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Unsupportive "friend" after I opened up about suicidal thoughts - Should I respond?


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Hi all,

I'm going to make this short as I could go on and on. I have a "friend" who clearly has something for me. When we met, we were colleagues and bonded over that. He was in a relationship at the time and I've been single since I met him, but I have zero interest in him. We've known each other for two years, but worked in the same company for three years before that.

Back in July, he asked me a question about me being single and I said I was too busy to look for a relationship (plus COVID restrictions, hello). He called me "crazy" and basically stood me up when we were supposed to go for a run the following day.

Fast forward, he reached out to me in January to ask me how I'm doing after months of no-contact and within 5 minutes he said "I'm now single". OK.

He texted me last week. I was in a really dark place mentally as I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained from my job & living situation. I've been working insane hours with unreasonable deadlines and with my health declining due to my living situation at the time (I moved since). It took a serious toll on my mental health to the point where I had a severe burn out on Wednesday. I spent the day crying in bed while working and contemplating suicide 24/7. This is very much unlike me. I opened up about this sensitive topic and said I wasn't doing well and thought death would be better than dealing with these impossible work deadlines etc...

Whether he was uncomfortable with me saying that or he just didn't put two and two together, his response was quite dismissive. He didn't even address the suicidal hint and simply said: "You should come to my place, I can cook for you". Whilst it is a nice gesture under normal circumstances, if someone is literally thinking about suicide, the last thing they care about is a pasta bake. I stopped responding as I didn't even get a single word of support or help aside from that offer.

He texted me last night to ask me as to whether things have gotten any better. I haven't responded yet, but wonder if I should? Or maybe am I too harsh?

 

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8 minutes ago, RuedeRivoli said:

said I wasn't doing well and thought death would be better than dealing with these impossible work deadlines etc...

He didn't even address the suicidal hint and simply said: "You should come to my place, I can cook for you".

He offered to be by your side. What's wrong with that? If you are suicidal, don't "hint" to acquaintances, call 911 or a suicide hotline.

It's unfair to expect people who are not psychiatrists, trained counselors, medical professionals etc. to deal with this.

He could have hung up and called 911 himself to send them to your place for a wellness check, is that what you hoped for?

Edited by Wiseman2
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Just now, Wiseman2 said:

He offered to be by your side. What's wrong with that? If you are suicidal, don't "hint" to acquaintances, call 911 or a suicide hotline.

It's unfair to expect non psychiatrists or trained counselors, medical professionals etc. to deal with this.

He could have hung up and called 911 himself to send them to your place for a wellness check, is that what you hoped for?

No. My issue is that he didn't say anything or offered any kind words. He just straight asked me if I wanted to come to his place for dinner. In my opinion, any decent person would try to have a conversation to ask what's wrong etc.. I found his response to be a bit dismissive and as if he was taking advantage of a moment of weakness to get me to his place, but maybe I'm wrong.

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Have you been to a doctor about this? Here's a friend who offers you in person company and comfort and your paranoia sees this as evil? Please see a doctor. Don't manipulate people into texting about your bad day.

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I'm sorry that you're going through such a tough time. But I agree with Wiseman that you're setting yourself up for even more disappointment by expecting a specific reaction from somebody who is not a trained mental health professional. 

I might have interpreted his reaction as a kind offer of companionship during your time of crisis. Perhaps it might have been more convenient if he offered to come to your place. In either case, it seems the sentiment was there.

But you know him best, and that leads to my next question:

22 minutes ago, RuedeRivoli said:

he was taking advantage of a moment of weakness to get me to his place

If this is the kind of person he is, why in the world did you expose a vulnerability to him?

In this kind of crisis, you should seek a trained professional. At the very least, reach out to a trusted family member or a friend to give you support.

Edited by Jibralta
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1 hour ago, RuedeRivoli said:

No. My issue is that he didn't say anything or offered any kind words. He just straight asked me if I wanted to come to his place for dinner. In my opinion, any decent person would try to have a conversation to ask what's wrong etc.. I found his response to be a bit dismissive and as if he was taking advantage of a moment of weakness to get me to his place, but maybe I'm wrong.

