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When is it time to let go...

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zoebartlett

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...of a friendship?

A friend of mine from college is going through a divorce, yet she''s also seeing someone new. I totally don''t get why she isn''t taking time for herself and her children. Laying low may be a good idea, but that''s just my opinion. Anyway, we were supposed to get together with 2 other college friends for a girls only overnight and this friend just bailed. Her reason? She has met someone and wants to see him instead. We had already rescheduled this trip to accomodate this girl, and it kinda infuriated me when I got word that our weekend plans were a no-go. This was what broke the camel''s back, so to speak.

The four of us have been friends for years, yet the one who bailed has always held us at somewhat an arm''s distance for some reason. Of course we''d be there for our friend but we want to know that she values our friendship too, ya know? I feel like we''re just acquaintences now. All of our conversations for the past year (?, well longer than that, now that I think about it) have always been surface-level conversations.


I know that friendships aren''t always going to be 50/50 and that''s fine with me, as long as one person isn''t constantly giving way more than the other one. Everyone goes through tough times. Everyone has stuff going on in his/her life. But in my opinion, if someone is important enough to have in your life, you make a conscious effort to do your part in maintaining the frienship.


What do you think? Part of me feels selfish for feeling this way.
 

poptart

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I think it''s time to let go when the friendship seems not only forced, but uncomfortable. I stopped being friends with my MOH because she was not only unsupportive in a time of need, but she was also downright mean and made me feel bad about myself. I didn''t need or want that. So, no more friendship. The fact is that people grow apart and values change over the years, so it''s hard to be friends with the exact same people forever. And sometimes you see people for who they really are, and it turns out that they weren''t so great in the first place. I don''t think you are being selfish because she clearly does not value the friendship as much as you do... she seems to have stepped out on it before you decided to.

*M*
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
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My friends all fill me up in an amazing way. When I start to feel like I am being drained by someone and they aren''t respecting our friendship I''m done.

I have an amazing group of girlfriends that I was introduced to through a woman who I now have very little respect for. We still see each other because we run in the same circles, but I have distanced myself from her in a big way. I make no effort to talk to her/see her etc. if we get together it''s because other friends initiate it. It works for me because I don''t mind her company, I just don''t consider her a true friend.
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 1/16/2007 9:09:02 PM
Author:zoebartlett
...of a friendship?
A friend of mine from college is going through a divorce, yet she's also seeing someone new. I totally don't get why she isn't taking time for herself and her children. Laying low may be a good idea, but that's just my opinion. Anyway, we were supposed to get together with 2 other college friends for a girls only overnight and this friend just bailed. Her reason? She has met someone and wants to see him instead. We had already rescheduled this trip to accomodate this girl, and it kinda infuriated me when I got word that our weekend plans were a no-go. This was what broke the camel's back, so to speak.

The four of us have been friends for years, yet the one who bailed has always held us at somewhat an arm's distance for some reason. Of course we'd be there for our friend but we want to know that she values our friendship too, ya know? I feel like we're just acquaintences now. All of our conversations for the past year (?, well longer than that, now that I think about it) have always been surface-level conversations.



I know that friendships aren't always going to be 50/50 and that's fine with me, as long as one person isn't constantly giving way more than the other one. Everyone goes through tough times. Everyone has stuff going on in his/her life. But in my opinion, if someone is important enough to have in your life, you make a conscious effort to do your part in maintaining the frienship.



What do you think? Part of me feels selfish for feeling this way.
Have you told her this? Different people deal with stress in different ways - perhaps she needs to feel more spontaneous, or perhaps she needs the company of men, or perhaps she doesn't want to be put in a situation where she'll "talk" about her divorce, or maybe she was PO'ed at one of the other women for something you're not aware of. I think the fair thing to do for the friendship is to tell her how disappointed you were that she didn't come. Tell her you would have really liked to see her. Ask her what's going on. Reach out to her and see what she has to say. Divorce is a really disruptive thing and it would stink for both of you to lose a friend over a misunderstanding.

On the other hand, if she rushes to get off the phone or doesn't call you back or is unresponsive, there might not be much you can do.

I think things like dishonesty, character assassination, jealousy, self-centeredness, shaming, abandonment, etc. are the types of things that end friendships, not cancelled plans. Talk to her first, ok?

