Feeling used by a friend

Published: April 7, 2009 | Last Updated: April 8, 2009 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading


Dear Irene,

My best friend has been in a relationship for the last two years. She has low self-esteem and this guy is no good, controlling and manipulative. I’m not the only friend who has told her that.

Since she has been with him it seems the only time she contacts me anymore is when they’re fighting. So after this last fight, a little over a week ago, she said it was the biggest fight they ever had and she was sure it was over. She told me he was a complete "A". So anyway in the end she ends up making excuses why it’s her fault and not his, blah, blah.

While all this was going on with her I had my own issues. My mother was ill and we live 3000 miles apart. Also, my mom was very worried about my sister who was in a bad relationship; my mom was begging me to try and talk sense into her.

Now I never mentioned any of this to my friend; I just didn’t think she was in an emotional state to deal with my problems due to the drama she was having in her own life. Since my sister is a MySpace friend, I posted some blogs about bad relationships. My friend got all freaked out, assuming they were about her and her boyfriend, and was worried about what he might think or say.

To be fair, she knows I think her boyfriend is not giving back what she puts into the relationship. So I told her that I understood why she might think that the blog posts were about her, but they weren’t, and explained what I had going on and that I wasn’t going to filter something based on her fear of her boyfriend’s reaction.

Never did she say, “I am sorry, I didn’t know” or “How are you doing? NOTHING. No concern about me, or what was going on in my life. Since I have not spoken to her. I don’t now if I should tell her how she hurt me by being selfish and that she was not a good friend to me? Or do I let it go, say nothing and wait and see if she contacts me? I am just not sure how to handle this, I feel like I have been used over the past two years.



Dear Marley,

Your friend is involved in a destructive, controlling relationship with her boyfriend and, unfortunately,  isn’t ready to leave him. Even though you and other friends have given her honest feedback and have tried to be supportive, it hasn’t helped. It’s not a good sign that she’s still making excuses for him.

You’re used to the drill: Whenever they have a conflict, she expects you to be there for her. After they patch things up, she ricochets back to him. Her boyfriend may be so possessive that he makes it uncomfortable for her to be with female friends.

Her response to your MySpace posts was over-the-top, but she may have felt guilty (after seeing herself in these posts) or fearful (that her boyfriend would see what you had written). However, if you never mentioned your family problems to your friend, you can hardly fault her for not being responsive. By the time you did, she may have been too distressed about her own situation to be responsive to yours.

The big problem for you, as I see it, is that you feel like you’ve have been at the short end of the stick for two years and, frankly, I can’t see things changing as long as your friend is involved with this guy.

You have two choices now. Your friend really needs a good friend. If you value the friendship, you can approach her honestly, let her know your feelings about her and her boyfriend, lower your expectations, and hope that she’ll figure a way out of this relationship.


Alternatively, if you still think this friendship is more work than it is worth, you can tell her that you are disappointed in her self-centeredness and feel like you need to take a break in your friendship until she figures out a way to resolve her problems with her boyfriend.

Hope this is helpful. Let us know what happens.


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Comments (9)

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  1. Mel says:

    My friend sent me a message on facebook (personal message, not where it could be read by everyone). She said hey your birthday is coming up Friday, what to do what to do????
    She said she wanted us to do something just her and I. She said her boyfriend (of 3 months) was really tripping and didn’t want her to go out but she said we were going anyway. I was off work Thursday and Friday. This was on Wednesday. I changed my plans with my parents (who were going to take me out) because I thought we were going to do something Friday night. On Thursday night we texted on the phone about different things and where we might go. We said goodnight about 10 something that night. Friday comes and I don’t hear anything from her until 4:30pm and I notice I have a missed call on my cell phone (I was shopping and didn’t hear it). She didn’t leave a message so I texted her and told her sorry I missed her call and that I would be home shortly. Never received a reply. Waited and waited to hear from her and again nothing. At 7:20pm she sent me a text message saying Happy Birthday and that was it!!!!!!! I noticed later on that night after her boyfriend went to work at 9:15pm she was on facebook talking to her boyfriend for a minute and that was it. Needless to say I was very upset about it. We have been friends since 2002. She has ditched me 2 other times in the past but this time I really thought we would do something. I don’t understand why she did all that if she wasn’t going to do anything. Why not just tell me happy birthday on Friday like my other friend did and leave it at that. My parents were mad too because they changed their plans because of it. I feel really stupid. I haven’t talked to her since. She sent me a facebook “heart” but I haven’t opened it and she sent me a text message saying her daughter made cheerleader and then a text message saying thank you for making me smile this year. I still haven’t replied. It really upset me this time. Should I wait for an apology of some kind or just start talking to her again. What if she invites me down for the weekend? Should I decline? Help?

  2. Irene says:

    Sometimes relationships change or end before we went them to. I understand you might feel bummed about having not only one, but several  girlfriends who decided to ditch you for guys (who may turn out to be a passing fancies!).

    Try to treat each friendship as an individual case and not lump them together as a group. Can you speak to one of your friends and see if she has some time when you can get together for some part of the weekend? Or would she be open to you joining her and her guy for dinner or to see a movie? Perhaps at the beginning of a romance, two people may be inseparable but if a friend is only friends with you when she doesn’t have a guy, you have to wonder whether she is really a friend.

