TGIF, everyone! I don’t know about you, but this has been a crazy-ass week for me. I started it feeling like shit in a hospital bed in St. Louis, but feel grateful to be ending it resting at home — and feeling much, much better (thanks, again, for your healing thoughts and prayers!) — in Brooklyn, surrounded by my cats and all things familiar. I’m going to spend much of this weekend taking it easy, catching up on a little work, writing thank you notes for a baby shower my family threw me last week (held just before I checked into the hospital; I spent most of the shower puking or curled up in my aunt’s bed in a fetal position, unfortunately, but I still cleaned up as far as gifts go. I have a very generous family!), and hopefully Saturday night — if I’m feeling well enough — Drew and I will go out for a belated anniversary dinner to celebrate two years of marriage.
This weekend’s open thread prompt comes from a reader who wrote to me a few days ago, saying: “[Friday’s shortcuts column] got me thinking…How do you break-up with a friend/ ‘best friend’? I have a friend that has just become toxic to the point that I don’t care to be abused as her friend anymore. My tactic has been to just not text her or initiate contact, but I wondered what the DW readers have done?”
So, readers, how have you handled a similar situation? Have you ever “broken up” with a friend (or been broken up with)? What was your tactic, and do you regret the way you went about it or would you do the exact same thing again?
And, as always, if you have a relationship/friendship issue you want to share with everyone and maybe get a little insight and feedback on, ask away!
* If you’ve got a suggestion for a future open thread topic, email me at [email protected]
SpaceySteph July 29, 2011, 4:23 pm
Through the first 3 years of high school, me and another girl were inseparable. There was one small hiccup junior year where we both liked the same guy, but that resolved itself quickly when he obviously liked her and they dated for a couple months before ending in a tragic high school fashion.
Well early on in senior year, we had a blowout about something stupid and she vowed to NEVER speak to me again. Another of our good friends and I were both cut out in this random friend dumping and were both pretty hurt by it, although it did make that relationship stronger and we are still friends.
Years later she wrote me a facebook message to apologize, saying that her father had been an alcoholic and she was too embarassed to tell me so she decided to stop speaking to me instead. We are fb friends now, but don’t really talk, and our relationship will never repair.
I feel terrible that she felt she needed to hide that from me, that I wasn’t a better friend who made her feel that she could tell me the truth about these things. I was only 17 at the time and not sure I would have known how to handle that… but it still breaks my heart that she went through it all alone.
I guess my overall thoughts are that if you are going to dump a friend make sure you really really really can’t work it out another way because it will damage the relationship forever if you do decide to reconcile. Also… if they’re really a friend, you should be able to talk to them about things, so give a good old fashioned heart to heart a try before cutting a friend off.
summerkitten26 July 29, 2011, 4:30 pm
I suppose I could approach this from both sides of the fence. The friend breakup (where I was broken up with) that stands out most in my mind was years ago, but it’s still kind of fresh because we were tight (and her birthday just passed), and I would have loved to know what my offense was so I could have taken steps to fix it. Which is why I wouldn’t recommend the fade-out, just as a matter of human courtesy to someone else, if possible (obviously, there are circumstances where it’s warranted due to safety or mental health concerns if you just no longer want to engage with a person).
On the flip side, I have had multiple instances where I’ve broken up with friends, whether it be because they pulled me into situations where I felt physically unsafe or because of abusive, unhealthy “friend” demands. In the former situation, while I enjoyed hanging out with the person on a one-on-one basis a lot, whenever we partied together, we always ended up with her going to some stranger-dude’s house drunk off her rear and me there uncomfortably with the hopes that my presence would prevent harm from coming to her. Clearly I did not like these situations. I sat this friend down and explained that we had different partying styles, and while I’d like to hang out with her individually, I didn’t care for repeatedly being put in situations where I had to take care of her. I guess this was a slow breakup, because we drifted away until we eventually stopped talking. Sad, but I believe it was in my best interest.
Another “friend” was more of a frenemy, constantly taking pot shots at my minor successes, telling her a**hole bf stuff I’d confided in her, and demand that I choose her over my other friends she lived with and didn’t get along with when I refused to get involved in (legitimate) roommate squabbles. This chick I sat down when I had had enough of her bs and explained why I was cutting off contact. She squawked at that, of course, but I saw absolutely no positive influence that she was having in my life, and I was okay completely cutting her out of it. Sounds pretty harsh, but it was like a weight was lifted off of my psyche once I did, and I’ve never regretted it.
If you’ve got a verbally/emotionally draining or abusive friend, I’d recommend telling her why you’re breaking it off, if it won’t cause any further hassle in your life. Even though you won’t be in her life anymore, maybe enough people telling her would be some kind of wake up call (although this is NOT your responsibility). Just very calmly explain that you deserve to be treated with respect and you’re not getting that from this relationship. That way, you usually avoid the angst and emotion that pops up when you see her name on the caller ID and feel guilty because you’re ignoring it. She won’t call after because she knows you’re through and why, and if she does, she better be reformed. Not that you’d have to take her back, but once you’ve cut ties, you can ignore away without fear.
summerkitten26 July 29, 2011, 4:31 pm
also: Happy you’re back home and feeling better, Wendy! Happy belated anniversary, too, to you and Drew!
JK July 29, 2011, 5:13 pm
I don’t know why it is, but lately lots of columns have been about things I’m going through… I have a “friend”, we met at work 9 years ago, the 1st couple of years we were really close, she was always very demanding. Then she left, we stayed in contact, though not as often. She had a son, then we both had daughters, hers born 5 weeks before mine. We now haven’t seen eachother in person since my daughters 1st birthday (she’s 3 and a half now). At the birthday, although she knew several people rom work, she sat with her family on the side and made no effort to socialize, which made me quite uncomfortable, of course.
Also throughout our friendship she’s shown herself to be really jealous, eg if I mention doing something with othr friends (I should note that my husband doesnt like this particular friend much, so we have never done things with both families), she makes comments like “Of course, with your friend x, for me you never have time, you like her so much more than you like me…” etc, etc. Did I mention that we’re 32???
Over the last several months I’ve been attempting to ade away, I never ring her, only answer texts, etc., but she just won’t give up!!!
My 2nd daughter is 3 months old now, so my “friend” has been saying or weeks she’s going to come to meet her, I really don’t want the visit! Plus she owuld come over with her husband and kids who are quite annoying. I really don’t know what to do!
The other day she rang me 5 times in less than 2 hours (I was screening so not picking up when she rang), yesterday a text I didn’t answer, now she rang again.
I’ll admit I’m a wuss that prefers to avoid ugly situations, but how do I gradually withdraw if she doesn’t let me???
SweetChild July 30, 2011, 6:34 am
You can’t. Grow some ladyballs and tell it to her straight. Sometimes people just don’t pick up subtle hints.
SweetChild July 30, 2011, 6:35 am
You can’t. Grow some ladyballs and tell it to her straight. Sometimes people just don’t pick up subtle hints.
neuroticbeagle July 30, 2011, 11:10 am
The word “ladyballs” brought to mind a quote I feel like sharing, cause I think you’ll like it.
Girls have got balls. They’re just a little higher up that’s all.
JK August 1, 2011, 9:02 am
Wow, so many thumbs down. I know it would probably be better to say something directly, and I would if there was something specific, but in this case it’s more a case of not having space in my life for this particular person.
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 5:21 pm
I’ve been victim to the fade-out with two different friends, and even though one was twelve years ago and the other eight, I’m still sort of stung over both of them. I never did find out what I did wrong, if anything, and the best that I can gather is that both girls found cooler friends, or friends that weren’t as threatening maybe (there were situations where we went after the same guy and I ended up dating him, or that guys whom they liked, who liked me, regardless of my feelings). I still don’t know for sure, and I may have committed some awful offense without being aware, and it shook me up. I mean, who’s to say the rest of my friends wouldn’t do the same?
That being said, I had a friend who made terrible choices in men to the point that her kids were exposed to abuse and instability – like moving in with two different guys she’d known less than six months, then fleeing the country when her parents tried to gain custody of the kids because her second husband was violent. I cut ties with her after she fled the country with him and her kids, sent her a very non-accusatory “Dear Jane” email wishing her well and letting her know I would be happy to have her back as a friend once she stopped putting herself and her children in danger. When she left him two years later, I took her back with open arms and even fielded some of the calls and emails she got when he tried to ruin her reputation (put some nude photos of her online and sent everyone in her address book the link to them). So then less than three months later, she calls to tell me she’s head-over-heels in love for this guy she’s known a few weeks, and then within two months of that they’re engaged and living together, and when I brought up my qualms, she hung up on me.
Later, she called to apologize, and I let it roll to voicemail and never called her back. I was done. I’d said it all in the email the first time around, and nothing had changed, and she didn’t care what I said anyway unless it was “Oh my god, I am SO GLAD you’re making this really stupid decision!” I felt what she was doing was not just bad judgment but flat-out wrong, and since I knew I wasn’t going to make any difference in telling her why I was excusing myself from her life, I decided to save my breath. I also just don’t want to risk getting sucked back into the drama at a later date like I did the last time.
So I would say attempt the direct approach initially, but keep your boundaries firm, and once they’re crossed, fade out. Be respectful, but also insist on respect from those you once called friend.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 7:10 pm
“there were situations where we went after the same guy and I ended up dating him, or that guys whom they liked, who liked me, regardless of my feelings”
I’m not saying that you’re like this, but I’ve been on the opposite side of a similar situation, and it was definitely one of the factors that lead to me cooling off the friendship. I became really good friends with this girl in grad school who was the type of girl who proclaimed that she “can’t be friends with girls” and would rather have guy friends. I am always a little wary with somebody who says they’re ONLY friends with guys, but this girl was a lot of fun and seemed super loyal, so I really enjoyed having her as a friend.
