Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s post comes from Michelle Peterson.
I listen to “Rolling in the Deep” and “Go Your Own Way” on repeat. I stay home on Saturday nights, curled up in a ball, watching Saturday Night Live and eating ice cream. I gaze wistfully at restaurants where we spent hours sharing our most intimate thoughts. I suffer from horrible pains in my chest. I feel nauseous. I have to gasp to keep myself from crying. I have to force myself to smile. I dream of our reuniting, Hollywood-style, with tears and apologies.
Sounds like a typical horrible breakup, doesn’t it? Well, you’re right. But this wasn’t a romantic breakup. I am happily married to an incredible man for whom I thank G-d every day. But several months ago, I suffered a friendship breakup, which was no different than the kinds of relationship implosions people experience all the time.
All my life I’ve wished for a best girlfriend. In the sixth grade, I even went so far as to buy one of those dual “best friends” necklaces, the ones that each had a pendant in the shape of half a heart that would lock together to form a full heart. I should’ve known that when the girl I gave the other half to lost hers that I was doomed to have best-friend issues. Plus, I
am insecure by nature, and it’s not easy for me to form deep bonds with people, especially girlfriends.
But that all changed when I met Claire* three years ago. We would spend Saturday mornings taking yoga classes, followed by breakfast nearby. What made Claire so special to me was that she was the only person who understood my insecurities better than my therapist. This is because, like me, she is an emotional basket case. She would listen to me go on and on about my issues at work and my troubles with my in-laws, and she always validated my feelings – something I didn’t get from people too often. I, in turn, offered Claire relationship advice. The one thing I was confident in was my marriage, so I could help her navigate her burgeoning relationship with her boyfriend. I reveled in these yoga mornings, which eventually gave way to dinner dates, because never before had any friend wanted to spend this much time with me. It sounds cheesy, but the moment I knew that Claire cared more about me than any other girlfriend was when we were at a club one night, and she offered to go into the same bathroom stall with me to make the line go faster.
But Claire wasn’t without her demons, and I experienced them first-hand one day when I accidentally made a comment that hurt her feelings and she promptly ended our friendship. While I admitted that my remark was uncalled for, and didn’t hesitate to apologize for upsetting her, the damage was done. Since then, Claire refuses to talk to me, refuses to look at me, and refuses to acknowledge that we had a wonderful friendship for three years.
It breaks my heart whenever I see her, because I wish we could put aside our differences and move on from this. But it’s evident she’s not a strong enough person to do that. As hard as it is to admit, since she does not want to work things out, I know I’m better off without her in the long run. Also, I don’t want to be friends with someone who could be so vindictive. Her behavior toward me over the past nine months far outweighs any harm I may have initially caused her.
I saw Claire at a party recently, and I tried to say hello to her. She saw me coming toward her and panicked, desperately trying to get out of my field of vision. She said hello back, but it was as if my head were that of Medusa’s and she wouldn’t look at me. Later in the evening, my husband was standing at the bar, and as soon as Claire saw him, she immediately turned around and walked in the other direction.
While I feel sorry for Claire, and I pity her inability to talk out our problems with me, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I mourn the demise of our friendship every day. The hole in my heart is still there, despite all of the love I get from my husband; his support has been vital to helping me get out of my depression, but just because Claire and I didn’t have a romantic relationship, it doesn’t mean the loss of a friend like her is any less painful.
*Name has been changed.
TECH December 28, 2011, 11:15 am
The loss of a best friend is a huge loss. In my experience, it’s been harder to get over than the loss of a boyfriend. I ended my relationship with a “best friend” of ten years after I found out she had drunkenly slept with my boyfriend. It hurt like hell. She refused to aknowledge it — only that he had “come on” to her and kissed her, while he admited they slept together. It hurt more that she refused to admit it and she told me I was the one with psychological problems. I think if he had simply apologized — just admitted that she had screwed up — it would have been easier to get over. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her, and it has been over two years.
bittergaymark December 28, 2011, 11:18 am
This is a sad tale indeed. But you can’t change people. Some people are IMPOSSIBLE to be friends with. Seriously. Stop chasing shadows and put your energies towards a friend that actually deserves them.
That normally would be all I have to say here, but then I read the part about the bathroom stall? Wait, what?
