"Best friend" rant - advice needed

I wasn't sure where to put this, did a couple searches and couldn't find what I was looking for, so I thought I'd start a new thread. Mods, please merge if you can find what I couldn't.

Sigh...I don't even know how to introduce this, so I'll just jump right in.

Mid-November I got unceremoniously dumped. Needless to say, Thanksgiving a week and a half later wasn't a picnic. Best friend goes home to Michigan for the holiday and gets sick while she's there. My birthday is the following Sunday. I never hear from her, not even a text. When she FINALLY gets in touch 2 whole days later, it's a text in the form of "I'm soooo sorry I'm late, I've been sick, blah blah blah." Color me pissed. How much effort does it take to send a damn text even if you ARE sick??? Meanwhile, she misses a whole week of work because she's "just too sick" to make the drive back from Michigan.

After she finally gets back, I try to make some sort of effort at seeing her, but every time I make a suggestion, she's got other plans. So I give up. I figure if she really wants to see me, she can call me. Meanwhile, we'd talked about doing one specific thing, which she was supposed to get back to me about and blew off. Well guess what--I never heard from her. I get an IM this morning: "Hi. Long time no talk. How are things?" Uh, no **** long time no talk. I haven't been bending over backwards to communicate with you when your priorities are obviously elsewhere. The kicker? We're both leaving for Christmas tomorrow. Oh, and she tells me she's taking a whole week off AGAIN between Christmas and New Year's. Uh, she just started working full-time less than a month ago (she was hourly before that)--how the hell does she already have that much time available to take off? I started my full-time job 3 months ago, and won't be eligible to take any vacation time for 3 more months.

I've noticed before that this is a pattern in our relationship--me usually being the planner and doing the inviting--but for some reason this was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't know what to do about this friendship. Do I just accept that this is how our relationship works, that I'm the one making most of the effort? Do I bring it up (which I dread--I seriously HATE confrontation and am seriously not good at it)? Or do I just move on--which would hurt my heart?

I'm not exactly drowning in friends, especially girlfriends. I can't afford to lose one.


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You can afford to lose a person who brings you nothing but grief. That is not a friend. Losing her number would probably be the best thing for you. I'd rather have one good friend than a thousand fair weather friends. You deserve better.


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you know, I totally feel your pain on this....there are so many possibilities at play...if she has always been lax about it and you are just now getting sick of it, she likely hasn't noticed a change...b/c the change is your willingness to be okay with it...you can talk to her, but you have to appreciate that she may not be the kind of person who is inclined to modify her behavior to meet your expectations, even if they seem minimal and reasonable to you...then you will ultimately have to decide whether or not what you currently have really constitutes a friendship...it certainly seems plausible that she could have been truly very sick and expected a friend would understand that she was down for the count...provided it wasn't a longstanding pattern...but I am guessing that it is...my question is, are you really losing very much if you lose her, or are you hoping she will change?...personally I wouldn't treat it as a confrontation or end it in an official way...I would just let it drift away and gravitate toward new people who might actually be interested in being mutual and responsible...none of us needs many friends, just a few good ones...which doesn't neccessarily come about by clinging to mediocre ones...she may be going through a self absorbed phase or she may be burnt out on you...I would perhaps mention lightly things that hurt me and see if it makes any difference...and if it didn't I would begin to direct my energies elsewhere...FTR, I don't think this is a rant and I am glad of it...because I find them to be rarely of much use...but I do empathize...I have had friends whom I loved and would never have ignored or blown off do similar things...and after a hurtful long period of time had to realize that I simply was not important to them...but it didn't mean that I wasn't important...it was still painful and disillusioning nonetheless


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Um, why are you friends with this person? I don't mean anything she's done, I mean you seem rather demanding. So, she's at home and sick and didn't text you EXACTLY on your birthday. (If you were all that close, wouldn't she call you? Not to mention...are you twelve? Because it's just a birthday. I doubt either of my best friends could tell you my exact birthday beyond "middle of September". I just am happy if they send a card.) You talked about doing "one specific thing"--did you actually set a date, time, and game plan? Maybe she assumed it was off when she didn't hear from you. Around the holidays, plus new job? She probably has plenty to think about and if you apparently weren't interested, she probably had a lot of other things to do.

As for her having time off already, how is that at all relevant? Maybe her job does that differently than yours. It's really none of your business.

Most critically: did you actually tell her anything about how you feel, or are you just passive-aggressively not calling her and hoping she's feel slighted? It's highly unlikely she's psychic and magically knows how you feel.

I don't do the poor-me girl friend mindreading schtick. Nobody in the real world just knows how their friends are feeling. Cowboy up and talk to her if you actually want to be friends, don't sulk around expecting her to apologize without having any idea why you're mad. Otherwise you're not doing her any favors pretending to be friends, either.


