I'm trying to react to this appropriately...
July 24, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

A friend bitched me out about a minor fight I had with my boyfriend. Was she out of line, and how do I reconcile the bad feelings I still have about it?

Here is the backstory: 2 weekends ago my live-in boyfriend and I had a tiff, so we decided to give each other some space and do our own thing that night. He went to his long-time friends' (a couple) house, people whom I have become close to as well since we started dating 6+ months ago. I suspected that he would tell them we had a fight, and while I prefer our private life stay private, I completely understand that he needed to let off a little steam. He came back the next day, we made up, and everything was gravy between us.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We all went on a camping trip together. Not 5 minutes after my boyfriend and I arrived and met up with the other couple, she (drunk, and in front of several people) yelled at me for hurting my boyfriend. It was a pretty severe scolding and she was very much talking down to me. She explicitly told me that *I* owed *her* an explanation as to why he was upset with me, as well as an apology to her for hurting him! While on the one hand I admire her for being such a dedicated friend to my s.o., overall I think she was completely out of line in her delivery, and that if she absolutely needed to have a word with me about it, she could have been a lot more discrete. However, I really don't think it was any of her business in the first place and that she shouldn't have brought it up at all, and that the only thing it did was now cause a rift between her and I.

My boyfriend and her boyfriend both thought she was out of line as well, and my bf assured her that he wasn't upset anymore over what happened and that we had made up with no problems and she really doesn't need to be concerned. I trust that my bf didn't badmouth me excessively, and I do believe that she was just blowing things out of proportion and butting in where she shouldn't have. I know that when my friends complain to me about their s.o's I take it with a grain of salt and I've never felt like it was my business to confront anyone.

The rest of the camping trip was just 'off' for me after that..dare I say it was kind of ruined. =/ I feel awkward around her now even though before I thought we were developing a close friendship.

So I guess my questions are: do you think she was out of line, or do friends get involved like that in other friends' relationships? If she were anyone else, I would probably just forget about her entirely but my boyfriend would much prefer if we could all get along. How can I squash this so we can all become chums again, especially if I'm not sure I even want to? Am I overreacting? Should I contact her and try to smooth things out, or just let it go and pretend it never happened? Any advice appreciated.
posted by infinityjinx to Human Relations (43 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
she (drunk, and in front of several people) yelled at me

This is really the only thing in your entire statement that matters.

She was drunk, she acted out of line, she needs to apologize.

You owe her exactly jack-shit.

If she can't or won't apologize, then you'll just have to decide if you can forgive her anyway, or if you want to terminate that friendship.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:01 AM on July 24, 2007


she (drunk)

There's the key. She was drunk. Give her the benefit of the doubt and forget about it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:01 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Two issues.

1. Was she out of line? Hell yes - a drunk, public scolding? Totally out of line. Most important: it sounds like your SO agrees. This is not something you two would want to disagree about (as a general sign about your relationship).

2. How should you react? Ignore it, as a gesture to your SO. Seriously, never speak of it again. Definitely don't contact her about it. If she has any sense, she's hoping you'll just let it go.

I wouldn't go 'spectin' to be buddies with this gal anytime soon - or probably ever - but that doesn't preclude you from having completely pleasant interactions with her. I also wouldn't expect an apology from her - or even give any thought to deserving one. People who think it's OK to get drunk and scold others in public aren't the best place to look for closure or graciousness.
posted by caitlinb at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, she was out of line.

I think this woman has made it perfectly clear that she is your boyfriend's friend first. Personally, being drunk is never an excuse.

I don't think you can approach her without looking confrontational even if your intentions are to smooth things over. If she wants to rectify the situation, she can either do the passive route and hope that if she ignores that event, you would ignore the event and everything would be hunky dory. Or she admirably has the balls to talk to you about it and apologize. Most people would ignore it and hope it all smooths over.

If it were me, I'd politely decline plans where she would be involved unless it were a large event and I could safely avoid her.
posted by spec80 at 10:08 AM on July 24, 2007


Sure, friends can get involved sometimes, but, no, they shouldn't do it while drunk and in front of the group.

I also wouldn't expect an apology from her - or even give any thought to deserving one. People who think it's OK to get drunk and scold others in public aren't the best place to look for closure or graciousness.

Not to play down the suckiness of drunken public scoldings, but we all know alcohol can make some dumb things seem like a good idea, so the gal might have better judgment and behavior when sober.
posted by namespan at 10:13 AM on July 24, 2007


Not to play down the suckiness of drunken public scoldings, but we all know alcohol can make some dumb things seem like a good idea, so the gal might have better judgment and behavior when sober.

