Ok, bye then?
June 9, 2010 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I just got cut off on all social networks by an old friend who'd become mean and judgemental. I grew to dislike the person lately, so why am I still sad about the break? Do I bother saying anything?

This person and I had been friends for about eight years, from my very late teens until now, she's a few years older than me.

I had a very small circle of friends, her included, until I turned 21 and then met a lot of people who went out in Boston (and online). This person never really expanded their circle of friends and never left their suburb besides moving a few towns away. She works and lives within 15 minutes of where they grew up. Needless to say this was a difference in our lives, but she had originally been sweet and nice, so we remained friends.

Within the past few years, I noticed this person getting far more judgmental of others, bashing their own friends in filtered LJ entries those friends couldn't read, ridiculous things like that. She made fun of her friend's choices in their weddings. She spent a lot of time still involved in wedding communities a year after her own wedding, mostly attacking random people she didn't agree with. It was awful to read. Every few weeks she would tell someone off, and have one less friend for awhile, before apologizing and the friend would just totally accept that. I hid her from my social media and only read on my own terms because I was finding that I'd get anxiety just seeing that she'd posted, knowing most of it was drama she inserted herself into.

She never, ever took it well when anyone criticized her, even when she openly asked other people's opinions. Last night she posted a diatribe against her younger sister's graduation from culinary school. openly mocking her career choice and calling it "cooking class". That was sort of it for me. I told her that it wasn't really nice to make fun of anyone's career choice, and that I knew plenty of great, smart people who graduated from culinary school. I woke up this morning, and she'd un-friended me on every social media we had in common.

I know that this is actually a good thing. Rationally, I know she was a really mean, bitter person and I'm better off without having to deal with her - I have so many wonderful friends, I don't need baggage like her. But emotionally, I'm sort of sad about it, and at times pretty angry. We had been friends for eight years, and we do have some friends in common I don't see often but I still consider dear. I knew this day would come, but honestly I was hoping that I could keep her at arm's length and that maybe she'd change back into a more caring, nicer person.

I know that I'll be the better person if I say nothing and continue on, but I want to tell her how I feel. Even if it's just "yeah, that was a TOTALLY SANE REACTION" or "Yeah, you're mean and bitter, work on that". I shouldn't... should I? How do I get over this? I'd rather be the mature one, here.
posted by kpht to Human Relations (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't say anything. The path of wisdom here is accepting that your former friend has become embittered (for whatever reason) and you are the victim du jour. And you're in good company with other friends her family, it seems.

You don't need that kind of toxicity in your life. Goading here with the kinds of retorts you posted above will solve nothing, further embitter her, and leave you right where you are now (likely feeling the sting of further invective cast your way).

Just leave it and move on.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:33 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just email her saying "Hey lady, if you weren't such a narrow-minded knee-jerking fu--

I'd rather be the mature one, here.

Oh, right.

Release, smile, and move on.
posted by General Tonic at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2010

So she solved your problem, but you want to get back into the problem in order to have the last word?

Resist. Be happy.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Don't respond in any way. It's fine to be upset, just do it behind closed doors where nobody can see. That way, you at least appear mature, even if you're upset by it.

You're upset because human beings like connections with other people, even if it's a negative connection, and now you no longer have that. Just behave rationally - remind yourself that it's good that she's gone, and your heart will eventually accept the idea.
posted by Solomon at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If a person you do not respect rejects you, then you feel as if you're not worth respecting, either. Totally common and normal, and don't sweat it, it'll pass over time.

I find it helpful to think of it as a failure of compatibility; if there's someone out there I don't respect, and they reject me as well, then it's settled: we both agree that we're completely incompatible and can/will never respect each other. Try that.
posted by davejay at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2010 [9 favorites]

I shouldn't... should I?

You shouldn't. Think of it this way - mean lady has already done the hard part for you, and now everyone is better off. Just walk away.
posted by Think_Long at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2010

which is to say, sigh, do nothing, be happy, move on
posted by davejay at 1:35 PM on June 9, 2010

You're sad and angry for a lot of reasons, and all of them are valid; rejection hurts regardless of the source, and it's sad that an eight-year friendship has ended like this. It's also sad that someone you once thought highly of has turned into someone whose outlook on life runs so counter to your own.

Having a rational understanding of a situation doesn't preclude an emotional reaction which makes no sense on paper. It's the way the heart does what it does, it is okay. In time you'll square up one reaction with the other.

With regards to the last point: She had a freak-out reaction to being disagreed with. If you think any good will come of telling her how you feel, then by all means do so, but realistically and given the information you've presented here, I'd say that it will be irritating and sad for a while but being the mature one here will entail just leaving her to it, and moving on from the experience.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:39 PM on June 9, 2010

Do I bother saying anything?

