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am I being a bit mean in not rekindling this "friendship"? - long

(26 Posts)
tellmeifiam Mon 01-Aug-11 02:47:11

I have namechanged for this, but have been mumsnetting for a couple of years. I have also changed the names of others.

My best friend approached me about meeting a girl we had been friends with at school/uni about 10 years ago. This girl - let's call her Susie - had been good friends with my best friend - they had gone travelling together etc. Susie was also friendly with me at school.

Problems started when Susie needed a partner for a formal 'do'. A mutual friend, Karen, contacted some guys she knew and arranged a few nights out for a group of us, so that Susie could meet some potential partners for this 'do'.

A few weeks later, one of the guys asked me out and I said yes (btw he's now my DP). Susie asked him if he would be her partner at the formal 'do'. He told me, and I said it would be fine if he went with her as a friend. He replied to Susie saying he would accept her invitation as a friend because he had a girlfriend. Karen had told him not to mention that his new girlfriend was me, because Susie had had jealousy issues in the past.

Susie went nuts at the offer of being taken to the formal 'do' as a friend, and insisted to everyone that my DP was horrible and sleazy and wanted to see a girlfriend during the week and see her at the weekends. Fortunately, our friends thought she was over-reacting, and more fortunately Susie found someone else to take to the event. I thought all was well and good, and a few months later told Susie I was dating DP - she and I had a laugh about it and I thought I must have been worried for nothing.

My ex got interested in Susie and I encouraged him to ask her out. They became a couple.

A year later, our group of friends was out having a meal, when I arrived with DP, Susie's face was like thunder. Susies boyfriend (my ex) was making lots of cheeky/sleazy comments for 'fun' to all the females in the group, and got some very straightforward replies from all of us, including me.

I didn't hear from any of the group including my best friend after that night, until I contacted her a few months later - I was being loved up with DP and neglecting my friends. My best friend said she knew I was going behind Susie's back to get back with my ex and that my ex was out to get me and that Susie was telling everyone all about it. It was all untrue, I have never wanted to get back with my ex - and my best friend apologised for thinking it would be true.

Susie kept spreading her lies for years, and I was ostracised from the group for about 5 years because of this.

My best friend approached me last year to get in touch with Susie (who has had a rough time due to my ex turning out to be a twat). My best friend denied that Susie had done anything wrong, and just needs a friend. After discussion, my best friend admitted that Susie hadn't been my friend but said it would be horrible of me not to be Susie's friend now.

I can't trust Susie. I stopped being angry with her years ago, but I don't want to let her into my life. I feel the cause of the initial problem was jealousy, she wanted my DP - I still have him - she felt she got a bad deal with my ex - she did, and my best friend has led me to believe Susie had problems with ttc - and I have a beautiful DC whom I hope Susie doesn't know about. DP felt Susie was a bit unstable years ago - I worry that having a hard life won't have helped this.

My best friend now thinks I am the world's meanest and least-forgiving person. I feel my best friend sees Susie with rose-tinted glasses. Tell me if I am overdoing the mistrust.

Sorry this is so long...didn't want to drip-feed. Thanks for reading.

MadamDeathstare Mon 01-Aug-11 03:34:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 01-Aug-11 04:19:25

MadamDeathstare has summed up beautifully what I feel would be Susie's point of view.

I am at a loss to explain the behaviour of your best friend, unless I look at it with the utmost cynicism. Does she like a bit of drama in her life? Because that seems to be what she is trying to maintain, using Susie as a proxy. Susie's jelousy, Susie's tantrum over your DP's not fancying her, Susie's campaign of lies leading to your ostracism, Susie's stormy relationship with your twat ex, the doubtless tearful conversations about TTC. And all with your best friend sitting in the front row. Has Susie now split with your ex? Has her life become dull for your best friend calm? Does your best friend want to stir it all up again so that she can get her drama fix; or worse, congratulate herself on being a supportive friend to Susie?

Consider her part in all this, she is in the middle of all this - is she pulling the strings?

I don't think you're "overdoing the mistrust" at all. In fact I think you should widen it to include your best friend.

shocked2 Mon 01-Aug-11 07:24:35

you're not being mean at all tellmeifiam - for your own sanity please DON'T re-kindle this "friendship"... - I too am wondering how much of a "best" friend your best friend really is confused

mummytime Mon 01-Aug-11 07:26:29

I wonder have you ever read "Queen Bees and Wannabes" its for Mums to help their daughters get through pre-teen and teen girl relationships. But I think a lot of it sounds like the dynamics of your group of friends.