“It sounds cheesy, but the moment I knew that Claire cared more about me than any other girlfriend was when we were at a club one night, and she offered to go into the same bathroom stall with me to make the line go faster.”
Um, okay. Now THAT sounds REALLY strange. Maybe as a guy I am simply clueless as to how that would actually make the line faster. But seriously. How would that make the line move faster? All I know is that if my best friend suddenly wanted to share a stall with me I would be very confused…
At any rate, Claire sounds like a real bat-shit-crazy fool. No, seriously. She sounds completely deranged for being so angry about something so petty. Reality check: You aren’t mourning the loss of Claire, but of the friendship itself. If you have that much trouble making friends, you should look into that. No, seriously. Really, it’s not THAT difficult. You sound like a nice person, so you should have no problem making friends. Maybe it’s simply that you are too eager to be best friends right away. Seriously, take it slow. Nothing is more oft putting than somebody who INSTANTLY wants to be your new best friend. Stop desperately searching for a best friend, and you will probably find one.
Budj December 28, 2011, 11:26 am
I mean…at least guys can play “swords” in the same stall, right? Girls would have to like…stack on top of each other somehow…..weird….and seemingly physically impossible unless we are talking giant-sized toilet bowls or missing the toilet was considered “ok”.
I demand an explanation on how two women can pee in the same stall at the same time…because that is the only way the line would actually go faster.
bittergaymark December 28, 2011, 11:30 am
Well, Budj. You went there. No, seriously, that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking…
Something More December 28, 2011, 11:41 am
LOL – yeah, it seems weird. But if you go in together, while one is peeing the other can unbutton and when the second is peeing the other is zippering back up, thus saving a bit of time. It seems like more in the moment… trust me.
CottonTheCuteDog December 28, 2011, 11:42 am
I would NEVER pee in the same stall as someone. But, yes it is possible. If you go into a stall that is handicap one person could turn around, it’s not like you are using the same toliet at the same time.
FireStar December 28, 2011, 12:12 pm
I’m with you. Would never happen. Maybe it is a cultural thing? I’d be willing to bet large dollars that if I asked any of my friends to share a stall with me they would ask me what the hell was wrong with me. But clearly for this LW – it was a touching moment… of sorts.
Fabelle December 28, 2011, 12:43 pm
I do this with my friends all the time at clubs, and elsewhere even– sometimes it’s just so the conversation isn’t interrupted. I didn’t know people would find it baffling, though I guess my friends and I are pretty comfortable with each other. (I’m from NJ by the way, & I see other people do this a lot when I’m out, so I don’t think it’s a cultural thing)
slamy December 28, 2011, 12:48 pm
Girls always pee together, I thought. I am shocked to find girls who are shocked. Haha. Maybe I just go to too many bars.
Marie December 28, 2011, 6:34 pm
Yah I found this totally normal. Men just don’t get it.
bittergaymark December 28, 2011, 8:39 pm
You’re right. We don’t. Sorry… It all just strikes me as, um, decidedly gross.
Caris December 29, 2011, 12:09 pm
I don’t get it either. I’m a girl.
katie January 16, 2012, 4:44 am
Well firstly, most girls only do it at night clubs when the lines are long. If I was at a nice restaurant or something I wouldn’t do it, nor ask my friends. But in a one-seater bathroom when there’s a 10 minute line? While one girl is peeing the rest can fix their makeup or do whatever. If a big stall opens up we will too, cause it just goes faster when you don’t have to flush and whatnot.
I don’t really see what’s *that* gross about it. It’s not like I’m watching them pee, you can hear it but that’s no different than if you were in two stalls and I guess you can sort of see it from the corner of your eye but that’s no different than guys standing at a urinal (on top of the fact girls bits are bit more … covert). Anyways, I guess older generations and guys might not understand but it just doesn’t seem weird to me haha.
katie January 16, 2012, 4:46 am
I’d also like to say I have no idea why doing this whole process would be a reason you consider them one of your closest friends, but, yeah…
TECH December 28, 2011, 11:33 am
I think Mark is correct that it’s more about mourning the loss of the friendship than the loss of the person. The person could be “bat shit” crazy, and have a million and one bad qualities, but it’s still hard to let go of what you thought the friendship was.
bethany December 28, 2011, 11:46 am
Thanks for saying this: “You aren’t mourning the loss of Claire, but of the friendship itself.”
