Telling someone when they upset you. Ok or not ok?
Moonshine1111 · 04/11/2018 14:16
I'm trying to work on improving my relationships with people. I had a heart attack earlier this year which I believe was caused by stress, so I've been eliminating stressful situations and people as much as possible.
- I split with my partner this year, he broke my heart and I was devestated. 2 days later my best friend (who had only met him once) went out and 'accidentally' met up with him and spent the evening with him. I told her this was not acceptable to me and I was incredibly upset by it. She told me I was crazy and as far as she was concerned she had done nothing wrong.
I decided to give her another chance as I thought I'd made it clear this wasn't to happen again. A week later she texted me and asked if I would mind if she started messaging my ex. I said I did mind very much. She ignored me and we haven't spoken since. Was I unreasonable to say no to her? Was I unreasonable to tell her the first time that it was not ok for her to hang out with my ex? She is now telling everyone i am crazy and to stay away from me, so I've lost other friends now too.
- My other best friend is so unreliable. She often changes plans at the last minute, usually because she forgot she double booked herself, and she always chooses the other person over me. It happens maybe 1 in 4 times that we arrange something, so I'm always on edge when we make plans not knowing if she is going to turn up. Quite often I'll already have spent time and money cooking for her, for her to cancel last minute. It's so stressful dealing with her.
I haven't seen her in 3 months as she's cancelled plans every time we've made arrangements. Last night we were meant to go for dinner. In the 24 hours leading up to it she sent around 10-15 texts changing the time, place, cancelling, re-confirming, cancelling then confirming again... It got very frustrating. This continued right up until an hour before we were supposed to meet. As a result, the other friend who was joining us cancelled and said she couldn't deal with the stress.
I (gently) told my friend that her constantly changing the plans was stressful and I asked her to consider the impact it has on others in future.
The friend did not take this very well at all, she sent me a load of abuse calling me some very nasty names and said if I was a real friend I would have kept my opinions to myself.
As a result, I have told her I am ending the friendship and I have cut off all contact.
My question here is, was it right for me to tell her that her unreliability was causing difficulties? I understand her view that sometimes it is best to say nothing, but in this case my options were to either stop being friends with her and just not tell her why (as I couldn't deal with the stress anymore), or tell her and give her an opportunity to be sorry and change. Would you rather someone told you if your behaviour was upsetting them, or should they just ghost you/break off the friendship and not say why?
I'm not sure if I just haven't picked my friends very wisely or if I'm just not tolerating the same nonsense I used to before the heart attack, because I have to be so careful about stress. What do you guys think, please help??
TwllBach · 04/11/2018 14:25
My life has been a lot better since I made the effort to be honest with people when their actions impacted me negatively.
At the same time, it has reduced my social circle - but this is fine by me because once I realised they were negatively impacting my life, I didn't want them in it anyway.
I shall tell you a little story - once upon a time a woman (A) found messages from her neighbour (B) on her partner's (C) phone. These messages were not remotely flirty from C's side, but there were several messages from B asking when C was going to shag her. B could see C looking at her bum, legs and boobs and reckoned she could give C a good time. C responded that he had a partner and perhaps B was drunk, and continued messaging as normal for the following few weeks.
A was upset because a) C hadn't told her abd b) B and her friends would sit outside their house opposite A and C's house during the summer, drinking, chatting and having a laugh and sometimes A would go and join them. B knew A and C had a young baby and A felt really humiliated by B's actions (and to a smaller extent, C's.)
A stewed and stewed and stewed until one day, she sent a message to B saying, "please don't ask my boyfriend to sleep with you again. It's humiliating for everyone and it makes me feel particularly shit."
A felt sick to her stomach as she sent it but immediately afterwards, and ever since, even when bumping into B and her children, which happens regularly, has felt calm and happy about that situation. B did reply, something like "ok, no worries, sorry." and promptly blocked A, but A realised something.
It is ok to be polite and say when something is upsetting you. It will make you feel better.
Alfie190 · 04/11/2018 14:29
I would not want either of these two friends and I think you acted reasonably.
Sparkingfizzing · 04/11/2018 14:29
You can't tell friend 1 who she can and can't see. She should have taken your feelings more into consideration though definately. If they were friends while you were together, then I don't see that you can ban her from seeing him now. What do you think will happen if she sees him? Does it feel like she's not being loyal to you?
Friend 2 -depends on what you actually said but sounds like she over-reacted. In all honesty though, although what you said was right, I wouldn't take kindly to being told "consider the impact it has on others". It's infuriating when people mess you about, particularly if you already feel like they chose others over you. I know that feeling. I do think it was important that you tell her why you cancelled that date though.