No. This is just an invitation for drama.
posted by chunking express at 1:39 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't feed the drama monster! She won't change, or learn anything from the experience. So far, she's been as nasty as she likes, and after a few months she says an insincere "sorry" and everything's ok again. She's having a grand old time riling people up - so don't reply and add to her fun. Just ignore her online, and if you run into her in person, just be polite. Seriously, just be glad to be shot of her.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:39 PM on June 9, 2010

I'd ignore her, everything you'd say to her would probably be used to justify her initial reaction to you telling her off.
posted by kylej at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2010

It's grief, you know? You're grieving over the person she used to be, the person you used to be who enjoyed being with her, the potential of hanging out with your friend again -- not the person you dislike, but YOUR FRIEND. And your friend won't be back.

So treat it as such. You can enjoy those times without feeling guilty that you're enjoying yourself without her today.
posted by Madamina at 1:41 PM on June 9, 2010 [9 favorites]

The only difference between what you want and what happened is who did the breaking up. Forget it and consider her having done you a favor. Now she has to grovel back if she ever wants and at that point you can tell her how much she is a hurting bitch if you want.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:42 PM on June 9, 2010

She has a history of complaining very loudly about people she doesn't like; a comment from you on the fight is only going to make it worse. Whereas now you seem like the rational one, a snarky comment from you will give her a legitimate complaint that she will fume about for a long time. It might be gratifying to have this fight right now, but you'll get tired of it before she will. Do you really want to still be fighting over it months down the line?

Cut her out of your life as much as you can. You say you share a lot of social media networks in common; don't use them to check up on her. Even if you're just convincing yourself she's still the terrible person she was, you'll never be able to get over it that way.
posted by lilac girl at 1:42 PM on June 9, 2010

If you want to hold onto a smug little idea for your own pleasure, just remember that if she ever tries to apologize to you in the future, you can tell her:

"Actually, I'm glad you defriended me. Your behavior toward people was disturbingly mean and I didn't want anything more to do with you anyway. Apology accepted."

Then don't ever talk to her again.
posted by General Tonic at 1:46 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The best thing I have found for myself to feel better in these kinds of situations is to think of many, many completely outlandish situations you can put upon her i.e. sending a 4 man barbershop quartet to sing her an original song that ends with "...you're a biiiiiiiiiitch" but the note for bitch is held out for about 15 seconds while they harmonize. And then they throw a bucket of ice water on her and walk away stone faced.

You should not follow through on these.
posted by spec80 at 1:47 PM on June 9, 2010 [19 favorites]

Irritability is a sign of depression. Cutting off friendships is a sign of depression.

What's your goal?

If you want to say Goodbye, just send an email saying Goodbye & Good Luck.

If you are concerned, then you might say "Dear Friend, I'm sorry to lose your friendship; if you ever need me, I'm here."
posted by theora55 at 1:50 PM on June 9, 2010

a comment from you on the fight is only going to make it worse. Whereas now you seem like the rational one, a snarky comment from you will give her a legitimate complaint that she will fume about for a long time.

Boy, this.

Relevant story: I was at a party being thrown by my aunt, my father's sister. My father (her brother) had been sick for a long time, but after a significant change in medication he was doing really well. She asked how he was, and I said "Fantastic! The med change has really helped, he was even on his feet and dancing around the house when I visited!" Her response was an immediate, drunken tirade about how she was the dancer in the family, and so on, and so forth. That was when I decided (like my mother had years before) to stop talking to her. My wife and I left shortly thereafter.

Years later, according to my sister, she tells everyone -- whether they ask or not, actually -- that I cut her out of my life because I was offended she'd given us American flag pins when we arrived at the party.

Some people will make up any rationalization they can to blame other people for their own problems. We don't know why she cut you off, but we do know you didn't do anything, so any rationalization she's made will be on shaky ground (and obviously so to other people.) However, if you write to her, she'll use whatever you say to solidify that rationalization into something less crazy-sounding -- just like my aunt would if I sent her a note about her behavior.
posted by davejay at 1:51 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

The problem is, maturity isn't the easy option. If it were easy and what your emotions wanted you to do, it would be called childish. So, I totally understand your desire to tell her something. It's a natural reaction, but it's not the mature one.

So, what do you do instead to deal with all the angry/sad/bitter emotions? Write her a note/email/whatever, and then just don't send it. Put all the bile in it. Every last immature and mean thing you want to say. Every last question about what happened to her. Every last sad goodbye. Keep it somewhere for a while. Whenever you start to think about her and your brain starts running through that angry loop, you can just remind yourself that you don't need to try to remember it all. You've got it all preserved in case you really need to go back to it. After a while (months? years?), you'll be kinda embarrassed by it, and then it's safe to throw it away (or delete it).

