slow fade isn't working
June 2, 2014 5:46 PM Subscribe
I have a friend who I consider to be almost family. We used to be extremely close through middle and high school, and probably most of while I was in college. She had a really rough childhood that resulted in PTSD and lasting issues with relationships. Over the past few years our daily lives have become pretty different and I think as she's had less going on she's gotten harder to talk to. I've been trying the slow fade, but she's noticed and I have to figure out how much to explain.
posted by sepviva to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
She's always been theatrical/a performer, but over the last few years it's changed from amusing monologues and conversation to her ranting about things on the internet to be outraged about, her latest illness, who was rude to her this week, the crappy thing her boyfriend did yet again, etc. It feels like non-stop complaints about others, and I can't get a word in edgewise. For literally hours. It's rare to have a phone call last less than 2 hours, usually more like three, and even then I have to be the one to end it. Last time she started narrating a rant she'd been addressing to some friend-of-a-friend on facebook (on a subject I agree with her on!) to me. Sometimes she yells at her poor kid for a while. Sometimes it sounds like she's taken her sleeping pills and is falling asleep. I feel like a jerk always having to cut her off.
I generally prefer hearing more about other people than talking myself, but I'm lucky if she asks how I am. Even when I learned of a big scandalous family secret (mine, not hers), she seemed bored and quickly switched back to the subject of her. I know in the big abstract sense she does care about me, and if I ever needed anything would be there for me, but on the level of actual interaction, not so much. I feel like she just wants an audience for her drama. Her interests are pretty much all related to ways she is a victim, outrageous things the republicans have done, detailed analysis of movies I have not seen and have no interest in, and sex. Thankfully the phase where she was also randomly insulting me seems to have been brief.
At this point, her phone calls really stress me out.
I have mentioned to her that she never even asks how I am, so now sometimes she asks before going off. I've told her I go to bed early, she still calls me late.
All that said, ideally we would still have a relationship that makes me less panicky. I know she's had a horrific childhood and mental health issues, so I don't want to hold it against her. But I'm also really out of patience for it. She's noticed that I've been taking forever to call her, and left annoyed voicemail, and now I feel like I at least owe her some explanation. How much is helpful and not just ranting? While I'm pretty grumpy about all of this, I don't want to be cruel or complain about something that isn't going to help. I really do think of her more as family than just a friend, if that affects answers.