Toxic - not only Britney Spear's video/life
November 17, 2006 9:59 PM   Subscribe

So your best friend is toxic and finally you decide you need to get her out of your life. How do you say goodbye?

Long story: I met my best friend about 5 years ago in grad school. We both come from Eastern Europe so we found a frame of reference in one another, felt that we understand one another on a deeper level and we quickly became friends. Throughout the past 5 years my friend has shown herself to be loyal, good, kind person, except once in a while she freaks out on me for what I perceive to be little to no reason. I think "the bad" started 4 years ago when she started thinking that I have a thing for her boyfriend due to one comment I made. What the hell let's put it out for all to judge: one night I stayed at her place till late and he drove me home on a motorcycle. It was a night, it was raining, I was on a motorcycle that was going very fast and I got a bit turned on. Nothing happened. Next day, I told her about this (as a curiosity type of thing: "guess what happened") and we both laugh about this in a "that's funny/weird". Two days later she calls me and says she needs to talk with me and she basically reprimands me in a very cold way, telling me that what I said to her was not cool, made her distrust me and is overall gross. Basically, telling me very strongly that I need to stay the hell away from her boyfriend. I try to tell her that it was truly innocent/stupid comment and that I do not covet her boyfriend (otherwise I would probably keep the little story to myself). I think she never believed me despite the fact that I was telling the truth. Over the time I did see how my comment could have upset her and even though I said it innocently I can admit that it was out of place. In any case, ever since that, I have the feeling that she's observing me very closely when I talk to him, she has repeatedly tried to force me to say that I'm attracted to him and pretty much made me avoid speaking his name or making any comments about him at all for the fear that she'll get upset.
In addition to all of this she get's very very upset whenever I contradict her in anything however silly it may be. Tonight was an example when I expressed an opinion contrary to hers, she started freaking out and saying "you're crossing the line" and left the dinner before everyone was finished saying that she can't stay because of me. Generally I feel that unless I agree with her on everything, we cannot be friends. I think that she perceives disagreement as a lack of loyalty on my part, something that she will not accept in a friend. This dynamic has been going on for a while and for the most part I have the tendency to let things go, to forgive, to be the "smarter one". Tonight however, I relized that this friendship is very toxic and bad for me and I cannot take it anymore. In other words, this time I am not making an effort to kiss and make up but I need to say "I can't be friends with you anymore".
How do I do it? She cannot be rationally talked to as she's always convinced that she's the one who is right. I want to say goodbye in a firm but nonconfrontational manner that takes into account the fact that this friendship is bad for me but also that there were times when it was good to me and that this person is inherently good but something in our chemistry makes it impossible for us to be friends. i don't want to just fall into silence. any comments, advice, ideas?
posted by barrakuda to Human Relations (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is going to go badly no matter how you say it, so if I were you I would just just make sure that you emerge with your integrity intact.

That might mean just walking away at this point. There's really nothing to be gained for either of you by one last drama.

If you really feel the need to do it, I would say basically what you said at the end of your post above, "Our friendship has had some good times, but it's become more upsetting to me over time, and I need to step back from it."

This will lead to a fairly predictable scene, and all I would advise you to do is stick to your core message (broken record) until she retreats once again.

But seriously, I think you're much better off just letting it drop.
posted by tkolar at 10:23 PM on November 17, 2006

" I think you are a wonderful person, i respect very much the relationship we have had, it has meant so very much to me. I think we are in different places in our lives and i think we need to take a break. let's spend some time apart and see how that feels for both of us. I wish you only the best and i hope you want the same for me."

something to that effect.

I had to do this a few years back, and it's pretty much a break-up scenario. not fun, but ultimately really critical to growing up and realizing what is best for you. I'm not making any judgements here about what may or may not have happened, no one here can see her side of the story.

The fact is, it doesn't really change things. (Notice i don't say "it doesn't matter." It might.) This might just open up a dialogue for your to work this shit out. Who knows.

Be strong, stand up for yourself, be HONEST, and good luck.

Good friends are really hard to find, even harder to leave, it seems.
posted by metasav at 10:32 PM on November 17, 2006

Why don't you want to let it slip away? If you just start declining to spend time with her, avoid making plans with her, and start finding other people to hang around with, she'll either lose interest, or she'll realize that she has been unfair and unreasonable, and will try to make amends. If she doesn't, what have you got to lose at this point?
posted by owhydididoit at 10:47 PM on November 17, 2006

Yes. Distance. There is no need for a big dramatic showdown.

