How can I best deal with friends being stupid/excluding me, and maturely handle the situation?
July 9, 2012 6:23 PM   Subscribe

How can I best deal with friends being stupid/excluding me, and maturely handle the situation?

I'm horrible, just horrible at confrontation. But I think some things need to get resolved because I'm not a doormat.

A few days ago was friend A's birthday. I had been asking A for a while here and there what she was planning on for her birthday, etc. Just being a good friend. She wasn't sure but she was kind of planning on having people over to her house (she lives at home) while her dad was out of town.

Hadn't heard from her for a few days so I called her the day before asking what she was planning on doing. Said she got in trouble with the girl who rents a room in the house for some trivial matter and just wasn't having a good day but she would call me later to fill me in.

Friend B (A's best friend) texted me in the evening asking me what I was doing the next day. I said I was planning on partying with them, what's the plan? No response. Two hours later I text her asking if she knew what was going on. She gave me a list of activities but nothing specific. I said I'd love to come up but just hadn't heard anything and would call her in the morning to see where they were at. No response. Still hadn't heard from Friend A. Finally Friend A texts me at midnight saying she had no real plans, she was in trouble with her parents, and that having people over wasn't going to happen. I replied that it was a bummer and that I was still down to come hang with them and celebrate no matter what they were doing. No response, not even an Ok or anything like that.

Called Friend B the next day, no answer. Texted asking where they were at. No answer.

I live an hour away, so I can't just trot up and try to find them. I didn't text Friend A because, well, I felt like I was bugging her at that point and if she wanted me there she would have SAID something.

I never once had anyone tell me to come.

Saw on Instagram that all our mutual friends were all partying. So there WAS a party. Unplanned? Maybe. But still, a get together in which people would have driven some distance.

The thing is, I've been hanging out with them a lot since October/November, I consider us good friends, and there haven't been any fights/disagreements or anything that would have caused them to be mad at me or something. So I was hurt and confused as to why they had left me out. It felt like I wasn't wanted.

Friend A and Friend B "liked" random things of mine on FB and Instagram in the meantime between then and now. So I was confused. Friend A texted me yesterday and we had a small conversation about something frivolous - I didn't say anything because I didn't want to bring all this up over text. I was pleasant to her.

Finally got my first correspondence from Friend B in days, and it was a text from her asking for money or help raising money to cover a speeding ticket she got while driving MY car. The fact is, she was being stupid and reckless, and it was entirely HER decision to speed. I was kind enough to lend my car for the road trip we were on. Meanwhile I never asked her for nor did she offer any money for a parking ticket that I got while we were together a few months ago. PLUS she still owes me $20 in gas money that we ALL agreed to split (Myself, Friend A, her, and another friend). The other friends paid in full.

My thought is that she has a lot of nerve, especially after ignoring me on my friend's birthday.

Still haven't replied to her, not even sure what to say. I'd help her raise money (she mentioned a car was or lemonaid stand, not sure if she is serious or joking) but I'm not giving her any money out of my pocket.

Meanwhile I don't even know what to do about Friend A's birthday and how to bring that issue up maturely.

Friend A is 22, Friend B is 23. I am 28.

Looking for balanced opinions on the matter. I'm at a loss. I've been lucky with my friends and never actually had friends act so immaturely before. Someone told me to forget about them and move on, but I'm not the type to just throw friendships away. However I will not be a doormat.
posted by christiehawk to Human Relations (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Friends your own age, or slightly older. ASAP.
posted by hermitosis at 6:27 PM on July 9, 2012 [32 favorites]

I think you need some more mature friends.
posted by pantarei70 at 6:28 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Do not confront. Throw away these friendships. Move on.

Congratulate yourself on avoiding drama and making space in your life for better friends.

Everyone will else in this thread will explain in detail why these girl's aren't worth your trouble any longer.
posted by jbenben at 6:30 PM on July 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Sounds a bit like you're being used. I agree with the above, time for new friends.
posted by HuronBob at 6:32 PM on July 9, 2012

Yeah, I would say forget about Friend B, that behavior is straight-up deal-breaker, the end.

