cent. She was embarrassed and grateful when I insisted on paying for a meal or giving her some gas money when she came to visit. Poor does not equal greedy. In fact the poorest people generally are the most generous.

      14. My main reason for disagreeing that the friend would be a mooch is that the LW never mentions anything about her friend acting that way.

        And after the tome she wrote listing her friend’s faults, I find it difficult to believe she’d leave something like that out. ijs.

      15. “The friend is spending all her time lounging around, shopping, and pretending to look for a job. ”

        Right…but that is how this LW is characterizing the friend. How do we know that’s true? The wording sounds judgmental enough to be negatively biased—I mean, “pretending” to look for a job? How does the LW know her friend was “pretending” anything? From the LW’s standpoint, it might seem like Karen wasn’t really doing much besides shopping & lounging around, but doesn’t that often tend to be the overworked population’s view on anybody who’s struggling?

        And no, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that her friend would start bothering her non-stop for favors. It seems like Karen distanced herself once the LW made it clear that she wasn’t fond of the dude she’s seeing/now having a baby with. I’m not saying Karen has made great choices, but that much is obvious enough.

      16. This was a good friend. We’ve all had friends who have been unemployed at one time or another, and we can tell the difference between the ones who struggle and pound the pavement and the lazy ones who sponge off their parents.

  13. Brilliant advice by Wendy.

    And nice to have the fade out option. Unfortunately, I have this character in my life too but she is family. My sister makes terrible life choices, takes advantage of my parents, had had at least 2 unplanned pregnancies (not counting scares or additional ones I suspect), blows money she doesn’t have, fails to consider anyone else, and on and on. Since I cannot fade out on her, I use what the family calls the “friendly indifference” program (Iike Alanon’s “detach with love”). You don’t cut the person off, but you don’t get very involved either. You give the exact amount that you would feel comfortable giving if you knew you would get nothing in return –because nothing is almost always what you get. It’s hard to maintain because there is ALWAYS need and you’re always thinking how you’d give more to anyone else in the same situation. But by detaching, you let the resentment boil off and you can enjoy the person as-is.

    1. I like this. If you had a friend who was like your sister would you do the same thing or would you have eventually ended the friendship, do you think?

      1. I have had some, in fact. And I have a theory about that. I think we tend to be drawn to the same types over and over –they represent family dynamics that we are subconsciously trying to solve. Very Freudian, right? I think I seek out other selfish lost types in some sort of subconscious effort to make up for not really helping my sister.

        I’ve had different outcomes. Some that have faded out. Some where I have found a healthy balance of distance and involvement. And one in particular that burned out badly (she was angry that I emailed her about my cancer diagnosis instead of telling her in person so she froze me out and bad-mouthed me –so yeah, that bridge was burnt to a charred crisp) although it’s worth noting that about 8 years later, at 9 months pregnant with her first child, she reached out to me for the first time and she apologized.

      2. Totally agree that we tend to be drawn to certain types of people. My closest friends, as well as many of the people I date, are usually only or oldest children. They are also confident and outspoken. Two traits I value, but have trouble with myself.

        I also come from a very leave it to beaver type family. A lot of my close friends come from seriously fucked up families. I think I fill a need for normalcy that they never experienced.

      3. That is just crazy your friend would make your cancer diagnosis about her and her place in your life so that you are the bad-guy in the story. I hope you have nice, supportive friends you can spend all afternoon giggling with to balance the selfish, lost types too.

      4. Thanks. Crazy is right. And YES, oh my gosh yes, I am so so blessed with my frienships. I should have added that disclaimer. I have a wealth of amazing, smart, compassionate, and loyal friends that I would go to the ends of the earth for (and they for me).

  14. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

    Personally I think you are being a douche. One of your oldest friends changed someof her hobbies and wardrobe after college? The horror. You don’t like the way she interacts with her parents, that’s fine but it seems like she doesn’t confide in you much and I would say her parents kicking her out shows that there is more to their relationship than you know. Now she is making a dum mistake with her live life and has gotten herself in a big mess, and your first idea is to get all self righteous and friend dump her? That’s not what i would do but whatever. If you need to fade out fine, but save the judgement for someone who has actually done something to you.

    1. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

      Dumb, love life. stupid phone

    2. It seems judgement is easier than one would think, no?

      But the reality is you aren’t alone in your judgements – we all have them – why is it bad to act on them? You are the one who has to live with the consequences of your choices – so as long as someone is willing to do that then why not let them?

      1. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        You are right I am being judgy, I guess this LW just annoys me because to me your friends are there to support and love you, not to judge you the way a stranger who doesn’t know any of your good qualities would.

      2. I agree with you – that is how friends should be – I just think that perhaps these two aren’t friends any more – and just haven’t admitted it yet.

  15. LW I have kind of been where you are. Earlier this year I dumped a friend, with the breaking point being her pregnancy, but i think there were some differences. She was majorly nuts, changed BF every year, changed herself to mesh with the BF, had been dating the new guy for 3 months when they decided to have a baby “because everyone had babies”. Finally sick of her crap I tried the fade out, but she kept bugging and bugging me, until I had to dump her. At which point I became “a nazi thats going to die alone”. AH I forgot to mention, her grand plan for the baby was to live in her parents garage with the baby and the BF until they could save to build a house on his mothers property. He had a lowpaying job, ahe did freelance work but was supported by her parents. And they´re in their 30s.

    My point is, even though this person didnt really do anything to ME (except for drive me crazy with her need for constant drama), I had to cut her out of my life for my own sanity, and I couldn´t bear to be an accomplice to her BS anymore. I think only you can decide if you really can´t stand for your friend to be in your life anymore, and then maybe try the fadeout, but keep in mind that it might not work.

    1. WJKS.

      If you don’t want to be friends with someone, you don’t have to. If friends fall below your standards, it is in your right to stop the friendship.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree, but be careful if you cut your friends out because you think you are better than them. Karma has a way of biting you. When you come on hard times and make mistakes, your friends might just ditch you too.

      2. I think there’s a huge difference between thinking you are better then someone and someone falling below your standards for the people you allow in your life.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t. Why do you think there is?

      4. What does “thinking you are better than someone” mean? To be honest, I’ve always wondered.

        I think it is fair to say: you do “x” – I’m not interested in associating with that type of behaviour. But does this then automatically mean the person now thinks they are ‘better’ than the person doing “x”? And if so, then Isn’t that all of us to some degree?