Anyways, as I got to know her, I realized that she was somebody who was really competitive about guys. At first I thought it was a coincidence that she would start mentioning certain guys at the same time as me since we were both single, attractive females in a relatively small dating pool. However, I realized that she was probably playing a more active role in these “coincidences” when I actually saw her competing with me for the attention of this guy that was my FWB, even though she had no interest in this guy. If she had actually been interested, I would have been supportive since this guy was strictly FWB and I would have been happy to see them together. It was almost as if she couldn’t feel good about herself unless she knew that she could get more attention from a guy than I could. What was weird about is that my friend is a lot more attractive than me, and routinely gets a level of male attention that I definitely do not get.
Anyways, I found it difficult to be her friend because I felt like I could never trust her when it came to guys. Instead of telling me that the guy I was dating was sending her flirty messages over facebook or ignoring the messages, she would keep responding to him in a friendly, flirty way. When a guy that I liked for a long time started pursuing her, she would openly complain about how awkward he was right in front of me and make fun of how he wanted to come over a drop off a present or how he kept inviting her on dates. She continued to lead him on after she started a new relationship, and she refused to tell him that she had a boyfriend because she was afraid that he wouldn’t want to be friends with her anymore. He only stopped pursuing her because I told him about the boyfriend a month later. The worst part about it was that she was in complete denial about her behavior. When I tried to talk to her about the incident with the facebook messages, she became extremely defensive, accusing me of being like the girls in high school and college that were jealous of her. I think she has the attitude that if she has no real interest in dating a particular guy, then she isn’t accountable for her behavior towards him, even if she is overly friendly, or even flirtatious to the point that it looks like she’s interested. I think it’s disrespectful to make another person think you’re interested when the only thing you enjoy is the attention, so I had issues with the way she treated guys in general, even ones that weren’t associated with me.
In the end, there were a lot of factors that lead to my cooling things off between us, not just the guy stuff. However, it definitely played a role. Like I said, I’m not saying that you are like my friend, but when I read that statement, it made me think of something she might say in regards to what happened between us. If you still wonder why your friends faded-out on you, maybe you could find some answers by either talking to them, or being more honest with yourself about how you may have contributed to the situation.
(That being said, if it happened in middle school or high school, it could easily have been something petty or stupid as “He didn’t like me and dated her, so now I won’t like her!)
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 8:57 pm
I would honestly think the same thing, and I hesitated even mentioning it because those are the kinds of girls I’ve never liked and find it incredibly draining to be friends with as well. Actually, though, with one of them it was just the opposite. I would be interested in a guy for a short length of time, like a few weeks, and because she was one of my best friends, I would mention something to her within that time frame, and then all of a sudden she was interested as well. Our freshman year of high school, this senior guy who had made it pretty apparent he was into me asked me to sit next to him on the band bus to a football game, and then on the way back, she got to the seat next to him before I could, got cold and demanded his jacket, which she wore home and made a big production of giving to him that Monday, and then spent the remainder of the school year inviting herself along whenever the two of us made plans (she would call to see what I was doing and then just act like I invited her). That was just one example in the two years we were inseparable, and it was the weirdest thing. It was like she needed to prove she was better than me, and I was sort of relieved when it was over.
The other one just had really low self-esteem and took any guy that was interested in me as a slight against her. She did a lot of the same crap the first one pulled, showing up on my dates or sabotaging a conversation I was having at a party with some random dude and acting like that sloppy character Drunk Girl from SNL. I would have to pick her up and dust her off – which I would – and have to drive her home, which meant that the year and a half I was dealing with her, I didn’t have more than a couple of dates with the same guy.
I think part of it is that when I was younger I was really naive and blind to dealing with friends who were competitive like that. I had some dating experience by the time the second girl stumbled into my life, and I’d also had to deal with the other girl, but the vast majority of my friends – male or female – were really academically focused. I didn’t realize till the last few years that I *am* an attractive person. It feels weird even saying that – I’m tall and always felt a little awkward and assumed that my looks were an acquired taste, but I’m…well, I’m pretty, and I never knew it, at least not back then. So maybe for those female-aggressive types, I was a target, and because I don’t fight dirty (or at all, really), I was also an easy target.
I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure what it was. It may not have had anything to do with boys at all. Maybe my high level of tolerance for bullshit meant I was someone who would put up with them until someone more socially desirable came along as I never played the popularity game. Or maybe I’m just really irritating and had no idea. Point is, though, I’m *really* not that kind of girl. I’m not even really a flirt. Honestly, I kind of wish I had seen back then what I see when I look in the mirror today – at least I’d have gotten something for the punishment I may have been taking from my supposed friends.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 9:29 pm
Ughh, that sounds so annoying! I have a hard time dealing with competitive friends like that because I’m kind of like you. I’m not really interested in their game, and tend to get turned off by guys who fall for it. It sucks to get suddenly dumped by a friend, but it sounds like those two people weren’t really your friend in the first place!
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 9:50 pm
Yeah, older-and-wiser me looks back and goes, “Gurrrrl, why the hell did you put up with that?” I think I honestly just didn’t think people were capable of that sort of duplicity. That and it was flattering to be “needed” so badly, without realizing that what they really needed was a self-esteem fix.
Funny enough, though, I made friends with a girl in grad school who had similar self-esteem issues and methods for exorcising them, and, being wise to the signs, I called her out on it and told her I would not be whipping-girl for her poor self-confidence. She was mad at me for about a week, and then she made a gradual about-face over the course of about a year, and she’s one of my best friends to this day.
katie July 29, 2011, 11:54 pm
to both of you- those girls are the worst! i am very lucky to have not had to deal with them in my life so far… i just dont understand someone who couldn’t just be happy for you because a boy likes you! and maybe you like him back! one thing about my friends that i am so happy for each and every day is that we are all confident enough in ourselves that we dont have to “compete” for attention… we all find our individual ways to get the spotlight when it is warrented. i believe the term for those other girls are attention whores. and whore they do… its sick.
caitie_didn't July 29, 2011, 9:09 pm
Augh, I’ve been on the receiving end of girls like that and they are NO FUN. I don’t blame you for not remaining friends with her….
caitie_didn't July 29, 2011, 9:10 pm
**meant to be in reply to painted lady.
LTC039 July 29, 2011, 4:41 pm
Freshman year of high school, I made friends with this girl who seemed to be pretty awesome. We instantly became great friends. Well one day, she started dating this guy & she thought I made a negative comment about him (which I honestly didn’t!) & stopped talking to me all of a sudden. She didn’t stop there, she would make fun of me in class, slam into me in the hallways, etc…We didn’t talk again until Junior year. She apologized to me, said she was stupid, how could she have dropped me as her friend, so we reconciled. It was ok for a while, but when I started dating my boyfriend I noticed she would do little things to make me mad like ask him to take her to the movies & calling him while he was at my house to go pick her up (but to not tell me). I distanced myself from her but still remained civil. College rolls around & she is in my same astronomy class. We became attached, once again, since it was a pretty big class & we only knew each other. When I broke up with that boyfriend I started to hang out constantly with this group of guys, I would always invite her to meet them, well when she finally did, she began to try to sabotage my friendship with them. She would go over to their houses w/o telling me, invite them over w/o telling me (they weren’t my property but she made it a point to do this more than needed), then she began to talk a LOT of shit about me to them.
Finally I just cut her off like the top of a strawberry. I deleted her from FB, stopped returning phone calls (which by this point there weren’t too many) & just ignored her. For 6 years it was back & forth with this girl, her doing something, apologizing, & then doing it again. I had heard enough apologies, talked things out too many times, enough was enough.
Honestly, there’s no need to keep a friend that is nothing but poison in your life. Would you keep a boyfriend/girlfriend around if all they were doing all the time was hurting you? It’s not worth it, most of the time, friends come & go!
Princess Bananahammock July 29, 2011, 5:46 pm
I haven’t had a friend break-up since high school. That was FULL of drama. We both told each other we were done. But, we reconciled a year later and (11 years later) we’re still good friends.
With non-close friends, I usually pull the fade if I think they are toxic or we just don’t have enough in common. With a close friend, in the case of the original LW a best friend, I think you need to handle it like a break up. Don’t be needlessly cruel, but give them an honest explanation of why you can’t be friends anymore. Or, if you aren’t certain you want them completely out of your life, you can give them an explanation of how you feel and say that you need some space. Either they’ll rectify the situation and you’ll become close again, or the friendship will fade out.
Chaotonic July 29, 2011, 6:24 pm
Well, as you all know I wrote Dear Wendy about my best friend / matron of honor who ended up being psycho. How I ended the relationship (after reading everyone’s advice) was what I would consider pretty chicken-ish,I didn’t want a huge confrontation and I also didn’t want to say anything she could use against me towards mutual friends, i.e. “OMG look at what Chaotonic said to me!” So I deleted her from facebook, sent her a brother (who I am close friends with) a message as to why I was deleting her and removing her from my life (he has already given her his two cents on why she was a crappy friend) and asked him to look after her or speak to her about her psychosis for lack of a better word. After that I ignore phone calls and text messages for a exactly one week which is when she sent me a text saying, “Nice to see you deleted me from facebook…Wasn’t worth our friendship…heh…ok….Well enjoy your life and live it to the fullest…might as well lose my number too….I’ll always love a hun….take care.” One I wasn’t the one trying to constantly contact her, two she lives on facebook but it took her a week to realize I had deleted her, and three seriously? Really? Oh well. Better luck next time. And then she sent her husband after me telling ME to fix things between us. Thats when it got ugly.
The only other time was a friend named “B” who just had to sabotage everything like in LTC’s story. I finally had enough and told her that I was done taking her drama and everything was over. She tried to reconcile last year by trying to get me to come to her wedding through a facebook message (no we were not facebook friends) but I told her I didn’t really want to be a part of her life. And that was that.
Marie July 29, 2011, 7:12 pm
I’ve done a fade-out with a friend and another friend did that to me,with no drama on either side.It’s easier to do a drama-free fade out when the friends you want to dump weren’t your best friends,just friends you’d hang out with only sometimes.
mel July 29, 2011, 7:50 pm
I have a friend-dumping related question for you genius ladies and gentlemen, actually.
