Author Topic: A friend cutting contact/ going to my BF behind my back - clarifications #2 & #7  (Read 8911 times)

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KenveeB

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I 100% agree with this post. I think people are being pretty harsh on the OP in this thread. It is pretty clear to me that Rora was in the wrong here.

It may be clear to you, but it's equally clear to other people that Rora wasn't in the wrong. I think the point of posting was to get different perspectives.

It sounds to me like OP and Rora are just coming at friendship from different perspectives. Rora is a sharer. She obviously thinks that friends talk about their problems, even when there are a lot of them or it's tough. OP is an internalist. When things get tough, she withdraws and keeps her issues to herself. Neither way is wrong, but it's incredibly frustrating to be a sharer and be friends with an internalist. It feels like your friend is constantly shutting you out and doesn't want you involved in their life. Maybe you can come to grips with that and be able to understand that it's just how they are and they're not trying to keep you away, and you can still be friends. But maybe you can't, and you decide the friendship is over. Rora went the second route. That's not wrong, it just might be the right choice for her.  (By contrast, it's frustrating for an internalist to be friends with a sharer because, as we see with the OP, you feel like the other is constantly unloading their problems on you.)

Looking at it from Rora's perspective, she has a good friend who suddenly and without any explanation cuts her off completely for 6 months. That has got to hurt bad. Then her friend contacts her again, and she makes the decision to forgive and forget and carry on the friendship. Then only a few months later it happens again. She does what she thinks friends do and shares how she feels to try to resolve the problem. She also reaches out to the boyfriend to find out what else is going on and if OP is intentionally ignoring her. Instead she just gets the brush-off and told "she's going through a lot." In her world, if you're going through a lot, then you talk to your friends about it. If OP doesn't want to talk to her, then it means they're not really friends after all and she gets mad at being strung along instead.

Or Rora might just be a selfish witch who only cares about herself. It's hard to know for sure, but it's possible for two people to have different perspectives on a relationship and for both of them to feel like the other one is the bad friend who abandoned them. I think OP just needs to decide how important this relationship is to her. If it's important enough to her, then she'll approach Rora again, explain where she was coming from, and apologize for withdrawing. She'll also explain that not sharing what's going on with her doesn't mean she doesn't consider Rora not to be her friend, it's just that she doesn't share with anyone. Then it will be up to Rora to decide whether that's a relationship she can handle or not. Or OP can decide that this isn't the kind of relationship she can handle and just let it go while remembering the good times. But neither of them has to be the bad guy or in the wrong for the relationship to end.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 11:16:54 AM by KenveeB »

Jeremy

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The telling statement for me is that Rora "got very angry" when Bea didn't call her for two weeks, and this was after she'd been warned that Bea was dealing with some difficult issues and wouldn't feel like talking for a bit.  If one of my friends got very depressed and apparently dropped off the face of the planet, I would not be angry, I'd be worried.  I agree that it's hard to be friends with someone who's suffering from depression, but Rora's reaction was uncalled for.

Bea, I think you can apologise to her if you feel like it, but you don't really owe her an apology and you weren't rude to her.  As rashea said, you might be better moving on and putting the experience behind you. Hope things work out for you!

KenveeB

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The telling statement for me is that Rora "got very angry" when Bea didn't call her for two weeks, and this was after she'd been warned that Bea was dealing with some difficult issues and wouldn't feel like talking for a bit.  If one of my friends got very depressed and apparently dropped off the face of the planet, I would not be angry, I'd be worried.  I agree that it's hard to be friends with someone who's suffering from depression, but Rora's reaction was uncalled for.

From the OP, she was told OP was "too buried and things were too messy." Sounds like a classic brush-off from the other side. When she emailed the BF, she was told OP was "going through a lot of horrible things right now." Which to a person who thinks friends share problems, sounds an awful lot like "she doesn't consider you enough of a friend to want to tell you about them." Not saying that OP was in the wrong, but that doesn't necessarily mean Rora was either.

Softly Spoken

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I am continually perplexed by an attitude I see expressed on this board that the only behavior one should ever expect is one that has been explicitly promised.  Do people really live their lives in some sort of verbal contractual arrangement system with friends and family?

