To give up on friends(14 Posts)
So this is going to be a bit long.
I've known my best friend for well over 10 years and like to think that I've always been there for her. During that time I've been her emotional support through numerous messy breakups, mental health problems, and life changing surgery. I've always been willing to be her shoulder to cry on at any time of the day or night, head off to events with her at the drop of a hat, ferry her around when she's been unable to drive and lend her absolutely anything she wanted to borrow (most of which I have never seen again). We even took our elderly mothers on holiday together.
I've always been quite independent and for most of our friendship I've been single so able to drop everything at a drop of a hat for her and I thought that the feeling was mutual although I'd never really asked anything of her more taxing than could she drop me of some cold meds while I was ill once or twice. There were times when I should have thought maybe our friendship was a bit one sided. On several occasions we had gone to big events together and she had ditched me for guys, also she was in a serious relationship for a couple of years and barely spoke to me during the entire time until things started going wrong then I was the one she called to pick her up late at night when she was so upset she was being physically sick. And for a good 6 months afterwards not a day went by with ouch her calling to have a good cry, and worry.
Move forward to a couple of years ago and I hit a rough patch. I was very depressed and needed support and naturally I sought that support from my best friend. She was understanding for a couple of weeks but then started getting irritated with me and telling me to just get over it. I then found out that she had been talking to some mutual friends about how she just couldn't cope with me telling her how unhappy I was and when I spoke to her about it she told me that she's still my friend but seeing me unhappy was making her mentally ill so she just couldn't deal with me at the moment. Anyway, I stopped bothering her with my problems and eventually got over them on my own and was luck enough to meet my wonderful DP not long after.
Knowing how hurt I had been by her ditching me when she had a partner I was determine not to do the same to her and made sure I still invited her to the same things we'd always done together but she would say she was going to come and then cancel at the last minute or just not show up. If I text her to rant about anything she would now tell me she was busy and was turning her phone off (she still expected me to be there when she wanted to obsess or rant) again when I spoke to her about it she told me it was my fault because I had moved jobs and now we couldn't meet for lunch so she didn't feel as close to me.
Every time we did meet up (usually at something a mutual friend had arranged) she would say how much she missed me and how we need to spend more time together, do this and that. But when I arranged something she would bail at the last minute.
The last straw was at Christmas. I used to host lavish Christmas meals for a few girly friends but since we all had partners now we'd started going out for a Christmas meal. Anyway, she knew I was trying to get pregnant and had always begged to be an aunti or godmother so when I found out I was pregnant just before Christmas I asked her and another mutual close friend to come over for a tea party (they're into vintage so tea parties are very much their thing) so they both agreed to a date and I prepared everything and got all the ingredients to make lots of cakes and finger foods only to have them text me two days before to say that they had been organising a get together with some other friends and the day of the tea party was the most convenient day for them to do that get together but I could come too if I wanted because it would be nice to get all of the old gang together again. They also pointed out that they couldn't do the tea party another day because they didn't want to go out twice . This irritated me on two levels, first that they were arranging for "all the old gang" to get together but had excluded me and were only now inviting me because they felt bad and secondly because they had let me down again.
The get together was in a rough pub which I obviously didn't want to go to having just found out I was pregnant so I declined. They offered to pop round on their way to somewhere else to drop off gifts but seeing as it was so close to Christmas I was busy so I suggested that my friend arrange something for January... I then decided to go NC until she put the effort in to contact me. I've not heard a single word from her since then.
Sorry that was so long. So my question is. AIBU to think that she was never really a friend in the first place and was just using me because I was convenient and willing to give her lots of help and support or given that we've been friends for so long should I keep trying to build bridges and keep the friendship alive.
Can I suggest - gently - that you might be over-analysing a bit? Certainly, the Christmas stuff. Perhaps she/they just didn't realise what efforts you'd already gone to.
Friendships develop and change over time, and sometimes they drift, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't real in the first place. We don't all have all the same relationships for a lifetime (thank God).
Maybe she is ready to let this friendship drift now but given your decision not to make contact with her, maybe you are too. And that's okay. It's also okay to feel a little regret that things aren't as they once were but your life is heading in a different direction so it sounds like you'll have plenty to occupy you, and lots of opportunities to make new friends more on your wavelength now.
Perhaps, however as I said, Christmas was the straw that broke the camels back.
There were many other instances over the past couple of years where I'd invited her to events that we would normally attend together and she agreed but then cancelled last minute. There are also a number of events including our circle of friends that I would normally have been invited too which I have not been (saw photos or posts on FB)
I understand that I am on a different path. She and most of my friends are single and don't want children where as I have two dsc and my own on the way. But I've never asked for them to get involved with that side of my life.
