• Keeping Friends

Is This Friendship Worth “The Talk”?

Published: May 16, 2011 | Last Updated: October 26, 2021 By | 13 Replies Continue Reading

Sometimes there’s no point in having “the talk” if a friendship is consistently disappointing and unrewarding.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I am so glad I came across your blog, what a wonderful one it is too! My friendship dilemma is a lengthy one but I will do my best to keep it to the point.

A couple of years ago in my second year at university, I was living in a flat with three other people. I quickly became very close friends with one of the girls, who was in her mid/late 20s.

I considered her one of my best friends; we were always there for each other and I felt like I had never met anyone with whom I clicked with more than her. We decided that after the lease was up on this 4-bedroom place that we’d look for a 2-bedroom apartment to share together.

However, about a month or so before our lease ended, she started talking to some guy that she met through a chat room who was living overseas in the UK. He claimed to be completely in love with her, and not so subtly dropped the fact that if he left his country he wouldn’t have to pay off his student debt, and how he wanted to move here to be with her.

She believed him and decided that instead of moving in with me she was going to move in with a guy whom she had never met face-to-face before. I was stunned and upset for obvious reasons but I didn’t express this to her at the time.

I moved out on my own without any roommates and over the following year attempted to stay in touch with her and see her. She only lived a few blocks away from me so it didn’t seem unreasonable that we could have coffee once in a while and still be close.

Unfortunately, she would always back out of our plans at the last minute saying she was sick or busy. I also noticed on her Facebook wall that she was clearly making plans to spend time with other friends and seemed to be following through on those.

Last spring, her boyfriend (who had moved here from the UK) broke up with her, telling her that he finally had enough money to make it on his own and that he didn’t need her anymore.

Though I was upset about the way she had treated me over the year before, I pushed those feelings aside and attempted to be there for her, messaging her to let her know that if she needed someone to talk to I was still here for her. She ignored my message and instead decided to turn to my boyfriend for support.

This threw me over the edge. I trust my boyfriend and I know there was nothing suspicious going on, but I feel that if she is going to ignore me as a friend, people in my personal life are off-limits to her to turn to for support. It was just inappropriate.

A few weeks later, she wrote me a brief message apologizing for being a bad friend and saying that she was going through a lot with the breakup. I know that she has a hard time with confrontation and having difficult conversations so this seemed like a significant step despite the brevity of her note.

I took this as an opportunity to open up communication with her again so I wrote her a message firstly acknowledging and thanking her for the apology, followed by an explanation as to why I’ve been feeling upset. I figured she deserved my honesty if we were going to get past this. Then I added some words of comfort about her breakup. Before I sent her this message, I ran it by a couple of close friends to make sure that it seemed fair and that I wasn’t letting my anger get the best of me.

A couple days later, she started posting status updates on Facebook passive-aggressively attacking me for my message, claiming she’d never read anything so “selfish” and “possessive” in her whole life. I was shocked at this and messaged her saying I did not at all mean to come across as either of those things and that we should probably talk about this.

Instead of doing that, she decided to continue posting hateful statuses about me on her Facebook page. Eventually, I decided to delete her because she was clearly not going to listen or be respectful towards me and I was so fed up with the accumulation of stuff that I’ve had to put up with from her up until that point.

About six months later, she started slowly interacting with me on Facebook again. She seemed to be in a better place and I thought maybe we could try to work things out. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not, but I thought I’d be responsive to her in order to get a feel for how things stood.

I’ve seen her a couple times over the past few months but she always brings her new roommate with her to tag along (who is not someone I actually know). It seems to be me that she’s afraid of seeing me alone because we haven’t talked about what happened.

About a week ago she wrote me asking if I wanted to have coffee with her during the week and I said yes, and gave her a list of times when I was available. She said she would get back to me. but never did, which was typical of her behaviour before we had our falling out.

I realize at this point she is likely not a good person to have in my life. I wish we could talk about what happened. I have so many questions and feel that I deserve an apology from her, but I don’t see how communicating with her would be possible, given how she’s responded before.

My question is: Do you think after all of this that it’s worth still trying to have a conversation with her about everything? If so, how would you recommend I go about “the talk,” given how she’s responded to my messages in the past and that she typically blows me off when it comes to face-to-face get-togethers? If not, how would you recommend I go about ending this friendship again, this time permanently?

