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         Ending A Friendship

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Ending A Friendship

Friends?

I met my friend when we were in graduate school, and we enjoyed hanging out together outside of classes.  After receiving our degrees, we both left school to live in different states.  That was 10 years ago.

We've kept in touch, but our phone conversations and twice-a-year visits became opportunities for my friend to talk endlessly about her problems.  When I tried to fill her in on my own life, she obviously tuned out.

In the past few years I've not visited her at all and dread her occasional phone calls and visits to my house.  She invites herself now because I no longer invite her.  When she's at my home, she literally follows me from room to room, talking nonstop, until I make an excuse to get away from her.  I tell her I need to take a nap, but I don't sleep.  I sit in my room and read or enjoy the quiet.

Here's the worst part.  She and her family, including two young children, are moving to our city.  Her family has a small income, and they are buying a house in a grand neighborhood they can't afford.  She asked if she and her husband and her children can stay at my home on their trips to our town to deal with house matters.

My husband and I have no children.  Even though our home is tiny and perfectly sized for us, I let them stay.  She told me her husband would start his new job before they finished purchasing this house.  I felt obligated to offer him our guest room.  If I hadn't offered, she would have asked anyway.

Now he's here, and it turns out he'll be staying on through the weekends.  I am seething. I would never, ever, under any circumstances impose on a friendship this way.  I feel used, resentful, and don't care if I ever see her again.  Should I end this friendship?  I'm getting absolutely nothing from it but a knot in my stomach.

Lorraine

Lorraine, life hands us lessons all the time.  When we don't learn the lesson, life gets more and more difficult until we do. 

You were making and accepting calls from a woman you didn't even want to talk to.  Now her husband is living in your house.  Furthermore, she plans on moving in with her two small children.  Where does this lead?  Count on being a free, drop-in babysitter.  Count on her asking you to pick up her kids after school.  Count on imposition after imposition until you finally learn to say no.

Tamara often uses the example of oatmeal cookies.  If you don't like oatmeal cookies, don't be "polite" and say you do.  Otherwise you will always be offered oatmeal cookies, and friends will make you gifts of oatmeal cookies.  That is why you cannot fake emotions out of a false sense of politeness.

Everything is being done to the advantage of your "friend."  Nothing is to your advantage.  This arrangement isn't working, and her husband needs to stay elsewhere.  It is too much of an imposition.  Call her tonight and tell her.  Pick a day soon, like Friday, and tell her that will be his moving day.  Let her know she and her family must make other arrangements when they move, whether their house is ready or not.

Don't waste time on long explanations or sugarcoat it.  Make the call short and factual.

Wayne

Lorraine Triumphant!

You are so absolutely positively right.  I am instant messaging my husband right now to discuss our visitor's last day.  I think what I found most helpful is your pointing out that I'm accepting calls and visits from someone I don't want to talk to.  It's so crystal clear.  Thanks for giving me the kick in the butt that I need.

Lorraine

Lorraine, tonight we will lift our glasses and toast your victory.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Out Of The Blue

I desperately need help ending a friendship I know I must end.  For the past two years I have given advice to a friend with problems.  My friend would call daily to ask for direction on handling situations she seemed unable to deal with.  In my willingness to help, I gave her the best information I could based on my experience.

Yesterday my friend phoned me, and during the conversation, mentioned she didn’t feel I was being honest with myself.  She insinuated my husband was probably gay, and that he was either lying to me, lying to himself, or both.  This came out of the blue, and I was flabbergasted.  She also said she knew her remarks might end our friendship. 

I asked her to explain.  She said she just “knew” my husband was using me to blend in with society.  I should add that she hardly knows my husband, and I have never asked for her advice about my life or my marriage.  I defended myself by saying my husband is not a knuckle-dragging, truck-pulling kind of guy, but he is definitely not gay. 

She said she was just being honest.  I told her honesty is not always called for.  You don’t tell someone if you think they are ugly!  I am still quite shaken by having to defend my husband’s sexuality and my honesty.  I certainly cannot remain friends with such a person.  Please help me end this friendship with finesse.

Sonya

Sonya, for two years your friend has been the center of attention with her problems.  You tried to help, and you tried to be her friend.  Now she is ready to end the relationship if she can’t gain the upper hand. 

Perhaps she is tired of playing the victim and wants to diminish what you have.  Perhaps she wants to humiliate and hurt you.  Perhaps she has other motives.  It doesn’t matter.  What she said attacks you and your husband. 

This situation doesn’t call for finesse but firmness.  What you need to do is more like firing a bad employee than talking with a friend.  End contact with her.  Don’t defend yourself or give credence to what she says. 

Take her comments for what they are: valueless.  Give them no more thought than you would the peel of an orange.  Once thrown away, it is never thought of again.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Secrets Exposed

I've been friends with "Jenny" for three years after my husband and I started a business with her husband.  When her husband decided he didn't want to come to work anymore, we pretty much took his name off the business, and they stopped calling and coming over.