Once you have left her alone for a while, you might find that you both have a little more perspective on this stuff.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:58 PM on November 17, 2006

If you can do a slow fade, do it that way; it will be less traumatic for all concerned.

If you don't want to do it slow, I will go against the grain and suggest a 'burning bridges' routine. *Have* that last big fight; say all the things you've been holding in and wanting to say, and know that she's going to do the same thing to you; I can guarantee she's been stewing over this, saving up hate, and it's just waiting to come out. And then part as enemies, never to speak to each other again. God help you if you have to work together or something, of course.

I know this goes against what you've been told by some other folks but I know 'toxic' people like this and this will actually be easier on her; rather than leave her going "I ruined it, I drove away my friend", or her trying to make appeasements and thinking maybe she can make up with you, or you thinking you should give her another chance (Won't work!), she'll write you off as a crazy b*tch and get on with her self-centered life. And you'll be well-free of someone who clearly doesn't like you, trust you, or care about you anymore.
posted by Rubber Soul at 11:13 PM on November 17, 2006

Maybe the best way would be to gently drift apart. You might can avoid a scene/showdown that way. I have been there, where old friends move in different directions for whatever reason. Maybe you come back together later when wounds have healed; maybe not, but that's alright, too. People move in and out of our lives, for better and worse.
posted by wsg at 12:12 AM on November 18, 2006

Do it like removing a band-aid from your boo boo - all at once and quickly.
posted by fixedgear at 2:20 AM on November 18, 2006

"I don't need this shit." and walk away.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:27 AM on November 18, 2006

I disagree strongly with those who have said just cut her out - if you've truly been good friends for a long time, she deserves to have an idea of why it's ending - maybe she knows already and you're just confirming it for her, maybe she really has no idea what's bothering you, but either way, she should know why it's come to an end. (Yes, I speak from experience) If you're truly intent on ending the friendship, rather than having any option to work it out, then just tell her (as others have said) gently, but firmly, that this has become negative for you and you're walking away.

FWIW, my experience - a close friend of a year or two suddenly stopped speaking to me. I was confused and deeply, deeply hurt, but I acquiesed and gave her the space that she - apparently - wanted. About six months later she sent me an email offering to tell me why she'd stopped being my friend, so that we could be civil in public. Because we already WERE civil in public, I told her no - that she should have respected me enough to tell me *when it happened* why, but now that so much time had passed it was only dragging up old dirt. Years later, now - yes, it still hurts, and no, I don't really understand, but let me tell you, I've thought of several reasons for this all that make her look fairly petty and immature - and I doubt I'm wrong abou them. So, if you don't want to leave that impression with your friend, I recommend handling this situation a little bit more head-on.

Either way, good luck to you. I've been on the other side of this, as well, and it's very hard. But good for you for making the decision - a lot of people seem to just stay in these toxic relationships. You're likely making a very healthy decision.
posted by AthenaPolias at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2006

Like others have said just let it drift apart / slip away. I second and third that there's no need to say anything. If the relationship is toxic why poke it one last time with a stick.

Just walk away, let yourselves filter out of each others lives. You might be surprised how easy this can be. She may be looking for an out as well. Methlviolet is right about the perspective coming with time. Having any sort of talk about it risks saying things in the heat of the moment that are just hurtful on both sides.

I would only say something if it was cornered into it and I would try to keep it short, stick to the core message as was also said above.

Good luck moving past all this.

On preview, AthenaPolias I'm so sorry for your past pain and experience but I respectfully disagree.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:07 AM on November 18, 2006

the next time this happens with her, tell her that you're tired of her abusive behavior ... and then leave ... don't get into an argument about it, if you can

after that, don't see her as much

one of two things will happen ... she will get a clue and start treating you better ... or she won't and you'll drift apart ... but even if that happens, at least you've given her your reason ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 AM on November 18, 2006

I agree with the people who just say drift apart. There is no need for the big show, and it's what happens to all friendships - best and otherwise.
posted by absalom at 7:54 AM on November 18, 2006

I would explain to her that you are sorry, but you can't tolerate her behavior any longer. Maybe you can explain tactfully that instead of being a fufilling relationship with give an take, it's emotionally draining to be around her. Slowly stop accepting her telephone calls. Like others have suggested, allow the relationship to drift apart.

