Friday, April 9, 2010

Is this friendship worth saving?

What would you do?

I have a particular friend. When I first met her three years ago she was so sweet and thoughtful that she quickly became one of my favorite people. But a year ago...a romantic rejection, job and self image issues...and she began to withdraw. Since then seven out of the ten times I'd ask her to go out she would say no. And if I did manage to drag her for a night out of dancing, etc. half the time, before we'd even left or upon arrival, she'd either change her mind and want to go home or she'd want to do something less social.

Talking to her about what was going on, she just said she was going through a really rough time. I suspected she might also be clinically depressed. So I gave her what I hoped would be helpful advice along with a lot of space. I'd ask her now and then to do something. If she said yes, fine. If not, fine too.

The dynamics of our relationship had changed. Instead of a friendship that was more equally give and take, I felt like I'd become her constant cheerleader. But if I needed her to listen in return, I could no longer always count on her to be there for me. Moreover, I couldn't complain about it because, as she kept saying, she was going through a rough time.

So, when I began to go through a temporarily rough time myself a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but think twice before contacting her because experience has taught me that there was a strong chance she'd either 1. not listen. or 2. make me feel worse. And (isn't this always the way?) from me always being the one calling her she then starts constantly contacting me. Why aren't I asking her to go out so she can just say no again, or so we can sit in some moody corner and talk about how miserable life is? it felt like she was asking. So I told her, very to the point, that this wasn't a good time and I'll talk to her later, okay? But, alas, it's not okay and she keeps calling and texting until, in a hormone and stress induced bad mood, I tell her, Look, I really need some space right now while I work some things out, just like you've done many a time over the past year, so just let me be for fuck's sake.

She responds by calling me a bitch.


guess I shouldn't have added that, for fuck's sake?

Because I feel, well, kinda weepy and heartbroken, I'm strongly tempted to call or email her to try to set things straight. On the other hand, common sense tells me maybe it's for the best if I just walk away.

What would you do?


  1. Since you're asking.... I would walk away. It seems like it's time. And if she can't understand that you need some time to yourself to sort things out, and has to call names, she isn't a very good friend, I would say. This seems to be an opening or a "get out of jail free" card of sorts. I know it's hard to end/lose a friendship but sometimes they just need to come to an end.

    Hang in there. Weak words, I know, you I'll send happy thoughts your way, m'dear!

  2. It may be that the two of you need a break. I had a friend who was like this an now amount of my trying to cheer him up ever helped. It was like he was addicted to sucking the energy out of the people around him. In the end I couldn't be around him anymore, because it would always leave me feeling depressed.

    You deserve supportive friends who are there when you need them. If she can't be that person right now, that doesn't negate your need. Try to spend some time with someone who has a positive outlook on life, and feel their power help you back onto your feet.

    *Cyber hug*

  3. I would say give both of yourselves some time off. Perhaps some time away from each other - you to deal with what you're going thru right now, and her to reflect on her words, perhaps sometime in the future, you can once reconnect. But in the end, only you can say what you feel in your heart and what is right for you.

    Good luck...

  4. You may sincerely want to walk away - and perhaps it’s for the best if you do considering the nature of this particular relationship - but I think right now you’re experiencing regret as to how it may have ended.

    For your own sake (the sadness & the feeling heartbroken) – I would get in touch at least one more time simply to express those regrets for how things were left between the two of you. You cannot control her actions but you do have control over yours. And this last (perhaps last) communication would be for you.

    (btw – despite my recent resolution & carrying around that stick, I have yet to use the “f” word although it’s tempting & I can see how you were prompted to use it)

  5. Adding the 'for fu*k's sake' was a prerequisite, as I see it. Attitude is good.:)

    Oh, I've had lots of 'friends' like these. And so will you ... part of life.

    I had this friend once, who after making plans for us to go out, would cancel or just not turn up. Anyway after a number of years (maybe even decades ... er I'm in my 40s remember) I took the notion this day to organise something for the weekend and then cancel - see how she liked it!

    Well, she has never spoken to me again to this day. I think that's hilarious. She couldn't take a dose of her own medicine. Wish I'd done it sooner.

    Being serious ... I would leave alone let time heal and go make new friends in the meantime.

    Your comment on my blog had me in stitches. So funny. Thank you :)

  6. If she can't afford you the same space that you have given her... If you feel like the relationship lacks reciprocity....If you feel like sitting down and talking out all your feelings with her is not an option....if the relationship is a drain on your energy.....then I think you know what to do.
    p.s. I think that "for fucks sake" was very appropriate!!!

  7. It's almost like she roped you in with cheer and then she gradually turned into a fun suck of gloom and doom.

    Everyone had hard times - I totally get that BUT you can still be respectful of your friends and listen and give a little empathy when asked for.

