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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?
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

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

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

Greensleeves Mon 26-Nov-12 14:24:53

ok then I was reading too much into your OP, sorry.

BarbaraBar Mon 26-Nov-12 14:25:24

How about relying on that "It's not you, it's me" thing? After all, it's true-ish and also allows you to walk away from the friendship without hurting her more than you have to.

Perhaps you could say that you've got a lot going on at the moment and you just want to focus on yourself/your family and you don't have what it takes at the moment to be a great friend so you'd like to bow out for a while.

Flimflammery Mon 26-Nov-12 14:25:44

I had a lightbulb moment where I realised that she isn't NICE to me and actually hasn't been for years
In that case you could say something like, 'I've realised that I don't think our friendship is very positive for either of us, and maybe it's time to back off a bit'?

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:27:08

its not intense lostgirl, its just "going through the motions" "for old times sake" and all those cliches, based on the friendship we used to have, that we both enjoyed

she honestly does not speak to me like someone whose company she enjoys, which is why the text is odd and I don't know how to reply, yet she still does all the motions of being close like the gifts and invites to everything and I don't think its benefitting either of us

but who knows mabye if we stop faking and quitely LET the old friendship go, we might find the newer us and get along properly in the future, but that's never going to happen if she makes a big deal about the friendship as it is fizzling IYKWIM

Mintyy Mon 26-Nov-12 14:30:58

You could say "Yes, I do feel differently. Its because you used xx confidence against me and I feel you are a bit too critical to be a good friend to me. You probably don't realise you are doing it but it is negativity that I don't need in my life atm. We have been great mates in the past and I am grateful for that, but I feel like I have moved on now. Sorry."

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:31:09

"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'."
I don't want to close the door in a way that makes it awkward for us to even bump into each other in the future, I don't know how best to do this which is why I'm asking
I want to move it from best friends to friendly aquaintances - that's better for both of us and everyone in between surely?

"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."
but this is exactly what I want to do! I want to move on, be people who had a good time together in the past, but don't have to keep acting like we're in the same place! In the least hurtful way!

Hobbitation Mon 26-Nov-12 14:35:01

First thing- I would drop the present buying.

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Mon 26-Nov-12 14:35:14

Minty reply above is very good.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:36:08

minty I can't point it back to one incident, there was no one big thing, just a lightbulb moment that there were a lot of little nasty things, each on their own sound petty and not worth ending the whole friendship on, its more the total sum of it if that makes sense

and TBH what's the point in going into the ins and outs if its not with the end goal of clearing the air and fixing things.

I just want this woman to be someone I'm on friendly aquaintance terms with rather than pretending to be good friends, or actually having a fall out and there being bad feeling forever more

adeucalione Mon 26-Nov-12 14:37:41

Maybe she is 'making a big deal about the friendship as it is fizzling' because she cares about the friendship, and is hurt by your changing attitude.

I wonder whether it has occurred to you that most people simply don't decide to cull a friendship, unless the friend has done something awful.

Maybe you could have had a grown up discussion about stopping the presents, without offending her by sending tat, and then just gradually withdrawn from the invitations.

The first two paragraphs of your OP do make it sound like you have had to do this many times, despite you since saying that you have only done it three times in your life.

Mintyy Mon 26-Nov-12 14:38:29

Ok, not sure what you want from Mumsnet then?

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:39:55

Hobbitation I agree and had decided that last time was the last time, it was just that the timing was where she had just given me one and mine was more a token (similar to bottle of wine) rather than be empty handed IYKWIM

Everyone has friends that they were closer to in the past than they are now, I just am not very good at backing away without it being a big obvious deal and turning horrible. I KNOW I am rubbish at going from friend to aquaintance and some people are better at it and I want to learn how to do it!

