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What to do after falling out with friend?
November 5, 2012 2:38 PM   Subscribe

What is my step in this messy situation with a friend?

I have a friend I've known since middle school (we are 28 now) who I've often turned to for comfort after a breakup. She recently went through a breakup and upon telling me I immediately set up a night for her, me, and good mutual friend to get together for her comfort. We went to dinner and she chose not to talk about the ex. We then went for coffee and she talked about him a little. Coffee shop closed and I said I was still up for hanging out and was in no rush. Friends suggested a place 30 mins away which was not a problem in and of itself- but it was late Friday and I was tired, knowing we would hang out 1-2 hours at least and I would have an hour drive home afterwards; plus I wanted to be well rested to see my mother the next day as we were finally having a fun day out since her chemo was done. I have mild insomnia and take a sleep aid several times a week just to be rested enough to work all day.

So, I was exhausted as usual and SHOULD have excused myself at that point. I told them jokingly, “yeah we can go hang out there but I might doze off and wake up again!”. So we started down the road, but after 1-2 minutes I called them both and explained that I was exhausted and wouldn't be able to muster the drive out and back that night - and explicitly told my friend I still wanted to talk to her/see her/hang out with her very soon. She ignored me after that and I found out she was hurt/angry that I “took off at her low point, it wasn't enough that I did for her, she's been there for me, I would be upset if she did it to me, if I was tired I shouldn't have planned it on that day, etc”.

I am extremely angry at her. I planned the night, spent time at dinner and coffee with her, and wanted to get rest to finally spend time with my mom the next day. I responded to her “please don't tell me what I would have felt, you have hurt me a lot by what you said, I believed I was being a supportive friend and I did my best...I know you're hurting but I have things going on in my life [mentioned seeing my mom the next day], I will not allow you to take your feelings out on me, if you hold me accountable to return everything you've done for me in the exact same way no matter what the circumstances are in my life you are not realistic, I can't believe you said I should have planned it for a night I wouldn't have been tired, as if I can control that, I feel taken foregranted by you as a friend and this is not the first time, and I will not continue this conversation with you”. By the way- she doesn't know I have insomnia. She hurt me bad in college as well, and it took me a long time to be friendly with her- her acting like this so many years later brought me right back to those awful feelings last time she hurt me in a very petty way. I'm not really sure I care to continue a relationship with her. The difference this time is that I have learned to stand up for myself and not grovel at her feet asking for her forgiveness and asking how to be a better friend. We have some mutual friends which may make it awkward- The mutual friend knows we are pissed at each other, and I don't know if she'll judge me or not- I wish she was not involved but it is what it is. I am so hurt that she called me out after I deliberately took time to see her and went home when I needed to in order to spend time with my mom who is my PRIORITY over her- why did she have to go and assume the worst about me? That is so hurtful. She acts as if she is in high school still. I've started to stick up for myself recently more-so when people do things like this so I'm not nervous I said what I did to her.

Maybe I came off too strong, as I am guess I am still learning to find the balance between sticking up for myself when I feel I need to and not coming across as aggressive? What is your opinion of this situation? It's 2 days later and I am still angry and no longer have sympathy for her, at least right now. I try to live my best with integrity and I feel I handled this situation the best I could.
posted by dt2010 to Human Relations (35 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Your wall of text is quite difficult to read; it would've been easier to read if it were broken into paragraphs. But I THINK I understood all of it.

a.) I have very close friends from middle and high school. We have hurt each other. We probably will again, because there's just a lot of baggage and expectations from who we used to be. It's worth it because nobody else you meet now or in the future will ever understand you in the same way, and I'm of the opinion that it's important to remember where you come from (even if you're no longer that person).

In short, it's okay to fight, but long friendships are difficult to make. And I would do my best to try to keep them.

b.) Why did she have to go and assume the worst about me? That is so hurtful.

She's hurting. A lot. She's possibly lashing out at you because you're an easy target (not that that makes it okay). If she's reasonable, and a good friend, she'll probably come around and apologize in a couple of days.

c.) It's your fault for not telling her about the insomnia. You're friends. Good friends, even. It affects your relationship with each other. I think you should tell her so that she can not feel as rejected in the future. (Also, she's already feeling rejected.)

