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to ask if this friend is toxic? And IABU to confront her about her behaviour?

(37 Posts)
BeyoncesMama Tue 14-May-13 13:32:34

First post so be gentle with me ladies smile
This may end up being long so flowers if you make it to the end!

Have been part of a small, and extremely close group of friends for over 10 years now, only four of us and we have been best friends since school. I will call these friends A, B and C just to make things easier. I must stress that the friendship with this group means a great deal to me, so would love some advice on how to deal with this.

Particularly since university, we have found some of A's behaviour to be emotionally draining and hurtful. She has always been 'feisty', but in recent years she has become aggressive, judgmental and hypocritical. Every time we meet up for lunch or something, she spends the entire time talking about herself, and if any of us tries to direct the conversation elsewhere she sits looking bored and quickly finds a way to bring it back to herself. Since splitting up with her ex-P, she has embarked on a series of 'friends with benefits' type relationships and one night stands (NB, none of us are 'judgy' about this - if she's happy with it, we're happy iyswim) but she has become attached to the point of obsession with one of these men, and every time we see her she complains about him and asks what we think she should do. Any advice we give is sullenly met with, "yeah but I'm going to do what I want to do." We're always happy to give advice or even just to listen, but when the 3 of us all have very real problems in our lives, it feels a bit insulting to have our friend wail at us about how unfair her life is, when it seems that all she does is get drunk and sleep with men.

Throughout my entire relationship with my now ex-P, A would constantly talk about my ex-P in a derogatory way, and every time I saw her she would try to convince me to leave him "because he's ugly and if you stay with him your kids will be ugly too". She would phone me drunk from parties saying "I don't want you to be with him." I told her this made me uncomfortable but she didn't stop. I even wondered whether he had tried it on with her and this was her way of trying to tell me, but she said this didn't happen. I have asked her why she had it in for him since we split up (split nothing to do with her!) and she said "I just didn't think he was good-looking or particularly nice." confused And knowing her as I do, I know that she would just tell me if he had been inappropriate with her.

Keeping this in mind, another of these women, B, is in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and is very emotionally vulnerable. At one of our recent meets, B's DP was calling and texting her with abuse and telling her that she wasn't allowed to come to the next thing we were planning (he does this pretty much every time she goes out or comes over to one of our houses). Me and C gently tried to talk to her about it and discuss his behaviour whereas A shouted us down and said, "You two can't tell her to split up with him, you can't help who you love. B, ignore these two, I'm on your side" etc etc. We hadn't been telling her to split up with him or anything of the sort and we were furious that she was pushing a vulnerable woman back towards her abusive DP by implying that her friends 'aren't on her side'. That's what her DP wants her to think as well!

She is always moody if any of us have to cancel meeting with her because of family emergencies, illness etc even though I have been v apologetic on the few occasions I have cancelled over the years. However, often when we are about to meet for lunch, she'll text one of us saying she's too hungover or something similar.

Probably the worst thing is her tendency to 'go cold' on any one of us, seemingly just because she feels like it. She will ignore calls and texts, blank the victim at any group meets, etc. This can go on for as long as she wants it to - eg. a few years ago, she went cold on B for almost 2 months until B couldn't take the silent treatment anymore and burst into tears and asked what she'd done - it turned out it was because B had taken a long time getting her coat from the cloakroom at a club and A was bored waiting. She also went cold on me for several weeks because I had said her ex-P looked hilarious in some trousers he was wearing (NB we were at a fancy dress party, this wasn't intended as an insult!)

Last year neither B nor me could make her birthday celebration (we did do a special dinner with her but this was some clubbing thing, mostly with her work friends) and she told us it was absolutely fine, but spent the whole night bitching to C that she could no longer trust us because of this. However, the night was hell for C anyway as A showed up late to her own party, spent a lot of it throwing up and virtually ignored C. To add insult to injury, A then spent C's birthday out clubbing with her work friends instead of seeing C. She would go mental if any of us did the same thing.

Sorry this is so long, and you deserve wine for getting to the end. C and I are pretty much at the end of our tether so I just wanted to include a few examples of her behaviour and ask whether these things are petty or if its reasonable to confront her and tell her the 'going cold' and aggression has to stop, and to face the consequences of confronting her, whatever they may be?

Manyofhorror3 Tue 14-May-13 13:38:11

Can't you just meet up without her? She sounds truly awful! Life and friends move on, and is cut her adrift and see the others one-to -one.

Lottapianos Tue 14-May-13 13:38:47

Well she sounds like extremely hard work to put it mildly! If you did confront her with her behaviour, do you think she would be able to take what you say on board, reflect on what she has done and said and take your feelings into account? She sounds horrendously self-absorbed and people like that are usually sensitive to the slightest perceived criticism and will go on the defensive straight away. You may not get what you want from a conversation like that.

Is there any way you could just see less of her? Phase her out, I guess? She sounds really destructive and it sounds like you're not getting much out of the friendship at the moment. sad

tripecity Tue 14-May-13 13:39:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FBmum Tue 14-May-13 13:39:37

I think you need to face the fact that things may have changed since you were all mates at school. She sounds very divisive and selfish, and extremely demanding and high maintenance. If you are happy to put up with this, fine, but by your post, it sounds like you are not. I would suggest either call her up on it and tell her that the behaviour is unacceptable, or just start meeting B and C on your own - A will soon get the message.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 14-May-13 13:40:28

She will have hissy fit.sounds like a very self absorbed selfish person who doesnt think beyond herself.you sound scared of her.confronting wont save the friendship.get ready for drama.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 14-May-13 13:40:38

Have you discussed her behaviour with B & C?

diddl Tue 14-May-13 13:41:51

I think I'd also just stop including her tbh.