I understand that you need to look after yourself and if friends are friends they shouldn't cause this much stress. Maybe if there are other friends you are planning to drop, it might he gentler and less upsetting for everyone to just let them drift away, (unless they really are toxic) eg don't text first, politely decline an invite etc. If you do want a definate cut off though, it's definately better to tell them why than just ghost them.
MacosieAsunter · 04/11/2018 14:29
I never see the point of deliberately falling out with people. That in it's self is stressful it's far easier to let the relationship just slide and die a natural death. Then if you bump into people you can still be pleasant rather than embarrassed.
Re situation 1 - well the moral code would be not to take your friends pickings, but on the other hand, you'd already dumped him,. I presume as she was your BF at the time you had confided in her why. But you don't actually have the right to dictate who she may or may not spend time with.
Re situation 2 - personally I would have just let that slide. Always see her in a group of people - ie we will be at X venue at Y time, you're welcome to join us. If she does or doesn't, then the evening goes ahead anyway.
As a result, the other friend who was joining us cancelled and said she couldn't deal with the stress You pandered to your unreliable friend and as a consequent you've damaged the relationship with Friend 3. Franky I'd have told No 2 where you and No 3 were meeting and she could come or not.
abbsisspartacus · 04/11/2018 14:32
Pretty sure they are throwing a fit because you won't take crap from them anymore
BackforGood · 04/11/2018 14:35
From what you've written, you haven't picked your friends wisely in the first place.
No-one does what your first friend does to a friend of their's
The 'constnatly changing times and places frined' would have got a much blunter text the 2nd (NOT 15th) change she tried to make. I'd have just said, "Look Jane, we've made plans for 3 of us to meet. One last minute change for a good reason happens sometimes, but you can't really expect everyone to keep changing things. Mary and I will still be in the Red Lion from 7 30 if you want to join us, if it's too difficult tonight, then we'll see you next time".
I'd try and widen your social life a bit, so you aren't reliant on one or two or 3 individuals.
Moonshine1111 · 04/11/2018 14:36
Thank you, that's really helpful to hear the opinions.
Just to be clear about friend 1, my boyfriend had dumped me, I didn't want the relationship to end. My friend had only met him once briefly when she was with me, so they didn't know each other. So I find it really weird that she went out and actively pursued him so quickly after our split (within 2 days). I know I don't have the right to dictate what she can and can't do, but if my best friend actively pursues my ex within days of us splitting, it does effectively end our friendship as I couldn't cope with them getting together in front of me.
Re friend 2, those are really interesting views. I guess I'd prefer that someone told me if I was being annoying in some way, so I could consider changing, rather than just keep losing friends and not knowing why. I see your points re making things uncomfortable by having the conversation though.
Doyoumind · 04/11/2018 14:36
Friend 1 was out of line meeting up with your ex and didn't take your feelings into consideration. I can imagine how hurt your were.
Friend 2 sounds like a nightmare.
I think there's possibly an issue here with your self esteem and how you value yourself which has allowed you to form friendships with people who aren't really respectful. You've tried to maintain these friendships to your detriment. It's not you who is in the wrong but you need to really analyse your relationships with people and make sure they are balanced and healthy. There are plenty of nice people out there. Don't get lumbered with the nasty ones!
AmIRightOrAMeringue · 04/11/2018 14:39
In the situations you've described than perfectly acceptable
The first time it sounds so soon after you split up that most friends would have stayed away even if they liked him, and waited a good while for the dust to settle. It would have been different if a casual thing fr a couple of weeks but starting to date a friends serious ex after less than a month is not on! And the alternative would be seeing her and putting up with her talking about him etc.
The second example she is again extreme, and she knows this as your other friend cancelled as it was too stressful for her as well. If more than one person is unhappy with someone it's pretty clear they're being unreasonable. I guess the only alternative is seeing her in a group ie 5 of us are doing x at this time, you're welcome to join us type of thing, then it makes no difference ad to whether she turns up.
For me if it's a major betrayal or something that happens very regularly and is disrespectful as well as irritating (I'd class changing other people's plans on a whim multiple times as both) and it's genuinely causing you stress, and would annoy most people, it's fine to say something
I wouldn't say something if I knew the other person was going through considerable stress such as a bereavement or divorce or if it was a one off
I think as with anything it's how you say things. If you stick to the facts and how it made you feel and stay polite then fair enough (you've cancelled on me 3 times this summer and changed our plans more, it makes me really anxious when my plans change last minute as I feel more comfortable when I know what I'm doing the day before and it's cost me quite a bit of money in meals that you haven't been able to make. Is there a way we can change how we meet up so that this doesn't happen any more?)
