To leave this friendship group?

(28 Posts)
TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 15:50:02

I put this in chat, but got little response, so I'm opening myself up to AIBU in hope of more opinions and advice:

I'm part of a friendship group of 8 women. We're all linked through the school our children attend and we've got together as a group to socialise over the past 7/8 years.

I had an 'issue' with one of the women within the group a few years ago, we didn't fall out but things became awkward. Within the wider group this was never discussed openly, I only discussed what happened with 2 close friends, but obviously the wider group knew something had happened and would have discussed this separately but not when together as a whole group.

So, since then I've felt uncomfortable not knowing what others believe happened or have been told happened, and fearing that lies have been told (this was part of the issue with the other women, I believe she tells lies constantly.)

Anyway, we've continued getting together, but I feel I've become paranoid about what the others think and worry about this frequently before and after we get together. I feel there is a big 'unspoken'.

Also, smaller groups from the larger group sometimes get together for activities, and I feel I'm often left out, and although I try to rationalise this I find I'm hurt each time and have to try and talk myself over it IYKWIM?

This has happened again today. A friend has mentioned an activity I've not been included in and I feel hurt and paranoid. I can think of a few reasons why I may not be included but I'm tired of feeling hurt and then spending a few hours getting over it.

So, I'm thinking it's time to withdraw from this group. They are all individually nice women, we have a good time together as a group but I think I just don't need to be repeatedly putting myself in this position. It's not healthy for me.

I have a good job, a happy marriage great kids, I'm mid 40's, life is good. so why I am choosing to be part of a group which is meant to be fun and relaxing but which creates paranoia and anxiety in me?

I feel it's overly dramatic to leave the group and I should be bale to brush this off and make light of it, but I can't seem to do that.

AIBU?

Thumbwitch Thu 08-May-14 15:53:09

If it makes you unhappy then leave the group.

There is no real reason why you should stop being in contact with the women in the group with whom you are friendly still though - just see them separately. But to all intents and purposes, cut out all thoughts of this group.

You might think you "should" be able to shrug this off, but you clearly can't, and many people would feel the same way as you - so stop beating yourself up and let it go. People who like you will understand why; and the people who believe the lying woman won't care anyway.

CeliaFate Thu 08-May-14 15:53:41

No yanbu to be hurt, but it could be that there's a limited number for the activity or any other reason. Or it could be that you don't "fit" as well as other people.
It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, but you don't gel as well as the others. You say there was an issue with one of the other women.
Is she one of the ones who's proactive in arranging meet ups? Is she popular within the group?
Do you arrange meet ups and invite the others?

spottydolphin Thu 08-May-14 15:54:34

i don't think yabu no. there is no point spending time with people who ultimately make you feel crappy

i do think you have another option, which is to talk to some more of the group, people you particularly trust and tell them how you're feeling and try and understand what's going on?
but i can totally understand if you didn't want to do that

JackieOHH Thu 08-May-14 15:56:46

I'd walk away, have you other friends?
You can't control what the other woman is saying about you, you can only fret about it, and worry she's lying and making you look bad, so the alternative is to completely wash your hands of them all. I've done this, but I'm a '2 strikes and you're out' person this explains my lack of friends

As women we tend to make huge things of our friendships and they almost become like a love affair, with real heartbreak when something goes wrong.
I have spent days wondering why I'm not included in things, why so and so has gone off with so and so, if x is telling everyone lies about me, why z has decided to stop talking to me...it's exhausting.
I don't do it anymore, I don't put as much effort into friendships anymore, my best friend is my hubby ( sad emoticon)

Rumplestiltskinismyname Thu 08-May-14 16:04:14

Any friends that make you constantly question the 'terms of the friendship', or make you often feel bad about yourself may not be worth it.

Gradually wean down and try very hard to meet new folk- and if possible make friends 'outside' of the school arena.

All above is easier said then done I realise.

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 16:07:39

JackieOHH yes I have other friends. 2 of the women in the group are very close friends and know all about what happened, I would stay close to them whether part of the larger group or not.

I've not wanted to speak to the wider group about what happened with the other women as it seemed better to not make it into gossip or choose sides type thing, which I think was the right thing to do, but I've been left wondering what others know or think. I suspect I've been portrayed in a negative light and have never had a chance to give my version.

I do organise things, others come and get involved, when we are together there doesn't seem to be a problem.

I think the problem is me. I can't let the hurt and paranoia go, I've been trying for a few years now and think maybe it's time to walk away?

I too have given a lot to frindhsips over the years, and in the past few years have been let down badly twice, which has hugely shocked me. I think I've probably over invested in my friendships, and feel like I just want a quiet life with those I really love and trust (my Dh and mum that would be.)

This is so different from how I've been in the past though, I wonder if I should really get a grip and deal with my issue?