Last time I was spending a lot of time with someone who wasn't good for me I managed it, but this time it's going wrong confused

FushiaFernica Mon 26-Nov-12 14:46:53

The message does sound like she is concerned about your friendship. As you still want to be on friendly terms with her I wouldn't advise bringing up the fact that she has been critical of you. I would just say that we used to be close and have now drifted apart as we got older and say you still want to keep in touch (even if at this time you don't feel that way.) You never know you may feel differently about her at a later stage.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:47:51

"The first two paragraphs of your OP do make it sound like you have had to do this many times, despite you since saying that you have only done it three times in your life."

well 4 times in my life FEELS like a lot to me, because its unpleasant and a big deal to me to realise that someone in your "inner circle" is actually being shit to/for you! and one in particular still hurts like hell years on, I really couldn't go on with things the way they were and at the time was so worn down by it all I could do to protect myself was to withdraw completely from contact, but now I wish there was some scope to be at least able to say "hello" if we met on the street we knew each other since we were babies. Everyone around thinks I put up with way too much before finally "culling" her, but I really didn't want to loose my oldest friend, she might have been manipulative and destructive but we grew up together and it was a lot to throw away IYWIM

no.2 - we actually DID get back in touch after years of nothing, there's nothing there TBH we prob wont ever be friends again but its nice that mutual friends do not feel awkward any more. That "cull" was 10 years ago BTW.

then no 3, recent ish, someone I spent A LOT of time with but it wasn't good so now we just see each other about and chat about the kids then get on with our shopping IYKWIM - I'm happy about that!

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 14:50:23

"Ok, not sure what you want from Mumsnet then"
tips on how to make the outcome of "downgrading" friendship no4 so the outcome is the same as ex friendship no3 not 1 or 2

Thought I could do it but the up front text threw me

Mintyy Mon 26-Nov-12 14:56:58

Oh just tell her the truth for heaven's sake.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 15:10:12

what good would that do anyone minty?. The truth is I don't think we like each other at the moment. if the truth was that I was pissed off about X incident then either she could explain why she thought she wasn't BU and defend herself, or apologise or we could agree to disagree.. then maybe carry on as we were before.

It doesn't seem right to say "yeah you're right I don't like you, bye", there must be a better way without lying and saying 'NOOOO everythings fine! I don't know what you're talking about!"

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 15:13:07

anyway thanks all, this thread has helped me decide, I'm going with Selks approach, because its true, but not getting into a pointless "cause you said this then you said that then blah blah blah". I really don't see the point in flinging mud at this stage.

AThingInYourLife Mon 26-Nov-12 15:49:52

I think if you ditch friends so frequently that you need a policy on how to do it that the problem is with you.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 16:05:24

very helpful AThing confused now do you have any suggestions about solutions to the problem?

or did you just come onto "relationships", where people tend to post when they have problems they need perspective on, just to say "you obviously have a problem" - err yeah I wouldn't be posting in this section if I thought I'd always handled things perfectly in the past and didn't need to improve on how I dealt with this sort of thing!

quietlysuggests Mon 26-Nov-12 16:08:58

Are you a teenager perhaps, around 13 or 14? That might make it easier for us to understand your dilemma.

Lovingfreedom Mon 26-Nov-12 16:21:22

If I were you I'd just back off a bit and see how it goes. IME it's more usual to drift away from friends over the years and sometimes drift back at some point but sometimes not. Sometimes they move away, you move, someone has a new partner, someone's single, someone has children, new jobs that are less convenient to meet up etc etc. I've personally never needed to actually cull a friendship. I find that an odd concept. If she's done something awful to you and you want to sort it out then do that. If you've just gone off her, then just take a step out and get on with life without her. I really don't think that sending her a critical message like the one suggested above is a good idea. It's just unpleasant and unnecessary.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Mon 26-Nov-12 16:21:25

I think this has happened to one of my friends and I'm sad gutted actually, she backed away completely and I have no idea why, we were really close, but I would never ask her, cos have a feeling she feels similar to you, not that I was ever critical of her or anything, I was a really good mate, and now can't work out what went wrong.
Sorry no advice really, but if she is sooooo toxic, does it really matter if you 'burn your bridges' on this one?

