General Question

ubersiren's avatar

Should I drop my ex-best friend like a bad habit?

Asked by ubersiren (15180points) May 26th, 2009

She’s been my friend since 1st grade. She’s very self-centered and dramatic. It’s been like this since about 7th grade. In high school it got worse. She became quite the hypochondriac. She had these very dramatic asthma attacks (which she says now has been cured by her smoking habit) and always had some ailment. What I mean by dramatic asthma attack is that she would stand up in class and grab her throat and knock chairs and music stands over and “pass out” which nobody, even teachers really believed was all necessary. She was even admitted to a mental health facility for a short time. She was in my wedding, which created a LOT of drama. She somehow thought she was my maid of honor, when in fact, I had only asked her to be a bridesmaid. She showed up late to the rehearsal and the actual wedding day and made these obnoxious grand entrances.

When she calls to talk to me, it’s to do just that—- talk to me. She’s doesn’t show much interest in my life.

Anyway, I’ve been getting calls from her, but I just have no will to call her back. She finally left me a facebook message (make fun of me if you want) that said just to tell her now if I don’t want to be in the wedding. This is how she springs on me that she’s finally marrying her boyfriend of 3 years (who, by the way just got officially divorced like a month ago). None of the messages before that said anything about dire news or mentioned wedding in any way.

Should I just not call her back? I honestly don’t feel like keeping up the charade that I want to be her friend anymore. I really do want to just be rid of her. I don’t like the person she’s become. I do, however, care about her… I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I wish we could just drift apart peacefully, but I feel like this is the only opportunity I have to end it. I’m also afraid that I’d regret it later. What if this is a mistake? Should I just suck it up?

Damn, sorry this turned out so long.

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25 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

She sounds like it’s all about her. You don’t want to call her back, you don’t want to be in her wedding, you don’t like the person she is. Do you realistically foresee her changing and becoming more reasonable?

(I don’t have patience for drama in my life. I probably would have gotten annoyed with her with the dramatic asthma attacks, and creating scenes at my wedding probably would have been the last straw. I’d probably have had a big blowout fight with her several years back, and dropped her as a friend that way.)

MrGV's avatar

Drop, she’s not worth it.

Les's avatar

Ugh.. Yes. Get rid of this hassel.

Dog's avatar

I am surprised you put up with her this long.

Some people feed off drama and will create chaos everywhere to suit their ego.
Your life will be much better without the emotional drain.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Is cutting her out of your life entirely the only solution?
Maybe talking about how you feel will help. If not, at least you tried.

figbash's avatar

I have had to cut a few friends like this out of my life, and it’s hard.

I think you should break up with her. I’m not saying you have to do it in a fit of anger or confrontation, just shift the whole thing into neutral and start phasing her out slowly. This ensures that there’s no ill will, and that if you see her in mixed social gatherings you can still be pleasant, cordial, and catch up with her, without hard feelings. This also means that you can check in with her every few years to see how she’s doing, if you still care about her.

If you continue to put up with her drama, you’re just continuing to enable her. Plus, it doesn’t sound like she’s the kind of friend that you can depend on in a pinch.

I would just start being “really busy” a lot and have “other obligations” that will allow you to start the phase out process. Don’t respond to her ‘emergency’ phone calls. If she wants to discuss it, I would just explain that it doesn’t feel like a reciprocal relationship so, you’re adjusting your expectations of her. Then you’ll find that as time goes on, the friendship will just fade.

dynamicduo's avatar

Yes, I think you should not respond to her. It doesn’t seem like you gain an equal amount in your relationship, thus it is a bad investment of your time and energy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes, I did and it was worth it

cak's avatar

There is not enough time in the day for people like this! Yes, phase her out. If she ever asks why, and I’m sure she will…eventually, tell her the truth, but tell her you do wish her nothing but the best.

archer's avatar

the mistaken sense of obligated allegiance to others regardless the nature of their character and behaviour is one of the major impediments to personal growth and development of one’s true self

hitomi's avatar

I agree that sometimes you need to cut toxic people out of your life, but I understand the sense of care and concern for those someone and feeling guilty.

One thing I’ve found works for me is to make yourself LESS available.

I am that person that is always available for everyone to help them through their problems and do them favors at the last minute. People can call me at all hours for advice or just to rant and rave and “talk”. If someone starts to REALLY take advantage and it becomes detrimental to me in a bigger way I stop being as available. I say, “hey, sorry, can’t talk right now I’m busy”. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve also learned to say “no” when people ask for things.

