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AIBU to stop contact with friend? (sorry long!)

(20 Posts)
worriedfriend1 Tue 26-Jan-16 15:58:02

Dear Mumsnetters,
Long time lurker but first time posting. I want to ask for your advice about a friendship situation I have. I really need to do something about this as it’s just causing me a lot of stress and worry about it.

I have a friend – I’ll call her Sarah - I’ve known her 10 years. I would say that we became friends because she was very persistent, we live near each other and she would always text to meet up etc. We also have two mutual friends in common, one of whom I’ve known since childhood.

Sarah and I have very very different backgrounds and life experiences. She’s very privileged, didn’t work until 27, frequently went on several trips abroad every year that her parents paid for and is to all extents and purposes I think quite spoilt and pampered. When she did decide to work, her dad got her a job in the city, mainly through contacts and helping her write her applications. She hates it, frequently complains to me about it but loves the prestige that comes with saying she’s X and works in Y. In actual fact she’d rather do something arty or creative but doesn’t want to take the drop in income or the risk of persevering in a field where nothing’s guaranteed.

I’ve had a very different background, brought up on the dole, went to Oxbridge and have to support myself and my mum now. There’s no real chance I’ll ever own my own home and I decided to pursue a profession that is unstable and doesn’t pay particularly well unless you strike lucky/make it big. Fine, it was my choice and I’m happy with it.

However in the last few years I’ve really struggled to enjoy meeting Sarah. On the one hand she is nice, we have fun and we do have lots of things in common, similar interests etc. But on the other, I’m often left feeling like she is just incredibly out of touch and narrow minded about people who have not had the same opportunities, support and privilege that she’s had. She likes to think of herself as compassionate and ‘liberal’ but will make really condescending comments about people on welfare or people who have struggled to not fulfil their potential in life – quite forgetting that despite a well paid job her dad still pays for a mobile phone bill, she herself didn’t bother working because she didn’t have to and she’s got a ready to hand deposit to buy a flat in one of the most expensive areas of London.

These comments have really started to grate on me. I once tried to have a reasonable conversation with her about how life chances are determined by a lot of things out of people’s control and that maybe some understanding about how she herself was where she was due in large part to the help and access to opportunities she’d had compared to others but she went on this spiel about how high taxes didn’t help people on low incomes and that since I had done really well for myself despite my background, I should resent paying taxes to help others who hadn’t/wouldn’t succeed. What particularly played on my mind was that she referenced a friend’s boyfriend who is not very privileged but had gone to a good university and who she said wasted his opportunities since and hasn’t bothered doing anything useful. This person’s dad is terminally ill and I think struggles with getting a lot of support. She said ‘you’ve had similar struggles and done well for yourself so it’s not like he can’t get out of his situation’. I just felt this was incredibly hypocritical as she frequently gets her parents to run around her all the time and relies on them for money and support and contacts when she feels she can’t cope. I’ve realised that we have different opinions and views on the matter and that it’s pointless discussing this but it has made me more reluctant to see her.

In addition, I often get the strong sense that she’s envious now about the job I do and the industry I work in and seems to begrudge this. She once told me that she’d love to do my job but her dad thought my job was a waste of time and wouldn’t approve. I’m doing really well but I’ve pursued it with no one’s blessing (my extended family actively ridiculed me and told me I’d never make it and to get a more sensible job given my background and lack of contacts) and up until last year I worked several jobs after work and at the weekends to help with my income/keep money coming in in case I didn’t have contracts renewed etc. I am really proud of myself and what I’ve achieved and I’ve realised that every time I see her I just feel really rubbish and angry at the way she lives her life in a bubble. I think I’ve just lost all respect from her and to be honest I’d quite like to cut the relationship off or to at least have a proper break from it without things being awkward.

In the last year, I’ve barely seen her and have tried to avoid meeting up unless there are other people present. I do reply to text messages but I try to keep this to a minimum. I’ve also just really struggled with my long-term relationship disintegrating and other problems to do with my family and haven’t felt/wanted to talk or confide in her or many other people anyway. In the last few weeks, she’s repeatedly text me to see me but I’ve avoided meeting up as I’ve had important family things I’ve had to go to (bereavements etc) which I’ve told her about. Apart from sending curt messages saying she’s sorry to hear that, she’s also sent some fairly pissed off messages saying that she’ll leave it to me to make the next move and she needs an explanation to be friends the way we used to be.

Whilst I’ve made her sound horrid, in others ways she is lovely and generous and warm. But I just don’t feel like at the moment I can cope with seeing her.

