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How and if to let go of a very old friend.

(46 Posts)
Mummy66 Fri 12-Oct-12 22:40:41

Long story and don't want to give detail but for some time have felt the friendship was one sided- me doing more than her. We've been friends for 25 years and she knows more about me than anyone. But her behaviour is erratic- blows hot and cold. We had a disagreement something and I think she is now holding this against me in a passive-aggressive way- she's withdrawn further from our friendship even though I have tried to build bridges. I don't want to be treated like this - I feel she's being controlling in a very manipulative way, only giving me as much of herself and her life as she feels she wants to, keeping me at arms length, letting me down with arrangements etc etc, putting a lot of time into other newer friendships, I don't want this. I've been a good friend in the main but I I don't need her in my life behaving towards me like this.
A frank chat- or just distance myself and not return calls quickly, not suggest meeting? What?

SoleSource Sat 13-Oct-12 00:31:33

Hard to tell withput more ifno. She could,be just busy in other areas of her life and enjoying with new peopke. Or she may be distancibg herself from you if things have felt mutually awkward and she also wants to ebd thibgs between you.

Life is short, swallow prise,meet her, ask her whete your friebdship is heading.

Good luck

familyscapegoat Sat 13-Oct-12 00:57:42

Think we need more info to advise. What was the disagreement about?

What's happening in her life at the moment? Has anything changed?

Was she expecting an apology and did any of your actions merit one?

Generally though, always better to clear the air especially with old friends. Much better than matching any obtuse behaviour with your own.

From her point of view, maybe she's just outgrown the friendship? Or the disagreement (whatever it was) finally crystalised her feelings towards you and she realised why she hasn't been putting in the effort for a long time.

It's really hard to say to a friend of 25 years that the relationship's run its course, so most people take the coward's way out and hope the friend gets the hint. I'm not saying that's fair, but we don't often hear of friends formally ending relationships in the way that lovers do.

But it appears this friendship is more important to you than it is to her, so if you don't want to lose her you're probably going to have to be the one to clear the air. It might work, or she might still fudge it and carry on the pretence.

If you do your best to salvage this and that still happens, cut your losses and move on.

lobsterclaw Sat 13-Oct-12 01:04:36

Talk to her - friendships are like relationships, they change over time and can be subject to life's vicissitudes.

I've had many friendships change over time and sometimes become much stronger, though I had to let go of my best friend from primary school in the end

RobynRidingHood Sat 13-Oct-12 07:29:26

Friendships evolve. People change. If you are no longer getting anything from the friendship, let it go. No need to be all dramatic about it. Don't return phone calls, nor instigate them. Let christmas and birthday cards drop. Just let the person ebb out of your life.

Katisha Sat 13-Oct-12 09:36:43

If it were me, I wouldn't "have it out" as it all sounds a bit nebulous. She can't control you if you are not there to be controlled. So I would stop initiating anything. If she calls, fine asnwer, but still don't take the initiative on suggesting meeting etc.
She may change her tune once she realises she is not enjoying having the upper hand in the relationship or she may just ebb out as Robyn says. Either way the key is not to be too worried about it and move on yourself. friendships to peter out for all sorts of reasons and you dont want to be treading on eggshells with her - not really a proper friendship.

colditz Sat 13-Oct-12 09:40:16

It is not controlling to only let you into her life as much as she wants to, she is not your husband and she is entitled to boundaries. What is the alternative? To let you into her life a lot more than she is comfortable with?

I would distance yourself, mainly because you sound like you're suffocating with the attitude that you should be entitled to involve yourself as much as YOU want, rather than as much as she is comfortable with.

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 10:30:32

No Colditz- that's not where it's at .

I've thought for some time ( years) that I was putting more into it than she was- litle things like this- we live over an hour away but I am sometimes in her town on business. I would tell her but she wouldn't ask to meet unless I suggested it, then she'd agree, but give me the impression that she was fitting me in between lots of other stuff and the time she could give me was limited. Similarly, she now has reason to come to where I am once a week and she never suggests meeting for a coffee. She has hardly ever in all our years of friendship offered to come to me- the expectation is that I'll visit her.