I think he showed you he wasn’t a friend when he called you “crazy,” blew you off, and didn’t reconnect after six months.  
 

I am sorry that you were having such a difficult time,  but do not understand why you did not reach out to family or a close and reliable friend.  
 

i would have written him off last year. 
 

 

Edited by Hollyj
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Just now, RuedeRivoli said:

I do have friends, but not close enough to discuss this with them.

I’m asking, as he does not sound like much of a friend. 
 

have you thought about why you do not have any close friends? Why don’t you let people get close? 

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I'm confused about why you aren't comfortable sharing this with family and friends but felt comfortable sharing it with someone who called you "crazy" in the past and who stood you up.

I would say his reaction was kinder than what I would have expected under the circumstances, but obviously wasn't what you wanted.

What do you feel would have been an appropriate, kindly response?

I hope you are feeling better now.

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

Does your area have a suicide hotline ? I am sorry you are feeling this way. 

I am sorry too.  It's a really heavy thing to text someone especially if it's not a close friend or a mental health professional.  Maybe he didn't know if you meant it, what to say - so he offered you support by offering you companionship.  I used to be friends with a woman who has bipolar disorder.  She got very flaky on me so I put the ball in her court.  One day I texted her after 6 weeks of not hearing from her and asked casually how she was doing - she cryptically texted something like 'well yesterday that would have been a loaded question and today not as much".  I chose not to reply to that part of her text. 

I resented her wanting me to drag something out of her - if she wanted to share she could have shared.  If she'd mentioned being suicidal i would have advised her to call her therapist and indicated I was sorry she felt that way.  Perhaps your friend -who is not a mental health professional -wasn't sure whether to take you seriously.  Perhaps he scrolls by all those cliche texts that beg people to say the right thing to someone who is suicidal and command you to paste it on your own timeline to spread the word.  I wouldn't blame him because all a non-professional can do is show their form of concern, however awkward.  If he even knew you were being serious.

I hope you are reaching out to get the support you need.  Again I am sorry you feel so down!

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I'm confused about why you aren't comfortable sharing this with family and friends but felt comfortable sharing it with someone who called you "crazy" in the past and who stood you up.

I would say his reaction was kinder than what I would have expected under the circumstances, but obviously wasn't what you wanted.

What do you feel would have been an appropriate, kindly response?

I hope you are feeling better now.

 

Thanks a lot! 

As I said above, I'm not in contact with any family member and my "friends" are not close enough for me to share this type of information. This "friend" and I tend to talk about our lives, so I felt OK sharing this with him. Maybe I was wrong. I think I would have expected me to at least try to check whether the death thoughts were serious. He was kind to ask me to come to his place, but we're in a strict lockdown at the moment and there is a 5km restriction, which means I wouldn't have been able to travel anyway. This is why I expected a different response via text. 

As far as this "friend" goes, I don't think he took me seriously. I mean, I'm usually the happy go lucky individual who comes across as really stable. Suicide is not a thought that would normally cross my mind in all honesty. I have a very balanced lifestyle and certainly do not think of suicide as an option at all (at least, not normally). These thoughts took over me almost unexpectedly, but there was a gradual built of beforehand I suspect.

My previous apartment had some serious mold & humidity issues, which I'm aware can impact your cognitive function and even trigger depressive episodes in more severe cases. I think this may have triggered the heavy depressive thoughts & increasing anxiety I was experiencing. I left that apartment about a few days ago and moved into a new place. I almost instantly felt a shift. 

I hope it was merely a temporary feeling as this is out of character for me.

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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Posted (edited)

 

20 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I am sorry too.  It's a really heavy thing to text someone especially if it's not a close friend or a mental health professional.  Maybe he didn't know if you meant it, what to say - so he offered you support by offering you companionship.  I used to be friends with a woman who has bipolar disorder.  She got very flaky on me so I put the ball in her court.  One day I texted her after 6 weeks of not hearing from her and asked casually how she was doing - she cryptically texted something like 'well yesterday that would have been a loaded question and today not as much".  I chose not to reply to that part of her text. 