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 16:22:12

perhaps you are quietlysuggests? A 13/14 year old may not have the life experience to understand how someone could get into a cycle of gift giving and regular exchange of invites etc with someone who they were close to once, but with whom they no longer enjoy having in their lives so much? as a 13/14 year old you might think that your BFF now will still be your BFF when you are decades older and you have kids and husbands and different lives and you will still want to exchange friendship bracelets and talk every day, but sometimes relationships change and you realise that it is not actually benefitting anyone involved, quite the opposite in fact.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 16:36:52

"If I were you I'd just back off a bit and see how it goes"
that's what I was going for, but then was put on the spot with a text about it

"Sorry no advice really, but if she is sooooo toxic, does it really matter if you 'burn your bridges' on this one?"
we were an important part of each other's lives when we were younger, I personally believe (she may feel differently) that the toxicity stems from trying to fit a square peg (how we both are now), into a round hole (what our friendship WAS like). It didn't evolve as we went through life and changed and we have nothing in common NOW. I think I frustrate her because I'm not 20something me and we don't have our 20something friendship any more and I'm not even sure if she realised it.
With space and time we might get to know each other in our own right for the people we are now and have a different friendship, we might not, but that can't happen if we continue to be "old times" friends.
- I think her confronting me has prevented that from happening TBH sad

I really am struggling to believe that my backing off is such a shock to her, our time together of late has not been fun or particularly pleasant and everything I say obviously rubs her up the wrong way now.

I don't want to out myself too much, but I did reply along selks lines, and her reply back had lots of "you"s and examples in it IYKWIM, so I am now more inclined to believe that she also feels like ending things as they are, but while I wanted to do it quietly and gently and without slamming a door in her face, she wants to fall out and do it that way! oh well! I really don't see the point in going over "you said""but you said" unless it's to clear the air and be friends again. What would be the good in me listing all the things that I disliked about recent times spent with her? she would be upset and offended and we'd still not be friends

AThingInYourLife Mon 26-Nov-12 16:41:08

I think the solution to your problem is to stop trying to ditch your friends.

And certainly to stop imagining that you can dump someone without hurting their feelings.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 16:43:50

great advice there! keep seeing someone whose company makes you consistantly unhappy

or if you do decide to have less to do with them then don't try to find the best way to back off without having it turn into a huge issue where your mutual friends can't invite you both to the same thing hmm

lovely! thanks!

AThingInYourLife Mon 26-Nov-12 17:00:16

Just keep going the way you are. I think you'll find you'll be troubled less and less with this kind of problem.

But here's a little tip: other people don't exist just to amuse you.

If you behave hurtfully towards someone, it's a bit much to be all put out that they are hurt.

You want to ditch an old friend because you can't stand her any more and can't be arsed to try to work on the friendship.

So do it. It's an unkind thing to do. So she (and some mutual friends) will think you are unkind.

allchangeplease Mon 26-Nov-12 17:09:33

AThing didn't you read OP's explanation about the reasons - the friend was critical and hurtful TO HER, not someone nice who is now shocked at what happened! sounds like they both hurt each other with their comments/criticisms, so it makes perfect sense to call it a day. I understand that OP wants to just be on social terms, why aer some postres angry at OP confusedwho s been extrenely patient to explain many times.
OP just reply again that yes, you can see now that you both are resentful, possibly as you have different lives to each other, so isn't it for the best to cool it as a friendship and just be acquaintances.She can't see this as unreasonable or unkind, she's hardly been a good friend lately!

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 17:10:55

I asked how to respond to a text and you haven't actually offered any suggestions athing

not that it matters now as I have responded and my suspicions were confirmed (i.e. that she doesn't actually like me either and is looking for a blow up about it)

sometimes working on a relationship means realising when to stop trying as it's not mutually beneficial any more and it's time to move on y'know

MrsMushroom Mon 26-Nov-12 17:18:53

You seem very experienced in the culling of friends! I can't fathom it unless someone has actually been rude or hurtful and since she hasn't...maybe you need to examine the way you MAKE friends rather than how to end the friendships.

allchangeplease Mon 26-Nov-12 17:21:26

She has been hurtful, MrsMushroom - I do sometimes wonder if people even bother to read the thread before posting! jibes, criticisms, telling something said in confidence to people etc!

MrsMushroom Mon 26-Nov-12 17:24:46

Well if you didn't drip feed it wouldn't matter if I read it all...your OP was quite long and descriptive after all.

MrsMushroom Mon 26-Nov-12 17:25:37

And if you have had a number of "toxic friendships" then you really DO need to look at how you make friends don't you.