I ended a 10+ year friendship a few years ago- She had been demanding, attention seeking, selfish and couldn’t handle that someone else was taking the #1 space in my life (my boyfriend, who is now my husband). I miss so much about our friendship, but as it turns out, I really don’t miss her. I miss the fun things we would do, and the inside jokes, but I don’t miss her as a person. I acutally feel like it’s easier for me to live my life how I want to without her in it.
So anyway, thank you for helping to make that a little more clear to me.
slamy December 28, 2011, 12:54 pm
Agreed. I ended a 5 year friendship this year. It was a really unsatisfying friendship in which I put forth a lot of effort for little return. I think about her still, but I don’t miss the way she made me feel. I watched her be really nasty to people and never thought she’d be that way to me – but she was at the end. She spent this last summer actively trying to make my life harder. It hurt like hell and I cried a lot, but now I pity her that her life is so empty that’s all she has to do with her time. Me? I’m happy, and life is awesome, and I have friends who actually make me feel good.
Ladybug December 28, 2011, 1:26 pm
Completely OT, but your picture is adorable. I want to reach through the screen and cuddle that cat!
bethany December 28, 2011, 1:51 pm
Thank you!!! He is quite a cuddler- he makes it very hard to go to work in the mornings 🙂
eelizg23 December 28, 2011, 12:52 pm
Ha, my girlfriends and I pee together alllllllllllllll the time. It makes the line go way faster if there’s only one toilet so that you don’t have to wait for people to wash their hands before you can go. But mainly we do it so that we don’t have to stop our conversation or so we can talk about something we don’t want everyone else to hear. I’m pretty sure I’ve done this with girls I didn’t even know all that well, but I’m unlike the LW in that I bond with other women really easily.
Kristen December 28, 2011, 12:58 pm
Ohhh… I was thinking she meant in a bathroom that has multiple stalls. If it’s just a one-room thing, I guess it makes sense that it would save time. I still can’t imagine doing this, though.
landygirl December 28, 2011, 1:22 pm
In all my born days I’ve never shared a public bathroom stall with a friend. If a friend suggested it I would be creeped out.
Kristen December 28, 2011, 1:24 pm
Same here. I don’t even like peeing with my boyfriend in the same room, let alone a friend. But then, my friends were never really the “lets change in the same dressing room” type, either. So who knows.
Ktfran December 28, 2011, 2:49 pm
I somewhat agree with you about the stall thing BGM. It would never cement a friednship, but as a girl, let me try to explain this perplexing concept to you . . .
If you’re in a bathroom with several stalls, mostly small, it doesn’t make sense to share. I honestly don’t even know who would suggest such a thing.
If you’re at a bar with a couple of bathrooms – no seperate stalls – it does make sense to share. One girl can primp at the mirror while the other is taking care of business and vice versa. Thus, time saved for everyone. But it only makes sense in this kind of situation, where there are seperate bathrooms with a locked door. Not one large bathroom with several, smaller stalls. I hope the way I’m explaining makes sense.
Also, when I was younger, my two cousins and I would go to the bathroom together at our relatives house. Only because we wanted to continue conversations. But we were 10. Girls have been doing this for ages.
Ktfran December 28, 2011, 2:51 pm
I also don’t mind using the same changing room at a busy store, as long as it’s large, such as a handicap changing room.
mandalee December 28, 2011, 11:46 am
I can definitely relate to this story. I lost my three childhood best friends this past year and while it really was for the best, it hurt like hell. It took me years to realize that our close to 20 year friendships were extremely toxic and one-sided, and I finally reached my peak with how they treated me. I expressed how I felt and did so in a way that maybe we could work on our friendships, but they quickly shut that out and me as well. So, I completely empathize with how quick and dramatic a friendship ending can be. I don’t think I reacted to a breakup in a romantic relationship in the same way.
However, as sad as it can be, some people are truly difficult friends, and if they won’t work it out over one small slight, then you’re better off in the long run. Every relationship hits a few bumps, romantic or otherwise, and the ones that are worth it survive and the ones that don’t, we are better off in the long run.
