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If to and how to end a friendship

(11 Posts)
Sunshineandwaves Fri 17-Jun-16 04:38:20

I have been friends with a group of women for over 7 years. Every time I meet up with them I walk away feeling horrible about myself. They often arrange meet ups, dinners and drinks. If I'm not able to go, I get criticism for my lack of commitment to the friendship. "Why won't I make more effort". There is one woman in the group who is particularly aggressive and scathing to me. However when I do go out with them I can sit with them for an entire dinner and be barely acknowledged. I also recently found out they had been criticising me behind my back to a mutual friend.

I have put up with this for a while, trying to not take it personally. However recently I've had a few very difficult circumstances in my life and it has become clear to me that they are not remotely interested in me or my well being. I don't feel their behaviour is malicious towards me, more just really selfish. The one sidedness of it all has really got me down, particularly during this difficult time of my life.

I am in two minds, one to keep turning up to their catch ups and to try and find a way of dismissing their behaviour.

Or, to try and phase out the friendship. I have had very few fall outs in my life and dread an onslaught of criticism and bitching from the group particularly when I have other, very difficult circumstances in my life.

Has anyone gently phased out of a friendship? If so, how on earth do I do it without a falling out? Or should I just stick with it for an easy life? Even though I feel it's affecting my self esteem.?

puglife15 Fri 17-Jun-16 04:48:44

They sound bloody awful, sorry. Id rather not socialise than hang out with these horrible selfish people. With friends like those who needs enemies?

Is there any reason you'd need to keep in touch with any of them eg parents of your kids' friends or you work with them?

If not I wouldn't worry about a falling out. I think I'd just stop answering their messages, maybe say you've got a lot on your plate with your problems so won't be coming out for the foreseeable (to reduce the hassle they might give you) then block their numbers / mute the WhatsApp conversation / turn off notifications.

Then call up a nice friend unconnected to this lot for a catch up.

Good luck!

Sunshineandwaves Fri 17-Jun-16 05:04:35

Thanks puglife. I can probably mostly avoid them although there will be instances when I bump into them. Maybe I will try the tactic of having a lot on my plate in an effort to drift away from them. I can't imagine an enemy could make me feel much worse than they do. I feel ridiculous that I've stuck with it as long as I have. I feel guilty that maybe I sent the signal that I was ok with being treated this way when I should have pulled the pin years ago.

cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Fri 17-Jun-16 06:46:21

Oh Sunshine I feel for you! I had a group of 7 friends when I was in my mid-20s (some from university, some picked up along the way) who I initially had a great time and lots of fun with, and then after a few years I started to feel like you - not about every single person, but about one individual and also the collective energy of them as a "group". I decided I needed out, and when the one I had an issue with announced she was getting married and the hen weekend was being planned I said I couldn't go - knowing this would be the beginning of the end. I was subsequently UNinvited to the wedding (only to be re-invited later - to the evening only as a "B grade guest" - yes, they really said that!!) and things degenerated after that.
There was never a massive fight, but it was pretty unpleasant in places, but if you know it's the right thing to do then you need to stick it out. So my advice would be to either drift away, or opt out of something that pisses people off and makes them realise you value your time more than to spend it with them. It's hard but will be worth it! And if any individuals in the group are still friends you may be able to maintain the individual friendships with those who matter - 10 years on that is what I have done.
Think about a friend you have who every time you see them you feel amazing afterwards, the friend who is straight- forward and supportive and loves you and is there for you - and compare it to how this group makes you feel. You only need a few really supportive friends who makes you feel good to replace a whole gang of people who make you feel drained. Do it do it!!
Sorry for the essay - but as a p.s. - the original troublemaker/bride in that scenario emailed me recently; I had waited until I was 38 wks pregnant to "announce" it on Facebook, and she emailed me to say "somebody sent me the photo of you - congratulations but I can't believe you deleted me as a friend on Facebook" - I was completely shockbecause not only have we not been in touch for YEARS, it's clear we haven't been friends in a long long time, and as a grown woman of closer to 40 than 35 would you confront someone about something so petty whilst pretending to congratulate them on their pregnancy??

TooMuchMNTime Fri 17-Jun-16 10:50:34

OP I had a toxic friendship once
I should have learned early...she once said something really nasty, tried to pass it off as a joke, then apologised saying "sorry, the only model I have for female friendship is from bitchy school gate mums". At the time I was puzzled because I don't believe in that stuff either...now I realise those bitchy judgey types attract each other.

I tried to phase her out but ended up sending an email. I phrased it in quite a passive aggressive way but that's how she says stuff. Only later did I really realise what a pathetic woman she is but she worked very hard to keep up a front.

I'd seriously consider telling this lot you don't want to be friends with them.well I'd try phasing them out first but then if you get calls saying "why aren't you coming to this?" you could say "I have better things to do". Sounds like they deserve it.

pilates Fri 17-Jun-16 11:12:05

I'm sure of "I'm busy on that day" or "feeling unwell" will stop the invites. Job done. Don't surround yourself with people like that.

pallasathena Fri 17-Jun-16 11:49:32

I'd focus my energies on finding a new friendship group entirely. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you to pursue a new hobby or interest, join a gym or sign up for a class in something a bit different or just convenient time-wise.
The most important aspect of all of this is that you don't feel upset, unhappy or guilty about ditching such a bunch of no-hopers. A new social group will reset your confidence and give you new opportunities too. Its a relief once you've walked away from the bitching o/p and you're sensible keeping it all civilised.

Gide Fri 17-Jun-16 11:59:20

Just stop answering messages and going out with them. Presumably they're not stupid and will soon get the message. Unfollow them on Facebook so you're not tempted to react to things.

Yoksha Fri 17-Jun-16 12:24:15

What you don't know won't hurt you. Detach on all levels.

What they don't know won't interest them. They're not worth the head space.

For you OP flowers

Sunshineandwaves Sat 18-Jun-16 03:49:08

Thank you so much for your replies. What you say makes sense. The thought of trying to make new friends is scary. I think my confidence has taken a knock. A hobby or a club could be a good way to build up my self esteem and meet new people. Once again, thank you for your advice.

LellyMcKelly Sat 18-Jun-16 08:03:22

Do you want to ditch them completely, or just some of them? I ditched my friendship group from school because every time we met it felt like Groundhog Day - endless conversations about hair, weight, make up and children, for 25 years! However, there are two that I love and see regularly outside the group. The rest are just Facebook friends and when I go back home for visits I don't even arrange to see them.

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