Friend A is probably just kind of flaky and oblivious. The whole thing about saying nothing was happening and then doing something anyway is something I would only excuse after more than 1 year of close friendship. Otherwise, deal breaker.

Either the plans came together at the last minute and they forgot about you, or they purposefully excluded you. Either way, they're kind of thoughtless jerks. Better no friends than friends that treat you like crap. You're not throwing away this friendship, they already did.
posted by bleep at 6:32 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

* that should have said "after more than 1 year of close friendship AND an extremely good excuse, like some kind of crazy mix-up or phone problem or Three's-Company-esque situation."
posted by bleep at 6:35 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Someone told me to forget about them and move on, but I'm not the type to just throw friendships away.

Okay, then just offer them the level of friendship that they're offering you. Something casual that happens when everyone is just kind of feeling like it. No expectations = no disappointments. Don't look to these young girls as friends that you can rely on, who will be there for you, or treat you well or with caring. That's not the kind of friendship it is.

I think it's fine to say something about the birthday party, and I think you could just say it straight - that your feelings were hurt when you weren't invited. However I think all that will do is get it off your chest, I don't think it will change anything.

Growing up is a slow process. It takes years, and even then not everyone gets there. These girls are not going mature after just one conversation with you. They're not going to mature after 10 conversations. This is just how they are.
posted by cairdeas at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not the type to just throw friendships away.

This is an excellent trait, but like all virtues it can be taken to extremes. Its counter-virtue is "I'm not the type to stay in friendships that don't meet my needs." You need a nice balance of these two virtues.

You don't have to dramatically sever ties or unfriend them all on FB, but you can quietly demote them to your outer circle of "ohnicetoseeyouImustrun" acquaintances and seek the company of people who have more in common with you, and have better manners.
posted by bunderful at 6:38 PM on July 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

You are going to have many friends in your life. This will be an insignificant memory in the future. I would just move on. They act immaturely because they are immature. You're the adult in this relationship, if you want a more adult relationship, you ought to find adult friends.
posted by Yellow at 6:38 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Friend A is more than a little slow to get your hints about wanting to be invited to stuff and hoping that there would be concrete plans. Sounds to me like you're a guess person and maybe she's an ask.

Friend B is flaky at best and using you at worst.

I'd say work on your communication with both of them but also try to find new people to hang out with who are a) closer to you geographically, b) closer to your age, and c) closer to your expectations of reliability and boundaries.
posted by The World Famous at 6:39 PM on July 9, 2012

(I think I made a bit too much of the age thing in my answer. I've met people in their 30's, 40's, and 50's who are exactly like these two. Older people can be like this too so you still have to watch out for that, but it's just way more common in your early 20's.)
posted by cairdeas at 6:40 PM on July 9, 2012

Someone told me to forget about them and move on, but I'm not the type to just throw friendships away.

They're not very good friends.

However I will not be a doormat.

But what you're saying here is "but I refuse to let them be assholes!" which is not something you get to decide.

Like cairdeas said, you can put in what you get out, and that's a legitimate choice. Confrontation like you're imagining isn't going to strike them with the lightning of reason, though. That's pretty much a playground-level operation. I think you are expecting more from these people than they can give, and that's not their fault.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:42 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

There is a really big maturity level difference between 23 and 28, I think. I would let these two fall into the 'acquaintance' category, and avoid lots of future drama with them.
posted by Fig at 7:14 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

At 28 I ended up at a party that was all 19 to 22 year olds. I felt like a dinosaur. They were all wearing their "am I cool?" anxiety on their sleeves, I just wanted to pat them on their heads and tell them it gets better.

These friends (term used loosely) of yours sound immature even for their ages. Unless you are a decade behind in your own mental and spiritual growth, I really recommend new friends.
posted by Dynex at 8:03 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure they were being stupid. It sounds like you may have been trying to invite yourself to a party that you weren't invited to and that they were too uncomfortable to be straightforward and tell you. They may have been vague and unclear, hoping that the problem would just go away and solve itself, which is still not a nice way to treat other people. Are you really good friends with A, or are you acquaintances who sometimes hang out?

