• Handling Breakups

Poached: Two friends who have found each other

Published: December 1, 2015 | Last Updated: December 1, 2015 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
The poster isn’t upset about her two friends who have found each other but is sick of listening to the poacher who feels the need to constantly remind her.


Hi Irene,

I introduced two friends who have become besties. I am happy that they have found each other as it seems that they suit each other’s high maintenance friendship needs. Something I couldn’t do.

They do everything together and so do their children. They are a package deal these days. The friend (the one I knew the longest) who I considered to be the friend poacher (for lack of another term) in this situation feels the need to keep directing the conversations with me to what they do or are planning to do together—she constantly repeats inside jokes, exaggerates stories etc. Initially, I just put it down to insecurity.

I tolerated that and the fact that my children also had to listen to what they had been left out of. My children seem fine about it most of the time. I try to steer my children into making a wider circle of friends, freedom to come and go rather than be smothered or owned by just one, in case it all goes pear-shaped.

I am more than happy to do my own thing. I keep fairly busy. BUT I am getting really annoyed that every single encounter, even if its only 3 minutes, is like another chance for that friend to mark her territory. This has gotten worse over the last 2.5 years. I realized early on that she must be suffering some sort of anxiety, so I purposely made sure that she had no reason to feel threatened in anyway about her connection with my other friend. I decline most joint social invitations (only ever made to me by the other friend) so she doesn’t feel threatened and I don’t have to listen to it.

I’m a fairly quiet, self sufficient person in that I don’t desire being the center of attention, and don’t need friends to hold my hand, I have always been independent, a confident introvert I would say. I just find it bizarre behavior. And even with me stepping right out of the picture to reduce her apparent insecurities, she still feels the need to take every opportunity to remind me how close they are. I’m more than over it.

Because our children are friends, she and I have to have some contact. But even small doses are too much for me some days. She is quite loud and outgoing and talks over people including me and changes topic. She is not a listener by any means and has a story (even if its a friend of friends, uncles brothers story) for every topic over someone else’s actual personal story, which I would have preferred listening to. She also repeats phrases back to me like they were her phrases. And just to test that theory I have sometimes planted a significant unique word in my conversation to see if she uses it and she does. She sometimes explains things to me like she is giving me good advice, on something she knows I either have more experience in or have given her just the day before. (I think she forgets where she heard it from in the first place).

I feel if I understood her I would better handle these encounters. One on one she is much less of everything.

Signed, Hayley


Hi Hayley,

I hope that writing this note has helped you clarify what you find so annoying about this friend. You seem to have insight into her possible motivations and have a much better handle on this situation than I could ever profess to have.

It probably isn’t possible—or necessary—for you to know more about why she acts the way she does than you already do. You seem to be quite clear that she isn’t someone whom you would want as a close friend.

Your strategy for handling the situation seems appropriate: You’ve minimized contact and only engage with her to preserve your children’s friendships.

Each time you get upset, remind yourself how fortunate you are that she has glomped on to someone else! I don’t know how old your children are but there is also the hope that they’ll move on to other friends or be able to conduct their friendships more independently over time.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Maddie says:

    When she rattles off just give her a silent, quizzical smile, saying not a word. Try it. Not a word.

  2. Bette says:

    I can relate to this. I too had a friend who was very dependent on me for her happiness, and so the friendship started to feel smothering and codependent. Her neediness triggered my anxiety and I started to dread interactions with her. She also was very outgoing and loud, which was charming for the most part, but annoying as hell when she’d start to talk over me or try to finish my sentences.

    At parties, I’d be telling a story that happened to me and because she was familiar with my story, she’d interrupt me and start telling the story like it was her own. She also would poach words from my vocabulary, and use phrases I’d use. She started saying the nickname I gave my boyfriend outloud, like it was her right do to so, even in playing around or joking. It almost felt like, in her mind, things that were special and private and mine were also hers too.