I resented her wanting me to drag something out of her - if she wanted to share she could have shared.  If she'd mentioned being suicidal i would have advised her to call her therapist and indicated I was sorry she felt that way.  Perhaps your friend -who is not a mental health professional -wasn't sure whether to take you seriously.  Perhaps he scrolls by all those cliche texts that beg people to say the right thing to someone who is suicidal and command you to paste it on your own timeline to spread the word.  I wouldn't blame him because all a non-professional can do is show their form of concern, however awkward.  If he even knew you were being serious.

I hope you are reaching out to get the support you need.  Again I am sorry you feel so down!

Thank you. I realize it was a heavy thing to text to someone and I assume he thought I was being sarcastic. Truth be told, since I always make jokes and am quite a bubbly person, he probably didn't think for a split second I could have been serious.

That's the issue. He didn't show any form of concern. He actually never responded to that sentence and just asked me whether I wanted to come over fully knowing we're in a strict lockdown with travel restrictions. I would have expected him to simply ask me if I'm OK or if I needed any help. He could have simply asked whether I was serious about these thoughts and if I needed any kind of help with anything. Asking me to travel to his apartment during a lockdown which prevents us from exceeding 5km is not the ideal solution either. Also, since I know he is into me, I didn't want him to start drawing conclusions from me going to his place. 

I don't want to start discrediting how I felt simply because he didn't have the bare minimum skills to show an ounce of concern. 

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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Non-professionals generally don't know how to respond to these kind of things.

I told my brother and my nephew about when I was seriously planning my suicide (due to the absolutely wrong anti-depressant being prescribed to me which caused suicidal thoughts).  I told them I actually wrote out a list.  My nephew responded with "Like a bucket list?"  And I slowly said "Noooo...like a do this do that before I commit suicide list.  Things like unlock the door and make sure my cat has plenty of food and water."  And my brother chirped "So, an ANTI-BUCKET LIST!!!"

Yes, at the time I felt it was a bit insensitive and like they weren't taking it seriously.  And for the record, they asked me what had happened while I was not doing well at all so I wasn't just spilling for no reason, and since I live with them I wanted them to be aware in case I started behaving strangely again.  But I don't fault them for their seemingly callous response because they are not professionals and truly didn't know what to do or say.

I just feel like with that guy's history of calling you "crazy", it probably wasn't a great idea to confide in him if you wanted a caring response.

Again, I hope you are doing much better.

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He called you crazy and stood you up.  I would NEVER trust anyone who called me crazy AND stood me up.  No way. 

He doesn't sound like a friend to me. 

If he contacts you again, remain well mannered, respectful, gracious yet decline invitations or overtures. 

I think it's harsh to ignore his invitation.  You should always give people common courtesy by replying and declining with a simple:  "No thank you."  If he asks why, you don't owe him an explanation.  Repeat "No thank you" and leave it at that.  If he contacts you in the future, it's your decision whether or not you wish to have an acquaintance type rapport with him.  If you want to keep him as an acquaintance, keep your brief and infrequent correspondence on a superficial level only.  If you wish to dissolve and sever contact, then request that he not contact you anymore.  If he's relentless, then ignore, block and delete him permanently. 

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41 minutes ago, Cherylyn said:

He called you crazy and stood you up.  I would NEVER trust anyone who called me crazy AND stood me up.  No way. 

He doesn't sound like a friend to me. 

If he contacts you again, remain well mannered, respectful, gracious yet decline invitations or overtures. 

I think it's harsh to ignore his invitation.  You should always give people common courtesy by replying and declining with a simple:  "No thank you."  If he asks why, you don't owe him an explanation.  Repeat "No thank you" and leave it at that.  If he contacts you in the future, it's your decision whether or not you wish to have an acquaintance type rapport with him.  If you want to keep him as an acquaintance, keep your brief and infrequent correspondence on a superficial level only.  If you wish to dissolve and sever contact, then request that he not contact you anymore.  If he's relentless, then ignore, block and delete him permanently. 

Thank you. I agree with you completely. I should have cut him off when he called me "crazy" for wanting to remain single. Him standing me up should have been the last straw.