My above suggestions are made based on the assumption that she is a good person, and that despite the bumps in your friendship, it has been worthwhile over all. If she's not a good person--e.g. she's only friends with you because you've been a pushover--then by all means, cut off your friendship.
posted by ethidda at 2:50 PM on November 5, 2012


Good lord. There is no next step because you took that bridge, lit it on fire and torched it to the ground in a blazing inferno. I cannot imagine that friendship is anything but toast now.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2012 [19 favorites]


I don't see your insight on that, DarlingBri.
posted by dt2010 at 2:54 PM on November 5, 2012


I'm not really sure I care to continue a relationship with her.

Next steps? You said you don't want to be friends anymore. It's ok to make that determination. Next step is to follow through.

Personally, it annoys me big time when other people take the time to let me know explicitly that I'm not their priority. It makes me feel bad, even though I know logically they're right. That's not to say she was right to lash out but still. It might have been better to arrange it for another night. Just to give you another perspective.
posted by bleep at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm not really sure I care to continue a relationship with her.

Well, there you go then.
posted by headnsouth at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I immediately set up a night for her, me, and good mutual friend to get together for her comfort.
I said I was still up for hanging out and was in no rush.
but it was late Friday and I was tired, knowing we would hang out 1-2 hours at least and I would have an hour drive home afterwards; plus I wanted to be well rested to see my mother the next day as we were finally having a fun day out since her chemo was done. I have mild insomnia and take a sleep aid several times a week just to be rested enough to work all day. So, I was exhausted as usual and SHOULD have excused myself at that point. I told them jokingly, “yeah we can go hang out there but I might doze off and wake up again!”. So we started down the road, but after 1-2 minutes I called them both and explained that I was exhausted and wouldn't be able to muster the drive out and back that night

then you bailed.


That's how your friend perceives it, you put your needs above hers when she was down.

It's ok to prioritize yourself over others, that's a good and healthy thing. However, it's not really fair to say one thing, but then do another.

This may be an uncharitable read, and I'm sorry if I got it wrong, but it's how I interpreted the events you laid out.
posted by forforf at 3:02 PM on November 5, 2012 [27 favorites]


I don't think it's as bad as that. I think it sounds like a standard issue fight. Call her on the phone, say you're sorry, take her to lunch. Fault on both sides, and all that sort of thing.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:03 PM on November 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


I always find it remarkable that those who demand the most grace from others are so stingy at giving it themselves. She didn't give you the benefit of the doubt and assumed the worst in you, and you, in turn, returned the favor.

Not sure if this is salvageable, but in the future you might want to cut your friends some slack. Her feelings, whether rational or not, were very real and very raw. She likely didn't handle the situation well. But instead of giving her grace and a little leeway given her current situation, you demanded that she act perfect lest she be on the receiving end of your offense.
posted by murrey at 3:11 PM on November 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


Wow she overreacted and you saw her overreaction and raised her by a lot....

You bailed on her. Own it. It's a not great thing to do, but not a capital offense. She overreacted.

That being said get off your high horse. You bailed to get some much needed rest. You didn't bail to go be with your mom. Yeah you needed to be with your mom. The next day. You could have done that with two hours less sleep. You're exhausted and super stressed. You really just wanted to go to sleep. We've all been there so you bailed on your friend. It's understandable. It's forgivable. But you didn't do it for your mom, you did it for you.

You're both in the wrong here, but honestly the degree of anger you have here is way over the top.
posted by whoaali at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2012 [24 favorites]


I don't see your insight on that, DarlingBri.

Your friend was justifiably upset by being let down by you - she's been through several breakups with you, and needed you to reciprocate, as you agreed to do before bailing. Instead of responding with abject apology, knowing she was wounded and in need of compassion, you responded with hostility and defensiveness and in your own words, anger.

You are in the wrong here, IMHO, and badly so.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2012 [29 favorites]


I feel taken foregranted by you as a friend and this is not the first time

I can just feel your resentment for her seething under the surface of this whole explanation. All you wanted was for her to say thanks for once, right? Little events can really spark huge fires when you have these long histories and patterns with friends.

I think its great that you are prepared to handle things differently, but remember in the future to treat each situation just for what it is and don't let other events make you overreact.

If you'd like to still be friends, I'd reach out with a simple apology acknowledging that you were a little harsh, and offer plans to hang out and do something fun or whatever you guys would do after a breakup.

If you are unsure, I'd just sit for a while, and focus on your other friends, and keep moving forward with positive changes.
posted by cakebatter at 3:20 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you want from this? Do you want to be right? Do you want the friendship to continue? You might not get to have both.