I used to work at this clothing store, which was, no lie, one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. The boss was ridiculous, the sort of person where you do something one day and it’s fine, but the next day it would be cause to be pulled into the back room and berated until you cried. I know she hated me personally, but I really am not sure why.
Anyway, my rock there was a girl I’ll call J. J and I used to go out drinking, have long chats on slow nights, and generally got to be besties. We were sort of bonded by the trauma of working for our boss. But every once in a while she would lose her phone, or have a fight with her boyfriend or what have you, and not return my calls or texts. She always had a good reason, seemingly, and always seemed apologetic, so I’d let it slide and keep trying. Eventually we fell out of contact, until a couple weeks ago I ran into her while I was out with the boyf.
I asked her if she wanted to go to lunch sometime and she got seriously excited. We traded numbers and made plans to go out this past Sunday. I texted her Sunday morning and she told me that she was moving, and had to wait for a call from her landlord before she could go anywhere. Something about he had her keys and she had to drop what she was doing and go get them, and how she didn’t want to have to run out in the middle of lunch. Sometime around 3 or 4, I texted her saying I couldn’t hold out for lunch anymore, and maybe she would like to have dinner the next night. She apologized a whole ton, I told her it wasn’t a big deal, and we made plans.
The next day I texted her in the morning and she seemed excited to go to dinner around 630. Then I texted her at 6 just to confirm – because she has such a bad history of returning phone calls and such, and I didn’t want to be in a restaurant by myself waiting and being really embarassed if I got stood up.
Annnnd, radio silence. Nothing. For three hours. At that point I gave up and went to a late dinner with my boy, but I was still pretty hurt.
So now I’m not sure what to do. Should I text and ask if everything’s okay? Should I just drop it? (The main reason why we drifted apart in the first place is this kept happening, and I kept letting it without saying anything.) …I’m afraid to put the ball in her court because every time I do she drops it. I really want to get my friendship back with this girl, but is it even worth it? My city is small, everyone my age knows each other, and finding decent people to be friends with gets harder and harder all the time, so I’m kind of loathe to just let this go.
Any suggestions, after reading my novella?
Thanks in advance.
CG July 29, 2011, 8:28 pm
Heather July 29, 2011, 8:33 pm
I would just tell her straight up.
“I don’t know if something is going on, but I feel like I’m always getting blown off, and to be honest, it hurts. I want to have a friendship with you, but there needs to be reciprocation from your end. If there is a reason that this has been an issue I’m more than open to talking about it. But this isn’t fair to me.”
Something along those lines. People don’t generally come around until they feel like they have something to lose. It’s at that point, if she does apologize (again) that you need to decide if it’s worth it.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 9:02 pm
Hm, she sounds like a well-meaning, sweet girl who is a MAJOR flake. It’s kind of up to you how much of her behavior you are willing to put up with. I’ve had friends who are flakes, and they tend to be friends whose company I enjoy when we happen to run into each other. It sucks because I wish I could be closer with some of these people, but their flakiness would get in the way. I don’t think there’s any reason you guys can’t be friends, but it will probably help you to adjust your expectations when it comes to interactions with her.
katie July 29, 2011, 9:11 pm
i have friends like this, and i know how annoying it is, and how it makes you feel like you mean nothing to them… i would just say that if you want to keep this relationship, that part of it probably wont change. even if you sat her down and told her how it feels, she will most likely apoligize and promise to be better, or whatever, but in the end she wont stop doing it. these people dont do this because they are intentionally trying to make you feel bad (if she is that type of person, well then the answer is easy), they do it because thats just how they live thier lives. they cant see more then 5 minutes into the future. they dont plan. they dont have a sense of “responsiblity”, so to speak, when they make plans with someone. they forget stuff, all the time. they mess up plans and just generally do not ever think things through (ie, they go camping, but have no idea as to where they are going to sleep)… whenever i deal with these friends (and yes, i know multiple people like this, lol), i just know in the back of my head that it might not happen… and I never wait around for them to call back- if by like 7:00, she hasn’t called you about a 6:30 dinner, then do something else and just hope that maybe next time you will be able to catch her attention. its kind if a mix of lowering your expectations, and understanding the way those people live their lives. I am a complete opposite person- i plan ahead for EVERYTHING, even stupid things, and i will bend over backwards to keep a date with someone who i told i would be there for. so it totally aggravates me, and i dont even understand how they manage to live thier lives successfully this way, but in the end, i love them, and i know they love me, and we find a way to be freinds.
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 10:07 pm
I completely agree! I have a lot of friends who work in the arts, and the stereotypes are all true – everyone’s like an hour late, if they show up at all. I used to get worked up about it, and then I realized it SO wasn’t personal because they do it to everyone. I love seeing them when they show, but I’m always pleasantly surprised if they do.
katie July 29, 2011, 11:41 pm
thats so right- its a surprise if they show up… lol.
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 11:55 pm
It’s kind of funny now, it’s like, “OHMIGOD! YOU’RE HERE!!!!” And then inevitably, the flaky friend says something to the effect of, “Psssh, I *told* you I would be.”
I even had a friend like that who recently decided to become punctual, and before then she was seriously two hours late everywhere, so I stopped showing up when she said she would be someplace because I was ALWAYS waiting on her, and now she’s giving me a hard time for being flaky because I was showing up at the time I would when I was expecting her to be late.
katie July 30, 2011, 12:04 am
that is hilarious!! haha… way for her to start becoming a better person, though i guess… but seriously thats funny.
Marie July 30, 2011, 1:45 am
Ask her what’s going on.You’ll only be able to tell by her response.
mel July 30, 2011, 8:42 am
Yeah, I totally forgot to mention that I am an advance planner who’s never late and never forgets a date or appointment. It’s a side effect of me having anxiety disorder.
I think if I were more flakey myself this would hurt my feelings less. This is great advice, in any case. I knew this forum would be a great place to ask.
mel July 30, 2011, 8:40 am
This is all such good advice for a lot of different reasons. Everyone’s given me a lot to think about.
LennyBee July 31, 2011, 6:06 pm
Another strategy that might work with a flake, you could try not planning in advance – but rather just calling her up with a “hey, I’ve got a bottle of wine and a bag of cheez doodles, wanna watch a movie tonight?” She might be more available for an occasional spontaneous get-together than something planned in advance.
katie July 31, 2011, 9:42 pm
ah yes! this is perfect to do because sometimes, the reason that they blow off dinner is because someone else called them like this! and in that moment they say oh, wine and cheez doodles, could this night get any better (i mean, really, could it?)? and they go. the thought of a dinner date has just completely vanished, probably not to enter back again until the next day.
its almost like a sort of ADD- we should classify it. social ADD?
danielle August 2, 2011, 12:46 pm
I have a friend like that – I don’t see her very often, because I let her initiate contact, and half expect her to cancel. She was like that in high school and she still is 15 years later. I don’t think she’ll ever change, so she’ll never be a good friend, just someone I enjoy talking to ocassionally.
Marie July 29, 2011, 8:46 pm
This is such a hard topic, in some ways it is harder than dumping a significant other. I remember back in high school I had a friend who I was completely inseparable with for about 3 or 4 years, and then one day after school she just refused to speak to me ever again, when I finally cornered her and ask what I had done she gave me the classic “If you don’t know then I am certainly not going to tell you.” That was so frustrating! At least give me a chance to fix whatever behaviors that were bothering her, but I guess maybe she figured it was not worth it. More recently I had a really great friend in grad school here who, unfortunately, was a single male. At one point about a year in to a really great, platonic relationship he started trying to move things past just friendship, as I am in a relationship I wasn’t comfortable with that I asked him to stop, however things didn’t, so I had to just stop hanging out with him (and our other mutual friend who we used to always hang out with). It was really difficult and I ended up losing two friends, not just one, but it was either that or lose my relationship. It was awful and I feel terrible about it to this day but not sure what else I could’ve done :(.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 9:33 pm
Just as support, it sounds like you did the best thing you could do in the situation. Your friend kind of forced you to stop hanging out with him. Not only did he disrespect you and your relationship (Did he really think you were the kind of girl to cheat on her bf? And he would have been okay with that??), but he went even further and disrespected the boundaries you tried to set with him. Not a friendly thing to do at all.
mel July 30, 2011, 8:48 am
I had a friend pull that “if you don’t know what you did I’m not going to tell you” bullshit on me. And I finally figured out what it was I did, and it was suffering from unmedicated anxiety attacks on our trip to Germany. Yeah, how dare I be gripped with paralyzing and irrational fear that I didn’t understand how to control. How dare I, seriously you guys.
In any event, I don’t miss her now, and I bet you don’t either. And really, isn’t that the WORST justification for dumping someone, probably ever?
As for the dude friend, it sucks that he didn’t respect you, but I’m glad you handled it instead of letting him be a creep.
katie July 29, 2011, 9:19 pm
ugh. i have only had to do this once, and i hated it. it happened after my first year of college, and one of my very best friends had started dating my ex of like 2 and half years, who i had a very messy breakup with, and wasn’t really over, and who still talked to me. she then put the icing on the cake by still calling me with her problems, and me giving her support and things while she was lying through her teeth that her and my ex were together. it really hurt. so i just stopped talking to her. she tried to talk to me, and i wouldnt talk back. she knew i was pissed, other people told her, and so she asked me to go to lunch and talk. so i went, and i told her everything. how hurt i felt that at the same time that she was calling me crying about other problems, she was already having sex with my ex. how she just generally lied to everyone in a different way to make herself look good. just everything. on top of all of it, she was the one of our friends who was the “virgin”, who wanted to wait until marriage, didn’t swear, didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs… she had this drive and all these morals and values, and then she started dating my ex and just dropped everything. she slept with him, started drinking, and now has dropped out of college and just parties all the time. the totally ironic part of this story is that all of my other friends kind of didnt like her very much, they thought she was boring of sorts, and i loved her. i loved all her morals and how she didn’t do certain things just because that was what she thought was right. and then she started doing all these other things, and now a lot of people like her a lot more (I guess she is more interesting and cool to hang out with now that she parties?) and i hate her just for the fact that she compromised who she was for this stupid stupid guy. everyone of my friends always says that I was the one person who was on her side, and I was the one who she screwed over. it was a really shitty thing. i lost a really great friend.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 9:36 pm
Not a great friend. Just a selfish person who is only focused on her own happiness, no matter what the expense to others. I’ve had one of these, but she was more of a social friend. When things went down with my ex, she pretended we weren’t really friends in the first place so she could tell herself that she didn’t do anything wrong. These people are not friends, they are snakes in the grass.
katie July 29, 2011, 9:43 pm
thanks. losing her friendship was so so much worse then losing the boyfriend. she was really one of my very very best friends.
pho_sho July 29, 2011, 10:10 pm
Ugh, that really sucks 🙁 Maybe she will come to her senses one day and you guys can repair your friendship. If not, I hope you connect with somebody who can be a good friend to you and who will value the friendship as much as you.
