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Ending friendship?


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My former best friend, who I have been close with since high school, has been bugging me to hang out now that I'm back from college for the holidays. She and I had a major falling out last year.


Over the past year she and I have patched things up a bit. But I have now realized she's still the same person and it's not someone I care to be friends with. I just can't deal with her drama anymore. Plus, she also a very clingy person. When I hang out or talk to her, I don't have fun anymore, in fact is feels very awkward.


The problem is she keeps going on about how much she misses me and how excited she is to have me back in our home town. She keeps asking to hang out and I tell her I'm busy. Now she's asking if something is "wrong with us". How do I let her down lightly?

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I don't think there is a light way to do this. I think the best and most respectful way is to be open and honest, and tell her you feel things have changed and that you don't feel comfortable with the intensity of the contact this way. I think that would help things much more than letting it 'bleed to death' (as we say in Holland ).

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As someone on the receiving end of a similar situation (a friend wanted to "break up with me" and I was being very clingy to this person) I can tell you that, for me, I would have preferred honesty. My friend chose to do what you are doing - telling me they were "busy" and then when I asked if anything was "wrong" I got either blamed for being too emotional or told nothing was wrong. It can be more confusing than helpful, and might make the situation worse (as it did in mine).


My advice would be to sit down and talk to her and tell her exactly how you feel. Honestly, it will hurt. No one likes to feel rejected, or to hear negative things about themselves. She may be defensive, and do your best not to get angry in return. Sometimes, as in my case, people aren't aware of their behavior. I didn't realize I was being clingy and although I knew the time I spent with my friend was awkward, I hoped it would pass and thought it was a result of our own falling out.


I know it is hard to be honest with someone when there feelings are going to be hurt. But given the situation I was in, where I didn't get the hint and continued to "bug" my friend until they got INCREDIBLY frustrated and asked me to leave them alone (and feeling hurt because I wasn't aware our friendship was irrepairable on their side), I think honesty is better. Was I angry when they told me that? Yes. Was I hurt? Yes. But you get over it. You have to be willing to let your friend vent their hurt and frustration and realize it isn't about you. It's about themselves, their feelings (which they have a right to have), and their hurt over being rejected. If you put themselves in their shoes, you would understand it would be hard to hear someone say they no longer want to be your friend and that they have a right to be confused and angry and upset at first. You also have to put yourself in their situation - would you like it if someone kept from you the fact they didn't want you to be their friend anymore, dodged your questions, etc. or would you have liked them to be straightforward?


Ending friendships is never easy, but I think you need to have compassion for anyone in life you deal with whether you like them or not. They are human. Just because they are different from you and have a tendency to be "dramatic" and "clingy" doesn't mean they don't have good qualities too. There were parts of her you initially liked, otherwise you wouldn't have been friends in the first place. You changed, and so did she. You fought, and maybe that has changed your view of her for the worst. When things happen like that, it can be hard to forgive and forget.


Either way you decide to handle the situation, it isn't going to be easy. You could continue to dodge her questions and tell her you're busy, or you can tell her the truth. Either way she'll be hurt and confused, but maybe understanding why you feel the way you do will help her realize she deserves friends that want to be a part of her life. That isn't meant to be rude to you, I'm just saying that for me I held on tight to a relationship that wasn't so great in the first place. The best thing that ever happened was our fight and the end of our friendship. It might take a while for that to sink in for your friend, though. It did for me.

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