That is how I ended my relationship with my best friend a few years ago. She was incredibly self-centered, a severe hypochondriac, and had questionable behaviors with the men in her life. She cheated on a man several times she was engaged to years ago, and then proceeded to cheat on her husband. She also was upset when others disagreed with her, and was fabulous at making critical little digs.

We were great friends since the 10th grade. I was her maid of honor six years ago in her beautiful, extravagant wedding. She had a very nice, handsome, successful, intelligent husband that I loved--in a platonic way of course. She had a great career. She had a gorgeous house filled with beautiful things--even her drinking glasses were works of art. She ruined great relationships and her way of life because she needed constant attention from men. My old best friend is beautiful, but incredibly insecure.

Once we were out of high school and college she only really called me when she was in a crisis or needed something. I tolerated her ways for a long while because she had a lot of good qualities. I understand how life gets in the way and people don't have a lot of time for friendships. But once she started screwing some short-order cook in the back of her SUV I had to draw the line. I am not usually that judgmental. Other people's sex lives are their business, but I found it incredibly cruel and destructive to act in this way in her second year of marriage.

She became pregnant and married the cook. I was invited to her second wedding and her baby shower. I did not RSVP and I did not attend. That got the message across that our friendship wasn't important to me any longer.

We don't speak unless I bump into her around town, and although I miss her at times, I know it's for the best. I couldn't take constantly reassuring her that she wasn't going to die , or didn't have a brain tumor. I couldn't take the little digs any longer, and I couldn't stand watching her destruct her life.

Good luck.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

dogfoodsugar, thanks, but I wonder if you've been in this situation on either side. Speaking from the side of the friend who walks away, if you provide no explanation (and I'm not saying make a big to-do about it, just simply say in a letter or short talk what your intentions are and why) then the former friend will still pop up from time to time, causing you undue stress. This, again, happened to me twice - one former friend kept tracking me down, through friends, family members, the internet, etc, and made not only every would-be contact extremely stressful, but also made it hard for me to go anywhere I might see her or someone who knew her - i.e. visit home. Ugh. The other one was less persistent about it, but still had no clue about why I didn't return her calls or want to catch up, years later.

In both situations it was annoying, stressful, and really made me feel like an awful person for never dealing with the situation up front and stringing people along.
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

I apologize for the above chatty answer. For some reason, I thought I should share. Again, best wishes.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2006

The big showdowns never feel good and, in my experience, they don't accomplish very much. The slow drift just drags it all out.

I'd send her (NOT e-mail, whatever you do) a note that reads:

"I think we've drifted out of the friendship we once had and into something that isn't healthy. I have no concern for who is to blame or how exactly it happened. I just know that we're causing each other more bad feelings than good. I'm moving on. I wish you the best."

No apologies, no extra filigrees or attempts to smooth over feelings. It seems that women, in particular, have this perpetual fear of being the Bad Bitch if they don't take on the burden of making everything okay and pain-free. Don't bother.

(By the way, not to revisit old pain, but if a friend rode with my wife on a motorcycle and told me, even in jest, how turned on he got -- I'd think it was rude and I'd ask him to back off.)
posted by argybarg at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2006

I'm in the process of withdrawing from a neighbor/ friend, and I have done it by no longer calling, by being slow to answer her calls, by being evasive when she suggests getting together. I stopped asking her to watch my kids and found another SAHM to trade weekday kid care with as needed, and I stopped being available when she called to ask me to take hers ("I'm sorry, it's not a good day.").

She wasn't someone I wanted to try to process the breakup with, and I could hardly think it would be productive for me to say, "I don't want to be your friend anymore because I can't stand the way you treat your kids, because your dysfunctional relationship with your mother is sickening to watch, because you are so screwed up about...well, everything, because I hear the way you trash all your other friends behind their backs, and because we actually have nothing in common." I also didn't want a dramatic breakup because her 4-year-old and my 5-year-old are friends, and because we live only 3 houses down and are sure to run into each other around the neighborhood.

It's awkward. Right now, we are having occasional phone conversations during which she says, "We should get together! It's been so long!" but the couple of times I've given in and made plans, I've regretted it. I find it uncomfortable to keep putting her off and wonder if I should say something more direct, but overall I do think she's getting the message, since she calls much less often.

Drifting apart happens in life, even between friends who want to keep in touch, so that can be leveraged in a situation like that.