If you want the friendship to continue, put down the email and pick up the phone. (Don't do this while you're still stewing and angry, and don't do this if you feel like she "owes" you something - an apology, an acknowledgement that you did do something for her, etc.)

Sticking up for yourself is a good thing. There's also a thing about picking your battles. And another thing about ways to stick up for yourself that don't require engaging in long, stupid fights about stuff you won't even remember five years from now.

One way I might have handled this, starting from when I bailed:

"Friend, I'm really sorry I bailed on you last night and did it so ungracefully. I'm sorry you're angry. There's been some stuff going on with me that I didn't want to burden you with, given the stuff you're going through, but I should have handled it better. I don't want our friendship to dissolve over this. Do you want to get together for coffee/dinner and talk about this?"
posted by rtha at 3:21 PM on November 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, to provide some perspective: If in a similar situation, I would have just planned on drinking lots of coffee the next day. You don't mention WHY you are meeting your mother (regular mother-child hang out or crisis or she's sick and need help). But your friend IS in a crisis and you DID bail on her. Even if your mother is usually a higher priority, and you yourself is a big priority, your friend--in this situation--should be up there as well.

If you've usually been a doormat, and you're trying to fix that, beware that you don't swing too much the other way. If upon reflection, you realize that you're also at fault (not even necessarily >50%, just at some fault), don't be too prideful. Just apologize.
posted by ethidda at 3:21 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you really need to work on your communication here!

I responded to her “please don't tell me what I would have felt, you have hurt me a lot by what you said, I believed I was being a supportive friend and I did my best...I know you're hurting but I have things going on in my life [mentioned seeing my mom the next day], I will not allow you to take your feelings out on me, if you hold me accountable to return everything you've done for me in the exact same way no matter what the circumstances are in my life you are not realistic, I can't believe you said I should have planned it for a night I wouldn't have been tired, as if I can control that, I feel taken foregranted by you as a friend and this is not the first time, and I will not continue this conversation with you”.

By the way- she doesn't know I have insomnia.


She hurt me bad in college as well, and it took me a long time to be friendly with her- her acting like this so many years later brought me right back to those awful feelings last time she hurt me in a very petty way. I'm not really sure I care to continue a relationship with her. The difference this time is that I have learned to stand up for myself and not grovel at her feet asking for her forgiveness and asking how to be a better friend.


This, combined with what forforf quoted, makes it look like you are just kind of being a dick. You said you could hang out and that there was no rush, and then literally 1 or 2 minutes later you bailed over the phone for no apparent reason*. In this circumstance, I would definitely be groveling at my friend's feet/apologizing profusely for doing something like that, and I am certainly an assertive person when it comes to my time and feelings. I'm sorry, but you've done wrong here. It sounds like your friend just wants you to apologize for your somewhat crap behavior. She was in a bad place and friends get extra love and support in those times, especially when you add to it by doing unthoughtful things. The poor lady was just majorly rejected, for heaven's sake! And I don't understand the "I no longer have sympathy for her" bit. What the hell did she do to you except tell you her feelings? Sorry, but you seem like a Bad Friend.

*Tell your friend you have insomnia! Aren't you guys friends!?
posted by two lights above the sea at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


wow, you both overreacted.

Your friend should get a break for overreacting though - people can be crazy with emotion when they're dealing with a breakup, and can't help being all "me, me, me!", especially when you had made the night 'all about her' to begin with. She's not seeing all angles here.

For you though, it really sounds like you have some long-standing issues with this girl that finally came to surface again. I think you need to give this a few more days and consider whether this is the bridge on which this friendship dies. If not, then you should apologize. Your bowing out at an inconvenient time should be forgiven by her after you explain to her what happened, but the way you responded was pretty harsh.
posted by ergo at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a lot going on.

Ignoring all that, on a purely practical level - this is two people digging in their heels. I suspect either person can end this with a heartfelt "I was wrong". That person could easily be you if that's how you want it. If not, not.
posted by ftm at 3:25 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


why did she have to go and assume the worst about me?

You realize you did exactly the same thing to her, right? She's going through a shitty break-up, and is feeling rejected, and you turned around and bailed on her for (as far as she knows) really no reason. She's angry at you because she feels abandoned.

I can't believe you said I should have planned it for a night I wouldn't have been tired, as if I can control that.

