• Keeping Friends

Two friends who need each other—but don’t like each other

Published: March 13, 2012 | Last Updated: May 14, 2020 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading

A needy, symbiotic relationship usually comes to an end when one person changes.

 

QUESTION

 

Hi Irene,

I have been friends with Jade for eight years and now I’m
starting to question the nature of our relationship. The thing is I’ve never
really liked her, and I know that she doesn’t really care for me either. Rather
she cares for the idea of me, the idea of security, which is what I initially
liked about her.

 

We met back in primary school when I was extremely submissive
and introverted, which is why she ‘befriended’ me. She knew that she could
manipulate me right from the get-go. As I’ve grown up, I’ve found our
relationship to be extremely draining as I have become more assertive and don’t
need her as a security blanket anymore.

However, it has become more and more apparent that she ‘needs’
me. The problem with this is that I find her personality absolutely abhorrent.
Harsh, I know, but I can’t help how I feel. At the same time I don’t want to
let her go right now because I want to see to it that she works through her
issues.

 

However, there is a problem with this. Her mother is a clinical
psychologist and is somehow oblivious to the fact that her daughter is
undergoing some significant mental health problems. Her symptoms (if you can
call them that) are as following:

  • Gets upset when unnoticed
  • Needs excessive stimulation
  • Insecure; needs and seeks validation
  • Likes to be center of attention
  • Hard time relating to and understanding others
  • Overly flirtatious
  • Frequently indulges in fantasy world
  • Uncompromising
  • Exhibitionist tendencies
  • Not open to new ideas
  • Suspicious of the motives of others
  • Easily irritable
  • Recklessly spends lots of money
  • Recklessly initiates sexual relationships with older men and strangers
  • Always talks about herself
  • Creates drama
  • Harasses others over fear of abandonment

 

So, I guess my questions are: How can I get her to seek
professional help without her turning on me? And how can I make her mother see she
needs help?

Signed, Megan

 

ANSWER

Hi Megan,

After reading your letter, two thoughts occur to me:

 

1) I agree that this is a very unhealthy friendship that you
need to end. Even if you were friends for many years in the past, it sounds
like the two of you are no longer a good fit. You should not be subjecting
yourself to someone whose personality is abhorrent to you and I can’t imagine
you acting very kindly to your friend, either, if you’re feeling this way.

 

2) You’ve listed a litany of things you find wrong with
Jade. I don’t think you should try to diagnose precisely what’s wrong. If she truly has so many problems, her mother must know about some of them,
too. It’s not reasonable to expect that at your age, you could help her with “issues” like these which tend to be deeply rooted.

 

I think you simply need to tell Jade that it’s uncomfortable for
you to be friends because you feel like you’ve changed. She may get angry but
you have little control over that. You need to work on creating more balanced friendships.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

 

 

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You’ve got me thinking. I’ve gone through the pain of growing apart from a friend with whom I shared my life for 5 long years. But now we don’t speak. I feel more sad about the fact that we’ve not talked about what happened between us and we have decided to believe that it has ended; completely. Unlike your post says, I don’t have a reason, nor can I find one. But it’s a fact that we can never be the same we used to be a couple of years ago. LINK DELETED FOR VIOLATION OF TERMS OF THIS BLOG

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have a somewhat similar situation going on; but it’s two-fold. I met “Karla” at my daughter’s school. She seemed nice, and our 2 daughters hit it off. Then things started to get strange. Karla, as I later discovered, has a myriad of mental/physical issues. Her daughter is possessive over my daughter. It’s gotten so uncomfortable, I’ve pulled away. No more playdates, etc. Karla’s daughter is extremely needy for a 7 year old. My daughter, on the flipside, is gregarious and wants a large circle of friends. My daughter does not want to be pinned down by a whiny, clingy, often tattle-tail friend. Of course my heart goes out to Karla and her daughter because there seems to be so much turmoil in their lives. They are alone and have very little support. A very dear friend told me I cannot worry about everyone else. I have to look out for my own child. It’s awkward because I see them at the school etc. I guess the true sign that this friendship is over is that I feel un-easy around this woman and her child. My intuition tells me to stay away. Thank you for posting and listening.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel really bad for you that this person would treat you that way for so long – but it sounds like she is a very mean person so, even though there was a long time friend ship, you don’t need to be treated like this by anyone, especially one who calls themself your friend. After being away from her for awhile you may find your self esteem improving and feeling better about yourself – and to meet someone genuine who doesn’t cut you down because it sounds like you are a very nice person, so let those other people be attracted to you without this debbie downer putting a damper on your life. All the best to you 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    i’ve been friends with d. for40+ years. she is older than i am and i’ve always respected that, however, she often mocks me , laughs at my dreams, can’t believe anyone is attracted to me, and we’ve had a fallen out and no one’s calling the other. i am 65 anf feel like a doofus. where do people get those friends that last forever?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I also had a similar friend. I feel lucky that I figured things out about her quite soon, it made “breaking up” easier. I miss her but finally I have time and energy to cultivate more meaningful and mutually satisfying friendships.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I was in a friendship similar to yours. I disliked so many things about this person but took a long time to let the frienship go. She had the same characteristics as your friend and would lie, manipulate and cheat her way out of situations. She drained the hell out of me and on occassions drove me crazy. I am a very easy going and accepting person and she took advantage of that. I was a shoulder to cry on and a counsellor but unfortunately the favour was never returned. I gradually seperated myself from her and despite what i said above it was very difficult, i’m grieving the frienship. I figure that i don’t need to have the life sucked out of me any longer and deserve honest and meaningful friendships. I hope the same for you.
    All the best.

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