to consider ending this friendship?(48 Posts)
(sorry, this is really long... well done and thank you if you manage to read through it all)
Lots of background here and I will try to keep it succinct.
Friend and I have known each other for more than 10 years, since uni days. We were very close for many years and she has been like a big sister to me for the first few years of our friendship. Around 8 years ago she really helped me out by letting me stay at her place for a good week, when I was trying to get rid of an abusive bf. She was both practically and emotionally very supportive at the time and I will always be grateful for that.
The problem is that I think she measures everything she gives and then requires equal amounts of gratitude in return. She always needs to be the one in charge/in the powerful position. This is particularly difficult because my mother has a similar issue and it took me years of therapy to disentangle that toxic relationship.
For example, she has not once in the last 8 years attended my birthday party or got me a present. There is always another birthday, or her sister's show, or a trip abroad (etc.) that is more important. She has sent a card once or twice for Christmas which was lovely.
For my 30th, she said that she couldn't come to my party (she lives a 3 hour drive away and said it wasn't worth just coming for the weekend). Her reasoning was that she'd rather invite me to her place the following weekend, take me out for a meal as a treat, that sort of thing. So when I arrived at her house (I was heavily pregnant at the time but made the effort to travel up on the train), she kicked the weekend off by drinking an entire bottle of Champagne "in my honour" (as I wasn't drinking). We then went food shopping for the dinner she was going to cook for me, and at the till she asked me to pay half the bill. After the dinner, I said that I really fancied going out, sitting in a bar, just being out and doing something special (I had an 18 months old at home and hadn't been away from him since he was born). She didn't like the idea because she said we had "everything we needed" at her house (i.e. cigarettes, weed, alcohol). We did end up going but she was grumpy the whole evening.
I was also going through a bit of an emotional time during this visit, and she just wasn't able to listen to me. We did a lot of talking about her issues and problems (and her family's and friends' problems...), which I am usually very happy to do. On this particular occasion, however, I felt a bit resentful because I had hoped for a "treat" weekend and instead was made to feel like a bit of a burden to her...
On the latest visit, I drove up to see her for two days again. I wasn't pregnant, so was able to at least enjoy the Champagne this time! It was a nicer visit, also because I had adjusted my expectations and wasn't looking to find a listening ear. We talked a lot about her problems again (which was fine, I was happy to listen), and then I initiated a night out. We had a great time dancing, going to a few bars etc. The problem was that she hadn't brought any money with her, so I ended up paying for the cigarettes of which I smoked two and she kept the rest (and which she put in her bag as soon as I had handed over the 10 quid to the cashier ). I also paid for the entry to the club and the taxi home for both of us. She did have her card so paid for half of the drinks at the bar.
Again, although I had a fun time with her, I ended up feeling a bit resentful and taken advantage of.
The final straw came the next day, when I was back home and realised that I had left my gold necklace at hers. It is a very precious necklace with the names of my kids engraved in it. I asked her if she could post it to me, but she said she was too busy that whole week (week before Christmas, so I understand things are busy). So I asked a friend at work who has family near where she lives, and he said that she could just drop it off at their house ( a ten minute drive). Again, she said she was too busy. So I arranged for the friend to pick up the necklace from her house, but again she said she couldn't guarantee that she would be home at any particular time and she didn't want to commit. She suggested that she would bring me the necklace in person next time she came to visit, around April time. And surely I could wear "some other necklace" until then. I did tell her how precious that particular necklace was.
At that point I thought that maybe our friendship is just not worth it any more. We do have a nice time together, but I always feel that I can't quite be myself around her, and that she is quick to judge, offer "advice" which isn't really wanted and without listening to what I'm trying to say first.
Complicating factor: She has invited me and my family to her wedding this autumn. It's a 6 hour drive for us, two nights' stay in a hotel etc. We're not rich, so this is quite a big deal for us. In addition, due to some complications with her fiance's visa, the wedding might not actually happen in the end, and could be cancelled at a short notice, which means we would lose whatever deposit we would pay on our hotel/airbnb. Given how little effort she has made to come to my birthdays over the past decade or so, I am again feeling unsure if I want to do all of this for her. And I don't want to go to her wedding feeling resentful about her. So I'm considering not going, but I'm aware that this would mean the end of our friendship.