She doesn't know you have insomnia! People who don't have insomnia actually do have some measure of control over how tired they're going to be any given day, and when we're tired but we've told someone we're going to grab coffee with them, we suck it up.

She overreacted, but she's doing through a hard time, and you overreacted to her overreaction. Frankly, it sounds like you would both benefit from giving the other some slack.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:33 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will leave her lashing out at you aside. Other people have already addressed the time and telling her that she was a lower priority in your life.

These 2 things would have bothered me if I were on the receiving end of the conversation, though, and I would have a hard time coming back without an apology:

I feel taken foregranted by you as a friend and this is not the first time, and I will not continue this conversation with you


The first time? I really think that throwing the past in someone's face at a completely different time is just not appropriate. If that is or was a problem, deal with it in a less emotionally charged way at a separate time, but not "You do and did X, Y, Z, and 1, 2, 3...." it is too much, the person was already upset. Adding those other things seems to add "I don't like you because you did all these other things before."

Also the "I will not continue the conversation with you" is over the top. It is one thing to say "I need time to reflect or I need to process this." It is another thing to say it in those words - it sounds like you are scolding a dog.

I do think she was no appropriate either (although your reaction is out of proportion).But instead, what about initially responding, "I apologize, I tried the best that I could do (i.e. go out for a few hours). I was really tired and sometimes do not feel well. It hurts my feelings that you think I did not do enough for you." (and this could have been said in email,etc.).

The other question (it is rhetorical, and only for you to answer) that I think that you should reflect on is: Do you want this friendship? Sometimes friendships run their time and their are too many issues and it is too hard to repair. It may not have been related to this, but was building up for a while. If you don't want this, do nothing. But if it is going to be a half-hearted repair, perhaps reconsider and let it go. There is nothing wrong with that, either.

For yourself, what about considering not speaking initially if someone hurts your feelings.Count to 10 or 20. But emotionally charged stuff like that is hard to retract, even with a later lunch or conversation.
posted by Wolfster at 3:37 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I said I was still up for hanging out and was in no rush.

So we started down the road, but after 1-2 minutes I called them both and explained that I was exhausted and wouldn't be able to muster the drive out and back that night


Think before you speak next time.

You both behaved poorly, but if you don't want to be friends (and you don't seem to want to be) then don't half-ass becoming friends again. Just let it go so everyone can be happy.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2012


Honestly, when you're at the point where either one of you is adding up what you've done for the other etc etc...the friendship is pretty much over. It's a really unpleasant way to see other people, and it's really unpleasant to be seen that way. You both deserve to be friends with people who don't have random resentments towards each other that you've been repressing or whatever.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:40 PM on November 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm glad to have all these perspectives. Yet I'm still angry towards her at this point.
posted by dt2010 at 3:54 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what we refer to as a toxic relationship. If you're not going to be there for her and she's going to blow up at you for changing your mind and you're not going to share with her information about yourself (ie that you have insomnia) then what's the point of this friendship?

What to do after falling out with friend?

You realise that you both could have handled things better and try not to behave that way again in your future friendships.
posted by heyjude at 3:55 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you 100% sure that what you are is angry? Because sometimes that's the go-to emotion when trying to avoid often uncomfortable emotions like embarrassment or shame or guilt.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:58 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


She hurt me bad in college as well, and it took me a long time to be friendly with her- her acting like this so many years later brought me right back to those awful feelings last time she hurt me in a very petty way. I'm not really sure I care to continue a relationship with her.

You don't sound like very compatible friends. It sounds like a pattern of mismatched expectations. Further, it seems very transactional. She was there for you. Now you were there for her. Agree that friendships with scorekeeping are not ideal.

Something maybe to think about. Significant relationships end. Friendship is composed of the following factors:
• Similarity: similar attitudes/behaviours/values
• Familiarity: duration of friendship/involvement
• Proximity: physical location
• Reciprocity: cycle of rewarding positive encounters

It's a calculus of sorts: Similarity + familiarity + proximity + reciprocity.

If Similarity is low but Proximity and Familiarity is high (say in a work context), a friendship can form.

If Proximity is low but Similarity, Familiarity, and Reciprocity are high, a friendship can be maintained (say in a long distance relationship).