I also loved having a group of best friends that knew me inside and out, but I eventually learned to love the freedom I had to not depend on someone else to be that constant crutch for me. It made me a less insecure friend and really helped out my other friendships/relationships.
I wish you the best of luck in finding new friendships to fill the void that Claire left.
sara December 28, 2011, 12:00 pm
So the question on my mind is… What was the friendship-killing comment??
ele4phant December 28, 2011, 2:10 pm
Seriously, I want to know too! Not to accuse the LW of saying something terrible and trying to pass it off as insignificant, but I wish we had that piece too.
Genevieve December 28, 2011, 4:37 pm
What struck me too was how dismisive she was: “oh, I did say something nasty that hurt her feelings, but I totally apologized so she should have been ok with it. Obviously, she’s not strong enough to get over it, so I get to pity her and blame the demise of this friendship fully on her inability to get over it. I mean, I apologized, right? So that insignificant comment that broke her heart is not worth mentioning.”
Relaxicab December 30, 2011, 11:46 am
Funny, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this. All of our actions have consequences – just because you don’t like the outcome doesn’t mean the person wasn’t strong enough to get over it. An apology is not a get out of jail free card.
Bethany December 28, 2011, 10:25 pm
The demise of the relationship I mentioned above began with one comment as well- I can’t speak for the author, but I’ll share mine so you can see how something simple set the whole thing off. My friend and I were at a bar with a friend of hers, and she was telling stories of our “youthful adventures” (aka life in our early 20’s), and she said something like “yeah, I put up with a lot from her over the years”, to which I replied, “me too!”- and that was it. The fact that I “called her out in front of her friend” was enough to end a 10+ year friendship, when all I really did was say that she and I had done many of the same crazy things over the years (this was a huge understatement, by the way). So defend the author, who knows what kind of innocent comment set the whole thing off… I don’t think it’s important.
FireStar December 29, 2011, 7:34 am
Your statement sounds innocent though – she admits hers was nasty. I’m sure all of us could think of a phrase that would be the death knell to a friendship. I love my best friend and we’ve been friends for 20 years but if she deliberately said or did sometime hateful that crossed a line (and her CAT scan came back clear) an apology wouldn’t fix it. I think people choose to ignore the consequences of their actions and then blame the other person for enforcing those consequences. For me – an “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean that much and I’m under no obligation to accept it. In your case, it sounds like there shouldn’t have been any consequences to your words and your friend sounds a little idiotic to be honest – but her case sounds different – even by her own account – she triggered it deliberately.
L December 28, 2011, 12:02 pm
The loss of a good friend is heart-wrenching. In the past five years I’ve experienced two losses of good friends, both from college. One took my words and twisted them the wrong way — she went home every weekend to work at her minimum wage job and I told our other mutual friend that I wish she would stay on campus more weekends so we could hang out with her. She LOVED her job and heard what I had told our friend, but she took it that I was dissing the job itself. The worst part was that she just stopped talking to me and NEVER gave me an explanation. I had to hear the explanation from a mutual friend why this girl had just started ignoring me. The awkward part was that I introduced her to our mutual friends and she ended up living on campus with them, so I couldn’t hang out with them unless she was gone. They tried telling her she was being stupid and ridiculous, but she basically never talked to me again.
The other was one who was in my major in college. There were 5 people in our major and we were a very tight-knit group for a long time. Then senior year her boyfriend moved from the east coast to live with her and she never had time for her friends anymore. Turns out she still talked to everyone else in our major, but she stopped talking to me. She defriended me on Facebook with no explanation; I tried to talk to her and things just got awkward and distant. Last I heard her boyfriend and her had randomly moved out to California from the Midwest after she graduated. I haven’t heard from her since.
Both of these girls I thought I would be friends with for a long time. We got along, we were there for each other, but for whatever reason they grew out of our friendship. I try not to hold grudges against them for what happened, but it’s hard when you think things are going just fine and randomly things AREN’T fine. I’m very lucky that I still have many close friends who I know will always be there for me, but I wish that these girls had at least given me an explanation as to why they decided to throw our friendship away.
kali December 29, 2011, 2:58 pm
This may not help you but I ended a long term 20+ year friendship (we met in middle school) years ago. I never said why or tried to explain. I’d BEEN explaining all the way up until the time I cut her off that she was too self-centered, needy and soul-sucking and I had nothing more to give.
