to cut contact with old friends?

(29 Posts)
runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 08:49:16

Have recently suffered with MH issues including anxiety, depression etc following major relationship issues, moving house ... Basically a troubled few years. I've also suffered with and ED and am now in recovery but that has involved a lot of weight gain.
During that time I've lost touch with old friends - I find it very hard to make friends as am incredibly introverted so these were people from school/college who I would barely see but would send birthday cards to/text occasionally. Just decided I did not have the mental energy to keep any of it up and did not reply. A few people persisted in getting in touch so I have maintained contact as I feel bad. I met up with one of them a few months ago - was incredibly nervous about meeting up as felt she would be judging me (my problem I know). In the end I just felt utterly irrelevant. She didn't ask a single question about me - I had even had a job interview earlier that day and met up with her still in interview clothes and she didn't ask how it had gone. It just put it in perspective for me that she really wasn't a friend.
She has been in touch since via e-mail (she lives overseas) but I have not replied. Another friend who I have not seen for nearly 2 years has been in touch via text this week and I have not responded.
A third friend also got in touch last week - we have a weird relationship as I don't really tell her anything about what's going on with me but she has had a really tough time recently with two MC and when she texted to say what had happened I sent her some flowers and a care parcel and spa voucher as I just felt so bad for her.
I just don't want to reply and pretend everything is fine. OTOH I don't want to lay open all my issues to them. Basically I would just prefer not to be in touch. At all. They all live far away and just really don't feel like part of my life any more. AIBU to just blank everyone?

boopsy Wed 23-Mar-16 08:53:52

Yanbu i feel the same people always end up letting me down and i always made an effort with them so i just fucked the lot of them off!!! Feel so much better being a lone ranger and can now do my own thing on my days off.

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 09:15:00

Glad I'm not the only one! Am already a lone ranger though as have no friends locally and all these people are several hundred miles away ... it's just the brain space IYSWIM and also the stress and the let-down if we do meet up.

BlueJug Wed 23-Mar-16 09:20:57

I think the fair thing to do would be to say to your friends that you, for various reasons, won't be in touch for a while. Draft a text/ e-mail that simply says that you have too much on your plate at the moment and to say sorry but you'll be out of contact for a good while.

It is rude and hurtful simply to ignore people. They are left wondering what they have done and give you the benefit of the doubt and try again.

The friendships may have dwindled - you are at least partly to blame. You say that they didn't seem interested in you but they are not stupid and will pick up that you are not that bothered and that it is them that makes the effort. (Apart from the friend who had the MC - you did a kind thing there).

Fair enough and completely reasonable to want to ditch them and start again. Not fair to let it drag.

Good luck with your fresh start.

Snarklepoo Wed 23-Mar-16 09:30:42

Aaaw, Lou,

I sort of know what this is like. I have lost contact with lots and lots of people from the past, bar one very dear friend and it was mainly because of not having the brain-space or energy to keep up contact.

I now have only this one person I consider truly a friend and just occasionally, it makes me very, very sad to have got to 32 and have no proper female friends.

I have a group of acquaintances mainly from DH's childhood and their partners but only see them a couple of times a year. Everybody says we should see each other more often but nobody does much about it.

Two people I thought of as good friends (one gave me away FGS!) bailed on my wedding reception at 8pm without saying good bye a fortnight ago. Can't tell you how much it ruined the day. Don't think I'll be making much effort for them in future.

I think I am generally more happy than unhappy in my situation. I have more time and headspace for DH and also for myself and don't have the anxiety of other people's expectations.

If I want specific advice or just to feel a sense of community, Mumsnet has been a godsend. I can dip in and out but don't have to get too involved.

I think you are very brave for asking yourself the question and I hope you will feel OK with whatever you decideflowers

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 10:03:20

BlueJug I understand the suggestion to just be honest, don't you think a text like that would be like one of those awful FB posts (I am not on FB!) where people say they're upset about something but don't say what it is???
I just want things to drift away naturally, not create a drama ...

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 10:04:32

Snarklepoo I'm so sorry you had something like that ruin your wedding day. Have you had any explanation from the friends involved?
Did you actually deliberately cut contact with other friends or just let things slide?

OhForTheLoveOfGin Wed 23-Mar-16 10:15:00

Sorry you're having a rough time of it. I've been on a receiving end of a good friend cutting contact for no apparent reason and I can't tell you how hurtful it was. I suspected there was more to it (DV issues in new relationship) and tried to hold out the hand of friendship and support. She ignored, ignored, ignored. I was very worried about her but just had to accept she didn't have the headspace for it. A text/email as described above would have been very helpful and may have meant we could have maintained contact later.

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 10:20:33

I don't think they are at all aware that there's anything wrong ... on the face of it all is fine and as we hardly ever see each other and I don't really tell them what's up I don't think there's any reason they would suspect problems ... like I said I just feel like sending a message saying I have too much going on at the moment and will be out of touch sounds over-dramatic??

