Author Topic: A friend cutting contact/ going to my BF behind my back - clarifications #2 & #7  (Read 8656 times)

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bonyk

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OP, if your goal is to decide whether or not to attempt to mend fences with your friend, it doesn't matter who was rude.  You need to decide if you can both forgive and ask forgiveness.  If you can't, then you probably won't be able to salvage this friendship.

RooRoo

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Bea did not "just choose" to cut communication with Rora.

Depression is a lot like alcoholism - "normies" don't understand it. They tell the alcoholic, "If drinking creates such problems for you, why don't you just stop?" And they tell the depressive, "Why don't you just cheer up?"

Guess what. We depressives don't "just cheer up." We lose friends left and right, because of behavior we have no control over. We don't call our friends when we're down in the pit, because we... can't. We just can't summon the energy it takes to pick up that phone. It is not selfishness or laziness. It is a handicap, a disability.

I'm incommunicado right now. I can type; I have time to think, and the 'puter is not demanding anything of me. I have total control over it. But I'm too depressed to talk on the phone. It just takes too much energy. (Yes, I take my meds.)

Minmom, your post is right on.
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

Dragonflymom

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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.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Bethalize

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Rora has a right to feel however she feels. Feelings can't be wrong

I've snipped this because I want to address the idea presented here, rather than how it applies to this specific case. Feelings most certainly can be irrational and therefore "wrong". Quite often someone feels terrible over something such as being told they were wrong, not being invited to join an activity, someone being too busy for them. Often they aren't reacting to the specific incident happening now, but they are reacting to a traumatic memory. I use "traumatic" in the  sense of in "mentally scarring" rather than "a particular nasty memory". Not all bad memories are traumatic, not all traumatic memories seem that bad to an outsider. So using a similar situation to the OP as an example, if person A is withdrawing from a friendship and person B goes into a panic, it may be that person B is not reacting logically but is instead reacting in the same way that a scared, younger self reacted in a linked situation. The links can seem tenuous to outsiders but they are very effective. Perhaps a seven year old B was outcast by her school friends. Perhaps a 15 year old B was rejected by a parent. There are near infinite possibilities.

The point I am making is that we are indeed entitled to our feelings, and no one may say they are not real. However, not every feeling we have is reasonable. Therefore whilst we should be understanding and generous about these matters when we can, we should be aware that the feelings of others may not be direct responses to our actions.

Knowing this we can temper our expectations of how much our behaviour should be modified. Not saying: "You got that wrong" and instead saying "you made an error" is a reasonable accommodation. It costs us nothing but the effort to remember to use the other phrase. Having someone demand you spend your energy on them at the expense of your own needs is not, in my opinion, a reasonable accommodation.

Of course, if you have less energy for a relationship you can't expect the other person to sit around and wait for you. I spent too long keeping space in my life for someone who was too tired, too ill, too pressured with other things. Eventually I filled the space with other things. They coped by scheduling with me and finding other friends. It's natural that things change.


Daydream

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I agree with others that if she'd asked your boyfriend if you were okay out of genuine concern, that might have been acceptable.  But what she did was not.

One very sad and enlightening thing I've learned at E-Hell is that things that I'd always considered to be "normal" or at least "neutral and therefore not offensive" like depression, natural introversion, not having a company-ready home and therefore not inviting people over, not wanting/needing as much contact with others as they might (unbeknownst to you) desire of you, etc., are seen by many as "selfish" traits of  "users" who are awful people not worthy of long-lasting friendship.

I'm the type that might not see or speak with you for a year or more, but be thrilled to go out to lunch/shopping/the theater with you and feel just as close to you as I ever did. 

I'm also very private and try to work things out internally, so while I'll listen to people go on and on about their problems, love lives, diets, jobs, etc., I don't do the same. I don't really want them to go on so much about those topics, but listen and respond appropriately out of politeness. 

It wasn't until I read an article in a psychology magazine a few years ago that I discovered that if *you* do not go on and on about those things yourself in return, many people don't consider you a "real" friend.  It was truly a shock to me to learn that.  I just thought of myself as being drama-free and emotionally self-reliant, and that those were good character traits.  LOL

The only time I've ended a relationship when someone would disappear for weeks at a time seemingly at his whim was a long-term romantic one because I felt I couldnít continue to build anything with him and get to know him that way.  His sudden and constant yo-yo-like dismissive behavior made it feel like everything we'd built together emotionally was being torn down again and again. 

