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Not sure if the friendship's over (LONG!)


confuddled
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So I'm hoping somebody can help me out, because I don't know what to do.

 

I have been very close friends with somebody for over three years. We met through work. He was going through a really bad time with an ex and we spent an awful lot of time talking things through. I always thought of him as a very special person and I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever done more for anybody in my life.

 

He used to leave me cards to say thank you, or send email thank yous. He used to tell me absolutely everything about what he was doing and where he was going. He used to check and see if I needed anything at lunch when he was going out. He used to just shoot the breeze with me and play silly games and tricks with me and it was a lot of fun, despite the terrible things he was dealing with.

 

So gradually he gained his confidence back and started to be a lot happier and it was wonderful. I was so happy for him. Good things came into his life. He started asking me to do stuff for him and I gladly took care of it. Making CDs for his friends, helping him with different projects, collecting things for him, dropping things round to his house, giving him lifts when he needed them. I never ever ever minded doing any of this. As I told him often, he was (is?) my best friend in work. I never asked anything of him in return except the respect of friends and his honesty.

 

To cut out loads, there was other stuff going on with a new woman. I advised him not to go there. He ignored my advice. He doesn't have to do what I tell him, he has to make up his own mind about things and that's fine, I understand that. But it ended up a little messy. So I listened and advised more, as did other friends of his. It seemed to calm down and things were fine.

 

I went through a bad emotional patch myself a little while ago. At first, his idea of cheering me up was of getting me to do more things for his other friends, like make CDs. I would have liked him to make a CD for me to cheer me up. He said he couldn't make CDs. Then he said that I was obviously having problems and he would leave me alone and not bother me.

 

Whenever we go out in company, he barely talks to me all night and then ends the evening by coming up to me and saying "Haven't got talking to you all night ..." Dur! It didn't bother me all that much before, I thought it was quite funny that he did that, but now I look at other friendships between people and I see that people have OBVIOUS best friends. You can tell by the time they spend together, the things they say about each other, etc. I am like a secret best friend.

 

Also there is another person who works with us. I have always got on ok with her, but I wouldn't exactly call her a friend because she has particular personality traits that I really don't like and my 'best friend' knows this. So he has recently spent a lot more time talking to her and taking her advice, which he seems to take more heed of than he did of mine. When I explained that I felt uncomfortable about this, or in fact when I say anything about her, he says that I hate her, which is untrue. I know that she repeats the things he has told her to other people and that bothers me as torture wouldn't drag out of me anything he told me in confidence. He doesn't seem to mind that much though.

 

He has lately had less and less to say to me, never asks me if I need anything for lunch, rarely plays the same stupid/silly games and tricks and often only seems to talk to me when he wants me to do something for him. I did mention this to him once, that I felt a little as if I was being used (I said it in a joking way) and he got very angry and said he'd never do that. We have (had) a 'regular' lunch date that I have only missed maybe twice because of other commitments I couldn't get out of. Recently he has been 'forgetting what day it was' and making other plans with other people, or 'not having time', etc, etc.

 

On more recent evenings out in company, once he got drunk and asked me why I'd come anyway. I was upset and didn't understand why he'd say that to me and he apologised several times and things were ok again between us.

 

It was his birthday not long ago and I gave him a card and some gifts. It was my birthday a few weeks later and he forgot. I didn't mind that, and in fact I still don't think he knew it was my birthday, but maybe he did and just didn't bother to say anything about it. I found out last week that somebody else asked him if my birthday was coming up and he told them to ask another person. If it had been me, if it had been my 'best friend' I know I would have panicked and made it MY business to find out when his birthday was. He didn't seem to care in the least. I wasn't expecting gifts or cards or anything, but a free email greeting or just him SAYING happy birthday would have been nice! Is that asking or expecting too much? Sometimes if I let him know that something he's done or said has bothered me a little, he makes me feel as though I'm making unreasonable demands upon him.

 

We were going to another event with a group of people. Normally he asks me how I'm getting in (now, I wonder if it's just because he wanted to get a ride with me). This time he didn't. He'd made his own arrangements without mentioning it to me, and he gave a lift to the other woman that I have concerns about. She made sure to let me know. I do feel a certain sense of 'rivalry' coming from her, that she wants to be his closest friend. I'm too old to do 'competition' any more. If he is taken in by the way she behaves and manipulates things, then so be it, I am not going to beg. He is a very popular person and gets on with most people. They drove past my door and could have picked me up too, but he didn't even think of offering. I told him that it had upset me a little but he didn't really say anything in response.

 

Things came to a head when I found out from somebody that the girl he'd had the messy relationship with had been telling lies about him/what had happened. I was asked to let him know, did, and told him in strictest confidence not to tell anybody else about it. He stood up, right in front of me, and told the 'other woman'. I was furious. I suppose it wasn't even the act in itself that upset me so much, it was just like the focus of all the examples of how (it seems) I am just a convenience to him and not a real friend at all. I still can't quite believe he stood there and did that in front of me when I'd just asked him not to tell ANYbody. He told me that she knew all about it and wasn't surprised. Judging from her squealing reaction of disbelief, I can't quite see how that was the case.

