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My long time friend is selfish

Published: April 22, 2016 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
A long time friend finds other interests and is less involved in the friendship.



I’ve known my friend for over 50 years. When she is blue (not in a relationship or having trouble in one), I hear from her almost daily or every other day. She is always available when she’s in this mode and pretty much puts me in an uncomfortable situation regarding making ‘time’ for her, even to the point of not caring if it takes time away from my partner-husband, who I don’t get much time with due to work etc.

Now that this friend has met someone who is keeping her busy, rarely do I get a call. She does not inquire about my life and if I do get an email, it’s a ‘joke’ email sent to all.

Frankly, I think she’s selfish and I’m pissed. I just wrote her a message saying “Haven’t heard from you for a while, I’ve been busy at my end too.”

Signed, Sadie


Hi Sadie,

Keeping up friendship for 50 years—given all the changes that must have taken place in both your lives over that time—is a remarkable feat, one that had to demand flexibility and accommodation. Many would envy you having that kind of friendship.

It sounds like this might be a bump in the road that requires some more accommodation. Your friend has depended on you when she had relationship problems and you’ve been quite supportive. It does make sense that now that she’s involved with a new “friend who keeps her busy,” she’s less needy. But that shouldn’t signal the end of your friendship. Instead, perhaps it means the end (or a hiatus) on her dependency on you.

Her infatuation with this man almost sounds like that of a teenager but if she is around 70 years old, she may feel over the moon about meeting a new companion.

Yes, it has changed the dynamics of your friendship but I don’t think you want to throw away an irreplaceable long-standing friendship. Try to be understanding rather than angry. Be happy that your friend seems to be happier. And if you miss your friend, ask her to carve out some time for you, too.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (6)

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  1. Sheryl Kraft says:

    I agree with your advice, Irene – a long-time friendship is a precious thing! Perhaps they can clear the air by talking it over and re-establishing some “rules.”

  2. JAM says:

    Consider expanding your horizons in other directions. Perhaps stop seeking a balanced friendship here, as it seems to have never been achieved over the long haul with this person. Accept it for what it is, set healthy boundaries, and enjoy other areas and people in your life more. Then this will bother you less.


  3. Salstarat says:

    Your friend does sound rather selfish and I am wondering how long she has been this way? My advice is to lay low and play it “cool” for a while – don’t contact her for a few weeks. Normally, I don’t like people playing “mind games” like this but, in this case, your friend seems to think she can get away with a one-sided relationship whenever it suits her and use you as a “sounding board” whenever she is down. Don’t be so “available” next time she gets the blues … and, from the sound of it, the “next time” won’t be too far away as she sounds like one of those people who are a bit bi-polar.

    Like you, I really can’t stand people who send puerile “joke” emails because they cannot be bothered to send a “proper” email enquiring about your well being or giving you some news. You often find people who send trite “joke” emails do so as a rather anti-social initiative to reach out without having to make an effort – they hope that you will respond and contact them back. I had an interstate friend who always used to do this and, in the end, I returned one of the jokes back to her and put on the top: “Instead of jokes, I would much rather receive a newsy email letting me know how you are.” I went on to provide her with information about me and my family to “soften” the email. She got the hint but we go back many years and feel comfortable saying what we think to each other. However, you may need to be careful who you say this to as some people are easily offended. You could say: “Instead of jokes, a phone call would be nice.” Good luck!

    • rowena davidson says:

      Your explanation of why people send puerile joke e-mails
      was very helpful to me. I don’t care for them as a rule, but
      on occasion I admit a few made me chuckle.

      Still they are a sore excuse for real communication. I
      don’t respond and now, I notice they have stopped coming.

  4. Ben says:

    One of the greatest gifts in life is being able to see things as they are not as I wish them to be. People do what people do. We are all doing what makes sense to us. I am sure even the best of people drive other people crazy. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it’s probably a duck. The only way a person changes is if they see a need to change. I guess part of getting older and hopefully wiser is wising up to oneself. I have a friend who I have known for 16 years and all he does is talk about himself when he calls. I don’t answer the phone most of the time and the last time I told him I wasn’t listening to him talk about him incessantly he hung up on me. I’m not about trying to change others but trying to change myself to enjoy as much as I can this gift of life I have been given. “Happiness is an inside job.” If something is making me unhappy I have to be willing to see what part I play in it. Can I change that other person??? nope. I have to change me to meet the way life is not the way I wish it would be….

  5. Amy F says:

    Hi Sadie,
    It sounds to me like you’re having difficulty establishing boundaries with your friend with either too much of too little contact. When she’s contacting you too often, telling her that you only have time to talk or respond to email once or twice a week, or whatever is comfortable for you, would be helpful. If she gets mad, that’s on her as long as you tell her in a compassionate manner and not in anger.
    If in your letter, you didn’t ask her for what you need, she probably won’t know or change her behavior. Passive communication can be a set up for hurt feelings and frustration is a person thinks “she should know what I mean”.
    If she were my friend, I’d strengthen my boundaries and keep my expectations realistic, that she gets lost in new relationships and has less focus on me, and then relegate my heart and mind elsewhere.

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