General Etiquette > general

When a former friend realizes they're "former"

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Last month, I posted about my then-friend Linda, who was annoying a mutual acquaintance before outing herself as a racist.

Since that disastrous happy hour where she made fun of an ethnic group, I've ignored all her calls and texts. She's taken to dropping by my office every week, walking up behind me and taking my headphones out of my ears. When I turn around with a "Hey!" she smiles and asks if she can take me to lunch. I simply reply that I'm busy and please don't touch my headphones. I get an eye roll and she repeats it the next week.

Now she's heard through the grapevine that I'm throwing a cocktail party and has repeatedly texted or emailed asking where her invitation is. The most recent message says "I know you meant to invite me, so I'll be there! Should I bring red or white wine?"

Clearly I need to stiffen my spine and respond to her. Any suggestions for a polite yet strongly worded email?

How about, "No, I didn't mean to include you."  It's to-the-point and simple.

Wow! She sure is persistant.

Since she has been ignoring your very obvious hints, it's now time to spell it out for her. Not sure of the exact wording you should use, but I'd aim for emailing her along these lines:


Your actions at Happy Hour the other week made me realise that we have very different values. As such, I no longer feel comfortable continuing this friendship. Please do not turn up at my house on [day of cocktail party]. 


Doesn't sound like she actually has realized she is "former."

You may have to spell it out, as the two PP's suggested, but be prepared for a defensive response and "everybody's mean to me."

This kind of happened in my social circle a few years back. Jill was annoying everyone, and one guy in particular, Fred, was getting tired of receiving the stream of negativity from her, especially via IM while he was at work. ("My life is horrible, so-and-so is causing me so much stress, the world is mean to me.."). So when Fred had a big BBQ, he decided not to invite her. Mutual friend Bill didn't realize she wasn't going (it was a big party, most people invited) and quite innocently asked her how she was getting to the party. That was when she found out there was a party she wasn't invited to. Fred later said to me, "I had thought about inviting her, but she's been so negative lately and I just didn't want that at my BBQ."

But once Jill found out, she actually emailed Fred the day before the party and asked him why he hadn't invited her. Now Fred doesn't take to drama gladly, and the "why wasn't I invited" email was enough for him to "defriend" her altogether (on FB, in real life, block IM's, etc).

Now she will whine to anyone who is willing to listen that Fred dropped her "for no apparent reason." (This is a pattern for her). When someone tried to explain it to her in plain terms, they were met with hostility. It's too bad some people want to stick their heads in the sand instead of learning from people who are willing to be straight with them. This is the same person who got annoyed with me for being busy, btw, if you saw that thread.

Poor Linda is probably one of those people who just won't get it, either.

I agree, she doesn't yet realize she's a "former" friend.  Or maybe, she's starting to realize it and fighting like heck not to be a 'former' friend.

I'd be upfront with her.  You don't have to defend yourself.  Just plainly tell her "sorry, but you weren't on the invite it."  If she still doesn't get it (and she probably won't), email her and just let her know that you no longer wish to be friends with her. 

Good luck!


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