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I think that’s fair to say too, to a degree.
        Yes, I think there is a part of everyone that thinks they are “better than” someone else, not that its the right thing to do.
        However, someone who is your friend who is going through a rough patch should be supported to an extent. This is not a ‘their values are radically different than mine, so we now have nothing in common and I don’t agree with her new values so we can’t be friends’ scenario. This is just someone who is having a rough go of it. I think its wrong to ditch them.

      6. well thats why its a personal thing and it will always be a case by case basis-

        for this LW, there is a difference between saying “your boyfriend is terrible and i cant believe you are having a baby with him. i would never do that, it is stupid and irresponsible, and because you are engaging in such icky behavior i cannot be your friend” VS “over our friendship you have changed into (someone I don’t feel like I know anymore) and even though i have repeatedly listened to your problems and given you what i think is good advice, finally culminating in (me asked her to stop complaining to me about how awful he was if she was going to continue to put up with his bad behavior). this relationship has become a negative influence to my life, and so i cannot continue it, because my standard for people in my life is that they are a positive beacon in my life”

        hugely different. and, how long are you supposed to support people through rough patches? i would say that it is individual and also a case by case thing- and so if this LW is to her breaking point with trying to help this friend through a rough patch, it is totally her right to stop the friendship.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Honestly, if someone told me after I got pregnant by a jerky bf that they couldn’t be my friend because I am not a “positive beacon” in their lives, I would gladly walk away from that friendship.

        I don’t see a huge difference between your 2 choices, only sugar coating.

        I don’t disagree that if the LW doesn’t want her as a friend, she can dump her. Of course. They’re not married or anything. But, I don’t think its nice to ditch a friend who is having hard times.

        Allowed? Yes. Nice? No.

      8. eh, i dunno, i think that is why we have so many unhappy people on this earth. similar to when you finally leave a jerky/abusive/asshole partner who just brings negativity to your life, there is a very liberating and joyous feeling to the realization that you *dont* actually have to be friends and interact with someone who brings you constant sadness and negativity.

        its similar to when you finally figure out and put into motion that you *dont* actually have to be friends with any of your family if they are terrible people.

        also, i think, if people wouldnt be friends with people who do terrible negative things, maybe they would get the fact that they are terrible negative people and change, benefiting everyone on the planet…

      9. I’m totally with you on this, LBH. Like, I dunno– it sounds so New Age-y to be all “I am cutting out everybody who is no longer a positive beacon in my life” (not to pick on you Katie! I’ve seen variations of that sentiment from a couple of people)

        Not everybody needs to be in your life as some kind of enriching force. And you can choose not to let your friends’ poor choices affect your life.

      10. But I do agree with fading out. Like a few people mentioned, friends fade in & out. Fading is different than totally ditching the girl.

      11. haha i wouldnt call myself new age-y, and i wouldnt say that everyone in my life is a “positive beacon” (which was just a stupid way to word that anyway), but i dont want to deal with constant negativity that just takes a toll on my life- in whatever manifestation that comes in. if listening to this girls completely self created problems is draining the life out of this LW, she should be participating in it. its one sided. its unhealthy!

        kind of like we say to cut out an ex completely because its ultimately unhealthy for yourself? a friendship like that (and its speculation whether this LW has that or not, of course) is toxic, just like keeping in contact with an ex is toxic for almost every person.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        @katie, Im just not seeing how this friend is a “terrible negative person.” I hear what you’re saying, but assuming the friend stop talking about the crappy bf, how is she doing anything to the LW?
        and I second Fab.

      13. I had two friends “break up” and the one girl listed off ten reasons why she was right and justified. I listened politely and responded, “But was what you did a kind thing to do?” She was silent and I said, that was the reason I disagreed with what she did. I think this is a friend so please be kind.

      14. well i mean were not there so we dont know for sure, but the bottom line is- “While part of me feels like I should just be happy for her if she is happy, the other, larger part of me wants nothing further to do with Karen” that. whatever it happened to be, whatever insignificant or very significant thing Karen has done has taken a toll on the LW and on their friendship and shes over it. im sure that there are people out there who could just be ok with the fact that one of their childhood friends dates terrible men, gets pregnant in irresponsible ways, complains to them about their self created problems, and then pretends to be happy about it all, but my guess is that this LW is not one of them.. and i sympathize, because i couldnt take very much of that either.

      15. theattack says:

        I agree with you, LBH. It’s fine for friends to naturally grow apart because their lives become so different. But you’re not a true friend if a freaking pregnancy makes you run for the hills. Friendships include both the good and the bad. If you can’t handle the bad, then you’re not a true friend – just an acquaintance. I’ve lost many friends this way myself. When I went so crazy at 18, my friends very clearly divided themselves up. The ones who stuck with me through the hard times are still around, and I’ve been there for them too. The ones who dwindled away when I was having a rough time eventually came back, but when they needed me later, I wasn’t there for them.

        You get back what you put into friendships. You might not expect the crazy to happen to you, but no one does. That’s one of the huge benefits to maintaining positive relationships with people. Friendship is like a bank account. You make deposits into it by helping your friend out, and later on you can make a withdrawal when you need it. You can’t make a withdrawal if you don’t have any friendship-funds.

      16. See – to me fading is just slow motion ditching – sometimes even causing the person you are ditching more angst and confusion if they don’t realise what is happening. To me it is comparable to a boyfriend having a conversation breaking up with you vs. one doing the fade out.

      17. @the attack: but when do you say “enough is enough”? in the case I talked about somewhere, the person was never a good friend, everything was always extremely onesided, even though it took me a while to realize that. Her pregnancy was just the catalyst.

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        @jk, when your friend is a selfish asshole (like it sounds was the case in your situation). When a friend has done nothing to you is where the difference lies.

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @JK, I didn’t see your story on here, but I’ve been mostly skimming. I think it should happen organically. Instead of saying “I’m now tired of this, and I’m done,” you react naturally to the negative things as they come up. It’s almost like using consequences, but in a very genuine way. For example, if your friend gets sloppy drunk and embarrassing every single time you go out to dinner, your reaction might be to not go out to dinner with her anymore, but you can still do puzzles or go to the gym or whatever. If your friend is truly atrocious then eliminating so many things might make your friendship non-existent. But that’s not a fade-out, and it’s not ditching your friend. It’s just the way you react to your friend’s actions over time.

        Did that make any sense outside my head?

      20. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Oh I was commenting on your story! haha, oops. I actually did read it. Just got confused.

        I would say the same thing though.

