Author Topic: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #285  (Read 63219 times)

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JoyinVirginia

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #195 on: March 20, 2011, 12:34:59 AM »
I can't help but wonder if the pregnant friend has fallen into some sort of pregnant social trap - ie: You must socialize completely with other pregnant women in order to fully experience preggo-hood.  And that all non-pregnant friends just "wouldn't understand what [i'm] going through" so they get brushed to the wayside. 
This thought crossed my mind as well.
No matter the reason, OP, just don't expect anything from the former friend/ now acquaintance. Keep things very cool and minimal communication

Samgirl2

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #196 on: March 20, 2011, 07:53:59 AM »

Finally, I think the OP would be best served, at this point, by cutting her losses and trying to forget about this woman and her husband.  But that doesn't change the fact that the behavior exhibited is very confusing, hurtful, and occasionally rude.  If the former friend and her husband don't want to be friends with the OP's social circle, they don't have to, but it sends an incredibly mixed message for them to play hot and cold.  If they wanted to escape so badly, all they'd have to do is stop being available, stop answering emails, and stop going to group events.  If they did that, people would assuredly stop trying to see or include them far more quickly than if the couple maintains sporadic and confusing contact.

Thank you for your post.  At first, when I started this thread, I was feeling like my friend had disappeared, I'd tried to reach out to her but she hadn't reciprocated so I concluded we didn't have the friendship she had led me to believe and I was hurt and upset and confused. I was thinking that I should just leave her and her husband alone because they seemed to be making it clear they didn't want my involvement, But, I didn't want to appear rude or cold in case it was a temporary and personal problem them were dealing with and it could be resolved in time, and also because we had so many mutual friends and were bound to run into each other I didn't want to make anything awkward.

Since then they have pulled back even more and it's become clear that it's not just me but everyone in our social circle. They haven't been to church or any kind of social activity at all for 7 weeks. Ok, so I shouldn't take it personally and it would mean they have moved on/don't want to be part of our community/other reason and we should just let them be.  Except that when she had sent me the irrational email she'd accused none of us of being happy for them or of offering to help and support them (not quite sure what with but anyway) etc.  So I felt like if I just stepped away from them it would be like confirming her (wrong) suspicions and also what if they were really going through something and would need me eventually?  So I decided to be polite and civil when our paths did cross but not try to engage them. No emails, not texts to say 'how's your day', no suggesting we go for coffee etc.

That went on for about 6 weeks, then out of the blue she emails to invite me for coffee. I go, expecting that one of us will bring up the current situation. If she doesn't then I need to.  She brings her husband, they both act like everything is completely normal (making no mention of anything that has happened, not even a 'wow haven't seen you in ages') which I try to play along with but feel very uncomfortable.  They smile and seem upbeat etc but it seems kind of forced. The things they say about what they've been up to don't seem to add up and I feel like we are almost strangers. They don't stay long and she barely says goodbye when we walk out the cafe.

So, ok, that's it. I felt like we were now acqaintances, she obviously doesn't want to discuss her actions or behaviour, there is no point me trying and we just don't have that kind of friendship anymore.  It's been so long that while I miss her I have got used to it, plus her behaviour has meant I can't be the same and don't feel I can trust her anymore.  I will be an acquaintance, be indifferent about them and because they have not officially left church or our social group I will include them on information emails about church activities etc out of courtesy. They can choose to read them or not but we are not shutting them out.

Then I receive a warm and friendly email (see post #174), that sounds exactly like the old her, in response to one of the above mentioned 'courtesy emails'. I wonder if she is starting to try and get things back on track and whether I should respond or just be pleased she seems to be reaching out.  Then 2 minutes later I get another email from her. She is pulling out of the upcoming hen do for a mutual friend, her husband will not be going to the stag do for the groom either, because they will be celebrating her husband's birthday with his sister and BIL instead. This is an event they'd known about for months and had both rsvp'd to and reconfirmed more recently.  If I hadn't received the first email I wouldn't have been at all surprised that they pulled out given their recent abscence from everything, although I would still be annoyed she was cancelling.

But it's like you say in the quote. If they really wanted to pull away then do it completely. Don't ignore someone for ages, then invite them for coffee as if everything is fine. Don't stay away from your church and all social activities for 7 weeks running, then send a warm and friendly email that sounds like your old self and then pull out of an event you had committed too because you want to do something else.

