To give up on my cryptic friend?(33 Posts)
I have a friend who I'm very fond of and who I've known for almost a decade. She's always been a little bit mysterious in that she will appear and reappear after unexplained periods of silence, decline/cancel invitations without providing a reason or even disappear at events without warning. For example, at my engagement she offered to pick up my friend and go with her, but while there she left abruptly without telling my friend, leaving her without a way back home
For the reasons above many of our friends have essentially given up on her and stopped making an effort. She still gets invited to group events but there's little expectation she'll attend or even respond. But I've really persevered because she's a wonderful person and also because she has opened up to me over the years more so than the others e.g about a past abusive relationship she was in. She's also occasionally dropped hints about things going on in her life currently which leads me to suspect she is dealing with something quite terrible.
I've tried to be there for her in the limited way I can, which isn't easy as she refuses to tell me exactly what it is she's going through. But like our other friends I have been getting more and more frustrated at her vagueness, which came to a head last week when I invited a bunch of friends over for a farewell party before I left for overseas for an extended trip abroad. I especially went to the effort of messaging her privately rather than just sending a group message and she asked what time it was and other details before going silent on me when I asked if she was coming. She didn't let me know either way and then didn't show up, despite knowing we wouldn't see each other for a long time. When I messaged her afterwards asking why she didn't at least respond, she replied that she 'has a lot going on' and that it's 'very private and has been going on for years'. I reassured her, as I always do when she hints at things, that I was there if she ever wanted to talk, to which there was no response.
I feel like I'm reaching the end of the road here with her - I want to be a good friend but I don't see what else I can do and I'm also annoyed at her constant flakiness. AIBU to leave the ball in her court now? I feel bad because she really does seem to be dealing with some issues but it's difficult to keep making excuses when I have no idea what they are!
There's a very useful expression.
Fuck that shit.
Yeah. I get that she has issues, but it's not that hard to say "thanks for the invite, I can't make it".
Does she ever invite you to anything?
Have you ever wondered if “There is a lot going on that I don’t want to talk about” is code for “I got a better offer”?
I had a friend like this. After years of chasing after her and making an effort, I decided to take a seat back and leave the ball in her court. We haven’t spoken for over 2 years.
Could you just invite her to things where it doesn't really matter if she turns up or not (BBQs, casual drinks with a group, house parties etc)?
There is clearly no point making a special effort for her, or urging her tell you whatever she doesn't want to tell you (there may be nothing to tell), or getting irate if she's a no-show. But I see no reason to cut her off if you like her and she has always just been flaky. I would ignore the crypto-mysterious stuff.
I’d leave her to it. No need for a bust up but I wouldn’t go to any effort that wasn’t reciprocated.
just leave her to it. Yes id give up, but i wouldnt confront or anything. Shes not likely to change
I think it really depends. If she really does have stuff going on - perhaps mental health issues? I'd probably keep going as you are now - inviting her but not relying on her. If you think she's just being cryptic as an excuse for being flakey I probably would stop bothering.
@MeanTangerine she doesn't really initiate catching up but she does message me sometimes. Her messages are quite random and about unexplained things e.g 'do you know anyone from Canada?' with no context or explanation as to why she's asking!
I would be so annoyed I would have to say something.
I would have to say "I hope to meet up with you again once I return. But I will leave the ball in your court as often getting no response is disheartening. I will be thinking of you and hoping you're well."
Then your conscience is clear even if you never end up hearing from her again.
@justilou1 no I don't think it's that - we have a lot of mutual friends and they've mostly given up on her already although we all worry about her. She just doesn't seem to go out much at all or do anything other than work and go home (that I know of anyway).
I agree she may have a hidden health problem. It could be a mental health issue. Many sufferers feel there's still too much stigma attached and are fearful of telling anyone. This has been me sometimes and being "mysterious" has been unavoidable. Like your friend, people get the wrong impression from time to time, but I know at vulnerable times I'd have become very emotional if I even said the first thing about it, and "things going on" has been a way to try to put across that I'm struggling, but without giving all the awful details.
