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My friend [30 F] is upset and hasn't talked to me for months because I [31 F] said I couldn't talk about a certain topic with her...now acting super petty and asking for an apology.


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I'm going to try and sum up the background on this. My friend Melissa is super passionate about her views on a particular political topic and has talked about it some throughout our friendship. I myself did not know much about it but didn't enjoy hearing about it from her because some of the stuff she would say sounded a bit extreme. Regardless, I never said anything until recently. Melissa was going on one of her rants and starting to say things that were really upsetting me. Just stuff that didn't sit right with my spirit. I finally told her I couldn't really talk about it anymore with her because I didn't think we would agree on it and it was best to just move on. I tried acting normal in our group chat with our friend Mary afterward, sending memes and texts to show that I wasn't upset with Melissa, I just wanted to talk about something else. We (as in me+ Melissa+Mary) don't usually talk about politics anyway so it wasn't strange for me to change the subject to TV/movies.

Melissa hasn't said a single thing to me since then, I've gotten increasingly upset with her reaction to this and feel like ending the friendship tbh. We used to chat almost every day casually but I feel so fed up. After about a week I realized she was seriously giving me the silent treatment (stonewalling?) and thought about reaching out, but decided against it because I feel the silent treatment is manipulative. This is where her behavior just got meaner IMO. First, Mary told me that Melissa asked her to stop posting in the group chat (which feels like Melissa was trying to alienate me). Then, I hear again through this friend that she was upset to see me + Mary hanging out on social media. I still refused to reach out to Melissa because I did not want to fall for what felt like stonewalling and manipulation in response to me standing up for my beliefs.

It's now been literally months and we haven't said a single word to each other. I heard again through Mary that Melissa is upset I haven't reached out to her and questioning if I even want to be her friend. Melissa is upset I didn't reach out for her birthday, too (meanwhile I got engaged but she didn't reach out to me either). Mary told me that she also said if I want to be friends again, she wants an apology for 'shutting her down' and for me to acknowledge her views.

All of it just feels so petty, catty, and mean. I'm just so done with it. I feel such guilt that Mary got dragged into this and feel afraid at what Melissa might say about me. All of it takes me back to feeling like a teenager because the behavior seems so immature. I seriously couldn't believe someone who was once my friend was treating me like this in response to me just asking to not talk about a certain topic. I just felt so hurt and confused. I feel angry now, and I don't know what to do or why I care so much.

I feel like these are all friendship red flags, so I should just leave her in the dust, right? Am I overreacting a bit here? Do I send a goodbye message with my reasons? Do I just let it drift away? Quite honestly my life has been fine without her in it but her reaction to all of this has upset me a lot for some reason. I'm so tired of wasting emotional energy on this BS.

in summary: Told a good friend I couldn't talk about a certain topic, have gotten the silent treatment for months in response to saying this. Now friend is demanding an apology for shutting her down in order to be friends again. I feel pretty certain that I want to end the friendship, but a) if so how do I do it and b) am I overreacting by being so upset about this?

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27 minutes ago, Hour-Shine-377 said:

Told a good friend I couldn't talk about a certain topic, have gotten the silent treatment for months in response to saying this. 

She's not a good friend if she needs to drag you into political and other rants.

There are plenty of like-minded people out there who are not so opinionated that they offend people left an right.

You were right to stop listening to this nonsense. Let her go to rallies and do whatever she does without annoying you. Choose peace.

It would be best to delete and block her from all your social media and messaging apps.  People who she is friends with could start spamming you with their rants, etc. 

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She acts like she is 15, not 30 year old. Unless you really insulted her in some way, telling her that she shouldnt be talking about the topic because it makes you uncomfortable and that you dont agree is not the basis for being insulted and demanding apology. If she did "blow off" after a week and maybe just act like nothing happened then maybe it was salvagable, but like this, yes, you dont need somebody who would pout out that much over something so small. There is enough internet today for somebody to express political opinions, its not the reason to burden your friends if they dont want to hear about it. Also voting for leaving it alone. Dont waste any more of your time on people like that.

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It’s totally fine to tell someone you don’t want to discuss a certain topic. I have a friend with extreme views on vaccines and covid. I can’t stomach it so if she were to go there I’d tell her “I feel too upset when I hear your views because it affects my family in a significant way so I’m not going to discuss it “.  She’d respect that. Just like I told  another friend from the beginning I will never ever buy her MLM products and do not want free samples. 
To me though if you take that kind  of hard line you have to walk the walk.  You can’t partially discuss or reference even. That’s not fair either.  So if you were and are consistent she should respect that.  

