What did I do wrong?
October 20, 2009 10:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm finding in harder and harder to just let it this go without saying anything to these to 'friends' I have..I'll call them John and Betty. I have known John since high school and I met Betty a little bit later on in life. I basically brought the two of them together and since then, Betty turned into a passive aggressive horror show. I don't know what I did to make her react to me in this manner. What do you think I did wrong and what would you have done in this situation? I'm sorry this is so long.

John has always been nothing but a platonic friend but we have a lot in common. Before he met Betty, I hadn't heard from him in a long time. I was not aware at the time that he was just contacting me in order to get to know Betty because she told him that we were friends. I don't have very many friends and pretty much stay to myself most of the time. I had always held John in high regard and regretted that we hadn't kept in touch once we got older. So, I invite Betty and John over one weekend for drinks and what not and sparks flew between them. Great! Two people I like are getting together! I was happy for them, and lo and behold Betty was now calling all of the time, wanting to hang out ect ect. We went out drinking one night shortly after their relationship blossomed and he was told the bartender that we were his "favorite girls" and how he was going to marry (Betty) but that I was his second favorite. I thought it was cute and I knew how he meant it and took no offense at all. Then, she leaned over behind him and said to me.."You heard that, you're SECOND BEST". I was so taken aback I didn't say anything and thought I may have taken it the wrong way. Long story short, we hung out a few more times and she lets the snark FLY, little snide underhanded jabs peppered throughout the conversation. He never said anything to her, and I just let it go. SHE would invite me and then be a total bitch to me. The last straw was when she invited me over for drinks and I guess John and I were laughing a little too much, (we know a lot of the same people and go way back) because when he got up to go in the other room for a minute she whispered loudly that she was going to "have sex with John tonight" like, hint hint, LEAVE you know? So I was getting up to go and he came out and said, "Uh, I heard you and NO you can stay." Can you say awkward? So I finished the movie and left. I do not want anything else to do with them as I feel that she hates me for some stupid reason. I declined their wedding invitation gracefully and have heard nothing from her since. I feel bad like I should have called her out then and there when she let her comments fly, but honestly I didn't know what to say at the time. Now I am very angry at her and I just feel sorry for him. I think she's a very manipulative bitch and think he's making a horrible mistake but I'm not going to ever tell him that..I'm sure he already sees it. I just don't know if I handled this correctly, and how to get rid of this anger. I feel like such a pushover.
posted by iabide79 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like the friendship has already ended, and that this is for the best, as well as being what you seem to want. No further action necessary.
posted by anazgnos at 11:09 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's called the empty well. Don't go there. They aren't offering you anything and so you shouldn't put energy into getting something out of this. You're better off just letting things be.

Also, you're not a pushover. Sometimes people need to hit the inevitable wall to understand just how out of control they are. Stepping out of their path doesn't make you weak. Besides, confrontation with her sounds like a stick/beehive situation.

Ok, I think I'm done with metaphors, and you get the idea. Best of luck to you (and you won't even need it if you refocus your energy towards more fruitful stuff)!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:17 PM on October 20, 2009 [9 favorites]

He used you and once they were together, she turned her back on you (out of jealousy or something else). It sounds like they deserve each other, and you deserve new 'friends'. Real ones this time.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:17 PM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]

It sounds like she did you a favor by showing her colors. She's not your friend, doesn't want to be your friend, and now you know she's not worth wasting your time.
If she's really such a rampant insecure bitch on wheels, John will probably realize sooner or later, but for right now it seems like waaay more trouble than it's worth.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:20 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes, these two deserve each other. Good for you for having the sense to avoid them! Only thing I have to add is this: if the marriage doesn't work out, don't allow one or both of them to come crying on your shoulder. Nthing the bitch on wheels.
posted by x46 at 11:25 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