No, I don't think it is a question of having a verbal contract about everything. The continual references to not expecting or assuming anything simply remind us that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to people, and no one is psychic so communication is important. Without good communication, our expectations are often unrealistic, or at the very least run a percentage chance of being so. Expecting something to happen doesn't make it happen. The problems stem from passive expectations that are either not adequately communicated, or just not possible.
Many of the threads started here are by people who are trying to figure out if their expectations are reasonable or not.
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Fleur

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The telling statement for me is that Rora "got very angry" when Bea didn't call her for two weeks, and this was after she'd been warned that Bea was dealing with some difficult issues and wouldn't feel like talking for a bit.  If one of my friends got very depressed and apparently dropped off the face of the planet, I would not be angry, I'd be worried.  I agree that it's hard to be friends with someone who's suffering from depression, but Rora's reaction was uncalled for.

From the OP, she was told OP was "too buried and things were too messy." Sounds like a classic brush-off from the other side. When she emailed the BF, she was told OP was "going through a lot of horrible things right now." Which to a person who thinks friends share problems, sounds an awful lot like "she doesn't consider you enough of a friend to want to tell you about them." Not saying that OP was in the wrong, but that doesn't necessarily mean Rora was either.

My point was really that Rora was wrong to contact the boyfriend in the first place, as she did not know him. I would never contact a friend's new boyfriend to ask what was up. It is just not appropriate. That, combined with the fact that Rora seemed to want to spend a lot of time talking about her problems, is what makes it pretty clear that she is a vampire. I'm just not seeing as many shades of grey here as others are. The OP seems to have been pretty careful not to blame Rora, to the extent that she actually probably gives Rora too much credit. I have dealt with emotional vampires before and I can recognize the signs pretty clearly.

Winterlight

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I think dealing with every other day, hour long phone calls all about somebody else's issues is a lot to deal with.  Even without depression a person could easily need a break from it, especially when dealing with an emergency move and a lot of other major life issues cropping up.  I've been treated for depression in the past, am pretty much completely better now and no longer need meds, but I would still find it utterly exhausting and draining.  Rora sounds very needy and tiring and I wonder if the OP's depression could be a red herring here. 

It sounds as if the OP had to really scramble to find new housing, deal with an emergency move, and with losing her place in school, deal with her whole life crashing around her.  Anybody having to deal with that may well end up dropping off the radar for awhile while getting things sorted out.

What you said. I'm assuming Rora had some idea of what was going on, so it's not like she thought OP was lollygagging around ignoring her for the fun of it.
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EllenS

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Not calling someone for 2 weeks is not an etiquette or moral failing, unless you had specifically promised to do so. 
I am continually perplexed by an attitude I see expressed on this board that the only behavior one should ever expect is one that has been explicitly promised.  Do people really live their lives in some sort of verbal contractual arrangement system with friends and family?

No, but I am saying that going 2 weeks without calling is not in itself offensive behavior.  There is no unwritten rule that friends must call each other on a particular schedule.  It would only be rude if you were breaking a "date".

KenveeB

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I think dealing with every other day, hour long phone calls all about somebody else's issues is a lot to deal with.  Even without depression a person could easily need a break from it, especially when dealing with an emergency move and a lot of other major life issues cropping up.  I've been treated for depression in the past, am pretty much completely better now and no longer need meds, but I would still find it utterly exhausting and draining.  Rora sounds very needy and tiring and I wonder if the OP's depression could be a red herring here. 

It sounds as if the OP had to really scramble to find new housing, deal with an emergency move, and with losing her place in school, deal with her whole life crashing around her.  Anybody having to deal with that may well end up dropping off the radar for awhile while getting things sorted out.

What you said. I'm assuming Rora had some idea of what was going on, so it's not like she thought OP was lollygagging around ignoring her for the fun of it.

That's an assumption not based off anything in the OP. In the OP, she only says "I got in touch with Rora, and apologized for being AWOL, and thanked her for remaining my friend." There's no indication that OP ever actually explained why she disappeared for six months. All Rora knows -- from what OP has said -- is that OP dropped out of touch for 6 months, got back in touch for a few months, then disappeared again with no more explanation than "I was too buried and things were too messy." While WE are all aware of what the OP was thinking and feeling about all of that time, did she ever bother to tell Rora about it?

I've been friends with "emotional vampires" and definitely recognize the signs of that. But I've also been friends with people who only wanted to be friends on their own schedule, dropped out of touch for long periods of time, and then expected everything to be just the same when they had time for me again. As PPs have said, you can't put friends in cold storage when you don't have time for them. There's nothing wrong with needing space to deal with other issues, but that doesn't mean your friends will necessarily be waiting whenever you decide you're ready. Especially if you never bother to explain to them why you keep dropping out of sight or don't share your problems with them.

bopper

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I have read this post and replies with great interest as I have a friend who has "gone turtle" due to depression.  As hard as it is for the person suffering depression, it is hard on the friend who is cut off due to depression.  We don't know what is going on, we don't know if the person is safe.  If we call, we are nags.  If we don't call, we don't care. 