Selks Mon 26-Nov-12 17:26:29

Some very snippy remarks on here along the lines of 'what sort of person are you to ditch a friend'.......a bit odd when on so many threads on Mumsnet where the OP is about a friend being nasty the advice is often to terminate the friendship.

I think some people on this thread are just enjoying having a go at the OP really hmm

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 17:27:23

she's been both rude and hurtful, just in frequent small ways rather than one big thing that we could actually talk through.

Not just rude to me, but rude to people around me, rude about people I care about, rude about everything I do, rude about my children, rude TO my young children, rude to my coleagues when she visits my work.. she really doesn't seem to like ANYTHING about me! The only people she's not rude to are friends who we are equally friends with or friends who I know through her (although she's rude about them behind their back and I'm sick of hearing the bitching), anyone I introduce is boring/ugly/etc

however pick any ONE of those incidents on their own and it seems petty, its the consistancy of it that I've had enough of, if she'd been rude to one person or about one thing I could "work on it", but there's too many little things for it to be worked on. I just don't like it, I don't like hearing all the criticism of not just me but the people around me, I've had enough but it wasn't one big incident.

MrsMushroom Mon 26-Nov-12 17:28:58

If she's rude then ditch her. But I still say....have a think about why you make friends with people like that.

SunRaysthruClouds Mon 26-Nov-12 17:32:27

baubles fortunately most people IME do not find themselves in this situation more than about once in their lives.

As MrsMushromm suggests look at the way you make friends. You say she was rude about you, other people etc, but the chances are she was like this about other people when you were friends but you didn't notice.

In a way that does say a little about you too, so perhaps you could think about that for the next new friendship.

SunRaysthruClouds Mon 26-Nov-12 17:33:18

Sorry - MrsMushroom

JustFabulous Mon 26-Nov-12 17:33:29

I think it took a lot of guts to send a text like that and you owe her the courtesy of being honest.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 17:33:47

I seem to bring out a "black is white" response in her.

She really doesn't seem to like anything I say or do, I've been directing the conversation on to her a lot as its a "safer" topic than anything in my life, which works a bit, but she'll still find something about me to snort about even if I am trying to keep the conversation on her

Pancakeflipper Mon 26-Nov-12 17:40:32

Get yourself some new friends. If she is an example of your circle if friends then no wonder you have been ditching them. All sounds like too much hard work.

Friendships have highs and lows but the good friendships know when to back off and when to go and prop you up when things are shitty.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 17:42:54

I didn't "make" ex friend no1 as such, our mothers were mummy friends and we grew up together. I DID defend her behaviour towards me to others for years which is something I need to be aware of I accept

ex friend 2 - I was in school! I picked a wrong un, I was young! I thought she was cool!

friend 3 - antenatal class so again more thrown together than actually hitting it off, ended up spending a lot of time together by default, she wouldn't be the kind of person I would normally hit it off with but antenatal group can sort of "level" that

friend 4 - there was so much going on with our lives when we became friends, huge life distractions for both of us, so it was only when life got more boring that her constant bitching about others became apparent.. but by then we'd been through a lot together, and yes I should have eased off back then but I kept excusing it for too long because of the past we had shared

in between all of them, fantastic friends who I've known for years and are absolute stars! I admire everyone I call a friend, the above are not the only 4 people I've ever made friends with, they're just the bad apples in amongst a lot of absolute stars who I've been lucky enough to have in my life for years

AThingInYourLife Mon 26-Nov-12 17:43:20

"I understand that OP wants to just be on social terms"

That's not her call.

You can ditch someone, but you can't dictate how they will respond.

It's not a lot different (except much rarer for most people) than dumping a boyfriend.

You might want to stay friends, but there's every chance that if they are hurt at being dumped that they won't be willing.

Hi baubles, perhaps you could now send a final text just to leave things clear on you side...

Something like: "I think people just grow apart sometimes. No hard feelings though on my side, hope none on yours either"

Any use?

And for what it's worth Baubles, I find your predicament understandable.

And the fact is, you are trying to do this without being hurtful.