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 10:20 pm
Second that. Just like finding a man who treats you the way you deserve, you will find friends who treat you likewise. It took me till grad school, but I wouldn’t trade the friends I have now for anything. Totally worth the wait.
katie July 29, 2011, 11:45 pm
aw thanks! yes i am very blessed to have a lot of very good friends, and i had them to lean on during all this as well. and i have a wonderful new boyfriend, and i have to admit, now hearing all the drama stories about the two of these guys, i know that what happened was supposed to happen and i am so much better without either of them. it makes me feel good. lol
Painted_lady July 29, 2011, 10:17 pm
Oh shit, that BLOWS. I’ve not been in the position of the friend dating the ex, but the drama queen friend I mentioned earlier that I always had to drive home when she was smashed and scared off every guy I tried to date (who wants to date Drunk Girl’s BFF) did a lot of the rest to me. I stuck by her for a year and a half while everyone else in the group we ran with rolled their eyes and wouldn’t go near her. Then she started ignoring me, and all of a sudden everyone “picked” her. And I was like, “Hey! I defended you! I drove you home! I CLEANED YOUR PUKE OFF MY CAR SEATS!” It was so, so hurtful.
katie July 29, 2011, 11:57 pm
ah yes its one of those situations where you did everything the right way and it still just all blows up in your face. it sucks so bad, but as the saying goes, life isn’t fair, you know? sometimes doing all the right things isn’t enough, as stupid as that is.
and shitty of your other friends to pick sides… thats terrible.
Painted_lady July 30, 2011, 12:28 am
Eh, honestly, I ended up being better off, and it sounds like you did too. I said I had to wait until grad school to make really good friends, but that’s not true. The next year, all the extra time I had ended up in my getting a job that changed the course of my whole life, had time for my truly amazing roommates, and that job resulted in my meeting a group of fantastic people who ended up being part of some of my best memories from college. All for the best!
Lindsay July 29, 2011, 11:06 pm
I broke up with a friend in college who I’d known since middle school. Throughout high school and college, she’d been really devious toward our mutual friends and me. She lied a lot to us and did a lot of things to undermine friendships and relationships with other people. I’d confronted her several times about it, and she’d apologize, but then turn around and do it again. Finally, in college, she broke up my best friend (who she was also supposedly friends with) and her boyfriend (not even so she could date him), and I couldn’t take her behavior anymore.
I told her explicitly that I could not be friends with her anymore. So, that was that. The next year, though, I found myself wanted to tell her things that I knew no one else would understand. I realized that because our lives had so little overlap that there was no way she could really hurt me anymore. I apologized and told her that while I still didn’t approve of the things she did, I missed her.
We’re still friends, but we live in different states, so we don’t talk or see each other a lot. I think I needed time away from her because I was so fed up, so I don’t regret it, but I’m glad that I didn’t end things for good.
L July 29, 2011, 11:32 pm
As one who has experienced the negative side of three friend “fade outs” in the past four years, it hurts like hell, especially when you don’t have an explanation. My college years were more dramatic than my high school years, and during that time I lost three close friends, all for reasons that I am still unclear of.
The first one was my first good friend at college. She had a terrible roommate situation, so I helped her through that, let her stay over in my room, etc. We were really close for a little over a year, at which point I apparently said something that truly offended her (which I was unaware of and had to hear this explanation from a different mutual friend, not this girl directly). I have literally said probably two sentences to her since.
The second one I considered absolutely one of my best friends in college. Our senior year she got a bit weird and didn’t hang out around me as much, since she hung out with her boyfriend all the time–she had also moved in with him. I tried to maintain contact with her throughout that year, but we never hung out, never talked, nothing. I found out through a mutual friend that she had moved to California from the Midwest after graduation, and I had absolutely no idea. I went to look at her Facebook page and found that she had deleted me from her friends list. After more than three years of being super close, she just dropped me, like that. She’s still friends with our mutual friends, just not me. That one stung for a looong time.
The third one I wasn’t quite so close with. We had developed a decent relationship by junior year, and then all of a sudden, senior year she just up and stops talking to me altogether–deletes me from her Facebook page, ignored me when I tried to initiate conversation, etc. It hurts because to this day I have absolutely no idea what happened and why she cut me out of her life.
In a nutshell, it stings beyond belief to be on the receiving end of a “fade out”, especially when they’re as abrupt as mine were. Before you cut someone out of your life entirely, do them a favor and talk to them first.
katie July 30, 2011, 12:02 am
that is so true. my friend had this happen to her, and she had to visit her school’s mental health counselor to try to get through it. it is so traumatizing! some people are just literally so petty that if they find someone “cooler” or “prettier” or whatever adjective-ier they suddenly want to be friends with them instead. ive seen it happen to other people. its not cool. like, you cant just all of a sudden one day say, you know what? i dont think that we should be friends anymore. i like this other person/persons better. thats just not logical, and its not nice at all.
in regards to your first one, what kind of friend, after you had said something that offended her, wouldn’t say something? why wouldnt she sit there and talk with you or debate this issue with you or something? i dont get that at all!
Painted_lady July 30, 2011, 12:57 am
“Adjective-ier.” Love it.
Drunk Girl actually did say, almost verbatim, “You know what? I don’t think we should be friends anymore. I like these other person/persons better.” I had to confront her on it, but she actually said, “Well, I’m just really good friends with X and Y now, and I don’t really have time to hang out anymore.” If X and Y hadn’t been my friends as well, it would have been as funny as it is now. It’s fortunately just a funny story I tell now. Who says that???
katie July 30, 2011, 1:03 am
it just scares me that there are people that are so petty living in this world.
L July 30, 2011, 4:21 pm
Yes, the first one (I’ll call her “The Dramatic One” 🙂 ) just decided that I wasn’t worth her time. I have no idea why she didn’t just talk directly to me. Right now looking back, I see it’s a demonstration of immaturity; instead of facing conflict directly and talking to someone who had been there for her to support her, she decides that eliminating conversation and just turning her back on me was the way to go. It put our other friends in an awkward situation, as they all still talked to both of us, but they could never have us in the same room…not to mention…they had met The Dramatic One through me. Awkward much?
mel July 30, 2011, 8:53 am
I so agree with you. Pretty much when ever I dump a friend, I try to sit them down and give them a breakup talk… but I do understand the temptation to fade out and not cause any drama, or have to deal with any recriminations or what have you…
But you really have to think about why you would do that. A friendship, especially among young girls is like a very involved, very intense relationship, and doing a fade out on a relationship like that would leave ANYONE hurt and confused. If you ever cared about that friend half as much as you should have, you should have the decency to at least remove the confusion from the situation. Like with any breakup, they’re going to be hurt, obvs.
anonymous July 30, 2011, 12:30 am
In an ideal world, talking sounds great. But, sadly, it doesn’t always work.
I had a friend for a long time — from college, then a lapse of about 8 years (just lost touch — she married a d***weed). I met her again, after she’d remarried a sweetheart, and everything was great. She was the sister I wish I’d had (as opposed to the one I was given!).
Anyway, after years (8?) of daily talks, she quit her academic job to try to find a higher paying job in industry. During that time, my hubby & I were adding onto the house. She came over, and her one comment was, “I sure wouldn’t want the mess.” Kind of like telling a pregnant friend, “I’m glad I don’t have to gain the weight,” you know?
I called her on it a few days later, and told her how it had made me feel. Her response was basically, “Well, sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I really _wouldn’t_ want the mess.” Not one word about how great it would be, how exciting the changes were, nothing.
Six months passed (in the meantime, she’d got a job & was way too busy to talk to the likes of stay-at-home homeschooling mom me). My husband and I decided to adopt two older children to add to our existing family. She heard about it, we talked during the process (which took about a year and a half) for about the first 3 months.
She’s never seen the kids. She’s never expressed an interest in seeing the kids. We haven’t talked in 3 years now. At one point I called, and she was “so busy” with her life.
On the flip side, I recently entered the FB realm and “friended” her. She didn’t send a message with the friend acceptance, but I had access to her posts. They were SO incredibly negative about everything. I ended up defriending her because it was so unappealing to have such negativity about petty stuff.
So, in the final analysis, while it hurt for a while, I think I’m better off. Maybe one day she’ll come back to happy land and be fun to be around. If I’m lucky, she’ll give me a shout. And then she can see the finished (!) addition and our beautiful kids.
Painted_lady July 30, 2011, 1:04 am
Definitely better off. There are people who just can’t accept other people’s choices as valid and not a threat to their own choices. So when they see people handling things differently than they would, if they don’t see the choices as wrong or bad, then that means their own choices must be the wrong ones.
anonymous July 30, 2011, 2:37 pm
I’m not sure why I got purple thumbed. Comments?
Painted_lady July 30, 2011, 4:16 pm
No idea. Maybe they’re thumbing down not you but the friend? If not, whatever, haters gon’ hate.
mel July 31, 2011, 1:08 am
Sometimes folks will thumb down the story, when something crappy happens to someone else. It’s kind of hard to green thumb someone acting like a dink to you.
mel July 31, 2011, 1:08 am
Sometimes folks will thumb down the story, when something crappy happens to someone else. It’s kind of hard to green thumb someone acting like a dink to you.
