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#411775 04/26/08 03:36 PM
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Koala
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How many of us have had a falling out with a friend?

I was teaching today and an old friend, S, came into the store where i work to ask for my phone number. We're polite to eachother, but it was a little awkward, you know what i mean? We used to be very close friends until one day, unexpectedly, she got mad at me, quit talking to me, and slandered me to another friend (her cousin) who also quit talking to me... all because I didn't show up to a party because i was having one of the worst days of my life. I got equally mad with her then when she refused to talk it out and try to resolve the issue (she never did talk to me even ONCE about why she was mad), but i'm not the first person she's suddenly cut off from her life... she's done it to most people in turn. She started talking to me again about 3 years ago by email to ask me to do something for her. I said no, get real!, and told her i didn't really want to be close to her until she dealt with one or two of her issues and was healthier to be around.

Well, the thing is, after that, her ex-boyfriend of 8 years became one of my closest friends. He's pretty much family to me now, at least that's how we see it... there's no attraction between us, we just feel more like a close brother and sister. And he feels she's the love of his life. He's dating people now, but he never got over her. Recently she started talking to him again, too, and she might start working for his company. Last night he called me, upset, because she told him yesterday that she's engaged to a guy she's been dating.. well we're not sure how long she's been dating this new guy, but she was dating and living with someone else less than 2 months ago so it couldn't have been very long she's been with this new guy! She's got a really good heart, but she's a pretty "messy" person, if you know what i mean. She's never had a job longer than a year (she's in her 30's), she goes from boyfriend to boyfriend to support her, she's a former anorexic and a recovered alcoholic (fortunately she eats well and hasn't been drinking for many years), but see what i mean by messy? She does her best and she's a loving person, and i think that's why so many people love her, particularly when they know the childhood she had to overcome.

So, it's just a little awkward to see her again, and a little painful, but i think she's trying to get close to her old friends again, myself and her ex-boyfriend (my brother-friend) included. I loved her very much, but even now i still feel hurt and angry that she cut me out of her life without even a discussion, and i don't feel i did anything particularly wrong to deserve it, and she STILL has never talked about it or said she was sorry. And... i'm not sure i trust her yet. She's living with her mom because she still isn't supporting herself and now she's engaged to someone she hardly knows. Seems like she's doing the same old thing.

Lot's of us have had difficult friendships or relationships with syblings. I'd like to hear other people's stories and... how did you finally deal with it????! Did you forgive? Did you cut them out of your life? Something in between? And why? Thanks.

Last edited by hollyelise; 04/26/08 03:45 PM.
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Yes, I have had several difficult friendships throughout my life. Recently, I began re-evaluating some of them and couldn't help but recognize how unbalanced and toxic those friendships were for me. Some people, no matter how much you may care for them, simply aren't worth the aggravation and disappointment.

I made a very conscious effort to purge my life of these "friends" and while I have forgiven them and will always wish them well, I now reserve my friendship for the select few that have proven to be worthy of it.

Compassionate people are often easily taken advantage of. It took me a long time to understand that you don't have to be a sucker to demonstrate compassion.

If you are unsure about whether or not to allow this old friend back into your life, then consider setting some boundaries and keeping your guard up. It might also be a good idea to call her out on her failure to recognize how she hurt and disappointed you. She should be willing to work for it if she is sincere about wanting to earn back your trust.

Good luck!

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Gecko
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Originally Posted By: Kristina, Dating Editor
Compassionate people are often easily taken advantage of. It took me a long time to understand that you don't have to be a sucker to demonstrate compassion.


I'm a good listener and having come through some times where I couldn't have made it without good friends, I have tried to pay it forward. But some of my associates have taken advantage and it's made me feel very used and sad.

I decided a while ago to ease my way back from a friendship that I felt had to be handled with kid gloves. After a visit with a friend that left me feeling more drained than anything, I reevaluated the situation and it became clear that it was a relationship with no redeeming qualities. This friend (and I did enjoy her company from time to time) rarely asked me about my life or seemed interested even if I stepped up and mentioned something that was going on.

But when she had problems, like she did on the visit that I mentioned, she wanted company while she complained for hours on end.

I don't mind devoting my time to a friend that's sad or helping one when she's down, but I'd like to feel that if or when the time came when I might need a little emotional propping up that they will be there for me like I have been for them.

I haven't made any snap decisions, but when I came to realize that's not the lay of the land; is there any good reason not to let go?





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Shark
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Some friendships/relationships you just need to take a break from every now and then.