We would call, but they'd never answer or return our calls.  Through another friend we learned they split up.  I had some information about Jenny's husband I thought she needed to know, so I met with her.  I told Jenny her husband cheated enough for an entire football team.

Jenny told me she never called because her husband said we didn't pay him an even share of the business profits.  Even though we didn't have to, we showed her proof we paid him right.  After all that we became friends again.  We hung out every other day and talked on the phone every morning.

Jenny even found a guy to like her and her two kids.  She seemed really happy and believe me, if you knew her, a piece of chocolate would make her happier than she ever was in her marriage.  The only thing is, she dumped the new guy.  Then suddenly she stopped calling and coming over. 

Yesterday I went to her house and her ex was there.  I turned around and left.  I'm pretty sure the only reason she wants to be with him is because he is the father of her kids, but she is willing to give up her friendship with me for him.  I know what you're thinking, same as my husband, she never really was my friend if she would do this. 

I wrote her a letter in hopes of getting my friend back, but I'm not sure it will do any good.  What else, if anything, should I do?

Tara

Tara, what your husband said is not quite right.  It isn't that Jenny never was your friend; it's that you can't root for both teams in a basketball game.  Jenny was faced with two competing realities.  Either her husband is a good person worthy of respect, or her husband is untrustworthy.

While Jenny was with you she could cast her marriage in one light, but once she went back to him, she had to recast her marriage in a different light.  She couldn't hold both pictures in her mind at the same time.

Your experience is a familiar one.  Often when a couple breaks up, a friend of one of them will share in all the secrets of the marriage.  If the couple gets back together, that friend will be left out in the cold because they know too much.  That is what happened to you. 

While Jenny's husband is in her life, she will not be your friend.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Overreaction

My best friend lives across the street.  Her daughter and mine play together all the time.  Our husbands are best of friends, and we watch over each other's home when we are out of town.

When she got a part-time job, I started baby sitting her daughter.  I had an interview one evening and left my daughter and hers with my husband.  I was gone one hour.  The next day she called me and told me all of a sudden she doesn't trust my husband with her daughter.

My husband is an elementary school teacher and loves children.  This has upset me and hurt my feelings.  She doesn't call now, and I wish I knew what she was thinking.  Should I call first?

Christa

Christa, your neighbor is mad, and the question is why.  If something actually occurred, she likely would have acted immediately.

She could be angry because for an hour she didn't know who was watching her child, or because you didn't share news of your interview with her.  For the former, you can apologize.  Tell her you didn't think.  Your husband watches children more than you do, and it didn't dawn on you to let her know. 

Finally, don't put yourself or your husband in this position with her again.

Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Identity Theft

I've known my best friend for six years.  Initially I thought she was a great person who was there for me in times of crisis.  As time went by I noticed she was very competitive with others, and then I saw she was most competitive with me.

She will ask what I am wearing, then wear something shorter or more low-cut.  She sees me in something, then buys that exact item.  She copies phrases I say and repeats facts from me and claims them as her own.  When we were in college, she constantly tried to one-up me in grades and games, even cheating to do so.

I confronted her after a close mutual friend brought this to my attention.  I tiptoed around the issue because I did not want to hurt or insult her.  She said she competed with everyone, but not me, because with me she feels she cannot compete.  After that I let it go.

Not to boast, but I am an attractive person, and her male friends always ask about me.  I only mention this because I know she is insecure, even though she is an attractive girl who is physically fit, smart, with many friends. 

When I moved, she purposely "forgot" to pass on invitations to a wedding and to a reunion of college friends.  She forgot my birthday, then tearfully explained it was all a misunderstanding.  Mind you I live five minutes from her house, and she did not even pick up the telephone.

You cannot get into a car without her speeding to show you how fast she can go, or be in a group without her trying to appear more intelligent than you in conversation.  I see the person she is inside, and I don't like that person. 

Part of my problem is during college she was there for me financially when my family could not be.  I will always love her for that.  Even though I paid back every dollar, I still feel indebted.  Sometimes I think she only helped me so she could feel superior.

Hailey

Hailey, who you are is a compilation of all you have experienced.  You were raised to be good and polite.  You have a sense of style and a sense of self.  But your friend is invading your identity.

Robbers in a home invasion might take a homeowner's gun and use it against her.  You may not own a gun, but you own a sense of niceness and your friend is using that sense of niceness against you.  The word "nice" comes from a Latin word which means to be ignorant.  You are not ignorant of what is going on, but you are ignorant of your own best interest. 

She is injuring you.  When you fail to confront her, you are not being honest, and being honest outweighs being nice. 

You’ve seen inside her, and you don't like what you see. The only way to take back your identity for your sole use is by severing this relationship.  Don't be nice.  Be honest.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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