Over time, a variety of these factors change. In your case with this friend, Proximity sounds low. Familiarity sounds High. Similarity sounds low. Reciprocity sounds medium. In this incident, it sounds like reciprocity broke. She was nice to you during a break-up. You were nice to her. You want to go home. She didn't like that.

There seem to be two options here based on what you said:
1) You did not live up to your friendship with her, and the friendship is something you'd like to continue.
2) You did not live up to your friendship with her, and the friendship is not something you'd like to continue.

Either case is fine. It's probably important to know which one it is. The reason for the mumbo jumbo about Proximity, Similarity, etc. is that if you are only friends with her because you've been friends with her, it may be time to let her go. If you're continually having negative experiences with her – of a few quite large negative experiences – maybe you guys have outgrown each other. It happens.

It's okay to let go and not be friends with people. I think a lot of us hold on to relationships in our lives because that's what we think you do with relationships – hold onto them. But it's also okay to let them go as we outgrow them. In fact, it is necessary to let them go if we have outgrown them to continue to grow ourselves.

In the end, it depends on what your values are. If you want her in your life and she is important to you, you will be a friend and let this go, apologise and save the friendship. If you are ready to move on, you are in a good position to do that as well.

Overall, it seems to be less about what happened, than about you needing to reassess this friendship overall. Probably give it some time and let the answer emerge. When you made the comment about 'High School', my first thought was that she's not the only one in high school. You guys seem to be playing a game you've played before. If you enjoy her friendship and this game is part of it, so be it. High Similarity. If you don't enjoy this game, but this is the game that you two play and you no longer want to play it, so be it. Low Similarity.

It can be very cleansing to let people go. It makes space for new people and new kinds of experiences. It can also be very painful to let people go. But in the end, whatever choice you make will be right because it has to be.
posted by nickrussell at 4:01 PM on November 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yet I'm still angry towards her at this point.

Anger is an unmet need.

What need do you have that is unmet?
Is it she who is not meeting your needs?
Or is it you who is not meeting your needs?
Is that need not being met a temporary occurrence?
Is that need not being met a regular occurrence?
posted by nickrussell at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


ethidda, you pinpointed it for me, I think, when you said "If you've usually been a doormat, and you're trying to fix that, beware that you don't swing too much the other way. If upon reflection, you realize that you're also at fault (not even necessarily >50%, just at some fault), don't be too prideful. Just apologize."

This is exactly what I was doing, and because she'd hurt me in the past when I was obviously a doormat, this time the immediate reaction in my head was "Oh no you don't, not again, not this time, I won't let you bring up these feelings again". The pendulum swung too far. And yes, I still have anger, DarlingBri. That's not to say I don't feel badly for how harsh I was towards her, looking back.
posted by dt2010 at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2012


Nickrussell, what do you mean by "Or is it you who is not meeting your needs?"
posted by dt2010 at 4:15 PM on November 5, 2012


Nickrussell, what do you mean by "Or is it you who is not meeting your needs?"

I think he's suggesting that you consider there may be things you want/need/expect from your friend that perhaps you can only give yourself. For example, when you say "Oh no you don't, not again, not this time, I won't let you bring up these feelings again" -- you're actually transfering a certain amount of agency/control to HER ("she's bringing up those feelings and I need to not feel them, so this is her fault"), when perhaps a more healthy way to frame it would be to consider how YOU can take agency/control here ("her response is triggering these feelings that are uncomfortable, so I need to find a way to reassure myself"). This shift in perspective means that you take responsibility for your own feelings and for your reactions to them, rather than making someone else responsible.
posted by scody at 4:27 PM on November 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Honestly, you sound like someone who was introverted/awkward/anti-social while growing up (like me). I managed to avoid interacting with people more than necessary while I was in school by using the internet and generally being smart and independent. Studying abroad in university forced me to interact with and depend on people that I did not grow up with. That's when I learned "social norms". I'm still awkward, but I'm much better about handling rejection, seeing the best interpretation of a situations, and drawing boundaries.

I looked at some of your older posts. Your mom has been sick. You are several months out of a long term relationship. That added to your insomnia means that you're probably extremely stressed out and just don't have the emotional energy to help a friend out. That's ok, but your friend needs to know that.

By "is it you who is not meeting your needs?", he probably means... are you giving yourself enough alone time? Are you letting yourself lean on friends and family enough? Treat yourself to something nice once in a while (chocolate or a manicure or a good book) and remind yourself that you're only human and have limitations.

