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Re-starting a severly damaged friendship

(25 Posts)
seemsiwasntloved Thu 16-Jun-11 10:23:45

Lots of history between us over a number of years. When it's good it's great, when it's bad it's truly horrendous.

We've both made mistakes, we're both guilty of emotionally hurting the other. We both have bits of each other we don't like but equally we do care about the other one deeply in a brother/sister way.

We're finally managing to text in a civil way & agreed we want to be friends but are both at a loss as to how to do it. There is so much doubt on both parts. We either bring out the worst or the best of each other.

Years ago we both signed "Friendship Contracts" to make a joke & light-hearted bit of fun out of our errors but it failed.

Any other "light" & ""not serious" ways of moving on please?

Bluebell99 Thu 16-Jun-11 10:27:01

I think life is too short to spend time with people who don't bring out the best in each other. I would move on without her and make different friends.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 16-Jun-11 10:36:35

One word. Don't.

Life is too short, and this situation is going nowhere. Contracts? Really? You're both nuts.

buzzsore Thu 16-Jun-11 10:44:01

Let it go. Give your (ex)friend a whole load of space, tell each other you'll be civil and kind to/about each other if you bump into each other, and let it go.

Lady1nTheRadiator Thu 16-Jun-11 10:48:33

Why do you want to be friends?

WTF was in your 'contract'?

allegrageller Thu 16-Jun-11 10:55:06

I don't know, I disagree with other posters. You sound a loyal person and that should be valued.

however, if it really ain't working, don't expend too much energy on it. Is it making you anxious etc? in that case not worth it.

The light way of moving on is surely just to try to have fun together again.

OberonTheHopeful Thu 16-Jun-11 11:16:51

I have to agree with allegrageller. I've had a friendship like this over the years and I think both myself and the friend concerned are very glad we persisted. We've been able to really come through for each other at some difficult times.

As has been said, just try to enjoy each other's company rather than putting pressure on yourselves and you may well work out how to live with your differences.

buzzsore Thu 16-Jun-11 11:21:47

You two have a point, I guess.

I think if you loosen the bonds and try to have a less intense relationship it might work. Instead of overthinking it, just keep it superficial for a while.

seemsiwasntloved Thu 16-Jun-11 11:50:46

It was a jokey "contract". Very light-hearted. We both found it funny.

We won't "bump" into each other. He lives 2 hours away from me, we have to make a conscious effort to do things together. Used to be anything from once every 3 months to 3x a week. We both wish to get back on track but are scared the crossed words will start again.

We've done the "space" thing (went on for months) & recently came to the conclusion we want to repair the damage. It's mutual. If he didn't want to, I wouldn't push it, I'd accept it, as he would me.

The "superficial" & "just enjoying each others company" hit a nerve with me. I feel that is the way to go & he has said that before.

Do I text him & ask him if he is happy with that or do I just leave it for him to contact me?

It's still really awkward at the mo - If I text & ask how his day is he may think I am instigating a fight. I have to word it carefully!

buzzsore Thu 16-Jun-11 11:54:02

Now I'm back to thinking it sounds like too much hard work, seemsi. I mean, truly, if he'd thinking you were starting a fight by asking how his day is!?

OberonTheHopeful Thu 16-Jun-11 11:56:11

From what you've written it seems that you're both of a similar mind about how to move forward, it's more a case of residual awkwardness. This is just a personal opinion (what works for me), but I do think that a lot meaning can be lost by text/email and it's so easy to mistake someone's intentions. Could you agree to a phone call? Ultimately, would it matter who makes the initial contact?

NunTheWiser Thu 16-Jun-11 11:56:45

Why is it so important to persist with a friendship that causes both of you so much angst? You can't even text and ask how his day is going - WTF is that all about? Friendships should enhance your life, not exhaust you.

seemsiwasntloved Thu 16-Jun-11 12:03:22

Oh maybe he is saying he wants me as a friend because he' not "man enough" to say otherwise. He does always mis-interpret what I say on text...that's is ALWAYS the crux of the problems.

He has Aspergers so takes things literally.

