to consider binning my friend? And possibly a bit judgey about his life choices...(22 Posts)
I have name changed for this as it is potentially a little identifying. And quite long so I'm sorry.
I am fed up of being annoyed with my friend. DP says I should just leave it now, "put the friendship in the bin" and move on so I'm not annoyed any more. I am less sure. Here is back story so I don't drip feed...
My closest friend is a bloke who I met on the first day of university. There has NEVER been anything romantic between us. When we first met I thought he was a bit of a drip and didn't like him at all, but we soon became inseparable. We were on the same professional course and went through a lot together. He never had much luck with the ladies. I have been with my DP since early university and they know each other well.
After uni we stayed close despite moving to different cities. He ended up working in the exact same professional field as me, though took longer to decide so he's a bit behind me now professionally. I ended up with a bit of a "mentoring" role unofficially.
A few years ago he met a girl that I wasn't a fan of. Long story short, he married her. She is very indecisive, shy to the point of being actively rude, and essentially doesn't have anything to say for herself. I am an introvert but even 1:1 conversation is limited to one-word answers. They were married at the end of last summer and in the lead-up he was groomzilla. He organised everything. I was going through a lot at the time including a house move, a challenging new job and a miscarriage. No support was offered re this. Every conversation we had was about his wedding or his work (with me advising).
I thought it would go back to normal after the wedding but I still haven't got my friend back. Most recently I have again been a sounding board for work issues. He is due to sit some professional qualifications without which he can't progress in the field. But he has to travel away for courses for this, his wife gets upset when he's not there and so he can't sit the exams. I think this is ridiculous and have told him so.
Every time I hear from him it's about this, he hasn't asked after me in months except when I've been blatant about it (e.g. one of DP's family members died and I had to literally say "we are really sad" to get him off-topic re work) and I think I just feel a bit used.
I'd be sad to not be his friend any more as we were/are so close, but I can't be doing with the irritation I feel every time he gets in touch with me either!!
TLDR: closest friend married someone I don't really like, made me help him with all the decisions pre-wedding and uses me as his career adviser, doesn't show any interest in my life and I CBA any more really. DP says to cut off contact and bin him, I am less sure.
Tell me what to do, MN!
Just take a step back and don't be so available. It doesn't have to be as black and white as "binning". I'm sure he'll calm down and be more like his old self in time.
I think you're being mean about his girlfriend and slightly judgmental. Perhaps she suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder? I have a lot of social anxiety and I'm not rude. I just worry that I'm going to embarrass myself or the person with judge me negatively. YAB a bit U. She might not be rude, she could just be unwell and she can robably sense that you dislike her.
It's become one of those friendships where the dynamic has become wonky and unbalanced. You'll either have to ditch him or address it directly.
(Btw - I had a uni friend very similar who married someone also very similar to how you describe his wife. He lasted a few years until he suddenly ditched her for someone much younger who fawned over him.)
Next time you talk to him say 'gah! I'm sick of shop talk, I've been up to my ears at work and need.to talk about other things with a friend or I'll go mad. Have you seen x,y or z lately' or perhaps just 'I really can't think of work right now I'm down because of x,y and z'
If he won't take the hint begin the binning process.
I agree with💙IJust tell him you don't want to talk about it. He seems a bit domineering and needs to be told not everything is about him.
I'd be a bit worried about him if his wife is basically using her mental health to top him leaving town! Or do you think this is an excuse?
I am in a very similar situation, with a friend who uses me to offload all his problems, which is exhausting, yet never asks how I am. I'd be honest with your friend. Tell him how exhausting all of this is and though you still want to support him with his career, you have a lot on your plate at the moment and need a bit of mental space.
Of course, I don't practice what I preach.... But my friend at the moment is going through some very difficult personal stuff and I know has no one else he can talk to. He also suffers with depression so I know I need to be there for him at the moment. But if it was slightly less traumatic stuff, such as work, then I would say I needed a bit of head space. He may get the message!
I'm not sure, Barbarian - he's only been to visit me once in my new house (about 100 miles away from him) and she didn't come, but he left early because she "couldn't cope alone".
I have asked re GAD/SAD or a mood disorder terrier (I have worked in MH in the past and have a bit of knowledge) as that was my initial thought too- but he says no. Though maybe he just wants to keep it private.
justlost that's a good idea- I've sort of tried it in the past but if I say no work it always went to wedding and vice versa. Maybe need to be more forceful.
I don't want to be a child though and say "but what about meeeeee"!
I should mention he's my DD's godfather, but seldom asks after her. He's not a huge fan of either children or religion so it was probably a silly choice though.
He's being a prat, and I don't know about binning but definitely dial back the friendship if it is giving you grief. It's a shame that he could not support you when you needed his friendship.
Being charitable to him, it could be that he sees it as you not needing his emotional support now that you have a husband. I've got friends who are long-term single/never had much luck with dating etc it seems like there's something missing about how their understanding of those relationships and the dynamics with people who aren't in them, even after they've met their life partners. Their understanding seems to catch up after lagging behind.
