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I'm not sure what to do about this friendship


Tinydance

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I'll change all the names in the post for privacy reasons. I (36F) have been platonic friends with Rachael (37) for two years. We became close friends and started to talk and hang out a fair amount. I had introduced her to my close male friend Henry who used to be my FWB and they were seeing each other for about a year, but broke up a year ago on very amicable terms. Rachael is my best friend Belinda's housemate and the four of us have formed a little friendship group.

At first I thought that Rachael is nice and we connected over a couple of mutual hobbies. She has depression and anxiety and gets bad migraines. She doesn't work and is on government benefits. She used to stay home 24/7 and barely even leave her room. She would often have to cancel plans at the last minute because she was physically and/or mentally unwell. Over the last year she has been feeling much better though and has been a lot more outgoing. However due to not working or doing anything in life, Rachael doesn't know many people and the few friends she has she met through me and my best friend.

I'd noticed that Rachael is very opinionated and she was having issues with a few of her housemates. She was having huge blow ups and even yelling with one housemate, who then moved out. She was initially friends with a male housemate but their friendship then started to go sour and ended with him telling her to f off. Rachael was also getting annoyed with a third housemate apparently because she wanted to be good friends but that housemate just wanted to be polite and just be housemates.

This year, also due to the pandemic, I started talking to Rachael online a lot more and began to realise that she's very blunt and insensitive and can be rude.

Here are some examples. End of 2019 I was dating a guy who is from the same country she's originally from. She was basically implying that guys from her culture are no good and I shouldn't be dating him. Even though I told her the guy was actually really nice.

At the start of 2020 the four of us went on a trip interstate. We flew there and were renting a house. We rented a hire car and drove 1.5 hours to these famous mountains which are very beautiful. Rachael hates walking and it had already been an issue in the past. She said she didn't want to walk, so instead of going on a hike we said we'd just go up the chairlift. She said she didn't want to walk 20 minutes to the chairlift. I suggested she just relax in the shops and cafe and pub they had there. She said no because we can't leave her alone. But the rest of the way she complained incessantly that she doesn't want to walk and cut our visit short. On the trip she had also been saying we should get Uber everywhere, even if it was a ten minute walk. I asked her in private what the issue with walking was, was there pain or anxiety? She said no and that she just doesn't like walking. She knew we were annoyed but never apologised for her behaviour.

One time I shared a post on Facebook by the actress Lena Dunham about her having COVID-19. Rachael commented: "She's a paedophile". That's actually not true and it was just some kind of controversy. I messaged Rachael privately and I said I didn't feel comfortable that she made that comment because it's not true and it makes it sound like I'm sharing posts from a paedophile. I work with disabled people and have people from work on Facebook so this could really tarnish my reputation. Rachael got defensive and said she is who she is and she shares her opinions and basically I have to accept her as she is. We had an argument about it all and she never apologised.

I have a tradition that every Christmas Eve I have a few friends over for dinner. Rachael knows this because she's been to one dinner before and been invited to two. She couldn't get a lift with my best friend (her roommate) and I live an hour away from them and Rachael doesn't drive. So she seemed anxious to get to my place on public transport and suggested we have the dinner at her place. The location was inconvenient for a few of my guests but I wanted her to be there so agreed. Then Rachael said that a couple of the guests she knows can come but is it OK not to invite my good friend Jack because she doesn't really know him. I was feeling like she was being rude because she was asking to change the whole thing and taking control over my event. Then she changed her mind and said let's not have it at hers. I didn't think I was being rude but I guess I seemed frustrated and she got really defensive. She said:"Honestly I'm really annoyed. You seem pissed off at me and being rude. Talk to you later". The next day she messaged saying: "We may not have the same opinions but I'm your friend and you have to treat me with respect". So I apologised coz it felt like she wanted me to but I explained why I was frustrated. Then she didn't even acknowledge what I said and began talking about something completely different.

Basically overall she's been very blunt as well and just blurting out her opinions even where it's inappropriate. One time I said I better watch how much wine I drink because it's high in calories. She said: "Yeah you've put on weight!" But I actually hadn't put on any! I still weighed the same but I just made a throw away comment. And I'm not huge either, only chubby. After that Rachael was like: "Oh, sorry, was I too blunt?"

