Friend slowly slipping away, rip off the bandaid ?
January 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm #180898
I have a friend that I’ve known since we were 10. We’re both in our twenties now. We sat in one desk in primary and middle school, became separated in high school and university, but always stayed in touch in varying frequency. About 3 years ago we eventually ended up in the same town, and gradually rekindled our relationship. We were both going through some heartbreaks and discovered that we have a lot in common. We both fed off our stong points, she being the more emotionally and me being more career/technical/organizationally savvy.
I’ve helped her go through a tough period where she was facing a sure layoff due to a decline in the industry. Since I’m a very loyal person, I’ve tried to help out and figure out where she can fit in. It took a few months but with my guidance she found a new job. This was a very happy moment for us both as I felt true gratitude from someone. I was told I was the only one who provided any meaningful help in this tough time.
I never had too many friends, a lot of them slowly faded away into the darkness despite my best efforts and sometimes self-deprecating efforts to keep someone close. All this while not doing anything remotely wrong. It just dissipated.
She was one that actually stuck around and knew our little secrets, fears and doubts. Nothing too deep but still. She was the first one that told me that I’m someone who’s frienship is worth cherishing.
Eventually it was just words. After a few months first cracks started to appear. We started see eachother less frequently, before we would see eachother every 7-10 days. We would go on bike trips in the summer, check out new places to eat etc. We would go to the movies together. In the period between Sept’15 and Feb’16 we saw 8 movies together. At work both of has have MS Lync and we would always greet eachother whenever we would both come to work and chat infrequently whenever we had the time.
But at some point things started to go sour, didn’t realise this at first. At some point she started to think about moving to Italy. She went there on a business trip, became enamored and started asking her boss for a transfer. It shook me slightly as I obviously don’t want her to go. But didn’t show much as I’ve thought it’s just a loose idea. Then when spring came and I brought up going on a bike trip somewhere, but she declined for now as she had other things lined up. I came back to the idea a few weeks later but she cancelled last minute. At that point we haven’t seen eachother for over a month. She had a new roommate, whom I never met, but she was spending a lot of time with her, at my expense.
Summer was pretty much a bust as the relationship continued to deteriorate. The biggest dissapointment then was that she didn’t remember about my birthday. I didn’t take it to heart that much as I’ve gotten used to it. No one ever remembered really. Then there was an uptick, when I speculate her dreams of going to Italy went away as the transfer seemed less and less possible. In hindsight I think she was trying to maybe regain a footing where she was right now, but I could tell that her heart was no longer here. I like to think that we still made it due to the fact that I’ve made a lot of efforts to keeping the frienship together, going down similar paths as before and making myself available at any time, that’s how much it meant to me. We finally went on a bike trip after me asking for the fourth time, which almost didn’t happen. To this day I don’t know if she liked it.
Then after we saw eachother in late September, we had a break of almost two months. It just turned out this way, I tried to initiate a meeting but the response was cold. She had a rough period at work, I was rationalizing that it’s ok. Then at some point we had an idea to spend a day together, made plans to check out a new restaurant, go watch a movie. She cancelled the day before, as supposedly she found cheap tickets to the theater and she asked a friend from work. She tried to reschedule to Monday, but I knew then and there that I was getting scraps. Instead of a day off work I got a rushed afternoon on a weekday. I told no and we got into an argument that basically came down to me stating that I can no longer provide the same level of commitment as before, that I feel moved to the side and cannot accept this. She seemed surpised that there was an issue which indicates that she genuinely feels that everything is ok. It didn’t escalate into a fight, but left a stain. We still kept in touch on IM.
In the meantime I finally bought my own place and I’m putting some finishing touches. I had plans long before to invite her and a small group of people that consider somewhat close to bring my life together somehow. Now I don’t know. She never once invited me to her place citing inconveniences.
Later the fatigue at work started setting in, and she was contemplating switching jobs again. I tried suggesting something but faced resistance. Finally she mentioned that she will be applying for a job in another bigger city. I was devastated, tried not to show it. Expressed my doubts but got a response that she’s not scared, she has friends there (what about the friends that You have here!!? – my mind shouted), she wants to move out for a year and maybe come back (but will she?). It left a hollow feeling inside me, tried to cheer myself up “she won’t make it, they’ll reject her eventually”. Later she told me that she got an invite from some old friend to go to Israel for new years and she’s going.
We finally met eachother after 3 months just before Christmas. We went to see a movie but didn’t really have a chance to talk more then half hour before and after, as again – tough time at work. She barely made it to the screening and then rushed to a late bus home. Things were cold, she didn’t even send greetings on christmas. Later when she got to Israel I got one message that she’s there, but no Happy New Year at midnight. A few days later some photos from the Dead sea, that were clearly just a group sent to a bunch of people. Yesterday on the work IM we bearly exchanged 10 sentances. On one instance she took 1.5h to reply, but I could see her being active on Facebook, clearly chatting with someone. Didn’t reply to my last few comments and just left work. Today I didn’t really initiate anything and around noon she asked why so silent. I told that I have a very busy day at work. Later she told me that she’s going for the interview on Monday.