      21. I see a clear difference in the choices and support katie on this one — one is trying to control your friends behavior through ultimatums, shaming, etc. and one is clearly stating what limits you are putting on your own life and the choices you are willing to make in response to behavior that is upsetting or bothersome to you.

        1. If you don’t break up with jerk you are so stupid and I can’t be friends with you anymore


        2. I have tried for over a year, but I can’t continue to listen to you being so miserable and unhappy, yet unwilling to do anything differently. I will always be here for you if you are ready to do something different, but I can’t keep having the same conversation because you clearly don’t want to take my advice so please stop asking for it.

      22. I still don’t get the “better than” thing. If you don’t think your choice are better than the other option, then why would you have made them? I understand there is a lot of judgement behind the statement…but I don’t see the validity of it, I guess.

        But I think everything really turns on your “to an extent”. Each person’s threshold is different. I think once someone reaches yours – whatever it is – it’s okay to walk away.

      23. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I think the “standard” Katie is talking about is about values, not morals, so I agree with Katie, it’s not about thinking you are better than someone. You can dump friends based on values without being judgmental or holier than thou. I mean, what, you gotta spend your time cultivating friendships with everyone and their brother just because at their core they are decent people? That would be exhausting. There aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the year, years in a lifetime for that. Sure, the friend of the LW doesn’t sound like a bad person, but they have different values, they’ve grown apart… and at the end of the day, LW is not getting any fulfillment from her relationship with this friend. So in that sense, the friend is not meeting the LW’s standard… I say, let her go, fade out. And surround yourself with people you enjoy, who inspire you, who don’t annoy the shit out of you and drain the life from your soul… who you want to drink wine with after a long day. Those are my friend-standards.

        Also, who wants to hear about how sweet my boyfriend is?

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        I can’t decide whether I appreciate or hate the fact that when you say it, it sounds different, maybe even better.

        Anyway, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it just seems like a shame to me that because someone has made mistakes, her friend is ditching her.

      25. i think its a shame too. i mean i dont blame anyone for being all lovey-friends forever-whatever with people… and i love my friends, i love them a lot, and i would absolutely support them through a rough patch and through mistakes they make.

        i think what it comes down too is where that threshold is for each person of how much shit can you take? how much of someones rough patch and mistakes can you live with? because everyone makes mistakes. people who murder one another make mistakes… but that doesnt mean we take pity on them because it was a mistake. life has consequences.

      26. lets_be_honest says:

        Maybe what makes me dislike the LW for this (aside from her sounding very judgmental, imo), is that she is actively thinking about ditching a friend bc of her (what I perceive as lame) reasons she listed, as opposed to just fading out without thought or judgment. idk.
        I get friendships fade over time because people live different lives, that’s fine of course. I just think there’s a big difference between that (which is almost inevitable) and essentially dumping someone because their life sucks right now.

      27. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I agree with you – I think it would be a shitty move to dump a friend just because his or her life was shitty right now. So I guess this is where we differ – you see the LW’s friend’s life as “just shitty right now,” but I see the two as having grown apart over time and as LW being tired of the “friend”‘s annoying ways.

      28. lets_be_honest says:

        It is true that it sounds like they already started to grow apart, which is normal at their age.
        To label the friend as annoying because she tried to maintain the friendship is pretty nasty (not that you are).
        Anyway, I agree with both of us (is that possible?)

      29. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And if was the fact that the friend tried to maintain the friendship that annoyed the LW, then it’s not only nasty but it’s not going to be an effective way to ever have friends, unless you only want friends who treat you poorly and who don’t put in any effort to cultivate the friendship. But that’s not what’s happened here. The LW just listed a whole bunch of reasons why over time this friend is not the kind of person she wants to be close to. But you know it’s always hard when you have to list reasons to make your point. Sometimes there are no big reasons why you don’t want to keep someone in your life. I think about all those people I have known over my life, friends from work, from school, etc. Sometimes that friend “spark” is just not there, and I have no desire to get to know that person, but I couldn’t tell you any specific reason why, even for those people that at one point in time I was closer to. I’m sure they are perfectly fine people, and I’m sure if I was forced to get to know them, I’d find things I enjoy and would be interested in learning more. But eh, really there is just not enough time – if the friend spark is not there, move on. There are so many other friends to do things with.

      30. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Well, the timing might be sucky. … But actually not really, because there is no specific timing. There is no actual dump taking place. (Not the poop kind of dump, the “breaking up” kind of dump, just to be clear.) LW is not actually “dumping” her friend because the fade out has been happening for a long time, since the friend moved back and over time has been annoying the LW. The advice to LW is to keep the fade out going… So now that the friend is pregnant, LW owes nothing to the friend b/c the fact is they really aren’t close friends anymore. It’s not as if they have been close all these years and then BAM the friend is pregnant and LW is cutting her off. I just don’t see it like that. I see it as an old/former friend who is now pregnant who wants to be closer to LW but c’est la vie. You can’t force someone to be your friend. Besides, there is no crisis here, she’s just pregnant. It’s not as if something bad happened and the friend is reaching out for immediate help. I’m sure the LW would help out in an emergency in honor of their past friendship. But this friend is just trying to get closer, and LW doesn’t want to. That’s how it seems to me.

      31. lets_be_honest says:

        You again, doing that thing I can’t decide whether I like or don’t…

      32. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I just like everyone to feel like I’m agreeing with them. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. My dad used to call me a lovable bullshitter.

      33. PERFECT ap. exactly what i meant.

      34. I like the way you stated it, but why does it have to be all or nothing? Like I have friends that we commit to seeing each other a few times a year. 4 times a year for old times sake. I feel like I am looking at this from a longer perspective than some. But I have had friends for 20 years, sometimes we were closer other times we weren’t. Sometimes years would go by without seeing each other and some it was weekly. I just think to draw this line in the sand is short sighted. By doing a fade out to seeing each other once a year is the best way to keep the door open for the future.

      35. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I think for those types of friendships, you have to be on the same page; you both have to want to see each other only a few times a year or every few years. I have friends like that. We BOTH don’t push for more regular contact or try to lean on each other for support on a more regular basis. But haven’t you ever had someone try to force a friendship that for whatever reason you didn’t want, even if it was simply because that person bored you or wanted to do X but you really wanted to do Y? Sometimes you need to take control of how you spend your time and who you are close to or else you can get pushed over by those kinds of people and wake up later and feel like you’re not spending your time the way you want to and with the people you want to. That happened to me. Somtimes I have a hard time saying no to people and when I first moved to Chicago there wasn’t a happy hour invitation I said no to. And in time I found that I was spread thin, I was always doing things with people who were find and dandy but not really a good fit for me and I wasn’t doing the things I wanted to b/c it was too easy to just say yes to their invitations…. and BAM I woke up a little depressed and feeling like I had no control and was not doing the things I wanted to do. I dunno. I can’t remember what we are talking about anymore.