On New Year's Eve we had a disagreement again because she was being really opinionated and judgemental. I said to her that you can't just say every single opinion you have if it's hurtful. And she said: "I'll say whatever I want but just not to you then".

I know Rachael really values our friendship because she said to my best friend that she's worried she's losing me. She is loyal in the sense that she will always stand up for me. And if I needed to talk or vent she always listened and gave good advice. The problem is I actually find her to be self-absorbed and rude and completely non receptive to any criticism or challenge. Every time I expressed that she was being too blunt, she actually doesn't think there's anything wrong with it and doesn't see she was rude.

I'm feeling very torn but I'm not sure if there's any point trying to work on the friendship?

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20 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

The problem is I actually find her to be self-absorbed and rude and completely non receptive to any criticism or challenge.

Have you spoken to her about this? For some reason she feels she is right for approaching herself in life the way she does.

I had one of my friends like that, she would say somethings so blunt and disrespectful without understanding who would have been hurt with her approach, thinking and choice of words, but she continued like that. On many occasions I tried to suggest her to look at counselling or go to a therapist to work on her personality, the way she perceived or reacted to certain things in life but she wouldn't.

if you think losing this friendship will give you peace then be honest with yourself and her i say, ending it for me was the right decision. It came to a point for me where i felt i was forcing myself into a relationship nothing felt natural anymore.

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48 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

I'm not sure if there's any point trying to work on the friendship?

Quick answer, TinyD, is no.  Don't bother.

 

49 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

he problem is I actually find her to be self-absorbed and rude and completely non receptive to any criticism or challenge

She is self-absorbed, rude, selfish, plain bad-mannered, a control freak and has no respect for anyone. 

 

52 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

She has depression and anxiety and gets bad migraines. She doesn't work and is on government benefits

I honestly think you can do better than this as far as friends go, Tiny.  She'll just drag you down.  You are having to defend yourself all the time against her criticisms. 

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So I've been burned a couple of time -including twice in the past year - getting close to mentally unstable people who are not getting the treatment they need and who choose to subject me too much to their instability.  The burned is usually in the form of flakiness/going MIA for no reason at all but in a hurtful way (like we'll be in regular close touch and all of a sudden radio silence and also at times they know it's part of friendship to reach out).  I have mental illness in my family (I don't have a mental illness) so I believe I attract people with illnesses because somehow they sense  that I "get it".  

I also wanted to point out that in your side two of the comments kind of added fuel to the fire.  Why point out that alcohol is high in calories like that - it's not a throw away comment depending on context - I find that women especially make comments like that too often and it's uncomfortable as to how to respond or whether to respond.  It's obvious that alcohol is empty calories and yes if you said that in front of me I'd have no reaction -throw away comment -but some people are so inundated with comments about what's fattening, what's not, people who constantly comment on whether they should be eating this or that (not saying you do!) that it's overkill!

Also particularly given your job I'd be more selective about what I post on FAcebook.  You're not a media person so no need to report on a celebrity who has covid.  Everyone knows.  I get that you wanted to express care but I'd do that privately or to a small group message off line.  Here's an example - a friend of mine is now really into an anti racism group she joined and really into discussing diversity and racism, etc.  It's not a topic I will ever discuss on Facebook. But I'm open to having private discussions.  I found a really well written article on different points of view about diversity and racism.  I sent it to her PRIVATELY.  She's the one who said she wanted to have a private discussion by phone so I sent it to her so maybe we could include it in a future phone call.  No response from her.  I made the BIG mistake of replying to one of her FB posts "by the way I sent you an article" - her post had nothing to do with diversity and I just wrote "article".  She replied "oh!! yes I saw it and shared it with my anti racism group!!  OK. 

 

So, now I know never ever to do that again -never to trust someone that when I send something privately it's because it's private.  My reference was generic but she got the impression -somehow -not sure how as she's a 50 year old therapist who should know better - that I was comfortable with her referencing something sensitive and specific about what I sent.  

Why that example?  Because once you're in the wild wild world of social media really anything goes.  Your risk to take -if you must share the news that's posted everywhere else about a celebrity doing this or that or suffering from this or that then know that people may respond in really unusual, bizarre or offensive ways.  Even if you have the disclaimer about "this is not for debate about this person, just want to show I care that Megan Markle is having trouble choosing which movie deal to sign" (joke!!!).  It's social media.  Anything goes.  It's why I don't post obvious news or anything on any sensitive topic.  