This is some pretty bad fucking judgment on her part, though. Unless she blacked out and doesn't remember doing this at all, if she doesn't apologize she's not your friend. Period.
posted by chundo at 10:17 AM on July 24, 2007


Sounds like she's into your boyfriend.
posted by electroboy at 10:22 AM on July 24, 2007 [11 favorites]


She was out of line and owes you an apology, no doubt about it.
posted by sneakin at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2007


"Forget it because she was drunk" is bad advice, IMO. The key point is not that she was drunk, but that she humiliated you in front of your s.o. and lord knows whom else.

While on the one hand I admire her for being such a dedicated friend to my s.o., overall I think she was completely out of line in her delivery, and that if she absolutely needed to have a word with me about it, she could have been a lot more discrete.

If you feel this way, then you need to communicate that to her, but I'd suggest putting it in terms of how it made you feel, rather than what she should have done- if she has two brain cells to rub together, she'll figure that part out on her own. "I was drunk" is not an excuse.
posted by mkultra at 10:28 AM on July 24, 2007


While I agree she was out of line, I think your boyfriend needs to learn some boundaries as well. While I realize it is probably easier to direct your anger at this woman than at your boyfriend, you shouldn't be in the position of having to worry that every time you and he have a tiff he is going to run off and blab your private business to his friends without your consent. This would have never happened had he not handed her the ammunition. I understand the need to blow off steam when you're upset, and it's sweet that you respect his desire to do this, but he was out of line to broadcast your private business to someone who has no business having this information.
posted by The Gooch at 10:28 AM on July 24, 2007


Not to play down the suckiness of drunken public scoldings, but we all know alcohol can make some dumb things seem like a good idea, so the gal might have better judgment and behavior when sober.

Quite so, and that might all go out the window the next time she gets drunk.

I agree that this woman is not your friend, and I don't think she's much of a friend to your boyfriend friend, either - at least not how I understand the term.
posted by caitlinb at 10:28 AM on July 24, 2007


As a frequent drunken beeyotch myself, I would just like to say that not holding people accountable due to their state of inebriation often causes more problems than it solves. People begin to feel like they can get away with anything once they've had a few too many, when they should, regardless of inebriation, have enough of a Shame-O-Meter to at the very least realize what a total fuckknocker they were the next morning and send an apologetic email or phone call (I, myself, had to do this only a couple of weeks ago, to my chagrin).

I would have probably told this bitch to get bent at the campout, but it is too late for that now. Everyone makes drunken mistakes, but her deafening silence post-sobriety tells you all you need to know about this chick. Which is, mainly, that she doesn't know how to mind her own goddamned business.

She was totally, totally in the wrong, and even worse, can't admit it like an adult. Who wants to be friends with that kind of person? Let it go and be consistently nice, tolerant, forgiving and slightly distant to her. The upside of this act of sucking up your contempt is the gleeful little tickle of self-righteousness when you think about how much better you are than she, all while never seeming anything but completely classy and above it all.
posted by mckenney at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2007


I don't think 'reconcile' means quite what you think it means.
posted by ChasFile at 10:33 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sounds like she's into your boyfriend.
posted by electroboy at 12:22 PM on July 24


That vibe is definitely there, isn't it? That's not to say it's the truth, or there is anything between them, but I see some sort of linkage there, much like electroboy.

Perhaps deeply sublimated feelings were coming out with the help of social lubricant.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:36 AM on July 24, 2007


She was definitely out of line, but the most important thing here is what you can do to make yourself feel better about the situation. I think there are two options here (as in many situations).

Option 1: Decide to let go and then really let go of it. She cares about your SO and has limited impulse control. In large part it wasn't really about you.

Option 2: If you don't think you can let it go, be really honest with her. For example, tell her that you and your SO are going to have fights, but it's not her responsibility to do anything about it. You guys resolved it on your own and that's how it's always going to be. You would also appreciate it if she has anything like that to say to you in the future, that she picks a better moment.

How she handles what you do is her own thing, this is about what feels right to you. I agree that theoretically she owes you an apology, but you have no control over whether she does that or not--you only have control over your reaction. I don't really think it's your job to smooth things out with her, but in the interests of social peace it's important that you smooth things out for you.
posted by Kimberly at 10:38 AM on July 24, 2007


You're not at fault, but you can dispell some of the awkwardness. It's unlikely that she will apologize, so you might as well be the good guy.

Talk with her privately, and say something like, "When you yelled at me in front of (whoever), I felt embarrassed." The only valid response to that statement is "I'm sorry." It would be nice if she'd say that, but if she doesn't, you'll still know you've done the right thing and you'll be able to move on. If she says "I was drunk, forget about it," bring her back to your subject and ask her to save criticisms for private conversations.