It certainly doesn't sound like you did anything wrong at all. It sounds like Betty is insecure and wants to prevent you from redeveloping any kind of friendship with John. John is probably well aware of that. He has chosen to marry Betty, and since you said that he only contacted you to get to know her after not being in touch with you for a long time, it sounds like he doesn't have much invested in your friendship and the path of least resistance for him is to let her have her way on that one. Maybe if you do see them again you could tell them that you had hoped to be able to maintain your friendship with both of them but if Betty is not going to let that happen, and if John doesn't want to press the issue with her, then, well, that's disappointing but you understand, you hope they're happy together, and maybe one day you can all be friends again. Let them know that they're welcome to contact you if and when they get that sorted out, then leave it up to them to get back in touch. I think you should feel good about helping them get together, and you have no reason at all to feel like you handled anything incorrectly. It is disappointing to lose a friend and not be able to reconnect with another friend after a long time apart, but they will choose their path together and if that doesn't include friendship with you, it's their loss and you are better off without them.
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:31 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Neither one of them sound like they are capable of being good friends, and I'm sorry you had to be stuck in this awful dynamic. I think John's behavior is a bit subtler to dismiss, but keep in mind that he was not only guilty of using you to meet Betty, but I also think his behavior fed into Betty's bitchiness and jealousy, and he also did not protect you well when you became a target. So, in that respect, it's actually good that you are rid of them, but it still smarts to lose people you thought were your friends and to be treated poorly.

I think you handled this perfectly. Your response was reasonable, mature, and in the end, you chose to take care of you. Are you a pushover? It doesn't sound like it. When someone turns on you suddenly, it can be difficult to reorient yourself and sometimes it takes a major event (like being used by a couple as a ping pong to express animosity towards each other) for you to find your feet and then walk away. While it would have been nice to avoid some of this unpleasantness, you tried to give this person an opportunity to return to the person you thought you knew. I think that's admirable and a smart way to avoid second-guessing yourself in the future.

As for the anger, that's a tougher one. It's understandable and justified, but how do you release it when it's outlived its usefulness? Expending your energy on having a good time, sometimes with a fun, nice person or two, might do the trick by replacing bad memories with good ones, and negative emotions with positive feelings. Feeling relief at realizing how much worse it could have become and escaping these toxic folks when you did, might help, too. My guess is that this will sting for a while, and after you've taken your opportunity to yell or punch a pillow or write one of those strongly worded letters you will never, ever send, it may crop up once in a while when you least expect it. Also, depending on how you view such things, karma has a way of rewarding or punishing behavior appropriately.

Both of these folks did wrong by you, you should be pissed, but you also handled it rather well and demonstrated that you recognize the difference between good, healthy friendships and bad ones, and that you can and will take care of yourself (something that is actually quite hard for many people to do, including yours truly). I hope you take sometime to congratulate yourself for extricating yourself when you did and not returning the petty and meanness that was slung at you. Realizing how much you rock may help you feel better about this situation. Because, rest assured, you rock, and that's a gazillion times better than sucking as hard as these two. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 11:57 PM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]

Poor John. My guess is that he'll be contacting you again in a few years after their divorce. Next time, don't set him up with any of your friends!
posted by hazyjane at 11:58 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some people like to psychologically/emotionally involve a third party in their "thing." It has to do with exhibitionism, drama hunger, and who knows what else... you were set up as an audience, prop, and faux romantic nemesis because it made their relationship more exciting to them. They'll probably be bored silly without someone to play that role, or something similar, so they will acquire new ones as long as they last. Write them off and consider yourself well out of it and freshly educated... and as x46 mentions, don't be drawn in by future dramas. People like this will try to go back to past victims after the waters have settled a bit, and newer marks get wise and drop them.
posted by taz at 11:58 PM on October 20, 2009 [17 favorites]

Here's what I interpret from your description of events: Betty and John both got to know you, pretending to be befriending you because they were interested in you as a person. You were lonely and were so pleased to have new friends that you ignored the red flags that you were being used. And you were, they deceived you, and were really using your friendship to achieve a goal completely irrelevant of you. After they had achieved that goal, they discarded you. You didn't stand up for yourself, you let them walk all over you, you let them walk away. They are satisfied with their subjugation of you.

Now, previou posters have described Betty as insecure. I agree with that analysis. But I think the more important question is your own insecurity. What just happened to you only happened because you let it happen. And why did you do that? Because you don't value yourself. Think about this: why did Betty and John befriend you? Does it have anything to do with you? Nope, the only reason you were involved was because you knew John and Betty both. None of your characteristics, none of the qualities that make you you, are relevant here. That is a classic hallmark of what happens to a passive insecure person.

Shit like this will keep happening to you. You feel angry and sorry for them because you fucked it up. Ignore the posters who say you 'acted well.' If you done the right thing, you would be feeling at peace now, instead of posting about your hurt feelings on Askmefi. Nope, you got it - you were a pushover.