Burren Thu 08-May-14 16:25:52

I think unfortunately that sometimes when you choose not to disclose the details of a disagreement, and suspect the other person has, public opinion veers their way, because you haven't given your side.

I respect not washing your dirty laundry in public, and that's what I do, but when my partner and I had a horrific falling-out with our flatmate (part of an extended university friendship group - the three of us were new graduates in London, and it made things financially easier to flatshare, but she behaved very badly, and eventually we had to break the arrangement) we chose never to speak about it to other friends who were also friends of hers.

Not being particularly virtuous - we were just sick of the situation and wanted to stop thinking about it - but clearly her version of events was the only one out there, and we've not seen most of the other members of the group since. It's not precisely their fault, as we've never explained what actually happened, but life has moved on and the others are now more 'aligned' with her as we turned down invitations that seemed likely to include her.

Looking back, I might choose to be more vocal about how badly she behaved, or at least try to salvage individual friendships...?

Thinking about it from the other side, if I was one of a group of friends, and knew that there had been issues between two of them but wasn't quite sure what, then I think it might make me a little wary and uncomfortable, while thinking of course that it was none of my business so not feeling able to ask.

You don't know what they think happened, because it hasn't been talked about openly. I can see that you didn't want to turn it into gossip, but it has clearly become the 'elephant in the room' for you at least.

You either need to walk away, or to address the issue and be open with them about what happened. You say you've never had a chance to put your side - well, actually you chose that path yourself by keeping silence. When you did that, you accepted the possibility that seeing only the other side of the story they would not be able to judge properly.

You've expected them to know you are not at fault, without being prepared to give them any information to work on. I think you expect a lot out of friends - they are not mind-readers, even if they are nice people.

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 16:36:24

Yes Burren I think something similiar may have happened here, but I really didn't want to get into a position of 'convincing' others to choose sides.

To be fair to the group, I think they've tried hard to keep out of it, hence no discussion about it. It's like a huge 'unspoken' although I know in smaller groups it will have been discussed and this leaves me feeling uneasy.

Really we've all been very mature, not openly bitched or gosspied and avoidance of open 'side taking', but I'm left thinking 'but what do you all think?? what have you been told??' which I know is my problem.

Then when I'm not included in something I worry it's linked to this.

It's ridiculous. I need to get a grip or walk away.

Burren Thu 08-May-14 16:43:27

Yes, that sounds very similar, HumanRace, only you've been more up close against the consequences, whereas our group was far more scattered, so only met up infrequently. No, I didn't want to have to convince people either - it seemed undignified, apart from anything else! - and I loathe being talked about it. The other woman, in our case, had an unpleasantly bitchy side, and I feel sure has spread all kinds of lies and half-truths in which we are presented as blackened villains.

I suppose, when it came down to it, I was prepared to lose quite a few friendships in order not to have to endure the situation you're dealing with now. It was a long time ago, and I think I probably made the right decision. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 16:44:09

Cross post MuminScotland.

yes I agree entirely, I think you've described exactly how the others feel. They're not sure what happened, they can't bring it up directly and they are trying to be fair and balanced. I think their behaviour is understandable.

I know the issue is in my mind.

I've been trying for a few years to be rational and mature, but every so often something happens which sets me back into rumination and anxious thougts like 'what have they heard' 'do the believe it?' 'do they think I've been a bitch' 'do they talk about it?' 'what do they say?' and I feel hurt and excluded and link the two together.

I know they are not unreasonable.

I know this issue is mine.

Do I now admit I can't deal with this and walk away, or should I just try harder to be more rational and reasonable?

Thenapoleonofcrime Thu 08-May-14 16:44:54

The angst is outweighing the fun, and I would just stay friends with your close friends in a small group of three and leave the rest behind. I had a similar situation with my NCT group with a couple of quite bitchy girls and they ended up setting the tone for the rest. It took me ages to realise I felt stressed before and after our girlie nights and not better! I stopped going and immediately it was nicer, I carried a friendship on with one girl.

Gurnie Thu 08-May-14 16:45:25

I TOTALLY understand OP, was in an almost identical situation a few years ago...it was absolutely horrible. Just like you I felt paranoid and insecure and in the end I had to distance myself from a large group of friends. Just thinking about it makes me feel horrible.

It is not ridiculous at all, it is a really upsetting situation.

eddielizzard Thu 08-May-14 16:45:51

i would probably cut back on seeing the whole group. not totally stop but certainly cut back until i felt differently. you did the right thing, and really the others should give you benefit of doubt. they've probably already worked out that your friend is a liar.

i would start concentrating my efforts elsewhere. at least your 2 closest friends know the truth.

can you ask them what the group thinks? they must have an idea? and why you're left out of the occasional activity?

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 16:51:23

'The angst is outweighing the fun' - yes this is what I'm beginning to think.