I have a toxic parent and, because of this in my history, I have in the past attracted a few similar toxic types because I was very well trained by my childhood to give the toxic person what they need...(and have also possibly been drawn to them for similar reasons)

It does get better I think as one gets older

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 17:54:32

thanks Scarlet, I sort of said something similar in the first one, and she replied with "you didn't do this and you did that" etc. Some really silly things such as not "liking" any of her facebook stuff, which I did reply that I'm not that into anyway as she well knows. Not phoning (she didn't try to phone me either)

Anyway I responded to the facebook things saying that I really didn't think it was an important thing to do, and that I don't "like" DHs or DMs every status either. If I have something worth commenting I'll comment but I don't comment and "like" everything that pops up!

and no reply back, so if that's the way she wants it left that's fine, I think I did try to not be shitty about it, I still don't see the point in pointing out her flaws as I see them if I've already decided to have less to do with her, but she wants to do it that way and I'm not "biting"

Sorry, was not meaning to imply that you have a toxic parent or anything, just trying to say that I understand how one can get into a situation like this.


AThingInYourLife Mon 26-Nov-12 17:55:36


Yeah - no hard feelings, I just think you're horrible.

I want you to disappear out of my life with no inconvenience to me.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 18:00:45

Thanks scarlet!

I do hope I'm getting better at spotting the bad'uns earlier. ex friends 1 and 2 were really quite horrible to me and I excused it and excused it for far far too long, and IMO I haven't let anyone consistantly treat me that badly since. 3 and 4 didn't get to that stage, and while I still probably took too much for too long in both cases, I did IMO say "enough" to myself much much sooner than with 1 and 2

I just wish my heart wasn't so broken about no1 sad
She WAS bloody awful to me but we grew up together (lived on same street, mums lived in each other's pockets and each of our mums was the other one's "second mum" etc) and I'll never have that shared childhood with anyone else. I know I had to call it a day but still wish it hadn't been so total and final.

boobyboo Mon 26-Nov-12 18:11:10

If she is saying that she's sorry she's not the friend you want her to be, it's just possible that she's realised she's a bitch and is willing to change. If she were nicer would you be willing to give it a try or do you feel the friendship is just too much in the past? If the later, probably best just to say that you feel you have less in common at the moment, but that friendships do wax and wane over time so you'd like to stay in touch? It's the truth afterall.

I'm in a similar situation at the moment: my oldest friend has become very toxic, but because she is my oldest friend I understand that this comes from her insecurity. I don't want to be around her because I don't want to be the emotional punchbag for all her hang ups, but at the same time we are very connected so I don't want the friendship to die completely.

ajandjjmum Mon 26-Nov-12 18:11:22

Could you just reply to her latest email along the lines of 'hey we had some great fun in the past and I've got loads of happy memories. We just seem to have a different take on things at the moment, so let's take a step back and see how things pan out in the future".

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 18:22:53

boobyboo I do think that we don't have any connection in the present at all, its all for "old times sake".. which is good to have too with people who you only see once a year or so to catch up and chat about old times, but its not a basis on it's own for spending regular time together. We're in the habit of going to each other's kids parties for example (or kids aren't same ages so its not for their sakes), I don't really want someone sneering in the corner at my kids party but we've run into this pattern of being a bit in each other's pockets. When we were FIRST friends we were in each other's pockets and it was great - we were young and single and going out all the time (in a wider group of singly friends that we spent a lot of time with). We were both newcommers to a new city, but recently single, both making big exciting life changes. So seeing a lot of each other worked THEN. It doesn't work now.. it's just continued out of habit

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 18:34:18

so no, I don't think it would make a big difference if she was a little bit nicer, we don't have anything in common much now anyway and the presents and habit invites are silly. I don't want someone here if they don't want to be here, even if they were "behaving" and being polite

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 26-Nov-12 18:56:15

If you've been friends for years but have had a lot of issues recently then since she's confronted you wouldn't it be a good idea to air your problems and try and salvage the friendship?

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 19:03:46

I wouldn't know where to start panda, if it was one or two things then sure

but I guess its like getting/giving feedback at work, it needs to be specific to be constructive, otherwise it's just "having a go"

GimmeIrnBru Mon 26-Nov-12 19:04:20

Say hello to her if you see her down the street, but otherwise cut all contact with her. In other words, don't go out of your way to explain about why you want to cut contact with her...

madamemax Mon 26-Nov-12 19:29:06

Sounds like you would benefit from learning to be more assertive in the moment, rather than letting all these little things build up to the point of 'culling' a longstanding friend.

