Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Anyone experienced getting the silent treatment from a friend rather than a partner? How do you deal with it?

(41 Posts)
Penguin13 Sat 17-Dec-16 22:42:42

Been good friends with someone for about 15 years. At this point you would think we could be pretty honest and open with each other. I have a problem though. Whenever I do something that she disagrees with or offends her (which seems to be quite often as she is quite sensitive and we also seem to have quite different views about things sometimes) she goes silent on me or does the whole passive aggressive letting me know I have wronged her without actually telling me what I have done to upset her until such time as she deems I have been punished enough. She would probably say she was 'too hurt' to talk before then but I am guessing since she doesn't actually communicate! After the event she will just go back to 'normal' without whatever it is having been discussed and resolved.

I am once again in the dog house - although for once I know what I have done - but despite messaging her to apologise as I can see her side on this occasion and wanted to smooth things over, I have had radio silence for just under a week. I just hate this whole dynamic of not talking about things in an adult manner. (In case you are wondering why I messaged rather than calling she can't talk on the phone.) This is such a usual pattern of behaviour that I anticipated the silence from the moment her DH messaged me on her behalf to let me know she was upset hmm

I really don't want to lose her friendship, it's not just a question of longevity, she has so many lovely qualities and can be so thoughtful and caring, but I am really struggling with this aspect of our relationship. It is so wearing wondering what I am going to do next to offend her and it's hard to act authentically when I am trying to operate within 'the rules' and tread on eggshells.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice on how to deal? I have a horrible feeling someone is going to tell me I need to have a direct conversation with her about it but I am worried that it will just make everything worse or I will say the wrong thing again. Is it unreasonable/unrealistic to expect something different from a real friendship? There has to be a way to have different views/ways of doing things sometimes, or even be human and make mistakes and bring able to talk it through without all this stress surely?

Bagina Sat 17-Dec-16 22:49:45

Bloody hell! Well I suppose you could have an open conversation with her dh if you can't talk to her?? Sounds like he's another egg shell treader.

Penguin13 Sat 17-Dec-16 23:00:50

Actually he is just as rigid and black and white/easily offended in his views. Sorry a bit drip-feedy but was conscious my post was getting a bit epically long. The current misdemeanour is something I actually said to her DH but which he then passed on because he was shit-stirring confused about what had gone on and so 'had' to clarify and apparently what I said had upset her. And him although that's kind of by the by as it's usually 'just' her I manage to offend.

Penguin13 Sat 17-Dec-16 23:05:47

Actually what makes me really REALLY laugh is that when pulling me up on what I said her DH was all 'we should be able to discuss things like adults' grin Not sure he is familiar with her MO although surely he could see the irony of saying this whilst reporting to me third hand that she was upset....

Cricrichan Sat 17-Dec-16 23:21:47

I've had a few friends who are similar. One is no longer a friend because it just got too much (she treated everybody the same) and her good qualities weren't worth the angst. The other is still a friend. We've had a lot of ups and downs and it's taken many years for her to trust me and be herself (and the episodes were very rare).

So, in my opinion, only you can decide if she's worth the grief. It sounds like she's constantly finding something though and I wouldn't like the hassle of that friendship. Or I would relegate the friendship to an acquaintance.

MakeItRain Sun 18-Dec-16 00:34:47

I had a friend who was similar. I would often get ignored. I never really knew if I'd done anything to upset her though. I haven't seen her for about 25 years now! I occasionally wonder what she's up to but in the end it was a relief not to bother with her any more.

elQuintoConyo Sun 18-Dec-16 00:46:08

I had a friend like this. I also have a mother like this. I can't be doing with childish crap coming at me from all angles, so I did the 'yes we must meet for coffee soon- must dash!' schtick for a couple of moths before she got the hint.

I still see her rrom time to time, smile and nod.

mimishimmi Sun 18-Dec-16 00:54:34

I had a friend like this. She do it until I caved in and did whatever it was she wanted. We're not friends anymore.

Atenco Sun 18-Dec-16 04:04:54

So, in my opinion, only you can decide if she's worth the grief

That's the thing, OP. Everyone has their bad points, but some we can live with, some we can't and some we can only live with for a while. I had a friend I was very fond of but I pulled one too many of these stunts and I thought shit, I have feelings too and he couldn't give a damn about my feelings, it was all about him. So after letting bygones be bygones about six times, the seventh time I just decided to forget about the friendship.

CondensedMilkSarnies Sun 18-Dec-16 04:45:27

If you are willing to risk the friendship , I would tell her that this behaviour is childish and either she grows up and discusses things like an adult or you're going to pull the plug. Both her and her husband sound very odd.

Penguin13 Sun 18-Dec-16 11:16:08

Thanks for the replies everyone. Will have a careful think about how to proceed. Ultimately I do think things need to change as our friendship has already been damaged by this cycle of behaviour which is such a shame.

Poocatcherchampion Sun 18-Dec-16 11:20:03

I'd just ignore her and then let thr friendship go. Sorry. But I can't be doing with such arsing around.