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I am sure the thing is very nuanced and abbreviated...and while this one instance in isolation wouldn't have my knickers in a twist, I can imagine that a long history of it would...as to the employment issue, I too am somewhat confused about how that comes into play as well......other than perhpas the suspicion that she is one to easily bail on job responsibilities as well as friendships...but that is ust speculation...I was confused on that as well...I do reccommend either sharing ones hopes and needs from a friend..or just letting it dissappate ...relationships ebb and flow...no need for anyone to be cast in a truly bad light


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...relationships ebb and flow...
...and life is too short to keep a minute accounting of who called who when and how often, and the like -- as if such an accounting could function in isolation as a litmus test for a whole person's entire quality of character and friendship, or could justify the discontinuation of a truly valued relationship, or could when presented in confrontation force someone to change in any fundamental way.


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Um...what's wrong with finding some way to say to her (or email): I'm kind of hurt because I'm going through a rough time, I could really use some support from my friends, and I feel like I've been blown off a bit.

I dunno. The not texting or anything on your birthday--well, I can get being sick and not having the energy for it. Her job situation is none of your business, and completely irrelevant. If you'd been abstractly planning something, without ever setting anything specific as far as dates/times...I just don't see that as a big deal.

Shrug. I guess I just operate under the mindset of accepting what friendship is there for whatever it is. If someone can't meet me as a friend the way I want them to...well, that's just the way things are. I enjoy my time with them, and whatever it is I get from the relationship, and let go of all the rest.


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Hmm. I have no useful advice on this particular situation. You feel how you feel.

I will share my own experience, though. I have quite a few friendships, some old, some new. Every one of those friendships has a different rhythm.

My oldest friend I've known more than 30 years. She and I get in touch maybe every 6 - 9 months, nobody blames anybody for the gap in communication, and we get on like gangbusters, as if we'd never been apart.

Another friend I talk to only at work because I think she and I both have boundary issues that would make more frequent, personal contacts problematic. She likes to meld into people and I, as a child, was trained to do the same. So, as an adult, I'm very conscious of trying to maintain individuality. Makes it hard to get close to her, because I feel like she wants to (s)mother me. Eh.

A third friend requires that I call him once a week, every single week or else. He held my hand through the implosion of my marriage and my subsequent divorce, and now he not only worries about me, he also feels entitled to know how I am. I use the word entitled deliberately.

A fourth, very close, friend disappeared from my life for several months. Because he's had serious health issues -- cancer, two heart attacks and other things -- I thought he was dead. To make it worse, he was going through financial difficulty so his phones got disconnected in there somewhere. When he came back into my life, I was just relieved and glad to have him back. (He'd had a nervous breakdown.)

My long-winded point is that every friendship is different and that maybe your and her definitions of best friend need to be explored a little. Maybe she doesn't want as much contact as you do. Or maybe she's going through a tough time. Or maybe your relationship is just going through one of the (I think natural) ebbs that friendships sometimes do. That doesn't make your friendship any less a friendship, unless you choose to see it that way.

I echo the earlier advice about communicating your feelings and expectations to her, btw. :cool:


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well, half of it is about her...I think the key here is whether or not this is an isolated incident, in which case I would call it an over-reation...or a very repetitive thing, in which case I would call it a bad example and not the one on which to stand when bringing it up...if one chooses to bring it up...I know that I am sick right now and it is all I can do to blow my nose and whine and pray for my head to dry up...however, if there is some longstanding expectation that she has of a friend that continually goes un-met which she feels is reasonable and might be able to share in a constructive way to see if she can get the other person more inclined to behave in that manner...well, it may be worth a mention...my experience however, is that it doesn't work on people who are militantly entrenched in self absorption and irresponsibility...

we have all acciedentally let our friends down...sometimes more than once, sometimesnot so accidentally, but coasting on the capitle we have built up in the relationship...and I think that is a great thing...I think that is what unconditional love and care are about...but the there is a point beyond which one does have to realize that one is dealing with someone who simply isn't that into you, just like in dating...it really isn't worth a confrontation...you just do what their actions are telling you to do which is to direct your energies elsewhere...it sounds like this girl does feel guilty enough and care enough to apologize which is a good sight better than her simply dropping off the radar and never responding to you, so my thought would be that it would be best to file this under, "I am feeling needier than my support system can handle right now..I need to realize that sometimes everyone feels un-cared for and unimportant and unappreciated by the people they think they work hard to show care and friendship towards...."


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P ...I think you make an excellent point

I have a similar scenario...a friend of 23 years whom I see 3-4 times a year....even though we typically only gather at christams and birthdays, it is one of the deepest bonds I have...we both understand just about everything about one another but have full rich lives and that is when we get together....no harm, no foul...if we needed to we would be there for each other everyday...and have at intervals

I have a friendship that has recently had alot of cancellations and false starts to it...person is going through a phase...I have done the same... and even though I do not currently appreciate the 2010 model of this friend, I am willing to wait around for a better model

I have several friendships that right now are all about me being there for that person

I have some wonderful reciprocal fun, and deeply caring women in my life through dance and through my work

etc.etc..and I have had relationships where is was clear that the nature of the thing was about simply having fun (which was great), butalso about making weekly promises that were unkept over years, and those ended up being a source of abuse that I am happy to have stopped trying to established any common understanding about....and relationships that were contingent upon someone elses' over bearing expectations

relationships don't have to be kept...sometimes they shouldn't be...but it seems to me that if both people want them, they can be mended...and if both people don't it becomes amply apparent if one has eyes wide-open...having differnt expectations is a no fault issue....how one navigates communicating that says the most about what kind of friend you are, how they respond says something about what kind of friend they are......


