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Friend avoids conflict resolution


jnr586

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I have a coworker who I’ve been friends with for years, including prior to becoming coworkers. We work for a large organization where many friendships organically arise. She and I are among a large group of friends but we used to be fairly close.

 

Over the past couple of years, she’s had conflict with a number of our work friends- she seems to be the common denominator. The work friends have all seemed to move past the conflict but one-by-one she’s alienated herself from each of these people particularly in social settings.

 

She and I have never had conflict but it’s reached the point where she’ll only accept social invitations if a small subset of friends- and those friends only- will be present.

 

Most recently I invited her out for my birthday when a large group was present and she immediately left when she arrived (without saying hello) when she saw how many people were there. I’ve tried to be supportive but it’s arriving at the point that every social situation needs to cater to who she does and doesn’t want around. I resolved that I’d refrain from trying to cater to her, and as a result we haven’t been in touch for two months, short of minimal superficial work related issues.

 

I feel bad because I like this person, and I miss the friendship we had, but she seems unwilling to meet halfway, or even 25% of the way. Instinct tells me to just let her go. Thoughts?

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Let her be whoever she is. If she doesn't like crowds she can decide for herself whether to go or not. If you want to hang out don't make it group things.

Most recently I invited her out for my birthday when a large group was present and she immediately left when she arrived (without saying hello) when she saw how many people were there. I’ve tried to be supportive but it’s arriving at the point that every social situation needs to cater to who she does and doesn’t want around. I resolved that I’d refrain from trying to cater to her, and as a result we haven’t been in touch for two months, short of minimal superficial work related issues.

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I used to have a friend like that, who one by one alienated everyone in our circle. She eventually decided she didn't like me either.

 

You can't control what she does or whom she likes or dislikes. Keep inviting her to things if you want, but just accept the fact that she's probably going to leave. There's nothing else you can do.

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Friendships are varied. You will have more than one group of friends in your lifetime, some come, some go, some stay, some you will walk away from, or grow out of. Some are just one on one, some larger groups, some small. Enjoy the variety. You don't have to dump/ignore this person because they don't fit in with your other friends. Drop the tunnel vision, life is not perfect nor are friends.

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That's odd. Why would she leave your party early without saying hello to YOU? Or did you mean she didn't say hello to the other guests.

 

I'm not sure I'd ever contact this person again if they did this at a party. I'd want to know what this person is about and how I screwed up as a host also. I don't think her behaviour has anything to do with you or the people you've invited or the other work colleagues. She may have other serious issues that have nothing to do with anyone else.

 

Do you mind me asking what those kinds of conflicts are about? Is it political? Social causes? Pettiness?

 

I'm asking to get an idea of how/what she thinks.

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I think she has other issues (maturity, pettiness, bravery, etc.). I’d be happy to do things one on one if she was interested in being straightforward or self-aware about some of these conflicts. She’s complained to me before about gripes she has with mutual friends and I’ve tried to be as honest as I can- basically there’s two sides to every story and I didn’t want to take sides- but that she needs to take some responsibility over how she communicates and treats other people.

 

With all that said, all your posts have made me reflect and conclude that I don’t want to be friends with her unless she’s willing to make some changes, so I guess it’s easy as that. Attempts to reach out previously have only left me frustrated. She is going through a tough time but seems stuck on sabotaging herself.

 

As for the question about why she didn’t say hello- I don’t know. It was an outdoor socially distant gathering - she walked up from afar, went inside the restaurant to order a drink, but instead walked straight out with her head down and to her car and texted myself and the friends she does like that she was going to meet another friend instead.

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I feel bad because I like this person, and I miss the friendship we had, but she seems unwilling to meet halfway, or even 25% of the way. Instinct tells me to just let her go. Thoughts?

 

That should tell you something about how much she values your friendship.

 

It sounds like you've tried, and short of customizing your social life to suit her needs, you either let her go or plan to see her only one-on-one.

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I think she has other issues (maturity, pettiness, bravery, etc.). I’d be happy to do things one on one if she was interested in being straightforward or self-aware about some of these conflicts. She’s complained to me before about gripes she has with mutual friends and I’ve tried to be as honest as I can- basically there’s two sides to every story and I didn’t want to take sides- but that she needs to take some responsibility over how she communicates and treats other people.

 

With all that said, all your posts have made me reflect and conclude that I don’t want to be friends with her unless she’s willing to make some changes, so I guess it’s easy as that. Attempts to reach out previously have only left me frustrated. She is going through a tough time but seems stuck on sabotaging herself.