Painted_lady July 31, 2011, 2:33 am
Lol @ dink. Great word!!!
Britannia August 1, 2011, 2:15 am
I thumbed you down because it doesn’t really seem like you have any concern for your friend, or why your friendship turned sour — your post was all about you and wondering why she wasn’t as enthralled with your life as you are:
“Maybe one day she’ll come back to happy land and be fun to be around. If I’m lucky, she’ll give me a shout. And then she can see the finished (!) addition and our beautiful kids.”
Maybe she’s having a really hard time with life in general. Maybe she’s having some very specific things going on that hurt her emotionally. Maybe the stay-at-home, my-family-is-my-life thing isn’t really HER thing, and she has a hard time relating to you now that you’re so wrapped up in the Charmed Life.
Budjer August 1, 2011, 10:31 am
I was going to say…it happens a lot that life styles change and friends have a harder time finding common ground.
Marie July 30, 2011, 1:46 am
Wow…two Maries on here!
Bekah July 30, 2011, 2:55 am
What do you do when it is your sister? I am still grappling with the situation… She has become incredibly toxic as a friend (spreading false rumors to everyone who will listen, expecting me to pay for everything when she is around, stealing from me on visits). I have set boundaries within our relationship, no more lending of money (it won’t be returned), she cannot stay in my house and choosing not to be baited into an argument. But it is hard to tolerate all this crap she keeps saying to others. I mean family friends and anyone who will listen. I would confront her if I thought it would help, but I know that will only make it worse because it would only escalate to an argument. Any suggestions? HELP!
Painted_lady July 30, 2011, 3:39 am
Eek. I don’t know that there’s a really good solution to this. I think you’ve done everything right by setting clear boundaries, and other than that…I don’t know. I guess it depends on the sort of rumors she’s spreading. My younger brother has said all sorts of terrible things about my parents and me to friends and extended family, and the way to handle it that seems to have worked best is to address it calmly but firmly with the folks he talks to. My mom once killed it with my uncle by saying, “Well, if you promise not to believe him when he said I kicked him out of the house and made him sleep in his truck, I promise I won’t believe him when he said you bought him alcohol (he was 17 at the time).” He never again brought it up. If that’s something that’s an option, sometimes making other people aware that they aren’t immune to her drama either makes them a little more cautious in approaching her too closely. If that isn’t an option, then just opt to be the bigger person. Deny – again, calmly, not getting worked up or defensive lends an air of credibility – but only when someone directly addresses you, and eventually she will get caught in a lie. If more immediate action is necessary, I would say set further boundaries. Tell her next time she wants to see you that to protect yourself, you need some distance as everytime you hang out with her results in having to defend yourself to friends and family. Don’t engage on any level other than X has happened, therefore I have to Y. Put it on yourself if you need to: you’re too angry to talk calmly yet, you love her but perhaps don’t like her very much right now, and you’ve got some damage to undo with the folks she’s been yapping to. Then cut her off for a bit. If you have to see her at family gatherings, be civil but not overly warm, and if she tries to confront you, just tell her simply that it isn’t the time and walk away. That in and of itself will speak volumes to the family. If she loves you, and I’m sure she does, it’ll blow over. My family’s big on passive-aggressive withholding as a form of punishment, and we always forgive each other eventually. And this isn’t punishment, it’s just self-preservation. I actually have an aunt who is borderline personality disorder and bipolar, and we have to avoid her for about six months every couple of years because she’s completely erratic and irrational at times. But she always comes back, and we’re always happy to have the “real” her. Good luck!
mel July 30, 2011, 8:59 am
Unfortunately you can’t control anyone’s actions but your own. Setting boundaries and being a class act is literally the best thing you can do.
And realistically, what will eventually happen, is people will tire of and see through her bullshit, stop believing it, and respect you for conducting yourself with grace and class. The bottom often falls out on people who act like that, at some point or another.
So keep being strong and classy, and keep your head up. It’ll end eventually and you’ll come out smelling like roses, I’m sure.
Bekah July 30, 2011, 10:27 pm
Thanks for the advice… This weekend thread really hits home. I mean losing a best friend to a distant sister status hurts. I wish there was something I could do without compromising my morals. I will take the high road and hope she can eventually as well!
mel July 31, 2011, 10:57 am
Sometimes people do grow out of acting that way. Maybe she will too. Best of luck hon.
blackbird July 31, 2011, 7:11 pm
I hope that your sister is young – hopefully she’ll have the chance to see what she’s doing the people she loves and changes. My younger sister was recently disowned by my family (she’s a sociopath – seriously – I’m guessing your sister isn’t as far gone as she is) after stealing my identity, and would constantly lie to and steal from everyone in my family.
I don’t really have a concrete answer for you, but it might be good to cut off all contact with her for a while. It would at least give her the chance to reflect on your relationship for a bit, and if she starts asking around about you, she might hear through the grapevine that you think she’s a toxic friend. Hopefully she’ll take this to heart and start changing her ways.
You can’t change what she’s going to/has said, so it might be helpful to sit down with any family or friends that still has contact with her and explain that you are not going to be talking to her for a while and tell them why. That way, they might be hesitant to feed into what she’s saying and would be more likely to defend you, and maybe even follow suit and cut off contact with her as well.
I would also say that you shouldn’t confront her – just stop talking to her. Like you said, it might just make things worse. It’s going to take a while for things to get back to normal – years, maybe – but even though she’s family, you can’t let yourself be treated this way. I don’t think my relationship with my sister will ever be repaired, but like I said before, if she’s young, there’s hope. I know it’s tough, and my thoughts are with you. Good luck.
Britannia August 1, 2011, 2:09 am
I was in the exact same situation as you and your sister, but with my mother. Hopefully for your sister, this is just a painful phase of her development and she’ll mature out of it. If you think (or hope) that this is simply a phase, I’d suggest keeping her at an arm’s length…
I went through a phase with my Mom where I tried very hard to form some sort of boundaries with her so that she would respect me and we could form an adult relationship. It meant that she was not allowed to come into my home or emotionally manipulate me, and I had to see a counselor — I had her on speed dial for quite a while — for guidance. If she sprung a “visit” on me unannounced, like at my graduation (when she was clearly uninvited because she refused to support my efforts while going to school and told the rest of my family to expect me to fail), I would humor her as minimally as possible (in the case of the graduation, I went to lunch with her — which she conveniently forgot her checkbook for) and then make an exit as quickly as possible. Any time she attempted to start an argument, in person or via other correspondence, I would make a quick exit as well. More than once, this meant literally telling her that I was going to the bathroom, giving money to the waitress to give to her for a cab ride home, and then leaving… or when we were at home, I would simply say, “I’ve got to go” and walked out the door. I showed her that I simply wouldn’t put up with her bullshit.
Rumors she would start with my family were incredibly exasperating, but I learned to deal with them. It actually forced me to develop much deeper relationships with the rest of my family, because I was having to explain myself a lot to them. I could have just said, “Don’t believe her, she’s lying again”, but that wouldn’t be very persuasive, so I began to include them in my life so that they could see when my mother was trying to fleece them. It can be emotionally draining to have to explain yourself, but it’s in your best interest to do so, so that she can’t damage your reputation.
Hopefully, establishing such boundaries and doing damage control will greatly help your relationship with your sister, and she will respond positively to it and eventually grow out of this stage. However, you might have to do a genuine fade-out if she turns out to be mentally ill, which is the case with my mother. I think that if you love someone who is mentally, you should really try to “stick it out” and see if they are willing to get help for their problem… but if they begin to really hurt you and refuse to seek help, you need to make yourself the priority and remove yourself from the harmful circumstances. I had to do that with my mother — her phone number is blocked, I read but do not respond to her emails, and my family knows that they should not tell her about me. It has greatly reduced my stress level, and I finally feel liberated after a lifetime of mental abuse. I hope that no one ever has to cut off a family member from their lives, but sometimes it does need to be done. Please let us know what happens!
caitie_didn't July 30, 2011, 11:13 am
Maybe y’all could offer me some advice on friendships making the college to real-world transition? I have a really good friend from home; we’ve been friends since 4th grade. I’m a graduate student, and she got a prestigious accounting job right out of school, so is firmly in the “young professional” camp. Lately, I’ve been noticing some big changes- she’s become obsessed with her weight and appearance, insists on weekly manicures and pedicures, will only shop at specific boutiques or higher-end stores and only eat at high-end restaurants. This in itself is tolerable. However, she’s also become really, really flaky. She’s been repeatedly blowing myself and another friend off when “more fun” things (usually VIP and bottle service at an exclusive nightclub where a firm partner is part-owner) with work people come up and recently bailed on our friend’s birthday dinner because she decided to take a nap instead. Then to add insult to injury, rather than apologize about missing the dinner, she proceded to talk about all the exciting, awesome, fun things she’s doing and how hard it will be to fit us into her schedule and how we’ll have to meet at a time that’s convenient for her. Needless to say, the birthday girl and I are a little bit upset with her by now.
Obviously, there are wonderful things about her too, or we wouldn’t still be friends. But I’m worrying that our friendship may not survive her transition to the corporate world. Being a student, I just can’t relate to her fancy-pants lifestyle (or afford to join in on it), and she doesn’t appear to be interested in meeting halfway. Any words of wisdom or advice for me, from people who have been here?
Kate July 30, 2011, 11:26 am
I just finished 9 years of grad school: I know what you are getting into. I was pretty lucky, my good “from home” friends (25 + yr friendships) also went through some graduate education – different fields and part time, but they still somewhat understood.
However, I also had friends who just took different paths and didn’t “get” it. Your friend is making more money than you are, probably significantly more. Her lifestyle is also likely nothing like yours. If she can’t or won’t understand it, I am sorry to say, she is not a good friend. My working friends at first didn’t understand that I couldn’t go to Vegas for a weekend or Hawaii for a week, but after filling them in on the reality of assistantships and research schedules, they quickly understood.