If she's a bad person or has a problem with you, that'll become clear over time and your boyfriend will recognize it. For now, treat her like a friend who's made a mistake.
posted by wryly at 10:39 AM on July 24, 2007


this woman is not your friend, and I don't think she's much of a friend to your boyfriend friend, either

caitlinb took the words right out of my mouth. She wasn't just out of line -- she was so over the line as to be in another county. You and your boyfriend are a team; she tried to undercut that, in a public, aggressive, and humiliating way. Being drunk may have exacerbated such outrageous behavior, but it most certainly did not create it. You and your boyfriend have witnessed a very deep truth about who this woman is. I believe it would be unwise, to say the least, for you (individually, and as a couple) to ignore it.
posted by scody at 10:39 AM on July 24, 2007


She is beginning to miss the fact that your boyfriend used to channel a great deal of energy her way. She has more than likely been looking for an excuse to direct her anger at you (whether she is fully aware of this or not) in an attempt to regain that confidence.

Just be as polite as you can. Before long, her jealousy will become obvious. These things out themselves.
posted by oflinkey at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2007


I don't think 'reconcile' means quite what you think it means.

Check again.
posted by amro at 10:58 AM on July 24, 2007


She's either into your boyfriend or she's one of those people who will manufacture drama out of anything she can get a hold of. Or both.

She's definitely not your friend, or your boyfriend's. Some people just live that way, it's got nothing to do with either of you. Don't waste the energy waiting around for an apology.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:16 AM on July 24, 2007


I agree with oflinkey. I bet she's feeling hurt by his shift in attention, and latched on to the argument between you & your SO. I've found that some people express hurt by becoming angry. The argument meant she could be angry at you rather than angry at him.

Alcohol merely fueled the fire. In the fullness of time, she may realize why she feels this way, and can take adult steps to fix it. Or not, but either way from what you've said thus far I don't think this episode has anything to do with you. Or, really, your relationship with your SO.
posted by aramaic at 11:21 AM on July 24, 2007


1. never have anything whatsoever to do with this woman ever again.
2. tell your boyfriend that if he ever puts your private business on the street again, you'll kick him to the curb so fast he'll think he's a hubcap.

seriously, you need total strangers on the internet to tell you this?
posted by bruce at 11:21 AM on July 24, 2007


What oflinkey and Lyn Never said. All the liquor did was remove her inhibitions and expose how she really regards you: as a temporary trespasser on her turf rather than a peer or friend. Not that she necessarily has designs on your bf; she may fancy herself as his protective mommy lion or something.

Be friendly but keep your distance. Unless your bf brings it up, I wouldn't make it an issue of discussion with him because there's potential for you to be painted as the Yoko of the situation.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


The dynamics of friendships with the friends of your SO can be tricky. Think about your close friends...wouldn't you expect them, if it came down to it, to be on your side if your boyfriend hurt your feelings, no matter how much they may like him?

I'm not excusing her behavior, which was clearly out of line. The fact her boyfriend and yours agree that she was out of line is a good sign for salvaging the situation.

No reason to shun her socially. Yeah, you'll probably be a bit cool toward her for awhile, since she's betrayed your trust, but with any luck, she'll not overreact again and will progressively win your trust back.

She betrayed her budding friendship with you, infinityjinx, by treating you like some generic girl who hurt her friend. But people fuck up sometimes. Give her an opportunity to apologize to you privately.

(Now, if this is repeated behavior or part of a pattern, that's a whole 'nother thing.)

On preview: Bruce, venting to close friends is a far cry from "putting private business on the street." Sheesh.

How do you get past it? Take the high road. Be the classier dame.
posted by desuetude at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2007


This would have never happened had he not handed her the ammunition.

My friends and I blow off steam all the time, and I am pretty sure any of us would be appalled if another made a scene and attacked an SO like that. That she did it drunk just shows an extra level of "not friend material," to my mind.

I believe it would be unwise, to say the least, for you (individually, and as a couple) to ignore it.

I believe this, too, but I also believe there is nothing to be gained by having a discussion with her about it.

In your place, I would ask (in a very nice way) that my boyfriend understand and respect that this made me less interested in socializing with person, but for the events where we did all socialize together, I'd just act as if her outburst never happened - although not to the point of trying to get closer to her as a friend.

You say your boyfriend would prefer it if you could all get along - you certainly can. But I'd also keep an eye on how my boyfriend chose to deal with this. For example, if he doesn't so much want you to 'get along' as to 'all be great friends,' then he - and you - may end up confronting the fact that this other friend can't manage to do that.