Thank you so much for your time, and again I apologize for how long this turned out to be.

Take care,

Rachel

ANSWER

Dear Rachel,

No friendship is perfect and there are always misunderstandings or disagreements that need to be patched up—so open communication is vital in maintaining good friendships. But it can’t be one-sided.

You deserve a lot of credit for your patience with this woman who sounds like an awful candidate for a friend. You have attempted on numerous occasions to communicate your feelings, understand, and forgive.

At this point, I think there is no point in having “the talk.” You should chalk this experience up as a loss and begin to accept the fact that this woman is undeserving of your friendship. Another apology would be meaningless. Your once-friend/roomie sounds very self-centered, immature, unreliable and spiteful. End your “friendship,” defriend her on Facebook, and move on to other healthier relationships that are more stable and mutually satisfying.

You need to think about why you have been so forgiving to someone who has treated you so badly on so many different occasions. She’s abused your friendship. What is it about her that you find so attractive or intriguing? Working this through, perhaps with the help of another person, might help you avoid painful situations like this in the future.

Hope this helps!

My best,
Irene


Prior posts on The Friendship Blog about toxic friendships


Have a friendship problem or quandary? Ask The Friendship Doctor.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Communication, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (13)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. anonymous says:

    It should never be such work and stress to have a friendship. When friends ghost us it is natural to wonder why. I read somewhere that when a friendship is dead how can you expect the lost friend to attend the autopsy?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree, great post! Thank you, this has actually been very helpful to me!

  3. Irene says:

    What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    Irene

  4. Kris says:

    Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

    I empathize with you, Rachel, in your situation. I lost a college roommate, and so I thought, BFF, after some thirty years, whom I shall call S. We were in each other’s weddings, gave each other baby showers, experienced so many milestones together. She moved to another state, and after a few years stopped returning my emails and calls, despite many patient and caring attempts on my part to reach out and reconnect. My “BFF” responded with cold silence, with no explanation for this abandonment, leaving me with a painful enigma I will never resolve.

    It took me a long time to work through it, with the help of my husband, good friends, and a great therapist. Finally I simply had to cut my losses, accept the fact that for whatever reason never to be known, our friendship had ceased to resonate for S, and I had to place this relationship in the past.

    Last night I went out to dinner with another friend, whom I had met in the corporate world over twenty years ago, whom I shall call C. We raised our children together, supported each other through the passing of our parents, and enjoyed a deep, communicative connection.

    Reflecting on S and C, these two women could not be more different. S was outgoing, sunny and popular, but in retrospect, rather superficial, and there was always a sense that she was doing me a favor by being my friend. When I sought frank discussion on anything, she would say I was being “too sensitive.” In contrast, C was reserved, inner-directed, and genuinely caring about everyone in her life. I needed to meet her later in my life when I was more mature myself, and able to appreciate her more subtle strengths and deeper value as a true BFF.

    While I was grieving the enigmatic loss of S, C was always there, along with other wonderful, mature, giving friends I had met in my thirties and forties. Yes, I had to “work through” the loss of S, but I also had to look around and be grateful for the faithful, caring friends that have come into my life and who “resonate” much more with the person I am today.

    Last night at dinner C and I figured out we had known each other almost 25 years, toasted our wonderful friendship, and looked forward to the NEXT 25 years. The “back nine” of life is generally no walk in the park, so I am glad to be traveling that path with friends who truly “get me” and care about me as much as I care about them.

    Rachel, the loss of this selfish “friend” opens up more opportunity to fill your life with more worthy BFF candidates, who will actually care about you as much as you care about them. They are out there, and in fact, may be in your life now, you may just not be noticing them because, right now, you are in pain about this toxic woman. Try to leave this closed door behind, as Helen Keller so wisely observed, and look around for the doors that are open.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    It seems you gave the friendship every opportunity for repair, and have been understanding, to a fault. If having a talk could help you feel closure then by all means make it happen but you say she resists that. YOu are great friendship material and the collapse of the union is her loss much more than yours. You’ll realize that as time goes by. I wouldnt let her in again unless she is serious about doing her own soul searching and examination of conscience with a commitment to change of the type of friend she was to you. Good luck.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your reply. I had a very hard time accepting that our friendship was over. I tried for years to reconnect, I felt bad for her and made every excuse possible for why she would let our friendship go without trying to save it. There was know trying to work things out on her part. I tried but she gave me the silent treatment. I now know that we weren’t really friends….I never could be myself around her. The last 6 months around her was hard as nothing I said was right and walking on eggshells was getting a little old. We live about 35 minutes apart from one another in different towns so I am lucky we don’t run into each other. That has got to be hard to know you can run into your friend at anytime and not be able to say hi without wondering if your doing the right thing. I also didn’t want to be the bad guy but my friend sure didn’t seem to care how she made me feel. I am a very caring and loving person and the friends I do have couldn’t understand what was going on with her either. To me our situation could of been worked out with a conversation but I think she had other stuff going on in her life that I didn’t know about. We also met in Jr. High and we were 35 when our friendship ended so it might also had a lot to do with us changing and being different people than what we were when we first met. I am so thankful for this blog and everyone on here….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kathy…

