Written by our resident advice columnist
Dear One Love,
I’m writing in because I am unsure of how to move forward from a serious argument with my childhood friend of ten years. I live a state away from her; I live in New Jersey and she lives in New York. Over the years our communication has deteriorated. I find it very hard to be open with her about the events in my life. This is due to the many explosive calls I’ve received from her. In one instance she has even told me that I don’t deserve to be happy before her. Furthermore, all of our discussions have become about her and her struggles in life. I don’t mind being a support system for her but whenever we do discuss my life she becomes very judgmental and mean-spirited. Therefore, I have limited how much I see her and talk to her. Thus, I have angered her to the point where she believes I don’t make her a priority in my life. However, my life has become very busy with all of the responsibilities I have to juggle; and a recent family emergency has emerged. In our most recent argument, I had called her out for meanly phishing for information. What really angered me was how I was trying to explain how uncomfortable she made me feel, yet she took offense to me calling her out for bullying me and told me she won’t ever give me advice anymore. instead, she wishes for me to fall on my ass because she believes I should fall on my ass. Lastly, she told me I shouldn’t play the victim all the time. She believes shouldn’t have to apologize all the time because she has more problems than me. She also revealed that she no longer trusts me. However, I have not trusted her in a long time. Overall, I agree I have avoided her and made her feel like neglected, I have apologized for this. Yet, I don’t like the way she makes at me feel. I admit I have not been the perfect friend but, I also feel that she thinks she shouldn’t be accountable for all of the things she’s done and the way she’s talked to me, which has made me distance myself from her; hence I’ve not trusted her in a long time. I’m always afraid of hurting her feelings. How do I talk to her? Is it wise for me to take a break from her? Is there a way to for me to get her to realize it’s impossible to open up to her because she makes me feel like I will upset her? I always feel like we are walking on eggshells. I am afraid of losing a friend but I’m also afraid we can’t move forward? Should we even be friends?
-Friendship or Bust
Dear Friendship or Bust,
It’s obvious that you both care about each other but, whew, there are A LOT of unhealthy behaviors happening.
So let’s start from the beginning: you talk about feeling afraid and like you need to walk on eggshells, you also talk about having your feelings dismissed, ignored, and worse yet — being told that you deserve pain and embarrassment (aka “fall on your behind”).
Let me be clear, #That’sNotLove but I understand why you’re asking if there’s some way (anyway) for this relationship to be salvaged. We all have friendships that have stood the test of time and when friends start to feel like family it becomes difficult to re-enforce boundaries.
So, here’s something to consider: have you outgrown the friendship? if you just met this person at a local coffee shop, would you be friends? Another important question: would you accept this treatment from a partner? Probably not.
Ultimately, the decision to stay in this friendship is yours but since it’s very unhealthy a natural first step is to put more distance between the both of you. See if you can work through the communication issues in this friendship but limit how often you connect via phone. Specify how long you’ll need a break and when it’s ok to check in. Maybe you want no communication for two months unless there’s an emergency. Whatever you decide, remember this is not about punishment but figuring out what’s best for you.
If this doesn’t result in changed behavior than it may be time to make a clean break. It’s going to be hard — but you can do this! 😉
The important thing is that you’re honest and direct. Connect their actions to how you’ve been feeling without being accusatory and honor the positives this friendship had on your life—when it was good.
We cannot wait to answer all of your amazing questions! Check back every Tuesday to see if your question was selected for a response from #AskOneLove.