      36. lets_be_honest says:

        Riiight, you were just trying to be a good friend by attending every happy hour ever.

      37. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I was!!!!!!!!! I’m such a good friend.

      38. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But seriously, it is so easy to gradually get pulled into directions you didn’t intend and that you don’t want. After a few years in Chicago I found myself spread so thin, constantly make plans to meet so-and-so for dinner and meet a different so-and-so for drinks the next day. I woke up a little depressed because I felt like I had no free time yet no one I really loved in my life, just random friends I’d meet up with every month or so – but a whole bunch of them. So I had to take a little more control, weed out people (without being rude, just doing a fade out), devote some time to alone time, and try to aim for quality of friends over quantity. “Quality” not meaning an “as good as me” judgmental standard but based on values …. and now we’ve come full circle. I can’t help but see this LW as needing to take some control of who she devotes her time to as friends so her life is happier, more positive, and less pooped on.

      39. I know what you are saying. However, I have zero problems saying no or ignoring my phone. I have rules that I live by and I don’t alter them. So for example, I ask people to do things 3 times. If they say no all those times and don’t try to reciprocate then I stop asking. Most circle back eventually saying “I haven’t heard from you in ages” It is the same with my once a quarter friends. I just can easily say that I can’t. I don’t explain and I don’t appologize. It is a breath of fresh air.

      40. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        God I don’t. It typically goes like this: someone says, “hey, let’s get dinner next week.” But I’m legitimately BOOKED! And for my sanity I got to reserve 1 night of the week for no plans. So they say, “ok, next week?” Only, seriously, next week is booked too. Then they say something annoying like “Oh I see, you’re just too busy for me, why don’t you let me know when you’re free.” [Ass.] So I say, “really it’s just super busy right now, ok, how about in 3 Tuesdays?” So it gets put on the calendar. Then the 3rd Tuestday rolls around and GOD I really just want to go to the gym and detox for one night. But this friend already made me feel like an ass so I go. See? That’s how it works.

        Gasp, I think I’ve been bragplaining — wahh wahh, too many people want to hang out with me, wahh wahh….. Ok, that’s annoying, I’m done bragplaining. I gotta go to a happy hour now – one I scheduled 4 weeks ago even though guess what I really want to do tonight? I want to go seee a couch at Room and Board and then go home and drink wine in bed while I watch the new 90210 from last night. Blerg.

      41. WKS. I for one can´t be friends with someone that is a crappy friend, with values totally different to mine

      42. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t disagree on the values end, but I don’t really see how the friend is a crappy one to the LW.

      43. I agree with you LBH. This Karen might be annoying but would she help out if the LW needed some last minute support? There is nothing in this letter that suggests that she wouldn’t be (at least until after the LW told her to stop complaining about her BF).

      44. I don’t see that it’s about being better than someone as much as it’s about being too different. Wildly divergent values, lifestyles, and goals make it hard to maintain any kind of a relationship.

      45. YES – WLBHS.

        Eventually everyone is going to need a friend to help them out. We all make mistakes and I wouldn’t want to be in need of help and have no one there to lean on.

      46. Seconded! Life is choices. Once you accept the consequences of your choices I have no beef with anyone. And not for anything, but who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t respect them, anyway? It’s win win to just walk away sometimes. I know if someone considered it a burden to talk to me I would want them to stop…for both our sakes.

      47. lets_be_honest says:

        Well this is certainly true too.

  16. I was in a situation like this. Circumstances a lil different, but still…. anyway, I agree with Wendy. Fade it out. Sometimes you just need to have your own space because you have taken a different path than your friend.. she does not seem to have done something horrible to you, and you do not know if things will be different later on. She might look you up a couple of years from now and ask you to go for a drink and take it from there, but for the time being, go to the baby shower for a lil while and then keep to yourself. Time might be the factor in change here.

  17. While I agree that the slow fade out is less dramatic and avoids burning bridges, it bothers me.

    I had a close friend who have used that on me and, looking back, I have no idea what happened! So once I realized that the friendship was dead, I mourned the loss of something that I didn’t realize was dying but it was too late to make any changes. I have no idea why this person that once seemed to really love me no longer can take the time of day to call me back, email me back, or, hell, even write something on my FB wall. It ends up making me wonder if I did something that no one has the guts to tell me that I did! I’d like some closure (and feedback so I don’t make whatever mistakes again) but I didn’t get any of that in this fade-out. And it doesn’t really make sense to ask what happened when she can’t be bothered to respond to a FB message.

    Of course, I’m also in the process of a mutual fade-out with another friend and the reasons for THAT one are perfectly clear on both sides. Neither one of us is going to go “gee, what happened here?”

    On that note, this LW has clearly told Karen what was going on. Karen does know (or should know) what happened to the friendship so the fade-out isn’t as painful as it could be.

  18. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned the “R” word yet.


    It’s pretty clear that the LW has lost all respect for Karen. Call it judgemental, but friend or not, it’s hard not to lose respect for someone who degrades themselves this way, because they’re so afraid to live without a man.

    Yes, we’ve all made bad choices, I make ’em on an hourly basis some days. But this relationship is one ridiculously long bad choice. Karen knows the guy is bad for her. She knows he’s using her. She knows he doesn’t respect her. She knows he treats her like garbage. She knows he makes her miserable. And not only does she continue allowing him to use her, but she gets pregnant and moves in with him so they can ‘make it work’. Sheesh, she sounds like the follow-up LW from yesterday.

    It’s not that the LW hasn’t tried. She’s listened, she’s given advice when asked, she’s talked through the situation with Karen for hours and hours on end. At what point do you throw up your hands and say enough? It’s hard to watch someone grovel for some asshat’s affection, over and over again, over a long period of time. Really, really hard.

    1. This is true. But it also seems that both of them has started a fade out because after the LW told Karen her feelings, Karen is the one who stopped contacting the LW. Until she was pregnant. I think Karennlost the support of her parents, and is now trying to reach out to the next best person for that (to her anyways) which seems to be the LW in this case.