 

We had a huge row that evening, things were said. Afterwards and by phone the next day he apologised and I also apologised for having annoyed him with my reaction and he did say several times that he was very sorry and I was his 'best friend' but somehow his words and his actions don't seem to say the same thing. I let him know that I would need some time to process it all but that I hoped we'd be ok again and he said he would leave me be.

 

He did send me an email to say that he had already apologised and that it was a 'pity' he behaved so badly, but that it was my call how things went on from there.

 

That was almost a week ago and I haven't really spoken to him or he to me since then. I am so very very upset. He's one of the closest friends I have (had) and I can't talk to anybody about it without breaking confidences. The only other person I could talk to about it is a mutual very good friend and I can't talk to her because I don't want to put her 'in the middle' or tamper with their friendship at all.

 

I can't find my way back to being able to talk to him normally at all. I have barely slept all week and am exhausted and emotional. So I need advice.

Should I 'wake up and smell the coffee' and just accept the fact that he was never the friend to me that I have been to him, or should I try and patch things up properly? I feel that I can't tell him what I truly think without annoying him or putting him on the defensive, in which case he tends to be bad tempered and that will only upset me more.

 

I do have a nagging feeling that I have been 'used', not necessarily in a malicious way, but that I was a good person to have around for a time when he needed me, but that now he doesn't so he could care less. I also think that I have neglected some of my other friendships to focus on him because he needed me to 'be there' for a time, and I feel 'spoiled' having had his friendship, like others don't quite compare. If I told him that I know he would say I am paranoid. I'm very confused and don't know how I feel or what to do.

 

Believe it or not I have left a lot of stuff out!

 

Help! I need some 'fresh eyes' on this and comments and advice.

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Sounds to me like you were used, maybe not consciously, but you were definitely used. You were his dumping ground when he was emotional, his ride, his attendant AND his personal DJ, and it seems like you got very little in return.

 

He was probably like this before he got crushed, and you just happened to be there to watch him go from hurt and lost to confident and cocky. I'd find new, better friends... as harsh as that sounds.

 

I hope this helped... =)

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I agree with sumguy.

 

I don't think you got used in a conscient way, but you got used no matter what. And some friendships just fade away. Even with best friends.

 

It's a very hard thing to face... My best friends ditched me some years ago, and it was one of my hardest moments. But you know, people change, and we just have to accept that our friends aren't amused with our presense anymore and that they've found someone that they like to spend more time with.

 

My take would be to keep him as a friend, but don't expect much from him. Meanwhile, go out and search friendship in other people.

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Thanks both for your comments. I think maybe some part of me agrees with you both and sees that as well, I just don't want it to be true as I have invested so much in this friendship and saw it going on forever.

 

We were very close and it was very fun and very special and I hate to give up on that, but maybe things just don't stay that way forever. I don't think I can ever feel that 'connected' to someone who's just a friend again, if you know what i mean.

 

I feel really sad and I feel a bit foolish as well.

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I read through your situation and nodded the whole way through, I have been through exactly the same thing almost so it happens to guys too. I had what I thought was a 'best mate' for two years, did almost everything I could for him, helped his family out (who I'd never met, they lived in a different town) and did just about everything you did. November last year I felt this was going nowhere for me, I too was the secret 'best friend' that no-one knew about. When something was wanted I was picked up and treated like a mate, after I'd done what was wanted he didnt want to know. I decided to tell him it was pointless us being mates as it was always one sided on my part, I was forever making the effort whereas he just did what he pleased, as he pleased and with whom he pleased. After saying that he told me what a nice guy I was but this but why did it take that for him to realise. Everyone else could see how he was treating me and warned me but you just dont see it yourself. For the first few weeks afterwards I felt used, gutted and hurt but as time went on it got better. I felt stronger and realised that he was just taking advantage of my good nature.

 

Anyway, we didnt speak for 8 months and recently he contacted me again. We spoke, even met but nothing has changed in that time. This time I'm abit stronger though, I won't go through it again and I won't let him get to me like I did before. In those 8 months I did something with my life, changed my job, passed my driving test and met new people and evidently he has done nothing. Yeah I was happy we had made contact again but once those old feelings started to come back I knew I didnt want to end up in the same place again. He text me last week and that was only because he wanted something and havent heard anything since, my text back was ignored. I'm leaving it there, I won't chase after him anymore and allow him to treat me that way.

 

I know its really difficult and so many emotions are involved but believe me it does get better. Just remember you are better than that and there are people out there who really do deserve your friendship. He may not realise this yet but in years to come he'll look back and realise how much you did for him and what he lost. Its true what they say, what goes around definitely comes back around. Writing this has made me feel so much better too, I have kept all that bottled up for months.

 

Take care and feel free to make contact if you want to talk some more.

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Thanks for all of you who replied.

 

Steve it sounds like your situation was very similar to mine. I hadn't even mentioned the ignored texts! He used to text all the time and I'd always reply as soon as I got a message from him. Then he started not bothering to answer my texts, even the ones that had a direct question in it. I never asked him to explain because he finds things like that demanding and irritating, I just ignored it. He texts or not as and when he feels like it. However, he once sent me a text that had no direct question in it, it was more like a comment, so I didn't feel the need to answer. The next day he wanted to know why I am not answering his texts any more!

