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Old friendship not working any more.(12 Posts)
I'm stuck in an unsatisfactory situation with an old friend and I seem to be going round in circles trying to solve it in my head. I'm hoping that writing it down here, together with a generous dose of MN wisdom will help me move in the right direction.
I've known DF for at least 20 years. We spent our 20s socialising, drinking and talking about everything. We're both quite 'deep' and love analysing relationships etc. Lots of naval gazing I guess.
We both met and married our DH's in our early 30s (were bridesmaids to each other) and since then we've (I've) struggled to keep a friendship going with her.
We've gone in different directions really I suppose - she's continued working FT since having DCs and has kept focussed on her career and I've been part time and trodden water career wise. She's 'busier' than me, has lots of plates spinning.
We are part of a wider social group that meets monthly or so for drinks / meal / catch up. She never arranges it and often doesn't make it. Yet when she does make it she spends the time complaining about her DH, job, work colleagues etc and saying how much she misses us, wishes she could spend more time with us. She seems to spill her guts about her problems and then go, and I don't hear from her again, except for perfunctory replies to any texts from me.
I would love to help, as I would to any friend, but I don't know where to start with her. The rest of our friendship group feel the same, but I feel more unsettled by the situation then them, as I have more history with her and we had such a strong connection.
We had a heart to heart recently and she seemed genuinely puzzled as to why we don't see more of each other. I think she feels we have a friendship, but no effort is required. I said to her once when drunk 'I'm low maintenance but I'm not no maintenance'.
The friendships I have now with our existing friendship groups, and other longstanding friendships made through DCs school are so much easier, reciprocal and affectionate, with regular plans made where everyone takes their turn to host etc but in an unspoken way. Quite healthy I think? I don't think she has kind of friendship with anyone. Maybe she sees it as boring?
Writing it down it seems clear to me that we've just outgrown each other. But I guess I miss that 'soul mate' friendship we once had.
Any insights gratefully received.
You're lives are just different now. If she's working FT with kids then she's probably just knackered and simply doesn't have the time to arrange social stuff easily. I don't know if you need to do anything though, just focus on your easier friendships and see her when you can.
What did she say in your heart to heart? Does she understand what you meant by you're not no maintenance?
I wouldn't give up on a long term friendship just because my friend is really busy. It must be very difficult for her working full time with kids.
I have a couple of friends who are very long term friends but I don't see much if them. However, we do make an effort with phone calls and try to meet up every now and then.
Have you tried going out with just her? It might help to spend 1 on 1 time with her.
If you dont enjoy her company anymore then that's a different matter.
There are two options here: drop the friendship, or accept that the friendship has changed and let it evolve into something different.
The past is gone. You're no longer 20 somethings hanging out. You have different lives.
Unless you find her actively annoying then it might be worth accepting that she's not as connected any more and taking her as she comes. If she complains about not seeing you just state matter of factly that if she wants to see you she can arrange something and you'll be happy to be there.
Thank you Swedish yes that's what I try and do. By the way she socialises a lot with other people (who I don't know.) That makes me sound needy I know! But it's not lack of time or too knackered.
I have tried the one to one thing Wooden and we usually have a lovely time. But then I don't hear from her again.
I feel she thinks I'm needy, but she's the only friend I've got that makes me feel like that.
Absolutely agree Calindana it is never going to be as it was when we were young, I get that, but it's never evolved into something else either. I'm happy to take her as she comes, but feel like a bad friend for not 'being there' for her more.
I'm really rubbish at dealing with situations that are not as harmonious as I feel they should be. I'm prob being too controlling.
Why do you feel like a bad friend? Does she say you should be there for her more?
Is she there for you?
If not, why do you feel guilty about 'not being there for her'?
I don't think you need to do more. At the moment she's an acquaintance you see in groups. That may change in the future. But I don't see why you should have to be the one to 'fix it'.
No she doesn't say that I should be there more, but she does say she doesn't understand why we don't see more of each other. Even though she organises nothing. Historically I've hosted her and her family for dinner, baby sat for them many times etc but have never been invited back or been offered babysitting. I stopped that years ago as it seemed obvious that she didn't want that. Yet she still laments not spending enough time with me when we do see each other. Her words vs her actions have not stacked up for years.
Maybe our idea of what makes a healthy friendship are different. I think her style is much more hands off than mine.
Don't bother listening to the nonsense about not seeing you more. If she did want to see you more she'd arrange it.
TBH she sounds flakey. I wouldn't ditch her but I'd focus on other relationships.
Thank you telephone. No I don't think she's really there for me. But she would be mystified as to why i think that!
I did have a crisis a while back and she sent a message to say 'you know where I am' and then visited when better.
When others have crises, I check on them regularly, offer childcare, remind them that I'm available 24/7, send a gift or card. And vice versa with other friends. I think she'd see this as over the top.,
Thanks calindana. Indeed, actions speak louder than words.
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