A hard time with friendship

Discussion in 'Sex and Relationships' started by Dreama, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Dreama

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    Hey everyone. I'm having a hard time with my best friend right now, and I really would love some insight from my awesome SF buddies.

    So, here's the deal. I've been friends with my best friend since middle school. She's a great person, and I love her very much. However, for the past couple of years (since I've been in college) my best friend has really become something of a 'downer'. She's gained a little weight, as have I, and it's true that her life is not the easiest. However, it seems that no matter how I try to suggest positive alternatives to the dark pictures that she's painted for her life, in her opinion, it will never change. I feel that some of this has to do with the fact that I went away to a private school, and she hasn't gone to college at all, and for the past two years has taken every shit job that's been thrown her way. She seems to think that she has no other choice, and refuses to take responsibility for the things that happen to her. For example, she just got fired from a job because of absences. In her mind though, she was a victim, because it "wasn't her fault" that she missed. And when I have a problem, I'm afraid to bring it up to her, because it almost always turns into her telling me how ten million things in her life are so much worse than my small and insignificant problem.


    In addition to that, I've started adopting a healthier, more disciplined lifestyle, and this seems to intimidate her. I'm apparently "not the same as I used to be".....And, I get the feeling she doesn't approve of me getting married. When I told her the happy news, she was a bit rude about the whole thing. I just don't know what to do. I want to remain friends with her, but I don't know if I can bear being around her, as much of a negative person as she's become.

    I love my friend so much, and I feel terrible about feeling this way about her. I wish I could help her.... And, I don't mind listening to her problems, and I want her to be happy, but I feel I may have outgrown her, or something. She's a magnificent person, and I really don't want to throw away my best friend.:( I don't want to disassociate myself from her, but lately, I've been avoiding her....Any suggestions?

    Thanks, guys.
     
  2. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Based on thoughts from one of my best friends ("We have enough negative influences in our lives, we don't need friends who make us feel bad about ourselves"), I have consciously chosen to let go of "friends" who bring nothing but negativity to the friendship (starting making this choice long ago, and really need to continue today). I have a natural tendency to try to rescue the needy, but sometimes the needy drag you down with them, ya know? I made a conscious choice back near the end of college to only associate myself with people whom I admire and respect, and I am better for it (they drag me up, not down).

    So, I'm not sure what to tell you, but the best case is sto urroud yourself with people who drag you up, not people who drag you down.

    BD
     
  3. Puss_in_boots

    Puss_in_boots Adminatrix
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    Your situation with your best friend sounds almost exactly like mine. To this day I probably haven't spoken to my former best friend in over ten years. We too met in middle school and were both kind of awkward and unpopular and this cemented our friendship. She reminded me of myself. I was an unhappy kid going through a lot of abuse problems at home, and she seemed to have a very strained relationship with her extremely strict parents.

    We were friends throughout middle school and even though we went to different schools, we remained close throughout high school. After we finished high school we moved in together and that's when I found out just how different we really were. She enjoyed drinking and partying, and liked to get drunk every day. She was also a very negative person and lived her life by working one shit job after another. It never occurred to her that she could do something other than working in a fast food restaurant. She went through one shit relationship after another, had sex with married men, and did some sexually illegal things that I can't mention here.

    I only lived with her for a few months before me and my boyfriend found our own place. Neither of us could take her negativity. Her life was constantly in a state of falling apart, and I felt that I could never talk to her about any of my problems because likewise, she'd always have a problem ten times worse than mine. The incident that really hit home how different we'd become was when she wanted to see me on my birthday. We lived in different states so she bought me a plane ticket as a gift. When I arrived I couldn't believe how she was living. Her house was filthy. I was working full time and supporting myself on my own. She worked part time at a KFC, and shared a house with several other people, most of whom weren't working. She seemed very happy to see me, but told me that she and none of her housemates had eaten anything for two days because they were all broke. I'd brought several hundred dollars with me and spent it feeding everyone for the rest of my visit. Of course, I was glad to do it but it wasn't how I expected to spend my vacation money. Her situation never really got that much better. I went to college and earned two degrees. She continued to work at fast food restaurants.

    Eventually, we contacted one another less and less until we drifted so far apart that we stopped altogether. Sometimes that happens, though. People come in and out of your life like waves washing up on the sea shore. You think you're going to be friends with this person forever, but often times your lives just become too different and maintaining a friendship is impossible.
     
  4. cook74

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    When I was young it was easy to make friends and when the friendships dissolved I didn't really care as there was another "friend" right around the corner. But as I got older closeness, real closeness, became harder to achieve.

    I now work hard to keep my real friends close, and I wouldn't give them up no matter what. My close friends may lead different lifestyles to me, have a different world view, and some (including the best man at my up and coming wedding) view my lifestyle choices negatively. Some lead lifestyles that I don't look on favorably either.

    But I love these guys like they were my own brothers and wouldn't give them up for anything. We argue and fight, we also laugh together, and when any of us really need it, we support each other.

    My point is that if you really love her then don't let her go. Just try and work out what it is that is making her life such a downer.

    In some cases however, no matter how good a friend you are some people will still drift away. And whatever choice you make I hope you and your friend are both better off for it. :)
     
  5. Dreama

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    That sounds almost exactly ike what is happening to me. I just feel pretty sad about the whole thing because she had been a good friend to me over the years but I can't keep listening to how her life is falling apart, and how it'll always be that way.
     
  6. Dreama

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    See, the thing that's making her a downer is absolutely everything. I'm a firm believer that if you focus your attention on negative things, that's all you'll get in your life. However, if you focus it on the good things in life, that's what you'll get. She is always focusing her attention on every little terrible detail, but if she'd just look around she'd see that she can do anything she wants at this point in her life. Anything. I hope that she sees the light, but I can't do anything to force her, because she has to see it herself. I do love her, though. Very much. I think she's starting to resent me, because of the good in my life, too, which really unsettles me.
     
  7. yorkiesmurf

    yorkiesmurf New Member

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    Unfortunately from what you have posted it sounds as though you are going through one of those experiences with going away to school. I do not mean anything bad by it but as you grow you change. As you change other areas of your life become more important and from you posting it sounds as though the two of you are travelling divergent pathes. If their friendship is that important to you maybe stay in contact with them but divest some of your interest in them.

    It would be great if she would take your lead and make the changes you feel she needs to make. However it is her life and no matter how hard you try you will not be able to change her. So it leaves you with two choices, either accept her for who she is or accept that the two of you are travelling down two different pathes in life.
     
  8. Dreama

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    I just want her to be happy. I don't care if she works shit jobs, as long as she's happy....But, she's not, and I think she feels that it is not fair that I am doing what I want and am happy. I just wish I could be around her without feeling like the life's been zapped out of me. Oh well.
     
  9. FlirtyChick

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    Dreama, when I met my husband, I was still "best friends" with a girl I had known since fourth grade. We had been through thick and thin together, not to mention those awful adolescent years. She had a habit, though, of putting down everything I did, or said, and she alienated others and was sort of possessive over me. I have low self-esteem, and tended to be easily influenced by others, and it took my wonderful husband to make me realize that her negativity and manipulation existed because she was envious of me. When I was happy, she was miserable. When I was miserable, she was happy. I tried to carry on the relationship, but our life values did not remain the same, and to have my happiness I ended up not including her in my life. I still mourn her sometimes, and am sad I did not see her daughter grow up, but it is the natural progression of life sometime for friends to "outgrow" each other. I am sorry that you are going through this now, but if she is zapping the life out of you it is time to let go...I hope that this works out and that you don't get too hurt. Lean on your fiance. What does he think of all this BTW? Hugs!
     
  10. LPjammin

    LPjammin New Member

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    Ahh...


    ...but is that not a catch 22!