I’ve “lost” some friends throughout the years, but I really think that some friendships just don’t last forever. That’s ok, though! You will meet a lot of people in grad school, and in my experience, only people who have been through it really get it.
I don’t know about your program, but mine was so crazy I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to waste on failing relationships (romantic, included). I would try and talk with her and if she still is acting uninterested in you and your life, I wouldn’t waste any more time.
Maracuya July 30, 2011, 1:06 pm
Crazy. I guess I’m a young professional now (although it sounds strange when I think about it.) Anyone with two brain cells should know you don’t bail on a friend’s birthday. Period. I don’t care how much you’re paid, being ‘rich’ doesn’t give you the right to be a bad friend.
I would sit her down/get her on the phone and have a talk to her about it. Just in case she doesn’t understand what it means to be in graduate school (low salary, high work expectations, having to watch over your research in addition to TAing). And I’d actually rather hit home about how she’s being a brat. Maybe not in those words.
Hopefully she’ll come ’round, but if not I wouldn’t waste too much time on her. It’s sad, but people grow apart. At some point I’d wager she’ll come to her senses but whether it’s now or 10 years from now is anyone’s guess.
caitie_didn't July 30, 2011, 2:41 pm
Thanks for the advice, ladies! It’s so nice to have an outside perspective. I agree- different lifestyles don’t give you the right to be a bad friend. Even worse, perhaps, is that the birthday she missed was a “make up” dinner because she’d missed the actual birthday. However, I’m trying to see that she’s under pressure to conform to the “image” of her corporation AND she has a boyfriend for the first time ever, so she’s trying to balance her relationship, job and friendship.
Anyways, my friend and I (the birthday girl in the previous story) have agreed that we’re going to emphasize to our friend that we have jobs and lives and things to do, so we’re not just waiting around for her to grace us with our presence, but would love to see her when it’s convenient for us. Beyond that, I’m moving to start school in September and I’ll have to see what happens then. I strongly (and sadly) suspect that she will not make staying in regular contact a priority and we probably won’t talk much during my master’s. Hopefully I’m wrong, but if I’m not, we’ll remain in casual contact and maybe even become good friends again when our lives are at similar junctures. It is sad to think of a long-term friendship potentially ending, but I won’t have the time or energy to chase after someone who’s not as interested in the friendship as I am.
Maracuya August 1, 2011, 10:40 am
That’s true, and very diplomatic of you. I guess she might feel pressured to go out with her coworkers or risk being “the boring one” when everyone else is partying, and she might feel it’s expected of her.
I guess it requires a suspension of belief on my part since I don’t know many accountants who live wild and crazy lives.
I hope she figures out how to get through this life change and still be your friend 🙂
mel July 31, 2011, 11:08 am
I have tons of friends with all different lifestyles than I do. Right now I’m working my way up and trying to earn a trade apprenticeship. This means I make not-bad (but not great!!) money, and live in a small apartment. I can afford a few nice things every month… but for the most part I’m blue collar. So is my boyfriend, we live together and we’re in an LTR. Some of my friends are young professionals like your friend, some are young wives and mothers who have literally no fun money once the bills are paid and the baby is taken care of, some are like me, some are single girls still in college.
And you know, we all accommodate each other. Or at least, we do when the friendship matters to us. It’s entirely possible that she doesn’t place the same importance on your friendship as you do.
Which sucks beyond belief.
I would follow the suggestions above me, talk to her once, maybe tell her you miss her and you wish you could see her more often. Try and avoid telling her what a snot she’s been, but if you have to, you have to. …If this talk doesn’t change much, it may unfortunately be time to move on.
katie July 31, 2011, 9:32 pm
it just seems like she is in a different “life stage” then you are right now… not to say that excuses her terrible behavior, but i think she just feels like she is “so over” college and is now some sort of high roller becasue she has a real job…
i think that if you just let her be right now she may come around… may. after the novelty of all her new rich hobbies die out, and she realizes the terrible things about the corporate world (I wonder if the only reason some rich partner invites her to the club is because shes pretty? things like that), she will realize that she has left what used to make her, her. hopefully then she will come to (and your friend), apoligize for all the terrible months or years where she was total bitch and blinded by money and status and try to mend her friendships with you…
i guess thats the best case senario though. i think knowing in your heart that this may be the end of the friendship may spare you some feelings.
Ani July 30, 2011, 11:56 am
Ironically I just dumped a friend yesterday morning after we pretty much had on and off issues for the past two months, mostly because my friend made it quite clear to me that he is not the one making the decisions in his life (his girlfriend is). In a way I’m kind of glad to not be dealing with him any more because from the time he started dating this girl how he and she handled my friendship with him was odd and it just got worse but I know I’m going to miss having him around for a while. However, I really think that due to how everything has been going (and his lack of willingness to work anything out; I’ve tried about four times to talk/ sort out this situation with him and have gotten nowhere). So as of right now I guess this is how it’s going to be…..
When you have to dump a friend, I really think depending on how good of friend you are with someone, how long you’ve known them and the circumstances should be the three main factors in deciding how to handle it. Like in a situation where, for whatever reason, you really need to instantly stop being in contact with someone or you really haven’t known them that long and aren’t really good friends with someone, then fading out is fine. However, I think if you’ve known someone for a while and are really good friends with them, you should try to talk to them and see if there’s anything that can be done to remedy the situation. Although I do think that if you’ve tried to talk to someone a few times and things don’t change, it’s really time to evaluate whether or not this is what you want your friendship to be like.
MissDre July 30, 2011, 12:49 pm
I had a falling out with a friend last Christmas. I’m still sad about it, and I do miss her, but I think our falling out was for the best. I think it was sort of a mutual separation, even though she tried to reconcile with me and I just couldn’t bring myself to face her again…
The friendship really started going downhill when her boyfriend cheated on her. She thought he was “the one” so she was obviously devastated. Anyway, she told me this when we’d bumped into each other in the stairway at the gym. I was just heading home, she was just coming in to meet a client. Her bf was supposed to move in that day, so I asked how it was going, and that’s when she told me he cheated on her. I didn’t know how to respond. She looked like she was trying so hard to be upbeat, especially since she had to meet a client in the next two minutes. So I smiled and told her he was douche and she was better off without him, etc…. but she took my smile to mean that inside I was really happy that he cheated and she was in pain.
She told me a few months later how she felt about my reaction and how it hurt her. And I apologized over and over again and told her I was so sorry for hurting her and that I loved her and I hated that dick for hurting her too. But she never really believed me.
A year later, she’d been through another relationship that ended and she was very sad. I sat on a bench with her and cried with her while I held her. She hurt so much and I felt her pain all the way to my heart. A few days later I invited her over to chat while I baked Christmas cookies. So she was telling me about the breakup while I was mixing cookie dough… and then she started accusing me of not caring because I wasn’t even looking at her while she told me about it. Then we were sitting on the couch, talking, and my cat jumped in my lap. So I looked down and pet my cat, and she accused me again of not listening to her, not caring what she had to say, and then brought up how really I must be happy about her breakups and again talked about my reaction when her previous boyfriend cheated. It turned into a fight, with me crying and confused because I couldn’t figure how I hurt her again and I felt like a bad friend, and she stormed out.
On top of all this, she often twisted my words around and accused me of insulting her or insinuating that what she’s doing isn’t good enough. And I’d be baffled… like, how the hell did you get an insult out of what I just said? I was constantly having to say “No, that’s not what I meant…” but she was convinced that I was putting her down.
She would often tell me that she could feel my negative energy, and that it was getting her down. She always thought something was wrong and I was hiding things from her. She’d pick apart my facial expressions and demand to know what I was really thinking. After our fight and she stormed out…. I just decided I didn’t want to be around her anymore. It just seemed like everything I did, everything I said, every passing facial expression, she’d turn it into something against her, and be hurt by it. I couldn’t be myself anymore because I would be worrying about putting her down. Even when I tried to be super happy and positive, she’d be suspicious that something was going on and I wasn’t telling her.
I dunno, it was like walking on eggshells around her, all the time. She called and texted several times after the fight, but I was distant and vague, and eventually she just faded away. I still feel bad. Maybe I could have been a better friend. Maybe there were times when I really was insensitive. But I didn’t know how fix it. So I just had to let her go.
Phew that was a really long story! Thanks for letting me get it out.
MiMi July 30, 2011, 1:15 pm
sugar, where’s the part about her being there for you, supporting you, listening to you, encouraging you? How was she your friend?
don’t fash yourself over what is really a lucky escape. the girl was trouble – not only for enacting her (endless) dramas and tragedies for which you were supposed to be the attentive audience (except if you didn’t do it quite to her satisfaction), but also for her trying to create drama by criticizing you and making you responsible for her hair-trigger sensitivity. NO ONE could satisfy or fill this empty vessel. You are well shot of her.
Ally July 31, 2011, 5:39 pm
Every time I read “don’t fash yourself” I imagine it in a really broad Scottish accent 🙂 Dinnae fash yersel’ hen! Hehe.
Kate July 30, 2011, 1:16 pm
Wow…talk about self absorbed. I would have done the same thing.
Maracuya July 30, 2011, 1:59 pm
Sounds like one of those terrible relationships where no matter what you do, they’re convinced you’re cheating on them. Paranoia!
SweetChild August 1, 2011, 5:39 am
What I am wondering is what you ever got out of being friends with someone this crazy in the first place? But then again, I had a friend I’ve known all my life that I had to cease contact with recently because she exploded at me because I wasn’t being a willing doormat on one particular day. So I get it, but still this girl doesn’t sound like a good person to be around. Try not to be too sad about it, she was cray-cray!