HolyMountain · 04/11/2018 14:40
Good for you , I believe that getting rid of people who clearly don’t give a shit about you is absolutely the right thing to do.
Look after your health and bin people who don’t care about you.
category12 · 04/11/2018 14:45
Neither of these people were good friends to you, so you're better off without them.
You didn't do wrong by confronting either.
OscarWildesGreenCarnation · 04/11/2018 14:45
I'll cut to the chase as I'm probably not the best person to advise, I get terribly wound up by these sorts of scenarios and in the past it's gone a bit wrong for me!! So I bought a bloody good book called 'The life changing magic of not giving a fck' by Sara Knight. I thought it would be a little harsh and merely say 'walk away' or 'tell someone to go fck themselves' but actually it's a damn good lesson in prioritising what / who to give a fck about and what / who not to! But YOU do the choosing - it's not a manual of 'what's worth it or not'. So in the first scenario above, the book may give hints for the reader to think 'actually, I haven't got the 'right' to tell her not to see people, but I have got the right to either learn how not to care, or not to see her ' (which is where you work out whether to give a fck or not!!).
It's really helped me - and NO, I'm neither the author or will reap financial reward from this post!
Good luck OP, when you're a decent person and lack in self confidence as I think you are / might, it's a steep learning curve. But go for it (and don't give too many f*cks!!)!
OscarWildesGreenCarnation · 04/11/2018 14:46
Sorry OP I forgot to add that the subtitle to the book is 'How to stop spending time you don't have doing things you don't want to do with people you don't like'...!
RebelWitchFace · 04/11/2018 14:46
The things is no matter how much people claim to love honesty and truthfulness and "I would want to know", a lot of them can't deal with it when it's aimed at them and they really really don't want to know.
I've seen it a lot of times,they praise their friends for this and back them up,until the friend is honest about something regarding them. Then it's all huffing and puffing and how horrible and mean they are.
Moonshine1111 · 04/11/2018 14:47
This is all really helpful, thanks so much.
I was comfortable that friend 1 needed to go, sad as it is. But I was worried if I was wrong about friend 2.
Friend 2 initially denied she had ever cancelled before and called me a liar several times. When I reminded her of all the different cancellations she told me I should be grateful that she turned up on 3 of the 4 occasions and I have never praised her for that. Which is true. I just didn't know it was necessary to praise someone for doing what they said they would do and if maybe that's something I needed to think about in future?
I really like the suggestions re meeting in a group and not allowing people to dictate changes like that in future, thanks. :)
WorraLiberty · 04/11/2018 14:53
Why don't you believe that your friend simply bumped into your ex by accident?
It seems totally believable to me, considering she'd only ever met him once.
I'm also not sure about the language you've used here OP.... I decided to give her another chance as I thought I'd made it clear this wasn't to happen again. I imagine that must have pissed her off.
Still, she shouldn't have broken the 'girl code' so to speak and your other friend sounds flaky as hell.
I think all of you are better off without each other and the stress.
BackforGood · 04/11/2018 14:55
never see the point of deliberately falling out with people. That in it's self is stressful it's far easier to let the relationship just slide and die a natural death. Then if you bump into people you can still be pleasant rather than embarrassed.
I do agree with this ^ though. I don't get the dramatic calls you get on here so often, to "cut people out of your f" or "block her" etc.
I don't necessarily think it is helpful to start back tracking over different occasions etc., and it wouldn't be if you responded at the time that the change doesn't work for you then, rather than allowing it, and then complaining later, IYSWIM ?
AmIRightOrAMeringue · 04/11/2018 14:59
Also even if sometimes they are nice to you and kind etc...I think overall you have to balance the positives and the negatives and be prepared to lose them if their behaviour brings you down more often than not. In your first example definitely, no one needs a friend like this!
NonaGrey · 04/11/2018 15:08
I think in both cases the thing to do would not be to tell them what to do but rather tell them what you are going to do.
Eg You are free to date ex if you wish but it hurts my feelings so I won’t be able to see you any more.
Btw not dating your friend’s ex is a fairly universally accepted rule so I’m not sure why you have lost other friends.
Friend 2. “I want to see you but these constant changes are incredibly frustrating. Friend 3 and I will be at X place at Y time, I hope you can join us”
You aren’t telling them how to behave you are just telling them what you are going to do.
If you have lost friends I wonder if it’s not what you say but how you say it.
For example telling someone to “consider the impact of their actions on others” is calculated to get their back up (you aren’t her Mum!) if you’d said “I love you but this is driving me insane” you might have had a better reaction.
Jungster · 04/11/2018 15:11
I think you need to put people on notice earlier so that you're not going through life having to cut people off and walk away from friendships.