I don't think that she'd listen to her "faults", let alone try to change!

Pigsmummy Tue 14-May-13 13:44:05

I can't see a confrontation being helpful tbh, give it a go but expect the same behaviour and an epic argument, if you want to drop the girl from the group then do, expect a back lash. Maybe start by arranging stuff that you know that she won't be able to attend?

LemonBreeland Tue 14-May-13 13:45:34

I would just meet without her, if B & C are willing to do that. I don't think confronting her will help or make her change.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 13:48:49

I'd just ditch her and meet up without her. She sounds awful. Believe me, you will feel a lot happier and less drained when you have cut her out of your life, and you will wish you'd done it years ago.

I had to laugh though at her blanking someone for two months as she took ages getting her coat from a cloakroom. That's hilarious and she sounds unhinged tbh

Royalmailer Tue 14-May-13 13:49:42

She sounds awful, and a lot like an ex-friend of mine.

She sounds like the kind of person who loves drama, so you want to avoid that as much as possible.

Gently phase her out as well as strengthening your friendships with the other two.

It might take a while, but by god it'll be worth it.

ihatethecold Tue 14-May-13 13:49:42

She sounds like a narcissist.

She probably wouldn't listen to you if you all confronted her.
She may get all emotional and accuse you all of ganging up on her.

I would back away!

arabesque Tue 14-May-13 13:49:48

She sounds a bit unbalanced. I'm not sure that confronting her would achieve anything, tbh.

mmmerangue Tue 14-May-13 13:51:27

Don't leave friend B with the toxic A when you and C do reach the end of that tether... talk to the sane ones and stop associating with her, life is really too short for people who make you miserable and expect more from their friends than they are willing to give in return!

A sounds like a wholly self-centred cow.

MostPeopleAreMad Tue 14-May-13 13:52:45

Er, yes, from what you've said she certainly sounds toxic, and YADNBU. You sound lovely, OP, and you don't need someone like this in your life - none of you do.

claudedebussy Tue 14-May-13 13:56:43

yup. ditch, but make sure you keep in contact with your vulnerable friend.

sounds like she needs some support.

bottleofbeer Tue 14-May-13 13:57:19

I've kind of got a situ like this. We're a big group of friends, some closer than others but one has a tendency to freeze people out. She started doing it to me but unlike the others I didn't just wait for her to get over it, I confronted her (nicely imo, just "is there an issue you'd like to tell me about? it's just that I've noticed you've seemed a bit off with me lately?". She denied it, I went home and got told she spent the night crying.

Three years on she's still blatantly off with me, just silly little things but things that add up so you notice iykwim? if a mutual friend puts up a pic of her next door neighbour's second cousin twice removed by marriage's kid she's liking away on FB and studiously ignores anything I do/pics of my kids. I place little bets with myself on how quick she'll be liking and commenting on the things she makes a point of ignoring with me grin

At least you're not on your own with it and other friends feel the same way. My reaction to it now is to shrug it off. It's pathetic behaviour.

BeyoncesMama Tue 14-May-13 16:25:46

Ladies, you are so lovely! Its wonderful to know that we're not being petty - ive shown C your replies and shes so grateful too! Youre all right - I think unfortunately we are friends with her more because of our history these days and we are scared of her as she can get very aggressive and nasty when things dont go her way! Your advice is great - C and I have spoken at length about it but B hates the idea of 'bitching' about her friends so has only talked about it when shes been really upset. I think it seems that a fade-out approach is best and to just try and meet up without her. I agree that she wont respond well to confrontation - she gets very annoyed if people disagree with her.

Also bottleofbeer thats exactly what it is! So many small things that add up and Ive been worried I'll look crazy or petty if I bring them up!

wine for all of you!

Euclase Tue 14-May-13 16:34:45

Life is to short - ditch her

Rowlers Tue 14-May-13 16:41:18

A is NOT a friend, but you clearly know that already.
This is not what friendship is about.
It's hard to give advice as I really don't know anyone as vile as A sounds!
I would not, however, be wasting a moment more of my life trying to please a self-obsessed drama queen.
Ditch the bitch (I don't know whether that phrase is dead funny or properly cringeworhty ...)

KellyElly Tue 14-May-13 16:43:07

From what you've said it doesn't sound like she brings anything to the friendship for any of you and I agree with the gradual phase out idea, although I think with someone like this it isn't going to be easy and may even get a bit nasty, so be prepared!

aldiwhore Tue 14-May-13 16:48:33

You know the answers!

Unfortunately I suspect 'A' is not stupid, she'll find everything out from 'B' who hates bitching and isn't in a great place, and you will end up just you and 'C' for a while.

Whatever you decide, you need to tell A that from now on it's zero tolerance, she will test you, stand your ground.

ProseccoTowers Tue 14-May-13 17:19:35

Hey ladies, i'm C! Just wanted to post here and say thanks for the messages! so nice to know we're not being unreasonable in all this!

thebody Tue 14-May-13 17:29:20

It sounds like she hasn't matured much since school and uni days.

Just because she once was a friend at a particular time doesn't mean she had to be for ever in your life.

You may or may not marry, have kids, travel work abroad, life happens and things/ people change.

Ditch her.

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