I agree with etiquett that it is difficult being a good friend to someone who suffers from depression.  I miss my friend. 

To the OP, I suggest that you contact your friend and try and mend fences.

Maybe you can call without requesting anything from her.

Instead of "Friend, haven't heard from you in 3 weeks, please call/write back"

try "Friend, I was just thinking about you the other day when Joey did the cutest thing.  He blah blah.
Hope you are doing okay and I will talk to you soon."

Magnet

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I have read this post and replies with great interest as I have a friend who has "gone turtle" due to depression.  As hard as it is for the person suffering depression, it is hard on the friend who is cut off due to depression.  We don't know what is going on, we don't know if the person is safe.  If we call, we are nags.  If we don't call, we don't care. 

I agree with etiquett that it is difficult being a good friend to someone who suffers from depression.  I miss my friend. 

To the OP, I suggest that you contact your friend and try and mend fences.

Maybe you can call without requesting anything from her.

Instead of "Friend, haven't heard from you in 3 weeks, please call/write back"

try "Friend, I was just thinking about you the other day when Joey did the cutest thing.  He blah blah.
Hope you are doing okay and I will talk to you soon."

Oh, I do precisely that.  I leave chipper phone messages, and send nice emails.  However, a person suffering from depression is not always capable of responding.  What makes the situation worse, is that my friend lives out in the country, alone, and does not get along with his family.  I may be the only person who cares whether this person is alive and he has specifically asked me to call every couple of days to make sure he is living and breathing.  Its tough when my friend won't return phone calls.

I confess that I too have jumped ugly with my friend for not returning phone calls --not saying I will end the friendship but because I am genuinely worried about him.  As mentioned earlier, its not easy being friends with a depressed person, and it would be nice if the depressed person realizes this fact, and cuts his or her friends as much slack as the depressed person demands.

Fleur

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I have read this post and replies with great interest as I have a friend who has "gone turtle" due to depression.  As hard as it is for the person suffering depression, it is hard on the friend who is cut off due to depression.  We don't know what is going on, we don't know if the person is safe.  If we call, we are nags.  If we don't call, we don't care. 

I agree with etiquett that it is difficult being a good friend to someone who suffers from depression.  I miss my friend. 

To the OP, I suggest that you contact your friend and try and mend fences.

Maybe you can call without requesting anything from her.

Instead of "Friend, haven't heard from you in 3 weeks, please call/write back"

try "Friend, I was just thinking about you the other day when Joey did the cutest thing.  He blah blah.
Hope you are doing okay and I will talk to you soon."

Oh, I do precisely that.  I leave chipper phone messages, and send nice emails.  However, a person suffering from depression is not always capable of responding.  What makes the situation worse, is that my friend lives out in the country, alone, and does not get along with his family.  I may be the only person who cares whether this person is alive and he has specifically asked me to call every couple of days to make sure he is living and breathing.  Its tough when my friend won't return phone calls.

I confess that I too have jumped ugly with my friend for not returning phone calls --not saying I will end the friendship but because I am genuinely worried about him.  As mentioned earlier, its not easy being friends with a depressed person, and it would be nice if the depressed person realizes this fact, and cuts his or her friends as much slack as the depressed person demands.

While I'm sorry for your situation, I don't think it is actually all that relevant to the OP. The OP didn't ask Rora to keep checking in, rather the opposite. She made her boundaries clear, and I don't think she should need to mend fences when Rora was the one being demanding. If anything Rora owes the OP an apology for her boundary trampling.

Magnet

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[quote author=Fleur link=topic=125078.msg2896190#msg2896190 While I'm sorry for your situation, I don't think it is actually all that relevant to the OP. The OP didn't ask Rora to keep checking in, rather the opposite. She made her boundaries clear, and I don't think she should need to mend fences when Rora was the one being demanding. If anything Rora owes the OP an apology for her boundary trampling.
[/quote]

I believe it was very clear that I was responding to the post above, which was directed at my post -- not the OP.

You and I will have to agree to disagree about whether the OP or Rora owes an apology.  I, like many posters, do see the flip side of dealing with a depressed friend.