I just don't know what to do. Clearly she is making me feel bad at times, and I'm aware that she is touching a sensitive spot because she can be so similar to my mother in some ways. At the same time, she can be very generous (although her generosity sometimes seems like a bit of an ego trip, if you see what I mean) and when she came to my wedding she filmed large chunks of the day and then put together a beautiful video for us.
She herself comes from a really messed up family, where she was always made to feel like she isn't good enough. She doesn't seem to acknowledge this at all though, and always fiercely defends her mother in particular (who I think is extremely toxic and egocentric). I keep hoping that once she resolves these family issues, a lot of the bitterness and selfishness that I see in her would dissipate and I would be left with the loving and fun friend I know she can also be.
Shall I keep waiting for her to change? Lower my expectations as to what this friendship can offer? Or just count my losses and finish the friendship?
And: should I go to this wedding, or should I not?
i cut my loses with this friendship about 10 lines in tbh, you feel undermined, taken advantage of, where is the fun. loyalty and love in the 'friend' seems to be missing.
it's run it's course, i think you need to distance, there are plenty of people who would love to be friends with you, you've just not met them yet.
Keep badgering her about the necklace. She'll eventually get so snotty about you going on about it that it'll come back to you.
Of course she could get so snotty about it that she cools on you.
(Don't go to her wedding - be as good at making excuses as she is)
there are plenty of people who would love to be friends with you, you've just not met them yet
Thank you pip, that is really kind . I do have other friends. Not loads, but I'm very happy with the bunch I do have and I was never someone with a large group of mates around her. I feel like I can very much be myself with my other friends, hence the feeling that something is wrong with this particular friendship.
It's just that I feel so sad for all the years we have been friends and all the good times we've had. I keep hoping that perhaps there is something I can say to her or do that would save this.
meant to add there seems to be a lot of negative things going on, personal matters, financial and tbh you seem to be pulling away already, please do not feel bad about it, you need to do what is right for you and what makes you happy. yes, she has lots of problems but she's not your project to fix and it will drag you down in the end.
step back for a moment and ask yourself what advice would you give to me if i was posting this aibu ?
you feel said because there has been a lot invested in the friendship over the years, so this is like a breavement, the friendship has pretty much died already but you need to go through the grieving process of denial, anger, sadness and the rest of it. you say you have some good friends, enjoy them and let them help heal and look forward to lots more fun times with them.
I think ideally, I would just cool the friendship now. Maybe tell her how upset I was about her reaction regarding the necklace and how I felt it showed how little she was able to empathise with my side of things etc.
But announcing that I won't be coming to her wedding seems so drastic, and somehow a bit cruel. I feel awful. She has had a lot of resistence regarding her choice of partner from her family (the visa issue, they are sceptical). I wouldn't want to add to her feeling bad about her wedding. Somehow I still feel like I owe her something. Or that she needs me.
I realise that neither of those is a good enough reason to stay friends.
Thanks pip. You are giving me a lot to think about. Interesting that you mention bereavement and grieving. I actually recognise some of these stages already. I had anger a few weeks ago. Now it's mostly sadness.
sorry i've hijacked your thread but i do feel for you as i've been in a similar situation and came out the other side thinking why did i waste all that energy worrying about it ? [wanders off to make coffee and stop yaddering]
Tbh, if you're at the stage where you are totting up the times she's been a crap friend, I think it sounds like you're better off withdrawing somewhat and seeing how much of an effort she wants to put into continuing the friendship. (Get your necklace back first though!)
The wedding sounds unreasonably expensive unless you will enjoy yourselves, and the fact that it is not a definite would put me off completely. I'd plead poverty on that one.
pip feel free to hijack some more! You clearly have some insights that I lack, so why not . Enjoy your coffee and thanks again.
I'm not sure whether my advice will be of help, as in many ways I am very similar to yourself from what I have just read, but I just wanted to write to you. Firstly, I think the important thing here is that you really acknowledge the similarities between the relationship you had with you mum and the parts of your relationship with your friend that feel similar. I have similar with my family and almost identical with a friend.. that is quite spooky. But yet I stay with her, no matter how bad I feel. So this suggests to me that there is something in this situation for both of us that we are not willing to let go of yet, we are both holding on to the part of the relationship in which we feel 'less than'. Does that make sense? But, I'm sure you know, that that is so much rubbish. And, I wonder if perhaps although you have had a lot of therapy, perhaps you friend has not and she is projecting her family hurt onto you. But you are worth more than that. You are clearly a lovely person and you want to see the best in her, but you may have to find a way to step away for now, because she is being unkind to you and doesn't seem to place the same value on your friendship. I don't know if you should go to the wedding, what do you really feel like doing?