AIBU to never contact her again? AIBU to not give her an explanation? I really don’t want this to affect my other friendships but I feel like it may well do that. She does have form for playing the victim and people do generally give her a lot of leeway. So part of me thinks if I stop seeing her, I’ll end up losing my other friend too.

becksblue Tue 26-Jan-16 16:05:32

You are not friends. I'm struggling to see why this person is pursuing you to remain 'friends' as it's very clear you don't like her.

Yanbu to cut her off, you'd be doing her a favour.

iciclewinter Tue 26-Jan-16 16:05:56

I think it would be good to give an explanation if possible. Cutting people off is hurtful. I do see you have your reasons and I don't think I'd enjoy being friends with someone who had those opinions either.

You could say that you don't seem to be on the same wavelength any more, and if she presses you, say that you feel your opinions on people's opportunities in life are too different.

AlwaysHopeful1 Tue 26-Jan-16 16:11:05

I can't see what you both have in common, it's clearly not a friendship. She does have some nasty opinions but you seem envious of her. Think it's best to part ways as friends.

green18 Tue 26-Jan-16 16:17:55

I think that if you regularly don't feel good after contact with her then yanbu to scale the friendship down. She should really take the hint and back off a bit.Perhaps she is more insecure than you think but hides it well. Is it really necessary to cut her off completely? Especially as you have mutual friends that you like more. I would just continue to cool things off, be busy a few times and see what happens. If she presses you for answers then maybe a chat about how she leaves you feeling would do her and you a favour.

stumblymonkey Tue 26-Jan-16 16:24:24

YANBU to cut her's your life and your decision about who remains in it.

While you don't have to justify yourself I do think that it is unreasonable to 'ghost' people and simply cut them off with no explanation. It's passive-aggressive to do this and really you should aim for assertive.

If she's asked for an explanation I would provide one in as calm and non-blaming/non-critical way as possible. She is entitled to her own views after all; and you are entitled to find them difficult enough to not want to pursue a close friendship.

stumblymonkey Tue 26-Jan-16 16:26:23

Posted before I could add...

Expect a defensive reaction though!

I'm afraid it's the downside to being assertive....just ride it out and try and remain calm and non-critical. It's only human nature that she will find the explanation hurtful even though it's not intended to be.

OneTiredMama Tue 26-Jan-16 16:30:00

I have a friend almost exactly like this. We used to be really close when we were younger but now I find the entitled and spoilt attitude hard to stomach. We've grown apart but I didn't cut her out of my life instead I just challenged some of the ignorant comments she would make.

Agree with icicle, it'd be hurtful to cut someone out. Maybe she's more to be pitied, I find that's the case with my friend. She has no real idea what the world is like and would struggle on her own. It can make people very insecure and maybe that's why she tries to put others down?

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 26-Jan-16 16:33:17

yanbu to want to end the friendship as in simple terms it gives you no joy whatsoever
and I agree that ghosting people is very unkind. I think after these many years you owe her an explanation

In simple terms her comments and values make you feel uncomfortable, and over the years this has coloured how comfortable you feel around her?

and yeah expect a reaction!

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 26-Jan-16 16:34:57

Yes don't just suddenly blank her.

That is extremely hurtful and no one deserves that.

Ashers40 Tue 26-Jan-16 16:36:17

I stopped communicating with a friend (we lived in different cities so it was easy not to see her). She was an old friend from school id known a long time. Both my parents died close together and I didn't hear anything from her. This came on top of many incidences of her not making any effort. Eventually she emailed me to ask why I hadnt been in touch. I emailed back and told her why. She didn't take it well, instead of just apologising and making amends she chose to take offence and so now we don't speak. I don't miss her, I'm glad I told her the truth. I'd like to think some of it hit home with her, but if not then she's no loss. As you get older you realise that you only need people in your life who support you and bring you joy. Doesn't mean you have to always agree but the positives should outweigh the negatives. If not, move on

girlywhirly Tue 26-Jan-16 16:37:45

She seems anything but lovely and generous and warm from what you have written, I suspect she is all these things when she decides to be; to gain friends or influence them or make herself seem lovely. It is probably all on her terms and has conditions attached. She wasn't lovely and warm when you told her of your bereavements, was she? It was all about you not messaging her and not meeting up with her and giving attention to her.

If you don't want to hold on to this so called friendship, don't. Not all friendships last a lifetime, people change, and it sounds as though there is nothing left of this one. It seems a shame that you don't feel that any of your mutual friends would support you and will believe whatever she tells them, thereby cutting you off from them.

ImperialBlether Tue 26-Jan-16 16:39:17

If someone makes you feel awful about yourself, you either have to stop seeing them or tackle everything they say. I can see why you get upset but if she is in some ways a good friend, you might be able to salvage the relationship.

What would happen if you simply said, "Not everyone has a father who can pay for their bills" or similar every time she was critical? As for the taxes, I think the only thing to do there is to just say, "We'll have to agree to disagree on that one" and change the subject.

