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how to decide to end a friendship
September 3, 2006
9:39 am
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realitygirl
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Hi,
I am writing about ending a friendship of almost 30 yrs. My friend is unemployed like me, but she keeps digging holes for herself.

She just wrecked her new car, and got another DWI. Just got her lience back a few months ago from the prior dwi.

Then she just picks up guys and sleeps with them, 5 in the past 2 months. She has 3 children at home under 16, and I told her that she should maybe go to AA and put the effort of sleeping with guys into getting a job. She is an RN.

She asks me for advise, then just does what she wants. Then she expects me to feel sorry for her.

Her latest is that she was screwing one guy and her new boyfriend walked in. He broke up with her, and she doesn't understand why!

I don't even want to take her calls anymore.

When things are good for her, I never even hear from her. All she ever wants to do is talk about herself, never asking about me.

Isn't friendship give and take?

September 3, 2006
10:00 am
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JeanieMovingOn
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September 29, 2010
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Friendships can develop those bad dynamics if you let them...

I have a few friends who I sometimes talk non-stop to about my own problems, esp if I"m having a hard time... those friends who have good boundaries, I am better able to stop myself. Or I tend to feel inclined to ask them "hey wait, I feel like I'm just talking about myself too much, how are you?" And either they can tell me "No, actually really weird things happen to you and it's kind of interesting, please continue" or "I hear you're having a hard time and I want to be here to listen for you" or else, it gives them the space to tell me what's going on with them if my "stuff" is just too much for them...

One very close friend of mine didn't have those boundaries. I had no idea she was feeling "used" until one day she called me out on it really harshly and it felt like she wanted to end the friendship. I was really hurt, because she was actually the one who, whenever we would see each other, would sit me down and ask me non-stop questiosn about MYSELF! She herself was kind of fostering those bad dynamics. But we finally talked about it, and I tell you it was the best thing ever for our friendship. I became much more aware of her feelings and considerate of her, and realized I had been "using" her to a certain extent as a vent, for which I apologized. And she took responsibility for her own codependency which made her ask me tons of questions about myself and later silently feel "used" that I never interrupted her to ask her questions about her own life!

So... your friend sounds like she has some serious issues. I think you could first just tell her directly how hurt you are that she never asks about your life. Then perhaps you can let her know that you really disagree with a lot of her decisions/ areas of life, (ex: her love life) and you just don't want to talk about that anymore. She is manipulating you if she asks for your advice then does what she wants, repeatedly... It's probably just an excuse for her to vent or get your emotional support. Don't fall for it. I have been on both sides of that. Being firm is the best thing. You don't necessarily have to end the friendship but you may have to if she doesn't respect that.

If you are unemployed it's really important for you to surround yourself only with positive people who can help you keep up your spirits. The last thing you need is someone using you...

Good luck.

September 3, 2006
5:52 pm
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chelonia mydas
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I agree a lot with what Jeaniemovingon said.

Talk to her about how you feel and try to work it out first. If you don't see progress and your friendship continues to upset you then don't participate in it. You can always leave the door open for when she wants to work with you in the future. But it is also OK to end it completely without wanting to deal with her in the future.

I have had many friendships that have been toxic- some I was able to work with and still have to this day- some didn't work out and I have moved on. Both outcomes are acceptable- the important thing is that you stay true to yourself, enforce your boundaries and be honest with your friends.

sending positive thoughts your way 🙂
chelonia

September 4, 2006
11:13 am
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realitygirl
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Thanks for the advice. When you are too close to a situation, it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

Thanks for being there for me. I love this community!

September 4, 2006
5:57 pm
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healintime
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Hi Reality,

I totally relate - it's hard to let go of a friendship you've had for a long time. Maybe even harder than breaking up with a boyfriend/spouse.

I started to look at my codependency about a year ago and as I began making positive changes, found that a couple of my friends (close friends) didn't like it very much! It was really hard letting go - one in particular. The final final came when I moved cross country and she emailed to tell me about her exciting first date.. with my abusive ex... I'm not kidding. I wish I was. There wasn't a single thing about my relationship with him that she didn't know about.

I think it was a "punishment" on her part for my not being available to her 24/7. I mailed to let her know that she had devastated me and that I couldn't understand how she could possibly think I'd be excited for her - i got an email back
basically saying "how could you be so mean - don't you know I'm lonely?"

It was a serious wake-up call. My responsibility for letting my life get so out of whack - I had to start taking a good look at my relationships, all of them. I'm doing better and have made new friends - and now look for warning flags with females as well as males. Her betrayal was more painful than anything my ex did - I never thought i'd say that.

So yes, if you think the friendship is unhealthy for you, you might want to consider pulling the pin.

September 5, 2006
11:11 am
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balancesekr
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Yes, a friendship is about give and take.

Friendship is a tricky thing I find these days. As you get older and decide the path you want to take and you choose what is important and what is not, your friends and how they treat you comes screaming to the forefront of my mind.

You have known this person for a very long time, so it will be difficult to cut the tie. You could be straightforward and let her know that you feel ignored when you advise her and that you want what is best for her, but things need to change if you are to remain friends.

I find that when my friends have confronted me about their feelings it has been particularly effective. Of course, your friend may react, get defensive and not talk to you for awhile, but maybe this is what you need to do.

Look at it this way... if you can't tell her how you are feeling, then what kind of friendship is it anyway?

I struggle with similiar things, it isnt easy. A friend of mine, cancels on me a lot, isn't really available to me and I have been thinking about either ending the friendship or discussing this with her. I am almost scared to discuss it. Why? I am afraid she will say nasty things to me or something. But then what do we have if I can't tell her how I feel!

With newer friends, I try really hard to keep my commitments, be there, pay attention to their feelings, but also make sure my needs are being met.

When you are dealing with a friend from the past, more is at risk I suppose. I feel vulnerable that she will tear into me if I confront her. So, for now what I am going to do is just live my life and when she calls and wants to make plans... I may have to say no.

good luck
b

September 5, 2006
1:08 pm
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Wow, balance, this jumps out at me:

"Why? I am afraid she will say nasty things to me or something. But then what do we have if I can't tell her how I feel!"

For what it is worth, realitygirl, I ended a decades-long friendship last spring, and I wrestled with myself over it. For pretty much the same reasons balance gives......she mothered/smothered me when I was ill, then began requiring alot of agreement to her ways of thinking, manipulating that with criticism and intellectual condescension. When I tried to get her to stop preaching, to respect my belief system, when I actually expressed my own opinion (not in agreement with hers at all) it was met with denial, deflection, criticism and justification.

I just quit emailing her. I did not "engage" with anything.

She called my husband. She tried to "fish" information from him. It was soooo manipulative.

I miss her clever, witty, funny ways. She was sweet and sassy. Always, always, I was there to validate her. At the end, I was seeing her as a very narcissistic little girl in a middle-aged body with a whole lot to tell others, abrasive, thinly veiled hostility, critical.....just not very endearing.

I still love her. I did have to let go of the friendship for a while because I was really getting beat up.

So, who is to say what is right? Have I gradually become so much more critical myself that I do not wish to listen to others' offenses and I'm now intolerant and incapable of loving "what is"? Or have I finally come up with some firmer personal boundaries in how I expect others to treat me?

I also once had a friend who would never start a new relationship with a man without having the old bf still "in the wings". Never a clean break. I always thought it was tacky behavior.

I think she did it to build ego.

And you are also dead-on when you nailed the vengeful motive. By stepping back behind your personal boundaries, you were abandoning her!!!

One nice thing I do not miss is the emotional drama. I like spending time with people who.......have balance.

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