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Getting out of a sticky friendship

June 15, 2010 | By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
When you feel like you’re in a sticky friendship, you need to be firm and clear about setting boundaries and expectations.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I am currently engaged to a boy I met in college and we’re looking forward to our upcoming wedding. The issue is with a friend of both of ours from college. She recently moved into our town and now expects us to spend ALL of our free time with her!

We are 30 years old now, so constantly entertaining friends has fallen to the bottom of the list as family, the wedding, saving for our future, and setting up a new home are all of more importance at this stage in life. I am so annoyed by the constant calling, stopping by our home, and calls to my fiancé after I tell her that we have a busy week planned.

In the last two weeks of May, she called my fiancé 16 times in 11 days! Even as a friend, that seems excessive to call someone else’s fiancé so many times. I’m completely put off by her and no longer want the friendship. How do I tell someone who has become very negative, cynical and needy that they are no longer welcome? I would prefer to never have to see her again.

Thank you.
Bonnie

ANSWER

Dear Bonnie,

It sounds like your friend, who is new to your town, is trying to pick up the relationship she had with you and your fiancé from college. Not every friendship has staying power over time and as far as you are concerned, this one has fizzled out.

When someone is so needy and intrusive, you need to be direct and clear about boundaries and expectations. Tell her explicitly that you and your fiancé are consumed with planning your wedding and really have no time for socializing. Also tell her that you don’t want her to drop in unexpectedly and that you both are too busy to take phone calls. You can say that you realize she is new to town and suggest that she branch out and make new friends.

Since your friend has also had a relationship with your husband, both you and he have to be on the same page about her. If she called him 16 times in 11 days, could he possibly be encouraging her? His message needs to be consistent with yours. If you and your fiancé agree that she is encroaching on your time, it might be a good idea to get on the phone together with her.

I know this isn’t easy or pleasant to do but if you are certain you want to have nothing further to do with her, this approach should give her the message.

I hope this is helpful.

Best, Irene

 

 

 

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Category: Dependent friends

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Look to your own behavior as well, as you have done something to alienate this person, who was once your friend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Being extremely needy is a turn-off for any friendship or relationship. It is suffocating. I have dumped a friend for behaving in this unhealthy manner. She wanted to be with me every day, was upset if I went out with another friend, called constantly, dropped by.

    I told her that this was bothering me, to no avail.

    One day I completely cut her off and never spoke to her again. When she got the message about two weeks later and stopped calling, I was happy and relieved and have never looked back.

    Your friends are your friends…not your saviors, not your mommy, not your therapists.

  3. Anonymous says:

    After reading all these comments I still stick to the belief that we can be friends or have friends but we cannot be too clingy to even the best of friends. In the end, we need to be as self-sufficient/self-reliant as possible and never expect too much from any friend.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your situation sounds remarkably similar to mine, in that the very close friend who dumped me is the mother of my kid’s best friend. The kids are in the same class together at school, too, so like you, I also see the other mom at school events and at social events since our friend groups overlap. The backstory is very similar too – complicated, somewhat mysterious, and I was rebuffed when trying to sort it out. I personally wouldn’t care as much if our kids weren’t so close; fortunately, the other mom’s partner has remained very friendly, but the whole situation is still weird, considering how much I have to interact with her while not REALLY interacting with her. I see you wrote this over a year ago – how are you doing now? Have you found a way to cope and move on?

  5. Anonymous says:

    this has nothing to do with a “coveted diamond ring” and all about boundaries that normal society can abide by and this “friend” cannot. who finds it acceptable to phone someone else’s significant other multiple times a day? Would you not raise your eyebrow to the nature of that relationship as well? I know i would! and i totally trust my husband! interesting to see the flip side, and the bitterness people hold onto….

  6. Cinderella says:

    On the flip side of all this, we can only assume that the writer is being completely upfront with her end of the story. As the dumped BFF of a selfish, dumbstruck woman who promptly forgot my phone number and was always “too busy,” after I moved heaven and earth to be the maid of honor in her shotgun wedding — a wedding where I drove 566 miles to the destination, endured constant nastiness from the groom’s family, and spent my own money to arrange for my sick mother’s respite care — I think some people are all too ready to jettison their single friends when they get that coveted diamond ring. (And we went to high school together and maintained our friendship years after we graduated from college.)

    Now in my mid-30s, I only have a handful of longtime married friends my age who understand how to be gracious and not treat singletons like the third wheel. Many of us are happy with our status and simply expect our friends, single or married, to be there for us as friends. I hope that the writer, if she’s on the up-and-up, follows Dr. Levine’s advice and sets boundaries with this college friend, but if she isn’t I hope she considers why it’s suddenly so easy to jettison this relationship when the going gets tough. One thing’s for sure: If you dump a friend badly and insensitively, you may not be able to return to it in the future. I certainly have no intention of letting my marriage-addled ex-friend back in, ever.

    • Cathy says:

      must be good for both you and your “marriage-addled” friend. maybe they don’t want you back too?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have been dumped by my BFF. It’s a very long a complicated story however our lives are so involved with school, football and our sons are best friends. Because of this I approached her several times to suggest we be civil. I have had so much ambivalence from her that in trying to sort it I came across as desperate which she played on. Now it is so uncomfortable between us that she has vowed never to speak to me again. This has caused me so much distress and upset and I don’t know how to deal with it when I have to face her daily at school events, football etc watching her mix within our friendship group like nothing has happened. I am so upset I feel isolated and now stand apart from our group of friends to avoid her. How can I cope and move on from this ?

  8. Abhishek says:

    Friendship is a relationship, which would make your friend smile, feel good as to how much you love him and care for him. It is all about sharing, listening and building up a strong relationship loyalty between each other.Caring and understanding one another are the basic tool of friendship.

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