    If your request falls on deaf ears, you may need to seek out other friends or pursue other interests for the time being. You could volunteer or take a class on Saturdays where you might find a like-minded friend—and perhaps one of your new friends will value her female friendships as much as you do.






  3. Anonymous says:

    Here’s the thing. All of my ‘best friends’ are in relationships, and i’d just like to say i am so not jelous becuase i dont bode well in them, im the single friend i guess that just floats from guy to guy but i ALWAYS keep my girls close. but since all of my friends have met their guys, i feel totally rejected. they only ring me when their boyfriends are busy or at work. they never want to go out anymroe they just want to stay in witht he guys. that doesnt bother me so to speak but all i want is for them to want me around like we used to, but now all im good for is the replacement, and my phone which they used to constanly text on when they are with me. i feel so used and so depressed its unbeliveable. i cant speak to them about this because they will just flip out and dump me as a mate completely. and to be honest, im not ready for that. so ive disconnected my phone and facebook for the weekend, which will just prove that i will have no messages form them as they have their boyfriends tis weekend,. all i do when im alone is become incrediably upset. i just want my friends back. someone please help me to get out of this mind set. please.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry guys, I had no idea this site is only for female friendships! I apologize for posting my last one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have a male friend who’s much younger than me. I sensed on the first day I met him that he could be a heart breaker. The fact that all his female friends are in love with him and he manages to remain good friends with them. Don’t know, just felt like normal guys won’t really care to have that many female friends especially if they are no interested in them.

    We have a lot in common, but the age difference sometimes made me feel weird. I would normally have friends my age. He insisted on and worked really hard to be around me for a long while. And I was receptive, because He seemed very sweet and casual. We both made sure we were clear that there would be no romantic relationship here. He was pursuing a girl for years and still waiting on her. I was looking for a husband. But I was honestly a little wary that he was using me to kill time. I look younger and he tends to show me off to his friends. I had no ideas why. But somehow I was worried, but my heart was soft. I could never reject being someone’s friend. So as it goes on we came very close friends.

    Then suddenly his manipulative ex (his dream girl) is taking him back. And ON the night before he goes to see her, we launched a huge fight, mainly because I thought he was psycho-analyzing me too much and I wanted it to stop. Against his normal temper, he insisted and insisted on expressing to me that I was arrogant at heart…etc. I was shocked at how insensitive he was and just how after all this time I had been SO nice to him that he thought I was proud! I couldn’t help but feel that it was those old stories replayed again.
    The guy used you as a replacement “friend,” but now he has his girl and he doesn’t care about how you feel. He won’t care if he looses you anymore. I felt angry and used.
    The truth is I always thought he was trying to mix the friendship with a romantic relationship just enough so he could have someone but at the same time be free.

    He apologizes via text message and says he was only honest because we were good friends. Then came my birthday, he just sent me a text message. Though to be fair, I was away. I’ve been back 3 days and zip, nothing! For his birthday I threw him a party!
    Now, on his MSN thing it reads: what a tragedy. Does this not sound like he wants me out of the picture? Am I not to feel used?

  6. Irene says:

    It sounds like you had no choice but to end the friendship or else you would be dragged down with your friend.

    Perhaps, she’ll find some help and you’ll be able to be friends again.

    My best,


  7. Anonymous says:

    My friend – we had been tight for almost 20 years – ended up marrying her abusive boyfriend. Their history with each other was terrible – he’d left bruises on her, pulled her by her hair, made her walk home from his house (very dangerous where we live), threw her stuff out of his house onto the street in full view of the watching neighbours, shoved and pushed me, and eventually became abusive to me as well.

    This wasn’t the first abusive boyfriend in her life though – the guy before him had serious drug and alcohol problems and used to have black-outs. My friend once found another girl’s bra in his bed, and he sexually attacked me and another of her closest friends… she blamed us of course (according to my “friend” we were “asking for it”, and we were disrespecting her by daring to be alone with him in the first place).

    The greatest irony of all? This girl is a clinical psychologist.

    Her husband is so violent and insecure, he is in constant fights with other guys as well, as is mentioned on various blogs for exactly this behaviour. Her own therapist told her not to marry him.

    Unfortunately, he began influencing how she saw her friends – including me, or especially me, I should say – and eventually I ended our friendship. It was so hurtful, and still depresses me – but I am extremely grateful that I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow I had a friend like this! And when she and her boyfriend finally broke up, it just got worse; she bounced from loser to loser to loser, and every time I hoped that once it was over our friendship would improve and she would focus more on me and my life like I had focused on her for so long, but it never happened. She’d always go back and forth, either ditching me for a new date or calling me 5 times in the middle of the night crying about how the new guy screwed her over. Either way there was no room for me in her high drama world, I was only a bit part player who was used as a sounding board. I had to let her go as a friend, and although it hurt, I believe it was the right decision, as she is still on the same destructive path.

  9. Kristina says:

    I’ve had friends like Marley’s. They just suck everything out of you. I’m still friends but definitely not as close. I did what Irene suggested: Lowered my expectations.

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