How to handle my friend?
August 13, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Dealing with a friend who is in a bad place in her life - how can I handle this situation with grace and as few hurt feelings as possible?

Backstory: I met this girl (I'll call her Kayla for anonymity purposes) through my ex a little less than a year ago. We went from acquaintances to close friends fairly quickly and spent a lot of time together as I am pursuing an online degree and she co-owned a shop with her step-mom so we were on similar schedules. I'm in my early 20s, Kayla is 19, and while I'm more of a traditional person and she's a free spirit, we got along very well. I'm not into alcohol/marijuana, but I did drink and smoke a few times with Kayla before I realized that these substances aggravated my anxiety/panic disorder.

Question: Kayla lived with her step-mom and father from mid-2011 to earlier this summer. She had drug issues in her early teens, and during this past May/June she fell off the sobriety wagon and began doing some fairly hard drugs regularly. She expressed how upset she was with herself to me and I tried my best to help her remove herself from the situations where she was offered these drugs, but it didn't do much good. As a person who doesn't have a lot of experience with these types of addiction, I wasn't sure how to handle her. Finally Kayla came clean to her step-brothers, and then her father about her drug use - which came as a huge relief to me. I knew that her step-mom wouldn't be as happy about her drug use, but I hoped for the best. One day Kayla called me and told me that a friend of hers from a larger city in our state (I'll call it Townsville) was coming to visit and that she was planning on going back with him to stay there for a while and clear her head. I didn't think anything about it until later that day when her step-mom called me yelling about how I was apparently doing drugs with Kayla and taking her to see people they didn't approve of (both of which I absolutely did not do and during the conversation I could hear Kayla screaming in the background about how she was leaving for good). After a lot of complications, Kayla left with her friend for Townsville. Before she left, she came to say goodbye to me and my boyfriend gave her all the cash he had because she literally had nothing. Her plan was to live with her friend (male) and find a job.

After moving to Townsville, Kayla's communication became sparse. She moved out of her friend's house after a few days when he gave her an ultimatum of having sex with him or leaving. She found a job, however, making ~200 dollars a week, so I wasn't too worried. I don't know much about her life there except she was homeless for a good 6 weeks, but finally found an apartment. She didn't have enough money for her downpayment (275 dollars) and asked to borrow 100 dollars from me. I found this sketchy as she had no expenses during her homeless weeks so all I can figure is that she spent a lot of money on *something* (drugs? - she told me she didn't have enough money to eat regularly, so I know that food wasn't where the money was going to). I also know that Kayla was engaging in many irresponsible activities, so I can't help but wonder if she maybe was doing drugs still. She also hasn't paid my boyfriend back after promising she would.

Kayla has returned home this week to pick up the rest of her stuff from her dad and step-mom's house. She wanted me to come visit her tonight, and that according to her step-mom I was welcome as long as I "acted like an adult" which I just found unbelievably catty. I found an excuse to not attend tonight, but now Kayla is wanting to stay with me while I housesit at my mom's house this week, and for me to drive her back to Townsville and visit (~2.5 hour drive). I feel very nervous about visiting her apartment as it seems like one big acid trip - and in the past Kayla hasn't been on the up-and-up about parties (once she allowed me to smoke a laced joint without telling me). Also, I can't imagine my mother wanting Kayla staying at her house for 2-3 days.

While I have told a lot of the flaws of Kayla in this post, she does have redeeming qualities. She's very sweet, always willing to tell me that I'm a good person when I'm feeling down on myself. She helped me move out of my dorm a few semesters ago (although she forget proper identification to actually get in to the dorm, so she didn't help much at all ) and is always willing to help people whenever asked. She is always up for a good time, and is a very fun person to be around when she isn't out of control. She's kind to everyone and can find the good even when most people couldn't. I have loved Kayla dearly in the past, but now I'm feeling hurt and resentful for the stress I've been put in over this situation with her moving to Townsville. I also feel used, as she borrowed money from my boyfriend and then asked me to borrow more (she ended up borrowing it from someone else) and when we would spend time together before she moved I always drove and bought food for us because she doesn't have a driver's license or any income.

I feel as though I need to extract myself from my relationship with Kayla at least until she gets her act together for my own sanity, but then I feel that I'm being a fickle friend and turning on her when she needs me the most. Am I right that this is a toxic friendship or am I being selfish?
posted by sarahgrace to Human Relations (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
no, you're right, she's bad news. that money is gone. i would be willing to bet that you will regret it if you allow your feelings of guilt and pity to guide you here. time to be healthily selfish.
posted by facetious at 6:34 PM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

"Kayla, my mom is pretty clear on not wanting me to have guests while I housesit. Her house, her rules.

If I get the chance to come to Townsville, I'd love to see you while I'm there, but right now I'm focused on (your degree, your job, whatever it is you're focused on) so I don't know when I'm likely to be out that way any time soon."
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:37 PM on August 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

I'd say you can offer your support from afar. Emailing a friend and talking on the phone once in awhile can be okay.

Don't give her any more money. The money is gone, and it's always my rule to never lend money to anyone unless you're willing to write it off.
posted by xingcat at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2012

ut now Kayla is wanting to stay with me while I housesit at my mom's house this week, and for me to drive her back to Townsville and visit (~2.5 hour drive).