Maybe I am the problem then.

seemsiwasntloved Thu 16-Jun-11 12:05:56

It's only when we're fighting & I ask him how his day is that he accuses me if instigating an argument.

springlamb Thu 16-Jun-11 12:15:05

If I were really determined to keep this as a friendship rather than an acquaintanceship (and I'm not sure I would be), I'd stop texting & emailing and agree on a once a week phone call or web-camera chat. At least for the next month or so. Especially if he has Aspergers.
Text/emails can't express the manner of what you're saying. You need to be very sure that he can hear the tone/see the body language. It doesn't sound as if you really need daily contact - most of us don't have daily contact with our friends. At least a weekly chat will give plenty of fodder for a friendly chat, why not suggest taking it in turns to phone/web-cam each Sunday at 5pm or something.

OberonTheHopeful Thu 16-Jun-11 12:25:43

Maintaining the friendship seems to be what both of you want, but I also think that speaking (webcam really good suggestion also) would be the way forward. Tone of voice and emphasis is so important, especially when a discussion might be emotive, and that's without all of the non-verbal communication that also takes place. It's so easy for any of us to miscommunicate by text/email and with Asperger syndrome misinterpreting language and intent is even more common.

A once a week phone call sounds like a really good idea.

HerHissyness Thu 16-Jun-11 12:32:07

It's too much effort tbh, you don't NEED to be forcing this friendship, it sounds as dead as a dodo tbh.

STOP blaming yourself.

Just let the 'friendship' fade into dots. don't actively force it, don't feed it, if it's meant to continue, it will.

You are not responsible for his life, nor he yours.

Wenching Thu 16-Jun-11 18:41:16

People all too often just give up on friendships, for often very unfortunate reasons. You very often find this in the first few years after having a baby where there is often a misconception that non-baby having friends "just don't get it" and friends are ditched by the boatload... sorry going off on a tangent here!

This person sounds very special to you and there is a reason that you haven't given up on the friendship. Remember why you were such good friends in the first place and the fun that you have had togother.

There are a couple of approaches that you can take, which have both worked for me over the years.

The first option will only work if it is not going to anger each of you and will depend or your personalities, it is often very cathartic and can "reset the clock".

"A State of the nation" talk - Say that you want to say everything that the other person has done to upset you and you want them to do the same to you. This is probably better to be done in an email. Then you will both read the emails and agree to never speak of them or comment on them again and start from afresh. Then you will know the reasons for the upset and can continue and hopefully avoid that in the future.

The second approach is to say, look we have both done things that has upset each other, can we just forget them and move on.

Life is too short not to have good long term-friends and to lose touch over silly things. Everybody makes mistakes!

Good luck!

Earlybird Fri 17-Jun-11 00:05:10

Can you identify what has caused you to fall out in the past, and then avoid those situations?

I have some friends that i know to avoid when they're drunk, some that I know not to discuss politics or religion with, etc.

Diggs Fri 17-Jun-11 15:03:02

This sounds more like a romantic relationship as opposed to a freindship . I dont think i could be freinds with someone who caused me emotional pain or couldnt be civil .

seemsiwasntloved Sun 19-Jun-11 11:59:35

* UPDATE *

Allegrageller, Oberon, Buzzsore & Springlamb, Earlybird...

He has thanked me for my loyalty in the past.

I have suggested we back off from each other & not text daily as we used to. He wants to try it.

He has acknowledged the problems start when my communications are written so we're going to try verbal conversations instead.

The residual awkwardness is still present but no doubt will disappear soon, as it always did go quickly.

Wenching - Tick to option 2!

Diggs - No romance but I can see why you may think that.

Herhissyness - We have spoken about this & he doesn't want it to fade but I can appreciate why you say that.

Thankyou for your thoughts, suggestions & ideas. Always handy getting an outsiders view.

buzzsore Sun 19-Jun-11 12:03:42

Sounds like a way forward smile.

OberonTheHopeful Sun 19-Jun-11 16:45:09

I really hope it works out for you seemsiwasntloved smile

I know I may in the minority but I think life is too short not to try everything to make a valuable friendship work.

HerHissyness Sun 19-Jun-11 16:55:05

Great, sounds like you both have a plan here, verbal is always so much better, even when there are no Aspies stuff to get in the way.

I do worry that YOU seem to be blaming yourself for having difficulties in this friendship, when by it's very definition this kind of friendship is going to be hard on even the best of days.

Please don't let this friendship hurt your self esteem. Nothing is worth that.

seemsiwasntloved Sun 19-Jun-11 21:10:01

Thankyou.

I will do my best to protect my self-worth.

I appreciate your words.

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