But on the other hand, the minute she wants to pick my professional brain about something, she's on the phone like a shot to ask advice.

She let me down last week by not phoning me as agreed on a certain day to arrange meeting and when I challenged her, she said she was confused about my whereabouts that week- which was completely untrue as we'd established that the week before, and she could have phoned me anyway. It was in fact her idea to meet up- and due to the circumstances, the ball was in her court to contact me. When she phoned me- again for some information- she didn't say sorry or even mention not following through with our plan- until I asked her what had happened. Then it was all excuses "Not sure what we'd agreed, didn't know where you'd be" blah blah.

If this was a man behaving like this, I'd walk away- I deserve more! But we have a long history.

colditz Sat 13-Oct-12 10:34:45

But you specifically said that she is "only giving me as much of herself and her life as she feels she wants to"

And you're not accepting that these are her boundaries. Why do you want more of her than she actually wants to give? That's not friendship, it's neediness.

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 10:47:25

Okay- weell scrap that sentence- it was late at night when I wrote it and it's not really what I mean.

I'm not needy. What I am saying is that she " uses" me when she wants advice and support - all on her terns- but she rarely contacts me to see how I am in between.

Abra1d Sat 13-Oct-12 10:54:27

I am going to give you the same advice I give my teenagers when they have friendship issues: not because I think you're acting like a teenager, but because we have found it works. smile

Busy yourself with other activities and friends. Take up something new, if needs be.
If she instigates contact be breezy and friendly...but busy. She has to fit into your plans.
If she rings you for professional advice, say, 'Oooh, tricky one. I'll need to get back to you--bit busy at the moment. Why don't you ring me back on [day]? So she is always the one who has to ring you.
Just don't make yourself available to her as much.

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 11:04:59

Lol Abra! I simply don't have time in my life to be busier- I've 3 p/t jobs, am writing a novel, have lots of other friends and a family- I don't need more to do!

I just feel it's got to the point where she feels she can treat me any old how and I'll be there. I only put up with this because we are such old friends and she's godmother to DD.

poozlepants Sat 13-Oct-12 11:05:22

I had exactly the same sort of friendship as you. My friend was pretty passive aggressive, everything had to be on her terms, blew hot and cold constantly. It was incredibly draining and I was holding on to it because we'd known each other for 20 years. Eventually after another bout of nonsense I decided just to let things go- just didn't call, email or reply to anything she sent. I haven't seen her in 4 years and it feels fabulous. Life is too short for this sort thing.

OrangeImperialGoldBlether Sat 13-Oct-12 11:17:31

Don't put up with it. Did you say upthread you've now had a disagreement and you've tried to build bridges but she's not playing the game? If you've approached her and got nowhere then don't approach her again.

I know she's been a friend for a long time, but she's not a very nice friend, is she? And if she's using you for business reasons, don't let her. Say, "Oh I'm busy now, so can't talk" and get off the phone.

As you've said, you wouldn't let a man treat you like this. Don't accept it from her.

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 11:30:10

Yes- we had a disagreement about something she'd done which I thought was really awful- relationship stuff- and brought it up although it had occured last year. I did this to counteract her criticism of her DH- trying to show her there were two sides to it. She was very upset- said I'd hurt her feelings, was not supportive and didn't call me for 3 weeks ( we used to speak 1-2 a week.)
I left her a few messages over those 3 weeks to ask if she was angry and avoiding talking - she eventually phoned me to say she was. That's 2 months back and she is still being cool. I have told her I am sorry if it upset her ( though personally I still feel my comments at the time were justified) .

Mintyy Sat 13-Oct-12 11:31:54

What you have said suggests to me that she just wants to be with you/talk to you less often than you would like.

If you don't feel you can handle less contact and would rather forego your long friendship altogether then, yes, perhaps let it drift. I doubt you will completely lose contact after all this time.

