General Question

sweetsweetstephy's avatar

What should I do about this friend?

Asked by sweetsweetstephy (338points) October 25th, 2011

There is this girl I have hung out with since we started school (about 2 months). Well, we don’t really even hang out, she just texts me so that I can eat with her at mealtimes. I don’t want to spend any time with her, really. She depresses me and annoys me because all she does is complain about things when we eat together. Our conversations really have no substance. I know that she doesn’t like to eat alone (whereas I don’t care if I do) and she’s told me before that I’m her only friend. She’s nice, sure, but I just don’t want to eat with her or anything. I don’t want to be mean to her, though. I just want to know what I can do about this kid. We have a class together and do some volunteer stuff in the same group. How can I make it so that I can see as little of her as possible? (And yes,I know I’m being a wimp by not being upfront, but I can’t help it!)

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25 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

You have a conversation with her where you explain what she does wrong. If she wants more friends she’ll change. If she doesn’t announce her you’ll stop eating with her if she continues in this way. This a nice way to make her see she’s the reason… not having friends is her fault.

tinyfaery's avatar

Uh…don’t show up. Problem solved.

Blackberry's avatar

Stop being a wimp and be upfront.

janbb's avatar

If you don’t want to spend any time with her, then you shouldn’t. Just tell her you are looking to make other friends and don’t want to be committed to eating lunch with anyone.

blueiiznh's avatar

Tell her what you told us here but do it diplomatically.
Truth always is the best road. You can’t feel terrible for your honest feelings.
Maybe if she understands you can help steer the conversation out of the stuff you dislike.
I appluad you for not wanting to hurt anyones feelings, but you do have choices.

Londongirl's avatar

No one is perfect and may be she didn’t realise her complaints bothering you, so tell her to talk different things if you want to see her as your friend. If you don’t care, then just tell her you are busy and hang out with friends you fit well with.

flutherother's avatar

Next time she texts asking to meet text back and say, sorry I can’t make it today. A text is easier than saying no face to face.

Luiveton's avatar

Tell her the truth.

Ayesha's avatar

Tell her what you wrote for ‘Details’. Why spare her feelings if you don’t like her. Be honest.

AshLeigh's avatar

Why not just change the subject? Remain friends, and tell her to stop complaining so much.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, directly, as @Hibernate suggests, but don’t make this about “what she does wrong” (that’s a mean thing to do to anyone).

Tell her instead “when she does things that you don’t like” that you don’t like that (which is not the same thing at all) and make this “about you”. So… when she complains about this or that, for example, then just tell her straight up, “I don’t like listening to you complain like that.”

Do you see the difference? You’re not making a judgment that anything she is doing is “bad” or “wrong”, or even that her complaint is misplaced or accurate. It’s about you: “I don’t like this.” In fact, it’s your own complaint, but it’s something that she can choose to address, by not complaining so much, or maybe just “not in the same way”, for example, or she can refuse to address. In the case of the latter, you note that she doesn’t care about your feelings on the matter, and take appropriate action. Usually at that point the “appropriate action” is to limit your time with her.

You can do that anyway, of course, if you really “don’t want to spend any time with her”. It’s perfectly fine for you to tell her, “I prefer to eat alone.” And you can do that occasionally or all the time, or choose to associate with others, too. You don’t owe her your time because she finds her own company lacking.

Hibernate's avatar

Or you can just tell her that particular thing annoys you and you’d want her not to do it around you.

marinelife's avatar

I would cut down to eating with her one meal a week.

YARNLADY's avatar

Your definition of friend is different than mine. I would consider this person a pest and try to avoid her as much as possible.

An alternative would be to say, “I will no longer associate with you unless you change your tune.”

sandy101's avatar

Introduce her to some other people, so that she doesn’t act as though you’re the only person she knows. Thats a good way to get her off your back, since theres a good possibility she will find someone else she likes. But you should also let her know that she comes across as clingy and a whiner at times. Good luck :)

stardust's avatar

Tell her you’d rather eat alone.

Kardamom's avatar

Try to be very compassionate with this girl. She probably doesn’t have any friends, because of the way she comes across, just as you have said, but because she doesn’t have any friends, she has absolutely no idea on how to be an interesting, fun, regular person. Even though she’s a pain in your behind, you’d be doing her a huge favor to mentor her to be a more approachable and pleasant person.

You don’t need to tell her that she’s a big pain in the behind (at least not directly, because to do that would be horrible, mean and insulting, without actually helping her).