In your case I am not sure if this is even an option anymore, considering HOW toxic your friend seems to be, but you might try distancing yourself. Don’t cut her out entirely (I know how it feels and you don’t want her to REALLY need you and then not to be there when you have such a long shared history), but definitely try to enforce boundaries and make it clear that you won’t put up with certain behavior. If she starts being really dramatic or saying things that upset you, try and say “You know what, I shouldn’t have to deal with this right now…I’ll talk to you later when you’ve calmed down”.

You never know what else she’s going through, but at the same time it’s not your job to save her from herself if she’s not going to be productive about her feelings and problems and she’s just attention seeking.

Do what you can, but don’t sacrifice yourself on the alter of friendship.

shortysith's avatar

I have SO been there. Sometimes, we love people and give people more than they deserve. I have had friends like that, who despite how badly they treat me, I put up with more because I can see the good in those people too. But, if you see a friendship that is causing you more pain than happiness, it’s time to part ways. You don’t have to be mean about it, but just let her know that you are not interested in being an active part of her life anymore. You can still be there as an aquaintance (let’s face it, you stuck with her for this long….you are like myself. You will be there no matter what), but you don’t have to be there in the capacity that you have. It’s hard, but in the long run you will have less stress and more peace of mind.

ubersiren's avatar

Thanks everyone. I wrote her an email (the chicken way out) and told her that I still loved her but couldn’t take the drama anymore. I told her we needed to take a hiatus from our saga and that maybe one day we can reconnect, but right now, Id prefer not to invest anymore energy into our relationship. Oddly, I don’t feel as sad as I thought I would. I’m kind of ok with it. I’m glad i took internet advice! ... at least right now, I’m glad. Who knows about later.

Jeruba's avatar

I think you already knew what you wanted to do. The answers were in your question and in fact in your subject line. And your feeling now after taking the step is confirmation that you did the right thing. You didn’t take Internet advice (even with real people behind it). You followed your own best instincts.

galileogirl's avatar

The problem is most people DON’T drop bad habits and even when they try they keep going back to them.

bezdomnaya's avatar

@ubersiren Ouch! Internet dumping? To be honest, I think that’s a bit harsh. Perhaps you should phone her as well to see if she wants to talk about it.

ubersiren's avatar

@Jeruba : Thank you for saying that.

@bezdomnaya: Yeah, it probably wasn’t the most couth thing to do, but I really just wanted to avoid more of her drama, and get it over and done with. If I had called her, I would’ve felt bad hearing her sobbing and “Why me’s.” I probably would’ve ended up asking her to come visit or something (she lives 3 states away) when I really just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. After a 21 year friendship with her, I think the email was the best way to just get out. Maybe a few years in the future I’ll call her and see how she is. Maybe it’ll give her a little time to grow up.

justwannaknow's avatar

You haven’t told her to take a long walk off a short pier yet?

Bluefreedom's avatar

It sounds very much like an unhealthy friendship and for your own piece of mind (and sanity too), you should probably put distance between you and your friend or just completely sever the ties altogether. I experienced a situation in my past where I had to let go of a very long friendship but it was the right decision in the end. I think I know how you’re feeling, @ubersiren, and I hope the best for you in working through this difficult situation that you’re faced with.

chyna's avatar

Too much of a one sided friendship. I had a friend like that. She would call and ask how things were, and as I was speaking, just went on with whatever was going on in her life. I actually said to her while she was droning on that my grandmother had died. She hadn’t. The girl said, oh really, and kept talking about her life, didn’t even hear what I had to say. I stopped answering her calls after that. She didn’t want me as a friend. She wanted someone to talk AT.

Blondesjon's avatar

Drop her.

sounds like she’d do the same for you

DarkScribe's avatar

You can’t drop your best friend, as she isn’t your best friend. Why do you regard her as that after the way you have just described her? She seems to be little more than an distant acquaintance.

bezdomnaya's avatar

@ubersiren Makes sense. Lurve for honesty. I probably would have done it the same way. An e-mail also lets you get all of your thoughts on the page, whereas a call would prompt you to forget something. The reason I mentioned it was because I got unceremoniously de-friended on facebook, and that hurt. But it was for completely different reasons than your situation here.

deafmonkey's avatar

@archer I signed up just to plus one on that note, superb.

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