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.

When to let go of a friendship?

(25 Posts)
justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 12:56:19

I never saw myself writing something like this i've been feeling pretty hurt and let down of late, I'm not sure if i'm being selfish/unreasonable...I don't really know what to do with myself really.

To set the scene, been friends with a girl since college (so, 10 years now) I don't have many friends, I have a few good ones that I can count on one hand. We aren't all that close anymore, as in we only see it eachother occasionally but I never consider that to lessen our friendship, she is still one of my oldest and best friends. She has been a bit troubled the last few years, although doesn't open up to me much about it.

Her boyfriend of around 10 years (they got together the same year we became friends) broke things off last year, may/june time. He didn't have the decency to go and see her, just called her up and they haven't seen each other since. He called me just after speaking to her, to let me know what he had done, and could I go and see her. I didn't call as I knew she'd push me away. I just went round and was there for her. I do wonder, had I not gone round, if she would have even confided in me. but basically, that was the last time I saw her. She won't see me or really speak to me, just every now and again I will text to see how she is and she will sometimes respond and its always "I hope you're okay" so as far as I'm concerned - conversation over. She doesn't want a response from me. She says its too hard because I had a friendship with the boyfriend. but its been a year now...how can she still be pushing me away? I haven't done anything wrong.

I've had stuff going on over the last year, I've needed her and she hasn't been there for me (selfish) It was her birthday this week. I bought some carefully thought out gifts and just took them round and gave them to her mum. I knew she wouldnt want to see or speak to me still, and her mum kind of looked at me funny, said thanks and that was that. Nothing. Until now when I have just received thank you card in the post. We live 5 minutes away from each other.

I just feel lost. I feel like I am so invested in this friendship. I don't want to walk away...does she need me? I don't know. I don't know how to help her get over this. As far as I'm aware she still sees other friends. My DP feels I have tried my hardest and should just leave it. I don't even know why I'm writing this. I just need to write it down I guess. I feel so sad about it.

Lovingfreedom Sat 05-Apr-14 13:26:08

Could you send her a text saying 'I'm glad you liked the present, would you like to meet up sometime, I miss you'

Pippilangstrompe Sat 05-Apr-14 13:30:48

You have to leave it. She doesn't need you to be her friend because she hasn't contacted you for the last year. If she needs you, she knows where to find you.

Your husband is right, it's time to move on.

DealForTheKids Sat 05-Apr-14 13:35:31

I may be way off the mark here, but I wonder if she thinks or has been told that you were involved with her ex in some way which caused the breakup?

whitesugar Sat 05-Apr-14 13:42:47

I would let go of this friendship. You were great friends and then she ignored you for a year. If she wanted your friendship to continue she wouldn't have done that. Its hard when longterm friendships break down but it does happen. It started happening to me when I hit 40. I realised that I was clinging on to some friends when we no longer had anything in common except the fact that we were at school together a long time ago. I felt nothing but relief when I let go of those friendships. It was like a spring clean.

NorwegianBirdhouse Sat 05-Apr-14 13:53:26

You could try Loving's text idea but she wants to drop you. That is clear, but why? If the text doesn't work I would ask her out right why she is still avoiding you. She is not really in your life anyway so maybe you should just let her go. Her loss for sure because you sound like a nice friend.

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 14:12:52

See if it was anybody else....I would say the same, but she's not really like that....we have had the odd heart to heart via text over the year where or pretty much said all of the above and she assures me that's not the case, she's sorry for not being there, she just needs time etc. I truly don't believe it's really anything to do with me, it is purely this connection in that I was friends with her boyfriend too, even though I have only remained friends with him over the years because he's on her life, I speak to him if I see him....that's it, but yet seeing me reminds her of him. I'm torn between feeling terrible for her, and actually thinking she's being a bit melodramatic now and needs to get a grip but I'm not sure that's fair. I just don't really see how much more time she can need. I have just been getting on with things....but I feel that there will come a point where by if she does reach out, it will be too late for me to "go back". I don't pester her or anything, just every once in a while I check in as don't want her to think I'm just getting on with life with no care in the world to how she's feeling. hmm I will always be there for her. I guess I would just prefer in a way for her to jog me on, but if she wanted to end our friendship, she would 100% say so.

