How to handle my friend?
August 13, 2012 6:31 PM Subscribe
Dealing with a friend who is in a bad place in her life - how can I handle this situation with grace and as few hurt feelings as possible?
posted by sarahgrace to human relations (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Backstory: I met this girl (I'll call her Kayla for anonymity purposes) through my ex a little less than a year ago. We went from acquaintances to close friends fairly quickly and spent a lot of time together as I am pursuing an online degree and she co-owned a shop with her step-mom so we were on similar schedules. I'm in my early 20s, Kayla is 19, and while I'm more of a traditional person and she's a free spirit, we got along very well. I'm not into alcohol/marijuana, but I did drink and smoke a few times with Kayla before I realized that these substances aggravated my anxiety/panic disorder.
Question: Kayla lived with her step-mom and father from mid-2011 to earlier this summer. She had drug issues in her early teens, and during this past May/June she fell off the sobriety wagon and began doing some fairly hard drugs regularly. She expressed how upset she was with herself to me and I tried my best to help her remove herself from the situations where she was offered these drugs, but it didn't do much good. As a person who doesn't have a lot of experience with these types of addiction, I wasn't sure how to handle her. Finally Kayla came clean to her step-brothers, and then her father about her drug use - which came as a huge relief to me. I knew that her step-mom wouldn't be as happy about her drug use, but I hoped for the best. One day Kayla called me and told me that a friend of hers from a larger city in our state (I'll call it Townsville) was coming to visit and that she was planning on going back with him to stay there for a while and clear her head. I didn't think anything about it until later that day when her step-mom called me yelling about how I was apparently doing drugs with Kayla and taking her to see people they didn't approve of (both of which I absolutely did not do and during the conversation I could hear Kayla screaming in the background about how she was leaving for good). After a lot of complications, Kayla left with her friend for Townsville. Before she left, she came to say goodbye to me and my boyfriend gave her all the cash he had because she literally had nothing. Her plan was to live with her friend (male) and find a job.
After moving to Townsville, Kayla's communication became sparse. She moved out of her friend's house after a few days when he gave her an ultimatum of having sex with him or leaving. She found a job, however, making ~200 dollars a week, so I wasn't too worried. I don't know much about her life there except she was homeless for a good 6 weeks, but finally found an apartment. She didn't have enough money for her downpayment (275 dollars) and asked to borrow 100 dollars from me. I found this sketchy as she had no expenses during her homeless weeks so all I can figure is that she spent a lot of money on *something* (drugs? - she told me she didn't have enough money to eat regularly, so I know that food wasn't where the money was going to). I also know that Kayla was engaging in many irresponsible activities, so I can't help but wonder if she maybe was doing drugs still. She also hasn't paid my boyfriend back after promising she would.
Kayla has returned home this week to pick up the rest of her stuff from her dad and step-mom's house. She wanted me to come visit her tonight, and that according to her step-mom I was welcome as long as I "acted like an adult" which I just found unbelievably catty. I found an excuse to not attend tonight, but now Kayla is wanting to stay with me while I housesit at my mom's house this week, and for me to drive her back to Townsville and visit (~2.5 hour drive). I feel very nervous about visiting her apartment as it seems like one big acid trip - and in the past Kayla hasn't been on the up-and-up about parties (once she allowed me to smoke a laced joint without telling me). Also, I can't imagine my mother wanting Kayla staying at her house for 2-3 days.
While I have told a lot of the flaws of Kayla in this post, she does have redeeming qualities. She's very sweet, always willing to tell me that I'm a good person when I'm feeling down on myself. She helped me move out of my dorm a few semesters ago (although she forget proper identification to actually get in to the dorm, so she didn't help much at all ) and is always willing to help people whenever asked. She is always up for a good time, and is a very fun person to be around when she isn't out of control. She's kind to everyone and can find the good even when most people couldn't. I have loved Kayla dearly in the past, but now I'm feeling hurt and resentful for the stress I've been put in over this situation with her moving to Townsville. I also feel used, as she borrowed money from my boyfriend and then asked me to borrow more (she ended up borrowing it from someone else) and when we would spend time together before she moved I always drove and bought food for us because she doesn't have a driver's license or any income.
I feel as though I need to extract myself from my relationship with Kayla at least until she gets her act together for my own sanity, but then I feel that I'm being a fickle friend and turning on her when she needs me the most. Am I right that this is a toxic friendship or am I being selfish?