The wider group avoid talking to my 2 close friends about the issue as they know they are so close to me. One friend tried to fish on my behalf but everyone was very vague and avoided the issue.

It's a group where we are all friends but within it there are closer friendships.

Thank you for understanding Gurnie, I do feel awful whenever it raises its head again, I feel ridiculous but I do.

Gurnie Thu 08-May-14 16:55:40

To be honest OP, after 2 years I spoke to one mutual friend who had basically blanked me since it happened. I told her I was very sad about it all, she insisted that she hadn't blanked me (she had). Anyway, since then another woman who was also cold with me at that time has started to be chatty with me again. So I suspect things were said and people maybe felt a bit guilty. I don't know really, as in your situation so much was unsaid and I didn't want to say to much myself and put people in a difficult position.

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 17:00:57

Hi Gurnie, no one has blanked me, I feel we've all been very 'mature'.
I've not involved others and they've not openly taken sides.

But for me it is an elephant in the room.

I've been mature on the outside but inside I can't let go of the 'if only you knew' 'what has she said?' 'what do you all think?' type thoughts.

It's very negative for me and I do at times feel like I've dealt with it and it's in the past then something else happens and it all comes back.

This happened today and I found myself having the same conversation with DH 'what do you think they think?', as I was 2 years ago and I thought, I need to end this and just walk away.

Flossiechops Thu 08-May-14 17:03:18

I would walk away too. But then I don't tolerate people very well so have very few friends. Yanbu to be hurt by them I would too.

Viviennemary Thu 08-May-14 17:06:24

These larger friendship groups sometimes do seem to have this kind of problem and I don't think it should make any individual feel bad about themselves. In a group of eight I would imagine some activities will be arranged without including everyone.

I would see a lot less of them but wouldn't make any big deal out of leaving the group and stay in touch with the ones you get on with as individuals and take an opportunity to make some new friends. Hope things work out.

Gurnie Thu 08-May-14 17:13:20

Same here. We only spoke to other close friends, none of that friendship group. Now I feel like I shouldnt have been so paranoid in the first place, maybe people weren't talking about it in the way I had assumed. Aaarrgh, it is awful. In the end I thought the only thing I could do is move away a bit. It did help, I started thinking about other things. I also have relapses though when I just cannot get over the injustice of it all and feel as if I want to tell the world our side of it.

TheHumanRace Thu 08-May-14 17:25:51

Yes! That's how I feel like it's all unjust and I want to tell the world my side.

I want to say 'haven't you noticed she's a compulsive liar?'
But I can't.

I think, for a variety of reasons, including this, I've reached a stage where I actually only want a few close friends. I feel I want to withdraw from a 'social scene' and focus on home and family only, but I can't quite allow myself to do this as I've always felt 'being sociable' is/was important.

Hmm, I think this has a number of dimensions for me.

I think Viviennemary has a good point about groups. I wonder if maybe I'm not cut out for friendship groups, as I'm a bit intense? In grousp you have to remain quite lighthearted and blase to allow it to work.

I'm not being lighthearted or blase about this.

cithkadston Thu 08-May-14 22:48:35

I would stay in touch with the group, and go to some of the things that you are invited to, but at the same time keep a bit of a distance and turn down some invites too. Then in the meantime try to focus on making new friends and meeting new people, and/or spend time with other friends and acquaintances too.

Laura0806 Sun 11-May-14 16:38:58

I could have written this post. I feel exactly the same as you and put myself though hell wondering what people think and oscillating from being friends with the people in thregoup and then feeling annoyance with them for not just knowing that it wouldn't be me at fault. I have gone out and made other friends and so whilst I am still friendly and meet with some members of the original group, I rarely meet all together as the not knowing makes me feel uncomfortable. In reality, like your friends, they probably didn't want to openly take sides ( small community and all that) and were just acting maturely but its made me question friendship and wonder what its all really about. I actually think most of them if pushed would say they believed it wasn't my fault but its not a nice feeling so I keep a bit of distance. Im glad you have one or two friends who KNOW what really happened. feel free to PM me

Wooodpecker Sun 11-May-14 18:02:10

Yanbu. You have been friends with this group for long enough that you should be able to talk to them about this so the fact you feel you can't speaks volumes. Sometimes the line between friend and aquaintance is blurred. Personally I am not keen on big groups. Too much of this stuff for my paranoid, overly sensitive self to deal with. If you moved 100 miles away how many of these women would you stay in touch with? That's the litmus test IMO. There is nothing wrong with the other people or staying in touch with them but you would need to lower your expectation of them. This group sounds its been developed superficially. You have kids at the same school but that doesn't mean you have to be or will be any more than aquaintacies.

I speak as someone who is a funny bugger though and age has made me fussier over who I regard as a friend and those that are not. Anyone who made me feel bad about myself is not s friend.

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