SweetChild August 1, 2011, 5:39 am
What I am wondering is what you ever got out of being friends with someone this crazy in the first place? But then again, I had a friend I’ve known all my life that I had to cease contact with recently because she exploded at me because I wasn’t being a willing doormat on one particular day. So I get it, but still this girl doesn’t sound like a good person to be around. Try not to be too sad about it, she was cray-cray!
anonymouslya July 30, 2011, 1:13 pm
I tried to do the slow fade out with one of my friends. We lived together for 3 years two of which we were both single. However, the third year we both started dating people. At first it was fine, then her relationship ended badly, and things started to get rocky. Things got better and then as the year went on my relationship got more serious. Early on I confided in her that I thought he was the one and another friend told me I shouldn’t have done that because it freaked her out how quickly we were moving and thought I was being crazy. This was while we were both still dating people and in the we’re so happy they’re so great stage. And granted this was probably said with my rose colored glasses on and we were both sharing how great things were going with our significant others.
It got better again for a bit when I didn’t talk about him with her basically at all. Then the I want it to go back to how it used to be when we didn’t have to plan things and we could just hang out whenever started. And I agreed it was different now and that it was fun, but inside I was like, was it supposed to stay like that forever? I still made an effort to plan and hang out with her but it was starting to be not as easy to be friends with her as when we first met. Slowly I found when I was at our apartment I felt like I was constantly being judged and we always had to talk about how my relationship was ruining our friendship and all the ways I had pissed her off that week. Every single time we hung out we had to do this. I basically just started to not wanting to hang out with her. About 2 months in to our relationships we had signed an 18 month lease. 9 months in to the lease is when things slowly started to go south and I thought about moving out. I approached her about it and me finding a new roommate and she said I was the last person she had planned on ever living with and that she wouldn’t live with anyone else. A few months after that I just moved out and started paying rent two places so I didn’t have to deal with her. When our lease was up we went our separate ways and didn’t talk again. It’s been two years and my boyfriend and I just got engaged this past May. She did send me a congrats email and I emailed her back but it ended there. Our friendship could never get back to where it was. I think the hardest part of this is that we still have some mutual friends and at first it was awkward but slowly our friends sort of gravitated toward me or her. We’ve had numerous occassions where we were at the same event but we basically only say hi.
I think if we had been better at communicating our friendship would have lasted. We both got hurt by things each other said and did that often we took the wrong way but we didn’t talk about it so the hurt didn’t go away.
Amber July 30, 2011, 1:26 pm
Not related to the thread but I just moved to a new town and it is hard to meet new people! I live in a small town near Myrtle Beach and it is just hard to meet people in my town. The big ‘city’ is only about 30 minutes away but it would be nice to have friends down in this area. I’ve joined a meet up and try to go out with some of my coworkers but making friends as a 30 something just isn’t as easy as when I was in college. Luckily I have a good support system of college friends and friends in the town I moved from but some days it’s hard not to get a little down about it. I feel like making new friends is harder than dating. Luckily my husband is here so we’re going through it together but man would it be nice to have some girl time occassionally! 🙂
Painted_lady July 31, 2011, 6:49 pm
Looks like now’s the time to try a new hobby you haven’t gotten up the nerve to go for yet! I’m trying roller derby next weekend – a friend I haven’t seen since high school is in the local league, and she told me everyone at the beginner sessions is completely encouraging and fun, which made me feel so relieved. See if you can find some sort of beginner level of whatever you’re interested in so that way you’re all at the same level.
blackbird July 31, 2011, 7:19 pm
I’m in the same situation! I just moved to Chicago from Phoenix, and while I like my co-workers, it’s not the same. I started taking burlesque dancing classes, and that’s been really helpful. Like Painted_lady mentioned, find something that has a beginning level of something you’re interested in. Now’s the time to throw yourself head-first into something you’ve always wanted to try.
Painted_lady July 31, 2011, 11:12 pm
That sounds SO FUN!
blackbird August 1, 2011, 4:14 am
Oh my gosh, so awesome. Not only is it a good work out (in heels) but it makes me feel sexy and comfortable in my own skin. I highly recommend it!
Amber August 1, 2011, 4:06 pm
thanks ladies. i just joined a book club and a zumba class. hopefully i meet some new people between the two of them! 🙂
eve July 31, 2011, 2:16 am
I honestly cut off all contact with my high school friend when I graduated in 2010. I reached a point early on in my relationship when I realized she was extremely toxic to my friends and other relationships. The woman obsessed over a teacher and insulted people I valued more than her. She had threatened to hack into my computer and also insulted my abilities as a potential newspaper editor. I realized after she threatened me [our 3rd year of friendship] that I couldn’t afford to end it because the blow-out would be socially catastrophic, especially since all of our friends were within the same social circle. So I literally waited up until the night of graduation and afterwards I never spoke to her again. I cut off all facebook contact from her, and fortunately I was recieving my first phone at 17 [!!!] so she had no ability to contact me even if she wanted.
My point is, if this friendship is toxic, make sure you tread lightly. I wouldn’t have avoided such a fallout if it weren’t for the advice an hs teacher gave about this sort of thing. You don’t want to make the crazies crazier. If she’s as neurotic as my friend was, perhaps you would be better suited to wait until it is an appropriate time to cut off all contact with her. Or you could gradually decrease the amount of communication until you two drift apart.
Either way, your ability to realize a toxic relationship is great— alot of people have a hard time seeing the truth about their so-called friends. Just remember, how much fall-out do you really need in your life?
LT July 31, 2011, 12:58 pm
A lot has to do with the balance of the friendship. So many women expect 100 percent from their friends, but when in a real friendship situation (ie when you may inconvenience a friend for a ride to a hospital, which BTW is when true friendship colors show), those women can’t be bothered.
mandalee July 31, 2011, 11:23 am
I was the LW from last week, who was trying to decide to keep my toxic friend in my wedding to cut down on the drama. She ultimately dropped out of my wedding and my life in a harsh e-mail that put the nail in the coffin that we weren’t cut out to be friends anymore. Two other close friends ganged up together with her and did some pretty selfish/horrible things throughout all the wedding get togethers, and single handledy ruined my bachelorette party- that I didn’t even make them throw for that matter. I such a great group of friends (besides these girls obviously) that it took all their support and encouragement to realize that my issue with these three girls was not my fault. We all had known each other since we were in grade school and since I moved away after college, got engaged first, and got a job, my friendship with the three of them quickly got bad. I always made sure never to talk about anything in my life and dedicated myself to being such a great friend to them, that I never stopped to think what kind of friend they were being to me. Once I realized how terrible they were and said something (tactfully), they all jumped down my throat, claiming I was the one who was a terrible friend. Needless to say, my wedding is in two weeks and I have so many great family and friends that I am excited to see, that I’m glad they won’t be there to bring me down. Sometimes, as sad as it is, the people who you think are your friends, turn into strangers.
Chaotonic July 31, 2011, 2:31 pm
I’m very excited for you! I hope your wedding goes well!!!
mandalee July 31, 2011, 3:57 pm
Thank you! 🙂
katie July 31, 2011, 9:26 pm
thats a very low thing for friends to do- pick sides. i mean i can see where it might happen when the offender does something truly wrong or mean or whatever, but in most cases they just do exactly what your did- gang together and pick on someone, like in freaking grade school! I have had fights with my friends where other friends have TOLD me that they could see both sides, that we were both wrong in what we did, ect. and that has been so much more helpful then people just lining up on either side of the argument like its a damn football game! that is just so low.
LT July 31, 2011, 12:50 pm
I find any advice from Irene Levine, ie the Friendship Doctor, really helps. She is a big fan of the fade out, and in most cases, it works.
I’m in a sitch right now where I was fading out a friend and then BAM! I’m her maid of honor. She didn’t really ask me, and due to the nature of our friendship, I was expected to continue playing “sassy best friend” for her big day. I originally thought this would revive the friendship, but instead, her bridezilla / self-involved tendencies really reaffirmed why I originally wanted to fade out the friendship. I tried to talk to her about fixing things, but she basically told me it to “shut up and stand there” regardless of my own life and fiances. After offering her the option to fire me (which she didn’t take), I requested a list of dates and duties. I told her that I would fulfill my obligation but I doubted the longevity of our friendship after that. She said nothing. It’s really sad, but the situation is overwhelming toxic to my life. I really never understood women who used their engaged status as an excuse to be complete heinous to their alleged support systems.
I think one thing to keep in mind that you were friends at one point. Remember that, but also learn from what you put up with before that you no longer want to.
katie July 31, 2011, 9:22 pm
ugh! i hate that!! i just dont get why weddings aren’t just about being happy that day. its supposed to be joyous, and i would say most brides (atleast a lot of brides we hear about on here!) turn it into some sort of self indulgent bitch fest about them! i just dont understand it. if i ended up losing a friend over my wedding, i would consider myself a failure as a human being.
blackbird July 31, 2011, 7:31 pm
I had a friend that I worked with in high school that was a lot of fun at first, but slowly became toxic. She had really low self-esteem and was a little bit of a drama magnet, but a good person. She couldn’t go to her own prom (I can’t remember why now), so I offered to take her to mine as my date. We got matching corsages and went out to dinner and everything, and were having a great time until I had to start dealing with prom stuff. I was the president of prom committee my senior year and spent the majority of prom MC’ing, kicking kids out for having cocaine in the bathroom, and pretty much every other problem that came up. She left without telling me because she felt like she was being ignored.
She used to drag me into her drama (she was dating a 30-year-old regular at the coffee shop we worked at) and complain about everything all the time. I think I decided that I didn’t want her in my life anymore when she told me that I should feel lucky that I could afford college because she couldn’t. Well, I did feel lucky, but the only reason I could AFFORD college was because my dad died a few years earlier and left enough for me to attend. She knew all of this, and those comments hurt – OBVIOUSLY I’d rather have my dad back than attend college.
After we graduated, I pulled the slow fade-out, and it worked. I wouldn’t normally recommend this, but I felt like if I had told her all the reasons why, it would have caused a huge argument and nothing would have been resolved. Luckily, this story has a happy ending. She called me a year ago and told me she was engaged and really wanted me to part of it. Her wedding was beautiful, and although we live in different cities now, we still talk every once in a while.