 

Having said all this R sounds like a train wreck and a high maintenance drama queen so I'd enforce strict boundaries and keep my distance. Sorry this is so frustrating!!

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24 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'd enforce strict boundaries and keep my distance.

I agree. Rachel is obviously limited in some important ways, and can't be trusted to act appropriately in many situations.

I don't think there's any point in "working on the friendship." I don't think it's a realistic approach to any friendship, really. You both are who are. If you want to preserve some semblance of your friendship, you have to recognize her limits and keep her at arm's length. 

For example:

1 hour ago, Tinydance said:

Rachael hates walking and it had already been an issue in the past.

Don't invite Rachel to trips like this. She doesn't enjoy them.

1 hour ago, Tinydance said:

So she seemed anxious to get to my place on public transport and suggested we have the dinner at her place. The location was inconvenient for a few of my guests but I wanted her to be there so agreed.

I'm actually really surprised that you were willing to rearrange your plans and inconvenience your other friends for Rachel's benefit. That's too much. Hands down, I would have said "no" to this. "I hope you can find your way over, Rachel. But if you can't, there's always next year!"

24 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Also particularly given your job I'd be more selective about what I post on FAcebook.  You're not a media person so no need to report on a celebrity who has covid.  Everyone knows..... 

......once you're in the wild wild world of social media really anything goes.

Great advice. It's just a good rule of thumb to follow, Rachel or no Rachel.

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If you read about how women who have autism come across, it's usually a bunch of examples like this.  Very hard on them to keep friends long-term, unless they accept the normal social regulations and expectations (which is possible, but that usually happens from VERY good parenting).

You have two choices I see here... 

1) Keep her as a friend and be kind and meet up when you can.  Accept her limits of not enjoying walking (and refusing to, even though there's no pain/anxiety etc.).  Keep her and just do easy things, but confront her if she's rude.  For this option you'd have to accept she may not care if you call her out on it.  She enjoys being rude. Period.  Or she just may not be capable of caring that it hurts other people.  Either way, keeping her in your life means you'd have to accept this and work from there.

2) Distance yourself slowly.  There's no way this won't hurt her if she values your friendship in any way, but if you choose this because you just can't deal with her limits and rudeness, it's ok, it's totally your choice. 

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49 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Why that example?  Because once you're in the wild wild world of social media really anything goes.  Your risk to take -if you must share the news that's posted everywhere else about a celebrity doing this or that or suffering from this or that then know that people may respond in really unusual, bizarre or offensive ways.  Even if you have the disclaimer about "this is not for debate about this person, just want to show I care that Megan Markle is having trouble choosing which movie deal to sign" (joke!!!).  It's social media.  Anything goes.  It's why I don't post obvious news or anything on any sensitive topic.  

Yes, this is largely why I stay away from FB.  There are a lot of other reasons, too, but the drama and unpredictability of people's taking things out of context is what I want to avoid.

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33 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I'm actually really surprised that you were willing to rearrange your plans and inconvenience your other friends for Rachel's benefit. That's too much. Hands down, I would have said "no" to this. "I hope you can find your way over, Rachel. But if you can't, there's always next year!"

Right.  So if you want to keep her in your life... if you feel sorry for her, you'd just have to have very strong boundaries of saying, "Sorry, we can't do that.  Maybe next time though!"

Pain is the best teacher in life.  If she gets enough consequences, she may be able to change.  Maybe not, which is so sad for her, but you have that option of just having stronger, firmer boundaries and enjoying her on your terms.

 

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K this is how to start: when she makes a rude or inappropriate remark, stop the conversation and direct it back to what she said and point out in a calm way like "I found your remake rude...why do you feel you need to say that?" and just talk about it. Try to be kind, but if she gives you the face palm, tell her that you are trying to help because her behavior is pushing people away, and now it's happening to you. Explain that you sympathize that she struggles with these issues, but if she doesn't seek out help, she's going to end up alone, and you don't wish that on her.

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47 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

She enjoys being rude. Period.  Or she just may not be capable of caring that it hurts other people.

That's exactly it, MB.