All of this is a very condensed summary, missing all the little things. I’m devastated, I geninely felt I had a friend that would recognize my loyalty. Especially that I had so many failed ones and how much effor I’ve put into this one. I see past deamons creeping up the same way as with previous failings and my efforts to keep it together. I feel like I cannot do anything. It’s a scenario where I have almost no levarage as she’s the more social one, has more options and I cannot take too many things away. The only thing I can do is just reduce this to whatever I can.
I cannot focus on work. The feeling that I was reduced to someone of lesser importance is draining. I almost want to start a fight just to make her feel something towards me. At the same time I’d wish she’d just dissapear because I can cope with someone gone, rather then constantly being reminded of the better times.
Or maybe I try to again get down to the mud and pray for a miracle. My place will be finally done in a week or so after I get the sofa. I wanted to invite her but now I think that she hasn’t deserved it. Tomorrow when she comes to work, keep the silence protocol on or just fake having a meeting an dissapear off the IM? I guess somewhere still inside I hope that all will be back to the way it was.
But I think it’s time to rip the bandaid…
January 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm #180902
The best way to get over someone is to get interested in something else that takes your mind of them. If a friendship is ending there is nothing you can do sadly,but maybe its time to meet new people.I wouldnt bother inviting her to your new place.I would just invite everyone else and see what happens?.If she questions you about it, I would just reply,I really didnt think you would be interested?….nor wanting to come. Dont be waiting for her to make her mind about you.Take control of your life and decide you want better.
January 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm #180905
SO here’s the issue as I see it…when one person has a lot of social options and the other friend does not, the friendship develops an imbalance. You are much more reliant on her than she is on you. On your end, you probably feel annoyed that you have to fight for her time. On her end, she probably feels annoyed that you have not been supportive of her desire to move abroad and perhaps feels you want to ‘hold her back’ from being social or living in new places. Her actions may be conscious or unconscious but on some level she is letting you know that she has other things going on and she expects you to do let her live her life. I can actually see both sides here. Most people do not have very open conversations about these types of things and unfortunately a lot of hurt feelings follow. So hints are dropped. Like less time spent together, less communication, fewer texts, texts are less personal when they are received. I think all you can do is let her move on to her next phase in life. Yes it hurts. But do you think maybe you were a bit too clinging or jealous or her other friends? Noticing that she took 1.5 hrs to respond to you because she was “clearly chatting with someone else” makes it seem like you are very very invested in her responding to you immediately and don’t like that she has other friends. This kind of behavior can be very damaging to friendships.
January 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm #180906
It’s not that I’m superjaleous or clingy, I’ve always been ok with her having a social cirle. It was never a problem because our relationship didn’t suffer because of that. But in hindsight I see that I was always separated from that. I just feel left behind after everything I’ve done. It’s like it was then and this is now. I kind of wished that she would be my gateway to a more open social circle, but clearly it didn’t happen. I don’t want to ask for these things, I want them to happen naturally.
But on some level she still want’s me to cheer her efforts to move away. She told me that she feels uncomfortable knowing that I’m not too enthusiastic about her new job prospect. I guess it’s my fault that I’ve created an imbalance in the relationship, where I was more eager to go the extra way.
I’m well aware of this happening and I’ve probably set my mind on having to move on. However I cannot become an emotional dumpster. An on an immediate level, I just wonder how to move away without much drama.
January 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm #180910
I think you’ve explained your feelings very well. It’s a tough spot to be in when I friendship is changing and there are no rule books to determine the next move. I would take your cues from her. If she takes a long time to reply to texts I would do the same. If she seems distant, I would distance yourself. If she is not willing to include you in her social circle, I would exclude her from yours. It sounds like the friendship has been fading for sometime. I am not one for confrontation so myself, I prefer to let things fade away. I doubt that any drama would be necessary? If she questions you just give her the typical answers, you’re busy, you’re tied up with things, do the same thing she did to you.
January 16, 2017 at 8:00 am #181022
I am sorry that you’re going through this. I think the other posters have analyzed the situation correctly, and I agree with tammy about taking your cues from her and basically mirroring her behavior. This way you don’t have to waste more time on worrying about her and trying to decide how to finesse a breakup. Also, it has the added benefit of perhaps causing her to realize that SHE has created this distance; if she cares, she can then do something to bridge the gap.
I do think people who are more social can have friendships with people who are more self-contained, but almost always it’s the more self-contained person who ends up feeling neglected. I don’t know what your other friendship have been like, but you might consider whether they were also with more active people. If you have had this pattern, it might not be a bad idea to seek out others more like yourself. It’s certainly not that one way of being is better than another, but simply that the two styles don’t always mix. In your case, it’s possible that it’s not a matter of meeting more people, but of meeting people to whom individual friendships would be as important to them as they are to you.
February 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm #181639
First of all thank you so much for all the replies!
Since last time… I couldnt muster up the courage to do anything so I simply went on business as usual. She went on to go to the interview but got rejected straight away. But nothing really improved.