We were both busy with our lives and various activities and I had tried as hard as I was able to give her the support and comfort she needed but there was nothing coming back to me from her as far as my needs or even any recognition of them. I had to cut her off to salvage my own sanity. It was sad and tough but, in the end, I felt much better about myself.
Maybe this wasn’t your situation, but my former friend was simply wallowing too deeply in her own misery to even recognize that I needed a friend at that time too.
FireStar December 28, 2011, 12:19 pm
What I think you should focus on is that you ARE capable of having a wonderful relationship with a girlfriend. But I think bittergaymark is right – you can’t want it TOO much. That drives people away. Just cultivate several close girlfriends – eventually with TIME – you will have a best friend again. I hope you feel better soon and maybe for now treat Claire as a stranger – no need to constantly open yourself to hurt for no reason.
Carolynasaurus December 28, 2011, 12:27 pm
Wow, maybe it was just me, but I found this piece to be so incredibly bitter. You admit you insulted her and she’s “she’s not a strong enough person” just to move past it. Why do you get to decide how she deals with her feelings? Maybe you thought it was just one insult, but maybe to her, it was the last straw and she decided to cut you out of her life for her own health. Just because you know one side of her, the side she chose to show you, doesn’t mean you know she’s being petty by cutting you out.
Her behavior makes it sound like there’s a lot you left out. I’ve been in her shoes and, if it was the same situation, trust me, you left a lot out. She doesn’t need your pity. She needs you to move on.
MsMisery December 28, 2011, 1:02 pm
Yeah, if OP has such a hard time forming ties and/or keeping friends, then I doubt one off-the-cuff remark was what sent “Claire” running.
CatsMeow December 28, 2011, 1:31 pm
They bonded over emotional instability. Something like this was bound to happen.
Genevieve December 28, 2011, 4:46 pm
I so agree. The pity part, the way the author refuses to take any responsibility for what happened, the dismissal of her best friend’s feelings… I find it hard to pity her for that. That can’t have been the first nasty thing she said.
leilani December 28, 2011, 5:09 pm
That’s a good point. Unless Claire is truly crazy or you said something completely cruel and awful, I can’t imagine one tactless comment ending a three-year friendship. It would be nice if the author could talk to Claire and find out actually what happened on her side of things, if just for clarity, even if the friendship is done for. It might help her to make more lasting friendships in the future. From what’s written, it kinda seems like the author said something pretty insulting and hurtful and then more or less expected Claire to just get over it as soon as she said sorry….It really wouldn’t surprise me if she has a history of making critical or rude comments and not being sensitive to other people’s feelings. Unfortunately it doesn’t really seem like Claire is interested in hashing anything out any further, so she’ll probably never get that clarification from her.
Michele December 28, 2011, 12:27 pm
A few years ago I lost two of my very dearest friends within months of each other. In one case, our 20 year friendship had been strained for a couple years as our lives took us in different directions. In the end I said some mean things to her and when I apologized, she refused to accept and then unleashed some pretty hateful comments about me as a person and a friend. I still struggle with the loss of the friendship and the person she had been to me for so long but when I think about her reaction to my apology I can’t help but know I’m better off without her. If, after 20 years, she could be so vindictive and cruel to me, she’s not the kind of friend I want in my life.
The other was difficult because we had been through so much together and relied on each other heavily for 10 years. Ultimately, it became unhealthy for both of us. I went through some really dark times and she stood by me all the way. I made a lot of mistakes in that friendship and she always forgave me…or so I thought. After I finally got my ass in therapy and worked on getting healthy I started to do more on my own and make more decisions on my own. In response she started making snarky comments and blabbing to mutual friends about me. Finally, she sent me an awful email dictating every way I had failed her as a friend. I tried to work through it with her but she kept turning everything around on me and bringing up things that had happened in the past. For the first time in our friendship, I didn’t just back down and apologize for everything. I held her accountable for her actions too and she was incapable of seeing her role in anything. She never apologized and even though I talk to her occassionally, it is completely superficial. I realized that our friendship was toxic long before the blowout and that I don’t want to be friends with someone who can’t say “I’m sorry” when they’ve hurt another friend. I vacillate between guilt for all that I did to my former friends and sadness for the loss of the friendships we had.