I am at a loss to understand why anyone would want anything to do with this person. 

Why make life hard for yourself, OP?  

Also if she is physically and mentally unwell then she needs professional help. 

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Do you perhaps have codependent tendencies?

I ask this because codependent people will do anything, even inconvenience themselves and even put themselves into financial distress in order to try to keep a friend or family member happy because they fear abandonment. You allowed her to take over your party because you were trying to make her happy, for example.

I would ask myself, why do I want to remain friends with a person who treats me the way she does? Why do I feel that some small scraps of niceness are worth all the things I have to put up with?

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Honestly, I do not understand why anyone would have anything to do with this woman.  She sounds horrible.   I'm sorry, I am being harsh, but I really think you need to question who you are exposing yourself to, and why. 

 

Who pays for her little vacays?   Is it the taxpayer? 

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Stop enabling her crappy behaviour. 

You need to learn to say "no" or "stop," and mean it. Excuse yourself from her presence rather than explain yourself to her. You don't owe her any explanation of your choices in men, wine, and so on. 

The tendency to cater to her is partly what landed you here, so you need to reflect on where that's coming from. 

 

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I wouldn't knock myself out for someone I don't even like very much.

Consider the woman an acquaintance. Be kind whenever your paths cross, but skip the social worker routine, and stop trying to reform her. You don't get anything out of it but hostile right-fighting, and unless you find that satisfying, what's in any of this for you?

Choose your friends carefully.

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On 1/3/2021 at 12:38 AM, Spawn said:

Have you spoken to her about this? For some reason she feels she is right for approaching herself in life the way she does.

I had one of my friends like that, she would say somethings so blunt and disrespectful without understanding who would have been hurt with her approach, thinking and choice of words, but she continued like that. On many occasions I tried to suggest her to look at counselling or go to a therapist to work on her personality, the way she perceived or reacted to certain things in life but she wouldn't.

if you think losing this friendship will give you peace then be honest with yourself and her i say, ending it for me was the right decision. It came to a point for me where i felt i was forcing myself into a relationship nothing felt natural anymore.

Sorry for the late reply! Well, the problem I've found with Rachael is that yes she is extremely blunt to the point where she just says every single opinion, but some are judgemental and insensitive. The issue I started having with her was when I said that her behaviour upset me but she never apologises. She gets very defensive and just says that yes she's an opinionated person, but she is who she is and she won't change. And she says she's allowed to give her opinions. I've said to her before that actually she can't just give every opinion she has because some are not her place (e.g. who I can date) and some are rude, e.g. you put on weight. I think she really has no filter and doesn't understand that in order to get along with people, you need to hold some comments and opinions back. E.g. Henry and I have a close friend we hang out with who is a sex worker. Sex work is legal in our state and she's a fully registered sex worker. In quarantine our friend was hosting a virtual video games night. Henry and I were at Rachael's place, we'd been staying there for a couple of days because you were allowed to have five people at your house. We invited Rachael to play the virtual video games. She said: "I don't want to play because I feel uncomfortable with your friend because she's a sex worker". But she knew that this is a good friend of ours and we don't care she's a sex worker. For one thing Rachael is actually a feminist. So it's judgemental not to play some virtual video games just because someone is a sex worker. The games were online so she didn't have to be around this friend at all. Secondly, why say it's because she doesn't like our friend? She could just say she doesn't feel like playing. She's said things like that before too.

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On 1/3/2021 at 12:45 AM, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this happened. Distance yourself. She seems a bit too difficult to have in your inner circle of friends. Consider moving her to the acquaintance folder

Thank you Wiseman. Yeah I have actually decided that I'll just start slow fading/distancing and just be more acquaintances. I don't think Rachael's personality actually suits me because I'm a strong believer in "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it" And she's very much the opposite.

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On 1/3/2021 at 12:56 AM, Batya33 said:

So I've been burned a couple of time -including twice in the past year - getting close to mentally unstable people who are not getting the treatment they need and who choose to subject me too much to their instability.  The burned is usually in the form of flakiness/going MIA for no reason at all but in a hurtful way (like we'll be in regular close touch and all of a sudden radio silence and also at times they know it's part of friendship to reach out).  I have mental illness in my family (I don't have a mental illness) so I believe I attract people with illnesses because somehow they sense  that I "get it".  

