Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

confronted over "culling" a friend, how to respond?

(112 Posts)
baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:03:17

In the past I have been pretty blunt about ending friendships, and regret the burning bridges approach, it would be nice to back away from someone without being so brutal and final about it

anyway that is what I've been trying to do lately, and it's not easy, but generally people get the gentle hint but stay on "hello" terms and it's okay

but I've just been texted by someone I used to be very close to but wanted to back away from. I don't want to cut all contact/burn bridges, that would be sad because we were close in the past but the truth is I don't think we like each other in the present tense and I think that's mutual, yet we still get our kids gifts, get each other expensive gifts at christmas and birthdays and generally behave like we're still the best buds we're quite obviously not!

So what have I been doing?
- Caring a bit less, still chatty but I don't open my soul for it to be criticised and mocked and perhaps some of our recent news has got to her via facebook/other people
- I've done the birthday present thing this time because due to timing (i.e. her just having given me loads for mine) it would have been too blunt to stop all together, but it was cheap and tokeney - however we are stoney broke and it would have been anyway but she doesn't understand "broke" - she's one of those people who don't count their savings when they complain about having no money IYKWIM
- just hoped to fizzle it away a little without being hurtful and never speaking again

now she's texted to say that she's noticed that our friendship has changed and she's sorry if she's not the friend I want her to be.

I don't know how to respond
Old me would either not respond say "yeah well I don't really want you in my life any more" and deleted her number and deleted her off facebook etc and we would never speak again and it would be shitty for mutual friends or if we passed each other on the street
I don't want to do the old me way!
I don't want to "fix" our friendship either - Its not like we fell out over an incident, I don't really like her, there's no big elephant in the room though
Not responding would be quite final too IMO?

I'm new to trying to move away from people in a more gentle way! please help how do I respond in a vague but amicable way?

Maybe just say there's nothing for her to apologise for. Friendships move on and you are not as close to one-another as you used to be. Say you'd like to keep in touch (but only if you do).

Selks Mon 26-Nov-12 14:08:40

Well, you could just respond and say something like "Well, friendships change and evolve over time I suppose....I still like you and want to be friends but don't feel able to be as close as we once were."

Selks Mon 26-Nov-12 14:09:17

x post smile

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:10:03

I feel like the clock is ticking, and the longer I go without replying to the text the louder the message

I really don't know why she did this?
Either she is doing it to be shitty and turn it on me even though she wants to fall out/back away too?
or
She actually LIKES me and this is a surprize to her to realise we're backing off, which would shock me as she really really doesn't speak to me like someone she LIKES! Its all jibes, black is white etc

Flimflammery Mon 26-Nov-12 14:10:47

It sounds as if you've done quite a lot of dumping of friends - whether bluntly or kindly. This isn't something that most people find themselves having to do more than occasionally, if at all, and I'm curious why you have this pattern. Do you tend to get intense with new friends quickly and then regret it? Sorry if this isn't answering your question.

Wilding Mon 26-Nov-12 14:13:23

I'm with Selks - could you just say that you think you've both moved on in your lives but would like to stay friendly with her? That way if she wants to turn it on you she can't, and if she does like you and doesn't realise what she's been doing, at least she knows what you think.

bumhead Mon 26-Nov-12 14:13:49

I have to say Op you don't sound like a nice person in the slightest and I'm surprised you have so many friends to ditch.

Old me would either not respond say "yeah well I don't really want you in my life any more" and deleted her number and deleted her off facebook etc and we would never speak again and it would be shitty for mutual friends or if we passed each other on the street

^^ this is disgusting as a way to treat people, particularly when she has done nothing to you.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:14:31

Selks I like that, that is the sort of message I want to send, that people don't stay the same, we were both young free and single when we were close, we're totally different now so why should we go through the motions of still being best friends now when we have nothing in common but the past!
But I want to leave it open and friendly so we can catch up/exchange christmas cards/chat on the street etc if we want to

and I don't want to make it final, I've done that before and its not good, as the years roll on I sometimes miss them or wonder if we would have had a new different friendship at some point later on had it been left more open rather than a slammed tripple locked bolted door!

SoulTrain Mon 26-Nov-12 14:14:57

I agree with Flim, why is this a recurrent theme in your life?

The fact that she's noticed actually suggests she does value your friendship, in that she's bothered to try and find out whether something has happened and apologised if it's her that's changed. In most cases, people seem happy to just let things go.

I think it would be appropriate to say that she hasn't done anything wrong but you just feel that life has moved the two of you in opposite directions.

wannaBe Mon 26-Nov-12 14:18:01

"dumping" friends for no good reason does not make you an attractive person. Especially just telling peopel you don't want them in your life any more... how is it you seem to find yourself in such a position so often? perhaps you need to take a long hard look at yourself.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 26-Nov-12 14:18:18

I have never dumped a friend and can't imagine why you would tbh. I just let things drift if I'm not that bothered anymore. Can you not just say yes all is fine and bit by bit cut ties etc Don't try to 'explain' it will just make things worse.

