I’ve been unsure about whether to submit this or not, but it has become clear that this is a recurring problem and I would appreciate some advice about how to firmly and politely put a stop to it.
A year ago I moved back home. Prior to that I shared a flat with my best friend for two years. It did not end well. In fact, our relationship disintegrated to the point that I was barely in the apartment for the last six months of the lease and I haven’t really spoken to her since. I don’t want to go into too much detail but there was a lot of bullying and emotional manipulation involved and a long list of very petty grievances that built up to the point that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve really only told two friends details about what has been going on, and mainly because we were chatting when everything was happening and I trust them. When people have asked I have been vague on the details. God knows what my room mate has been telling people but I decided early on not to feed the friend groups appetite for gossip.
Our mutual friends don’t really understand what’s going on and one in particular keeps asking me when I’m going to talk to roomie again and last week, at a party and in front of a few people, said “I figured once all the dust settled you’d go back to being friends”. I understand that she comes from a good place and means well but I’d love some advice on how to shut this down. I find it super awkward and keep fumbling for an answer. It was a close friendship, I’m sad it ended, perhaps in the future we could be friends again but right now that won’t be happening. I thought answering my friend the first time would be the end of it, but I keep being ambushed. How do I get her to stop without having to detail why I’m not interested in a friendship with my former roomie right now? 1124-18
As I’ve gotten older, my tolerance for busybodies has waned. I’m more likely to tell people who should know better that they need to mind their own business. When people will not accept polite deflections of their nosy, rude and presumptuous comments, it’s time to get firm and you do that by stating one of several options:
“This issue is between and ‘ex-friend’, it is none of your business and I would appreciate it if you would stop asking me.”
“That’s an interesting assumption…”, followed with silence.
I’m sure readers can devise even more options. The key is to deliver such statements with a cool calmness. No crying, no drama, no shrieking, no twinge of nastiness to your tone of voice. Just a dead calm poker face that means business.