Or are you friends who are fighting and you don't realize it? You say that you were kind enough to loan B your car for the road trip you were all on. If you were all together on a road trip, that doesn't sound like a loan, it sounds like she was taking her turn doing the driving. That doesn't mean that she isn't responsible for her speeding, but I can think of at least a few ways that a group of 22 or 23 year old people might think that a speeding ticket on a group road trip should be paid for. If they all feel that everyone was complicit in the speeding and then you said "I was nice enough to loan you my car and I can't believe that you were speeding in it even though I was also in the car at the time and didn't say anything about your speeding even though, come to think of it, we were all taking turns speeding and I was also reaping the benefit of the good time we were making but you're the one who got caught" then they may just not really want to hang out with you right now.

I didn't text Friend A because, well, I felt like I was bugging her at that point and if she wanted me there she would have SAID something.

This sounds like it might be your answer.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:05 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I feel like something isn't quite adding up... Friend B went out of her way, specifically, to ask you what you were planning for the big day, and even gave you a list of planned activities, which doesn't quite jibe with them going out of their way to exclude you. The lack of response to the texts is a problem, but maybe there's more going on here, like Friend A was reluctant to go out but Friend B (or someone else) found a way to convince her. I dunno. It may turn out, as others have noted, that this is simply immaturity and you need new friends.

In any case, if you want to confront these people, you basically start by not attributing to malice what can be explained by ignorance, and give them a chance to prove to you that that's the right way to read it. I'd ask B, "Hey, I saw pictures from A's party the other night and was really hoping I could make it, and figured I'd be included based on the conversations we had leading up to it. Any idea how I got left out of the loop?" Press her a little bit for info about when decisions were made if she gets specific, and whose idea what was, and other stuff, but just do it in a normal conversational tone, and parcel it out little by little.

Then, if the explanation doesn't strike you as totally sensible, you can follow up by asking one of your mutual friends, open-endedly, and without mentioning that you've already asked B, about what happened with A's birthday party, and see if their story matches up with what B tells you.

If, on the off chance you get some kind of over the line rude response from B, you flip the conversation by saying, "I don't have a problem with you not wanting to be friends with me, I have a problem being jerked around. You could have saved everyone a lot of trouble by just being straightforward with me about this." But I'm guessing this won't happen and she'll either be dodgy or tell you something that makes all of this make sense.

Confrontations are good because they give you practice and confidence for the next confrontation you enter, which may be a situation in which there is more at stake. You may not be able to change these people's behavior toward you, but you can change your own behavior (from being someone who lets things go to someone who presses the issue if it doesn't smell right), and if you're ever in a shitty involuntary relationship (with a coworker or neighbor), you usually will have recourse to change the behavior. It helps to have your decision tree worked out a few moves ahead, and to have two approaches operating simultaneously--one that gives the benefit of the doubt, and a second, hidden one, in case the benefit of the doubt is not called for. (Here it's following up with the mutual friend.)

Side note on Friend A: It's weird that at 22 she's still getting in trouble with her parents.

Also, steer away from using texting to communicate about things that are really important to you.
posted by alphanerd at 8:20 PM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Friend A is 22, Friend B is 23. I am 28.

Aha! There it is. I know you're not that much older than them, but those can be big years. I would definitely look for more friends your own age.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:30 PM on July 9, 2012

I honestly thought the people involved in this situation were all teenagers. You're never going to find resolution if you're using texts as your main communication with these girls. The $20 thing? Either let it go or pick up the phone and ask for your money.

As for the birthday party, they probably didn't want to invite you but were too immature to tell you. They'd rather drag their feet & be ambivalent: "leading you on" rather than be blunt to your face. Texting really enables this form of passivity. By texting you updates, they're justifying that they're being a good friend (keeping you in the loop) but last minute can say that the big get-together "just happened."

A lot of young women have never been tonight how to be blunt & straightforward; we've been socialized to think its being mean. Of course, it just ends up being passive-aggressive and you get stuck in situations such as yours. Either dump these young gals, or learn some different communication techniques (besides texting and FB likes) to call them out on their BS.
posted by lychee at 8:58 PM on July 9, 2012

Sorry to say, but if these people were truly your friends then they would have tried harder to include you.