Looking back on it, once he confessed that he was having problems with his career and felt embarrassed about it, I could see that he was probably also depressed and withdrew as a result.  But I could also see that if he didn't feel he could turn to me of all people to express those feelings and for comfort, we were never going to get any closer and truly be significant others, and I sure as heck couldn't marry him (as he would sometimes discuss) and sign-up for a lifetime of that. 

But had it been a friendship with a woman, I wouldn't have minded the disappearing acts as long as she was good company once we got together again for a chat or afternoon on the town.

(Editing to say that there was actually a lot more that was wrong with that relationship than what I mentioned.)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 06:13:14 PM by Daydream »

Rusty

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I'd say that in describing your problem you come across as a bit of a "fair weather friend".      I'm not implying that that is the situation, but just how it comes across.

Do you also limit or cut time spent with your boyfriend due to your depression.   The reason I say that is that it appears that when life is going well for you you appear to be well and when life isn't going well, depression pops up.   

Perhaps explaining how you are feeling to your friend and telling her that you still value her friendship but just can't cope at the moment would be a better way of handling it than just going awol.

As for her contacting your boyfriend, well it could have been out of concern, or jealousy, only you would know.  Either way it sounds like she cares about you enough to do that.

Dragonflymom

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From the OP's 1st post

"But, about six months ago, things took a bad turn. I had to leave my grad program, fell back into depression, lost my job. At the worst of it (when I was trying to get legal assistance to keep from being removed from my school, which failed), I stopped talking to Rora; again, I emailed her and just said I was too buried and things were too messy, but I would be in touch. I went about two weeks not talking to her (or anyone) on the phone.

Well, she got very angry. She sent me an email saying that after all she had done for me (the loaning of her car, etc), I owed her more than this. She also sent an unsolicited email to my new boyfriend (whom she'd never met; at the time we had just started dating - she found him via Facebook). In the email, she asked him what was going on with me, asked if I had said anything about being mad at her, and asked him not to tell me that she had contacted him.

He did tell me; he also told me that he wrote her back and basically said "Bea is going through a lot of horrible things right now, I'm sure she will be in touch again" and offered to pass on a message. She said no, and the next day she sent me a final message telling me off for being selfish, a bad friend, etc. and informing me she had deleted my phone number. "

This does not sound at all like the OP is being a fair weather friend.  It sounds like the OP was having some issues, let the friend know  by email she was having these issues, then the friend tracked down the OP's boyfriend on Facebook having never met him.

Asking the boyfriend if the OP was mad, telling the boyfriend not to tell the OP about the contact, then telling the OP off the next day for being selfish and a bad friend don't sound at all as if the OP's friend was acting out of concern.  Instead, the OP's friend comes across as very unstable to me.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Rusty

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I agree the friend probably overstepped the mark.  But, until things went downhill for the OP she was quite happy to talk every other night for an hour on the phone to the friend.

AmethystAnne

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<snip>
I'm also very private and try to work things out internally, so while I'll listen to people go on and on about their problems, love lives, diets, jobs, etc., I don't do the same. I don't really want them to go on so much about those topics, but listen and respond appropriately out of politeness. 

It wasn't until I read an article in a psychology magazine a few years ago that I discovered that if *you* do not go on and on about those things yourself in return, many people don't consider you a "real" friend. It was truly a shock to me to learn that.  I just thought of myself as being drama-free and emotionally self-reliant, and that those were good character traits.  LOL
<snip>

This struck a nerve for me. I consider conversations are way more interesting if they are not monologues about personal problems and love lives.

I had a so-called friend years ago. I was reminded of her when reading the OP's description of her friend. The conversations were all about both of our friends. I don't remember if the OP said that her friend would be reciprocal in caring or in the conversations. But if their conversations were like mine with my friend, once my friend was done unloading, she would end the phone call. I caught on eventually, I would talk for about a minute about my once-a-year trip to visit family 800 miles away, and all I would get back would be, "<silence>". After about 10 seconds of silence, my friend would continue on about her weekly trip to the Wal-Mart 13 miles from our town.   ::)

JeseC

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I have to say ditto on the depression thing - it's rough, but depressive episodes really can get you to the point where talking on the phone is just too much effort.  I've had problems from it before, but there's really nothing you can do other than go to the doctor and hope it improves quickly (which it often doesn't).  It's really hard for people who haven't dealt with it to understand, because there just is no effort that will create more energy...or if there is it often comes at an extremely high cost.

