Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

Hypothetical question: Are there some things that you simply can’t say, even to your best friend? Can one conversation effectively end a decade-long friendship? I’m not talking about a romantic relationship here (obviously one conversation can end those), I’m talking a close friendship.

Oh, and how much time should you allow yourself (assuming you’re the angry party) to cool off before making this decision? Ummm...that's it.

19 comments:

Jack Cobra said...

I was in this position once and I started it with, "I can tell you this because we are friends, but you are a real dickhead."

We aren't friends anymore. I would say wait until St. Patrick's Day. If you are still mad, talk about it then. If you value the friendship, you should probably just let it roll off your back.

Boo said...

I think any relationship can be salvaged if both parties are willing. But give yourself as much time as you need to cool off. Wait until you start missing their company. That is, if it is a really good friend and you want to remain that way.

But good luck with that.

Redhead said...

jack: My friends call me a bitch all the time, that wouldn't be enough to end a relationship. No, I think with this one friend, it was just...enough. She throws out little offensive comments all the time, I generally ignore them, but then last night - I was done.

Wait, isn't St. Patty's Day in a few months?

boo: I know you've sort of gone through this before, so I appreciate your comment.

I think the main problem here is my friend isn't even aware that this time she crossed the line (and really, she didn't do anything different than she normally does, I just finally decided I didn't want to take it anymore). Either way, I'm just sick of her and her personality (one of my best friends and I'm saying this!) - now how do I say that to her?

Jez said...

So what did Christine say?

And ask yourself, honestly, was it a true statement? Could she "perceive" it as being true.

I'm thinking the above might come into play since you didn't come right out and tell us.

Look, I'm sure many of my friends have looked at me and thought, "That guy is a total asshole." And for the most part, they would be right. But I also expect my friends to be themselves, and I would ask them to want the same from me. Sometimes I push it, but that is how we play THIS game.

My point is, I don't think there has been a time when someone said something to me where they either weren't correct (double negative there), or their perception is understood (whether it was correct or not). There was only one time, when I had a girlfriend who was like 7 years younger than me who made a very judgemental statement about something I had done in my past that actually hurt my feelings. But then, there was a breakup going on, and she was just immature.

Boo said...

You know red, I think the key to a lasting friendship is really whether people grow together or not. I think it's ok that this has finally pissed you off; that just means that you are creating new boundaries for yourself, which is healthy in response to negative behavior.

Maybe talk to her about it, and give her a chance to see it before you thrust her into oblivion. And then if it doesn't work out, you can always ditch her later.

:)

rs27 said...

I'm going through this right now and apparently I'm the offending party. I would just say that if you haven't brought it up before how is she supposed to know that what she was saying is offensive?

I mean if you come right out and blow up at her it kind of comes out of right field. Unless you've mentioned it before. You should give it a little bit and then talk about it.

Depends how much you care about the person, though.

Redhead said...

jez: OK, a) I didn't say it was Christine, b) it's not one of those 'you're a bitch/asshole' anything like that statements, it was more...I don't really want to repeat it, but let's just say she essentially told me I'll never deserve the kind of man I want (emotionally and physically). And she is 2 years older than I am, so immaturity isn't in play here.

boo: The tough thing is she has always been like this - she's just rubs a lot of people the wrong way (yet is completely oblivious to it - I've had ex-boyfriends and even family members comment on it). Yet when things get bad, she's always there for me. I guess the question becomes, when is that NOT enough. So she's there for the bad times, but oftentimes she ruins the good ones...what does that add up to?

rs27: Again, she doesn't realize it. She never has. Yet everyone (literally) notices it about her - it's like she doesn't have that filter in herself that thinks about a) how what she's saying sounds to others, and b)their feelings, her relationships with them, her WORK relationships. I just generally speaking don't take things too personally, so she never really bothered me. Until now.

rs27 said...