And how do you fix that? Well... it's difficult. Learning to place value on yourself takes a lot of doing. There are many flavours of insecurity too, so it's difficult for me to offer advice on your situation when the path I have travelled differs markedly.

Here is one thing I would do: I would forgive Betty and John. I would forgive myself for letting what myself get walked on. I would remind myself that it isn't my fault that Betty and John are arrogant and insecure. And I would remember that people who act like total shits like that are usually covering up for serious insecurity themselves. I would use this situation as an opportunity to step back and think about my life. In my opinion, this event is a symptom of your life. I think if you use this to examine your life as a whole, you may start to understand how it fits into the pattern of your life. Once you can see this as part of a greater pattern, and not just as an isolated and purely random event, you are getting somewhere.

Here is the questions I will ask you: are you happy? Do you like yourself? Do you ever feel stuck? Do you feel in control of your life? Do you feel comfortable around your friends and family? Do you have guilt or regret in your heart? Do you ever feel worried and panicked? Do you ever feel hopeless?
posted by schmichael at 1:41 AM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

Nthing that you didn't do anything wrong in any moral, you-deserve-what-you-got sort of sense; from what you've written, you behaved just fine. There's a chance you could've nipped the nastiness in the bud by drawing a line re:Betty's snark much earlier, but only if you'd had John's support -- which seems iffy. It's a sad situation, but don't blame yourself a bit for it. Move on.
posted by jon1270 at 1:53 AM on October 21, 2009

"I declined their wedding invitation gracefully"

Good for you. She didn't want you there anyway.

Cut the talk about being a pushover. Some people ride through life being dicks, burning friendships and being all alpha male/female in the mistaken belief it gets them more. Know this: they are almost all burdened with crushing insecurity.

You, on the other hand, have the self-confidence to walk away without even engineering the hugely satisfying experience it would clearly be to tell Betty a few home truths. You are a better person for it.

Finally, and I've mentioned it before on the Blue/Green - other people's relationships are mysterious. With limited exceptions it is about as advisable to help a friend see the light about their crap choice of partner as it is to stop two dogs fighting by pulling them apart at the muzzle end. You'll end up getting bitten in either scenario.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:24 AM on October 21, 2009 [7 favorites]

I agree with what everyone here has said about how you're not a pushover, you're probably well rid of this situation, you did nothing wrong, etc.

But I'm a bit confused about one thing: how do you know that John contacted you just to get in touch with Betty? Did he tell you that? Because if she did, frankly, I don't know if I'd believe her... and if he already knew her well enough for her to say that she and you were friends, why would he need you to introduce them? Is it just that he needed you to provide more of an excuse for interaction?

Bottom line is, from what you've written here, I wouldn't necessarily conclude that John was the problem. I mean, I think you are correct to write them both off and not try to be friends with either at this point (because as long as he's married to Betty the situation will not go well, and he's right to choose his wife over a friend, no matter how much of a b*tch she is)... but if the two of them were to break up and John were to want to get back in touch, I don't think I'd necessarily nix him. He doesn't sound like the bad guy.

Unless I'm misunderstanding something.
posted by forza at 4:34 AM on October 21, 2009

Previous post.

"Friends are important. Interestingly (and rather strangely), friendships sometimes grow, sometimes stagnate and sometimes just stop. I believe that all relationships throughout a person's life serve particular purposes, to teach you (or the other party) about different things, whether it be about patience, communication, or cooking. You never know what you're going to get, but it's important to treasure the friendship while it's there, which you have. Sometimes people turn into assholes abruptly. Sometimes they get brainwashed. Sometimes they randomly lose interest or reprioritize. Sometimes they get tired or whatever. Point being, I think you may have lost one here, and I understand that it's really painful. I think the best solution is to let her know (this hurts, I was under the impression that after Shared Events A, B and C, we were very close friends and I want to celebrate with you, but clearly that's not the case. I'm sad for our friendship.) and then (painfully) step back and let her do her thing. Something happened, and you may never know what, but you certainly can't force someone to keep you as a priority in their life, as sad as that may be. I certainly don't know this girl, but she may have been selfish all along, or something nutty like that. I'm very sorry for you, and I'm sorry that this happened. Actually, I lost a good friend over a similar situation about 13 years ago. I have no idea what happened, but it was sudden and painful. I think of her every once in a while and I still have the lovely salad bowl that she made for me, and I no longer resent her, but I would also never like to see her again. I think I have been harsh and mean here, which was not the intention, but I also think that there are amazing friends in your future.