It's okay to lean on your friend as she leans on you too. It's okay to apologize and cry and have ice cream together and general lament how terrible life is (as long as you move on after the emo session). It's okay to say, "Hey, I've changed. My situation has changed. I would love to help you more, but I'm just spread so thin." But be honest. You can't be dependable if you're not honest. And it's very hard having an undependable friend.
posted by ethidda at 4:27 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Or is it you who is not meeting your needs?"

If you have a need for a level of respect, caring, or support that you are not getting, then you are not meeting your own needs. You are putting yourself in a position where you know that level of respect, caring, or support is not enough. You have to be honest about what you need out of the friendship. If it's not there, you can ignore the fact that you need it, but that doesn't change that you want/need it.

For example, I had a friend who treated me very well and other people relatively poorly. It upset me to watch how he treated other people, but he was a good friend. He never listened to any of my protestations about how he treated other people, so I stopped talking about them. And I lived in a bubble of relatively constant negativity. It affected me emotionally, watching him hurt people.

It wasn't he who needed to change, in the end. He was who he was, and he was happy with that, somehow. It was me who needed to change – to accept that I had a need for more positive energy and more salubrious social experiences. In the end, I simply needed to accept and embrace my own need. As soon as I did that, I saw that the friendship was gone. We simply didn't have a lot in common anymore. I was holding onto a friendship that wasn't giving me what I needed. Trick was, it had nothing to do with the other person.

But that's me. In your case, it is probably different. Perhaps good food for thought tho.
posted by nickrussell at 4:29 PM on November 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


ethidda, yes pretty much I was introverted/awkward/anti-social and therefore very independent. I've had a number of people point out things I just "cannot" do because they are not social norms (oddly enough, those "things" being me acting in ways that probably gave the impression I had little concern for others' feelings, just as I came across cold and harsh in the response in my original post)...and me never realizing my behavior was NOT normal. This also all is starting to make sense, as a therapist I've seen has discussed how I'd repressed my anger most of my life. I guess that's why she gave me a book about Anger...
posted by dt2010 at 4:45 PM on November 5, 2012


(Last comment on the matter to give others a chance to hop in)

This also all is starting to make sense, as a therapist I've seen has discussed how I'd repressed my anger most of my life.

It's possible to learn patterns of not meeting your own needs at a young age. Thus, a life of repressed anger, for not only are one's needs not met, there can even be a guilt at having those needs. A classic Id/Ego versus Super Ego battle. The individual has very real needs, needs that aren't being met. Needs that result in a generalised and constant anger. Obviously, it's not socially graceful to express a generalised and constant anger, thus one can learn to internalise that anger – even going so far as to direct it at one's self for having the needs that are unmet.

We all have needs. Needs for connection, dignity, respect, self-esteem. Those are very real needs. If it's not "okay" to have those needs, yet one still has them, the anger that results can colour one's entire life, from how they feel about themselves, to the choices they make for themselves, to the friends they choose.

It's okay to have needs. And it may sound a bit odd at first, but we can learn how to have needs – or perhaps recognise and give voice to the needs we have. Anger is rarely the problem, rather often a symptom of the problem. The problem is in not accepting one's needs. If one accepts and honours one's needs, that may well reduce the amount of anger present.

Good luck. :)
posted by nickrussell at 4:58 PM on November 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


[OP this needs to be less of an ongoing discussion and more a place where you get answers to your original question. Feel free to follow up with specific commenters over MeMail or someplace other than here, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:47 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


My therapist advises me to not engage when activated. So when you get that unpleasant, blaming, over-reactive email, and you realize how angry you are, you can bite your tongue on all the things you want to say and instead say something like "I don't know what to say just now. I get that you're upset, and I'm upset too. Let's take some time to cool off and see if we can talk about this again later."

Later - after you've both cooled off - you can be gently frank about what you need and where you're coming from and what you are able to provide.
posted by bunderful at 6:23 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This reads like "six of one, half a dozen of the other" to me. It doesn't seem like either of you handled the handled the situation with much grace, which is pretty understandable given that she was probably feeling really emotional and you were seemingly quite tired.

As for what to do now, you've already said that you don't feel strongly about continuing a friendship with her. Maybe let this one slide for a while while you make new friends and then come back to it later when you've had a chance to cool off to see if there's anything worth salvaging.
posted by Solomon at 11:41 PM on November 5, 2012


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