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 26-Nov-12 19:33:24

Could you just bring up the main ones that really get to you? The other issues might not seem as bad if the bigger stuff was tackled.

flippinada Mon 26-Nov-12 19:35:28

I too think all the snippy replies on here are uncalled for.

I suspect what has happened, baubles, is you've hit a nerve, the secret, sneaking fear everyone has that people don't like them, hence defensive and antagonistic responses - based on what you've said here, you don't sound unpleasant at all.

People talk about doing things face to face and so in but in reality nobody wants to hear a list of faults/criticisms and, unless you're the kind of person who gets enjoyment from causing distress, people don't want to say someone "well I don't like you because ...". Hence all the avoiding/being subtle etc

If you feel you must respond to your friends text, then how about something along the lines of "I'm sorry, I understand you must be feeling "x", let's not fight about it". You could also send a letter or a nice card if you felt it was appropriate.

flippinada Mon 26-Nov-12 19:38:55

Sorry, I see the thread has moved on!

I second the suggestion about learning to be more assertive as well.

You're not obliged to be friends with someone who doesn't treat you well.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 19:45:31

I could I suppose.. but that won't "cure" the fact that she doesn't like me either!

And if someone suddenly starts listing your flaws, most people don't go "hmm, I'll work on that! thank you! most people just get defensive and pissed off!"

honestly there are enough nice people out there that I do actually like, who like me, that I can invest my time and mental energy on

I just wanted to spend less time and money and effort and head space on this one person without it being blown up into a big thing, I wanted to back off but got called up on it.

I think I am assertive once I actually notice that its happening, my problem is that I sort of don't until I get a lightbulb moment, then I look back and with hind sight I think WTF was I putting up with all that for all that time?? I'm not simmering inside for years then "cracking" like some people do, I'm just being really thick and excusing it and brushing it off without seeing the pattern.. until I do! Then I don't put up with it any more. I excuse it for ages, y'know, I think someone's joking when they're being passive aggressive, or that they're just very honest or straight forward.. I see the best possible scenario for ages I suppose, then eventually realise that no, they're actually just fucking rude and shitty and have been for ages

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 19:51:57

"I could I suppose..." was in reply to "Could you just bring up the main ones that really get to you? The other issues might not seem as bad if the bigger stuff was tackled"

x-posted with flippinada

I was assertive with ex friend no3, but a lot of the stuff she came out with was disablist etc and I did pull her up on it at the time but ultimately that is not my kind of person so I broke the play date /coffee morning habit we had since antenatal class (when you don't really notice people's left/right leanings because you're consumed with chatting about weight gain and nappy brands etc, its only later that you really get to know the individual), it was of course obvious that I was pulling away, but we are on chatting terms which I think is important as our kids will go through school together and we will bump into each other at all kinds of local things etc. Its fine, I'm quite happy with how that "cull" went

flippinada Mon 26-Nov-12 19:57:08

I know where you're coming from baubles. I didn't mean to sound critical smile. Completely understand your desire to be non confrontational and let things slide.

In reality I think many people either have or have had a friendship like that (I certainly recognise it and I reckon most people would if they thought about it), which leaves you feeling drained, miserable and

flippinada Mon 26-Nov-12 19:58:29

Pressed send too soon - should say drained, miserable and resentful.

MULLYPEEP Mon 26-Nov-12 20:01:24

I must be morally spineless but I would lie and say ' oh just been busy blah blah speak soon' and then don't. If you don't want awkwardness and aren't invested enough in the positives of the relationship to improve it then don't. I don't think that makes you a bad person, I think that's what most people do with friendships that don't make them feel good.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:01:33

thanks flippinada.

I can do confrontion if it's a means to an end, in this case I don't see what it would achieve.

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:13

But you're trying to end the friendship anyway so what have you got to lose, she might surprise you and change. How are you so sure she doesn't like you? Her texting you would suggest to me that she does still like you and wants to hold on to the friendship.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 26-Nov-12 20:04:22

Just reply "I think we've just grown apart". I don't think she would have texted you to make you feel awkward,more she's genuinely a bit confused as to why the friendship has changed gear.