I guess I'm just hurt that for a over a decade I've been there for her come rain or shine and treated her as family but ever since I had that short period of not being the strong supportive one I seem to have been pushed aside.
As for the NC, I did that because I was tired of putting in all the effort to contact her. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't being melodramatic when I said that I seemed to be putting in all the effort to keep the friendship alive so I asked her to arrange a meet up in January when she would be available so that we could swap Christmas presents etc. and then left it to see what would happen.
Since then the only contact was a very impersonal response to my FB post announcing my pregnancy.
Runner, in the nicest possible way, you have created this situation. You, as much as your friend have actively established a one-sided dynamic whereby her problems are more important than yours, you are expected to drop everything for her but not vice versa, she is allowed to have MH issues but you are not etc etc. She's the needy, stroppy, troubled one whose moods are pandered to, and you're the stolid, loyal, undemanding sidekick who asks for a couple of Nurofen from the chemist once a decade. And there were never any consequences for her in the power differential, so she never saw it as an issue.
For whatever reason, you have colluded in making yourself invisible in the 'friendship'. Whatever you decide to do about this particular friendship, ask yourself why that is the case - did you want to be needed? Why did you never challenge her selfish behaviour? - and don't let yourself get corralled into this situation again. Or you'll end up like mother, who is on your end of this dynamic in every single friendship she has, and is completely baffled as to why people only phone her with disasters and exclude her from the happy stuff.
Sorry, that should have read 'you'll end up like MY mother'.
She sounds like she's been a bit flakey for a while then. Maybe she always was but you were more willing to tolerate it in the past. I get that you feel hurt by the circumstances - and that's perfectly understandable - but there's not a lot you can do about how someone else feels and behaves, other than deciding to move on. Especially if you feel let down. It's not a nice sensation. (I avoid it by having very low expectations...)
I think you are overanalysing. They asked you to go out, you said no (because you're pregnant and didn't want to go to a 'rough pub'? Don't understand that, what's a rough pub? And what happens there that makes it 'obvious' a pregnant woman can't go?!) They also offered to pop round, to which you said no.
And now you've passive aggressively gone none contact.
Don't worry about it too much though, in a few months you'll have a baby and there will be plenty of opportunity to make new friends who are on the same path.
Just remember, don't rely on people to give back what you put it and dont take friendship too seriously. I could give or take any of my friends. My husband and family are the only people I truly rely on.
Well I certainly hadn't considered the possibility that I'd brought this on myself by trying to be a good friend I've obviously got the idea of friendship wrong all these years. I was brought up to believe that if you cared about someone you are there for them, that you try to help them when they need it. It never occurred to me that my relationship with my best friend was one sided because until a couple of years ago I had never really needed any support.
I do have a wonderful partner now and we have a very mutually supportive relationship. And like you say very shortly I will be very busy with the baby. I've already accepted that my best friend doesn't want to be part of that.
I guess I just wanted to reassure myself that I wasn't being unreasonable but it seems I am
A rough pub is on where there at regular punch ups and the odd stabbing. I tend to avoid them even when not pregnant... I'm more of a quiet ale pub type, you know, the kind where the only time trouble kicks off is when some old chaps dog manages to steal someone's packet of crisps
I don't think you're in the wrong in any way here, she sounds like a needer.
I have one, and she's actually a lot better now but for years it was all her problems, and disasters, but if I had any issue it was quickly glossed over and straight back to her problems.
You do one of two things..
A) go no contact until SHE contacts YOU.. which you've discovered can take quite some time, but no doubt she will be in touch when another disaster strikes, unless you've already been replaced.
B) accept her as she is, expect nothing from her, and carry on, but change your expectations of the friendship and change how you react to her. Don't drop everything every time she needs you but still be a listening ear, or even try to give her what she gives you.
Either way, if you stay friends try to find someone else who will support you when you have problems, as she's not the person for the job.
It's a case of accepting her as she is, or cutting her out.
She may be jealous of your new relationship and/or pregnancy, I wouldn't be surprised if she's 'woe is me' at anyone who'll listen at the fact that you're not there for her anymore.
I think in my case I stopped expecting anything from her, and for some reason this kick started her into being a nicer more caring person!
Thanks, nice to hear someone else's experience.
I'm happy not to expect much from her. I know she's flakey and if it was just that she didn't support me when I needed it I would just brush it off. Unfortunately I think you may be right about the jealousy, she lost interest in socialising not when I went through a tough spot (then she just wasn't a supportive) but when I found a stable relationship.
