• Resolving Problems

My distant friend

Published: May 23, 2016 | By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
A friend has remained distant over a 45-year relationship.


Hi Irene,

I’ve known a married couple for 45 years, who have only remained acquaintances—even after this long.

She is very stingy where I am very generous when I have it. On two occasions, I have comped them to a night, dinner and show at a casino and she did not want to leave a decent tip. When I addressed this, she felt attacked and answered that if our relationship was about money, then “It’s been a good ride.”

We travel each summer to Mexico and meet for dinner at least once a month. I thought she would be upset with me after the comment but not to this point. The door has been shut.

They do live in a gated golf community and have many acquaintances but they are never really giving in their thoughts…45 years and still it was surface talk!

Signed, Lynn


Hi Lynn,

It had to be upsetting to have the door shut in your face after this length of time. Throughout the time you’ve known your friend, it sounds like she has been the same person: You characterize her as distant, preferring surface talk to deep conversations, and stingy.

If you are asking my opinion, yes, she did react quite strongly to being told that she should have left a decent tip. Since you and she have such discrepant values about money, I suspect that money may have been an issue between you in the past.

If this was the first time you both discussed it openly, it could have been that your anger was building and she was totally taken by surprise when you finally said something.

If you want to keep this friend as an acquaintance, it sounds like it would have to be on her terms. She’ll be distant and frugal as she has always been. But it does sound like you are disappointed that this relationship never became what you hoped or expected from a long-term friendship.

In this situation, I would try to smooth things over, remain social and look for other friendships that offer more intimacy and closeness.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (10)

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  1. Salstarat says:

    Can I ask the most OBVIOUS question: “Why on earth would you WANT to be friends with such an obnoxious, mean spirited, superficial person in the first place?” You are only setting yourself up to be hurt over and over again. This type of mean, phony person is thoroughly self absorbed and parasitic and will only abuse your one-sided friendship in order to attain something for their own financial benefit. They are true sociopaths! You must be more discerning with whom you allow into your close circle of friendships. 45 years is an inordinate long time to have allowed these scoundrels to maintain a cruel “distant” and very fake alliance with yourself and family and the brusque, rather callous, manner in which she treats you should not be tolerated for a minute longer. Do yourself a favour – dump her and move on and make absolutely NO ATTEMPT to contact her again nor allow her to contact you. It has been a long, hard lesson for you but life is too short to maintain any association with people who are so ostentatious, selfish and stupid to appreciate the value of your friendship!

    • IBikeNYC says:

      Hear; hear!

      I hadn’t thought of the sociopathic angle, but as soon as I read your post, it clicked into place.

  2. IBikeNYC says:

    I am GOBSMACKED. This is SO outrageous that I would have been certain that I’d misunderstood.

    “It’s been a good ride.”

    What, as in “You were GREAT chumps all these years”?

    I’m so sorry you were messed with in this way. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  3. Ben says:

    I think you are no different than the rest of us. I had a college friend since the 70’s and recently she and I had changed significantly in our outlook on life so we are incompatible as close friends anymore. Every person on this planet is changing and evolving. 45 years is a long run. We cannot change anyone else. We have to change ourselves to suit ourselves and be comfortable with who we are. My values are just that, mine. It would be nice to find someone who shares those values but the older I get the more implausible that probably will be. As we age we become more stuck in our own ways. Can you imagine being in old age and significantly changing in some fundamental way??? No way!!! Be true to who you are and continue on your path… Be happy with who you are!!!!

  4. Amy F says:

    You probably have some level of contentment spending time with this woman to have invested so many years in the relationship. If not, the issue lies with why you’ve accepted a friendship with her for so long. After 45 years, you can choose to continue to accept them as they are, or move on. People have different comfort levels of emotional intimacy, sometimes varying from friend to friend. You can’t control her comfort level being open with you. I don’t put more of my heart and emotional energy into people who don’t return a similar amount to me or else I feel frustrated.

  5. Georgia says:

    I agree with Jared’s comment about different values leading to resentment. Of course, not all friends will share ALL of our values or opinions — and sometimes it is enjoyable to have friends who don’t share all of our opinions. But for the most part, I believe the best friends are the ones who have similar incomes and values, all the way around.

    It can be uncomfortable to find yourself in a friendship where money is an issue, especially if you are the one being generous and the other person is miserly.

    If this couple is stingy — and they don’t satisfy your need for stimulating conversation — it sounds like you’re better off seeing them less often. Just because you’ve known someone for a long time doesn’t mean you should put up with awkward or unfair treatment.

  6. Jared says:

    Honestly, this relationship sounds like a big waste of energy. Spending time with someone who has very different values than we do often leads to one thing: resentment.

    Your true generosity isn’t in the money, it’s in your friendship/companionship over 45 years. It sounds like you gave her far too much of yourself and she didn’t care. Perhaps you were too optimistic to notice that she didn’t feel the same way about the friendship that you did.

    I’m reminded of the Bible verse, “Do not cast pearls before swine.” In other words, don’t share too much of yourself with someone who isn’t interested. They don’t have the capacity to appreciate the value.

    I’ve noticed both in my own life and on this website that people suffer from a common problem: giving their friendship away to those who simply aren’t interested in it.

  7. Ariane says:


  8. Ariane says:

    If this ia all you want or think that this is all you deserve, then try to hang on I suppose. By the way, friend and acquaintance aren’t one in the same. You are expecting her to act like a friend when she isn’t. I think you have given her an out or a reason to end the relationship between you two given she is acting over the top about being told she should leave a decent tip.

    You two sound polar opposite. Why do you really need her or this relationship? It doesn’t sound like it is serving you any meaningful purpose.

    Just because you were involved with someone for a number of years doesn’t mean you should hang on to a crappy relationship.

    • Jannie says:

      Hear, hear, wise words……..at 65 many long standing friendships have become less than fulfilling. Hence, finding happiness in myself and those close to me ( that want the closeness) are what matter to me now…..I’m purging so called friendships that do no longer serve my higher self…..it’s a lonely road sometimes……the older I get the harder it becomes but I continue to seek new paths in life…..time to move on!

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