I have some pretty awesome friends in my life now and an incredible bf who I can’t imagine life without. But there’s something special about your best girlfriend(s) and I miss that bond.
Sarah December 28, 2011, 1:32 pm
I really want to know what the comment was.
A part of me wonders if this was the last in a long line of comments that the friend had finally had enough of. That’s what happened to me. I had a best friend for three years and I stopped talking to her the day she told me I was mental unstable and needed therapy and I told her that she was acting like a high school bully. The context was that I wasn’t particularly hurt that she said I was crazy, but the fact that she said it was a behavior pattern of hers that I had had enough of.
There were a lot of issues in our friendship, she would make fun of me if she was nervous or excited, she would take pictures of me sleeping and dancing and make fun of them, she would hit on guys that hit on me and would get their number even though she lived with her boyfriend and I was single at the time, I’m sure I drove her crazy because I would always do what our group of friends wanted to do and not what she wanted (for instance, neither of us smoke pot but our other friends do. She wanted to give them trouble for it and leave when they would do it, but I was fine with hanging out and just not taking part) and I was always stubborn about not letting her plans change plans I previously made.
But the thing that really put of friendship on ice was that she would never admit when she had hurt someone’s feelings without blaming them. I had seen her do it with other people, she would act bewildered about something if another person told her she hurt their feelings and then when the person left, she would accuse them of being insane and tell everyone within site they needed therapy. When we had our last fight where I had apologized numerous times and instead of apologizing back for hurting my feelings, she gave me the insane and needed therapy line, I realized that I couldn’t be friends with somebody that wasn’t willing to give as much as they were determined to take.
mandalee December 28, 2011, 1:45 pm
Was your former friend also mine as well? This describes one of the three friendships I lost completely. She always hurt people’s feelings and would instead blame it on them regardless of her role in the matter. She was a psychology major in college and would constantly tell us we suffered from various psychological disorders. It was really crazy. In the last e-mail she ever sent me, she wished me well in “coming to peace with myself” and hopefully “finding the root of my problems in therapy”. I truly hope the OP wasn’t like this, because holy hell, is this draining to be around all the time.
Kristen December 28, 2011, 1:47 pm
Wow. I don’t blame you one bit for not wanting a part of that anymore.
Sarah December 28, 2011, 2:16 pm
Oh. My. God. I don’t know how you put up with that as long as you did. But yeah, I know how you feel. After I got over how hurt I was by the whole argument I realized that any relationship with a person who will never take responsibility for the things they say will always have a expiration date on it.
The hard part was that because she was always the leader of the pack of friends we had, and I wasn’t willing to hang out with her and pretend like nothing happened without dealing with unresolved issues like she could, our friends started hanging out with me less and started making plans without me. I don’t blame them, but it was a really hard time for me.
mandalee December 28, 2011, 2:34 pm
Same thing happened to me as well. She was the bossy one in my childhood group of friends, so when she jumped ship, the two remaining friends stuck it out with her until we eventually drifted apart as well. On my wedding day (they were all supposed to be in the bridal party) my one friend said “God, I am so glad so-so isn’t here today, so I can get through one event without being told I need to get my anorexia or bi-polar personality taken care of, and we all burst out laughing. She really was that crazy
It is hard to lose a friend, but when it’s a crazy friend? Eventually you realize how wonderfully peaceful it is without them around.
Sarah December 28, 2011, 5:30 pm
Oh man, definitely. I remember being sad after it happened because I knew that by not pretending like everything was fine with my friend I would be losing a lot of time with my friends to her. But to be honest, knowing I didn’t have to hang out with her anymore and wonder if she was going to make fun of the way I walk tonight or hit on a guy and give him my number so she could say she was doing me a favor was such a relief, and still is. I think some girls can do that “We hate each other but we still take duck faced photos together” thing, but I just can’t.
mandalee December 28, 2011, 8:40 pm
“I think some girls can do that “We hate each other but we still take duck faced photos together” thing, but I just can’t.”- I almost died reading this. LOL So very, very true.
bittergaymark December 28, 2011, 2:49 pm
Wow, so many of you have such tales, such sad sagas of terrible friends… Yowsa. I’ve been lucky, I guess.
Meredith December 28, 2011, 2:54 pm
I know that losing a friendship can be really hard, but sometimes it’s for the best.