 

I feel as though I'm in limbo now. I don't want to lose the friendship I thought I once had, but nor do I want a facsimile friendship - those are a dime a dozen. I thought this was the real deal but maybe these things just peter out?

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Don't misjudge yourself, You were an excellent friend, He was not.

 

You don't have to make some huge annoucement, just disengage yourself from him and his life slowly. Stop answering ALL the texts (if you still do) and stop going out of your way to make conversation. Most of all stop doing things for him. He'll get the idea soon enough.

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Yes, I have to keep reminding myself that I am a damn good friend and anybody would be lucky to have me as one! But I keep rehashing everything and trying to work out where I went wrong or what I did that made him get bored with me or lose interest or, I don't know.

 

There have been no texts, no emails, no doing things. It's really really hard. I just left it that I needed time to process everything and he just said he'd leave me be and he's been as good as his word.

 

He is the kind of person who needs to engage with other people, so no doubt somebody else is already getting all the texts, another person will be getting the visits for a chat and yet another, or a combination of people, will be assigned the little tasks to do. Or maybe I'm just feeling bitter and judging too harshly.

 

It's very awkward because we work together. I know I feel really sick and upset over it. I have no idea if he does or not.

 

I do think he was telling the truth all that time ago when he said that I was the best friend he'd ever had. Maybe he's just forgotten or maybe he doesn't need a 'best friend' in the way I feel I'd like to have one.

 

I can't admit to myself that it's changed or over and I just can't stand the thought of being polite aquaintances with somebody that I have been so close to and shared so much with.

 

Still stuck in limbo.

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Sorry you've had this heartache in your life, confuddled. I think I understand where you're coming from. The overall profile of your friend reminds me a lot of my ex.

 

You have to understand that some people don't form attachments like you and I and others do. We value loyalty, sincerity, reciprocity. We serve other people's needs and expect the same respect back. But not everyone's like that.

 

At the risk of misinterpreting your situation, it *sounds* to me like this guy is charming and can make people feel special. But that wonderful feeling is an inch deep and a mile wide for him. He'll as easily turn the charm on to you as he will to another co-worker, neighbor or random stranger on the street. Why? Because he can and it's enjoyable and he needs the affirmation.

 

Negative but real emotions -- someone being justifiably upset with him -- are probably too complex for him to handle. He probably just wants to be happy, which is something that people can easily be (or pretend to be) if they are self-absorbed.

 

You did nothing wrong. You formed an attachment to someone who is not able to reciprocate anymore. I know it's hard, especially because you work together, and it hurts like he**. But it will pass, if you are willing to let go. You're in limbo because it's sort of like a break up. Being close to anyone and then having them back out can be devastating, even if it wasn't a romantic relationship. I'm a woman and when one of my closer women friends started being unavailable to hang out, I really felt a loss (and a little anger as well, I don't mind telling you!).

 

I hope you'll feel better soon. Realize that anyone would be lucky to have a friend like you, and go out there and meet some new people.

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...trying to decide if I end a friendship or not, if it's a hot reaction, if I need to calm down...

But after reading your post (confuddled) I realise that the feelings you are going through are the same ones as mine... We are both spending too much time thinking of what happened, what have I done, what has he done...

The real issue is a very deep and strong felling that makes us question the friendship. And that feeling is not going away that easy, and actually to me, keeping contact with my friend (?) is making me feel worse. I how myself respect. My friend did a lot of things that hurt me a lot, and most of all he didn't respect me at all! So I realise I'm the only person that can change that... respecting my feelings and me. My advice, that goes to you and me is: stop thinking about him, and how he fells or about what he is thinking. I noticed in your posts that you keep thinking about him and worrying about him...

Think about you. The things that matter to you.

I'm about to say to my former best friend that I don't want him in my wedding...

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Hello Kateboy, I think you've just about hit the nail on the head there. Too much time is spent on how he feels, what he's possibly thinking and we lose the wellbeing of ourselves. Its definitely time to start putting ourselves first and doing the things that make us happy. Like I read in an earlier post, you cant change the way in which you feel and you certainly cant change the way our friends do or their actions. The best thing is to back off from the situation and let things ride out, I know its a cliche but its true, everything does happen for a reason and I truly believe that if you're meant to be mates then you certainly will be You cant begin to get over these feelings until you accept that its time to move on and to stop trying to analyse why what has happened has happened, some people don't deserve the friendship that is being given to them.

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Well you were good for him when he needed something and since you're a nice person you didn't have a need to check up if this friendship is equal and fair. But when you needed help in the same extent, he used to need, you were able to see that you were the one who was putting all the effort. It is not like he bacame selfish sudenly - it was always there. But when he was the one getting things he needed he was interested in calling you, without things to get for himself he no longer needs you.

Don't worry he will act the same toward anyone he meets.

Oh, yes, and you should forget about friendship.

The sadest part is that he will call as soon as he needs something. Than have a lot of fun by ignoring him or politly refusing help.

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