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Friendship crisis

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  • #850118 Reply

    Hi everyone, I am seeking some advice regarding my friendship with my lifelong best friend.
    Recently I(F24) have been enjoying the distance between us as she(F22) has moved to another country and we don’t see each other as often as we used to. Every time we do see each other it is always to reminisce about the past events,hobbies and interests that we used to share. In other words, we constantly live in the past. While I don’t mind some nostalgia it can get pretty exhausting to constantly talk about the same things over and over again. And it is so because we have nothing in common in the present, we have grown apart in that regard. I am the one who changed for the most part, my interests and passions have changed while hers have remained the same. I don’t feel as close to her as I used to but she still feels as though nothing has changed and that is no one’s fault but my own for always catering to her needs and interests.
    She is a highly sensitive person and I have been walking on eggshells around her for years for fear of hurting her or offending her. I can’t joke freely, I can’t even make one sarcastic remark, I feel like I am always tiptoeing around her and it has started to take a real toll on me. We rarely had an argument because I was and still am an anxiety-riddled coward when it comes to confronting people but I am trying my best to work on it and perhaps learn from this experience. She never once considered working on her sensitivity when other people in her life confronted her about it. She accepted it as part of her nature, something that cannot be changed. But it is affecting me because I can’t be natural around her at all. Her sensitivity has been making me really anxious lately and I feel like I can’t breathe.
    The problem now is that through no one’s fault but my own, I have let this whole discomfort with the friendship sit for years like some sort of habit and now I find our hanging out as an obligation rather than ‘friendship hour’. In short, it has come to a point where I would want to distance myself completely from her. And I feel guilty for the fact that I have been feeling like that for quite some time but I can’t change that. I feel as though I am unable to confront her about this since it would come as a shock to her because I have been hiding my true feelings for a long time. I feel as though I shouldn’t because I don’t have any PALPABLE reason context-wise since everything is always OK between us. And that is what is stopping me from talking about it. Finding the right time.
    I am ready to take full responsibility for my choices regarding this since it is my fault for letting it get to this point and not speaking up sooner. But what’s done is done. I simply wish to know what I can and should do now. And how I can take it as a valuable lesson for potential future friendships.
    Any advice or constructive criticism is absolutely welcome and thank you for taking your time to read this.

    #850120 Reply

    I suggest you stop walking on eggshells and just be yourself around her. If she reacts poorly to light sarcasm tell her that she’s being overly sensitive and leave. If she comes back you can be yourself and refuse to engage in her tantrums. If she’s so hurt she stays away, that’s not a bad outcome either

    #850121 Reply

    Thank you Helen. I am definitely working on it at the moment.

    #850122 Reply

    Is this JuanMilo again?

    #850124 Reply

    I’m curious why, with the young people, it’s always “confront” this and “confront” that. “Should I confront her?” Most of the time a confrontation (hostile or argumentative situation between opposing parties) isn’t appropriate. How about just talking to someone about how you feel, or taking a step back from the friendship?

    #850125 Reply
    avatarAndrea Letsen

    Copa, that made me laugh.

    Olivia – someone who makes you feel you cannot be yourself around is not your friend. It’s that simple. So long as you are not deliberately mean, spiteful or hurting anyone then you should never be ashamed of who you are around anyone. However, I am also not suggesting that everyone should like you – because that simply won’t happen. Not everyone is meant to be friends.

    Time served in a friendship doesn’t guarantee a life long friendship.

    A good self reflection exercise is to imagine yourself in someone else. Would you like that person? Would they annoy you? Would you enjoy their company? And go from there in terms of seeing if there is anything about yourself that is hindering your relationships.

    If this is JuanMilo however… then just wow. And all possible advice has already been given in your previous post (this is purely a just in case comment and my apologies if this is a genuine original poster).

    #850126 Reply

    It’s not JuanMilo.

    #850127 Reply

    I don’t understand how this is a crisis. What if you go and just accept things at face value? I think noticing discomfort and growing apart from others you once felt you had more in common with may just be part of life. Maybe you can learn to be comfortable with yourself, even if it means admitting you just don’t feel as close with your friend as you did when you had more in common.

    #850128 Reply

    Next time you meet up, if there is a next time, talk about what you are doing now. Quit talking about the past. Ask about what she’s been doing lately. Make a joke if you like, as long as it isn’t about her or what she has been doing. If she is offended by jokes in general that’s too bad. If she gets upset about a joke that isn’t mean then you tell her that you don’t think you can be friends with someone if you can never make a joke because that is part of who you are. Tell her that is who you are and you are sorry if she doesn’t like who you are but you can’t hide that part of yourself. Then see what she says and does. If she gets upset let her be upset. Don’t apologize for being yourself. Don’t let someone dominate you into acting like someone you aren’t. If you make any apology it should be that you are sorry that she doesn’t like who you are but you aren’t sorry for being yourself.

    #850129 Reply

    You said she moved to another country. How can this being affecting you so much if you don’t really see her anymore? Just don’t contact her. Do a slow fade. Or respond in one sentence texts. Are you feeling anxious because she’s coming for a visit? Or are you visiting her?

    You need to try be yourself. You can’t and shouldn’t tiptoe around someone else’s feelings. Can you just be yourself, and deal with whatever happens? Her reactions are not your problem.

    If you’re anxiety and inability to be yourself is really taking this toll on you, you should see a therapist. I can’t quite tell if you just a very passive person in general, or if it’s that you’ve been pretending to be someone you aren’t for years with an “old friend” entirely for her benefit.

    #850130 Reply

    Oh, wow! I’m surprised it’s not JuanMilo.

    Anyway, don’t confront your friend. That’s unnecessary and probably won’t end well. If you need to, you can have a conversation about how you feel. But if it were me, I wouldn’t. You’ve grown apart and no longer live near one another — and that’s ok. This happens with a lot of our friendships. Why do you think she feels nothing has changed? Chances are, she feels it, too.

    I no longer live near my hometown, and most of my friends are scattered around the country. We’ll see each other a few times/year at this point, if we’re lucky. I’m no longer close to many of them in that day-to-day way because distance makes that difficult, but they’re still my oldest friends and I usually feel like we don’t miss a beat when we get together. We reminisce, but we also ask what’s going on in one another’s lives presently — about work, relationships, hobbies, etc. Have you tried to make the conversation more about the present and less about the past?

    If you really don’t feel like you can be yourself around her anymore and your time together feels like an obligation, it’s okay to stop spending time together or scale back.

    #850131 Reply

    Thank you everyone for your helpful advice. I will certainly reflect on this and hopefully things will improve.

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