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Cutting a friend of 14 years out of my life. Am I wrong?


Seymore

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I figured I'd sit on this and think how I feel about it for a week before I write it down. Well 1 week has passed and I'm still upset about it.

 

I have written about this friend a few months ago. We've been friends since high school, so it's been something around 14 years now. A couple of years ago she had her first kid and we saw each other less, which I understand. Last year she had her second kid and we saw each other even less, which I understand. The thing is, I don't even feel like a friend anymore. She invites me to the parties she has at her house and spends the entire time chatting with the other mommies, who love to talk all about how many times they went to Jamaica this year and how many bowel movements their kid had, and I can't hold a conversation with the "daddies" there since they're all about beer and football, which isn't me. I don't know anyone there, and it feels like my friend just ignores me. Here I am, the only single person there out of about 40 people, and one of the only people without a kid, at that. I try to talk to the people but I feel so out of place.

 

A few months back, she'd call me or I'd call her and the entire conversation would revolve around her and her family, which again, I understand. But then she'd ask how I'm doing and I kid you not, I wouldn't be able to get two sentences out without her cutting me off saying "Ooo! Tomatoes are on sale!" and then going on about tomatoes or cutting me off to tell me about a giraffe at a petting zoo. It felt like she didn't even care. When things like this would happen I would tell her to call me back when she wasn't so busy, and not in an unfriendly tone. She'd never call back, and then a month later accuse me of being too good to contact her. I'd explain what happened the last time and she'd say "Oops! I'm sorry! I forget these things!" and then we'd text back and forth. Again, I'd start updating her on my life, and she'd all of a sudden just quit texting back. 3 weeks later I'd get ANOTHER text from her saying "I guess we're not friends anymore?". And as always, I'd remind her of how the last conversation ended and it'd be another excuse from her. "Oops! I forgot! I'm so busy with the kids I can't keep track!" Or whatever else.

 

Any time we'd get to see each other for dinner or whatever, I would tell her to bring the kids if she had to, because I understood her family is her life now and it was just nice to get whatever time we could nowadays.

 

About a month and a half ago she had said she'd be in my area on Wednesdays (she lives an hour and some change away), so when I get out of work we can go out to dinner. So the first Wednesday we did. Then I said we should do it again in 2 weeks. She said great. The Sunday before I contacted her to confirm, and it was still on. Wednesday came and as I was getting off work, I contacted her asking if she was there yet. She says "No, my daughter got sick yesterday so I can't make it".

 

I was a little pissed that she didn't bother to let me know, but shrugged it off. I suggested next Wednesday, she says that's great. So the next Wednesday comes around and AGAIN, as I'm leaving work, I ask if she's there. She says "My father-in-law flew in today from out of town, so not this week." And I mean, she NEVER lets me know. If I hadn't contacted her all these times, I'd be sitting there at the place waiting for her.

 

So last week, after she did the same thing the third time in a row, I said something I RARELY say to my friends. I asked her if we could please meet the next week because I had something important I needed to talk to her about and needed her opinion because she's my friend (and I really did need advice about something unrelated). She said "Definitely next Wed 4 sho!" (I still have the message). The next Wednesday, I texted an hour before I left work and she said she just got to the gym, but if I wanted to she could come out and meet me 2 hours after I got off work. She totally forgot, and while she didn't say it, I know this. I told her forget it, maybe some other time. She asked if everything was ok and I said it's fine, just figured she intended on being there since she said Wednesday for sure, but I'll just spend the evening with my family since it was my parents' anniversary. She says "Dammit! You're gonna be at the restaurant in 2 hours and I'll be there! Don't text me back, got it? LOL". I responded "I already told you I'm meeting up with my folks, so if you show up at the restaurant, you're eating alone." Then she apologizes and says she doesn't mean to keep blowing me off, but OUR priorities keep getting pushed back. Excuse me? MY priorities haven't been getting pushed back, HERS have. Whenever she's wanted to complain about her husband or family, she calls me and I'm always there. Whenever she needs me to design a flyer or something for her business (and she always needs it NOW), I'm always there. Whenever she drunk dials me at 2am (which hasn't happened in a while, but still), I'm always there.

 

I just don't feel like she's a friend anymore, like this whole thing revolves around her. I'd been used to other people treating me like I'm only good when THEY need something, but a friend since high school? I'm really hurt, and I know she thinks all is forgiven already, even though I didn't reply to her apology (which by the way is another thing she does all the time, so I don't even believe her anymore).

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yeah, i'd drift away from her as well. sounds like she is in me-me-me land, which is sort of understandable considering that she has a family and you guys aren't in high school anymore with no responsibilities. but yeah, she's definitely not being polite to you by cancelling so many times at the last second and expecting you to be ok with it.

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With friends and relationships it's the same thing: you have to set up and maintain healthy boundaries, otherwise people will walk all over you. If this is such a long term friend I don't think there should be any problem telling her that while you are always there for her, she does not reciprocate.

 

Either you do cut her out of her life, or next time when she needs something from you, you tell her that you are busy and will need more time. She might be upset about this first, because she is used to you always giving in. But you have to educate your friends to respect you.

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With friends and relationships it's the same thing: you have to set up and maintain healthy boundaries, otherwise people will walk all over you. If this is such a long term friend I don't think there should be any problem telling her that while you are always there for her, she does not reciprocate.

 

Either you do cut her out of her life, or next time when she needs something from you, you tell her that you are busy and will need more time. She might be upset about this first, because she is used to you always giving in. But you have to educate your friends to respect you.