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I agree that Melissa is acting very immature. Giving you the silent treatment was petty and the way she's been trying to involve Mary is immature. If she had things to say to you then she should have been saying them to you herself. Trying to deliberately exclude you from the group chat was very immature.

I know that you were friends, but to be honest it actually sounds like you're incompatible. Melissa obviously feels very strongly and really cares about this political topic. To her it may be the equivalent of someone being passionate about their religion, some kind of activism, being vegan, things like that. The fact that she's so offended I think shows that this topic is really important to her.

You are not obliged to discuss this topic if it makes you feel uncomfortable but it probably means that you and her are just not suitable as friends. This tends to happen when people have very different values and beliefs. Even if it's just one belief but if it's big enough it can really be a problem.

For example, I used to have a friend who's vegetarian but I'm not vegetarian or vegan. She used to preach to me constantly about eating meat, telling me which personal care products I'm allowed to use because they are cruelty free, etc. Myself and other people found it annoying. Don't get me wrong, I think that's great she made the choice to be vegetarian but I'm not and I didn't want to be constantly preached at. I don't really speak to this friend anymore. It's not necessarily because of that but we just drifted. I think for people to be friends, at least close friends, they need to have the same or similar core values and beliefs. With Melissa you don't have that. 

I can also see her point of view too because if someone really cares about something and is very interested in it, but their friend tells them they can't talk about it, it would be frustrating. It's policing that person and basically saying they can't be themselves and discuss something really important to them. That doesn't mean that you have to discuss things that make you uncomfortable but it just means that Melissa needs to have other friends who are fine with it.

Being friends does mean that you can be your real self and don't have to censor your beliefs. So that's why usually people of similar backgrounds are friends because they share the same beliefs and interests in the first place. E.g. people of a certain religion being friends and they can talk about their religion honestly. For example, I'm agnostic/atheist so if I was friends with someone who had strong religious views I don't think it would work out. I'm not interested in discussing religion too much because I don't follow any myself and I feel bored towards it to be honest. That doesn't mean that this religious person isn't entitled to discuss their religion though. It just means that I'm not the right person to be their friend.

Edited by Tinydance
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/19/2021 at 3:17 PM, Hour-Shine-377 said:

I feel like these are all friendship red flags, so I should just leave her in the dust, right?

Yes.

On 9/19/2021 at 3:17 PM, Hour-Shine-377 said:

Am I overreacting a bit here?

No. You don't seem to be reacting at all, actually. You're upset, but you're thinking things through. That's the opposite of a reaction. You rightly identified her manipulativeness and you are responding (not reacting) accordingly. Why should you tremble when she decides to pause?

On 9/19/2021 at 3:17 PM, Hour-Shine-377 said:

Do I send a goodbye message with my reasons?

I wouldn't say a word to her unless she came to me to discuss whatever problem she's having. It's ridiculous that Mary is conveying Melissa's messages to you like a courtier. 

Keep Melissa in the rear view mirror, where she belongs. And tell Mary that you won't be accepting any more of her messages. 

On 9/19/2021 at 3:17 PM, Hour-Shine-377 said:

her reaction to all of this has upset me a lot for some reason.

That's the point. She's doing it to upset you (and it's working).

Stay the course. Eventually, you'll stop caring.

On 9/19/2021 at 3:17 PM, Hour-Shine-377 said:

I feel such guilt that Mary got dragged into this and feel afraid at what Melissa might say about me.

Mary is a grown woman and is capable of making her own choices. There's no reason for you to feel guilt over her role in this. 

Why are you afraid of what Melissa says about you? Is Melissa a great influencer?

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Well I think that yeah unfortunately you and your friend are probably too different. I'm guessing that this topic she was ranting about is actually really important to her. But it's not important to you and in fact it makes you feel uncomfortable. It's true that you should be able to express how you feel but on the other hand it doesn't feel good to be censored by a friend either.

I imagine if I was talking about something really interesting and important to me and my friend told me to stop and said I can't talk about it, yes it does sting. People should be able to be themselves with their friends (within reason).

I think that's why it's important to be friends with like minded people with the same beliefs and values to begin with. If you have similar ways of thinking, political persuasions, beliefs, etc. you can just "gel" naturally. That way nobody needs to censor anyone because you are already on the same page with your views and what you want to talk about.

I agree it's immature that M said to S not to post in the group chat. But on the other hand if M didn't want to speak to you then why have the group chat going? If she's talking only to S and you're talking only to S, it does make sense why M would want to end the group chat. So M could have stopped posting in the group chat herself, but I think she took it too far by being controlling towards S and telling her what to do.