You are not being horrible to not want to be Susie's friend. But maybe your best friend has never bee that good a friend of yours either? Just think about it.

starfishmummy Mon 01-Aug-11 07:48:45

Why on earth would you want to be friends with these people?

tellmeifiam Mon 01-Aug-11 11:55:12

Wow, sometimes it is very revealing to get an outside point of view. Thanks everyone. I felt Susie would be a negative influence on my life, but even DP thought I was being a bit mean not seeing her in a group context - though he wouldn't have her in our house or for a meeting with just her anywhere. I think DP wanted me to be able see the group and feels that it shouldn't matter so much about Susie now that time has passed. I don't have a big number of friends (partly due to having trust issues after my experience with Susie ), so he tries to help me keep in touch with people.

I've never looked at my best friend in that way at all, but it's certainly food for thought sad. I hadn't come across "Queen Bees and Wannabes", but is sounds like it may be rather informative.

Maybe I have been really naive, but I thought my best friend was trying to stand up for the underdog (Susie is the underdog in this case, given how horrible my ex turned out to be - they split btw).

My best friend does have trouble seeing things from anyone elses point of view - perhaps to the extent of havinig an undiagnosed (sp?) ASD. She certainly tends to think I am invincible - she claims not to remember me being bullied at school and says I didn't tell her about it. I did hmm. TBF my best friend was badly bullied before she met me and maybe what I went through didn't seem bad to her?

Susie had been working away in another city for a few years, so don't know if my best friend is missing the drama, and I expect Susie had made friends while away. However, the group met without me while Susie was away - don't know if they were actively ostracising me when she wasn't there, or if they had got so used to me being excluded they didn't think to ask me back.

Sorry this is epic again.

WinkyWinkola Mon 01-Aug-11 12:03:51

I'd rather have no friends at all than a friend like Susie.

And your best friend isn't being particularly nice to you either by refuting your bullying experiences at school, not understanding why you want to avoid Susie etc. Why is it such a big deal to her anyway?

Just avoid Susie and change the subject when your best friend talks about her.

OP, you sound clued up to me. Follow your instincts.

tellmeifiam Mon 01-Aug-11 12:17:34

Don't know why it's such a big deal to my best friend, but she has brought it up numerous times.

I have asked several times "Where's this coming from?" - but I never get an answer - so I don't know if it is my best friend or Susie instigating this.

garlicbutter Mon 01-Aug-11 12:22:03

My ex-flatmate is a manipulative narcissist, something I didn't realise for the first 9 years of our 12-year friendship. I've let one of my closest friends go because she is now best friends with this woman. Now I know just how malicious the ex-flatmate is, I can't trust anybody who's under her influence.

The flatmate has a history of close friendships, all of which last about ten years.

I think you're right about your friend missing Susie's drama. Choose to rebuild bridges with her if you want, but I'd expect Susie to twist her perceptions of you.

tellmeifiam Mon 01-Aug-11 16:34:18

Thanks garlicbutter I hadn't thought about narcissism, but it seems to fit Susie pretty well. My best friend doesn't seem narcissistic (sp? again blush)maybe she's like your close friend - she's certainly all for supporting Susie and trying to guilt me into doing so too. The problems with Susie did seem to be about jealousy over relationships with men. My best friend has stayed single for a long time and maybe doesn't trigger the jealousy from Susie. I worry about details of my life being discussed with Susie - my best friend is quite indiscreet if she thinks the listener is a nice person.

Xales Mon 01-Aug-11 17:32:26

You best friend isn't really much of a best friend is she?

She has dismissed what you went through at school.

She 'knew' that you were trying to get back with your ex. From Susie without even asking you.

She allowed you to be ostracised from the group.

She is now saying that your feelings over all this are unimportant and that Susie is much more important than you.

She is saying you are mean!

Why do you want a best friend like this?

Jux Mon 01-Aug-11 18:52:22

Someone like Susie is so dangerous I wouldn't have her anywhere near me, let alone anyone I love or even care about a bit. Your bf doesn't like she's too great either.

tellmeifiam Mon 01-Aug-11 20:45:35

oh, crapity crap! Bestfriend is getting a real kicking here and maybe she even deserves it. But I have known her for years and years and she is fairly supportive on other issues and she is fun most of the time.

When I started this thread I didn't want to drop Bestfriend because she means a lot to me, and she was apologetic when I called her on siding with Susie and taking part in the ostracising. I'm a bit shocked by other people's reaction to Bestfriend.

