Dancers Anonymous > "Best friend" rant - advice needed

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by musicchica86, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I mentioned one of my friends whom I've limited to at-work interactions because of boundary issues.

    This woman is absolutely a gem with unlimited willingness to listen and give advice. I truly love her. But well. She's extremely judgmental which I find irksome. I can deal, but it does irk me. She and I were attached at the hip all through the period when my marriage was falling apart and later, while I was going through my divorce. But I always felt a little smothered, to be honest. ETA: In all fairness, I was also unusually needy during that period, so I probably got some emotional payoff from the smothering. Eh. *shrug*

    Then a couple things happened that signaled me that I needed to back off. First, she accidentally called me her daughter -- not in a symbolic way, but really. She literally said, "When something happens with my children, like you ..." This creeps me out, because I see this woman as a friend, not a mother. I have one neurotic Mom already, thank you very much.

    Around the same time, I went on a very successful diet and lost 25 pounds, of which my friend didn't approve. She started making comments about how I'd already lost enough weight, how beautiful my body was, etc. When I ignored her increasingly pointed comments, she started "inviting" me to lunch first one day, then as many as four or five days a week. This in the guise of giving me time to talk through my divorce-related worries. And oh btw, sabotaging my diet of which she didn't approve. And, btw, at the time the lunch invitations started, my friend knew that I had a habit of calling my mother every single day during lunch. Every day. Which of course I couldn't do, if I was having lunch with a friend. Hmm. (There were many other irritants, but these are the biggest and easiest to explain.)

    I moved to a further-away office at work, changed my lunch hour, and seriously cut back on what I saw to be unhealthy interactions. I still love her and we still talk, but I really feel that I need to love this woman from afar.

    So Thursday, for the first time in the years I've known her, my friend didn't give me a Christmas gift -- not even a card. This is not like her. She normally gives me a card, a check to buy something for DS and a personal gift. This year, not even a hello. Which is fine. I don't love her because of gifts. I love her because I love her. (And no. It's not a money issue. My friend is quite wealthy.)

    Now I feel that my distancing myself hurt her feelings and I'm not sure what to do, because I really do want the distance, and I don't want to lose a friendship that I value so much.

    OTOH, I'm miffed that she's passive-aggressively sending me a message. If she doesn't like our interactions, I feel that she should say so. She's old enough to be my mother, and I expect her to act like an adult, not a petulant child. I didn't do what she liked, so she took her marbles and went home.

    Can anybody here see something I'm not?
     
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    No.

    Perhaps you're making mountains out of mole hills, perhaps not.

    I'd just shrug it off, act like nothing happened/changed, and be the same friend to her that you have been. Let your actions speak for themselves, and let her passive-aggressiveness work itself out.

    Or you can take my brother's approach to things and flat-out ask her what changed.
     
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yeah. Those are pretty much the two options I figured I had. Kinda sucky.

    The third option that my Mom suggested is to start spending more time with this friend -- not enough to make me uncomfortable -- just more. Which probably would address the issue, if she really is feeling neglected. But maybe it's a different issue entirely. Kinda hard to read somebody else's mind. Not to mention the boundary issues. I definitely do not want to send the signal that it's okay to start smothering again.


    I'm leaning toward letting sleeping dogs lie. I like the level of interaction we have now. If she doesn't like it, maybe she should man up and say so rather than taking the indirect approach. Eh.
     
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    lol. I have got to stop over-thinking everything! :lol:

    Did anybody besides me see a bad, made-for-TV movie back in the 70s? It was called Making Babies (or something like that. Having Babies? Something to do with babies. ) It starred a bunch of people, including Vicki Lawrence and Abe Vigoda.

    I remind me of Vicki Lawrence's character. VL plays a single expectant Mom who meets and befriends Abe Vigoda, an older man who supports her through a series of crises. The two of them plan all sorts of things together, including the new baby's name. The relationship is platonic, but very close.

    When the baby is born, there's a really poignant scene in which VL tells Abe the baby's name -- not the name that was chosen in advance, but something completely different.

    Abe Vigoda is crushed. VL has moved on with her life.


    Hmm. Not sure why I remembered that one vignette from a movie I saw when I was in elementary school. It just stuck with me.

    I wonder if my friend feels like Abe Vigoda -- used and abandoned. Hmm.
     
  5. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    My personal opinion, YMMV. If the person in question is really important to me, or the thought of never talking to them again doesn't really bother me, I would want to flat out tell them what is bothering me. In the first case, that is what I consider the responsibility of good friends. In the latter case, you have a chance of turning a problematic relationship around. Somewhere between those two extremes, you have to decide whether the potential payback and consequences are worth the trouble, and often they are not.
     
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yeah. She really is important to me. So maybe I need to man up and ask her what's going on.

    You're right. This might be an opportunity to take our relationship to a whole new level of honesty and intimacy. Who knows? I won't know unless I try.

    What's the worst thing that can happen? She'll do the passive aggressive thing again and we'll be exactly where we are. Eh. That I can handle. :cool:
     
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Are you sure the subtext wasn't really, "When something happens with my children, like [it happened with] you...?"
     
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I wish it was, Joe. I spent a long, long time thinking about what was and wasn't said. I wish it was that simple. *shrug*
     
  9. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    I think I would be okay with a non-family member telling me I'm like a daughter to them, if they were much older.. but then I am 25 and still don't ever feel like an adult. At a certain point though, to consider another adult "like a child" to you suggests control issues, if you ask me. It's too possessive for a friendship. She probably feels she can be involved in aspects of your life you don't need her to be. That would put strain on a friendship.
     
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, ww. There's a difference between, "You're my daughter," "You're like a daughter to me," and "You're like a child." (And there are other variations that all have subtly different meanings. )


    For the sake of this discussion, y'all are going to have to trust that I took the correct meaning from my interactions with my dear GF. Actually I tried very, very hard NOT to take the wrong meaning.

    OTOH, I do acknowledge my fallibility and my own boundary issues. So I could be wrong. I'm beginning to think that, if I want a resolution, I may need to do as tiger subtly suggests and talk it out with GF.

    OTOH. I really do like the way things are, so I have to look myself in the eye and ask whether the risk is worth the potential payoff (i.e. deeper intimacy with a dear friend.)

    I think it all boils down to that one question. Is it worth it?
     

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