We kept touch on IM at work, but it was just that. She brought up the idea a few days after coming back that we go see a movie that she saw a trailer of. This was on a Wednesday and proposed ‘next week’. However next week she didn’t mention it at all. I’ve reminded her that we were supposed to go to the movies, but heard the same thing again – “next week”. A day later she told me casually that she’s going to her mum for the weekend as she wants to have some silent time away from her supposedly draining flatmate, who’s being a bit possesive at times.
After the meeting on Monday we do our greetings on IM and then she tells me that she… didn’t go to her mum because she (her mum) had a nasty infection, but instead she went to a party… with her flatmate! I don’t get it, I really don’t.
We talk over the IM at work as usual. No mentioning of the movie or anything. Two more weeks go by and in a last effort ask her out if she wants to go see something and for a dinner maybe. She says yes, but cannot say when as she has tough time at work. At the end of the week she says that we can meet up on sunday but cannot say when cause she has a birthday party on saturday. I say, “ok, tell me when You’re free on Sunday, we’ll take it from there”. Sunday comes and she writes me at 3PM that she’s too hangover and we’ll have to reschedule to Monday. I say ok, what can I do. On monday we don’t really talk over the IM, just some hi-hi. The movie starts at 6:30PM (it’s 5min away from her workplace). At 5PM I say that I’m leaving to go drop off something at the post office and going to the cinema. I can just read that the movie starts at 6:30 so she’ll stay at work till then. I buy the tickets and wait. She arrives at 6:35, so just a quick greetings and we go sit down.
We watch the movie and get out to leave. We start walking and talking briefly about the movie, but then she, without any explanation, takes out her phone from her purse and calls back someone calling during the screening. From context I can hear that it’s the friend on who’s birthday she was on saturday. My heart, already fragile, sinks in more and more. We walk and she’s talking enthusiastically, and doesnt seem to stop. I can barely hold it together and if she didn’t hang up within the next 10 seconds, I would stop her told her to finish the call, I’m going for the bus.
She hangs up and we’re walking away for the station. Not even a quick evening coffee. Everything seems fine, but I can barely muster any enthusiasm from all the negative emotions from before. Couldn’t really focus on the movie. We get to the station, it’s 5 min until her bus leaves. We have a quick chat, she gets on the bus and leaves. I get a tear in my eye. After almost 7 weeks since our last meeting, she can only spare so little. And even then a chunk of that time could have been handled by “let me call you back”, but she kept talking either way.
Next day I log onto IM, she’s already there. After 2h of no exchange, I make myself invisible to her. Same today. Unavailable. I just couldn’t take it. Couldn’t go on business as usual.
I’ve lost all will to contact her, as I’m clearly an afterthought to her and it’s only getting worse. I’m totally down on my self worth. I can’t be some kind of filler that she can dump on whatever excess emotion she has. Friendships need to be nurtured to thrive. I’ve made mistakes, yes, but I tried learning from them. But apparently I’m so unattractive that it’s worth waging almost 2 decades of relationship building.
How do I handle this, I’m totally clueless. She has a birthday coming up in a month. I’ve bought her this beautiful silk scarf but with the relationship dwindling and about to hit the rocks soon, what do I do now? Don’t even know why I bought this.
I’m sorry for the lack of contributions but I can barely work out my own issues, let alone advise anyone.
February 15, 2017 at 4:59 pm #181646
Don’t give up on yourself Forgetmenot – as much as it hurts to be in this position, you were once great friends. Great friendships do sometimes fade away, only to come back a long time afterwards. If you really think about the way great lifelong friendships are described there is time apart. When people say how after a lengthy absence it is like they just talked yesterday, that must mean that there was time apart.
I think that you need to accept that there is going to be a break, maybe forever, maybe just for now. I’d make myself busy with whatever good things that you can. I’d sign up for Zumba classes, and join a book club, and get a pet hamster that I provided an elaborate tunnel system for. And start to deepen the relationships with those that you are sort of friends with. Do little things for them, plan light hearted get togethers, such as meeting for coffee at a bookstore – where it doesn’t matter so much if it ends up just being you.
Get out there! You are so well spoken and I’d bet that there will be someone that is very glad to get to be a good friend with you.
As for the dwindling friendship, I’d mail the scarf, be too busy to talk for a while and gently harden your heart a bit towards it. Best of luck to you.
February 17, 2017 at 7:28 am #181677
Hi Forgetmenot, people have offered good advise on here and you really need to forget about her, you are clearly wasting your time big style. For whatever reason shes not interested in being a decent friend.
Shes not worth you bending over backwards for her and your self esteem is going to get really eroded if you continue to chase her.
Personally I would dump her now in my mind and give her no explanation whatsoever.I’d delete her from all social media and block her etc. She is just really ignorant and rude if you ask me.
Theres no reason why you cant join loads of clubs and groups etc, do that and you’ll immediately have people to chat to and you will make friends in time. Anything though would be preferable to being treated like a z list option by this woman.
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