I don't think you are being selfish at all. I think you are just hurt that she cancelled without a good enough reason. I would be hurt too, but I'd try to put my feelings aside and see if she really needs help.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 13, 2006
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24,427
I have let go of 3 really long time friends. To me it''s pretty simple (albeit sad).

When the bad outweighs the good on a constant basis, it''s time.
 

onedrop

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
2,216
I don't think you are being selfish at all. A healthy friendship should be a two-way street in my opinion. It can be very draining if you are constantly giving and making the effort to keep the friendship afloat without effort from the other side. Certain major events can change or even sever freindships and maybe that is what your friend is going through now. It is really up to you as to how much effort you want to exert to keep things going. Can't say I have much advice to offer, but I can say that it might be good to just take some time to examine the positives of the friendhsip.

On a side note: I really needed to read this thread because I am going through a similar issue with a woman I considered to be my best friend. So I will be reading the subsequent comments with interest.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Thanks everyone!

I reread my original post and I think there are really 2 issues here. The first one is the rough time my friend is going through and how she''s handling it. I disagree with what she''s doing but it''s her life and she''ll need to make the best decisions for her and her children (hopefully). Yes, I was upset that she cancelled our plans, but as Oprah puts it, there''s an underlying issue. Cancelling plans in and of itself is not the end of the world. Nor should it be the single reason to end a friendship. I''ve never been married yet and I don''t have kids, so part of me feels guilty for judging how my friend is handling all this. I haven''t walked in her shoes, so who am I to say what''s right and wrong? However, I do know that my friend''s kids are affected in some way. They HAVE to be and that worries me.

Anyway, the second issue is exactly what Ellen put so wonderfully. WHen the bad outweighs the good, it''s time to move on. I just miss my friend''s friendship and although I care so much about her and her kids, it IS draining to have it be so one-sided. She knows nothing about my life anymore (well, that sounded dramatic, but as I mentioned, chats have been about surface level things). I''ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years and she just isn''t around (doesn''t return calls or e-mails out of "flakiness") to get the ins and outs of her friends'' everyday lives. Does that make sense?

I feel like I''m rambling. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for listening! Onedrop, I''m sorry to hear that you''re in a similar situation. If I have any words of wisdom, I''ll let you know.

Zoe
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
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17,785
Date: 1/16/2007 9:09:02 PM
Author:zoebartlett

...of a friendship?

A friend of mine from college is going through a divorce, yet she''s also seeing someone new. I totally don''t get why she isn''t taking time for herself and her children. Laying low may be a good idea, but that''s just my opinion. Anyway, we were supposed to get together with 2 other college friends for a girls only overnight and this friend just bailed. Her reason? She has met someone and wants to see him instead. We had already rescheduled this trip to accomodate this girl, and it kinda infuriated me when I got word that our weekend plans were a no-go. This was what broke the camel''s back, so to speak.

The four of us have been friends for years, yet the one who bailed has always held us at somewhat an arm''s distance for some reason. Of course we''d be there for our friend but we want to know that she values our friendship too, ya know? I feel like we''re just acquaintences now. All of our conversations for the past year (?, well longer than that, now that I think about it) have always been surface-level conversations.



I know that friendships aren''t always going to be 50/50 and that''s fine with me, as long as one person isn''t constantly giving way more than the other one. Everyone goes through tough times. Everyone has stuff going on in his/her life. But in my opinion, if someone is important enough to have in your life, you make a conscious effort to do your part in maintaining the frienship.



What do you think? Part of me feels selfish for feeling this way.
Sounds like your friend is feeling the need right now to be made to feel attractive and wanted again by a man...unfortunately she''s left you and other friends in the lurch by choosing to spend time with her "rebound" instead. Sad, but it happens. I don''t know that I would necessarily let the friendship go completely, especially if you haven''t voiced your concerns/feelings about it to her yet. I''m sure you''ve told her already that you''ll be there for her during the divorce, etc., and she is probably at a point where she''s taking you for granted and you have done a good job as her friend by offering your friendship unconditionally (not that this really excuses her behavior!)

In life, I think people come and go for various reasons. Someone just sent me one of those email forwards that had to do with this...it was one of those cheesy "some people are there for a season, some people are there for a lifetime" kinds. It is kind of true, though. Some friends are there for you for a certain period of time, some people are in your life pretty much forever, though they are few and far between. But we take parts of those relationships with us no matter what, and we have the option of learning from them or being bitter and questioning them endlessly when they end. Maybe this is one of your relationships where you have that choice to either burn a bridge or gain some understanding, based on your own reactions and previous experiences. (I know this is one cliche-ridden paragraph, but just offering my opinion here.)