It sticks in my throat that Bestfriend can't understand why the passage of time hasn't removed the trust issues. She kept going on about it being time to forgive and forget. Also Bestfriend has a policy of judging a person on how they behave directly to her - not others. She was not happy when I told her that was how I was dealing with Susie.

Susie is still popular with the group and they admire how she has moved on from horrible ex, health issues, etc. So sometimes I still feel as if I've made a great big mountain out of a molehill. I've never told the rest of the group about Susie being a liar - I didn't want to badmouth her - but I think they do actually know, or they would still be ostracising me?

TantePiste Mon 01-Aug-11 23:26:01

I was part of a group of friends at uni that had a Susie in it, though in my case it was a Linda.

She really had a lot going for her and much to like, but she developed a burning case of envy against me, and there was just no overcoming it, because it was about her. It was her problem, and there was really nothing I could do to win through to a better relationship.

I really tried, because it was clear to me that distancing from Linda would mean distancing from the whole group. In the end that is what happened and it was better for me to move on.

I sometimes miss the group, because -in the abstract- it would be so nice to stay in touch and meet up at reunions. But in reality, it would not really be nice to revisit these issues or the dynamics. By default the group chose Linda over me, after all. though on the other hand, I didn't invite most of them to my wedding either, so it could be said that I chose away from them, as well. And it raised questions with me why they would either not notice, or condone her bad behavior. She liked to take things said in confidence and refer to them in public in a humiliating way, to practice petty cruelties like ignoring people. She liked to flirt with others boyfriends, and undermine romantic interests. She just had a problem with the happiness or success of others. When we are young we might not realize that friends with habits like that will eventually turn to bite us, but experience teaches caution. So you have to wonder about those who continue to hang around, knowing the character challenges of someone like that.

The other posters here are right - the desire for friends sometimes leads us to be vulnerable to condoning mistreatment that we should not. From painful experience I've come to see dignity as worth protecting and preserving. I simply won't go near people like Linda, and will keep a healthy distance from the people who do choose to associate with people who behave like she does.

Good luck OP.

MadamDeathstare Tue 02-Aug-11 04:30:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Tue 02-Aug-11 08:32:39

Again do read "Queen Bees". You can still be friends with "BestFriend" but I wouldn't want to be best friends with her.
Go out and make new friends! If you have kids go to the Mums socials, chat in the playground etc. Or take a class, start a new hobby and get to meet people. You will meet other Susies, but if you are not involved you can keep hem away from you.
Tell your DP this is what you want to do as you think it is much better then getting involved with Susie again.
Good luck!

Pashazade Tue 02-Aug-11 08:43:03

I have to agree with everyone here, avoiding Susie would be best for you. When someone has caused you a lot of harm it takes a long time to forgive and forget and forgiving sometimes never really happens (been there and if I'm honest never truly forgiven) but you friendship with Susie is none of your "best friends" concern. If you do not wish to be friends (with Susie) with her then don't be. It sounds like the unhappiness this would cause you is simply not worth anything you may get back from her. Life is too short for this kind of crap! and people who aren't worth your friendship. Good luck.

greycircles Tue 02-Aug-11 08:57:06

Definitely avoid Susie. Recently, I have tried to be accomodating and polite to someone who causes me quite a few difficulties. It doesn't work - I give her an inch and she takes a mile - in the end, the answer is that you have to steer clear of these sorts of people.

I would say to your best friend that it is not really a question of you not forgiving - you aren't angry with Susie anymore. The reason you won't see her is because she isn't someone who gets along well with you - not because you have anger/resentment towards her. It's quite different - taking a positive choice as opposed to holding a grudge.

The bottom line is that yes, I would be prepared to lose bestfriend over the issue. She might have good motives (to help someone) but she is bullying you into doing something that you have stated (for good reason) that you do not wish to do.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 02-Aug-11 09:01:18

I believe, as a general rule (not that I always observe it myself), bitterness is a negative emotion so it would be a good thing to put the whole Susie thing behind you, wish her well etc. That is not the same thing as inviting her back into your life though. If you nurse a viper to your bosom, to borrow a phrase, you're liable to get bitten; not because it is a bad viper but because that's just what vipers do. It would be pointless to carry a grudge, but you don't nurse 'em all the same. And there's your friend telling you not to be so mean, the poor thing is cold, let it into your bed, it didn't mean to bite you that other time. As a general observation, it's amazing how keen some people are on forgiving and forgetting when the offence wasn't done to them. I'm sure if you put it to them like that they would be absolutely sure that they would. But would they really? Who knows.