I think that if you don't want to be friends with M anymore then you should probably just tell her this and then delete her from Facebook. You have to try to see it from her perspective too that she really cares about that topic and you basically "shut her up". You haven't mentioned in any of your posts what the topic actually is so obviously it's difficult for me to say whether that topic was offensive or warranted to make you feel uncomfortable.

I think this is the thing, if you don't like what someone talks about or is interested in, you don't have to be friends. But I think you also can't really say to them: "Don't talk about XYZ". Friends should be free to talk about what they want, within reason of course. Unless it's something very extreme like they support Hitler and are pro holocaust and the Nazis or something. But e.g. if your friend talks about a political topic a lot, let's say they follow XYZ political party but you don't, it's just a matter of difference.

For example, if I had a vegan friend who is an animal rights activist and talks about how eating meat is bad, etc. I'm actually not vegetarian or vegan, I eat meat. So it would make me feel uncomfortable but my friend has the right to be vegan and to feel passionately about it. If I don't like then I don't have to be friends. Basically all my close friends are not vegan and also eat meat, and we never run into any of these issues.

What I just said is purely only an example but I'm trying to make a point that if your views are too different, no you probably can't actually be friends. Which is why you've had this big falling out.

 

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4 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

I would leave Melissa in your rearview mirror for good. 

And I would tell Mary that you don’t wish to hear any updates about Melissa. Full stop. 

I agree with this. 

Sometimes we outgrow people/friends. Appreciate the good times and let go with kindness.

By that I mean- say nothing to her. If she contacts you, stand your ground by saying something like Melissa, I wish you the best.  

The next time Mary says something, I would tell her,  I do feel bad for how things went with her, but I am not willing to deal with the pettiness etc. let's not talk about it.

I posted about ending a friendship several months ago. I still struggle with it and being hurt and mad at her.  As well as being hurt and mad with myself for enabling her bad behavior. 

So it is hard... but stay true to yourself.  She's not acting right and until she does, there's not a lot you can do.  She wants an apology but you are not sorry. So it's a power play on her part... she's the victim and you have to bend the knee to her.  But that's ridiculous.

I think we've all had topics we had to avoid with friends and family.  And to ask someone to not talk about something because it's upsetting to you is your right. 

Just as it is her right to decide she wants to talk about it and choose to end the friendship as a deal breaker.

Neither person is really wrong but she's handling it in a way that is a deal breaker for you.

 

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I'd let it go, she doesn't sound like even a half reasonable friend, she sounds like a pain in the butt.  Very immature of her to act the way she has been.

No need for a letter to say good bye, I've had enough.  Just let it go.

I've had friends that have drifted off and it's better to just move on in life thank dwell on them and their childish reactions.

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I agree with everyone's advise.

I do want to add one thing.  Things said in text often miss context and tone.  Things in black and white type can easily be interpreted as cutting.  Seeing this was comment was shared with audience gives it just another level of possible interpretation.  I can't help but think had you shared with her in person your desire to not engage in a hot button issue the reaction might have been different.

My last job we had an unwritten practice.  When responding to a coworker in type, after the third exchange I got up from my desk to speak with them personally.  I had years of experiences of having written conversations that would start to go sideways, but the minute I showed up at their desk I could turn the conversation around.

Not sure what you would do with this advise at this point.  If this friendship is important to you, you might consider speaking with her personally and not over text and see anything changes.  

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Mary can make her own decisions so don't feel guilty about this. If you want speak with Mary and ask that your conversations remain private as Melissa has chosen to walk away. You understand that Mary is being quite an instigator herself becoming this involved or as a go-between, right? She needs to mind her own business and not stick her head between what goes on between Melissa and you. 

I'd be upset just as you are but you're also noticing that life doesn't wait nor does it care for silly spats like this. It goes on. It bothers you because you were treated poorly by your friend who is impulsive and selfish. The best way to move on with your life is to live well, with or without these people. 

Whatever spoke or didn't speak to your spirit earlier? Live that rule and don't become like someone else you disagree with. It's good to move on and let go of this. 

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40 minutes ago, reinventmyself said:

When responding to a coworker in type, after the third exchange I got up from my desk to speak with them personally.  I had years of experiences of having written conversations that would start to go sideways, but the minute I showed up at their desk I could turn the conversation around.

I love this!  Unfortunately with covid I guess you could pick up a phone, which I have done.  

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