Regarding his wife, I think it's hard once you get into that dynamic. I've been so shy I've come across as rude and aloof in my life, and had people take against me because of it. She can tell, and if she cares she probably feels like she can't do anything right. But then again, her behaviour comes across as rude, because, well it is!
Two issues here. With the work, feeling used and him not being interested in your life YANBU. But I think if he is as good a friend as you say you should be able to tell him how you feel about this and that you feel like your relationship has become all about you helping with him work and it doesn't feel like a two way street anymore.
Re his wife YABU. It can be very difficult getting married to someone with a long standing female friend and it does sound like she is a shy anxious person. You shouldn't let that influence your decision whatever it is.
I have no advice but in a similar situation - male friend from 6th form days talks only about himself or what directly interests him and seldom even says the words "how are you?". And I'm sad about it because we were so close and have so much (platonic) history and he didn't used to be like this. I've dithered a lot about calling him on it - pointing out it's all one way. It's hard - I don't envy you. And it's easy for others to say walk away, but when you have memories of better times and know what the person used to be like, it's not that straightforward. You keep hoping the nice old friend will re-emerge.
Next time you are talking, ask him for help with a problem you are having, nothing serious now, and see if he is bothered to help you.
If he changes the subject, just say 'you are always talking about yourself you know' and see what happens.
Sounds like a one sided friendship, he is all take.
Why does the friendship have to be all or nothing? so he's got a wife ur not very keen on who is now his priority (I don't like most of my friends dp's) and he talks about himself too much (I suspect that's true of a lot of people) - you don't have to ditch him as a friend just be aware of who he is and accept that you are not going to have the kind of friendship you had when you were single and at uni. he probably leaned on u more then as he didn't have a gf - he obviously doesn't need that level of attention from u anymore. Things change and they will change again when/if he has kids I'm sure.
Also, I know plenty on here will disagree but I think ur a bit mad to expect a married man to be there for you the same way a female friend would, asking you about your misscarriage etc. (maybe he thinks you wouldn't want to talk about that and the death in your family)?
Oh, this would drive me potty! You don't have to like or not like his wife and any issues if shyness or anxiety are between them. BUT if he has made his decision to stonewall his professional development and therefore his career in order to prioritise his wife's inability to let him out of the home, then it is completely unreasonable to expect you to keep up your mentoring role. In the absence of any other more rewarding aspects of the friendship.
It sounds as if you have been his rescuer, a bit, rescuing him from himself, and he doesn't see that you might want or need anything back.
See him and do the brush off thing about work, maybe progress to saying 'to be honest, friend, it can feel a bit exhausting meeting up with you, I need to unload some of my stuff for a change' (or just 'actually I need to talk to you about my stuff, if that's ok' ) and if that doesn't work, ease your way out,
When you were close friends, what was it that you got out of the relationship?
"I'd be sad to not be his friend any more as we were/are so close"
You were close. You are no so close now.
I think you are confusing an old friend with a good friend. And he is confusing you with a tutor/therapist.
This friendship died some time ago. You just need to acknowledge that, and stop mentoring you. I'd bet good money that one you stop helping him work-wise, he'll stop calling .
Don't answer his calls/msgs for a bit, just wait a day or 2 then reply generically like "sorry, things are really busy here and can't talk at the mo, hope you're well!" - hopefully that will be transparent enough for him to see you're getting fed up.
I think you're right Blu- you've hit the nail on the head about what's annoying me about the work stuff. How can I mentor him if he won't even listen!?
We used to have a lot of fun as we have similar interests- particularly books and politics. We're different politically but would have these really interesting discussions. Plus we were always giving each other new books to read. In many ways it's been a lovely friendship because we talk so little about other people (except family- similar issues we helped each other with) and I am not a big gossiper and can sometimes feel my female friends are quite gossipy.
I have tried the going quiet but he just keeps ringing. We had got into the habit of phone conversations when we were both on our way home from work and since I've changed job I work later now, but he still tries. I often just let it ring out and whatsapp him much later to say sorry I'm only just leaving.
To be honest I suspect he's maybe not that happy with his wife- I know he felt very pressured into the marriage and he was extremely anxious on the day and in the run up, and he often uses her as a reason he's not doing things in a martyr-y way. I feel like as a good friend I should just be gentle and wait for him to bring this up- but again it is quite frustrating.
And EarlGrey I nursed him (along with my heroic DP) when he was very unwell with an extremely embarrassing illness that his then-fiance "couldn't handle" at the time.... so there are no secrets between us anyway!
I would email him and be honest.
You have been a crappy friend to me. You take but never give. You want all my support but are never there to support me and dont seem to care about any of the things in my life that i have struggled with where i could really use a friend.
We cant carry on like this. I feel used.
He will either realise that he's been selfish and try to make amends
Or he will react like he's the victim and you can just ditch him.
If going quiet hasn't worked then you need to full on ignore. He's using you as a crutch for the issues in his marriage and possibly inadvertently prolonging them. Temporarily cutting him out may be the only thing that will make him address his marriage & work etc AND is the best chance at getting your old friend back. You've not said why you're not a fan of his wife - is it just the shyness? If she knows you don't like her that may have a bearing on their marriage too I'm afraid.
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