That's what makes this really hard. The mixed signals and the fact I don't know what their reasons are but I still want to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they must have good and serious reasons because otherwise I was friends with split personality!  I don't want to be the one who was mean, gave them the cut direct and causes problems among our circle and church community if they are not cutting us off but merely taking a break.

I haven't responded to the two emails. They were statements not questions so I thought that was ok.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 05:38:13 PM by Samgirl2 »

whiterose

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #197 on: March 20, 2011, 08:40:16 AM »
Today, one of the Dear Abby letters has a woman who experienced severe depression during her pregnancy. So now I wonder if this is your friend's case:

www.dearabby.com
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Samgirl2

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #198 on: March 20, 2011, 08:53:35 AM »
Today, one of the Dear Abby letters has a woman who experienced severe depression during her pregnancy. So now I wonder if this is your friend's case:

www.dearabby.com

Yes, it's exactly stories like this that make me think I should stick with it because at some point she might need her friends again. By stick with it i mean just be open if she reaches out but give her space until she may want to.

I think if she weren't pregnant then this whole thing would be simple. She and her husband have pulled back, behaved strangely and hurtfully, not acknowledged when I said I missed their friendship and so I would just leave them be as people I used to know and was nodding acquaintances with.

It's the fact that it's all happened as soon as they found out she was pregnant that makes me think there's more to it and even though they are leaving me hurt and confused and I should definitely leave them be, I should not forget about them completely?

Dindrane

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #199 on: March 20, 2011, 11:39:36 AM »
I think the best thing you can do right now is, first, acknowledge that you are hurt and confused by this behavior, and that it's okay.  Because it is.

Second, acknowledge that there may very well be a logical explanation for it that doesn't involve your friend being weird and drama-seeking.  But also acknowledge that you are unlikely to know what that explanation is, at any point, ever.

Third, once you've internalized both of those things, let her behavior guide yours.  Your default should be pretty much just ignoring her, because no matter what she's said, her actions would make any reasonable person conclude that she doesn't really want to spend very much time with you.  So barring anything else, try to ignore her and what she's doing.

If her behavior changes, though, like with the two emails you just got...evaluate what she's actually doing (at least as much as what she's saying) and use that to decide whether or not you move away from your default.  In this case, what she's doing is continuing to be uninvolved, even though what she's saying is sort of the opposite.  Listen to her behavior here, and just chalk the words that don't fit with it as being part of that second step -- there's probably a reason she's doing it, but you don't know that reason now and may never know it.  So don't dwell.

Ultimately, continuing to let this particular person and your relationship with her take up so much headspace is going to make you really, really unhappy.  I've been there, and I know.  It's hard to mentally put it aside, and it'll creep back in every now and again despite your best efforts, but I think it's important to try to do it anyway.  You won't be able to devote very much time or energy to friends who don't pull away from you without an explanation if you spend really any time dissecting this friendship or her behavior.


P-p-p-penguin

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #200 on: March 20, 2011, 12:09:54 PM »
Nothing useful to add, just wanted to say that I POD Dindrane and Hobish because they have given excellent advice, and that I'm sorry this has happened.  My BFF moved away for university a few years ago and, whilst the situation isn't the same, I know how hard it is when someone you were close to is suddenly not in your life anymore.  It's easy to say, "cut your losses and move on" but is incredibly hard to do so, especially when - in your case - you don't understand why the friendship has seemingly come to an end.

Re this sentence: "By stick with it i mean just be open if she reaches out but give her space until she may want to." - I actually think it would be wise to prepare yourself for this.  On the face of it, it does seem like your friend is out of line by just dropping you all like that but, as others have said many times, we don't know why they have done this and it could be for some sinister reason.  This is why I think it is best to play it safe by preparing for the possibility that she may reach out in future.

irish1

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #201 on: March 20, 2011, 12:21:37 PM »
Just joined the forum and found this thread today, so it's been interesting to follow the history of this problem.

Samgirl2, I congratulate you on your endless patience, and I'm really sorry for what you've gone through. I really feel for you, but I'm glad that you feel you don't trust your friend, as this will mean you don't miss her as much.

If she is going through a hard time and ends up reaching out to you at a later stage, that will be difficult as you won't want her to be hurt, but if I have understood correctly you find it hard to think well of her? (totally understandably) So that is my concern - that you will want to help her for the sake of the friendship you once had. If that arises, I just advise that you don't push yourself beyond what makes you comfortable.