Knowing when it''s time to let go of a relationship is a difficult thing. You have to ask yourself if the quality of your life would be better without that person in it. And also know that the person may want to come back into your life at a different time--do you really want to close a door permanently because you feel really hurt by that person at this particular time? If someone is being abusive towards you, I can understand why one would undoubtedly close a door and never look back, but if they are going through their own personal drama, maybe it is a blessing in disguise that you don''t have to be there to deal with every traumatic step--maybe she doesn''t want to burden you with too much more than she feels she already has?

Just thinking aloud...hope my rambling made some sort of sense! Good luck to you!
 

Officers girl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Messages
218
Date: 1/16/2007 10:11:40 PM
Author: starryeyed

Date: 1/16/2007 9:09:02 PM
Author:zoebartlett

...of a friendship?
A friend of mine from college is going through a divorce, yet she''s also seeing someone new. I totally don''t get why she isn''t taking time for herself and her children. Laying low may be a good idea, but that''s just my opinion. Anyway, we were supposed to get together with 2 other college friends for a girls only overnight and this friend just bailed. Her reason? She has met someone and wants to see him instead. We had already rescheduled this trip to accomodate this girl, and it kinda infuriated me when I got word that our weekend plans were a no-go. This was what broke the camel''s back, so to speak.


The four of us have been friends for years, yet the one who bailed has always held us at somewhat an arm''s distance for some reason. Of course we''d be there for our friend but we want to know that she values our friendship too, ya know? I feel like we''re just acquaintences now. All of our conversations for the past year (?, well longer than that, now that I think about it) have always been surface-level conversations.




I know that friendships aren''t always going to be 50/50 and that''s fine with me, as long as one person isn''t constantly giving way more than the other one. Everyone goes through tough times. Everyone has stuff going on in his/her life. But in my opinion, if someone is important enough to have in your life, you make a conscious effort to do your part in maintaining the frienship.




What do you think? Part of me feels selfish for feeling this way.
Have you told her this? Different people deal with stress in different ways - perhaps she needs to feel more spontaneous, or perhaps she needs the company of men, or perhaps she doesn''t want to be put in a situation where she''ll ''talk'' about her divorce, or maybe she was PO''ed at one of the other women for something you''re not aware of. I think the fair thing to do for the friendship is to tell her how disappointed you were that she didn''t come. Tell her you would have really liked to see her. Ask her what''s going on. Reach out to her and see what she has to say. Divorce is a really disruptive thing and it would stink for both of you to lose a friend over a misunderstanding.

On the other hand, if she rushes to get off the phone or doesn''t call you back or is unresponsive, there might not be much you can do.

I think things like dishonesty, character assassination, jealousy, self-centeredness, shaming, abandonment, etc. are the types of things that end friendships, not cancelled plans. Talk to her first, ok?

I don''t think you are being selfish at all. I think you are just hurt that she cancelled without a good enough reason. I would be hurt too, but I''d try to put my feelings aside and see if she really needs help.
I would do the same! I hope you all have a constructive talk!!
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,144
Date: 1/16/2007 9:09:02 PM
Author:zoebartlett



The four of us have been friends for years, yet the one who bailed has always held us at somewhat an arm's distance for some reason. Of course we'd be there for our friend but we want to know that she values our friendship too, ya know? I feel like we're just acquaintences now. All of our conversations for the past year (?, well longer than that, now that I think about it) have always been surface-level conversations.




I know that friendships aren't always going to be 50/50 and that's fine with me, as long as one person isn't constantly giving way more than the other one. Everyone goes through tough times. Everyone has stuff going on in his/her life. But in my opinion, if someone is important enough to have in your life, you make a conscious effort to do your part in maintaining the frienship.

I completely agree....and it's been my mantra forever. In fact, going through it with a friend right now.

I don't have time for people who can't make time for me, too. That's just it.....people don't "find" time; they "make" time for the things that are important to them. If you're important to someone, s(he) makes time for you, too.

Like all relationships, it's never 50/50. BUT......when you reach a point where you don't feel the other is making more than a cursory or obligatory effort......that's when you need to decide. Are you going to continue investing in this, or say 'uncle'?