Unfortunately, this means relationships with people who don't "get" depression tend to be strained at best.  It's very easy to unintentionally slight someone because you know you should be doing something, but you just can't come up with the energy.

Softly Spoken

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Before anything else, I wanted to thank Daydream for their post, it really hit a nerve for me.

It is kind of surreal for me to read this because I had a similar experience with my exBFF.

I made some mistakes when it came to communication, but what it came down to was this: I was willing to work on things, she wasn't. In the clarity of hindsight, we were not good for each other. I was too passive, she was too controlling.

I didn't really realize this until after we stopped being friends, but she was also very very negative, very angry and apparently very unhappy with her life. I would have been there for her if she would have let me, but she pulled away, picked a fight and then used it as an excuse to drop me instead of patching things up. The fact that I extended and olive branch and she basically responded with a cut direct means our relationship is pretty much dead and buried.

It was hard and first because we had known each other so long - when you put that much time and effort into a relationship, accepting it's "death" is very difficult. But I got to a point where I realized that I don't really miss her anymore. She wasn't good for me, and I have moved onto a new place in my life. My battle with my depression has made me a different person - a more authentic person. I don't need anyone in my life who can't understand me. I can't give any time or headspace to people who think less of me or judge me. I have my boundaries and it is absolutely crucial to my health that I maintain them.

OP, even if your friend reached out to your BF out of concern, I find it hard to accept or forgive since before that she attacked you in an email and basically told you that you weren't her friend anymore - so I feel that she not only went behind your back but also lied to your BF by implying that she wasn't mad and was only concerned.

I do not believe you were wrong to drop out, especially the second time because you gave her fair warning that you had to make some adjustments for the sake of your own health. She had the chance to be understanding and patient and instead she blasted you. I can understand her frustration but I cannot condone her choices when it came time to express her feelings.

She was out of line, especially in contacting your BF and especially in telling him not to tell you. I don't know what you could possible gain from reconciling with her, but I would not do so unless she indicated that she understood what she did wrong and apologized.

Good luck in dealing with your challenges, and don't let your former friend take up more space in your head or heart than she really deserves.

Also this wasn't in the designated folder but I'm sending you massive {{{{{HUGS}}}}}. ;D
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
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snappylt

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Bea,

I know that in the end, only you yourself can decide if it is worth it to try to pursue a friendship with Rora.  From my perspective, when I read your post, my gut reaction was to question whether it might be time for you to just let the friendship go.  I wonder if you have the time and the energy to devote to coaxing Rora into being friends again.  I understand you miss her; I just wonder in the long run if you are just as well off without her.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 12:00:27 AM by snappylt »

Minmom3

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I agree the friend probably overstepped the mark.  But, until things went downhill for the OP she was quite happy to talk every other night for an hour on the phone to the friend.

See, I didn't quite get that impression.  I got the impression that the OP could TOLERATE the prior level and emphasis of contact, but that it wasn't perfectly in her own comfort zone.

Oh well.  I'm not OP...
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Dragonflymom

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I agree the friend probably overstepped the mark.  But, until things went downhill for the OP she was quite happy to talk every other night for an hour on the phone to the friend.

See, I didn't quite get that impression.  I got the impression that the OP could TOLERATE the prior level and emphasis of contact, but that it wasn't perfectly in her own comfort zone.

Oh well.  I'm not OP...

That's the impression that I had as well. 
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Allyson

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I am not saying anything about your particular situation, but I will say one thing. Very often, two people can both come away from a situation, conversation or friendship feeling that they both were the 'giver', and that they spent a lot of time propping the other person up, the majority of time talking about their issues, and so on. The reality of the situation can be really hard to determine when both people do genuinely feel like the other person was the friendship-taker. I think perhaps it is because people notice and remember more times they helped someone than they were helped.

So, it is very likely that Rora also is feeling (fairly or unfairly) used and as though *she* was the one doing all the giving, and you the one getting support. That said, it's going to be impossible to 'prove' to her it was in fact the other way around, and that you were justified in doing what you did.

Did you say to her during or before the lack of contact something like 'I really value our friendship but I just cannot keep up hour-long phone calls right now. It's not you, it's everyone.' If you did indicate that it was nothing to do with her, she still would have the right to feel hurt and disappointed, but making it all about her is just silly and not helpful.

I agree with others--if she was contacting your boyfriend because she was genuinely worried about you, that's one thing. But it sounds like she was just feeling neglected herself. That said, it's up to you if you want to keep being friends with her. I suggest if you do, you have a serious talk about communication styles and preferences.