QueenLizIII Sun 18-Dec-16 12:02:09

The next time she gives you silent treatment ie now when she decides to talk to you she gets permanent silence.

perfectlybroken Sun 18-Dec-16 12:07:32

I have a really good friend who is like this. I love her, other than this! I hate pa behaviour and my way of dealing with it is to entirely ignore it. She once ignored me for a month, I just let her get on with it, she came back, explained why, I said sorry if you were hurt but I did what I thought was right. Then we we're back to normal. So I suppose my advice is to let her do what she needs to do, but if you want to maintain the friendship, accept it when she comes back, without accepting blame!

perfectlybroken Sun 18-Dec-16 12:09:04

I suppose also don't chase her, then you will know how much she really values the friendship

Penguin13 Sun 18-Dec-16 13:30:24

Thanks perfectly, that sounds like a good way forward. I must admit that I used to tie myself up in knots and feel sick to my stomach when one of these episodes occurred but more and more I just leave her to it. Sadly she has already had one very close friend completely cut contact, was very hurt and baffled by that. I can't help wondering now if she experienced similar from her and got fed up of it. I wouldn't want to permanently walk away without having given her the opportunity to change. That's one thing I find so maddening about this lack of openness. I get that it is not cool if someone sees saying sorry as a quick fix and then doesn't change but to not even give someone the opportunity to apologise or amend their behaviour as they are casting around in the dark wondering what they might possibly have done seems unfair. I wonder if partially she doesn't want me to have the right to reply. If you are open with someone and give them the chance to explain themselves then you run the risk of potentially being shown to be in the wrong.

Her whole family share this kind of dynamic. They have very rigid views on the 'right' way to do everything and seem to almost enjoy being offended if people don't do things 'their' way. I am more of the belief that there are pretty wide parameters of normal/right behaviour and quite a range within that.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Sun 18-Dec-16 13:34:25

Unlike the other posters, I never had any friends like this! It is totally out of the acceptable behaviour for friends. My friends are never offended, never blank me etc. That's just not an adult friendship at all.

I'd not be keeping going with this one, they seem to enjoy being offended and having someone to gang up on (you). I'd just make new friends as this is not within any norm I've ever experienced, my friends aren't like relationships, we tend to be easy-going, overlook minor issues and enjoy each other's company when we get together, friends are people you choose and it's very different than family or even your primary relationship.

QueenLizIII Sun 18-Dec-16 14:39:10

She isnt going to change. One friend cutting her off hasnt made her rethink it.

She doesnt get it. She is the victim everytime.

Her DH texting you alerting you that you've upset her. Is she 2? Id have asked her dh to convey back that you wont ever be upsetting her ever again. Permanently.

MrsT2007 Sun 18-Dec-16 15:32:37

Honestly, I'd wait and see.

I had similar. Someone I considered a friend who just started blanking me. I knew she'd had a rough time recently and even texted to offer help (no reply) only to receive a drunken rant at midnight one Friday night.

Instead of discussing things face to face or being a grown up she resorted to radio silence and pissed texting.....So after I apologised for any of my part of the problem, I've blocked her number and basically shut it off.

If she wants to behave like a spoiled child then so be it. As she's also the school 'alpha mummy' I've distanced myself from helping with events etc too.

She owes me an apology and until I get it then I will be civil and no more.

I'm very much of the opinion now that life is too short to waste time and energy on trying to please people who cannot compromise or apologise.

Atenco Sun 18-Dec-16 16:05:53

No, she is not going to change, or at least she would first have to realise that there is a problem, which does seem to be the case.

My mother was like that a bit. After she died an aunt told me that nobody had been allowed to get angry when they were growing up. There were four children in a tiny terrace house and anger was forbidden. So of course my mother got an ulcer instead and never learnt those complex ways of negotiating a problem with other people. But at least she was aware that it wasn't good to be that way.

Anonymoususer1938 Sun 18-Dec-16 16:42:36

My relationship was defined by this behaviour by my ex. I'd often get it as a prelude to a break up or for some exaggerated 'slight'. In the early days I'd try hard to work things out and would call, text etc to find out what was wrong or to try to extend an olive branch. I'd find myself apologising for minor discretions and still getting radio silence. Then when it had been deemed that I'd been punished enough, or they were feeling lonely they would get in touch with a breadcrumb which I'd eagerly respond to. I knew this was happening but felt helpless to do anything about it. It's not behaviour I had been used to and my idea of conflict resolution has always been to apologise when I'm in the wrong and shake hands or kiss and make up. This happened a lot in our relationship and it's just happened again in last couple of months. This time however I have been resolute and decided I cannot enable this behaviour anymore. I was given silent treatment for a comment I made. It wasn't really that bad and was taken the wrong way. However I accepted it could have sounded off and apologised. I got no reply. A month later I get a breadcrumb but this time I didn't respond positively to it but instead called out the over reaction and preceding silent treatment. I received some really nasty texts and I ended up telling them to F off. No contact since ( over a month) and I have resolved not to speak to them again. It may seem childish but this dynamic is unhealthy for me and even now I sometimes feel weak and tempted to apologise for my last text. But you know what....they deserved that for the nastiness they were dishing out to me and for all the previous shit treatment. I should have said it years ago.

NeighTrumpSnort Sun 18-Dec-16 16:53:25

Well....I know that you have had a long friendship but is it really worth all this angst and hassle.

If she valued your friendship then she'd treat you better.

Not sure I could be bothered with having to second guess myself and watch what I say just incase she might react negatively

georgethecat Sun 18-Dec-16 22:21:22

Have had a few friends like this in earlier years - cutting them out & rolling on was the best thing!

Poocatcherchampion Sun 18-Dec-16 22:37:55

anony you made the right call there. That is not a loving relationship

dollyollymolly Sun 18-Dec-16 22:46:15

She sounds very tiresome. I'm not sure I could be bothered with her.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: