Time to get rid of toxic friend?

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Time to get rid of toxic friend?

Postby Rarity » Sat May 12, 2018 10:57 am

Ugh, this is kind of long winded so bare with me...

Basically, I have been friends with my "best friend" for about 12 years. We don't have a whole lot in common, but we became friends through my ex-boyfriend and also through smoking weed. But for years she has done things that have annoyed/upset me and I have never said anything to her about it (I hate confrontation and would rather stay quiet than risk a fall out) and I'm wondering if I am being too sensitive and taking things to heart or if she actually is a toxic person that I need to rid from my life.

I'll try and give a few examples over the years of how she has treat me.

Firstly, she never comes to me. I always have to go to her house. I have lived in 3 different houses in the past 3 years and she has never been to one of them, even when I moved into a house on the street next to hers, she never once came down. A few weeks ago I moved into a new property and she promised she would come help me decorate. She turned up for an hour one day and peeled a bit of wallpaper off the wall then made an excuse and left. Even after I had spent 2 days painting her kitchen with her only weeks before. She never offered to help again and I got family in to help instead. Once I had finally decorated my house she turned to me and said that she "didn't even get chance to help me because all my family did it all" and basically told me that my family "took over" so she couldn't help. Seems like a ridiculous excuse to me...

She constantly asks for favours from me, usually picking her kids up from school because she "can't be bothered" or because she smoked a joint before the school run so she is too paranoid to go. I recently had a baby, and when I was 7 months pregnant she asked me to pick her daughter up from school as she wouldn't be home from work in time. So at 7 months pregnant, in boiling heat, I walked well out of my way to collect her kid from.school, and when we got to her house my friend was already sat at home. She told me that she had "pulled a sicky" and had been home from work since 11.30 that morning and had been shopping and to McDonald's with her boyfriend. Obviously, I was annoyed because she knowingly let me go way out of my way when her and her boyfriend where both sat at home. I might also add at this point that the school is at the top of her street, not even 5mins away, whereas it takes me a good 20mins to get there.

We have a mutual friend that we see, but when all 3 of us are together it's like I don't matter. They ignore me, talk over me or just seem uninterested in anything I say, like they would rather talk to each other. They stood the other day for almost an hour organising going out and getting afternoon tea and having a "girly day". I was stood there the whole time and they never invited me which obviously made me feel a bit crappy. It's not the first time either, they always plan stuff without me.

She tries to dictate aspects of my life, she talks down about my boyfriend, she regularly tells my children off for things I would never shout at them about, while letting her own kids get away with murder. I told her the other week I wanted to stop drinking so much fizzy pop, I went round yesterday with a bottle of coke and she made me feel like rubbish about it, telling me I'm "weak" and demanding to know why I bought it.

She is constantly in a bad mood about something or nothing and takes it out on everyone. I was there yesterday as she had invited me round but she was in a foul mood and I was just awkwardly sat trying to make conversation and she was really snappy and short answers to everything I said.

She really annoyed me last night as I was talking about renting a big play gym for my daughters birthday. She turned round to me and told me her and her kids wouldn't be coming because the two older ones wouldn't be bothered, then told me her 4 year old wouldn't be coming because she said it wouldn't be fair to her kid when all my daughters other friends are there as she would be "left out" and basically told me not to invite them. It's really annoyed me... for 12 years I've been to every one of her kids birthday parties. I don't think she has ever even bought my daughter a birthday present, even though I buy her 3 kids a present every year.

I really don't know what to do... half of me wants to tell her to go **** herself. But then again, her and our mutual friend are literally my only friends apart from my.boyfriend, and I don't want to have no friends, but I'm also sick of being treat like rubbish. My boyfriend can't stand her because he says she uses me and is a toxic person. And I think he's right. But our kids have grown up together and I would feel bad if we fell out and the kids didn't get to see each other... also, I don't want to be friendless. If I fall out with her our mutual friend would probably stop talking to me too.

I'll appreciate any advice because I feel so crappy at the moment about it all. I'm very shy so don't make new friends easily, so I'm worried about losing the only friends I've got. But I also don't think they have been very good friends to me. What do I do?
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Re: Time to get rid of toxic friend?

Postby reckoner » Tue May 15, 2018 9:03 am

From what you describe, this friend certainly doesn't sound pleasant, good company, or much of a friend and the simple answer would be, yes, you could do without her in your life. But as someone who, like you, also prefers to avoid confrontation, I want to consider why this person has been in your life for twelve years when her behaviour has been so consistently disappointing, and to suggest that maybe there's an opportunity here for you to learn to temper your instinctive desire to avoid a fall out so that you're less likely to be taken advantage of in future.

I'm wondering if your hatred of confrontation puts you in a situation where you tolerate, tolerate and tolerate until you can tolerate no more and arrive at the end of your tether, this being the only way to motivate yourself to address a situation that should never have been tolerated in the first place. I think this means that, despite your hatred of confrontation, a confrontation or fall out is, in fact, made inevitable.

It seems that this friend has made something of a doormat out of you. Before you decide to strike her from your life entirely, perhaps the first thing to do is to learn to say 'no' to her. I think there's usually an emotional response for wanting to refuse the help someone asks for, and that emotion is what makes saying 'no' difficult, so it's a question of taking the emotion out of it. So if you find the request cheeky and annoying, the only reason you need to give for saying 'no' is that you're not available. When your friend is not in a good mood or being unpleasant, just tell her that it's time for you to make a move, rather than hanging around and feeling awkward.

You don't have to tell her how you feel, and perhaps it's best not to if she's not asking, but whenever she becomes unpleasant or demanding, just make your excuses and leave her to it. In an ideal world, she'd wonder what is wrong and ask you, and you can explain (in an unemotional way to avoid a row). Or, as you're no longer prepared to do her bidding, you might hear less from her. Some people are just naturally inclined to treat people as doormats, but that never means you have to consent to it.

It's natural to want to eliminate negative influences in your life, but this isn't always possible, and there's always another one round the corner, so I think it's very important to learn how to deal with them. Then, your natural inclination to be kind and to help is less likely to be taken advantage of.
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Re: Time to get rid of toxic friend?

Postby boulding » Mon May 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Hi
It's understandable that you don't want to finish this friendship. You've known her for twelve years, you have a common history and your children have grown up together but Reckoner is right you need to learn to stop letting yourself be treated like a door mat. Her behaviour is outrageous. How dare she tell your kids off! This is a mother who is so paranoid after taking drugs that she can’t pick her kids up from school. How terrible for that little girl to have to go home to a mother like that. Unfortunately long term cannabis use can sometimes cause brain damage in some susceptible people and this leads to paranoia. Hardly surprising that she’s sometimes moody and bad tempered with you and behaves unreasonably. None of the situations you describe are anything like the normal way a friend would behave. In fact most of it is quite irrational. I think you just have to be understanding and not take anything she says or does to heart. Go home if she starts being funny with you and if she wants favours make sure you’ve got a firm excuse ready.
You could have a friendly chat with the mutual friend and, without asking her to take sides, tell her how hurt you feel when you are ignored and left out. It might work, it might not.
I don’t think you can really resolve this situation as she is not behaving reasonably but if you can be a bit stronger in yourself you can keep the friendship going and there’s always the hope she will gain some insight and change her behaviour.
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Re: Time to get rid of toxic friend?

Postby David020549 » Mon May 21, 2018 9:08 pm

If this friend was a reasonable logical person you probably could moderate her dominance but, I get the impression that if you don't go along with her way of doing things she will throw her toys out of the pram and have nothing to do with you.
The best you are likely to achieve is to anticipate any demands and make sure you are committed elsewhere.
If she is or has been a drug user she will see the world in an entirely different way to most of us
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