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To think the MN/AIBU definition of "friend" does not resemble actual friendship?

(20 Posts)
PageStillNotFound404 Sat 09-Apr-16 06:14:21

I've lost count of how many threads I've read which start out with the OP asking if they or their friend is BU. Then over the course of the thread more and more negative information is written about the "friend" until you're left with the impression that the OP would find hanging out with Pol Pot, Hitler, Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump a pleasant change.

If threads in here are to believed there seems to be a worrying number of MNers who think that friendship involves being let down, lied to, taken advantage of, insulted, stolen from, gossiped about or generally treated poorly as a matter of course, without ever stopping to think "hang on, why am I still considering this person a friend?"

(An interesting - and, I'm sure, completely coincidental wink - phenomenon I've observed is that often the friend's true colours aren't revealed until after a majority of posters have suggested that the OP is the one BU.)

FelicityR313 Sat 09-Apr-16 06:16:20

I think a lot of people confuse the term acquaintance with friend.

Buzzardbird Sat 09-Apr-16 06:16:58

I've missed something, obviously? 😉

nanetterose Sat 09-Apr-16 06:26:12

I think l've missed something too.
You are right though. Some people put up with way too much.

WaitingForMe Sat 09-Apr-16 06:28:47

It's rather like being in an abusive relationship. I can't imagine many women fall for a nasty bastard; I certainly got sucked in by charm and my ex's abusive was slow to get started.

I was reading a thread on Mumsnet and realised it'd happened again but with a "friend." I cut her off pretty damn quickly. More recently still I was talking to a wonderful friend and she said I seemed upset that another "friend" was still friends with my ex. I said that it felt like the abuse was doubted or minimised. She just nodded and gave my hand a squeeze. Cue the dawning realisation that a friend wouldn't do that.

I'm good now but I'm clearly a bit wobbly on boundaries over time.

PageStillNotFound404 Sat 09-Apr-16 06:37:12

Buzzardbird, you mean you've never seen the threads that follow this sort of pattern:

OP: AIBU to be really hurt/annoyed by something my closest friend did/said?
OP: I should have mentioned, friend also did/said [this].
MN: Hmm, possibly. Do they have previous for this?
OP: Not really. Maybe. A little bit.
MN: Nope, you're still BU.
OP: But...but...they once stomped on my kitten, called my DS ugly and never paid back the £50,000 I loaned them.
MN: In that case, why are you friends with this person?
OP: We're not really that close. I only see them twice a year.
MN: So not your closest friend then? YABU.

Buzzardbird Sat 09-Apr-16 06:41:24

grin probably.

I must admit, as I get older I have become more lenient about friends 'quirks'.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 09-Apr-16 06:44:25

I think it's in RL too. People call other people their 'friend' when I know I wouldn't use that word for them. More like 'someone I know' or something similar.

SeaMagic Sat 09-Apr-16 06:47:19

This has happened to me recently, someone I thought was a friend but have actually realised over time is actually not very nice or kind to me.

Sometimes it can be that you have fun with your 'friend', have things in common, spend a lot of time and share intimate details of your life with each other. This then feels like more than an acquaintance and you start to term that person a 'friend'.

However, in my situation, you also gradually come to realise that you are friends first and foremost through your children being friends and that your adult 'friend' actually doesn't seem to like you very much. But it happened gradually - i.e. being left out of events and cold shouldered at times and I couldn't work out if I had done something wrong, whether 'friend' was actually just going through a rough patch herself, whether she wanted a bit of distance from me.... Or whether she just wanted to socialise with other people for a bit.

Nothing wrong with that and entirely her right to spend her time with who she wanted but when 'friend' in essence excluded me from an important event in her life [fine, her choice] but then lied about it, leaving me to find out the hard way that I had been excluded I suddenly realised that this was not someone I wanted to call a friend anymore. Our children will still be friends and I will facilitate their meet ups as much as possible as they are still young but I do not want to socialise with 'friend' on her own anymore. She has now been downgraded to acquaintance in my eyes.

I have posted about this relationship before on MN and the frank and honest responses I had helped me to get my own feelings straight and see that 'friend' "just wasn't that in to me" tbh and that I didn't really need someone like that in my life.

I think female friendships can be very abusive at times actually but when you are involved in this it can be hard to see from the inside.

Believeitornot Sat 09-Apr-16 06:50:16

You're confusing AIBU/MN with a fair reflection of each experi nice of everyone who uses MN.

It would be like reading the daily mail and thinking that's a reflection of real life.

People are drawn to post because they've had an unusual experience which is bothering them.

Why would people post a mundane AIBU?

Believeitornot Sat 09-Apr-16 06:52:40

*experience not experi nice

Frickle Sat 09-Apr-16 07:03:29

YANBU.. I've thought this more often than I can count on here. As a non FB user, I have occasionally wondered whether the loose way 'friend' is used on FB has had an impact on the more traditional meaning of the word, which has come to mean 'someone I sort of know'., regardless of mutual closeness and behaviour.

carabos Sat 09-Apr-16 07:08:40

Agree with various PPs - "friend" has become shorthand for "someone I know". I think it's because if you like "someone you know", it seems nicer to describe them as a friend iyswim, but it doesn't make it so. Sometimes of course they turn into a friend, but not always - they just continue to be someone you know i.e. an acquaintance.

00100001 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:12:33

Did you just compare Katie Hopkins to POL POT????


fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:14:33

AIBU is generally just used by a lot of people to give an OP a kicking unless the person they are complaining about is really horrific in which case they will get the flaming.

PageStillNotFound404 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:18:09

I agree the definition of "friend" has become looser, and yes possibly some of that is the influence of Facebook terminology Frickle. But when an OP's POV is predicated on certain behaviour being unreasonable because of the closeness of the friendship, then over the course of the thread the "friend" is painted as less and less pleasant and/or the degree of friendship is described as progressively more distant in a fairly blatant attempt to sway sympathy and that all-important judgement of "YANBU" for the OP, it probably isn't just a matter of using an umbrella term.

PageStillNotFound404 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:21:29

They were the first four unpleasant (in different ways) personalities that sprang to mind, 00100001.

If Katie H is your best friend, I do apologise smile

curren Sat 09-Apr-16 07:29:42

I think sometimes people are pissed off about something small, or unreasonable but they don't realise that it's just the tip of iceberg, until they start posting.

I was pissed off with my mum this week. For something that isn't really her fault. When I say and thought about it. I am pissed off because, while what's happened isn't her fault, her behaviour and actions in recent months has put me in a position that makes life a lot harder.

Sometimes a poster is so desperate to be right, they drip feed a load of bullshit or exaggerated information to sound reasonable.

Sometimes people use 'friend' and actually mean person I vaguely know.

I do think there are a lot of friendships that are dysfunctional in RL. People being friends with people they don't really like, because it's convenient for example.

Yeahsure Sat 09-Apr-16 07:35:53

I agree with Felicity.

I also find it ridiculous when we have one of the many threads started by an OP saying she's being snubbed by a 'mum friend' or left out of an event, or said friend hasn't returned a text or invited her round etc etc. Posters pile on saying what a bitch this other woman is - it invariably gets hysterical quickly - and I'm just sitting there thinking 'umm they clearly just don't see you as a friend/close friend - it's not a crime'.

dudsville Sat 09-Apr-16 07:45:41

This gave me a giggle op! I've stopped going on to those threads, and when i do accidentally open one it gets closed as soon as I read "I'll add context so as not to drip feed" because I can guess. I think those threads might possibly be helpful to people but I don't want to be the one anymore, plenty on here are willing to help!

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