Im working on this myself btw. Getting better at it gradually.
CoughLaughFart · 04/11/2018 15:13
Of course you should tell people if they upset you. Otherwise it builds up and up and eventually explodes.
MRex · 04/11/2018 15:14
Is #1 definitely dating your ex rather than just being friendly? If so then she's no friend of yours, so you can say whatever you like to her. If you aren't certain then perhaps she isn't dating him, so she felt you were unreasonably jealous.
#2 sounds irritating. I have a friend who has a similar type of annoying behaviour; late, changes location last minute, even once a no-show. I just meet her when it's a convenient location and I've nothing else on e.g. meeting at the shops to go shopping when I need to get stuff. I've considered saying something about her behaviour a few times, I still might, but I only will if I can be constructive.
@TwllBach's story - I would absolutely have my DH tell her on a message how much she was humiliating herself and I'd probably tell her in person too. I'd be angry if he was getting messages like that and not telling me as well.
It feels unreasonable not to add a bad friend story, because we all have several. Moving on from them is important, but don't feel like there's any fault in you because you had a bad friend. I had one ask me who I found attractive then when I spoke to her later about cabs home she cried that she couldn't afford a cab; weird I thought and offered to pay. Then he walked over to see why she was crying and she told him I was upset with her "because we both fancy you, and I didn't mean to cause a problem"; actually said that to him in front of me, when she knew I'd said nothing of the sort. It was plain crazy. That night I walked away, ignored her texts and never spoke to her again except a warm hello in company so she couldn't twist anything else. None of our mutual friends see her any more thankfully, she alienated everybody one by one by various weird means. One friend even had her phone up her workplace to say stuff. I didn't tell her what she'd done, there was no need, just stay away from the crazy.
RavenLG · 04/11/2018 15:17
Honestly, both of your friends sound awful and you're well rid.
Friend 1 - has absolutely no morals and definitely shouldn't be trying to shag your ex, that's just basic human decency.
Friend 2 - sounds entitled and petty. The fact that she said "I should be grateful that she turned up on 3 of the 4 occasions and I have never praised her for that" is absolutely shocking and I'm surprised she has any friends at all. Do her managers praise her for coming into work? What a childish idiot.
I think honesty is the best policy is most situations, but as PPs have pointed out its how delivered can be key. But I suspect friend 2 has kicked off so much as she knows she is a flake and is in the wrong.
SassitudeandSparkle · 04/11/2018 15:22
Keeping a list of occasions people have let you down on sounds pretty stressful to me, OP!
First friend - you can't really tell people who they can and can't see unfortunately. If they don't know each other and only met once what makes you think she tracked him down? How long were you seeing him.
Second friend - no, it's not ideal that she has let you down but no-one is going to react well to a list of their failings tbh.
To me, you come across as being a little confrontational. I'd say with the second friend, you made it all a bigger problem than it needed to be. The third friend felt fed up and cancelled without needing to give the flakey friend a list of her faults. Either you or third friend could have said no to any one of the changes.
Jungster · 04/11/2018 15:31
There's an art to be facing the elephant in the room head on without making the other person feel like they're under attack.
ie, your friend who went out with your boyfriend.
''by going out with him so soon after we split up, I felt like you wanted to see him more than you wanted to stay loyal to me. Was that your intention?''
and then see what she says. Seem to give her the benefit of the doubt. Say ''ok!, good, so relieved''. But then you go away and think about whether her explanation works for you or not.
2) with the friend who's always late (and I've had this myself) you say
''I feel like you forget that I can't do anything other than wait around for you while you're late. You can be productive and get other stuff done but if I'm waiting for you I waste an evening if you don't show up. Is that your intention?''
And again listen to her answer. Say ''ok! phew, so relieved to hear you say that, because I hated to think you didn't care about my wasted evening!''. So in the moment you give them the benefit of the doubt and that is key if you want to take time to digest the new information. Also, you want to see if ''putting them on notice'' changes their behavior to you. You want to see if that's enough to make them treat you with respect in future.
I've a friend who is not late to meet me any more. In fact for a while she used to greet me with ''i was speeding to get here on time'' and I even used the same approach ''I feel like you're trying to make me feel guilty that you're here at the time we both agreed on! is that your intention!?'' and she said no. So I gave her the benefit of the doubt, 100% and never mentioned it again and she's on time to meet me and she doesn't give me a story about how she was SCARED to be late to meet me or SCARED she'd get points on her licence.
It is very hard for a born people pleaser to work these little techniques in to their friendships because I used to meet people and it was great to begin with but I"m such an accommodating people-pleaser that before too long they were taking liberties and I just handled things really badly in a big bust up or a cut them off stone dead.
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