      1. I think Karen pulled away because, on some level, she’s embarrassed. She and the LW had that “you should dump him” talk, and then Karen thanked her and said “Yeah! You’re right! I’m really gonna do it this time!” And she didn’t. I’m sure she felt awkward talking to LW after that. And now that she’s pregnant and living with the guy, and he wants to make it work, she feels validated enough to face LW again.

        I should have said that I’m not in favor of LW telling Karen “I don’t want to be friends anymore, don’t ever call me again.” That would be kinda mean, given what a mess Karen’s life is, but I’d definitely be fading at this point.

    2. Thank you, Essie. This really does sum up how I’m feeling, even though I didn’t think of the respect aspect of it at first. I don’t want to be judgmental and I definitely don’t want to make her feel bad; there’s really not a thing she can do about her situation at this point. I also have years of good memories with her and don’t want to tarnish them with things said in the heat of the moment. But after a point I just feel like this is getting pointless, and I think if I keep going through the motions I’ll just find myself meeting her for lunch or something after the baby comes and hearing stories about how the guy is calling her fat or told her he still wants to date around or something.

  19. As someone whose friends have watched her make bad decisions, I’m happy that they stuck around to see me come out better and stronger on the other side.

  20. Sue Jones says:

    Fade out, and move on… but leave the door open. Friendships change a lot during young adulthood. But you don’t need to make a drama out of it. Here is what I think will happen… Fast forward 5 years or so… Karen has the baby, leaves the loser boyfriend, goes to law school, gets some therapy and by the time she is 30 her life is back on track again. Leave the door open for something like that to happen. While you don’t have to be around to listen to every blow by blow of the impending drama, many people screw up their 20’s only to come roaring back later. Pull back for now and hopefully something like that can happen. I did a lot of things in my 20’s and did not see a lot of old friends during that time ( I was living on the opposite coast was part of the reason) but reconnected when my life was a little more stable and it has been very good for me. No reason to drop her like a hot potato unless she steals from you, betrays you, etc.

  21. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Before I read Wendy’s response or any comments:

    I have been/am in pretty much this exact situation. It’s damn hard watching somebody you love hurt themselves through other people time and time again. But it’s not your damn responsibility to get them to stop. Once you’ve let that go then it is really tedious and annoying to listen to them complain about their situation when you see the easy fix. It can be really easy to say “this friendship isn’t fun anymore, I’m out.” But for me, that’s not what a friend is, that is what an acquaintance is. With my friends I stick with them and help them out when it isn’t fun, when it hurts, when they NEED it. Because eventually my friend left that crappy guy and now she’s a single mom which is just as hard but less drama. But I was there for her when she needed me. I was there to cheerlead her to take night classes. I was there to take her out for dinner when she needed a treat and couldn’t afford it. I was there to listen to her complain about her child’s father. I take pride in how far she has come. And holy shit I need some coffee now.

    My point being- sure, you can leave your oldest friend in the dust because she’s on hard times. But life isn’t always going to go smoothly for you and then who will you fall on?

    1. “My point being- sure, you can leave your oldest friend in the dust because she’s on hard times. But life isn’t always going to go smoothly for you and then who will you fall on?”

      but how sad is it to remain friends with someone merely because you might need them someday? I don’t like the thought of someone who doesn’t have any interest or respect in me keeping me around because they might need a favor…

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I don’t keep my friends around because I may need a favour out of them. Thats incredibly selfish and a horrible thing to do. All meaningful friendships are give and take though and I was simply pointing out that right now the LW’s friend is needing her to give while in the future the LW herself may need to take from her friend. It sounds like at this point the friend isn’t really asking much of the LW anyways. Going to her baby shower? Catching up after 3 months? It’s not exactly like she’s asking any huge favours.

        “I don’t want to be the type of friend who ditches people when the going gets rough. I have no doubt in my mind that if it were me in this situation, she would still be my friend. But I also have no doubt in my mind that I would never make a baby with some guy who treated me like utter crap for months on end.”

        LW, you may not make the same mistakes that your friend is making now, but you WILL make mistakes. If you treat your friend with compassion and continue your already-quarterly friendship then you know that you have at least one friend that you can count on. If you aren’t willing to put in that effort than I really hope that your friend has some real friends that are.

      2. theattack says:

        My God, that part of the letter really irked me. “But I also have no doubt in my mind that I would never make a baby with some guy who treated me like utter crap for months on end.”

        Oh really now? Whoever it was earlier that was asking what it sounded like to think you’re better than someone else, here it is! I cannot stand people like this. I never thought I would make some of the mistakes I’ve made in life. Most of us don’t, because those mistakes happen during crises, not when we’re at our best. Whenever the LW eventually falls from her high and mighty throne, she might realize how shitty this is.

  22. The other year, my best friend watched me turn into a person I never wanted to be. In our years of friendship, the only fight we have ever gotten in was when I had gone into a stage of depression (didn’t want to talk about it), made very poor personal decisions, and lashed out at those closest to me. She couldn’t understand what was going on with me and why I was behaving the way I was. She legitimately couldn’t stand to be around me at one point because I was such an ugly person. But she stuck by me. Our friendship certainly faded, but she was still there.

    Anyway, I pulled myself out of my depression, and my best friend was still there. It took some time and a sincere apology, but we are closer than ever now. She’s my best friend for life, and without a doubt, like a sister to me. I am so blessed that she chose to stick by me and that she’s my best friend.

    It’s OK to fade out on this friendship, but straight up dumping her when she hasn’t necessarily done anything TO you? Just think about it. Maybe she’s having a really rough time, and surely if you were in her shoes, you would want someone to stick by you too.

  23. Hmm.. my situation isn’t quite like this but I have a friend who I am worried about. So she started dating this guy last december her bro in law hooked her up with (She was totally against meeting him blah blah but she finally did.) who is 28 and ready to settle down (We are 23). All through January she would text me about how clingy and stiffling he was and I was like look if you don’t feel right about it, end it. Her family loved him because he was the born again christian, no drinking/$ex/ nothing. She, meanwhile used to go out to the bars and have a drink or two and have fun but when she started dating him it stopped. Well they got engaged in June and the wedding is in February and she has deleted her facebook with some drinking pictures because she doesnt want his mom or family to see them. I honestly feel like i have nothing in common with her anymore, I’m dating but no one seriously so I still go out and have fun and she literally refuses to go out and have a drink. And I also feel like she is not really in love with this guy (dating 7 months and also never living/sleeping together..COMON. and I think she is just in love with the idea of getting married and I feel bad for thinking that and I want nothing but the best for them (he’s kind of a bore honestly, but her family is supppperrrrrrr religious and I dont think she would ever bring a guy who wasn’t like that home) I guess I feel a little sad that she won’t make time to go out for a girls night anymore and I don’t agree with a lot of her decisions and I feel like she was pressured into this and I worry that after the wedding she is going to say, wow okay.. now we’re married and our life really starts and I’m living the rest of my life with him. I hate that we are in such different places in our lives and I know there’s nothing I can do about it but be happy for her and hope that everything works out. Any comments/advice on my little venting session would be appreciated!