I'd ask myself if I feel better or worse after I've been around this person. If I feel worse, why do I want to be around them?



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Every friendship is a two way street. Both friends have to talk with each other regularly to keep the friendship going. Both friends have to give up completely for the friendship to die. So if a friendship dies, it really is because both halves decide to give up for whatever reason.

If one or both of you are wanting to give this another try, go in cautiously, but certainly do see if it will work. Friends are a precious thing in this world and should be treasured. Now, of course, if this friend solely wants you to "use you", you should watch out for that and draw the line. But if she really does want to be your friend, and you respect and appreciate spending time with her, then that would seem to be a good thing.


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My mom has told me that the older she gets the less friendships she seems to have. I find this very strange as older people should have more time to devote to friends. Why do older people isolate themselves? Would the reason be past disappointments in their dealings with people or do they just not want to put out the effort? As the OP mentioned, keeping in touch takes effort!

I've always considered having friends to be very important and worry when a long term relationship develops problems that threaten to destroy it. It amazes me when some people seem only to want to associate with people in order to use them...and I agree that we should proceed with caution when surrounded by that sort of person.

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My mom says the same thing, msbaby. Her sister is really her best friend and she still has a friend from the past that she keeps in contact with.

I am finding that with the kids being young, that I am thrown in with moms who have kids the same age but I wouldn't really call them real friends. Honestly I don't have much time to devote to a real friendship, which sometimes means you have to drop everything if they need you or if they drop in to visit.

I guess I like email type friends. I can answer when I get the chance.

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Gecko
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I tell my girls all the time be good to their sisters will cause as irritating as they are right now, one day they will consider them to be their closest friends. I would give anything to have had sisters because I see my friends' relationships with their sisters and it just seems so special. Perhaps not without stress in some instances, but long lasting and I would imagine that many of the formalities and pretenses involved in other relationships could be dropped or at least diminished.

The youngest two of my girls have a really special bond, and I can see where they will be close for a lifetime. I'm not so certain about the oldest. She still seems to harbor some resentments that "two little rugrats" invaded her world and turned it upside down. Come to think of it, I have a friend who is not close to her older sister at all....what's that about? Did the older sibling get used to being the only child and didn't like the change, or what?


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Holly, I hope you don't mind me putting my two cents into the discussion. I could have been either one of you at different times in my life. Reading your discription of your friend and events of your relationship was like reading about my life. It was kinda spooky to be honest. I sense that you are a very caring, giving, loving person, possibly to the extent it could be detrimental to you. You need to be true to yourself to be of any good to anyone else. Be careful not to allow her illness to become yours. Friendship is a two-way street of giving and getting. You can't be the one who does all the giving or you run the risk of making yourself vulnerable. As you said they stopped talking to you because you didn't show up, but where were they when you needed them. You needed to take care of yourself and shouldn't be punished for that. Unfortunately, your friend seemed to be to wrapped up in herself to think about you. To this day, she may not realize this. Because she hasn't discussed the fallout with you, she may never. I could have been that friend before I finally made peace with myself. I blamed everyone else for my "stuff" because it was easier than looking at myself and dealing with the real problem. It was always about me-poor me. When I felt I'd been wronged, I slammed the door and walked away. I thought I was protecting myself, but was really enabling myself to remain in denial. Your friend has some serious selfworth and accountibility problems. Until she gets face to face with herself, she can't be a true friend to anyone else, including herself. She's a taker because she has nothing to give. That's why she walks away rather than deal with things. This shows in her self destructive behaviors. She has self work to do. You can be supportive and stand by her without enabling her destructive behaviors, but only she can do the work. Or you can leave things as they are which would probably be best for you. Either way you are being a good friend. At this point though, you need to know she probably won't be much of a friend to you and since the odds are against this being an equal relationship, you need to take care of you first! Sometimes not being a friend is being a friend, I guess. Something needs to make her wake up before her dangerous, selfdestructive behaviors end up killing her. Be careful not to become a secondary victim of her dysfunction. Sue

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Thank you, everyone for your responses. You've given me a lot to think about.

S, by the way, called me up to offer a small job with her mother... so that was a gesture of good will. I still don't know what i think, yet.

Nadaurz you said something about at different times you could have either been S or me, and that got me thinking about how i'd want to be treated if roles were reversed, and i'd want to be given a second chance if i were sincere. I don't think i'm going to try to fix things with S, but i don't think i'm going to shut the door, either. I think i'll just wait and see what develops.

I don't remember who said it, but you're right... friendships are precious.

msbaby - Have you ever told your friend that you'd like to feel she's there for you too?

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