That said, doing this has made me think in retrospect of the various relationships that have "drifted" for me in the past. Now I wonder whether some of those drifts were deliberate on the part of the other person. But how could they have been? I'm absolutely wonderful! Also, since those people didn't tell me they were dumping me, I'm allowed to continue thinking that they regret the loss of our friendship and think of me fondly and often.
posted by not that girl at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2006

Also, since those people didn't tell me they were dumping me, I'm allowed to continue thinking that they regret the loss of our friendship and think of me fondly and often.

What a good answer. Why would you want it any other way? Let's say your friend is like LoriFLA's friend -- someone who in your opinion needs a lot of improvement in manners or morals. Do you want to be in the position of admitting that, towards the end there, you were pretending to be her friend but actually judging everything she did? That kind of makes you a glassbowl, and undercuts whatever solid instruction you might have for her improvement.

If my bad breath or lousy parallel parking skills or utter worthlessness as a human being ever drives my friends away, I hope I will not have been so far wrong about them as to find they're going to tell me about it on the way out!
posted by Methylviolet at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2006

OK, there's really no guarantee one or both of you won't change your perspective in the future. I wouldn't just let loose with a barrage of insults, but I certainly think saying something is better than just avoiding her calls etc.

I think it's ruder to not let people know when you have issues with them. Let them move on! Why must they think fondly of you, in perpetuity, if in reality you have been dissing them on the internet!
posted by shownomercy at 10:29 AM on November 18, 2006

After seeing responses like this for years on Metafilter, I shouldn't be surprised, but the "just drift away" answers always shock me. And I'm most shocked by the fact that the majority agree with this tactic.

Since so many of you feel this way, I'm not going to arrogantly insist that I'm right and you're wrong. I guess I'm eccentric. Or maybe it's a generational thing (I'm not sure of the average age here: I was born in the 60s).

In my view, the WORST thing one friend -- or former friend -- can do to another (short of murder, rape or something like that) -- is to ignore them or cut them off without explaining why. Honestly, I would rather be screamed at and insulted than have someone I thought of as a friend just mysteriously quit hanging out with me. Ending a friendship is a very serious thing. If I'm going to do it, I owe my former friend an explanation.

But, again, I guess if this is an accepted cultural norm these days, then I'm an oddball. If a friend just mysteriously stopped hanging out with you, would you just think, "Well, that's the way it goes... I guess the time was up on that friendship"?

A close friendship (the OP called her friend her "best friend"), to me, is like a marriage. So my advice is to end it the way you'd end a marriage. Tell her -- succinctly -- how you feel. "I'm upset with you because X, Y and Z, and though I'll always remember the good times we've had together, I feel I need to end this friendship." Do her the courtesy of allowing her to reply, but don't let her reply go on for too long. If she starts yelling at you and arguing, say, "I've told you how I feel, and I'm very sorry you can't accept it right now. I hope you can later. I wish you all the best." And then leave.

Be honest. Then leave. And DON'T say "I think we need a break for a while," unless you really mean "for a while." Some of us think very literally. If your friend is like me, she'll probably be naive enough to wait a while and then try contacting you again.

There is no way to do this and avoid hurt. Ending a friendship is a terrible thing, and it DOES hurt. But sometimes friendships must be ended. So do it simply, quickly and honestly.
posted by grumblebee at 10:55 AM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for sharing. Some additional info on my part is: I don't want to be harsh or insulting, I don't think I can change her or her behaviors, and I feel bad just fading away/not saying anything b/c this has not been a casual friendship. It was almost like a romantic relationship (without the romance). The only other person she argues with the way she argues with me is her boyfriend and in turn the only people that I get so upset with/hurt by are my family. So you see, breaking up this friendship is like breaking up w/ a significant other or cutting off a sister.
We both talked about it a few times and rationally agreed that at moments this friendship is just bad for both of us. Only problem being that as much as I have a tendency to accept my faults and admit wrongs (comes from the Catholic guilt syndrome) she doesn't reciprocate (i.e., she's never wrong, never apologizes for anything and I'm always the bad guy). To me this makes the friendship unbalanced, my concerns are never valid and hurtful things she does and says to me are never recognized as mean, instead I am informed that I am oversensitive. We talked about this before, but she just doesn't listen - she doesn't hear me. She claims that I'm the problem. In all fairness, she's also the person that helped me out a lot with my life and my emotions throughout the past five years. I'll always be grateful for her support in certain matters and for the valuable lessons she taught me. Only problem is that as I mature and become the person "I want to be" I seem to be increasingly annoying to her. Maybe because I am not a lost soul anymore and she can't be the one who is giving advice and who is smarter and feels superior. All in all, this is unhealthy and cannot continue. We'll be both better for it. I guess I know what I need to say/do and I didn't really need to post this as a question - but I had to get it out somehow.
posted by barrakuda at 11:02 AM on November 18, 2006