Also, I can't imagine my mother wanting Kayla staying at her house for 2-3 days.

Your mom is a smart person.

While I have told a lot of the flaws of Kayla in this post, she does have redeeming qualities.

All those redeeming qualities line up perfectly with being an accomplished manipulator who cons friend for cash and favors. Sorry you met such a shitty person.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Drama is almost never worth it unless they're a blood relative and sometimes not even then. Kayla may be a good person, but she does not have her shit together, and it's not your problem that she doesn't. She will figure out how to survive. Write off the money, you will never see it again.

Brace yourself for a guilt trip from her - drug users can be master manipulators. Don't fall for it; if you loan her money you're just enabling her. At most, buy her food if you think she literally won't have anything to eat. But that's almost definitely not the case here.
posted by desjardins at 6:39 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I mean, assuming you would be glad to see her (like for brunch or something) if you did happen to be in Townsville.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:39 PM on August 13, 2012

(once she allowed me to smoke a laced joint without telling me)


Toxic. She might not be a bad person, but she is not a good person for you. Tell her your mom is So Mean and you can't have people there. Do not let her stay with you.
posted by rtha at 6:39 PM on August 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

Oh and I wouldn't worry too much about hurt feelings - she doesn't care that she used you for money and lied to you about the laced joint, so I wouldn't worry that she'll be hurt when you tell her "thanks for the invite but no thanks."
posted by desjardins at 6:42 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

(once she allowed me to smoke a laced joint without telling me)

Yep, toxic.
posted by heyjude at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mom won't let you have guests.
Instead of lending her a $100, tell her here is $50 and it is a gift. You will lose half as much and have twice as much chance of getting paid back.
She sounds like a nice kid, but she is not your friend, she is someone who is fun to hang out with.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:04 PM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

(once she allowed me to smoke a laced joint without telling me)

Okay, so you have established that she is not always honest with you. Addiction is a tricky beast, and people often do whatever they have to do to feed the beast. She has a family to turn to if she wants to get clean.

Even really nice people make very poor decisions in order to feed the beast. Don't let her stay at your Mom's house. Don't let her take advantage of you. I've been down this road with several people who are basically good, but they are in the throes of addiction. They make poor decisions. Distance yourself. It is less painful now than after you regret the things that she manipulates you into doing. I'm sorry, there is no easy choice here.
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:45 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need your money for something don't you?

Perhaps something better than buying drugs for your 'friend'?

You are sympathetic, which is great but I would limit your support to verbal support; that is all that a friend could really expect from you. She will ask someone else. Don't feel any guilt.

Soon you will make better friends... There are many wonderful people in this world.
posted by ibakecake at 9:56 PM on August 13, 2012

Stay well clear of this friend. She may be fun but she is not in a place where she can be relied on in any way. So by all means catch up with her but on your terms and not at your mum's house.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:40 PM on August 13, 2012

Read your post as though someone else wrote it. Seriously, take yourself out of the situation and try to see the situation for what it is.

She isn't a friend to you. She is a self-destructive drug addict. She takes your money and never repays it. She creates drama and stress in your life. She is inconsiderate of you, and puts you in very dangerous situations (ie. the laced joint). She is a taker, and you are just an easy person to take from. She is using you for your kindness. She manipulates and guilts you in to giving her more and more, and you are allowing her to take advantage of you. You don't even trust her enough to go visit her because she isn't on "the up and up" in regards to the situations she puts you in. How is this friendship?? You need to give your head a big shake and be clear in your own mind of the dangers you're involved in by associating with her.

Her life choices are not your fault nor are they your responsibility to fix.

I understand that you wish you could help her out of her situation. I understand that you care about her and worry about her, and because of that you feel responsible to try to fix her life or at least run interference on her most dangerous situations. She continually tells you about how everything in her life is so HARD and she is just so hard up, and then waits there, foot tapping and hand out, waiting for you to hand her some money to "help" her.

You need to remove her from your life.

She is a drug addict.
She puts you in dangerous situations.
She makes you feel unsafe.
She makes you feel guilty.
She takes money from you and your loved ones and never repays it.

She is throwing her life away, and until SHE chooses to seek help with her drug addiction and get her life together, there is nothing you can do to help her. All you're doing at this point is enabling her drug addiction and making the consequences of her poor choices tempered so that she never really feels as though she is suffering.

If you want you can tell her that you can no longer be friends with her because of her drug addiction. You can tell her that her addiction to drugs and illegal activities and dangerous lifestyle just isn't something you can associate with any longer. You can tell her that if she ever cleans up and sobers up that you'd be open to reacquainting yourselves then, but until then you're done.

or you can just stop answering her calls.

Either way, for your sake, for your loved ones sake, for your future's sake, you need to walk away from this "friendship".
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:28 AM on August 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

This ^

PuppetMcSockerton has it.

Kayla is an addict. She will steal from you and from your mom. Don't let her in your Mom's house, don't give her money.

She has a perfectly good family whom she has burned, what makes you think that she won't burn you.

Everything she's done is her choice.

No guilt, no drama.

Let her go.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:58 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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