It's so heartening to see the great advice, wisdom and kindness here on the boards!

SingMeAway

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #202 on: March 20, 2011, 01:35:30 PM »
I think Dindrane's advice is excellent and I completely agree with using that approach.

One thing occurs to me though and I apologize if I'm adding another layer to an already complex situation....I'm assuming she's about 6 months along now and I get the impression that your church groups gather to celebrate occasions like weddings, etc... Would the church groups that friend and her husband used to partake in normally throw a baby shower for the prospective parents? What will happen now? I've been in a situation similar to yours (though not quite as dramatic) and after all the tantrums and fallout by "friend", she eventually became pregnant. It was really almost a moral imperative that the work group throw her a shower which someone did and we all attended. It was not really a comfy, relaxed affair though. In your position, I wouldn't really want anything to do with her, but a baby shower would put me in a real quandary.

Samgirl2

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #203 on: March 20, 2011, 07:27:38 PM »
I think Dindrane's advice is excellent and I completely agree with using that approach.

One thing occurs to me though and I apologize if I'm adding another layer to an already complex situation....I'm assuming she's about 6 months along now and I get the impression that your church groups gather to celebrate occasions like weddings, etc... Would the church groups that friend and her husband used to partake in normally throw a baby shower for the prospective parents? What will happen now? I've been in a situation similar to yours (though not quite as dramatic) and after all the tantrums and fallout by "friend", she eventually became pregnant. It was really almost a moral imperative that the work group throw her a shower which someone did and we all attended. It was not really a comfy, relaxed affair though. In your position, I wouldn't really want anything to do with her, but a baby shower would put me in a real quandary.

Well, there was another couple in our group who have now moved away but when they had their DD we congratulated them at the announcement, asked regularly how they were etc and when the baby was born we dropped off meals and a couple of people helped with housework.  I think people expect that we would do the same for this couple. In fact one girl brought it up this evening and said she feels like we should do something but with the way they have been lately maybe they don't want anything. but if we don't do anything will they think we don't care. See, it's a conundrum!!  ???

Mind you, the couple who moved away acted completely differently to pregnant friend! They came to everything they could during the pregnancy because they thought it was the last time they would get to do whatever they wanted before the baby, they wanted prayers and support for the pregnancy, and they were just happy to share their joy with everyone.

Samgirl2

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #204 on: March 20, 2011, 07:30:51 PM »
I think the best thing you can do right now is, first, acknowledge that you are hurt and confused by this behavior, and that it's okay.  Because it is.

Second, acknowledge that there may very well be a logical explanation for it that doesn't involve your friend being weird and drama-seeking.  But also acknowledge that you are unlikely to know what that explanation is, at any point, ever.

Third, once you've internalized both of those things, let her behavior guide yours.  Your default should be pretty much just ignoring her, because no matter what she's said, her actions would make any reasonable person conclude that she doesn't really want to spend very much time with you.  So barring anything else, try to ignore her and what she's doing.

If her behavior changes, though, like with the two emails you just got...evaluate what she's actually doing (at least as much as what she's saying) and use that to decide whether or not you move away from your default.  In this case, what she's doing is continuing to be uninvolved, even though what she's saying is sort of the opposite.  Listen to her behavior here, and just chalk the words that don't fit with it as being part of that second step -- there's probably a reason she's doing it, but you don't know that reason now and may never know it.  So don't dwell.

Ultimately, continuing to let this particular person and your relationship with her take up so much headspace is going to make you really, really unhappy.  I've been there, and I know.  It's hard to mentally put it aside, and it'll creep back in every now and again despite your best efforts, but I think it's important to try to do it anyway.  You won't be able to devote very much time or energy to friends who don't pull away from you without an explanation if you spend really any time dissecting this friendship or her behavior.

I want to print this out and re-read it everyday!

Thanks, you are so right.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #205 on: March 21, 2011, 06:30:42 AM »
I also agree that your pregnant (ex)friend and her husband are being rude by pulling out of the Hens and Bucks Nights.

Which raises the question: what if you hadn't sent the reminder? Were they ever going to inform the organisers that they were no longer attending?

I agree with the PP who said the Bride and Groom should prepare for the fact that this couple won't be at the wedding.