On preview:
bruce offers a superb formula for escalating the drama in this situation overall.
posted by caitlinb at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2007


Yeah, she's into your boyfriend.

She also owes you a massive apology for drunkenly scolding you about an issue that's absolutely none of her business.
posted by bshort at 11:45 AM on July 24, 2007


i stand by my advice.

desuetude, the private business ended up getting hollered fortissimo by a drunken bitch at a campsite. at this point, the only sense it which it may not be on the street is that the campsite may be in an area isolated from other campsites and people. whatever, it reverberated loudly through the forest glade, awakened owls sleeping inside tree hollows, caused daybirds to rise off their perches in surprise and may have caused strangers at the next campsite to pause over their mojitos in an unexpected rush of prurient titillation. this is as close to the street as you want to get on an issue like this, trust me.

caitlinb, is "escalating the drama" a bad thing? seems to me there were already 2-3 acts of drama in this play with no speaking role for the o.p. i don't see it as an issue of "escalating drama", i see it more akin to a question i frequently asked my old clients:

do you envision yourself as the quarterback of your own life, or just the football?

when it comes to your boundaries, you absolutely have to call the plays, otherwise you will end up getting kicked, passed and spiked into the ground.

i have never disparaged a relationship partner to another person in my life. i have also never had an acrimonious breakup in my life.
posted by bruce at 12:06 PM on July 24, 2007


Nth-ing that she's into your boyfriend. It was the absolute first thing that popped into my head when I read your post. Doesn't really answer you question - but don't be expecting an apology from her any time soon - it took her being drunk to "scold" you, she ain't gonna have the balls to apologize to you (unless perhaps the apology comes when she is drunk).
posted by Sassyfras at 12:07 PM on July 24, 2007


Yes, she was out of line and it would be great if she apologised. But, you know what? All the time you're holding onto it, it's only hurting you. Let it go, move on, and see what happens. I bet she'll find a way of saying "sorry".
posted by Lleyam at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm not trying to excuse her behaviour, but how drunk was she? Completely gone, or just had one shot of vodka?

Either way, her behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable, but if she only had 1 drink and then railed on you like this, it seems to me to be a bigger warning sign than if she was paralytic.

Nice people apologise. Nice people don't behave the way your "friend" did.

Don't try to be friends with her and get along if you don't want to. You have grounds (as they say in the divorce court...) to have nothing to do with her again. Life is too short to be nice to people you dislike.
posted by Solomon at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2007


I also believe there is nothing to be gained by having a discussion with her about it.

Oh, I agree. I realize that my comment ("it would be unwise ... to ignore it") makes it sound like I was advocating for a confrontation with the woman, when in fact I don't think that would accomplish anything positive, either. I was suggesting more that not only does this woman's behavior speak to who she is both as a friend and as a person, but that fact must be faced head-on, so that the OP (and her boyfriend) don't lose waste much energy trying to make nice and be chums with (much less get an apology from) someone who, herself, doesn't appear to be particularly nice or chummy at all.

In other words, as caitlin says: I would ask (in a very nice way) that my boyfriend understand and respect that this made me less interested in socializing with person, but for the events where we did all socialize together, I'd just act as if her outburst never happened - although not to the point of trying to get closer to her as a friend.

At the end of the day, your ability to all be at least pleasantly civil (being actual friends all-round seems out of the question to me -- and reasonably so, frankly) is going to depend far more on her and less on you. Hopefully your boyfriend understands and respects that, even if he may be disappointed by it.
posted by scody at 12:14 PM on July 24, 2007


the private business ended up getting hollered fortissimo by a drunken bitch at a campsite

You scolded her boyfriend from putting their business on the street. He didn't, his female friend did.

We weren't witness to the conversation had between the boyfriend and the couple. It may not have been disparaging. It may have been a series of weepy I-statements, for all we know. Or it could've been a tight-lipped, angry refusal to talk followed by getting drunk and shooting the ever-living-heck outta something via the couple's Xbox.

My point was that this is largely an issue of trust between infinityjinx and the girlfriend, and there's no reason to cast the whole company in the opera.
posted by desuetude at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2007


caitlinb, is "escalating the drama" a bad thing?

Yes.
posted by caitlinb at 12:33 PM on July 24, 2007


Can we please get away from calling the woman in question "bitch"? She may have acted poorly in this situation, but it's an incredibly ugly term to put on her because of one incident.
posted by mkultra at 12:36 PM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Way, way, way out of line, but if she didn't apologize after an entire weekend in the middle of nowhere she probably never will. Hopefully your BF now sees that she is not a safe confidant.

