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An unwanted new friend..(32 Posts)
As an expat in a fast growing city abroad I always try and make an effort when new people arrive in town from home. So when this January 'Maria' arrived in town I took her out for coffee and introduced her to a couple of people. I really didn't mind at first picking her up to go hiking or to the supermarket and wrote off her constant negativity as a symptom of her uncertainty and insecurity about being in a new place.
However as the months have gone on she's not got any better. She runs or puts down or whines about everything. Is dismissive and unpleasant about her husband in a way that makes me uncomfortable and in the same breath talks about how much she loves me.
This affection is not reciprocated and frankly it mystifies me. She's rude to me, doesn't seem interested in my opinions and interrupts me when i'm talking. I am not interested in being friends with her.
I was hoping that I could just phase things out gradually as she got to know more people but she's become increasingly persistent in her demands for my attention. I would just ignore this but a) we live in a relatively small town and I will undoubtedly bump in to her at some point in the supermarket and b) she appears to have a lot of problems and claims to have ADHD, I don't want to make things worse.
I've known her for about 6 - 7 months, whats the kindest way to extricate myself from this? An email? a conversation?
Pick up a fictitious hobby/long distance course etc that takes up all your time. A bit rubbish to have to lie and I might have a better suggestion if I knew you both.
Urg I hate lying - but maybe you're right. I just wondered if perhaps if I was honest at least she might not be left wondering (and selfishly I might feel a weight lifted!).
I'm not sure if there is a kind way to say 'I don't like you so go away'. I think I would find myself busy. When you do meet if she is disparaging about her husband pull her up on it and her other negativity. Say it kindly but firmly. She might them either start being more positive or decide you don't fit her mould after all.
She sounds like she moved under duress due to her husbands job and has latched on to the only thing that means "home" to her, which is you.
2 options that I can see.
The first is, as Margo suggested, lie. Cowardly but frankly the easiest way to go especially in an expat community.
The second is to ask her where the negativity comes from and whether she might not be better going home.
In all honesty, I would do abit of both. Lie about why I was not available but also do a little bit of digging to find out if her comments about her husband where well founded and whether she would prefer (and could) go home.
She sounds very unhappy, but ruthless as it is, that doesnt mean she should bring you down too.
Friends are supposed to be people who enrich your life. Does she enrich your life? No. Life's too short. Be polite but busy.
A slow phase out while being as honest as possible is almost certainly the best option. I need to stop looking for a quick fix..!
tallwivglasses - I definitely do need to set firmer boundaries.
He may seem pretty normal but if MN has taught me anything, we dont know what goes on behind closed doors.
As you are in the US at least she could go home if she wanted to without needing her husbands permission, so if you point that out to her then you could judge from her reaction. If she would jump at the chance but he keeps her short of money then I would suggest helping her to access finances to leave as that is abusive. If she wouldnt countenance leaving and is one of those "never happy unless they are miserable" type people then distancing yourself would be a very good thing.
Do they have kids?
I think I agree with Gladysandtheflathams
Maybe help her to find some meaning in life, a charity, an activity.
@Italiangreyhound - pointing her in the direction of some meaning is a good plan! also much easier for me to fade out kindly once she's busy
..and just so you know, telling her the truth or gradually letting her go will not make her ADHD worse .
I'm only 2 weeks into my new "with drugs" ADHD life, and if anything, I'm much better at perspective (but that might be because my life is now totally amazing), and I suspect much better at noticing when I'm being boring/annoying (and reigning it in).. but anyway, back to "Maria" .
Having said that, my first few years as an ex-pat I whinged and whined about the country, my DH, and everything else (Kvetch is the word that comes to mind).
My advice would be dependant on how strong your feeling. If you feel there are positives, and as pp says, you get something from your relationship, then maybe be strong and clear and say she's obviously hacked off with everything and you'd like to sometimes be there for the fun stuff, and maybe she needs to talk to a professional/pastor/doctor.
If you're worried about the answer/repercussions, then I second the course/explaining it's not her it's you. I don't have many of the first friends I made when I got here, but I choose to segue out of them, and I'm pretty sure some did the same to me. It's only taken 7 years to find some that are a good fit. I wish her lots of luck.
I dont know where you are but it sounds like there must be quite an expat population so Im wondering if you could maybe point your 'friend' in the direction of InterNations.
Have google and see what you think.
Is there anything like Women's Guild, for eg, the American Women's Guild, The British Women's Guild etc. These type of groups were generally set up to help women find their feet socially in a new country and they're not just for Coffee Mornings. They do all sorts of activities which are as gentle or as adventurous as you like and whilst Im not an expat in the traditional sense Ive got loads of things planned with the groups here over the next month.
They do hold coffee mornings though and at each coffee morning there's a newcomers table with a couple of nice women waiting to meet newcomers and make them feel at home and introduce them to others.
@sansoora - lots of good advice thank you!
@lborgia reassuring about ADHD not getting worse. I know very little about it, thank you.
I know it may sound like a lot of 'twinset and pearls' but its honestly not.
Im going away on a 4 hour hike through a mountain pass this weekend and last weekend I was away camping on an Island in the middle of the ocean with the same group. But there are also things like cake making, quilting, etc.
I'll definitely try and hook her up with some groups - perhaps she'll feel more at home with a more brit crowd. She has managed to hate EVERYTHING i've suggested so far, but maybe in a bigger group she'll be less negative!!
The InterNations group is fabulous. Really. Its a group for people who enjoy the experience of living abroad and don't want to get caught up in the 'local bashing' if you see what I mean. So even if she wanted to have a moan those around her would steer it in a more healthy direction.
I don't suppose she was last living in the US was she? Because I just got rid of someone who sounds exactly the same a few months ago!
haha @chipsandguac how did you do it? I've just had her for supper and after repeatedly correcting my grammar, informing me I'm not as attractive as my husband and making wild sweeping racist statements about the middle east i'm out. i've tried. she's got to go. (DH who suggested inviting her and her husband for supper together to see if that made things easier informed me when she departed that he suspects that she is the worst person he has ever met - and he loves everyone. as in he )
I'm now debating option a) sending a polite email tomorrow saying 'we appear to have very different opinions on matters extremely important to me and i'm not sure that we're compatible and I wish her all the best with a load of links to local groups and support. or option b) pretending i've emigrated.
@sansoora - they sound ideal for her, i'll look it up!
Jeez, after that last post of yours I can see she really does need InterNations.
Blimey. You're a star!
How about telling her exactly what she did to offend you in your home and you are not comfortable meeting up anymore. Don't talk about ending the friendship as you don't actually think you have one, just that you can't "hang out" anymore. Then ignore all subsequent emails until she gives up. So what if you must run into her in the supermarket sometimes? You will both blank each other.
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