As a 21 year old (close to age with the other two girls), I can say that I have encountered quite a few people that are my age and 'operate' this way in social settings or situations.

There's a high school mentality where you are either part of the "in" crowd or not.

It seems like you aren't truly part of this group of friends. I would take a guess that they purposefully didn't invite you and I know that must hurt to read, but you deserve to have better friendships. That's probably why people have been encouraging you to cut these relationships and move forward.

From my experience a lot of people in their early 20s still need some growing up to do. I'm not saying this about everyone in their 20s because I do know a lot of people my age that are not into drama and do not behave like this, but what I am saying is that that there are a lot of people with a mentality that they may have used in high school...

Do not invest any more time or money into these relationships. At least not with Friend B, it sounds like she only talks to you when it's a) convenient for her and b) when she needs something from you which is a sign that she may be using you.

Chances are that Friend A still likes you, but because of the high school mentality thing, she may have felt a lack of control in getting to say who could be invited to the party.

Quite frankly, this is a lot of drama and is another reason why people may have recommended ending relationships in this group and moving forward with the other friendships that you do have.
posted by livinglearning at 9:20 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Brutal. I've been through similar and I'm sorry to say that you were intentionally excluded. The only solution is new friends, sorry. :(
posted by rhizome at 9:40 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have a similar situation with a friend of mine - I got into an argument with a girl he had a crush on and ever since then he's never invited me to parties he has. I always find out about his parties through other friends who are surprised when I tell them I wasn't invited.

Initially I was upset and thought about snubbing him back, but he's a funny guy who makes my get-togethers more interesting so I felt that would be pointless (and immature). Instead, I just recategorized him as a "disposable friend" - I might invite him to an event if I want to bring the numbers up or simply because I think he would be entertaining there, but I would never inconvenience myself to help him. This way I get the best of both worlds.

I think your friends provide you with fun, so they're worth keeping around even though their friendship is defective, but this stuff with lending them your car and paying for their tickets is nonsense. You don't have to have a big confrontation -just stop doing anything for them that inconveniences you, and slough them off when you get some higher quality friends to replace them.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:43 PM on July 9, 2012

Thanks. These responses are good. Even the devil's advocate ones.

True. Friend B is like this and I knew it from the start when I first met her. I'm entirely not surprised (ok maybe a little) So it's less about her (I literally laughed at the text she sent me) and more about Friend A. Because Friend A is not the type of person to be intentionally mean. I know her well enough for that.

The "snowflake" in this story is that for a number of reasons this is a valuable group of friends to have for me - even as just acquaintances. So I don't want to just dump them. However, I could keep them at arm's length if need be. It's just easier said than done when it comes to holding friends at a distance when you're hanging out with them a lot.

Fortunately, I have many other GOOD friends my age and older.

Unfortunately, I am human and rejection is still sh*tty, even from friends you know are gonna give you trouble (Friend B) (not friend A, that kinda hurt)

I just wanted to know how to handle this: aka talking to them. I think I need to talk to them. Because I don't know if devil's advocate answers are correct. And also, really I have nothing to lose.
posted by christiehawk at 11:44 PM on July 9, 2012

I never once had anyone tell me to come.

So people didn't invite you to a party and now you're upset? I'm a bit jealous at your amazing adolescence that you're 28 and only first experiencing this.

People didn't want you to go, but didn't want to be rude enough to out and out state that even though you kept trying to invite yourself.

Finally Friend A texts me at midnight saying.... that having people over wasn't going to happen. I replied that it was a bummer and that I was still down to come hang with them.

Seriously - look at this. A says she doesn't want people over and you say, "can I come over?" She just TOLD you no!

I disagree with a number of the comments here - I don't think you're being used at all. However, I do think you consider these friends closer to you than you are to them. There's nothing "wrong" with this - an absolute equal amount of affection is almost unheard of in a relationship. I don't think there's anything wrong with these people, at all. I think you're being a bit too dependent on them.