One of my RL friends suggested that she saw me as a boyfriend substitute so when I actually found someone it was like a brake up. Another who knows both of us said something similar, that I was her "girly side-kick" and she didn't like having to share me... Now I really am over analysing!
Either way, the more I think about it the more I think that getting back in contact would just be flogging a dead horse. I can try to maintain contact as much as I like but I think the only thing I'll get out of it is disappointment as I just don't think she can be bothered anymore.
By the way, I suppose I should mention that over the past decade or so I've seen her do this to half a dozen people. One minute she's best friends and spending loads of time with them, the next she's bad mouthing them to her friends and avoiding them while telling them how much she misses them and needs to see them more when she does see them.
I didn't approve but it was none of my business and we were so close that it never occurred to me that she would do it to me live and learn.
I've gone through this with my "Bestie". She was extremely needy and manipulative. When I first got to know here, she was going through a lot of psychological trouble and I was there for her ever. step. of. the. way. If she called at 2am and needed someone to cry with? I was there. If she needed to get away for a weekend and party? I was there. If she needed someone to wash her dishes because she couldn't find the time to do so? I was there. She would also do this thing where she would invite me on a lavish trip and say either herself or her parents (she comes from old money) would pay for everything, and I would agree, only to be asked to pay for half of everything after the trip was over. If I protested, she would refute herself offering to pay for everything and accuse me of trying to take advantage of her.
Then I hit a rough patch. Everything in my life was crumbling around me. I thought she would be there in the same was I was for her, but she wasn't. If I went to her house to rant and unwind, it would still end up being all about her, and she would berate me for "being so negative".
I had a great talk with my mother about it -- one of those where she said some truths that were hard to hear. "WHY are you her friend? Is it because you don't want to lose your attachment to her? What are YOU gaining? How does she make YOU feel? Keeping a bad friend around just because you don't want to lose a friend is a horrible idea, and she WILL keep using you."
So, I stopped contacting her (my friend, not my mom lol). I busied myself with other tasks and new friends. For the longest time it seemed like she forgot I even existed. On the rare occasion she did call or invite me out, I was genuinely busy with other things. We didn't speak for about a year, until she moved back home and she messaged me out of the blue.
Now, we talk almost every day, and I would still consider her one of my best friends. But I don't do things for her, and I don't ask her to do things for me. It's easier to "not do" since we live so far away, which I think is key. So, maybe not give up on her as a friend... but rather just put her back into your stranger pool for awhile. Like you've done with the NC. Evaluate yourself and what you were getting out of the friendship, if anything. Drift away... and think of her fondly. And if you two happen to drift back, then so be it. If not, then so be it, too.
I think you should reflect on your boundaries in the relationship, eg why you continued to do so very much for her over a long period of time at your inconvenience when it became clear this would not be reciprocated.
You don't say whether you enjoy her and mutual friends' company and still get positive things from the friendship. If you do, you might be able to adjust the boundaries. Either way it'd be good to seek new friendships during your maternity leave!
Duck the reason that I do or did so much for my friend is because she was my best friend and I obviously wrongly assumed that if I ever needed anything she would be there for me. It honestly never occurred to me that the relationship was all one sided.
Yes, I did enjoy the company of my friend (less so the mutual friend) however as soon as I went through the rough patch the dynamic changed. Up until that point we would chat regularly and go to events and gigs together, after that point she started cancelling plans at the last minute, and conversation became very strained. It became so that I was nearly always the initiator and if the conversation wasn't about her she would end it or just stop replying to text etc. To my face on the one or two occasions I have seen her since then she has been gushing about how we need to spend more time together but I also have very good reason to believe that behind my back she's been quite nasty.
Anyway, it doesn't really matter. Starting this topic has made me realise that this really isn't a healthy relationship anymore. We're in very different places in our lives and I no longer "fit" with my friends. I think perhaps I may even make them feel uncomfortable because I've chosen a lifestyle that they have all chosen not to lead (and are quite scathing of). I've always been happier having quite a small group of friends and it is a shame to end up losing pretty much all of them in one go but I'm just going to walk away as there's no point chasing after people who haven't brought me anything but frustration and sadness for a very long time.
i dont think youve done anything wrong, but i think youve just grown apart, ive recently stopped speaking to my best friend whom id been there for through everything as she had a very rough, troubled upbringing. things got so bad for her that when we were in our teens her mum kicked her out for the 100th time and as usual she came straight to our house and ended up living with us for over 2 years. but after a completely out of the blue explosive argument that she started for no reason, we no longer speak.
youve just got to take it and as harshly as it sounds, get over it, if shes not being a good friend and cant be there for you like you have for her, then she isnt a friend, and she wont be someone that you need in your life.
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