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Friend wants space

(178 Posts)
Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:01:42

Hi. I hope you’re all okay at this crazy time.

So, I had some issues with my friend for years but I loved her & they melted away when I would see her; so I never brought any of it up with her. It all came to a head recently when she pushed me to find out what was wrong and I told her. We had a long painful conversation with tough moments. I said more than I’ve ever said because it had built up in me. However, by the time the conversation was over, we were talking about normal things again & having a laugh. I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say again and again.

I didn’t hear from her for two months after that, so I texted her & detected distance. I asked if she was angry with me. She replied days later saying she needed space. I replied saying I didn’t know she wanted space or that she was upset but that I’ll honour her request.

I’m upset! It’s her birthday tomorrow & I don’t know if I should contact her.

I’m really disappointed. I feel like I’ve been cast aside at the first sign of difficulty. That was our first argument ever.

Any kind or helpful thoughts on this? Anyone been in this situation? This is probably the end, eh? Should I text her for her birthday tomorrow?

OP’s posts: |
inwood Thu 30-Apr-20 16:03:40

Very difficult to say without knowing what happened, why do you think you would have made her angry?

Feduppluckingmychinhairs Thu 30-Apr-20 16:04:54

Agree it's very hard to say without knowing what the issues were?

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:07:56

It was just a long, frank conversation where I explained what had been bothering me for years. She didn’t admit she did anything wrong & instead made every possible excuse under the sun. This bothered me a lot so it went around & around! Eventually we just wore ourselves out I think!

I never in a million years thought she’d do this. We were so very close and the last thing she said when we saw one another was ‘I’d love to see you soon.’

OP’s posts: |
Thingsdogetbetter Thu 30-Apr-20 16:08:44

She has asked for space, which means no contacting- birthday or not.

As pp says without knowing what those issues were there is no way of knowing if this was a first sign of difficulties or your being honest was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:10:46

She was stunned. She had no idea I had any issues with her. She thought everything was great but I guess I just had to be honest when she pushed me to find out what was wrong.

I can’t imagine not contacting her on her birthday & I don’t want that to be thrown back in my face in the future.

OP’s posts: |
ComtesseDeSpair Thu 30-Apr-20 16:16:41

Tricky one. I think I’d be tempted to just send a text saying something along the lines of “Happy birthday, I know things have been difficult/silent between us since our last meet-up but I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you today” - just an olive branch which lets her know you haven’t forgotten.

I don’t think it’s surprising that she needed space to come to terms with what you said if she had no idea about any of it. There’s the triple whammy of the blow of the revelation itself, that you’d kept it from her for so long, and trying to process what this means for your friendship.

reefedsail Thu 30-Apr-20 16:18:01

I think it kind of depends what your issue was.

If she does something that offends you racially (just as an example) it would have been the right thing to do to bring it up and go 'round and round' it, and if she doesn't take it on board she is being unreasonable.

If she repeatedly offers you a type of biscuit you don't like (just as an example) it would have been better to continue to let it go and you have been unreasonable.

Querencia Thu 30-Apr-20 16:18:34

Send a simple message saying Happy birthday and that you're thinking of her on her birthday.

She will remember you reaching out to her on her birthday and if you want your friendship to be resumed then this is something she will refer to if you don't.

With everything that's going on with covid-19 she won't be having a normal birthday anyway so be kind and send a message.
If she doesn't respond or the friendship doesn't recover, you can draw a line under it and walk away knowing you did what you can to rebuild your friendship

Opentooffers Thu 30-Apr-20 16:24:10

It would seem that the issues didn't quite melt away, more like festering resentment until your friend knew something was bothering you and asked, at which point years of built up angst may have come flooding out. Probably a lot for her to hear all at once that you've been harbouring these grudges for years.
I wonder why you didn't tackle these things at the time more individually than give it all to her at once. It comes across as maybe always fearing that you'd lose the friendship so not asserting yourself. You might just not have compatible POV on things, and maybe would not have been friends so long if you had not swallowed your issues.
Hard to say though, without knowing what the issues are.

Branleuse Thu 30-Apr-20 16:29:09

I think that was the risk that you took. She wanted to know what the issue was, but clearly didnt expect there to be a massive list. Probably felt a bit like a character assasination.

What exactly was the problem with her?

ProfChaos Thu 30-Apr-20 16:30:54

I think it completely depends on what this issues were.

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:33:08

Ok thanks. That’s very helpful.

The issues were basically that she would take days to respond to text messages from me & I always felt like everything was on her terms. I worried that she didn’t like me but when I’d see her she’d be so enthusiastic, so I felt like I was getting mixed messages,

Even when something was about me, she’d make it about her. I became worn out but the thing that hurt me the most was feeling so unimportant that she’d wait up to a week to reply to a message or just drop off mid conversation. She has no children & spends a lot of time on her own self-care so it’s hard to take in that context.