She says she would post the necklace this week. Fingers crossed.
god, i'm like a dog with a bone today , please do not feel bad about not going to the wedding, you do not owe her anything! you sais yourself it's a long journey and then there's the cost overall.
the visa bit worries me, sounds like a marriage of convenience, but that is not your problem. your problem is you come across as a nice person who doesn't like to upset people but your 'friend' does not think of you in a nice way does she ?
good for you that you say you are removing yourself from her [like the final fantasy XV name my dd2 is HUGE fan]
It sounds like the relationship is very one-sided in your friend's favour and most of what you have described is on 'her terms' (e.g. not wanting to come to your house to visit, missing your birthday parties, paying for cigs & taxis). These scenarios wouldn't be so bad if she paid half her share on another occasion but (from what you've described), this doesn't occur. Also, not returning the necklace is just plain laziness and a mean thing to do.
Some relationships do unfortunately peter out, which is sad as it sounds like you & your friend have had some good times in the past. I guess it depends on how much you want to maintain a 'face-to-face' relationship with her (opposed to a text, social media only relationship).
To be honest, in scenarios like this you have to put your foot down and say 'come on, it's your turn to pay (e.g.) the cab fare'. You can say it in a jokey but serious manner. Otherwise some people will take advantage of your good nature (unfortunately).
Re: her wedding. I would wait for 100% confirmation it's going ahead before booking accommodation, etc. Could just you & your partner attend (to cut costs)?
As others have said, you deserve better friends!
hope you get the necklace ok, let's hope she sticks to that agreement otherwise try not to engage too much with her.
It sounds like the friendship has run its course lalunya. I don't think she will change and if her behaviour is reminiscent of poor behaviour from your mother, then it might be healthier for you to detach from her. It may be that over time you've begun to see her patterns of behaviour better or perhaps she's changed over time and the relationship has become unbalanced. Relationships evolve and change over time and people change. She sounds a bit controlling especially over your treasured necklace. I'd be sure to get the necklace back and then disengage, slowly if you like. When is she like to know for sure about husband to be's visa?
I keep hoping that perhaps there is something I can say to her or do that would save this
There's nothing you can do. Sometimes you just have to accept and walk away.
Is it possible to just accept that friendships change and acknowledge all she has done for you in the past but that now you are in different places and so the friendship needs to change too? Then you can be more clear about what you do want from a friendship and what you don't. Some of the things you mention are not bad like sharing costs when you are her guest- I would expect to be allowed to pay for a meal if a friend is playing host for example. But it is her expectation that you will pay x or y that is wrong. Maybe by looking at the friendship needing to change rather than needing to end you could see a way forward ? Yes she needs to offload but you do too. But does she feel you spent the time when dealing with your abusive ex being focussed on you and not her so now it is her turn? I don't know.
I worry that your previous relationship experiences have led you to believe the only options are to cut and run or keep things as they are when really a healthy relationship should be able to change with the time and according to the people's needs and lives. I see no reason why this friendship can't do that given the chance.
kettle going on NOW ! laluna, will catch up with you later today and see how you are, best wishes, pip.
And wrt the wedding can you book through booking.com with free cancellation and a decent price?
I tend to view friendships in very simple and mercenary terms: what do I get out of it? There are some friends who I stay in contact with coz they make me laugh, others who are good in an emotional situation, others who are useful for a good night out etc....Does she enhance your life at all? If not, then move on.
I too would cool it- keep going on at "friend" about the necklace, see how she reacts and that will hopefully give you a strategy to disengage.
The key is whether or not you are prepared for any potential confrontation - either have it out with her then move on, or as "friend" becomes wrapped up in wedding plans you may find you start to drift further apart anyway, especially as you spend time with your other friends. I wouldn't attend the wedding, be honest and say you can't afford to lose the money if the worst happens and it doesn't go ahead.
You may feel like you still owe this "friend" but it sounds like the balance has been redressed over the years, and she is just too self absorbed to realize how her behaviour is pushing you away. You can't make her change her attitude, but losing you might give her that wake up call.
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