I wouldn't stir the pot by asking my BF to talk to her or by bringing it up again myself but I'd distance myself from her because she's a potentially hurtful person and who needs that?
posted by MiffyCLB at 12:59 PM on July 24, 2007


I can't imagine ever doing what she did, but I have certainly felt huge indignation on behalf of my male best friend when his now-ex treated him poorly. This does not mean I want to date him.

We have been very close friends through several relationships though, and we both have a bad habit of seeing each other's lovers as temporary and our relationship as the permanent one. I don't know how long you two have been together, and this attitude probably wouldn't apply to a live-in girlfriend, but you never know.

And to answer your question- yes, of course she was out of line. And as other people have said, I'm sure your boyfriend now knows she can't be trusted as a confidant. I would be surprised if he hasn't already privately bitten her head off for being so completely disrespectful to both of you.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:29 PM on July 24, 2007


She was drunk, and the truth came out. She doesn't really like you much to begin with, and thinks your bf, her good friend, can do better.

Good to know. Unless she calls and explains it differently with an apology, that's how I'd take it. Even then, probably.

That's the problem with having poor self-control when you're drunk. The nasty tendency to say what you really think.
posted by ctmf at 3:14 PM on July 24, 2007


Or, it had nothing to do with you. Maybe she and her bf had a screaming fight a couple of hours previous, and she was still stewing about it, got ripped, and just felt mean. Still no excuse, and I still wouldn't consider her a friend unless she made some attempt to apologize. Seeing as how she couldn't arrange that over the course of a weekend camp-out, she probably won't.
posted by ctmf at 3:19 PM on July 24, 2007


My first thought on reading the question was that you all need to grow up. She was completely out of line and drunk, not that I'm one to think alcohol should excuse bad behavior, especially if there's a pattern. But what exactly are you looking for? Some heartfelt apology that's never going to come? Sometimes people act badly and everyone pretends it never happened the next day. Obviously you'll never be best friends but be civil and take the high road for your boyfriend. If something similar happens in the future then I think it's reasonable to say you'd prefer not to spend time with her.

But, and I didn't see this addressed in the other responses, it's possible this minor fight, this tiff, was viewed as much more serious by her. Minor fight and tiff aren't terms I'd use for something that resulted in him spending the night elsewhere. So I think you'd be wise to take a closer look at the situation-was it really minor?-and see that perhaps her outrage was driven by a fierce protectiveness of a friend that she saw hurt. As relationships go, our friends or family often are lucky enough to hear about the fight, the argument, the hurt, but are never witness to the reconciliation.
posted by 6550 at 3:28 PM on July 24, 2007


she (drunk, and in front of several people) yelled at me for hurting my boyfriend.

As others have said, that's the only part that matters. And as others have said (separately and together) not only was her drunken behavior out of line, but she's also into your boyfriend, and thinks you're not worth of him.

So you get to make a judgement call: say "this person is no longer my friend, and in fact apparently never was, so F U and you're cut off" or "this person is a terrible drunk, but she's just married to my boyfriend's good friend, and so I won't spend time with the girl, but her boyfriend is still okay."

Either one is correct, by the way. I have a friend whose wife is awful, and I tried the latter approach but finally said f-it and went with the former, cutting 'em off entirely. There's no need for you to be offended, or to be cranky about it, though; you now have a good reason to not spend time with her or think about her, and so the only question is whether or not you cut off her boyfriend as well.

For me, the tipping point on that question would be your boyfriend's reaction. Talk to him about what you should do, and the only red-flag response in my opinion is "forget it happened", because THAT would be disrespectful to you.
posted by davejay at 3:46 PM on July 24, 2007


I would remain pleasant but aloof from this woman.

Hey, maybe your boyfriend's last girl was a total arsehole to him, and your bf's friend was envisioning another psycho girlfriend that who'd bring nothing but heartache and pain for your boy.

Until she approaches you, I'd remain distant but polite, and I'd try and focus on doing something enjoyable for you and your fella to 'replace' the memory of your yukky trip with a more happy one.
posted by gerls at 5:45 PM on July 24, 2007


Scody is mefi"s wise woman.


It was the alcohol talking--ignore it. I've just sent an apology to someone making it clear that the issues I have with the SO have nothing to do with her.
posted by brujita at 11:50 PM on July 24, 2007


Try to understand that she's likely jealous of you, even if she's not sexually interested in your boyfriend. I mean, she's the long term friend, and all of a sudden he meets you and within 6 months is living with you (!) and she is probably not getting as much attention from him as she used to.... her behavior is inexcusable, but it might be coming from a place of hurt and feeling displaced from his life, not evilness and lust for him.
posted by tristeza at 11:28 AM on July 25, 2007


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