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Hmm. So, if I understand correctly, you got dumped by your boyfriend, and your girlfriend was not as available as you would like? The rest of this is based on that understanding.

Granted, you were in need. That being said, under normal circumstances, if you hadn't just been dumped, would your friend's behavior have felt so objectionable? Did you tell your friend that you really needed her support? Does she know you're in need?

I know that when I have been in relationships, I am considerably less available to my friends. Were you available to your friend while you were in your relationship? Or did she just move on, come up with a different routine to fill up the space that you left?

Now, your rant, and the last line of your post, really bring up the critical point. Have you seriously considered why you have so few friends that you would cling to one that you feel is abusing your friendship? What could *you* do differently? If you are in the position of "bad friend is better than no friend", then there is something fundamental that needs to be examined and addressed.

To put this in context, I went through my own period of intense self-examination addressing this along with other concerns, more than 20 years ago. The self-examination hasn't stopped since then, just less intense.
Oh, and she tells me she's taking a whole week off AGAIN between Christmas and New Year's. Uh, she just started working full-time less than a month ago (she was hourly before that)--how the hell does she already have that much time available to take off? I started my full-time job 3 months ago, and won't be eligible to take any vacation time for 3 more months.
Do you doubt that she's being truthful about her plans to take a week off from work? If so, is suspicion that she might be lying about that part of the issue?


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I will confess that when I had a very high stress job it became a very convenient way of not being available when I was tired..and the last friendship I had, I was on the other end of the coin which wasn't fun and equally bogus....life is hard...juggling all of the demands is hard...people hurt each other


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Not suggesting this applies to you, chica. But tiger's post made me start thinking back to the time period when I was really going though hell with my divorce.

I did two (Nope. Make that three.) things** that made me a very challenging person to befriend.

One, I sometimes inadvertantly allowed my negative emotions about/toward the ex and my situation to spill over onto a couple of other people -- people who were mutual friends of the ex and/or whom I perceived to be "on his side." I could usually catch myself and apologize, but I didn't always see myself clearly enough to realize what I was doing until after the fact.

Two, I became unusually needy for me. This I recognized in real time, so I countered it by serial calling a group of friends. Rather than wear out my welcome with any one person, I'd call one then another then another, limiting the amount of emotional investment I asked from any single person. Of course, I asked more of some people than others. And I allowed myself to lean on my friends. That's what they're there for. But I didn't ask any one friend to carry me through the whole crisis on his/her own.

Three. (See. I thought there might be more. :oops: ) I became very, very negative and sometimes borderline obsessive, wanting to go over and over every detail of how rottenly I was treated. I was treated rottenly and everyone agreed to that. But I'm sure my "poor me" story must've gotten old, no matter how much my friends loved me.

Just a few thoughts that may be totally irrelevant.

** That I know of. There could be more. *grin*


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Yeah Joe. That's kinda what I was getting at with my long-winded post immediately above. Even when I was living a truly terrible time and leaning way too heavily on my friends, I tried to be cognizant that they have lives, concerns and maybe even crises of their own.

Friendship isn't always fifty-fifty but ... it should average out over time.

I also try to take into account my friends' personalities. I have a girlfriend who just plain doesn't do empathy well. So, when I need empathy, I don't call her. When I need some butt-kicking strategic planning, however, she's my girl.

No one person can fill all my emotional needs. *shrug*


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mc, I'm sorry. It's even tougher to go through a rough time when you feel alone.
Pyg makes good points. There's some marriage book out about "love languages." Anyway, it's about learning how your spouse prefers to be shown love. Some like gifts, some like compliments, some like touch (hugs, hand-holding, get your mind out of the gutter people!) Most people show love the way they want to be shown love. Which doesn't work well if the person you love is doing the same, and you have different "languages."
Point being, really, I do have one, is that people are different. And well, if you don't feel like your friend is showing you friendship in the way you want to be shown friendship, don't assume it's because they don't care. It can just be they don't know what it is that you expect. It can seem obvious to us, but in their mind, they're being a perfectly good friend, as they're acting exactly like they want their friends to act.


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Or maybe her friend is too self-centered to spare half an hour for a friend in crisis. *shrug* Who knows? That's something mc is going to have to decide for herself.

I wasn't trying to accuse mc of being at fault for her friend's behavior, and I really hope my comments weren't read that way. What I'm saying, perhaps badly, is that every friendship is complex. It's hard, if not impossible, to label interactions as right/wrong or fair/unfair. (especially from the outside and with limited information)

Who knows why mc's friend was AWOL when needed? None of us. Which is why mc needs to decide whether discussing the situation with her friend is worth the risk. *shrug* I wish life were more simple.

And to take mc out from under the microscope, I'll put myself under.

After I wrote the post above about my various friendships, I got a not-too-subtle signal that all is not well in one of them. Trying to decide what to do. See next post.

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