I also wanted to point out that in your side two of the comments kind of added fuel to the fire.  Why point out that alcohol is high in calories like that - it's not a throw away comment depending on context - I find that women especially make comments like that too often and it's uncomfortable as to how to respond or whether to respond.  It's obvious that alcohol is empty calories and yes if you said that in front of me I'd have no reaction -throw away comment -but some people are so inundated with comments about what's fattening, what's not, people who constantly comment on whether they should be eating this or that (not saying you do!) that it's overkill!

Also particularly given your job I'd be more selective about what I post on FAcebook.  You're not a media person so no need to report on a celebrity who has covid.  Everyone knows.  I get that you wanted to express care but I'd do that privately or to a small group message off line.  Here's an example - a friend of mine is now really into an anti racism group she joined and really into discussing diversity and racism, etc.  It's not a topic I will ever discuss on Facebook. But I'm open to having private discussions.  I found a really well written article on different points of view about diversity and racism.  I sent it to her PRIVATELY.  She's the one who said she wanted to have a private discussion by phone so I sent it to her so maybe we could include it in a future phone call.  No response from her.  I made the BIG mistake of replying to one of her FB posts "by the way I sent you an article" - her post had nothing to do with diversity and I just wrote "article".  She replied "oh!! yes I saw it and shared it with my anti racism group!!  OK. 

 

So, now I know never ever to do that again -never to trust someone that when I send something privately it's because it's private.  My reference was generic but she got the impression -somehow -not sure how as she's a 50 year old therapist who should know better - that I was comfortable with her referencing something sensitive and specific about what I sent.  

Why that example?  Because once you're in the wild wild world of social media really anything goes.  Your risk to take -if you must share the news that's posted everywhere else about a celebrity doing this or that or suffering from this or that then know that people may respond in really unusual, bizarre or offensive ways.  Even if you have the disclaimer about "this is not for debate about this person, just want to show I care that Megan Markle is having trouble choosing which movie deal to sign" (joke!!!).  It's social media.  Anything goes.  It's why I don't post obvious news or anything on any sensitive topic.  

 

Having said all this R sounds like a train wreck and a high maintenance drama queen so I'd enforce strict boundaries and keep my distance. Sorry this is so frustrating!!

Well to be honest I usually don't even post any opinions on anything and mainly just share funny and silly pictures and pictures of cute animals. And just upload photos of myself but nothing incriminating at all. The reason why I shared that post by Lena Dunham was because she was talking about all the terrible COVID symptoms she got even as a young person  and she was saying to please don't think it's a hoax. It was nothing about anything political or social issues really. So I didn't appreciate the comment which was totally unrelated "She's a paedophile". I actually don't think that's true and one of my other friends also commented and even said that. You can Google this matter if you're bored and want something to do lol

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On 1/3/2021 at 1:20 AM, Jibralta said:

I agree. Rachel is obviously limited in some important ways, and can't be trusted to act appropriately in many situations.

I don't think there's any point in "working on the friendship." I don't think it's a realistic approach to any friendship, really. You both are who are. If you want to preserve some semblance of your friendship, you have to recognize her limits and keep her at arm's length. 

For example:

Don't invite Rachel to trips like this. She doesn't enjoy them.

I'm actually really surprised that you were willing to rearrange your plans and inconvenience your other friends for Rachel's benefit. That's too much. Hands down, I would have said "no" to this. "I hope you can find your way over, Rachel. But if you can't, there's always next year!"

Great advice. It's just a good rule of thumb to follow, Rachel or no Rachel.

Yes I've realised that I have to stop accommodating Rachael when she's actually being selfish. I've actually decided to start distancing myself and not talk or hang out as much. I've also noticed that she often finds issue with people with things that aren't that bad and even things she does herself.

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On 1/3/2021 at 1:44 AM, maritalbliss86 said:

If you read about how women who have autism come across, it's usually a bunch of examples like this.  Very hard on them to keep friends long-term, unless they accept the normal social regulations and expectations (which is possible, but that usually happens from VERY good parenting).

You have two choices I see here... 