Fleur

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[quote author=Fleur link=topic=125078.msg2896190#msg2896190 While I'm sorry for your situation, I don't think it is actually all that relevant to the OP. The OP didn't ask Rora to keep checking in, rather the opposite. She made her boundaries clear, and I don't think she should need to mend fences when Rora was the one being demanding. If anything Rora owes the OP an apology for her boundary trampling.

I believe it was very clear that I was responding to the post above, which was directed at my post -- not the OP.

You and I will have to agree to disagree about whether the OP or Rora owes an apology.  I, like many posters, do see the flip side of dealing with a depressed friend.
[/quote]

Rora also has mental health issues, it is clear that dealing with her is no picnic. Plus, (and I feel I keep on at this, but people really don't seem to get it) she contacted the OP's new boyfriend, a man she didn't know, to talk about the OP. That is boundary hopping, and most of Rora's defenders seem to just ignore that.

Dragonflymom

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[quote author=Fleur link=topic=125078.msg2896190#msg2896190 While I'm sorry for your situation, I don't think it is actually all that relevant to the OP. The OP didn't ask Rora to keep checking in, rather the opposite. She made her boundaries clear, and I don't think she should need to mend fences when Rora was the one being demanding. If anything Rora owes the OP an apology for her boundary trampling.

I believe it was very clear that I was responding to the post above, which was directed at my post -- not the OP.

You and I will have to agree to disagree about whether the OP or Rora owes an apology.  I, like many posters, do see the flip side of dealing with a depressed friend.

Rora also has mental health issues, it is clear that dealing with her is no picnic. Plus, (and I feel I keep on at this, but people really don't seem to get it) she contacted the OP's new boyfriend, a man she didn't know, to talk about the OP. That is boundary hopping, and most of Rora's defenders seem to just ignore that.
[/quote]

Well said.  Rora clearly has her own mental health issues going on, and between the phone calls which are all about her, and the contacting the boyfriend and then making that all about her by asking if the OP was mad it her, it seems like Rora is also something of a drama llama.

She not only didn't know the boyfriend, but she never even met him at all, and had to track him down on Facebook.  To be completely honest, that would be making me extremely uncomfortable if I were in the OP's shoes, and I would completely cut contact with Rora if I were the OP just based on that alone.  It feels almost stalkerish, and I sure wouldn't like it.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Softly Spoken

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Quote from: Fleur link=topic=125078.msg2896190#msg2896190
While I'm sorry for your situation, I don't think it is actually all that relevant to the OP. The OP didn't ask Rora to keep checking in, rather the opposite. She made her boundaries clear, and I don't think she should need to mend fences when Rora was the one being demanding. If anything Rora owes the OP an apology for her boundary trampling.

I believe it was very clear that I was responding to the post above, which was directed at my post -- not the OP.

You and I will have to agree to disagree about whether the OP or Rora owes an apology.  I, like many posters, do see the flip side of dealing with a depressed friend.

Rora also has mental health issues, it is clear that dealing with her is no picnic. Plus, (and I feel I keep on at this, but people really don't seem to get it) she contacted the OP's new boyfriend, a man she didn't know, to talk about the OP. That is boundary hopping, and most of Rora's defenders seem to just ignore that.

I don't think R's actions are defensible, but we can sympathize with her feelings. I have read several PPs that had good insight on how the situation might look from R's POV. However, the way R chose to express herself was not good, even from a pure etiquette standpoint.
I notice people on here occasionally have a slight tendency to want to assign one person in a situation the role of "villian," and spend a lot of time and energy debating how "bad" someone is based on their supposed words or actions. While we acknowledge the existence of Snowflakes and rude entitled behavior, we also throw around careless labels like "spoiled," "lazy," "stalker-ish," "creeper," "drama llama," etc. I don't find it particularly productive or helpful as it is pure speculation and only muddies the waters.

I think some people on this thread may think that R has justification to feel frustrated with the OP, but I don't think I have read many posts that agreed with how she expressed her frustration. R may have been hurt and angry but she didn't have to blast her hurt and anger at OP through an email. Cutting contact instead of working it out was immature, but her choice. Contacting the BF was inappropriate at best and manipulative at worst. Most rules of etiquette do not take "good intentions" into account. Even if R called BF out of some misplaced desire to mend fences, as just about all of us have said that was not the right way to go about it.

I don't think discussing this kind of situation requires us to "side" with any one person involved in it - it is just another example of the social pitfalls that we all experience as imperfect people doing the best we can with what we have.
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
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