 

I'm not taking a shot at you or your advice, I want that to be clear before I say this, but that almost sounds strange. It's like - this person is your FRIEND, and you have to educate them to respect you? Wouldn't a friend respect you anyway? I had always thought friendship and respect go hand in hand.

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There are several levels here I think that you can explore.

 

First, you have the "I'm the only single guy in the room" thing going on. I've been single for almost 6 months now, and I can relate. I have this whole group of friends who just got married and had kids, and it hasn't worked out the same for me. Bad choices. And I can remember very distinctly that when I was in my 10 year, we'd always be doing couples things. For whatever reason, it was just harder sometimes to relate to the single person because you can become so relationship-focused when you're in a couple that you just become someone else, and your interests change.

 

Certainly, I am guilty of doing that from time to time when I'm in a relationship as well. So, overall, I have this idea that this would bother you a little less if you were in a relationship right now.

 

As for her blowoffs, it's not ok. She needs to learn to treat you as some kind of friend priority in some way, and you need to have the honest conversation with her about that. It's not like you're asking for the stars and the moon when you give her so much advance notice to meet with you. If it was "just a friend", I would just drift out of her life. But a 14 year? You have to lay down and have the talk for sure.

 

Finally, I have a couple friends who have accused me of being "a bad friend", and I honestly don't even know I'm doing it. Sometimes, I just assume that people are extraordinarily busy with their own little lives, and trapped in their own worlds, and I can't even see that my behavior affects them. Similarly, I do have two friends right now who are a little flighty like this, and it does sometimes get on my nerves. You can't be the only person contributing to a friendship.

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I'm not taking a shot at you or your advice, I want that to be clear before I say this, but that almost sounds strange. It's like - this person is your FRIEND, and you have to educate them to respect you? Wouldn't a friend respect you anyway? I had always thought friendship and respect go hand in hand.

 

By all means take a shot

 

In an ideal world everyone would know how to behave and treat each other with respect, especially friends, family, in a relationship - the reality often is that people are completely blind to their own behavior and the effect it can have in the other person.

 

Some people can truly be so wrapped up in their own world and thoughts (not necessarily motivated by selfishness) that it genuinely escapes them how they are taking advantage of other people and their time.

 

Your friend definitely sounds like one of these people.

 

You have either the choice to accept that is the way she is and you decide if you want to stay in touch with her or not, or you can say that as a friend you want to invest into her and some personal growth and try to make her aware of this. She can chose to change or not.

 

I can just reiterate: if you want to be respected by other people, you have to respect yourself first. That includes standing up when someone violates/ misuses your trust/ generosity etc.

 

If you have always bent over to accommodate her and her schedule, you are essentially educating her that this is ok with you.

 

I expect from any confident person that they will speak up and tell me straight out (especially from my friends!) if I would do something that is not to their liking. That shows respect to me, themselves and the relationship.

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I had always figured that's what a good friend is - someone who puts themselves aside when a friend is in need. I'd thought that was the difference between a friend and a stranger.

 

As far as talking to her, I would have thought my reaction from this last time would get my message accross, and I also would think that she already realizes what she’s doing (by her saying “I’m sorry I keep blowing you off” . The thing is, that apology to me is like saying “Hey, sorry I keep hitting you with this stick”. It’s like, “Well? If you’re sorry, why do you keep doing it?” You know? And there should be no reason you'd have to teach someone that if you're not going to make it, you call, you know? That's a basic thing nobody should have to be taught, and it's utterly disrespectful to not even acknowledge that the other person could be sitting there while you're off at the gym.

 

I guess my frame of thought is that if you really think of someone as a friend, you wouldn't blow them off like that repeatedly or completely forget when they ask you for the first time in a year to meet because there is something important to them that they would like to talk to you about. Those are things that you shouldn't need to teach someone.

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Thanks penelope (I hope things are going well for you, btw!) and everyone. I think I'm just going to go on with my life. I shouldn't have to tell her that's not how you treat people, and I'm obviously making her more of a priority as a friend than I am to her. If she should contact me in the future after this, I'll decide then if I even feel like it, but I deserve far more respect than this.

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It sounds like you've already recognized that her life and priorities have shifted such that she's not automatically inclined to give you much thought, unless she needs you. And she kind of knows that she's been sucking as a friend -- that's why you were getting periodic "so we're not talking anymore?" texts. She didn't forget -- she knew exactly why three weeks had elapsed without hearing from you. She just doesn't want to take responsibility for being a bad friend. If your friendship dies because of her neglect, she wants to be able to tell herself that it's your fault.

 

I think you'd be wise to just let this one go. You might hear from her again in a few years, when she has grown tired of being only known as Mommy and wants to reconnect to parts of her life that she let slide during the early years of her parenthood.

 

BUT if it sticks in your craw to let her blame you for the demise of the friendship ("He just stopped returning my calls -- I don't know what happened!") you could try to take control of the situation with something like this: the next time she gets in touch wanting to meet, tell her that the poor track record you guys have had in managing to meet up as scheduled suggests that advanced planning isn't the way to go. Instead, suggest to her that if she finds herself with a couple of free hours and wants to meet for coffee, she should give you a call and if you happen to be free, great. Then you're not constantly being set up for disappointment and resentment, and the onus is on her to arrange get-togethers. And if she tries calling a few times for a spontaneous coffee date, you might never be free -- too bad your schedules never coincide! The friendship might still dwindle to nothing, but it'll be clear to both of you why that happened.

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