    Once you began to pull away it's as if she realized her "hold" on you was gone and she put all sorts of extra effort - overboard and annoying effort - into getting you back so you could continue listening to her doom and gloom.

    It's hard and I always feel guilty about it but I would quietly walk away. It sounds funny but you aren't getting enough out of the relationship. One way streets are exhausting and not much fun. I'm with La Belette Rouge.

    Easier said than done I fully realize.

    And the "for fucks sake?" sheer annoyance and I get it!!

    Hope you are feeling better? Big Hug - Shan

  8. After such a long and close relationship, I would perhaps give it a "last chance". Explain your feelings, more or less as in this post... perhaps slightly moderated. Then, if the reaction is not good, "forget her". ? Not easy! :-)

  9. After reading your post and giving it some thought, I say...screw her. Yep, I said it!

    You are waaay to beautiful of a person to be around someone who takes your friendship for granted.

    That said, you are the only one who can make the decision to stay or leave that friendship. We won't judge. We will only support. Good luck!

  10. It all depends on what you want to do. Depression can be a hard thing to deal with.

    If I were you, I would call her and explain, courteously but honestly, how you feel and what you've seen.

    After that, the onus is on her. If she can take that constructive criticism for what it is and move on, then there could still be a friendship there.

    If she gets defensive or angry, maybe it's time to just let her go.

  11. OH GOD. friendships can be so tough! i think you need a cooling off period, and then maybe a heart to heart talk. you can both present your perspectives and then see what happens. if you end up going your separate ways, it is ok. sometimes friendships don't always work out. ay yi yi. i feel for you!

  12. I think it's been said above more than once, but maybe give yourself a break from her for a while until you feel stronger. When people become depressed, the nature of the illness is that it makes them antisocial. They see the negative in everything and drive people away, saying "see, no one likes me, my life is terrible" etc etc. The rational view about this is "well, you're making it worse" but the point is depressed people are not rational! On the other hand, you deserve to be happy and it is not your responsibility to save her from herself, at least not if you're becoming unhappy too. So... only you can decide, of course, but maybe give it some time and give yourself a rest from this and perhaps just occasionally make contact after that, without reinforcing her negative behaviours.

    In time, she may get back to normal, many depressed people do, but your friendship may not be the same again (but, such is life sometimes). Hope that helps, in a rambling kind of way...

  13. Bright greetings, Cheryl. I hope you are magically well. I read your blog post and thought how complex human relationships are at times. I hope all works out for you and for your friend. Sometimes, relationships come to a natural closure when something or someone has evolved (or if one person has evolved and the other hasn't). Situations change. Within, you will know the way forward. Nurture yourself by being with kindred spirits. Love & bright wishes, dear one. xx

  14. Friendships are not always forever. They are often a product of the time and environment from which they spring as much as they are about the people involved.

    I think you need to be prepared to walk away from this relationship.

    But I think Beth has it right. You can't leave it the way it is. For your own sake you need to at least send a kind word to your friend weather it's an apology or just a fond farewell.

  15. Oh boy, that's tough.

    If it were me...I'd ask myself if I want her for a long term friend. If so, it would be worth trying to make amends. If not, maybe now's the time to let the friendship go.

    Good luck. Relationships with anyone--men and women--are hard.

  16. Hi Cheryl ~ I'm new to your blog. I enjoy your posts very much.

    There is someone in my life who has been an emotional drain for years. Every now and again, he comes out to play and gets along well with others, but mostly he sits inside and complains that nobody likes him. And just about the time I think I'm going to walk away, I think of a wise woman who said to me, "Just remember, no matter where you are, you're standing in the middle of an answered prayer. But you don't get to know who's prayer it is." And then I stay.

  17. I think people come into our lives at certain times for certain reasons and not all of them are meant to stay forever. This might be the case here. They can teach us things about ourselves, sometimes really quickly.

    It might be time to let her go. Life is much too precious to surround yourself with people that don't bring you joy (at least most of the time).


  18. Perhaps send her this blog post?

  19. I had a male friend similar to that. For a while he was a good mate and we'd go out together as buddies with our cameras and shoot some street photography. We were both unemployed and it was fun. As I got to know him a bit better he turned out to have drink problems and was quite neurotic. To him all his photography mates were trying to get one up on him - to steal his work opportunities - he saw himself as this radical street photographer. His self confidence was displayed either in bragging or suddenly being totally unsure of himself when offered an opportunity to get paid for a job. I realised - after a year - that I'd had enough of his company when he arrived at a halloween's party completely drunk and started insulting people and flashing the camera in their faces.

    That was last October and I have seen him out and about since but I decided enough was enough and we have become distant friends - sort of. Like your experience, at the time it was all very distressing and confusing and we don't we mention the money he owes me. :0(


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