I think that it requires candor and honesty.....bringing concerns to this person. Maybe even a few times. However, you can't push another person. If you make him/her aware of your feelings, and there is no modification to the behavior or even a sense that s/he cares to make more of an effort, I think that tells you what you need to know.

Mara makes the effort to stay in touch with me regularly (and me with her), and we live 3000 miles apart. My childhood friend with 3 young kids (and a 4th on the way) can muster up the time to touch in with me every now and again. If they can do it, anyone can.
 

FireGoddess

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
12,145
It can be a variety of things that cause a friendship to fall away...neither person keeps up contact, or one party or the other deliberately allows the friendship to wither.

My best friend growing up changed quite a bit in college and became really, really self centered and very hypocritical. Every convo would be one sided with her talking and me listening. I''d listen to her for an hour and if I spoke for more than 3 minutes about myself, she redirected the convo back to herself. All my other friends commented that they had no idea why someone like me would be friends with someone like her, so it''s not that I was imagining things! I decided in the years that followed that I would back away from the friendship and noticed that she didn''t try very hard to keep it going and that was fine with me. She emailed me out of the blue recently and I replied, telling her my mom had cancer, and I heard.....nothing. That''s right, nothing. 5 months went by and she heard through another friend I was home for my mom''s mastectomy. She then had the nerve to send me an email saying she realized she ''forgot'' to respond to my email and wanted to know how it was going. How do you ''forget'' to respond to an email telling you your former best friend''s mom has cancer?!? But this is the self centeredness that caused me to end the friendship in the first place. Talk about realizing you made the right decision! Anyway, that''s a long story to basically make the point that friendships are two way streets and there needs to be a level of concern for each other in both directions. There are friends I talk to twice or three times a year and it''s like no time has passed at all. There''s a difference between being busy and still managing to show you care, versus not really caring at all.
 

Moosejaw

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 14, 2003
Messages
285
I always love to talk about things like this...

I simplify it in one word. Honor.

Honor thy mother and thy father.

Honor friends and friendships..

Many people live by this, but I have added a twist.

ONLY IF THEY ARE HONORABLE.

I really don''t mix friends and friendships in my life that drain me...or those who are always in a dramatic situation. It''s fine to be supportive, but if your heart isn''t in it move on.

-G
 

ImpatientOne

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,394
I recently had a falling out with my best friend of 10+ years. She cannot see beyond her own jealousy to be there, to be supportive and happy for me during what is one of the happiest times of my life. I posted our story a while back, and things have not improved. I finally decided that I will not share details of my wedding plannning or our (me & my fiances) life with her any more. If/when she ever asks me why I have backed away from the friendship, I will tell her exactly why.

It''s sad, but some friendships cannot survive when two friends grow in different directions
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
I have three life long friends. I''ve know them for over 30 years. Friendships are somewhat like a marriage in that it takes nuturing. But, unlike a marriage, friendships ebb & flow. Sometimes you aren''t on the same page, but you must be understanding of the page someone else is on. And, you have to acknowledge someone else''s pain, even if to you it isn''t a big deal. Sometimes it is though - and you need to be their. One really sees true friendship in hardship.

Unless it becomes toxic, most friendships are at least worth working on or through. Talk to your friend. Find out why she is not making the time.
 

onedrop

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
2,216
Not to hi-jack the thread, but all of your comments and experiences have really spurred me to try and resolve some issues I am having with my best friend. I won''t go into detail here since it''s not my thread, but I just wanted to thank all of the posters for giving me some insight into my own situation.

Zoe: I do hope you will give your friend a chance. She is going through a rough time. Doesn''t excuse her actions, but maybe after she works through her issues she will come around. I am sure she will need you as a friend.
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
this thread hits home with me too. i have a friend of 10+ years. i think it''s time to move on but i''m not sure how. about 6 or so years ago her and i and another friend decided to meet up 2 times a year, so that no matter where we were in life we could reconnect, thinking we''d all move across the country or something. well we haven''t. now, the only time her and i talk are around the 2 times of year we meet. we''ve grown apart and i think she''s a ''toxic'' friend. i want to cut ties, but i don''t know how to when there is another person involved. it seems that the other friend would then be in the middle of it all and i don''t want that to happen.
 
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