CestMoi Sat 13-Oct-12 11:40:14

I came on today to write a very similar thread. What do you get out of this friendship other than annoyed and frustrated? It's exactly how I feel with my friend. I don't want to cull her, I couldn't completely anyway because of mutual friends and interests, but I know it would probably be for the best.

bumhead Sat 13-Oct-12 11:49:33

To be honest Op you sound a bit intense. Maybe your friend just sees you this way and thinks it's hard work having a full on friendship with you.
Abras advice was spot on and yet you seem to have just let it go over your head.

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 12:12:20

bumhead- no- not true- everyone who knows my friend says she is too intense- in fact the rows with her DH are around her "intensity". I don't think that by looking at a long friendship that is going awry makes me " intense"- concerned and sensitive, yes, I 'd go with that.

viktoria Sat 13-Oct-12 12:25:55

OP, I have a very similar friendship and when I read your post, I found myself thinking, well, it's really crystal clear - you should just distance yourself from this friend.
But being in a very similar situation as you (eg, my friend is the Godmother of DS) I appreciate it isn't as easy as that.

I have decided that I won't contact my friend and wait until she contacts me (last heard from her in July, when we had a minor disagreement).

I know distancing myself is the right thing to do for me, but it is tinged with a bit of sadness. We have so much history together and I'm sorry to somehow end this chapter of my life.

I think we have to give allowances to people, sometimes friendships are closer, sometimes they are more distanced. But friendship should never be one-sided for any lengthy period of time.

Who knows, maybe you and your friend (and me and my friend) will grow closer again in the future, but as another person said - even though she used it to prove the opposite point - Life is too short (to waste it on friendships that are one sided)
Good luck!

bumhead Sat 13-Oct-12 12:26:14

You seem to demand a lot from her and as others have suggested, her boundaries now seem to be being demonstrated but you don't want to accept that.
Either ask her what her problem is or do what Abra suggested and peel away a bit.
I would also say that maybe birds of a feather flock together and just because you've reframed 'intense' as 'concerned and sensitive' doesn't mean you're not intense. If you were my friend, I would think you were coming over a big strong.

Helltotheno Sat 13-Oct-12 12:53:33

I don't know that you understood Abra1d's advice there OP: make yourself unavailable, whether you're unavailable or not! It's quite simple: if you feel she's using you as and when, just do the same back. There's no need for any over-analysis here. I don't doubt that your instincts are absolutely spot on about where you fit in her life. Thing is, she's telling you what she wants from this particular friendship, and you may be insulted by it but you can't control her actions. What you DO have control over is that you can respond in kind. It's very easy smile

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 13:02:19

Bumhead- I don't know if you;ve really read my posts? I am not expecting a lot- I am expecting someone to keep their word and give 5-50.

2 weeks ago, we agreed to meet-( her suggestion) we were both working away though she was with her colleauge, so I said she'd better call me, especially as their time of arrival was uncertain. I told her exactly when I'd be there, and leaving.

She didn't call. She didn't call for days afterwards either. When I asked her why she hadn't got in touch she waffled- said she was unsure of my movements, and why hadn't I called her? I said we had discussed when I'd be there, and the agreement was she'd call me. She said nothing, asked me for some info she needed, and said she'd call back another time.

Even if you ignore verything I've written , this alone must strike you as unacceptable?

Mummy66 Sat 13-Oct-12 13:03:54

hell- thank you- yes I understood- and it's good advice- I'm just answering other people's posts in the meantime smile

Helltotheno Sat 13-Oct-12 13:06:58

She didn't call for days afterwards either. When I asked her why she hadn't got in touch she waffled- said she was unsure of my movements, and why hadn't I called her?

Yes that's unacceptable. But it's also unacceptable that you're allowing her treat you like a doormat and I think it's a truism that the more you allow people to do this, the more they get a perverse enjoyment out of it. Human nature for ya.

Distance yourself OP.

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