I had a toxic friendship in my early 20s with a girl that was desperately unhappy with herself and took that out on everyone else. She was really controlling and manipulative and constantly belittled me and the choices that I made under the guise of “I’m just joking”. We fought all the time but I was so insecure at that age that I caved to her manipulation a lot. Finally the last straw was when she left me in Vegas because she got pissed off that we weren’t doing exactly what she wanted to do. Luckily I had some other friends that just so happened to be in Vegas at the same time so I was able to get a ride home but that was the end of the friendship at that point.
I had another breakup with a friend that was similar (I tend to be friends with attention whores for some reason. I guess because I’m not so it balances?). She only ever wanted to talk about herself and her problems, I was always doing favors for her or loaning her money but she was super stingy about returning them. The last straw with her was when, after loaning her $600 so she could pay rent, she got some money from her mom and not only didn’t repay me but balked about buying me lunch when I forgot my wallet one day. I mean, seriously??
It was hard, especially when you’ve pretty much been attached at the hip and tit for years, to suddenly not be talking to that person anymore. The funny thing is that I’ve actually reconnected with both of these women and become friends again. The first one made a lot of life changes and is a MUCH happier person so she’s not the super biatch that she used to be and the other finally figured out that she was being super selfish and apologized. Also, I’m much better about asserting myself to my friends and not putting up with that stuff anymore. But, if I hadn’t ended the friendships due to those issues, I may not have the really good (and much healthier!) friendships that I have with them now.
Will.i.am December 28, 2011, 2:58 pm
My last relationship was the same way, and I can tell you it is highly exhausting. Anytime we argued, it was always that I needed to go see a therapist and the problem was me. Anytime I would try to say you are making a “mountain out of a mole hill” she would get very defensive. After a year of that crap, I was ready to be done with the situation.
Sadly, it’s been affecting me going forward as well. I just don’t have the desire to enter a relationship with anyone, even if I do spend time with them and they are a good match for me. In the end, if I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to force it.
I had one friendship that got hampered by my poor decisions. It was also a friendship that had been at the point of boiling over for months. It came to a head when I slept with a girl in his son’s bed, after he had repeatedly told me throughout the night not to have sex in his son’s bed. I used to be a very big inconsiderate douchebag and luckily our friendship was salvagable; however, we took a break for about 6 months with very limited contact.
Even a year after we had fixed our friendship, I asked him why he wanted to remain friends with me and he responded with I seemed very resentful and remorseful for what I did. Even then, he was still a bit on the hesitant side, since he was pretty happy with his life at the time, and before that, I tended to be a drunken drama case then. That was 3 or 4 years ago and I’ve clearly cleaned up my act since then, but at that time I truly saw the PIECE OF SHIT person that I had become. You usually don’t know you become that person till it’s too late, because your close friends will somewhat shelter you from your actions and coddle you. Since then, I no longer let anyone coddle me and I don’t coddle them either. You can’t learn from your mistakes if someone is always there to bail you out.
That's_Bananas December 28, 2011, 3:42 pm
I’m afraid the very same thing may be happening to me right now. I love my best friend dearly; we have been through and have seen each other through so much over 20 years. However, she has been dealt a hard hand over the last ten years or so, and while I’ve tried being there for her as much as I can, she tends to use her best friends as punching bags. I’ve tried being clear and firm with her, and have explained that I will not tolerate her yelling or screaming, but nothing works. The most recent episode occurred last month, and we haven’t spoken since. It makes me heartsick to think of losing her as a friend, and I have no doubt that she loves me, but I can’t take the yelling anymore. And have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile how someone thinks it’s ok to speak to someone else that way, but I can’t come up with anything.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? I really don’t know how to mend things with her without being terrified I’m going to be on the receiving end of another outburst.
Will.i.am December 28, 2011, 3:55 pm
Those situations you can’t. You are trying to be compassionate in a situation that you don’t understand. She needs to vent with someone that is going through the same thing she is. Best thing to do is let things cool off and be supportive from a distance. It’s not doing you any good being stressed out about something that doesn’t even pertain to you.