My apologies, but I don't recall writing that I ignored his invitation. I simply expressed how I felt about his invitation. I obviously wasn't going to delve into trivial details such as the way I declined. I actually declined it politely as I had to wrap up my move anyway. I told him I appreciated the offer, but wouldn't be able to make it as I was wrapping up my move. 

I think I will sever ties with him because he seems to think this might be headed towards a romantic relationship when I seem to think his friendship is weak and not what I'm looking for, ultimately.

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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57 minutes ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I don't want to start discrediting how I felt simply because he didn't have the bare minimum skills to show an ounce of concern. 

I don't think anyone is discrediting the way that you feel.

However, I do think you are focusing on the wrong thing at the moment: the response of a person who you have an iffy relationship with at best, and who has a demonstrated history of seeming somewhat insensitive to your troubles. 

Instead, focus on getting yourself a good support system. Post here if it helps. Focus your energy on getting yourself back on track emotionally. Don't allow yourself to ruminate on this one-off situation with an acquaintance who was in all likelihood caught off-guard by your confession. It will just distract you from feeling better.

Edited by Jibralta
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2 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

Thank you. I agree with you completely. I should have cut him off when he called me "crazy" for wanting to remain single. Him standing me up should have been the last straw.

My apologies, but I don't recall writing that I ignored his invitation. I simply expressed how I felt about his invitation. I obviously wasn't going to delve into trivial details such as the way I declined. I actually declined it politely as I had to wrap up my move anyway. I told him I appreciated the offer, but wouldn't be able to make it as I was wrapping up my move. 

I think I will sever ties with him because he seems to think this might be headed towards a romantic relationship when I seem to think his friendship is weak and not what I'm looking for, ultimately.

I'm sorry for saying you ignored him.  You did the right thing by politely declining.  You declined with good manners. 

You're doing the right thing by dissolving contact with him.  You are non-deceitful and you're not the type to string him along.  You have integrity by severing contact.  Since his friendship is weak and it's not what you're looking for, you know it's for the best to go your separate ways.

I wouldn't like anyone who called me crazy AND stood me up.  That type of behavior is incredibly RUDE and uncalled for.  I don't even keep anyone as a friend if they did that to me.  No way.  One and done, two if you're lucky.  I'm done after one!

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19 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

Thank you. I agree with you completely. I should have cut him off when he called me "crazy" for wanting to remain single. Him standing me up should have been the last straw.

My apologies, but I don't recall writing that I ignored his invitation. I simply expressed how I felt about his invitation. I obviously wasn't going to delve into trivial details such as the way I declined. I actually declined it politely as I had to wrap up my move anyway. I told him I appreciated the offer, but wouldn't be able to make it as I was wrapping up my move. 

I think I will sever ties with him because he seems to think this might be headed towards a romantic relationship when I seem to think his friendship is weak and not what I'm looking for, ultimately.

Focus on developing a close friend circle,  you should have people you can reach out to.  

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I took the "crazy" reference as not mentally ill.

If i told someone i wanted to bungee jump, they could tell me i am crazy. It doesn't mean they think i am mentally ill.  If i told someone i never was dating ever again (if i was single) and someone told me that i was crazy, its that they don't believe me - not that i am mentally ill.

Sorry, you are being unreasonable. 

An invite for a meal is an invite to talk.  But you don't want someone to listen, which is what that gesture was so what exactly DO you want? Do you want someone to come swoop you up and rescue you?

Overall, i think you are picking the wrong person to confide him. He clearly let you know he is single, he invited you for dinner.  In some ways, you are kind of upset that he's interested in you and won't be your male girlfriend who just listens.  He doesn't want that.  

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My heart goes out to you.

I can only speak for myself rather than to what you may want to do.

I would drop contact with him, not because he didn't respond to your time of need as you may have wished, but because of the way he behaved before.

I wouldn't invest in more thought about him, because he had already demonstrated that he's not exactly friendship material. Your interpretation of his most recent response just drives that home for you.

What WE say doesn't matter--we don't know him. What YOU have told yourself about him is the thing to trust.

I'd focus instead on reaching out to the social services department of your local hospital or your health care network for a referral to someone who can best help you to work through your stresses and your pain.

Holding you in my thoughts,
Cat

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