I also read the Dear Abby letter. It's sad that the Letter Writer suffered from depression - however, I think if she wants to reconnect with the people she pushed away, she owes them a genuine apology and explanation.

Samgirl2

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #206 on: March 23, 2011, 07:00:34 PM »
UPDATE

Just a little one  :)

Tonight was our weekly home group meeting for church and pregnant friend came!  No one was expecting them and we had started the discussion etc when the doorbell rang and one lady actually said (out of earshot of course) 'good gosh, they're not dead then'!  This lady has not been part of any of my conversations I have had as she is not a close friend and has never mentioned their absence so it was interesting and pretty funny for her to say that!

Anyway, so pregnant friend came but not her husband. First time she's been to anything in weeks and weeks. She didn't mention him not being there and when asked just said he was busy. We had the session as usual, bit of discussion, did some bible notes etc and she participated a bit but was a little reserved compared to her old self. 

The key things that stood out to me:
  • when she said how busy they were and renovations and stuff someone said hopefully the big messy stuff would be over soon and they could relax a bit. The outspoken lady who made the comment as she arrived then joked 'I hate to tell you but the big messy stuff hasn't started yet', meaning of course the birth and the baby, which everyone laughed at, but pregnant friend looked withdrawn and just said 'yeah, the baby won't go away' and then changed the subject.
  • Then towards the end when we usually share how our week is going, anything we want prayer for etc, someone asked how she and husband and bump were doing, anything we could do or pray for? She just said, yeah, fine thanks, no, everything's fine. That was it, didn't really want to discuss it. Most pregnant women I've known have wanted to tell you how big the baby is now, the latest stuff they've bought, how they're feeling etc etc. She definitely didin't


She also left early too.

So, I think she's not trying to pull back from the church community completely because she voluntarily came tonight.  But I think it is a personal issue they are going through and just want to avoid discussing, maybe something to do with the baby not quite being planned or something. I feel so sad for them if it is that but I know there is nothing I can do because they have clearly chosen to keep it to themselves and so I am not worrying about it like I would have before.

It's weird but I felt totally indifferent. I mean, it was nice to see her and see that she looked well, but other than that, the big thing was that I just didn't feel anything either way. It was like we'd never been friends and I wasn't bothered. Major step forward!!!  After she left the rest of us stayed chatting for a bit and made no mention of them. I think everyone is so used to them not being around and not wanting to talk that everyone is just ok to let them do whatever and they are just not a big part of the group anymore. I don't think there's any animosity or anything like that, just that after a certain length of time everyone has just got used to them not being there. If they come back then that's great, if not, that's up to them.

Danika

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #174
« Reply #207 on: March 23, 2011, 07:17:18 PM »
Thanks for the update!

pregnant friend looked withdrawn and just said 'yeah, the baby won't go away'

Yikes! Just yikes! Sad to hear.

It reminds me of my grandfather's parents. About three months after they got married, my great-grandmother got pregnant. And she was devastated and totally beside herself. She never wanted the baby and was upset that her girlish figure would be ruined, etc. It even ruined her marriage as they divorced within that year. She told my grandfather all his life that he ruined her life and that she never wanted him. He never asked for that. It's sad that because your pregnant friend is married, she seems to feel like she can't give the baby up for adoption if she doesn't want to be a parent.

It's weird but I felt totally indifferent. I mean, it was nice to see her and see that she looked well, but other than that, the big thing was that I just didn't feel anything either way. It was like we'd never been friends and I wasn't bothered. Major step forward!!!

That's fantastic. Good for you! I'm glad that you've come this far.

P-p-p-penguin

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #208
« Reply #208 on: March 23, 2011, 07:38:13 PM »
Samgirl2, I'm glad you seem to be 'getting over' the breakdown of the friendship.

Like you say, obviously she's not backing off entirely or she wouldn't have come to the meeting, but at least you know that her presence (or lack of) won't bother or upset you as much anymore.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Apologies ignored and friendship not what I thought?? Update #208
« Reply #209 on: March 23, 2011, 08:48:48 PM »
Thanks for the update! Glad you are feeling detached from the drama!
Just thought of something else. I have had one friend who was particularly .. peculiar... ultra private - about discussion of anything involving female anatomy. Maybe part of this is something like that? Who knows? It doesn't matter anyway! Woo-hoo!