Response by poster: argybarg, about your last comment. agreed, i now understand that it was one of the "inside words" that should have never made it to the outside. on the other hand, for how many years must one repent for making a stupid statement like this?
posted by barrakuda at 11:08 AM on November 18, 2006

I'm totally with argybarg and grumblebee. The big showdown is needlessly unpleasant, but the unexplained fadeout when there's really something this wrong (as opposed to a more natural, mutual drift over time, which genuinely happens) is a passive-agressive chickenshit move -- it's a tendency lots of women have, and I really dislike it, in no small part because I'm still hurt that a former best friend just walked out of my life a couple of years ago without having the guts or respect to own up. Seriously, I still have nightmares

A succinct message that does not strive to place blame but rather to state that the relationship has come to an end is the healthy, adult thing to do.
posted by scody at 11:16 AM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

gah! part of the end of the first paragraph mysteriously disappeared! should be "seriously, I still have nightmares about running into her after all this time. If we'd just split -- broken up, as it were -- then I wouldn't have felt so injured for so long."
posted by scody at 11:19 AM on November 18, 2006

"We'll be both better for it. I guess I know what I need to say/do and I didn't really need to post this as a question - but I had to get it out somehow."

Try next time.
(Though I do sympathize with you. I had a friend that I had to break up with, and I know he's still pissed at me. He was really insecure, and while great in a lot of ways, I just couldn't deal with the patholigical exaggeration and lying anymore. Plus, I needed to go to college and do stuff with my life— I didn't have my parents' warehouse business to fall into.
But I digress...)
posted by klangklangston at 11:32 AM on November 18, 2006

I also agree with others that there should be a discussion. It looks like you have discussed your problems with your friend barrakuda. All the best to you.

In my case my exasperation was evident. I had a couple of tactful discussions with my friend about her behavior. And I didn't drop her the moment she told me of her affair. It was a slow process, and their were many factors involved. She knows exactly why we aren't friends any more.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:35 AM on November 18, 2006

ugh, grammar mistakes abound.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:36 AM on November 18, 2006

amen, scody!
posted by AthenaPolias at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2006

Honestly, I would rather be screamed at and insulted than have someone I thought of as a friend just mysteriously quit hanging out with me. Ending a friendship is a very serious thing. If I'm going to do it, I owe my former friend an explanation.

Yes, yes, yes. Even a note a few sentences long is better than silence. Give her some idea of what she has done, because if you don't, she's going to keep on doing it to other friends. She at least deserves that information-- a reason why. Once you've let her know, in whatever form you choose, then you can back off from her, and she can do with it what she will.

I was the "driftee", for lack of a better word, nearlly 14 years ago with a good friend. To this day I have no idea what I did wrong. I was in an unhappy marriage; did I complain too much? Did she think I was a bad mother (our sons were also best friends)? Did she just think my mannerisms were annoying? Did I lean on her for reassurance too often? And you know what? It still hurts and confuses me, all these years later, especially because it affected my son badly as well-- he was not invited to her son's next birthday party, which occured about four months after she started "drifting". And even last year a mutual friend reported to me in a matter of fact kind of way that she didn't invite me to her birthday party, because Annie was going to be there, and if she had known that I was planning to attend, she wouldn't have come. And here we are, as I said, nearly fourteen years later and I have no idea what went wrong. (Yes, I tried a couple of times to initiate a conversation with her about it, but was shut down, and gave up.) It's horrible, because even writing this I worry again about it-- because dumping someone without a word of explanation is how you treat people who you see as threats to your wellbeing. And that hurts more than anything.