    She’d suddenly like bands I was interested in. She’d start to use the words “we”, “our”, talking about us like we were a unit, not two separate people. It almost felt like she wanted to absorb the people in her life, and merge with them.

    Anyhow, I say all this because it seems that the friend you are describing above shares a lot of traits with my former friend. Perhaps you and I share some similar traits too. It seems that maybe your friend is anxious, insecurely attached to people, and does not truly know who she is. This would explain her lack of boundaries, her mimicking of you, her need to be connected at all costs to someone, and her manipulation of you. Yes, that’s right — what she is doing is manipulating you, passive-aggressively. She is hoping she will spark some jealousy in you (because she is a jealous person, she assumes you will be too) and this jealously will cause you to chase her and seek her out, making her feel needed and wanted by you.

    This friend of yours wants to be close to you, but does not know how to stand on her own and she seeks her happiness externally. Be aware of the void she’s trying to fill and recognize her manipulations.

    I also suspect a small fraction of you, for better or worse, feels left out and hurt when she behaves this way. You see these two friends together and think “Why can’t it be that smooth between us?” This fraction of you that had a connection with her is being testing and prodded. I would just say to look at the whole picture… you may have had a connection in the past, but it sounds like that ship has sailed. Maybe you are mourning a memory, but the reality stands in front of you now.

    I would ask myself what am I getting out of this friendship now? How can I be in a friendship with someone who is codependent, who cannot stand on her own? Can this person really be a friend to me if she is only focused on what she wants? Will this person see me as a separate person with wants and needs of my own? At what cost to my peace of mind will maintaining this connection have?

  3. Sandra Anne says:

    You are wise to avoid this hurtful, passive-aggressive behavior from your old “friend” — or so-called friend. Whenever I’m around anyone who seems to be deliberately antagonizing me, hurting me, competing with me, or challenging me in some way, I have to question the relationship.Clearly, there’s something amiss here, and it’s not healthy for anyone involved. Trust your instincts. If a friendship feels “off,” there’s something “off” going on — whatever the reason.

    If you don’t want to mend this fence, so to speak, or if there aren’t many good reasons to put up with this friend, I would continue to keep a safe distance. My best advice: Maintain keep nurturing other friendships with coworkers, colleagues, neighbors, community groups, and other good people in your life. You clearly know what good friendship looks like, so focus on the ones who give that to you.

  4. Susan M. says:

    Keep your interaction with this person to a minimum, while being polite and overall, friendly. Next, mention that you have to get to an appointment, and tell her good-bye, not “see you later.” Sounds as if you have a good sense of why and what you want to avoid, so just do it.

  5. Amy F says:

    I don’t believe people can poach each other any more than I believe people can steal each other’s partners, because we don’t own others. We’re each responsible for ourselves and free to engage in any relationships we want.

    You sound like you’re playing games by testing this woman and I wonder how you benefit from doing so? How does that enhance your life? I wonder if you’re as fine with your friends pairing up as you say. It’s okay if you’re not, but the more honest you are with yourself, the more you’ll be okay with moving on from a friendship that sounds like it wasn’t that desirable. Acknowledging any jealousy or unresolved feelings you have will help you be less frustrated with these women.

    It’s not about them, but how you react to them. If you can develop a “glad I don’t have to deal with this annoyance” any more, you’ll feel better, though you won’t be able to do so until you figure out you.

  6. Jannie says:

    Hello Hayley
    I so get you! I have a very similar situation, and now after 2 years don’t want any contact with her, but she keeps rearing her not so nice self to remind me of what she and my other friend ( introduced by me) are doing. She is nosey and seems to want info on me even though I know she could care less. I guess I’ve learned to keep very distant and give her very minimal info on my life. I have so moved on and can’t be bothered anymore at 65 years old to spend my most prescious time with people of this level. Good thing I’m a happy introvert too and get my social time when I want it. You sound like a very wise woman and I’m sure we are meant to meet all sorts of people on our journey Hayley, I wish you well and keep on. Best Jannie ????

    PS. great response Irene!

Leave a Reply