That sounded cheesy, but you catch my drift. Best of luck, and my sincerest sympathies."
posted by cachondeo45 at 4:39 AM on October 21, 2009 [4 favorites]

You deserve friends that actually know how to be a friend to someone. Good riddance to these two.
posted by orme at 4:56 AM on October 21, 2009

She was using you to get together with John. Once she got together with John you were in her way and she thought you should vamoose, and expressed it with childish hostility.
She was never your friend. John had potential to be your friend again but connecting with him isn't worth putting up with her.
posted by Billegible at 5:48 AM on October 21, 2009

I'd say declining the wedding invitation sent a pretty clear message to John and Betty, and there's no need for you to say anything more to them.
posted by orange swan at 6:15 AM on October 21, 2009

I declined their wedding invitation gracefully and have heard nothing from her since.

Can't you see that you're done here?

posted by General Tonic at 7:02 AM on October 21, 2009

You mention alcohol a few times -- was Betty usually drinking when she got snarky? Maybe she's a mean drunk. (Still not a good person to be around, but a possible explanation for the behavior.)
posted by Jacqueline at 7:46 AM on October 21, 2009

I'll go against the tide and say forgive and forget. You were the bigger person here, and that's enough reward. You don't need to get "even".

I'm not sure you were being used. Sounds like you and the guy genuinely got along, and that the girl got very insecure. It happens... Think about what Paul McCartney said about John Lennon after John said some very nasty stuff about him publicly, "John is in love, and people do things when they're in love they wouldn't otherwise." I vote for coming clean to them about your feelings and then starting anew. The person I knew who had the most friends was able to move on even after some very nasty incidents. This was all to her credit.
posted by xammerboy at 7:48 AM on October 21, 2009

It really sounds like you a) didn't do anything wrong and b) don't need these two people in your life. John sounds like he was using you to meet this lady; Betty sounds like she's insecure and jealous of your previous friendship with John.
posted by chunking express at 8:39 AM on October 21, 2009

And yeah, I wouldn't contact them or try and sort things out. Life is too short to deal with people who aren't particularly nice.
posted by chunking express at 8:40 AM on October 21, 2009

One of the smartest things I ever did was to move away from friends whose presence caused me to feel bad. This could mean be too snarky, sarcastic, depressing, drama-loving, whatever. Yes I take responsibility for my own actions and feelings, no one can 'make' me feel anything. With that said, it is much easier to do with people who are not roiling with toxic emotions. Teasing I can take. Cruelty I do not stand for - if someone feels the need to point out your position as 'second best', then fuck her. You don't feel good around her. Find people whose presence improves your outlook.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:44 AM on October 21, 2009 [4 favorites]

You handled yourself with total class. Good for you. Betty is a dip, who, for whatever reason, enjoys oneupmanship. Avoid at all costs.
posted by naplesyellow at 8:59 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree with the others that you did nothing wrong, and a lot of things right and now that you've declined the wedding invitation, you are done with this chapter.

I strongly disagree with the suggestion that you somehow let yourself be used or pushed around, or, for that matter, that John is guilty of using you. You gave Betty a couple of chances and when she continued behavior that you found unappealing (or appalling), you made your exit. That's not being a pushover. As for John, you really have no idea what he would have done if 1) it hadn't worked out with Betty, 2) Betty and you had gotten along better after the two of them hooked up. What should he have done differently? Ditched the woman he fell in love with in favor of a friendship that was until recently dormant? Somehow "fixed" Betty's behavior? Rather than writing him off as a user, I'd be more charitable and say he's a fool in love.
posted by Good Brain at 9:05 AM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

You did nothing wrong here. If I were you, I'd close the door on these friendships and walk away.
posted by 2oh1 at 9:37 AM on October 21, 2009

I would like to address your question of letting go of your anger.

If you would like to let go of your anger, I can assure you that I am angry for you. I don't mind being angry about this situation instead of you. So, there really is no need for you to hold onto to the anger any longer, as I have assumed it. You may be vicariously angry through me as necessary; otherwise, now you can move on, forget about them, and be happy.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

Thank you all for reading and commenting on this question. I'm just going to live and let live and let it go. I don't think any good would come out of a confrontation. I have just go to learn how to let things GO. Thanks again for reading. :)
posted by iabide79 at 1:29 PM on October 21, 2009

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