merissanathangerson

BF(Forget It)

In Breakups/Divorce, Drama on February 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Dear Yenta,

I’m starting to realize that a friend I’ve become very close with over the past year may not be the friend I had hoped she could be. We’ve been able to talk to each other about our troubles, and have had lots of fun shooting the sh*t, but I fear that the times she has hurt or disappointed me are now clouding over the good. While I believe I’ve been loyal and supportive…in the past year, she has pursued relationships with two people I was interested in/involved with, lied to me, broken plans, neglected to include me in important group events, and all-in-all seems to be unable to understand how her actions might make me feel.

I feel a bit stupid that I ever thought she would help me in a time of need, and a bit pathetic that I am so hurt she did not. She says she “needs” me and I’m her “best” friend, but I feel very blah about the whole thing. Do you think it’s worth it to try to give her another chance or would it be better to just cut my losses?

– Out of Love With My BFF

Serena and Blair fight like animals, but love each other long time.

Dear OOLWMBFF,

If it doesn’t float, why get in a boat? It hurts to lose a friend, but wasn’t that boat sinking anyways? There is a fine line between love spats and deep dark divides that are not meant to be bridged. That doesn’t mean, though, that the actual moment and act of separating doesn’t break your heart a little, whether it be a slight separation or a full on divorce.

Give her another chance at what? Hurting you? The truth is, friend annulment happens. It hurts, it sucks, it feels weird, but sometimes moving on from those that cause you regular pain is a necessary part of growing older. This doesn’t mean you two are through, it means that for now this relationship is not serving you and it might be best to put all that love and positive energy towards someone who supplies a more regular return rate.

We all develop patterns early on, often patterns that involve loving people who don’t love us back, not the way we want to be loved. (See this kooky 1970’s self-help book, Scripts People Live by Claude Steiner) If your friend’s words say one thing, and her actions another, you have every right to re-evaluate and possibly walk away to protect your own heart. Or, you can just slightly withdraw, lower the intensity of the friendship. The only rule is that you do everything with love, attempting to communicate, so as not to cause undue pain.

How did you get yourself in this situation? What does it mean that she “needs” you so badly, and you hardly even like her? Use this conundrum to learn so you can pick kinder friends in the future.

As my grandmother’s nurse says, “If on first glance you see someone and want to be their friend, turn in the other direction.” Sometimes we need to unlearn scripts in order to find people who are good for us, following new instincts rather than those that taught us how to join a clique in Middle School.

In the end you get to decide when to withdraw your bet. Especially, if you have done all you can to communicate and your communication yielded very little ownership or understanding on your friend’s end. Friendship is a two way street.

Just remember, in the words of my mother, “Where you cut one branch off, another grows.”

For help with future friendships read:
The Smart Girl’s Guide to True Friendship

Or, try Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More and/or attending a CODA meetingg, ie, Codependents Anonymous.


Merissa Nathan Gerson | Create Your Badge

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  1. Hello. I find this to be a very thoughtful response to a very personal and potentially complicated situation. I would like to offer another take on the bold lettered advice. It seems the most important thing is to remember to do things with love for the self, with a foundation of integrity in the situation. Sometimes that actually means pulling away from communicating, and the other person getting hurt momentarily. Sometimes what is done in self love and integrity might end up hurting another person short term, but will ultimately be better for both people. When we take care of ourselves, when we love ourselves, then we take care of those around us. True love can look very different than always trying to keep other people from feeling pain. This is simply what seems true in my experience, and is meant to be another option/approach. Thanks!

    • I wholeheartedly agree, thank you for this. There is, however, a difference between causing pain based on pre-existing realities, and provoking new suffering. Self-love should not necessitate cruel behavior. With balance of self-care and general consideration for other humans we have a lot of happy campers.

  2. Dear Yenta:

    Great advice!

    The term ‘frenemy’ describes the type of friendship that is filled with ambivalence like your reader describes. There is research showing that these type of relationships are bad for our health and emotional well-being. When someone acts nice some of the time and then sabotages you, you really can’t consider the relationship a healthy one.

    So I agree with the idea of dumping the frenemy even though this is easier said than done. There is a lot of pressure from the media and our mothers to hang on to friendships but this isn’t always the right thing to do.

    If you need support for cutting the tie, my book (Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend) may help.

    Irene

  3. […] Your friend sounds like a mean disaster. For help on whether to salvage or ditch this friendship, see “BF(Forget It).” […]

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