JJ December 28, 2011, 3:45 pm
It’s been almost two years since I ended friendships with not one, but several people-one who which I have known for ten years. Long story short, my now fiance and I had were separated for about two months and she messaged him lies about several things. Eventually, I found out about it and as confronted her about it. She directly lied to me and that is what pissed me off the most. I told her to lose my number and that we were no longer friends. I told a few supposed friends from the same group what she had done because it was bound to come out eventually since I absolutely refused to associate with her anymore. I did not have any reason to lie to anyone and I even had the actual messages to prove everything that she had done. It was not about who was right, it was about the consequences of her actions and not my own. I never asked anyone to take sides but when they made light of the situation, I ended all those friendships and while I have absolutely no regrets, I do sometimes remember some of the good times we had. Luckily for me, I moved 6 hours away to move in with my fiance, changed phone numbers, blocked everyone from my facebook account and never looked back. It does hurt to end friendships but it was one of the best things I ever did for myself and for the sake of my relationship. Now I can happily say that I do not miss the drama and I am happily engaged and moving on with my life.
JK December 28, 2011, 5:26 pm
It´s been about a week now since I´ve spoken to a supposed close friend (I posted venting last week, she´s trying to conceive with a guy who she´s been dating for 3 months). The funny part is that I´m quite enjoying the peace and quiet.
She and I were freinds in high school, then even closer for around 4 years after that. I finally got sick of her snarky comments, the final straw was when she sold an acquaitnance a cell phone I had loaned to her, without even asking permission, or giving me the money. We were like 10 years totally distanced, then (thanks facebook), got back in touch again, and became quite close.
But sincerely, I´m tired of the drama! In the last 2 years she has dated/lived with at least 10 guys, all the while hooking up with her ex husband, and I´m the only person in her life that actually tries to keep her grounded (there are another couple of friends who actively encourage her terrible decision making). So now, I´m pretty much fed up.
Feline December 28, 2011, 6:07 pm
This is an interesting and well-written piece. I am curious, though, why the reference to God was, in effect, bleeped out, as if it were profanity?
amber December 28, 2011, 6:19 pm
I think it is actually something to do with the Jewish religion. They aren’t supposed to write out the word God, I think it stems from the commandment about not taking the Lord’s name in vain. I’m sure someone who is actually Jewish would know more about that though!
Kristen December 28, 2011, 8:26 pm
I was confused by this as well. In this context, it’s not taking the Lord’s name in vain, so I wonder what the reason was.
amber December 28, 2011, 9:51 pm
i don’t think context matters with this I think they’re not supposed to write it out at all….
katie December 28, 2011, 8:44 pm
when i was in christian school it was bad to say god if you werent actually refering to him (“god created the world”) or to him, like praying. saying i thank god everyday was considered taking his name in vain…
so maybe its a christian thing too?
they were a particularly crazy type of christian though, so i dont know…
Laurie December 28, 2011, 10:26 pm
I hardly ever comment, but I had to this time. As tragic as it is for the writer, I’ve been on the otherside of this kind of friendship, and it is not pleasant. There are two sides to every story, and I’ll bet the other side of this one is intense. Running away in fear when she sees you? I’ve done that. It’s because she ended the friendship for what she believes is a very good reason – and your ‘pity’ only reinforces that.
The girl I was friends with wanted more than a best friend, she wanted a sister. She was a toxic person with a victim complex, and a great actress. It took me almost a year of being “best friends forever” to realize that, and it took weeks before I was finally able to remove myself from the situation. While it wasn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever had to do, iwas in the interest of my own well-being. I know for a fact she told people that she didn’t know why we weren’t friends anymore, and that I was the terrible friend, not her. I could easily belive she wrote this.
This story is missing a large piece of the narrative, and something tells me she’s better off without you.
Relaxicab December 30, 2011, 11:59 am
“It’s because she ended the friendship for what she believes is a very good reason”
Exactly. The fact that this writer dismisses this and actually attacks the character of her friend for not getting over it is likely why the friend bailed.
Mwalt January 5, 2012, 2:41 pm
She doesn’t sound vindictive, she sounds like she just doesn’t want to be your friend. What you said must have really hurt her, and maybe it was more than she could forgive. That’s her choice.
You don’t sound like you feel sorry for her, you sound bitter. Some people aren’t meant to be forever friends. She was one of them. Don’t over-analyze it. Just move on. 🙂