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 14:25:20

I should also say that at christmas, I got fed up and did text her basically saying "are we just not friends anymore" - ample chance to say as much. She replied saying that she hopes we are and she thought i didnt want to be friends anymore because I didnt reply to the text she sent me on my birthday (i was upset at the time, and as I say, it didnt seem like the text warranted a reply so I was trying to give her the space she needed) It just all seems a bit trivial and immature.

Meerka Sat 05-Apr-14 16:51:34

you say that after the breakup you went round becuase you knew that if you called, she would push you away.

does she find it hard to show when she's upset? Is she regretting having talked to you and shown raw emotion and she's not comfortable with that, she may find it very hard to speak to you. Ok, after a year that's kind of a strong reaction if she's still finding it so hard, but if she was truly devastated then you could see it happening.

If this is the case (if) then maybe some totally neutral, easy going stuff might help. do you have any friends in common? meeting up as a group and allowing the basic liking between you to be rekindled again?

Or ... this is trickier and maybe not such a good idea but I'll hesitantly put it out there ... could you speak to her mother? ask her whats going on? But that would only work depending on the sor tof person her mother is, it could do more harm than good, you're the best one to guess.

Pippilangstrompe Sat 05-Apr-14 16:53:06

If you didn't iniate the contact, would she contact you? Has she done it at all this year?

Did you ever consider that her responses are just her trying to let you down gently? If she does turn up and want to be friends again, you are going to have a very odd dynamic. She calls all the shots and you put up with anything from her. Move on with your life and if she turns up again, then see if you want to be friends then and there, and on an equal footing.

Not all friendships are meant to last forever. I have never heard of anyone who can't look at a close friend for a year because they remind them of their ex-boyfriend. It sounds like a nonsense excuse to me for not keeping in touch. Her Mums reaction when you turned up makes me think her mum knows it's nonsense too.

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 17:19:00

When she struggles, she just goes into a hole and shuts the world out. She's been through a lot emotionally and has been in quite a dark place the last few years, constantly going to counselling (which in my honest opinion isnt really helping her but i realise thats not my call)

I know i sound a bit desperate but its hard to explain when you do know us in real life I guess, shes not trying to let me down gently, its just not her, I just think she is in a worse place than even I thought, and I guess my concern is growing more than anything...Her mums reaction was odd. We have always had a nice relationship and has always thought highly of me and often told me how in our younger years she loved that I encouraged her to be stronger and stand up for herself etc. etc. To be honest, her mum looked like she had been crying and looked somewhat, shocked? maybe, to see me. I asked if she was okay and I got a meek "yes darling" but I dunno...somethings up,my first thought was that she was no longer there, maybe she had been sectioned or something, dramatic I know but thats the sort of concern I have right now. Its all just very odd and I guess I'm just worried, and if something big is happening..I don't want to have not been there for her when she needed it...oh blah blah I don't know. You're all right, I have to just sit back and if she wants to sort things out one day then go from there. thanks for your replies and suggestions :-)

Pippilangstrompe Sat 05-Apr-14 17:23:40

You seem to have decided what she is thinking. Why are you doing her thinking for her? Do you have a tendency to want to rescue people?

Adults can think and take care of themselves. Let her do her own thinking, don't try to second guess her. You need to respond to what she is in fact offering you at the moment, which is not friendship. Let her go and live her own life amd concentrate on your other friends, or find activities to make new friends.

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 17:23:45

I also wholeheartedly apologise for the use of "dunno" - WTF?

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 17:28:01

I'm not doing her thinking for her pippi but surely you know your friends quite well? and would generally know if they would just say something or not?

I'm not desperately just wanting her to be my friend, I am just saying how I feel something bigger is going on and I guess I am just worried. She is not the sort to ever reach out for help or "put anybody out" she tries to take the world on alone.

and no, I don't have a tendency to want to rescue people? why does caring about somebody who is a big part of your life get turned into basically im just desperate loser who is doing their thinking for them? hmm

Meerka Sat 05-Apr-14 17:34:22

YOu're the person who knows her, not us. It sounds like she's sending mixed messages to me actually. And her mum did sound distressed.

From what you say later on I would be inclined to ask her mum straight out, very gently, something like 'if xx is busy or not available, then okay [i know it's not ok, but to save her face]. But I was just concerned and wondering if things are okay". If they say yeah it's fine, then there really is nothing else you can do. But if there really is something wrong, then just maybe they would welcome you.

Pippilangstrompe Sat 05-Apr-14 17:36:05

I don't think you are a desperate loser at all. I didn't mean it that way, sorry. I think people with a lot of empathy for others can start thinking and doing things for other people because they want to help, while forgetting that that the person hasn't actually asked for their help. I have tendencies to do this myself and it doesn't work out well in the long run.