    1. You have nothing in common anymore because she won’t go out and have a drink? I sincerely hope you aren’t pressuring her to drink. If she doesn’t want to, then that’s her decision regardless of why she has made that decision. I think she should still go out and have fun with girlfriends without drinking, but the fact you brought up alcohol and things of that nature, it sounds like you think it wouldn’t be fun with no alcohol. Sorry if I sound rude, but I’m not a fan of people who are like, “C’mon, it’s just a drink.” No means no.

      Be happy for her. Try different kinds of “girls nights” like dinner or a movie or a burlesque show (might not work if she’s super conservative), but that sort of thing.

      You don’t know that she’s not in love with the guy. If she is ready to get married, then that’s her decision. At the end of the day, it’s her decision. Period. Just be there for her.

      1. I would NEVER pressure her to drink and have friends that don’t drink and am perfectly fine with that. She’s kinda cheap so if we plan on a dinner she’ll come and drink water or tea or something and say oh sorry I had something at home. And then I feel like well what the heck..I guess it feels like we don’t have much in common anymore because we used to go out and have fun and have a drink (or sometimes not drink at all and just go dance) and laugh (all while she was in a different relationship). I guess I feel like she changes who she is for each boyfriend and I am just keeping my mouth shut and being happy for her and I sincerely hope she IS in love with him. I guess I felt that way from when she talked about it in the beginning feeling super pressured by how ready he is to settle down and she is only 23 and about how clingy he was. she is so worried about what other people think (before I met him shes like “I have to tell you he’s bald. He may not be super attractive but he’s a sweet guy.)” and she asked me more then a few times how would you react to dating a bald guy (i’m like who cares? IFFF he treats you right and makes you happy, then be happy! As long as your attracted enough to him because there has to be some passion there IMO. There are enough nice guys to find one who your also at least a little attracted too) and said more then once about him not being attractive but being a sweet guy.

      2. and your right, what I can do is be there for her and I am. I would never tell her I don’t think she is really in love with him, only she knows for sure and as long as she is happy (which she doesn’t seem to be that happy. Of course the stress of wedding planning can do that!) I will be happy for her and want nothing but the best for her because she is one of my closest friends and deserves to be happy! I just worry about her..

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I’d overlook the “cheap” thing. Maybe she is cheap, or maybe she’s broke, or saving even. Either way, its not like she’s ordering food or drinks and asking you to cover the bill.

      4. Good point, very true. I mean it sucks scarfing down when the other person is drinking tea but if its a way to continue having a friendship with her then i can suck it up. I am glad to have a site to get any outside point of view. Thanks guys:]

      5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        It sounds to me like she is just getting into another stage of life than you. We tend to have friends who are doing the same life-things as ourselves and while I was lucky that pretty much all of my friends are getting married/having kids around the same time I am, some people aren’t and those friendships tend to hit the backburner for awhile. Not all, but most people tend to drink less/party less when they get married and I think deleting any old (incriminating) photos off facebook is pretty common.

  24. WWS for the most part. In my experience, I’ve only had one reason to ever directly dump a friend rather than fade out. And that was when a person was alienating not just me but ALL of her close friendships and so I thought she at least deserved to know why everyone was supposedly disappearing from her life. Other than that it’s kind of mean to tell a friend directly “just leave me alone”.

  25. Bittergaymark says:

    Fade out. But NOT too slow or you’ll be stuck endlessly babysitting that little darling or constantly fielding desperate phones calls about her dreary relationship drama…

  26. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to “dump” a friend ever, unless they are treating you really badly or have actively resisted a fadeout. Finding someone annoying is not a good reason, and though you seem like a nice person, if you tell her to “leave you alone” simply for inviting you to her shower, then that would be really rude and unnecessary, especially since she, as you seem to acknowledge, already has a lot of issues by being with this man.

    1. Bon Vivant says:

      I’d say “annoying” *is* a good reason for ending a friendship. Why would anyone want to spend their valuable time with someone who annoys them?

      1. But why do you need to go through the production of verbally ending it. I’m 32 and I’ve never had a friend actually tell me they don’t want to be my friend anymore and vice versa.

        Sure, I can probably name tons of people I’m no longer friends with. Fading out definitely works and it doesn’t unnecessarily hurt someone’s feelings.

      2. Bon Vivant says:

        Who said anyone necessarily has to go through the production of verbally ending it? Just responding to the comment above, with which I disagree.

        Plenty of commenters recommending the “fadeout” which is a more graceful/less hurtful way to let a friendship lapse. I sure do agree that a formal declaration is not appropriate.

      3. exactly.

  27. Ok, I have a general comment and it’s based on an earlier discussion from this letter.

    What is the point of “dumping” a friend? It sounds super dramatic and very high school. And why do you need to tell someone they suck so you are cutting them out of your life? Unless, of course, that friend has done something to seriously hurt you. Fade outs are super easy. People come and go at different points in your life all the time. When you fade, you keep a door slightly open.

    1. Oh, and let me add, theattack’s response was perfect up above and basically what I’m trying to say.

      Love it theattack. I’m all about letting things happen organically though.

      1. theattack says:

        Aw, thanks!

    2. Yeah, this. I see a few people comparing it to relationships– a S/O (or even just someone you were dating) is an ass if he/she tries to pull a “fade out,” sure. But I really believe friendships work differently.

      1. Agreed. And you’re welcome theattack. Your phrasing was perfect IMO.

  28. SweetPeaG says:

    Pick the fade out!

    I recently completed a long-term fade out. I have a friend who, for a certain period in my life, I had a lot of fun being completely immature with. She was my fun friend. As the years progressed, it became obvious that I was growing up and she was still stuck at 16. It became sort of embarrassing to be with her in public (and I feel douchey for saying that, but, you have no idea). I still would never want to hurt her feelings. So, I simply stopped making plans with her. I think she officially realizes we are no longer friends, after a few years of minimal contact on my end. But, she has nothing she can really point to and be angry at me for. I didn’t “break up” with her and make her sad… there was no reason for that. Maybe someday, she will get her life in order and we can be friendly again.