Greensleeves Mon 26-Nov-12 14:20:19

the idea of doing this sort of thing by text is anathema to me

and I agree that it shouldn't be something you have to do regularly - do you know why this happens to you so frequently?

I have a problem with losing friends because I "freeze" socially and drop out of contact even though I don't want to, I get lonely and anxious and then I leave it too long and don't know how to make it right, people get pissed off and jack me in

I mention this because at root I DON'T know why I do this, so I can't break the pattern and can't explain myself when I do it to somebody

if I'm honest what I should do is go to my GP and request a referral for counselling so I can sort my shit out and be a better friend. And I think you should do the same! It must be stressful for you having to disentangle yourself from relationships you have let go too far and don't want to be in.sad

wannaBe Mon 26-Nov-12 14:20:32

"But I want to leave it open and friendly so we can catch up/exchange christmas cards/chat on the street etc if we want to" in other words, you want friendship on your terms.

Op tbh I think you just need to be straight with her "look, I make friends, I get bored of them, and then I dump them, and you're my latest," and let her move on to find some genuine friends who value her for who she is and don't just keep her hanging for their own convenience. hmm

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 26-Nov-12 14:20:45

If you find that she is mocking you, and is not very nice to you, when not take selks approach but add "I find that your attitude to me is sometimes mocking and hurtful, so I supposed I have tried to distance myself a little."

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:20:48

"^^ this is disgusting as a way to treat people, particularly when she has done nothing to you"
she's not done NOTHING, just no big fall out that can be fixed. She used things I say in confidence to humiliate me later, is very critical etc, seeing her makes me unhappy

no I haven't dumped hoards of people, over 10 years I am thinking of 3 examples, 3 where it was quite a sudden "right I can't take this anymore, this friendship is toxic and I'm ending it TODAY" and done a total 100% back away, and one where I tried to not be so blunt and although it was clear I think to the other person that I didn't want our old friendship to continue, we are now pleasant aquaintances who can have a chat if we bump into each other - I wanted to do the latter with this friend but she's confronted me on it which I fear might make it more "final" IYKWIM

the thing is it takes me a long time to notice toxic patterns, so I let things go and let things go till I can't take any more. And I look back and realise I've been putting up with rubbish for years! That's what happened with this friends, I had a lightbulb moment where I realised that she isn't NICE to me and actually hasn't been for years. But what's the point in saying that to her its not like it's fixable

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:22:44

"Op tbh I think you just need to be straight with her "look, I make friends, I get bored of them, and then I dump them, and you're my latest,""

she knows that's not true, she's known me for years so knows that I am still friends with people from pretty much every phase of my life and have a lot of "old" friends

Lostgirl27 Mon 26-Nov-12 14:22:44

Watching this with interest as I have been found in similar situations op.

One friending particular who I 'cut out' was being far too intense but I couldn't see that she was just being a good friend, an unconditional one, something I was used too. Thankfully 2 years later we had an unexpected drunken emotional reunion on a train and all is well. It's taught me a lesson, and I now treat her with the respect she deserves.

Maybe your running away from something similar with your friend??

Greensleeves Mon 26-Nov-12 14:23:01

I don't think you sound horrible btw.

Lostgirl27 Mon 26-Nov-12 14:23:52

Sorry that was meant to say 'something I wasn't used too'

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:23:57

"and I agree that it shouldn't be something you have to do regularly - do you know why this happens to you so frequently?"

it doesn't! I'm thinking about over my entire lifetime! Not every friendship is a keeper

adeucalione Mon 26-Nov-12 14:24:32

I don't think that you sound very nice OP - you don't want to close the door on this friendship because 'I sometimes miss them'.

Good grief, you make it sound like people exist purely for you to pick up and put down again.

I can honestly say that I have never had to drop a friend in my life - while life moves on, people rarely change so much that you used to like them but now you don't.

I think she genuinely likes you and wants to know what has gone wrong - you should at least tell her that it isn't anything she has done, as I know that, in her position, I would be analysing every little thing I had said or done recently in case I had offended you unintentionally.

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 14:24:44

Ouch
Well, I think the 'we've just grown apart' line is best

However, it really isn't normal to cut people out of your life as many times as you seem to find necessary. If she has known you for a long time, she'll have seen it done to others I expect
I'm afraid, op, you don't sound very nice

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 14:24:46

Ouch
Well, I think the 'we've just grown apart' line is best

However, it really isn't normal to cut people out of your life as many times as you seem to find necessary. If she has known you for a long time, she'll have seen it done to others I expect
I'm afraid, op, you don't sound very nice

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now