    :lol


    People who 'drag us down' pretty much like being around us because we 'drag them up'. We're the optimist to their pessimism. We're the solution seeker to their sense of futility and despair. They feel better, pulled up, by dragging us down, like a person sinking in quicksand or drowning is helped by climbing all over us.

    I'm a pull your own weight kinda person.
     
  11. free2be

    free2be New Member

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    I sympathize with your situation Dreama. Have you talked to her about what you think and feel about what's going on? Does she know what you think? If she does, then it looks as though there's not a lot more you can do to affect the situation. Good luck :)
     
  12. Dreama

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    Well, he doesn't know her as well as I do, of course, and he hasn't really gotten to hang out with us together much. But, he supports me, and he doesn't want me to be around her if it makes me feel that bad. Also, when we were younger, we used to get into some less than healthy activities together, so he's nervous about her sometimes. Of course, I stopped those things, but she's still into them....Ultimately, he just wants to be happy.
     
  13. Dreama

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    Well, I have not frankly discussed this with her, because I know she would again, bring up her self fulfilling prophecy that she is always the victim. I don't want to be a part of that...I have always discussed with her how awesome her life could be if she decided to let go of her negativity a bit. But, she doesn't see herself as a negative person, therefore my advice was lost on her.

    I guess I should try to do that before I dissociate myself from her, but I have no idea how I'd talk to her without her getting offended and terminating the relationship right then and there. I think it's important for her to change on her own terms, and if I bring it up, she'll feel persecuted.
     
  14. cook74

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    Sometimes when you love someone but can't tolerate their behavior, and you have no way to change them, you just have to let them be.

    You can stick with them as they are and endure or you can move on and love them from afar. ( Like the Floyd did when they replaced Syd Barrett with David Gilmour, then wrote that that song about him that you are obviously fond of ;) )
     
  15. Dreama

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    I can definitely understand that analogy. :)
     
  16. AnonymousOne

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    I'm with Cook on this one.

    I don't have many REAL friendships. (keep in mind that this word has a very deep and meaningful connotation for me).

    I'll bury bodies for my friends. Those kind of people who I'm willing to do that for don't come along very often. I'd rather have few close friends than many shallow "friendships".

    People that are downers ... huh ... well I guess that kinda applies to me in some of my friendships and even on SF. I'm a realist, the 'hope for average, plan for the worst' kind. People are not angels, nor are they daemons. We're stuck somewhere in the middle and as a result I expect people to do both good and evil toward each other.

    Hmmm I guess I haven't really helped you answer your question ... Sorry.
     
  17. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    I'll second that...I'd much rather have a small number of very deep friendships than a large number of more superficial ones. I like people in general, but trying to have too many deep friendships simply takes more resources than are available to the average person. We only have so much emotional real estate.

    And yes, I'd bury bodies too for my closest set of friends if that's what they needed me to do. :dgrin
     
  18. cook74

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    Personally, I let my serial killer friends bury their own bodies, as I just don't deal well with hacked up flesh. But I might provide a false alibi if it is needed. :D
     
  19. Dreama

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    Well, the thing is, she is the only friendship (besides that of my SO) that I actually have... The title is not something I take lightly. I have plenty of acquaintances, but as of late, I've been way too busy with college and planning my wedding to make any new ones friends. We've been very close up until now, and it hurts that it's all going down the drain. But, I guess it happens sometimes.

    But, I in no way think that you're a downer....At least not on SF. Being a realist and a downer are two different things. Being a realist is being down to earth and understanding of reality. It's much better than wearing rose colored glasses...And you seem a person who can realize your own potential for success in life and happiness. And, I've never seen you bring someone else down because of your own problems, hun. So, I would never call you a downer.
     
  20. Bluesy

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    She sounds depressed. Maybe she could use a gentle, friendly nudge in the direction of some counseling and/or medication?

    Other than that, I agree with everyone who's said you should put your needs first, and perhaps a friendship like this just isn't sustainable...? Sadly, people do grow apart sometimes.