    My fiance, on the other hand, fully “broke up” with a high school friend of his. From the stories I hear, the kid sort of deserved it. But, my fiance (YEARS later) regrets hurting him. It must be a big blow to the self-esteem to have someone you considered a good friend tell you that they simply don’t like you anymore.

    I just don’t think the LW’s friend needs to hear all the ways she went wrong in life. I am sure she knows (even if she won’t admit it). Don’t hurt her feelings. Just do the exact fade-out Wendy suggests.

  29. Probably no one will read this since I’m late to the party, but whatevs.

    I’m of two minds on this letter. My initial reaction was that the LW sounds painfully sanctimonious. It made me doubt the validity of her claims about the friend. Now I’m sure her friend IS making some bad choices, and that can be pretty distressing to watch, but I feel there isn’t an ounce of compassion in this letter. To a certain extent, judgment is normal; I’ve definitely judged my friends (sorry!). This letter just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe that’s because I’m sort of in an upside down version of this situation myself.

    I’m not at my best at the moment and discovered a certain friend (who means well) is just really shitty at being supportive- she tries so hard to be supportive that she is in fact doing the very opposite. It culminated in her saying something incredibly mean and judgmental at a really really inappropriate moment. I addressed it with her immediately, and she apologized, but I am still really hurt and angry. After all the other stuff she’s done, that comment was just too much. I’m doing a temporary fade out until I can have a healthy relationship with her again. I don’t expect this will be permanent, but I also didn’t expect her to basically call me a slut, so who knows!

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      your friend sounds like a doodiehead, so I support your fade-out.

  30. ETA: @KerryContrary (I forgot to reply to you, whoops!)
    She is and she isn’t, ya know what I mean? It took that comment for me to accept that I HAD to do a semi fade out for my own sanity since she’s really tried to be there for me and has done a good number of truly awesome things. And I’m pretty sure she’s a bit pissed at me as well right now because it does look like I’m being ungrateful for the awesome things she did. I think I just need a little time to figure out how to establish better boundaries with her. Our dynamic before my breakup is not functional post breakup, but post breakup TaraMonster isn’t exactly operating on all cylinders. So I’m making mistakes. I’m trying to do the right thing, and I think a bit of space will be good for both of us. Hopefully.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      That sucks TaraMonster. Like you needed 1 more thing on your plate. Maybe a note saying you appreciate everything, but are still upset about x y z would put your mind at ease? I’m hoping it turns out to be some kind of a misunderstanding.

      1. TaraMonster says:

        Aw thanks, LBH. My plate is WAY full right now. That’s a great idea. Just gotta figure out how to execute it. Hmmm.

  31. Hi Everyone,

    LW here. Thanks for your responses… I’ve read some but not all and I guess I’ll say some things for clarification’s sake.
    Firstly, I tried the fade away. I tried really, really, hard. I’m good at fading away, because I know, understand, and respect the fact that friendships change. “Faded away” friendships are great for reminiscing and occasional “thinking of you” texts. There’s no hard feelings involved.
    After the lunch convo we had when I first found out she was pregnant I texted her the next day to say, “I hope everything works out, sorry if anything I said yesterday was too harsh and let me know if you need anything.” (PS, during that lunch she recounted a story about how he made her cry THAT VERY MORNING, a few hours before she met up with me.)

    Then we didn’t talk for about 3 months. Then she invited me to some baby event, not the shower, but a “gender reveal,” and I RSVPed no, with a thanks for the invite message. Now, the baby shower is coming and I got the invite but didn’t respond immediately. She texted me to ask if I was going to the baby shower, I said no, asked her how she was doing, and replied “that’s good” when she told me she’d been awesome. She replied asking me what she had done, I replied “I’m happy for you but things aren’t the same anymore. I wish you the best and don’t want to put a damper on your happiness.” She basically responded denying that she’d changed at all except for the pregnancy, and we had a little tiff where I asked her how many times she wanted us to have the same conversation. And that’s when I sent the message to Wendy. It’s like, my fade away tactics are not working and I was wondering if I should just be very clear that I’m not trying to go through this with her anymore. I spent hours and hours with her talking about this guy. Literally every single time we hung out it would be a 3-hour session breaking down every word he said to her and every thing he did that she didn’t like, that made her feel devalued, that made her doubt herself. I sat across from her as she bawled, head in hands, in a bar on her birthday. I begged her to stop seeing him. I gave her every pep talk, every “you can do so much better,” every “you’re so awesome I’d marry you if it were legal,” speech I could think of. It’s pretty frustrating when people come to you for advice and completely disregard it but then come back for more advice. Over, and over, and over, and over.
    So, sorry if I sounded judgy, I wasn’t trying to be. I’m really just at my wits end.
    1) I didn’t assume she was lounging around and pretending to look for jobs. She told me that’s what she was doing. Those may have been her words verbatim. She actually rejected a job offer, in fact, because the starting salary (in the $40’s, which is pretty reasonable for the cost of living in the city we live) wasn’t high enough.
    2) I never said my life is going so awesomely. Sure, I’m happy and comfortable, but I just have a normal life. Car, roommate, job I don’t like that much, jeans that don’t quite fit after Thanksgiving, bills to pay, happy hours, occasional marathons of trashy TV, etc. Pretty standard for a mid-twenties girl fresh out of college in a big city.
    3) Lastly, I stand by saying I wouldn’t make a baby with someone who treats me like crap. If a guy treats me the way she told me he treated her, I’m walking out the door, not getting in his bed. Maybe it’s just my own personal experiences that make me feel so strongly about this, but I can’t stay in a relationship that I know is wrong just because I don’t want to be single. My mother has told me a few stories about the abusive relationship she had with my father and the context has always been, “Don’t you ever let something like that happen to you. Don’t you ever be afraid to walk away from something when you know it’s not right. If you love yourself, you won’t settle for something less when you know you deserve so much more.”

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      It sounds like you dealt with the issue entirely before you wrote in.

      Also, no one ever plans on being in a bad relationship. You saying you won’t be makes you exactly like every other person on the planet.

      1. Perhaps, but maybe what makes me different is that I mean it when I say it. If you keep going back to a bad situation you can’t write that off as something that just happens sometimes. I’m in the middle of a breakup now and yeah, it’s super hard. But it’s not right for me so I’m out.

