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Toxic friend?

(24 Posts)
StickyTick Thu 09-Nov-17 21:59:28

This sounds a bit left field so I just wanted others advice and to see if they could identify with this ....
Aibu to dislike the affect a close friend (of 20 years) has on me because we meet up every 2-3 months, and while her life is orderly (stable job, no partner, no kids, lovely home), mine is chaos ... I 've had a series of stressy jobs, a mad alcoholic mother, two autistic children, MIL with dementia ...
Anyway, we always get chatting, and she offers lots of "hollow" sounding sympathy ... it's as if she's living thru my problems, and she needles me so much with her questioning, like she wants me to talk more about the negative in my life than the positive. I end up starting the evening looking forward to seeing her, and end up feeling very down, exhausted and the last time we met I was even in tears. It's just that she seems interested, but then behaves like she hasn't fully understood, won't necessarily remember all the details the next day, and gets me to pour my heart out, only for me to wonder later ... why ?

BeccaAnn Thu 09-Nov-17 22:06:30

sounds odd, can you meet in as a group of people so you're not the focus of the 'interview'. Maybe she thinks shes helping by 'getting it all out in the open'.

Its a tough one. x

Sarahjconnor Thu 09-Nov-17 22:09:11

Have you tried saying that you don't want to talk about it and asking her if she's seen any good films recently? Maybe she's socially inept and attempting sympathy, maybe she's a bit of an emotional vampire - whatever - if she doesn't offer good advice and boost you up then nip it in the bud.

happinessischocolate Thu 09-Nov-17 22:10:14

Sounds like she sees your life like she sees an episode of eastenders.

You need to take more control of the conversation or arrange to meet up in a busy pub so conversation is limited.

StickyTick Thu 09-Nov-17 22:14:32

I've tried the "I don't want to talk about it", and that has lead to a bit of an awkward silence ... but you're right ... it feels exactly like an interview or a session on a psych's couch ... one of the less helpful psychs who just listen and make grunting noises when appropriate ... I'm probably being unfair ... although, last time I was on the phone to her, and even my husband could hear that her curiosity was leading towards the negative angle on each issue ... I just think that we've got into a very bad habit with each other ...

wobblywonderwoman Thu 09-Nov-17 22:15:26

Some people are joy suckers. I had to end things with a long term friend for similar reasons. I just think she liked that I was single, she gave me lots of advice .. She lapped it up. It was a superiority thing.

KC225 Thu 09-Nov-17 22:16:04

Are you sure she is toxic, it doesn't sound as if she's gloating. Perhaps it's her way of being supportive. If you see someone evrey 2-3 months they may be a little fuzzy on the details. You're a friend, not an exam paper.

Nowadays, it's quite refreshing when people encourage you to talk about your life, mostly people want talk about themselves. If you don't want to share details with her just say 'oh I don't want to talk about that, I need a break from it all' But then again if you feel it's run its course.

StickyTick Thu 09-Nov-17 22:21:15

Thanks happinessischocolate I have wondered if she gets something from living thru my many mini disasters ... she often ends up laughing at me in group situations ... nothing too obvious, just at little things like when I turned up at her party in a too hot, woolly dress and leggings, and everyone else was in floaty summer cotton ... it really doesn't help that over the past 15 yrs I've given up some great jobs to be a sahm and this has wobbled my confidence...

StickyTick Thu 09-Nov-17 22:25:23

I think she does sincerely think she is helping ... you're right x but then, she joined us on holidays and started taking sides with my OH?

StickyTick Thu 09-Nov-17 22:27:16

I'd really like to find a constructive way of breaking our ongoing reruns of past evening "chats". Maybe, I should suggest we play scrabble ????wink

maddening Thu 09-Nov-17 22:45:29

So when you say you don't want to talk about something and get to an awkward silence do you then offer conversation- asking about her? About her job, what she finds interesting etc? Perhaps you have got in to a conversation rut as you have less in common? Perhaps doing events or activities will ignite the common interest and other conversation.

MistressDeeCee Thu 09-Nov-17 22:52:03

she needles me so much with her questioning

Why put yourself through it? You don't HAVE to meet up with her. Some people thrive on others' troubles. Either to feel better about their own life, or to smugly feel they've done better than you. A good bit of nosiness in there too.

Life is short. Please don't waste it by actively being with people who upset you. Make excuses and let the friendship fade

TalkinBoutWhat Thu 09-Nov-17 23:14:41

Did you post about her joining you on holiday? It rings a bell.

StickyTick Fri 10-Nov-17 08:04:41

No ... this is the first time I've mentioned it

AtrociousCircumstance Fri 10-Nov-17 08:11:59

Don’t waste your time spending time with someone who drains you and upsets you. You’ve woken up to the negative consequences of this connection enough to post here - so you do need to act.

There is no reason to stay stuck with her, she’s not your child.

Peachyking000 Fri 10-Nov-17 08:17:13

I have a friend a bit like this. Every single time we meet up she says things like “Oh I can’t believe how you work so hard, I dont know how you do it, it must be awful for you never having any free time, you put me to shame, you must never get to spend time with your DC.” The thing is though, we both do the same job (different companies, same city), and we both work 25-30 hours a week, so not exactly back-breaking. I honestly think she does it to make herself feel better.

StickyTick Fri 10-Nov-17 09:14:47

It is weird isn't it ...

TathitiPete Fri 10-Nov-17 10:01:53

I wonder if maybe she would deep down like a husband, kids and a messy house and she very much wants to hear from you all about any and all the bad bits so that she can console herself with the reality that the grass isn't nothing but green on the other side. Whether she's actively seeking this out or it's somewhat subconscious. Only you know if this is potentially possible or if it's hugely off the mark.

LondonGirl83 Fri 10-Nov-17 10:06:04

I think you are projecting motives on your friend that may not be there. She probably is just trying to be sympathetic. Just tell her talking about your problems brings you down and ask her about herself. People ask because they want you to know they care but everyone also gets it can be really hard to talk about troubles. If she doesn't respect this once you've said as much then let the friendship go but 20 year friendships can't be recreated and you should make more effort to change the dynamic you've both created.

DB22 Fri 10-Nov-17 10:11:07

michaelnichols.org/frenemy/ I posted this yesterday after finding it whilst mulling over a tricky friendship I have. Does any of it ring true? It really helped me identify why I was feeling uncomfortable with this person. Other, she could be thinking she's being a good friend by offering you a chance to talk. Or she could be a 'dementor', as I a joy sucker. My much loved mum. Is like that, she clamps on to any sign of negativity so I constantly have to play things up.

Butteredparsn1ps Fri 10-Nov-17 10:11:39

Have an extended family member like this. Needs to know the ins and outs of everything. DH and I are quite competitive about outwitting her.

As an example, her texts are usually made up of multiple questions. Being socialised to be polite, we used to try to answer them. Now we answer the first question only and ask multiple questions ourselves back. I’m afraid it’s become quite a fun sport grin

DB22 Fri 10-Nov-17 10:11:40

I despair of spell check on my phone

Sweetpea55 Fri 10-Nov-17 10:12:00

Maybe she wants to know Al the nitty gritty because it makes her feel smug

LuckyBitches Fri 10-Nov-17 10:35:28

Hmm. I used to be a bit like your friend, espcially when I was training as a counsellor! I now think it's that encouraging people to talk about painful things can be really intrusive. If she's like me then it may be because she doesn't like talking baout herself. Are you giving her any cues OP, such as 'I don't want to talk about that'?

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