What you might consider doing, is letting a few of your nicer friends know what the situation is, and ask them if they’d be willing to join you both for lunch, so there’s a group of you, rather than just you. Make sure that these other girls are willing to be nice to her too, but show the girl by example, how regular friendships are supposed to work.

If she starts in on one of her downer rants, then you or one of the other girls can nicely say something like, “Hey Maggie, I know that XY and Z sucks, but it’s kind of a downer when you complain about it all the time. Have you ever tried to fix that situation or walk away from it or ignore it? Is there anything we can do to help, because I know how much it sucks to have XY and Z happen.” And if she persists, or brings up her complaints at a later date, say “Maggie, dude! Come on, we know already. Let’s talk about the dance/weekend/cute boys/new song etc. instead.” Get her engaged in some other conversation. If you do that regularly for awhile, she’ll get used to it. Just avoid any urges to be mean to her.

Give her at least 5 chances (and do not be mean or snarky to her). Sometimes people who have poor social skills need to be shown by example how to act in acceptable ways.

If you simply cannot get her to change, don’t tell her that you’re dumping her, just start seeing less and less of her, by having real reasons for why you can’t hang out. But try my other method first, before you just walk away. You could really do this poor girl a huge favor by treating her kindly, not dropping her like a hot potato, and including her in your social group.

Nobody says this girl has to be your best friend, but imagine what it must be like to be in her shoes. She’s probably desperate for a friend. Be a friend, but mostly be a mentor. And know that being her mentor does not mean that you have to be at her beck and call every minute of the day. You can easily set some limits (but give her good concrete reasons for why you can’t hang out, or chat on the phone all the time, so she won’t constantly ask you why. Use your parents, your chores, your home work, your alone time, your time that you spend with other friends as reasons not excuses).

bkcunningham's avatar

What does she complain about?

Spallybob1232's avatar

Introduce her to new friends.. get her to be liked by others.. then she wont be as much of a bother to you.

Hibernate's avatar

Presenting her to others could involve losing some of his/her friends on the way. I mean if you present me someone that is really annoying I won’t bother keeping you as a friend. It’s just how I do thig ns and others might be the same so it’s a two way thing.

sweetsweetstephy's avatar

Thanks, everyone. I have definitely tried to get her engaged in different conversations, as @Kardamom suggested, but the things I talk about don’t seem to be things she’s interested in. Current events, social issues, something interesting from class, music… We’re just on a different spectrum, it seems. And she definitely knows other people, I know that. She doesn’t eat with them, though, I guess because they do their own thing? I don’t know. I don’t feel comfortable enough around her to tell her she’s doing something that bothers me, because it’s not like she’s a close friend. She’s hardly a friend to me, even if she is nice to me. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, I know that if I mention something she’d probably take it personally and in a hard way.

And oh, @bkcunningham, she complains about her roommate, says she’s messy, loud, rude, how she has so much work to do, people being “crass,” things in her life. Unimportant things, it seems to me. Everything seems dramatic and bad when she does this.

wundayatta's avatar

@sweetsweetstephy I understand that you want to be nice, but sometimes you have the option of letting yourself be walked over (and who knows where that stops) and standing up for yourself. If you want to reduce her impact in your life, you have to tell her that and then do it. No backsliding when she whines.

She may say some nasty things about you to other people, and you have to be prepared for that. Hopefully you don’t care. But if you do, you may lose other friends who like her better, if there are any. Just cut her off. Or don’t. Then learn to enjoy her company.

whitetigress's avatar

I feel like everyone has a certain gift. Perhaps your gift is the gift of tolerance. Maybe this is your burden to bare. If you don’t help her out now by being honest with her. She’ll never experience real conversations with “substance.” Own up to this situation, you have nothing to lose and she only has to gain.

Londongirl's avatar

I think if you see her as a friend you would be supportive to her rather than telling people here. You start to think if friendship does exist sometimes. I have this acquantance she used to complaint a lot even sometimes putting racist comments on non-English speaking people, but I was there and tried to let her see that was not right. Then when I started to talk about my issues, she didn’t bother. I have no interest in contact with her as I think it is waste of time to convince some people to let them see their own problems.

Sher_King's avatar

You seem to pity the girl. Worst thing ever.

Tell her you appreciate her as a person, but that she has to change certain attitudes…hence why she eats alone.

Tell her that you yourself dont enjoy making this once a week compromise. Your a free man. Tell her that you’d like to eat with different people and perhaps even ask her to join?!

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