 

As for the question about why she didn’t say hello- I don’t know. It was an outdoor socially distant gathering - she walked up from afar, went inside the restaurant to order a drink, but instead walked straight out with her head down and to her car and texted myself and the friends she does like that she was going to meet another friend instead.

 

Okay...

 

My first instinct is not to overanalyze this or take it personally. This person is clearly going through something. Walking up to a gathering of people for the intended purpose on meeting up for that specific event, going in another direction and then texting several individuals the rejection of an invite when she was physically there is seriously off! I hope you realize this has nothing to do with any of you.

 

Leave her alone. I think you are barking up the wrong tree internalizing this and don't gossip with the other friends either. Just let things die down and let the dust settle. Don't invite her to any social gatherings as it may lead to a scene and let her come to you if she wants to talk over the phone or meet one on one. Don't overthink this. All will be well. She needs to work things out.

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Most recently I invited her out for my birthday when a large group was present and she immediately left when she arrived (without saying hello) when she saw how many people were there.

 

That's just rude. It was your birthday and if she didn't feel comfortable in a group setting, she should have asked you who was going to be there, not act like a child.

 

I think your instinct is right. Let her go.

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She is who she is, you cant change that. Something is off with her, who knows what that may be. You can do one on one things with her or move on from her, which is what I'd do. I cant be bothered with people that you have to work around to accomplish something as simple as a birthday celebration.

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Most recently I invited her out for my birthday when a large group was present and she immediately left when she arrived (without saying hello) when she saw how many people were there. I’ve tried to be supportive but it’s arriving at the point that every social situation needs to cater to who she does and doesn’t want around. I resolved that I’d refrain from trying to cater to her, and as a result we haven’t been in touch for two months, short of minimal superficial work related issues.

 

I feel bad because I like this person, and I miss the friendship we had, but she seems unwilling to meet halfway, or even 25% of the way. Instinct tells me to just let her go. Thoughts?

 

It actually sounds like you dislike her. I think that you don't want to be friends with her anymore. You just don't want to 'look bad' for disliking her without a reason that you feel that you can justify.

 

Seriously, why do you need her to jump through hoops like this? I mean, come on. She left a party without saying hello--is that really such an egregious error?

 

Is everyone subject to this scrutiny? Is it really possible that you actually count hellos and goodbyes? Do you keep a spreadsheet??

 

I'm sure you don't.

 

Please tell me that you don't.

 

It's ok to outgrow a friendship. She's allowed to, and you're allowed to as well. That's what happens as you get older. You don't have to justify it to anyone. But at least be honest about it with yourself. It's just better for you.

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It actually sounds like you dislike her. I think that you don't want to be friends with her anymore. You just don't want to 'look bad' for disliking her without a reason that you feel that you can justify.

 

Seriously, why do you need her to jump through hoops like this? I mean, come on. She left a party without saying hello--is that really such an egregious error?

 

Is everyone subject to this scrutiny? Is it really possible that you actually count hellos and goodbyes? Do you keep a spreadsheet??

 

I'm sure you don't.

 

Please tell me that you don't.

 

It's ok to outgrow a friendship. She's allowed to, and you're allowed to as well. That's what happens as you get older. You don't have to justify it to anyone. But at least be honest about it with yourself. It's just better for you.

 

Have you considered that this strange behavior from a long-term friend is both concerning and hurtful? Do you really think I posted on this anonymous website looking for advice because I’m just trying not to “look bad” in front of other people?

 

Please tell me you don’t.

 

Sure people outgrow friendships. I’m almost 40. I’ve outgrown plenty. And that’s fine. But I’m just looking for impartial insight, nothing more.

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Have you considered that this strange behavior from a long-term friend is both concerning and hurtful? Do you really think I posted on this anonymous website looking for advice because I’m just trying not to “look bad” in front of other people?

 

Please tell me you don’t.

 

Sure people outgrow friendships. I’m almost 40. I’ve outgrown plenty. And that’s fine. But I’m just looking for impartial insight, nothing more.

 

I see nothing concerning about your friend's behavior, based on what you've stated here.

 

Yes, I do think you feel guilt for your feelings.

 

Just telling it like I see it.

 

Sorry to have struck a chord. Truly did not mean to upset you.

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Some friendships work great among a large number of people and they have a blast all getting together. Some friendships are better one on one. If you still want to be her friend, then just focus on the two of you and not anyone else. If she is going through a tough time, let her know that you are there. Have a good time together. You're not going to fix her issues with other people, so just enjoy the friendship you have with her.

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