I'd love to know what your job is! Sounds like you're doing really well there. It's awful that your family isn't supporting you with this.

worriedfriend1 Wed 27-Jan-16 08:07:55

Hello everyone, thank you for all your insight and advice. Sorry, I should have said I do think she has lots of insecurities about certain aspects of her life and that's what prompts the condescending comments and I do realise that but I also think who doesn't have insecurities. I haven't blanked her as such over the last year, I've just tried to really scale things back but it hasn't worked at all and it's just made me feel more fed up. It does remind me of how we became friends in the first place, I had a lot of the same doubts then because she seemed at times completely unaware and self absorbed and a lot of it was just down to sheer persistence and constantly being asked to meet up. I think I've just come to the conclusion that this isn't a friendship I want a lot more to do with but I think you're right and I'm going to talk to her. Thank you for the advice about making it non judgemental and non critical. I'm aware that I very easily start to become/sound like that when talking about things she's said. I think I'm going to write to her and explain we're just very different.

theycallmemellojello Wed 27-Jan-16 08:34:38

Honestly I agree that it just seems like you don't like her and there's no point analysing it beyond that. You're not her friend, so don't bother pretending. However, I do have to say that the impression I get from your OP that she hasn't done anything massively wrong. She probably is a bit out of touch and naive, but it sounds like she is supportive and admiring of your career and choices. By the by, I'm not convinced it's that easy to get a city job through family connections these days - city firms are interested in the bottom line and so aren't keen on having thick poshos on the payroll. It sounds like you are questioning your own choices and projecting it onto her tbh. I don't think you should "write to her and explain that you are very different" - that's just going to be upsetting and won't achieve anything apart from making things massively awkward when you see her with mutual friends. Just cool things off.

worriedfriend1 Wed 27-Jan-16 09:07:21

Mello - It is if your dad works there and has allowed you to write down a whole host of work exp placements at companies with references that you've never actually done just because he knows people who are happy to vouch for you. I don't know how common that it is but I heard from her directly that that was what was done in her case. clearly you have to have some brains to be able to still do the job but it doesn't excuse the fact that it's blatantly unfair and brains played a far less part in it than people might think.

But I take your point. I don't like her, I don't have much respect left and I don't want to continue. I have tried to cool things off but it just hasn't worked which is why I asked whether I was being unreasonable to just stop contact and/or give an explanation.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 27-Jan-16 09:27:51

The friendship definitely sounds like it's run its course!

If you dump her, she is almost certain to tell all your mutual friends how horrible you are, so worth giving some thought to how you do it and maybe going for a vague 'oh I'm so busy, it's hard to keep up with my friends and tbh I don't feel we have as much in common as we used to'.

If you say anything about disliking her values and attitudes it may well come back to bite you in the arse.

gleam Wed 27-Jan-16 09:38:49

Yes, I wouldn't write to her.

Keep it verbal and vague - this project is taking up so much time blah blah.

MistressDeeCee Wed 27-Jan-16 11:16:34

This is a no-brainer isn't it? Just phase her out. She doesn't sound like a friend, or particularly friendly. Maybe due to her views you're the only one who will give her the time of day.

thegreysheep Wed 27-Jan-16 14:57:15

Sounds very like a situation with a college friend of mine, down to wanting to do something more creative but sticking with the family firm, not being in touch with the real world due to living/ working/ even holiday-ing in family-owned places and always begin the bosses daughter - so when in the real world she can't handle it when the world doesn't bend to her will.

I suspect she is also deeply lonely and insecure as well - despite her harsh pronouncements on people who don't make an effort/ are wasters she knows in her heart and soul that while sue's successful in work she's nothing spectacular and owes her success to her family connection, rather than having worked her way up for instance.

Have often thought about ghosting her too but a lot of people have done that to her and she always mentions how she doesn't see hardly anyone any more but doesn't seem to make the connection. I think why I want to increasingly make the break is that as she grows older she is taking the path of being more "certain" and set in her ways and also becoming increasingly bitter that her personal life hasn't worked out the way she envisaged,and quite nasty to people who have what she wants (kids, husband) but who she thinks don't deserve them for whatever reason. Whereas I have had knocks (as well as privileges) all along which has taught me resilience, and as I grow older I realise how little I know about anything really and that things I thought were certain are not and I think am becoming less judgy about people, so we are going in different directions.

I do feel bad for this friend and sometimes get the spark of how things used to be, But I basically usually feel crap after every time I see her - usually more angry at myself for biting my tongue, I do pick her up on stuff but if I picked her up on everything we'd be there all night!!

So although I am distancing myself a bit I think the time will come for a stern talk soon. Sorry for length of post, obviously struck a chord with me!!!

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