If you don't like confrontation, I would maybe look at your friend's actions and responses to you a bit when you're hanging out. I had a good friend for a few years - she's still a friend, but she gets ridiculously whiny if people are not doing things EXACTLY how she wants them done. She has a lot of the same interests as I do and when it was just her and me, or her and another friend and me - I'd rather not listen to her whine.... In the beginning I used to invite her to parties - thinking she'd tone it back if it were a party of MY friends - but I was wrong. She was just as bad. So I stopped inviting her to my parties. I'm still friends with her, but she's not on the "party" list, because she refuses to be part of the party. I'm not saying that's you, but I have another friend that doesn't invite me to her parties. I don't worry about it - most her friends bore me, actually. I probably bore them.

I do agree with wolfdreams01 - don't do anything inconvenient, though.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 11:50 PM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Meh, these friends are pretty crappy - I wouldn't really place a lot of emphasis on the rejection here.

Confrontation is different from standing up for yourself. Your friend wants you to give her money for her fine - point out that she owes you $20, so you're not going to do that. You don't have to get angry about it, just point out that you're not giving her any money because she owes you already.
posted by heyjude at 12:27 AM on July 10, 2012

These people purposely did not invite you, and via AskMe, you are still missing their message.

I'm sorry. Any confrontation will earn you more excuses and back-peddling. Why are you keen on this??
posted by jbenben at 1:46 AM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't know what you think you are getting out of this relationship with these girls, but I can tell you what you aren't getting and that's respect.

If someone feels like they don't need to respect you, then they simply won't.
posted by PsuDab93 at 6:09 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think that perhaps you and these girls are not on the same "friend wavelength" and that perhaps there is an expectation mismatch as well. I'm not sure what you hope to gain from talking to them about it. I doubt a (sincere) apology or (reasonable) explanation will be forthcoming. I'm not even sure if either are necessary.
posted by sm1tten at 10:13 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here is my take:

Friend A did not, for whatever reason, want you at the birthday party. For whatever reason, she didn't want to confront you about it - so she set some pretty clear "don't call me I'll call you boundaries." Friend B didn't get the message about that boundary until after she talked to you, but then Friend A told Friend B "Yo I don't want them there" and Friend B went WHOOPS and ignored you.

None of this is great behavior, but it seems like they decided they did not want you at the party, but that they still wanted to be on good terms with you. Hence, the contact after the party about unrelated matters.

If you want to be charitable, you can maybe assume that Friend A is not very good at handling conflict yet, and maybe anxiety is preventing her from being straight-up and saying, "I didn't want you at my birthday because of X" and is instead hoping that you will drop it and it will all go away.

If you want to take a darker view it is possible that they want to keep you around for the purpose of using you but they don't like you enough to celebrate birthdays.

PROBABLY you just made Friend A uncomfortable somehow and the pushing past the original "I'll call you" made it worse. PROBABLY it wasn't friendship-ending from her perspective, because you haven't been cut off completely from contact right now, but Friend A was just clumsily trying to get space.

If you want to talk to Friend A about this, I would give it a few days and then send a very neutral message which among other things brings up her birthday in a "hope your birthday was happy and relaxing" sense. Don't mention the party, don't mention that she never replied to your messages. If she wants to talk to you about what happened she will take this as an opportunity and bring it up herself. If she does not want to talk about what happened she will either ignore that part of the message or respond in a very neutral way. If she doesn't want to talk drop it and think for yourself about how much good a friendship is for you where things go unspoken.

If you want to be friends with these folks you will need to recognize their (somewhat weak) boundaries better. It might actually help to be way more upfront: "Yo, can I come to your party?" Then they have the opportunity to just be open and say "No, because of this reasonable reason" or "No, because I hate you" and then you can all move on from there with the information you need on hand instead of this weird dance. The "assuming" versus "asking" thing can be really touchy for young females this age because this is a time when a LOT of people will just assume things for them in an effort to get past the whole "I need permission" boundary and it's a touchy thing to learn how to navigate.

Alternatively you might just decide you are not up for being part of boundary setting life lessons and move on to other friendships.
posted by newg at 10:23 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Kenmore stovetop wants to burn our sauces -- can...   |   play it again Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.