not to pursue a friendship that is clearly over?(8 Posts)
I was good friends with someone for about 20 years. About 4 years ago we had a big falling out. It was my fault - I unintentionally hurt her feelings with a silly joke - but she then brought up a long string of things I'd supposedly done to upset her that she'd never mentioned before, and completely disappeared from my life for several months. Everything appeared to be fine until literally moments before this conversation. She ignored my apology at the time and several follow-up e-mails but did eventually write back, saying there had been other things going on in her life that made her more sensitive (this is plausible, she has had some bad health problems over the years) and she over-reacted.
She doesn't live near me at the moment, but is in the area about once a year. Twice since our falling out she has been in the area but not let me know she was coming, as she always used to, but we happened to bump into each other in town and she acted as if there had never been anything wrong, we must get together for a coffee sometime, etc. We had these coffees but it didn't feel as if we were as close as we used to be.
About a year ago I had messaged her a few times and got no reply at all, when I spotted her in town but she didn't see me. Rather than approach her, I thought I'd wait and see whether she ever got around to letting me know she was in the area, and she didn't. I'm pretty sure from this that she didn't really want to see me, although she would probably have gone through the motions if we'd happened to bump into each other.
Another year has passed, no replies to any messages, and I think I saw her the other day. Again, no indication that she was coming. I'm not even 100% sure it was really her this time, but the timing is about right. My instinct is to avoid places where I might bump into her for the next couple of weeks - she'd be embarrassed and offer to meet up when she clearly doesn't really want to, and I'd probably go through the motions of pretending I'd love to do that when actually I'm not sure I would any more. But at the back of my mind there's the slight worry that if she ever realised I made a conscious decision not to pursue this friendship any more (even though she has presumably done the same), it could be quite upsetting for her.
AIBU just to stay out of her way and let her make the first move if she wants to, or should I be trying to get some clarification of what is going on?
I'd put it all behind you and move on. If you bump into her then be pleasant but don't say lets get together when she clearly doesn't want to.
I would just it behind me now. If you bump into her, make noises about meeting up if you wish. You're not under any obligation to actually do so.
as you say, this friendship IS over.
don't chase her any more, forget about her and move on.
OP, she has ignored your messages and not let you know she is in town. I think the friendship is over. Why are you worried about her being upset if she runs into you? She should be afraid to upset YOU.
I know it's hard as you were friends for so long but sometimes friendships just die a natural death. Please don't let her affect your life or give her any headspace. Don't stay out of her way. If you see her in the street, pretend you didn't see her and walk on by. If she stops you or says hello, say hello and let her make the overtures and then say breezily 'I have to rush to an appointment, but it was nice bumping into you.'
You are overthinking this, she is certainly not giving the same amount of headspace to this as you. This is a friendship which has run its course and I'm not sure why you would want to remain friends with someone who obviously has the ability to drag up long-forgotten resentments at the drop of a hat.
Thanks for your comments, everyone. I had thought it was pretty much a choice between avoiding her, going along with the half-hearted meet-ups or having it out with her, but some of you have helped me see that it might be possible to be polite without committing myself to anything.
Why are you worried about her being upset if she runs into you?
Mainly because she has had such a lot of health issues, which are perfectly genuine, but some of which can be made worse by emotional upset. So (1) I don't want to add to her worries because I genuinely don't want to make things worse for her, and (2) I don't want to be held responsible for any effect it has on her. I definitely do over-analyse it - it's the most dramatic falling out I've ever been personally involved in, and I didn't see it coming at all.
Sounds like she enjoys a bit of drama tbh.
Just be bright and breezy, polite and casual. That's it. That's all you have to do.
You're well shot of her.
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