OP’s posts: |
Pipandmum Thu 30-Apr-20 16:34:24

I'd just send her a birthday e card or something like that. I wouldn't refer to any issues, just wish her a happy birthday. If you don't, she'll think you don't care at all.

Thingsdogetbetter Thu 30-Apr-20 16:35:46

1. The issues you have are valid and she's been a shite friend. You pulled her up on them and she's realised she can't get away with the shite anymore and therefore the friendship isn't worth her time anymore cos she's a selfish person.

2. Your issues with her aren't valid and she's realised that you have unrealistic ideas of how the friendship should be and she's backed off because you've freaked her out.

All depends on the 'issues'. I don't think anyone can work out what's going on without know what they were, even vaguely.

beeinmygarden Thu 30-Apr-20 16:39:17

Sorry, but it sounds like she is probably an ex-friend. If she has never had any idea anything was wrong, so to suddenly find out all the negative things you have been harbouring for so long must have completely changed her view of the friendship over the years, and of you. Sorry.

Moondust001 Thu 30-Apr-20 16:40:02

If you have "had issues with her for years" then are you really that great friends? Maybe she thought you were, but wasn't expecting a catalogue of what has been wrong with her for loads of years. To be honest, if a friend of mine did this to me, I don't think the friendship would survive, and shouldn't. It's one thing having honesty in a friendship, and even having a few things about a friend that you maybe find a bit grating. But basically you have said that you have found some issues about her "wrong" for years, it affects your "friendship" to the extent that she noticed, you expected her to to admit you were right, and when she didn't you pushed and pushed. You sound like quite hard work for a friend.

Thingsdogetbetter Thu 30-Apr-20 16:40:43

X post sorry. It's number 1 then. She's not prepares to put in equal effort and now can't be arsed to turn into a decent friend. You've held up a mirror and she doesn't like what she saw and it's easier for her to ignore it than change.

Such friends are fine as long as you can put them into a 'fun in person, but selfish' friend box. If you try and put them into a 'good, caring' friend box you get hurt and disappointed.

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:45:03


The thing is she is the ‘good, caring’ type so it’s just too hard from her. She’s the very one who’d be upset if someone else did that to her. I know I could’ve said something to her sooner but I thought I’d sound petty but it built up over time.

OP’s posts: |
Honeyroar Thu 30-Apr-20 16:46:32

If it’s an argument about it all being about her/on her terms then she’s carrying it on now, isn’t she! It’s still on her terms. But also you let it build up then let her have it, she’s probably a bit hurt. If she didn’t care enough anyway this might make her worse. Friendships fade sometimes.

Just send her a card, see what happens.

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:49:43

Yeah it’s all on her terms. She’d be crushed if I asked her for space and I wouldn’t do that. She is a lovely person but she is self-absorbed.

I’m leaning towards not sending a card because I’m really really hurt. I feel cast aside. I gave her 2 months before contacting her & she still needs space! She had said everything was fine when I left her (I asked directly repeatedly) ... I’m feeling pretty hurt to be honest, whether that’s right or not .

OP’s posts: |
Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 16:58:46

Someone said she’ll think I don’t care if I don’t acknowledge her birthday but she’s asked me for space and I was the one who reached out, only to be knocked back...

This is on my mind night and day. We’ve shared our hearts and souls with one another. I never brought up my issue because I thought it would improve and it wasn’t that big but I suppose communication is pretty important.

To send a card or not?

OP’s posts: |
FallonSwift Thu 30-Apr-20 16:59:10

Yeah it’s all on her terms. She’d be crushed if I asked her for space and I wouldn’t do that. She is a lovely person but she is self-absorbed.

You've answered your own question there. She's fun to spend time with in the moment, but is not the type of friend to prioritise you or think about you outside of that. Very much 'out of sight, out of mind'.

You've called her on it. She's denied it and is now hurt and as a result has withdrawn.

If you can't cope with the way she is then there's no point in staying friends with her. I have a friend like this - months and months without a word. Then we'll have an exchange of emails, meet up for dinner and drinks and have a blast - and then it goes back to radio silence for months again. There's no point expecting her to change because she won't. What you can do is manage your own expectations and decide if the friendship is worth retaining.

FallonSwift Thu 30-Apr-20 17:00:22

I wouldn't bother with a card. I'd send her a text or put a message on her FB wall saying happy birthday. It shows that you haven't forgotten, but puts the ball in her court.

Spaceyspacey Thu 30-Apr-20 17:11:28

Mmmm yeah ... I don’t know ... she told me everything was cool, I reached out and asked directly & only then found out she wanted space ... not sure a birthday acknowledgement is justified. I’m actually wondering if I want to be friends with her now too to be honest.

OP’s posts: |

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