Ok well thats different then. If she's outwardly rude all the time and everyone notices, then you shouldn't have to put up with it. But I think you should have a sit down and explain how you feel. See how she reacts before you end a friendship.

Jack Cobra said...

These other commenters are right. Communication is the key to success. If she's been there for you before and you think she'd be there for you again...talk it out.

Redhead said...

rs27: I just DO NOT want to deal with her right now - to talk things out or not. I'm just not interested.

jack: OK, let me put this in other words now: I'm just not sure I like her anymore; and I'm not sure I want to work it out.

onthevirg said...

I was going to ask what Christine did this time as well.

Listen I may be in the minority here, but if it's bothering you that bad and has been a thorn in your side for so long, fuck it. Start another strong, 10 year relationship w/ someone who isn't such an asshole.

Laughing through my chardonnay said...

Give yourself as much time to cool off as possible. You don't want to act too quickly then end up being the bad guy.

Can I ask what happened? I mean, did the person sleep with your husband/wife? Or was it something small that is blown way out of proportion?

Lozo said...

i think the best course of action when dealing with a tense situation with a close friend is to ask for help from a blog audience that doesn't really know you or your friend, and, and, make sure when you pose the question, you give absolutely no information about the situation at hand.

Redhead said...

virg: That comment is pretty much why I like you so much - sometimes you just have to say 'fuck it.'

ltmc: It wasn't anything huge like that (if she'd slept with, in my case a boyfriend, the friendship would be over - there just wouldn't be any uncertainty about ending it). It was more just the case of the straw breaking the camel's back - one totally, stupid, insensitive comment too many, and I thought 'hmmm, why do I deal with this again? Do I really want to put up with this for the rest of my life? Is she actually worth it?' I know, I'm a SUPER nice person.

lozo: I know, that's what I thought too! Great minds apparently do think alike.

Jack Cobra said...

So...when this person makes comments about other people do you think, "Wow, that was mean, but true,"? Maybe what she was saying was insensitive and mean, but...true and that's why this time you are so bent out of shape?

MCBias said...

Was the friend sober when she said this? Just checking. Anyway...I personally would do an intervention-style meeting where you tell her "Either you never, NEVER do this again, or the friendship is over." Those decade-old friendships are tough to replace once one gets out of college, in my experience. But when a friend's actions are tearing you up as a person...that's tough, I've certainly walked away from a few friendships because of that. Friends don't destroy friends.

Redhead said...

jack: No, most of the time I think she's being incredibly judgmental (yeah, I think that - you know it must be bad then). She's kind of the type who likes to stir things up and create arguments, and she's openly admitted to lying in order to win an argument. In fact...you know, I rarely think that what she says is true. Most people don't and she doesn't realize that - another part of the whole problem.

mcb: She was totally sober. Again, she does this ALL THE TIME. It's just...she won't take 'the talk' well. She'll go on the offensive, and I guarantee it will get ugly. I'd kind of like to avoid that (in other words, wimp out and just drop off the face of the earth).

Mr. Thursday said...

Wait a week. Do nothing, at all, with her, for a week. Ignore her. Don't have "the talk", don't hang out with her, don't call her, don't answer her calls. For a week, she doesn't exist.

Then re-examine.

Personally, I think Talks are kinda teenage angsty. The fewer Talks any relationship has, the better. They're awkward, lengthy, taxing, and rarely (if ever) helpful. In a week, you can decide whether her criticism is a big deal, or whether you'll let it slide.

If you have a lot of mutual friends, though, I'd just let it slide. Maybe you stop making plans that specifically involve her, but I don't think you'll be able to ignore her entirely. Even if she is a lying bitch.

Jez said...

She essentially told me I'll never deserve the kind of man I want (emotionally and physically).

Was she basing this on the kind of music you listen to? If so, she's spot on. :)

It's not a nice thing to say, this much is true. But why do you care so much if you think it isn't true? I mean, fuck her. Your first thought is correct - don't hang out with her if she's making these sort of comments.