1) Keep her as a friend and be kind and meet up when you can.  Accept her limits of not enjoying walking (and refusing to, even though there's no pain/anxiety etc.).  Keep her and just do easy things, but confront her if she's rude.  For this option you'd have to accept she may not care if you call her out on it.  She enjoys being rude. Period.  Or she just may not be capable of caring that it hurts other people.  Either way, keeping her in your life means you'd have to accept this and work from there.

2) Distance yourself slowly.  There's no way this won't hurt her if she values your friendship in any way, but if you choose this because you just can't deal with her limits and rudeness, it's ok, it's totally your choice. 

Thank you for the good advice! I'm not sure that I can actually really continue to be friends because when I have pointed out to Rachael that she was rude, she never saw it and she reacts very defensively and can't stand being challenged. She has never apologised for these behaviours. I've now started trying to distance myself and be more just acquaintances that only talk occasionally.

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On 1/3/2021 at 2:30 AM, LaHermes said:

That's exactly it, MB.

I am at a loss to understand why anyone would want anything to do with this person. 

Why make life hard for yourself, OP?  

Also if she is physically and mentally unwell then she needs professional help. 

She does see a psychiatrist and psychologist and is on medication. She said her diagnosis is depression and anxiety. So based on that I don't think there is an excuse to behave the way she does. Maybe if she had autism it may be more understandable but I honestly think it's just her personality. She even said she knows she's blunt but that's just who she is and people need to accept it.

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On 1/3/2021 at 4:03 AM, boltnrun said:

Do you perhaps have codependent tendencies?

I ask this because codependent people will do anything, even inconvenience themselves and even put themselves into financial distress in order to try to keep a friend or family member happy because they fear abandonment. You allowed her to take over your party because you were trying to make her happy, for example.

I would ask myself, why do I want to remain friends with a person who treats me the way she does? Why do I feel that some small scraps of niceness are worth all the things I have to put up with?

You are actually so right! I actually think I really am codependent for real! I was with my ex-fiance for two years who has anger issues, depression, anxiety, drug issues. I supported him so much and made a lot of excuses and allowances for him. In the end I just couldn't take it anymore. I need to stop making excuses for people and doing everything just for them.

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9 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Well to be honest I usually don't even post any opinions on anything and mainly just share funny and silly pictures and pictures of cute animals. And just upload photos of myself but nothing incriminating at all. The reason why I shared that post by Lena Dunham was because she was talking about all the terrible COVID symptoms she got even as a young person  and she was saying to please don't think it's a hoax. It was nothing about anything political or social issues really. So I didn't appreciate the comment which was totally unrelated "She's a paedophile". I actually don't think that's true and one of my other friends also commented and even said that. You can Google this matter if you're bored and want something to do lol

Yes.  So I'd stick to the cute/funny pictures of animals etc and be really strict about that.  I posted a comment the other day "by the way I sent you an article on private messaging you might like' and she replied, outing me as to what the subject matter was which I would have preferred to remain private.  I only commented because I knew we'd been discussing that topic privately so I wanted to make sure she didn't think I never responded.  Last time ever I will comment on her posts, last time ever I will discuss that topic with her. But it's on me that I posted publicly with a reference however general.  

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She sounds really emotionally and verbally abusive. Sorry to hear this, Tinydance. I don't have any other words. If it means cutting down the contact you have with the mutual friends to recover or bring more zen back into your life, I'd opt for this rather than keep having this person in my life. She doesn't sound like she values or respects you or any of you as individuals (your other friends). 

I'm also wondering if she's suffering mentally or emotionally and severely unhappy with her life. People like this radiate outwards and are negative or abrasive towards everyone they meet. She may be depressed. 

Suggest for her to seek help or speak with a doctor and be frank that her comments are rude and uncalled for. You can be frank or opt to simply have less of her in your life. 

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On 1/3/2021 at 4:03 AM, boltnrun said:

Do you perhaps have codependent tendencies?

I ask this because codependent people will do anything, even inconvenience themselves and even put themselves into financial distress in order to try to keep a friend or family member happy because they fear abandonment. You allowed her to take over your party because you were trying to make her happy, for example.

I would ask myself, why do I want to remain friends with a person who treats me the way she does? Why do I feel that some small scraps of niceness are worth all the things I have to put up with?

I this this entire post is worth repeating, especially the bolded part.  Maybe this is less about her and more about you?  

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