      2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Everyone thinks they mean it when they say it. That doesn’t mean anything. Really smart people who say that still end up in bad situations.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        You can’t know what you’re going to do or what’s going to happen to you. I hope nothing like this does happen to you, but you never know what will. Do you really think your friend a few years ago would have said “Yes, I would definitely stay with someone who treated me like crap. I would even have his baby!” No. You might not be able to imagine it happening to you, but the best of us end up in horrible situations we never could have imagined. You’re not any less likely to fall into hard times than someone else just because you think you’re more determined. Frankly, your attitude comes across as very self-righteous and judgmental.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Thank you.

      5. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Well said theattack! I agree with everything you said, especially about the LW being self-righteous and judgemental

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Well said theattack! I agree with everything you said, especially about the LW being self-righteous and judgemental

      7. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        don’t know why it posted twice, but I’m kind of okay with it since I agree with you that much.

      8. Falling on hard times is not the same as seeing all the warning signs and ignoring the hell out of them…. I don’t know why this has turned into a personal attack. I’m not saying I’ve never made mistakes. I am saying that this situation was 100% avoidable for my friend. This isn’t the same as being married and finding out your partner cheated and trying to make it work. This isn’t the same as planning for a baby but then losing your job. Those situations are “falling on hard times.” If you give your iPhone to a five year old and he breaks it, that’s a situation you could have avoided with a little more common sense. Come on.

      9. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        it’s not as black and white as you are making it seem. It’s nice that you’re this optimistic about it, but it doesn’t make it true. I hope you don’t end up in any sort situation like that, but it doesn’t mean you won’t just because you think you’re too smart to.

      10. Nothing is really black and white, of course. And without going into my history, her history, and tons of details about this situation it’s hard to really get all philosophical about everything. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life. I second guess myself all the time. My mother still lectures me to the point that I feel like I’m 12. I’m not on a high horse. I just wrote in for some advice on how to deal with a situation that is personally overwhelming to me because, while completely realizing that I’m outside the situation and really can’t know everything about her relationship with this man, my friend has told me a bunch of stuff that makes it seem like this relationship is bordering on emotional abuse. Despite this, she choses to remain in the situation and even bring a child into the situation.
        I don’t think it’s wrong for me to second guess whether I want to remain a bystander to this train wreck. I don’t think it’s self righteous to believe that some things in life- like choosing not to go back for more and more abuse- can be controlled. This man was not her husband. This man was not a family member. If she wanted to stop talking to him at any point all she would have had to do was stop answering the phone, stop calling him, stop agreeing to meet up with him. It’s only hard because people are afraid that if they give this up, they might be alone forever. They see a couple holding hands and get all emotional and say “I could call him right now and I know he’d take me back.” Their mother calls them and reminds them their biological clock is ticking. And the next thing they know they’re sending that text, making that call, giving it a second chance, a third chance, and so on.

      11. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Emotions are not a bad thing even though they can lead you to make bad decisions. They are what make us human. It’s not bad if you don’t want to be her friend anymore but it is bad to say that she is (insert insult here) because her emotions are clouding her decisions.

      12. For what it’s worth – you don’t come across as judgemental to me at all. I’m getting that sense from the people judging you though…

        And I think it is completely fair to say “I know what the warning signs look like on this particular issue and I know I wouldn’t be blind to them or I would know how to extract myself if need be.” All of us are going to have problems in life – but we all aren’t going to have the same problems. I know some problems are not going to be mine. Sure no one knows the future or how you will conceivably act – but nothing in life is absolute…so in so far as you can say anything, you can absolutely say I’m not going to be a victim of that particular problem. I know a girl married for a year and half to a (mean) gay man who hasn’t slept with her yet even though he doesn’t admit to being gay. She had plenty of time to end her relationship before her family dropped $100K on her wedding. We all knew he was gay before they married and we all told her – several times. So that problem? Yeah I would never have that problem – and I can say so with certainty.

      13. I think that if this is truly a situation bordering on emotional abuse (which, if you can see from the outside, is probably much worse behind closed doors), then 1. it’s a lot more complicated than you may understand and 2. she is going to need her friends more than ever to be there for her when she finally does decide to remove herself from the situation. Abuse is weird. Everyone on the outside thinks, “Just leave!!” when it’s rarely that simple. As an observer, of course it is your instinct to want to talk her out of it, to shake some sense into her, but it’s often more helpful to just… be there. And let her know that she has your support. Then when she’s ready to come around, when she starts questioning her relationship (and it might take some time), she has someone to go to. If she feels isolated and like she has no one else to turn to, she’s going to be stuck with him even longer.

      14. For what it’s worth, LW, I’m with you. There’s only so much of people’s stupid you can take, and I support anyone needing to end any relationship that has become terrible/annoying/toxic/whatever you want to call it.

      15. Thanks, Katie.

      16. theattack says:

        I just used the phrase “falling on hard times” to be inclusive of any difficulties that could happen. I don’t think it makes a difference whether a mistake was 100% avoidable or not. That’s kind of what a mistake is, isn’t it? You don’t have to be this girl’s friend. That’s totally fine. It’s just coming across that you don’t want to be her friend anymore because you think she’s stupid for making this mistake, which is not the mark of being a good friend or an understanding person. Feel free to ignore what I’ve said. I just know that I would be the one walking away in your friend’s shoes.

    2. LW, I feel for you. I had a friend just like that, too (minus the pregnancy).
      It was exhausting being around her because everything revolved around the drama of her and her boyfriend. At some point, it’s just not worth it to invest anymore time in people like that.

  32. HeartsMum says:

    Wow. Given how hard some recent LWs have gotten it for relying on their parents’ generation to support them financially, it’s a little shocking to see how judgemental people regard you in spite of doing your own adulting. Being judgemental is part of being an adult: you are judging that emotional involvement with this person is something you can no longer manage. You mention that you grew up with a father who treated your mother badly (whether or not you directly witnessed it) and you absolutely have the right to protect yourself from waking up whatever that might evoke in you. When I was 18, my godmother told me some people make their own good luck, which I thought was harsh. 30+ years later, I see what she means. Your friend keeps touching the stove to see if it’s hot and you are backing away from dressing her burns. I swore I would never get with a physically abusive partner, as that was part of my childhood wallpaper, and I didn’t: I got with an emotionally abusive partner (back in the 90s when that wasn’t even a thing 😉), but it’s not being judgmental to say you will seek to avoid that outcome! I wouldn’t expect someone in their 20s to keep schtum when a friend is messing up and keeps venting about it. I wish more of us oldies were telling young people it’s okay to put up with less crap, not more.

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