Yes, I would leave her to it. She knows you're there for her but I wouldn't keep chasing her. If is a depression issue it might just cause more anxiety for her. Just let her know you're there and leave it at that.
Some nasty replies.
Please don't give up on her.
She's said she has issues. She might have mental health problems, and be scared to tell you - it's not easy to disclose given the stigma. I know when I'm very depressed I can't even reply to friends, let alone get out - or I don't know how I'll be feeling on the day of a social event but don't necessarily feel ableto say that. I may say yes but need to cancel, which makes me feel awful so I tend to decline now. I may seem 'flaky'. Luckily I have a few true friends who get it.
Or she might be in an abusive relationship with a controlling jealous man who doesn't like her going anywhere without him, and reads her messages.
OP, do you ask her about these 'cryptic' statements that she has issues going on, and reassure her that you won't judge or gossip? She may have had bad experiences with 'friends'. Could you ask her to go for a coffee or lunch, or to yours for the same, less pressure than a big party etc. Maybe call, not message, so if she does have an abusive partner he won't know about any arrangements as there won't be messages to see.
Of course she might just be adick, but it's worth trying before you write her off.
I don't think you can do anything but leave her to it. Yes it could be a mental health issue, social anxiety or a dozen other reasons and of course she's not obliged to tell anyone but then people are not obliged to guess what it might be and make allowances based on that.
When someone is unable or unwilling to put their share of effort into maintaining a friendship then they have to accept that over time, friends may decide that the one way traffic nature of the friendship isn't working for them anymore and they stop trying.
She has issues. She's tried to tell you this but isn't ready to talk about it.
I wonder if she suffers from anxiety. if she won't confide in you and carries on like this, I think you have to distance yourself from her. You can't have a friendship with someone who behaves like this without explanation for years.
I don't think I'd give up, just take a bit of a step back, but I wouldnt make special arrangements for her or rely on her. If she is having a terrible time then it might still be a help to her, to know you are there and that she is still being invited out. It sounds like she is otherwise quite isolated.
I was wondering if it was down to a controlling man. She's at a 'do' when she gets the dreaded 'come home now or I'll kill myself' text and has to drop everything. And maybe, like a lot of abuse sufferers, she feels shame, or that she's somehow 'caused' it, so doesn't confess to others what's really going on?
Or, given the random messages, it could be a mental health issue.
Neither excuse her being an arse, leaving someone without a lift or not turning up without even a 'sorry, I can't' message. Maybe she's just not very good at social interactions on more than a one-to-one basis? I'd drop back the contact a little, Maybe message now and again to make sure she's all right, but stop inviting her to things. She doesn't come, anyway, by the sound of it. If she wants to open up to you, you can let her know you will listen.
Of course, if she's just an attention seeking arse, there's nothing you can do, but you won't be tieing yourself in knots wondering if she'll come to events.
I had a friend like this, and no one gave up on her, they wouldn't be friends if they had. Instead we all understood what she was like, and accepted it.
Your friend clearly has either a hidden health or mental health problem that she is not able to talk about with anyone. I would not take it personally about your farewell party, and accept that she will do this from time to time with good grace. You are healthy and well, you can find the compassion to be the bigger person.
We invite our friend to everything, we expect she will most likely bail out but the offer is always there. We don't make plans around her for this reason, but there is always a spare chair.
You describe her as being a wonderful person, so if this is the case, you can be wonderful back by accepting her for how she is, limitations and all and be a true friend to her. At some point you may learn about what has happened to her and feel rotten that you didn't do more or were not more forgiving. True friends accept each other's faults, and this is hardly a deal breaker. Cut her some slack and keep in touch is my advice.
I would leave the metaphorical door open for her but stop chasing. i.e. keep inviting her, but don't plan your life around her.
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