RufusTheReindeer Wed 23-Mar-16 10:21:14

Agree with oh

I have been dumped by a few friends and only know the reason for one...and that was years later

I have no idea whether it was them, a natural drift or whether i said or did something

I understand that you dont want to give them any details but even a "really busy but i will contact you when i can" would be fine

Hope you are feeling better soon thanks

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 23-Mar-16 10:21:16

I think the email/text is a good idea.

BlueJug Wed 23-Mar-16 10:40:28

I see what you mean about the dreaded FB posts that simply aim to attract attention so the wording would have to be simple. As Rufus said a "really busy will contact when I can" would do the job.

As an aside I have, after seven years, finally found out why birthday and Christmas cards, the odd e-mail to suggest a meet-up have been ignored by a friend. I'd given up, put it down to something I must have done or said but could not imagine what.

Apparently she thought I had said something to a mutual friend about her kids. (I hadn't - misunderstanding between her and mutual friend who also knew nothing of this). She lives some distance away and her DS has SN so I expect things were more than busy for her. It is pretty humiliating writing chatty birthday and Christmas cards every year knowing now what she thought.

However this is not your situation OP. Not projecting. I feel for you. You have had a very hard time and you need to recover your strength in the best way you can. My only point is about the "ignoring" and natural lapsing approach.

As I said - good luck with the future.

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 10:55:39

Do you think this would be ok?
'Thanks for getting in touch. I'm struggling with anxiety and other issues at the moment. Although I realise it might sound selfish, I just need to take some time to sort things out, so I won't be in touch for a good while. Thank you for understanding.'
These are not people I would ever plan to see again if I can help it.

NoOneIsInterested Wed 23-Mar-16 11:06:44

I wouldn't send that email as it might make some people even more determined to contact you and I don't think it's necessary to disclose your anxiety.
I'd deal with this by continuing to reply to any messages with short non committal replies. Take you time over replying too. Stop sending cards and decline any meet up. Letting the friendships gradually dwindle out is less dramatic than sending 'Dear John' letters.

Snarklepoo Wed 23-Mar-16 11:15:54

Hi again, Lou.
I think I will let them get in touch with me for now. I know one was legitimately not well, but don't understand it with the other (and sort of can't be bothered to hear about it).

It makes me question again wether I really do need these people as friends, although I have never been one to cut folk off without a lot of second chances.

If it helps with drafting responses, I found that because we've been sent lots and lots of wedding cards, it's been really lovely and comforting to know people are thinking of us and that we have all these people wishing us well (although I feel obliged to send thank you notes and still don't want to be in contact with the people- gah!)

Maybe you could let them know that you are comforted by knowing they are thinking about you, but that you feel you need some alone time. It might leave the door open to resume contact if and when you want to?

runningLou Wed 23-Mar-16 11:45:58

Yes NoOne that's what I was thinking ... it's just hard to do in practice when I really don't want to reply!!

iyamehooru Wed 23-Mar-16 11:52:46

I would send a quick email to say you're having some issues at the moment and dont want to appear rude but can't commit the time to the friendship and it might be a while before you're back in touch and then leave it at that.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 06:55:48

Haven't been able to send e-mail yet ... It feels overdramatic and like I'm just inviting further enquiries of 'are you ok?' etc. Just feel paralysed but want to delete the messages off my phone. This is stressing me out!!

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 06:57:03

They are all people who make me feel incredibly insecure and like I cannot be myself around them. I don't want them in my life. Is it worth trying to cut them out politely?

bornwithaplasticspoon Fri 25-Mar-16 07:41:56

Each time you're contacted about meeting up just keep it short and non committal:

'Hello I'm fine thanks. Really busy at the moment. I'll let you know when I've got some free time'.

Never ask a question that would necessitate further correspondence. They will get the message eventually.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 08:13:46

To me that sounds a bit ruder than not replying?? Messages not generally about meeting up, just checking in ... What have you been up to? etc Or from friend with MC she confides a lot about her mental distress and grieving so feel very bad about not replying but it's a burden ... And I cannot confide in her in return as i feel like would be stealing her thunder.

ivegotdreadfulpmttoday Fri 25-Mar-16 08:14:15

I received an email a bit like that "really busy won't be able to meet up". It was sent to whole group so didn't feel personal but I was not impressed at the time. A few months on I realise it was a good thing as I don't give any head space to this person anymore. If I see her fine, but I won't go out of my way to try to make arrangements.

bornwithaplasticspoon Fri 25-Mar-16 08:43:29

Op, you keep saying you don't want to give these people head space anymore. To achieve that you either need to tell them upfront - which will result in hurt feelings for them and probably a lot of anxiety for you - or you go about it in a more natural easing off slowly way, such as not being available to meet up and keep correspondence short and to the point - which (hopefully) will dilute hurt feelings on their part and will be less difficult for you.

People do drift apart from friends. It's a very normal part of life. Your friends will have experienced it before from both sides.

It will be fine.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 09:05:07

Keep correspondence short and to the point is that just saying 'all ok thanks' and leaving it there even if it's not true?

bornwithaplasticspoon Fri 25-Mar-16 11:12:39

is that just saying 'all ok thanks' and leaving it there even if it's not true?

Well, yes, if you really want the friendship to fizzle out.

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