Btw I do think one thing might be seen to reflect badly on yourself, OP, and that was the encouragement of the nasty ex to get together with Susie. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt there and assume he'd never been such a shit to you, else you'd have told everyone you knew to steer well clear. However if you think about it from Susie's point of view, and no doubt this is the version she'd have been telling the group, you poached a man from "her" pool of potential escorts, dropped all your friends while you hooked him good, and then stuck her with your horrible ex. To some it might have looked - or at least been easy enough to believe - that you were doing it on purpose. Best friend is no doubt juggling both versions of the story in her head and trying to be fair to both of you. Susie gets more benefit of the doubt because she's the one who's currently suffering.

Or another possibility is that the lies never stemmed from Susie in the first place. Interesting can of worms there.

Fuzzywuzzywozabear Tue 02-Aug-11 09:45:58

I don't really have much to add for the OP - everyone else has articulated so well! However, I have been going through a similar situation myself (I'm resisting refriending someone, pressure being put on me because others feel bad for her). Reading everyone's replies has helped me conclude that my gut feeling which is "stay away" is the right one as she'll turn right round and behave badly again. The second time of defriending will be a lot harder, I'm certain! Anniegetyourgun love the viper analogy!

Susie tells her she's having a rough time and she feels bad for her without seeing what Susie could have done to contribute to being in the position she is in now

This sentence was another catalyst for me, thanks Madamedeathstare

tellmeifiam - people here have given excellent advice, go with your gut feeling which seems to me from your posts is "stay away". I've been trying to decide if this woman adds anything to my life and my conclusion is she doesn't - in fact she saps me of my emotional energy - time for us both to move on?

tellmeifiam Tue 02-Aug-11 12:04:11

Anniegetyourgun I have considered often and felt very guilty about how my ex turned out - I have wondered if Susie blames me. Apparently he was lovely to Susie for a few years before changing quite suddenly and drastically - so I don't think I could have known at the time. Looking back now, there may have been hints of what was to come, my ex was sometimes inexplicably skint, and did like to flirt. FWIW I had gone out with my ex in my mid to late teens and remained friends with him afterwards, and we were all in our twenties when the problems started.

Susie's lies about me started early in their relationship, when she was happy with her now ex. If she had been tellling everyone that I had pinched her man, etc., then I would have thought - "I know I didn't, but I can see that you might not be pleased." However, Susie chose to wait over a year from me getting together with DP, then get stuck in with loads of lies about me pursuing her boyfriend.

Bestfriend confronted my ex at the time about Susie's lies, and caught him lying - and so confirmed to herself that I was not the source of the problems. And yes I was bloody miffed that she felt the need to do so! I did ask Bestfriend why she hadn't asked Susie about it. Bestfriend said she didn't want any trouble and was too nervous to ask Susie, especially after catching out ex.

Fuzzywuzzywozabear I don't intend to ever see Susie again.

MadamDeathstare I'm sure you're right about my friend taking things at face value - she is very much that kind of person. I have kept her as a friend so far because I don't think she is malicious, but she is terrible at seeing things from other points of view.

MadamDeathstare Tue 02-Aug-11 13:07:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeachMySelfBalance Tue 02-Aug-11 19:39:16

No you are not mean.
Susie did not have to date your ex. That the relationship was not 'happily ever after' had nothing what so ever to do with you.

I agree with others about reassessing the truth about your relationship with "bestfriend". Imho, she has already dumped you in favor of Susie. Someone who is shaming you to go against your better judgement, your choice, your gracious and polite responses (I hope wink) is not a friend. She is not respectful towards you or your perspective. Perhaps she is ensnared in codependency to Susie's narcissism...but that doesn't mean that you need to participate in the dynamic...your gut instinct is A-ok (with support from your Dh-nice smile) and imho,you should trust it and not look back.

tellmeifiam Wed 03-Aug-11 00:14:18

Thanks everyone for your support - you have all given me lots to think about.

TeachMySelfBalance your point about Bestfriend not being respectful strikes home. I had a discussion with Bestfriend where I pointed out that one of the most hurtful things about the situation has been the lack of respect for my relationship with DP. I think if she had acknowledged that my relationship with DP is serious and important to me, she wouldn't have believed Susie in the first place.

I still don't know quite how to handle things with Bestfriend. She has backed off a bit, because I asked her not to badger me about Susie every time we met. Since then, I can see she is disappointed in me, and that she would love to bring up the subject, but wouldn't dare at the moment.

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