You said in your opening post that she is seeing other friends. If you know she is, then I would leave it up to them to help her as it is them she is turning to. If she isn't talking to anyone and is withdrawing from other people in general, then maybe a chat with her mum would be a good idea.

mummy1973 Sat 05-Apr-14 17:36:26

I feel for you op. I have been in a very similar situation following a friend's break up. I came to the conclusion it takes two to make a friendship and so sadly let it go.

sisterofmercy Sat 05-Apr-14 18:01:19

Face to face talk might be better than texting all the time. It might look as if you're not making the effort. Or ask her mum - if you've known her that long perhaps you could confide in her?

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 20:00:29

sorry pippi clearly im touchy on this subject..I'm not a chaser, I don't chase people who don't want to be chased and I generally am quite a "get on with it" person but something just isnt sitting right about it.

I don't really know if shes seeing other friends, shes never been very social anyway, catching up with people every now and again but other than she is constantly working and studying. I only know one of her other friends...I spoke to her a couple of months after it happened and she said she'd seen her and she was doing alright but other than that not much else. I have considered speaking to her mum but dont have her contact details and just feel its a bit unfair to turn up on the doorstep.

Only reason we text is because I doubt she'd answer the phone plus I dont call anybody, ever, and she knows this. If people receive a call from me they generally think the worst!

I've text her tonight and just basically said that im worried, and if she wants me to just leave her be, then just say so but if not then id really appreciate if she could just let me know she is okay because something isnt sitting right.

No response yet. Here's hoping I get some clarification on the whole thing because to be honest its just stressing me out.

Her card also sent alarm bells, she used to just bring stuff round/post stuff, but she has full on posted it, with stamp and it just says "dear justgirl and family, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much, love friend x" just seems a bit emotional.

Meerka Sat 05-Apr-14 20:03:37

it does sound really odd. You don't get that effusive with someone you don't want any more contact with. At the same time, she's so clearly keeping you at arms length.

I know it's awkward, but I still wonder if knocking on the mother's door would be the best way to clarify the issue. You're in limbo here with mixed messages.

RandomMess Sat 05-Apr-14 20:09:11

Your friend sounds like she has similar traits to me. If I'm not coping I completely withdraw.

I'm glad that you have texted again.

I hope you are ok it sounds very painful for you as well because you are naturally very concerned and she is letting you be there for her.

wolvesatmydoor Sat 05-Apr-14 22:39:48

I really feel for you and can understand your concern for your friend. However a year of next to no contact in a close friendship is not healthy, friendship has to be a two way street and as someone else mentioned upthread it has to be on an equal footing.

I have a handful of close girlfriends I've known for 20 odd years, and regardless of what any of us are going through, break ups; deaths; family issues, etc., we rely on and relate to each other. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but in genuine friendships I think you turn to each other especially in hard times and that tends to draw you even closer. You have obviously grown apart whatever the reasons may be, and maybe she has chosen to turn to other friends for support.

I know it is painful but it sounds like you have done all you can, she knows how you feel and it may be time to move on. The fact that she hasn't been there for you for a whole year in your life doesn't suggest she is a true friend anymore, sad as that may be.

justgirl Sat 05-Apr-14 23:09:08

It is really sad. You are all right though I've done all I can and I've nothing left to give. She replied, didn't really answer my questions so I'm still none the wiser. I guess I just have to leave her be but it is really upsetting. sad

Thetallesttower Sat 05-Apr-14 23:09:40

She may be suffering with depression, I have a couple of friends who, when stressed or depressed withdraw more, it's very difficult, they would never call or so on. I would keep a minimal contact, so texting every now and again as it does seem like she wants you in her life. Her card is very heartfelt.

RandomMess Sun 06-Apr-14 10:38:55

Honestly this really how I become when I am very unwell indeed. I wonder if it's worth texting about having a coffee together/lunch (even if at her house) telling her you won't ask any questions but you'd like to show her some photos? Or a trip to the garden centre to help you choose some bedding plants?

My point is:
promising you won't ask her about why she's been like this, or what is wrong
A short meet up with something to do take the pressure off.

It may well be a huge deal to her to meet with anyone, or leave the house.

The card does imply that she very very much does appreciate the contact you have kept up and she may well feel awful that she's let you down.

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