BroGoddess July 31, 2011, 9:04 pm
I am guilty of fading a friend out, but I don’t really know how to handle it. She is highly intelligent, but also very judgmental. She grew up in an area without a lot of money and as a result she thumbs her nose at “rich” people a lot. Since her childhood worldview was really limited, she struggles to understand people who are different. When I was dating a guy from a very different background, she judged him for a very stupid reason – his clothes! She has accused other friends over tiny little things, believing that they are acting entitled because they are supposedly “rich.” She offers a lot of great things – she is generally nice and funny – but at the core I feel as though her being judgmental conflicts with my fundamental values. I try to be accepting and understanding of where she is coming from, but I feel like if I speak to her about her behavior she would accuse me of just acting like another rich bitch (for the record, my family had less money than hers during parts of my childhood, but my parents never communicated that we were “poor.” Am I a terrible person for deciding that the fade-out was the only option?
Christy August 1, 2011, 8:20 am
I think I’m about to break up with a friend. To make a long story short, there were a bunch of us who did theatre together in high school who remained friends agter graduation. J and L, two girls in the group, dated on and off for six years. L is my best friend. J and I used to be close, but since she went off to arts school, all she does to maintain friendships is get the group of friends together, but she doesn’t answer phone calls or text messages. Now that she’s back from school, she wants to be close again, but I feel like she hasn’t done anything to foster my friendship for close to three years.
Also, J recently dumped L, but still wants to be BFF with her (because they were besties SIX YEARS AGO). L agreed because she doesn’t want to lose J entirely. (Lesbians are freaking insane. I can say so because I am one, but still. GodDAMN.) L’s being slowly destroyed by this new friendship.
So recently L asked if I didn’t want to be friends with J anymore, and I replied “Honestly, not really. It’s not like she’s acted like my friend in a long time anyway.” and L defended how busy J was in college.
Also, J’s a HUGE stoner, and I just don’t have the energy to deal with that. She chooses weed over friends, and while she (or L) would never put it like that, it’s true. I don’t have a big problem with smoking weed, but this girl does it on the daily.
So I guess my point is, if confronted again about J and how I feel about her, I’m just going to say that while I don’t mind hanging out with her in a group setting, I have no need to spend more time with her. I just don’t get anything out of it anymore.
Thoughts? I would love advice.
Budjer August 1, 2011, 10:36 am
You need energy to deal with a stoner? haha…does she lace it with crack?
AKchic August 1, 2011, 8:44 pm
Over the years, I’ve faded from many old “friends”. A lot were from a time that I grew up and grew out of. Many here who have read my posts know I’ve had a very “colorful” life, to put it mildly, and I’ll admit – drugs played quite the factor in my life from ages 5-16th birthday. When I got pregnant with my oldest (found out the week of my 16th birthday), I started letting the majority of my major “drug friends” go. As long as I wasn’t involved in their lifestyle anymore and they saw no real benefit to me being around them, they really didn’t care that I was gone. That’s just how they think.
The idiots were phased out thanks to my 1st husband, so were all males he found a threat to his control. His friends were phased out during our divorce.
I’ve had a few “dumps” over the years. One girl used a friend of mine as a temporary boyfriend until an older guy (who I was dating at the time) would come available. Thing was, he wasn’t interested in her, but she was just stringing my friend along until any older guy would come along. She did end up cheating on him and I called her out on it and made her cry in school. A friend thought that what I did was “scary”. Turned out, she did it on purpose to try to get my boyfriend to dump me for her. Her and I weren’t close anyways, so it really didn’t bother me.
The one friendship that I did the dumping, that always bothered me, was my half-sister. I’m 11 months older, and we were in the same grade. Went to the same school since 3rd grade. When we found out we were sisters (6th grade), we were happy. By 8th grade, she started dressing like me and dying her hair to match mine. 9th grade, she was trying to sleep with every cast-off I left in my wake. That was the first time I dumped her. I tried to reconcile once. She had heard I was married and had gotten married (I thought it was coincidence). As soon as I started my 1st divorce, she started hers. When she found out I was pregnant with my 3rd son, she got pregnant with her first kid (she had a girl). I haven’t spoken to her since. I just couldn’t do it. It was too creepy to have someone so desperate to be exactly like you that they were willing to bring a helpless child into the world to emulate your poor decisions and mistakes.
danielle August 2, 2011, 1:05 pm
I usually do the slow fade out – but might rethink that after reading people’s comments about how hurtful that is. I guess I always assume that the other person is also ready to let the friendship go if a fade out is possible. Two of these friendships started out very intense, and then morphed into a weird competitive thing with my “friends” putting me down frequently. Another friendship was with an unreliable “flake” like the situation Mel talked about.
My current situation…well my cousin and I reconnected after I moved back to the area. We hung out alot for, and continued to through her various bfs and the beginning of my relationship with my bf. Then she started to date a guy seriously, and disappeared. I would call and invite her places, and she was always too busy to even talk. My bf even called her and said “you’re hurting d’s feelings, she really misses you”. Nothing changed. Well, she got engaged, and asked me to be in her wedding (I agreed, she’s family). She started calling and meeting me for dinner ocassionally. I return calls and go to dinner, but don’t initiate much contact, and find myself holding a grudge. I assume she’ll want to do more after the wedding, and am not sure what I think about that. To complicate matters, my bf, now of 3 years, pretty much hates her because he thinks she’s treated me badly. So…what to do? Also, I kindof wonder, since I’ve had multiple friend break-ups, how much of the situation is my fault. :^(
Budjer August 2, 2011, 1:08 pm
Not really your fault…sounds like she got obsessed with that relationship that worked out and is now realizing there is more to life than her s/o. Air your feelings since this seems like a situation where both parties would be receptive to a conversation about it and let her know (with as little accusing as possible) how her actions made you feel….hopefully you both feel you can move on after that conversation.
LT August 2, 2011, 1:52 pm
Female friendships ebb and flow. In most cases, friends lose some of their connection, and I don’t know it there is always blame.
CrouchingPandaPeekingDuck August 2, 2011, 6:11 pm
What about cases of friendships in which both parties seem to mutually lose interest in maintaining the relationship? I think fade-outs can happen more commonly (and are more acceptable) when all parties in the friendship have grown in different directions, pursued different paths in life, and generally are no longer able to connect the same way.
For example, my best friend of many years is, I believe, in the middle of pulling the fade-out maneuver on me. Back in the day when we were both inexperienced single women in our mid-20’s, we were very close. The beginning of the end was when her first ‘quasi-relationship’ ended in heartbreak and a pregnancy-scare; long story short, she engaged in an unprotected one-night stand with Man-whore Co-worker despite the fact that she KNEW from the start what he was like (he was honest about his lifestyle), but she thought she’d be the one to change him. During the ugly fall-out, I witnessed her behave and say things I wish I could wipe from my memory. I know I reacted more out of shock than support (seriously, this came out of left field and was so far out of character for someone normally level-headed, independent and sassy, that I didn’t know how to react), so that may be why henceforth, she kept things to herself and we mutually avoided the topic of dating and relationships. It wasn’t until a year later (when I myself started dating), I found out she was still getting attached to men who’d disrespect her (like she was punishing herself for the mistake of being human. She hadn’t forgiven herself for the Man-whore Co-Worker situation, over a year after the fact, and now she was too afraid to stand up for her own needs because of the fear that she’ll get an answer she won’t like). I found out that the latest guy, this Douchey ‘Artiste’ who’d go for weeks without contacting her; he had a pattern of actually forgetting about her for up to 3 weeks at a time until each and every time she was the one to ‘remind’ him. He’d claim he’d get so caught up in his work, never mind that he was unemployed and living in his parents’ basement. She’d been ‘dating’ him for 10 months, and my friend had no idea what their relationship status was. I stepped into a conversational landmine by saying something like “You don’t think it’s weird that he forgets about you for weeks?”. She then went off on me, defending this guy like a MAMA BEAR. I was shocked, because although I know I’m not the most tactful person out there, I had not meant to attack him, and was certainly not expecting such a violent response. The conversation descended into what felt like me vs The Douchey Artiste’s Army of One. Never mind that I explained to her over and over again,”I’m on YOUR side” (I even flipped it around on her, and asked her how she’d react this story was coming from me, and she had nothing to say!). Never mind that she herself was clearly not OK with being forgotten, she spent over an hour trying to grasp at straws trying to justify his behaviour. We parted ways very awkwardly that night, I felt like I no longer knew her and I hadn’t the slightest clue as to how to cope or how to help her. Things were never the same since. This showdown happened last fall, and since then, I have always been the one to initiate contact with her (she came out for my birthday in the spring, but that was the last I’ve seen of her, and she hasn’t initiated anything). I emailed her recently (my main form of contact, since I’m not on Facebook), mentioning that it’s been a long time since we’ve hung out and extended the offer to get together when she has time. I’ve since reached out to her twice (the 1st time I was given the runaround how she was too busy, and this 2nd time I’ve heard nothing back). I miss her dearly, but deep down inside, I know we can’t go back to the way we were because we’ve grown so differently in the past year (I feel like I would be walking on eggshells around her, still avoiding talking about relationships & dating). I’d like to not lose her entirely, but given the circumstances, I don’t have high hopes. And to be fair, perhaps I was not and cannot be the best friend for her, but I certainly hope that she has people in her life that can relate to her and provide much-needed support.
So, the point of my long and convoluted story? People drift apart, and it doesn’t need to be explosive. It’s up to you whether you need the closure of a ‘break up’ with a friend or you prefer the fade-out (especially if both of you aren’t really trying anymore). However, the fade-out is unecessarily cruel if one of you is still making an effort to keep the relationship alive. In that case, it may be best to lay all your cards on the table and clear the air. Ultimately, you need to be to clear in your own mind about what it is about this friendship that’s no longer working for you. If all signs point to a death of mutually natural causes, then I think it’s OK to let it be.