Stropzilla Mon 26-Nov-12 20:07:28

Is being honest a way forward? "I'm sorry but I feel you humiliated me over x, and were rude to my children. If I've been a bit distant, that's why."

If you want to add any more, about her perhaps thinking before she speaks you could, if you wanted to keep seeing her, but tbh being honest like that will probably mean she won't really speak to you again. Or you could try "I've got quite a lot on at the moment, we do need to get together when I have less on my mind". And sort of just keep putting it off although that sounds kind of mean.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:07:40

how do I know she doesn't like me? I dunno she sneers at everything I say, she says shitty things to me, she laughs when things go wrong for me, she just generally acts like I'm a bad smell, yet she still chooses to spend time with me for some reaon, most likely because we fell into that old "old friend must = good friend" trap, and I'm not doing it any more.

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 26-Nov-12 20:11:27

"she laughs when things go wrong for me"

Maybe she's jealous of you? Take it as a compliment smile, reply saying I agree with you in that I think our friendship has changed and we've grown apart, hen just leave it at that.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:16:00

anyway she didn't really seem interested in what she might have done, she didn't speculate about that she just launched into all the things I had/hadn't done lately and then stopped replying.

it was all "you" "you" "you" - didn't really have the tone of someone who was in the mood for soul searching and self improvement!

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:18:06

"reply saying I agree with you in that I think our friendship has changed and we've grown apart, hen just leave it at that"

yeah that's vaguely what I replied to the first text, then the second one came with the list of things I did/didn't do lately

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:22:45

(and they weren't even things I used to do before I backed away that had stopped, like the facebook stuff, I've never been one for facebook diarrhea but I've been shitty with her for not "liking" her every facebook move.. which isn't something I've backed away from because I didn't do that in the past anyway)

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 26-Nov-12 20:24:26

Sorry you feel like that, it sounds like we're both in agreement then that we should move on from this friendship.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:28:36

it seems like its done now anyway, the last text was from me and no reply from her so if she replies again with more of the same then I'll say something like that Panda.

I think it's done now, just hope things are on hello terms when we next bump into each other, but if they're not they're not! I'll still say "hello" anyway

Mintyy Mon 26-Nov-12 20:41:04

Did you actually take any of the advice given to you on this thread?

madamemax Mon 26-Nov-12 20:44:38


baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:44:38

yes mintyy I think I have posted a number of times that I took Selks advice and replied something along those lines (similar to what others have also suggested too)

just not yours

monkeynuts123 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:50:35

Gosh still not sounding too nice there op.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:51:32

I have also, as suggested, thought about why I became friends with those 4 women in the first place in an effort to not repeat history, and concluded that for half of them it was more a case of being thrown together than them being typical of "my kind of people", one being just down to being blinded by coolness as a school girl, and the one in the OP has already been described. I've made lots of great friends in between and don't actually think I'm choosing a disproportionate amt of bad apples, but that when I do, I am a bit thick at realising it and give them the benefit of the doubt for too long - not sure what to do about that though!

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:53:13

how so monkeynuts?

what should I have done differently in your opinion?

monkeynuts123 Mon 26-Nov-12 21:26:53

well you just sound like you objectify people, but essentially some of your replies here have been rude. Oops I may get culled myself in a minute! I sympathise with having to sometimes end friendships and the complicated feelings that can bring, including regret.

baublesandbaileys Mon 26-Nov-12 21:30:43

I don't know what you mean by me objectifying people? what does that mean?

outdressedlikethis Mon 26-Nov-12 23:01:19

Monkey and Minty, despite the fact that when put together, you sound like an adorable 50s popstrel duo - you're just being unkind, and you're relishing it.

How does standing up for yourself = objectifying people?

Friendships aren't like they are portrayed in wimmin's magazines. They are difficult and hard, because people are difficult and hard, and also pretty weird. This sort of stuff goes on all the time, it's natural, it's normal, and the only way we'll get anywhere is by admitting it. The unkindness is boring because it doesn't get us anywhere.

Now go and write some three minute pop songs.

AThingInYourLife Tue 27-Nov-12 00:23:42

"Friendships aren't like they are portrayed in wimmin's magazines. They are difficult and hard"


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