I have a friend I have known for over 50 years. We first metwhile working abroad and shared a flat for a while. Although I liked her, I always felt she was rather hyper and opinionated. I am a fairly quiet person and found it all a bit too much at times. By the time we returned to the UK we were both married and went to live in different parts of the country. We saw each other periodically and kept in touch when I spent a further period overseas. So, we have a lot of history.
In recent years we began to see more of each other, particularly since we all retired, although distance has restricted us to just 2 or 3 visits a year - mainly undertaken by DH and me. Sadly, my friends husband - who was a lovely man, died three years ago after a long illness.
A source of sorrow to my friend is that they were never able to have children although her DH one from a previous marriage. Unfortunately she managed to alienate her stepchild by giving her opinions on how she and her DH should conduct their lives and bring up their children. All this was relayed to me via long phone calls from her when I would often cringe at the things she would tell me she had said to or emailed them! At times she has made disparaging remarks to me, one memorable one was I couldn't possibly live where you do with motorways on your doorstep'. (Nearest motorway is 3 miles!). i know she has offended people with some of the 'frank' comments she makes as she says what she thinks, without much thought as to how it will be received.
Since her husband's death I have been very ill. Recovered now, and we were visiting more frequently, but I find I tolerate her off the cuff remarks less and less. Not sure why. Last time we visited she made a derisory remark about the type of holiday we were about to go on (just a short cheapie to Florence!), and this time I I bit on it. I have never taken her to task before, probably because I knew what I would never hear the end of it, and it has triggered a backlash!
I have had long emails saying that I have always criticised her character and been dismissive of her opinions ( --WTF-) - I am shocked at what this has unleashed.
What is sad, is that she has always referred to me as her 'best friend' and said that she wished I lived closer. I have good friends locally and have never fallen out with any of them although I see them far more often that I do her.
As I said, her DH died three years ago and I cannot possibly understand how she is suffering inside, however I have just arrived at a point where I will no longer allow her to make derisory remarks about my lifestyle, where I live and the sort of holidays I enjoy. DH lets it roll off his back as he only half listens anyway when my friend is proffering her opinions.
I hope I don't sound like a doormat - I am actually quite an assertive person and fully able to fight my corner if necessary. In the past I chose to remain 'passive' with this particular friend because of our long history and the fact that when she is not comparing everyone else's lifestyle to hers, she is actually an interesting lady, very clever and gifted artistically.
I have not responded to the last email she sent 3 months ago. I know for a fact that she has been involved in email wars with her brothers, and I do t want to go down that road.
Just asking has anyone ever been in this situation, and what did you do about it?
it would be a shame to end a 50 year relationship.. I feel quite sorry for her as I am wondering if she actually knows that she offends people but she can't help it. I just don't know...
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