a friend dumps you, she can’t call all the shots…
How do you handle a situation where a
very dear friend, who also happens to be your friend from work, wants an
extended time out and at the same time insists that I should keep on being
friends with her family? She and I have spent less quality time together during
the past year, which has led to a lot of misunderstandings and arguments.
Our friendship carries all the signs of that I have been dumped according to this
website and that it is time for me to move on, but my friend insists on that we
are still friends even though she does not want us to spend any time together.
However, she wants me to go to church with her, even though I don’t want to,
and that I continue being friends with her husband and two sons who I know and
get along with well. She even wanted to lift the time out temporarily because
her granddaughter had her birthday and my friend wanted me to come with them to
the party to bring my gift because she knew this was important for the
granddaughter. I don’t mind passing on a gift to the "little charmer"
but to suddenly go to a family thing when there is a time out?
My friend is a devout Christian and it seems to me that her faith makes it
impossible or too embarrassing for her to officially dump a fellow Christian,
but theory and reality don’t add up here and that makes it extremely confusing
and hurting for me. It feels as if she doesn’t want us to be friends but she
wants to know how I am doing through other people. Her son works with me as
well, but she and I work in two different departments, and she often asks him
about me. How do I deal with the entire situation? It took me quite some time
to get over the first phase of grief.
Your friend asked for an extended time
out and a change in the nature of your relationship but she doesn’t have the
right to tell you how to respond or react her request. It’s totally
understandable that you would be confused by the mixed messages you are
receiving from her and might have no interest in maintaining your relationship
with her family or accompanying her to church.
I’m not clear why she reached her
decision, except that the two of you may have been having disagreements. When
two close friends break up, it can be awkward and spill over to people around
them. It sounds like she doesn’t want to end her connection with you entirely,
perhaps because the two of you have a number of ties including family, church
and work, and she wants to "keep up appearances" that nothing is wrong.
The ball is in your court now, however,
in terms of figuring out what feels comfortable for you. Would you be able to
tell her that:
1) You feel uncomfortable being with
her family given the lapse in your friendship. You don’t wish them any ill will
but your primary relationship was with her, not them.
2) You feel uncomfortable going to
church together and won’t be doing that in the future. If you see her there,
you’ll greet her.
3) You will do everything you can to
keep your work relationship separate from your friendship — and you hope she
will do the same, especially in terms of not involving her son in personal
Between us: While you have no option but to respect her
request for a "time out," you have a choice about whether or not you would
ever want to reconcile with her after this. Given your note, it sounds like
you’re ready to move away from this friendship and find ones that are more
mutually gratifying with less angst. I think that might be a good call.
Hope this helps.
Priorr posts on The Friendship Blog about the collateral
damage of a friendship breakup:
collateral damage be avoided in a breakup?
breaking up is so hard to do
Not a simple verb by any means
me deal with a drama queen
a friendship breakup spills over to family