So, erm, yeah. Do let your friend know-- even if it is harshly put, even if it hurts her feelings in the short term, it's far far better than never knowing why. You deny her the opportunity to change if you don't explain how badly she has behaved, and allow her to, in the best case, examine her behaviour and understand its consequences.
posted by jokeefe at 3:02 PM on November 18, 2006

Sorry, on preview reading your last post, where you refer to your relationship as almost a romantic one-- maybe that's exactly the problem. Might she be in love with you and unable to sort through her feelings? Stranger things have happened.
posted by jokeefe at 3:06 PM on November 18, 2006

Or you could go the route of one of my best college friends.

"I've decided I need to trim the fat, and you are the fat"

She had some problems.

And that was one of the most awful things that anyone has ever done to me. I'm pretty sure you won't, but whatever you do, don't be mean.
posted by echo0720 at 3:18 PM on November 18, 2006

Act honourably. There are honourable ways to step back or to have a confrontation. You will be fine either way, so act in a way that will enable you to look back on the experience without cringing at your behaviour. In any approach acting honourably means acting honestly and recognising the duality of the relationship.

Remember too that your life may change in a way that you'd like to speak to her again so don't burn bridges.

Honourable ways to confront her could mean bringing a trusted third party in and having a calm conversation - with the third party (perhaps someone she defers to/respects) helping to moderate her and your potential overreactions.

Honourable ways to step back could involve owning your responsibility for the change - for example, telling her the reasons in your life that you can no longer deal with her behaviour.

In any case, please give it a month first and maybe seek the counsel of a trusted friend. Friends don't always respect boundaries - nothing in the universe always respects boundaries - but give yourself time to consider your own anger, your true limits, and this friend's meaning in your life.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:07 PM on November 18, 2006

also, her reaction when you contradict her makes me consider that she might be really insecure (i.e. terrified during most of her waking life). If her actions are caused by mental illness or by weakness, she might still be toxic and you might still be justified in isolating yourself from her, but she requires help and mercy. As you care about her, you might be helpful in getting her what she needs (although you are not responsible for doing so, you might wish to). I could be barking up the wrong tree here, but this happens to many mentally ill people whose coping mechanisms finally break down under stress or over time; their friends notice a change and withdraw precisely when their attention could help direct/support the ill person to proper treatment.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:12 PM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Don't don't don't be passive aggressive and just walk away hoping things will resolve that way. Scody is right when she calls it a chicken-shit move. I broke away from a former best friend like that some years ago, and still regret not having the guts to end the friendship properly. She was toxic to be around and towards the end I hated being in her presence. So I just stopped being around her, I cut all ties. So we ended with so many things unresolved, that still chew at me from time to time. Not only that, but I wound up losing other friends that I didn't mean to lose at all, because I avoided group events where I knew she would be there. As a result I lost a friend who was very close to my ex-friend. Later on whenI found that this girl had driven away a lot more of us from that particular "group" I wondered if I had been direct with her she might have realised her faults and not gone on to lose more friends.

It doesn't have to be a big blow out, but please don't just walk away. For both of your sakes. Write a letter and have her read it while you're there with her, then explain calmly why you want out.
posted by kosher_jenny at 8:20 PM on November 18, 2006

Yikes. Been here. Not exactly here, but let's say we've been neighbours. And as someone who's cut people ruthlessly out of my life and then wondered, years later, what they're up to, here is my advice:

1) Have. It. Out. Tell her what's on your mind. Tell her how strongly you feel about it. As passive friends, especially "cleverer" ones, we shut up about a lot. We take a lot. We say nothing in the moment. My theory is that your friend will have picked up on your disapproval/exasperation in certain moments, but won't know exactly what has pissed you off (because you haven't told them, and also because they're often egocentric/insecure). So have it out. Then she may try to regulate her behaviour. You might try to understand hers. You might learn to be tolerant and considerate of each other. You might learn and grow together; honesty sometimes facilitates this. But if not, you can at least part on honest ground. Which leads us to...

2) Do it quick. If it's not happening, end it quick. By all means try to wish her well. I sent an "I think you are a wonderful person, I just need to be in a different place right now, I wish you well for the future" etc. letter once. I got a torn up piece of paper with the words "YOU BITCH" in reply, and months of sniping. So do it quick. Do it with respect, but do it quick."

Life is short. You don't need to spend it with emotional vampires. But everyone deserves a second chance or, failing that, the truth about how you feel.

Good luck!
posted by unmusic at 10:28 AM on November 19, 2006

« Older Theme song from The Wire, season 4?   |   Oh, Help me get to New York! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.