    Im glad you found some commonality in our posts…20 years is a long time..Im sorry about that. I had only known my friend for about 7 years. So your loss must have been awful..! a real void…

    I still run into her around town, and find myself questioning whether I should say Hi, chit chat or not…I still feel abit like I have to do the “right thing” for her..not for me….like Im afraid of being the bad guy…crazy!

    Although I am sad at times, your correct..I was hurt, angry and worn out too…I didnt realize how much work it was while I was in it…I needed to step back and see how crazy and how much work it had all become. I was relieved though…I no longer had to think so much about everything I did, said, thought…so afraid to upset her…I disected EVERYTHING…!

    I too think my friend has other issues going on, but believe I can no longer be her target for her moods and emotional issues.

    If you cant talk openly and honestly with someone you had considered a best friend, and you walk on eggshells all the time…then are they really a friend??

  8. Kathy says:

    Love your post….I have been feeling this way for years, regarding a friend of mine and didn’t know how to say it and in a small post you have said it all:) This is exactly the way I was feeling and it is so frustrating to deal with someone who won’t talk or deal with anything. Now that quite a bit of time has gone by and our friendship has ended. I am starting to feel the relief that a lot of others on here are talking about. When our friendship ended I didn’t feel relief I felt hurt, angry and warn out. We had been friends for over 20 years and I had know idea what was going on with her but now I know that she had other problems going on and we are just so different. I am relieved that it’s over now and I am not still walking on eggshells. I miss her as well but I also have to remind myself that the bad outwieghed the good. Thank you so much for your post!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi..I saw walk away at this point…

    I too had a similiar experience. Best friends for years. She was like a sister, soulmate best friend, you name it.

    Over the years, its just erroded. Im the communicator, she is not. She likes to brush things under the carpet and pretend nothing ever happened…only thing, nothing was ever resolved, so resentment and hurt only grew and the problems became more frequent and escalated. She said she wanted open and honest communication, but when it came down to it, she just couldnt do it…she would always take offense when I tried..and then made an argument over how I was trying to stir up trouble..when all I was doing was trying to talk something out and clear the air…

    I was tired of being the one to reach out, apologize, whether my fault or not. It became very one sided.

    I didnt feel good about myself in the friendship anymore. She found fault with everything. I walked on eggshells constantly and it was exhausting.

    Maybe one day things can be different between us. I miss her sometimes…but need to remind myself that the bad was certainly outweighing the good…

  10. Rachel says:

    Thanks you guys! I really appreciate the support. I haven’t let myself get my hopes up since she started initiating conversation with me again, so I feel like it will be easier to “let her go” a second time and know for sure that I’m doing the right thing. It’s crazy how someone can go from being like a sister to you to something totally opposite!

    • anonymous says:

      Do not feel too bad it sounds like she was very fond of you or she would not keep reinitiating contact. It sounds as if your standards for a mature mutually respectful friendship are just different than hers.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had a friend or two like this. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses and move on, and from the sound of it, it’s not a major loss since she hasn’t been a good friend in your life for some time now. What I’ve found is putting so much effort and energy into one toxic friendship will not allow you to be open to new and quality friendships. Once I let go of a “best” friend a couple years ago, I can’t tell you how many friends poured into my life! Some old school friends, a few new friends, but it was amazing to me how much time and energy I was wasting for so long. When one door closes, another will open, you just have to move forward and stop looking behind.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Abso agree. You’re DONE.

Leave a Reply