Yes, I know I'm giving you a cliche and people always mention it, but they mention it because it works.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

three years ago, my best friend became bitter, mean, and aggressively judgmental towards me. i made every effort to be understanding, to wait it out, to see if maybe she was going through something i didn't know about (depression, big life event, stress, etc.) but no, it seemed like she just decided to dislike me.

i put up with the stress and drama for two years. i tried every approach i could think of - reasoning with her, giving her space, trying to make her happy, asking our other close friends for advice. nothing worked, so a year ago i decided to stop trying. for the first two or three months, it was really hard. i cut off contact with her (deleted her from facebook, stopped replying to vicious emails) and slowly, she stopped trying to get in touch with me. although the first little while was really tough, i am so much better off without that stress and drama in my life. i don't need someone belittling me or making me feel awful - i have enough self-esteem issues without my best friend being mean.

so i guess what i'm saying is, i'm sorry that this situation sucks. and i understand how much it bothers you, but i really think you're better off. no one deserves to put up with a mean friend. you don't need to feel guilty for letting it all go. and that's what i think you should do - let it go.
posted by gursky at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

The brilliant piece-of-your-mind speeches you've been mentally composing, and the outlandish revenge fantasies you may or may not be devising, always always always work better in your head than in real life. Like, say you really want to punch her in the face, and you keep imagining this scenario in which you give her this incredible jab and she falls over and starts crying. In real life, maybe you'd miss, or she punches back and breaks your nose, or you get arrested. If you tell her off, she'll tell you off back. And so on.

You're allowed to keep coming up with those putdowns and daydreams, and even to enjoy them a little, but they're best kept to yourself, where their outcome is imaginary and therefore under your control. In the meantime, don't engage with her, don't listen when she apologizes and wants you back, don't allow yourself to be reminded of her existence in any way. Have your only contact with her be in your head. As time goes on, you'll be reminded of her less and less, and you'll revisit your anger with her less and less.

If that seems like it requires too much patience right now, remind yourself that you're already the better person, and she probably realizes that as well.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:14 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Shut the door. It sounds like she's a person that thrives on drama, and that often indicates that she might not have anything productive going on. If she ever approaches you in a productive, positive way, then feel free to let her back into your life, but don't feel at all obligated to talk to her.

As we used to say back in college, don't feed the lizard.
posted by mikeh at 2:20 PM on June 9, 2010

Do you know how many people whose posts make me nervous and who either annoy or piss the fuck out of me I WISH would have done this to me?

Well not many these days, but only because I had to be the one who got rid of their negative energy because it was so damaging to me.

But seriously, she has done you a favor.

And even if you want to be petty and immature about it -- which I realize is totally fun sometimes -- she's probably done it looking for a reaction because that's the cycle you've witnessed her in with others. Don't give it to her. You win.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:22 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's about you...not them.

You thought this person was fun/good/great - and right now, they're not. It shakes you're opinion of yourself - not them. How could you be so wrong (and invested so much?)

Let it go. Realize that this is part of your internal system to train your instincts.
posted by filmgeek at 2:41 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Goodness these are all wonderful, positive answers and I'd mark them all as best if I could. I'm so glad that other people have been through this and understand how I feel emotionally, even though rationally I know it's for the best. I feel a lot better about it now. I'd been thinking a bit of "well, maybe I was being difficult", but I really and truly wasn't, and I rationally know that. If I was being difficult, I'd be the one having issues keeping friends, and I don't have that problem.

I know she's probably ranting about me in her locked blog, but she can do her worst. Maybe in ten years, she'll realize she was unhappy, or whatever's making her so bitter and mean.

Thanks, guys!
posted by kpht at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If she is as big of a pain as you describe, you can just trust that someone else will tell her off very soon, leaving you free to smile and walk away.
posted by ian1977 at 4:03 PM on June 9, 2010

Seconding kingjoeschmoe about writing the letter and not sending it.

You feel this way because you haven't had your closure. You knew this was coming, and all you did was make a comment on her blog and BAM - disconnected.

Have it all out in the letter you don't send, thank her for the time you were friends and tell her goodbye. It will also call to mind all the reasons this is a good thing and you'll feel a lot better.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:47 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you do really want to piss her off, though, send her something completely understanding, cheerful, and compassionate.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:36 PM on June 9, 2010

My solution to WRONG ON THE INTERNET! (which this sort of is, even if she is/was also a real-life friend), is to whine about it on the internet (ask.me post +1 point!) and, better, at a tolerant other friend or two. It is important that this person has no involvement in the situation at all, and does not know this woman and will never know her. Just let out all of the "WTF GAH She's kind of crazy it's unfair that she's the one dumping me" feelings and you'll feel better. Honest.

Sounds like you already feel better about it! I think the important thing is that when you're in the venting process you're not putting anyone else in an awkward spot. So you have to find people who have no relationship to the person/group you're venting about. If you're venting at "fixer" also make sure to preface the venting with a disclaimer that you are just venting and do not need help to solve the problem.
posted by that girl at 11:17 PM on June 9, 2010

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