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unkind friend

(37 Posts)
chris999 Wed 18-Jun-14 16:20:30

When I started a new job 12 years ago, I gradually became very friendly with one of my colleagues, to the extent that I would call her my best friend. We've shared confidences, socialised with family and so on. Over the last year however, she's being acting as if she finds me irritating. She's become very friendly with another woman at work and I've felt quite excluded. I know that I am a very oversensitive person and a worrier, and she knows this too, but they have been ganging up on me and making snide remarks, all with a smile! She is critical of the fact that I avoid confrontation and implies that I sit on the fence and try to please everyone. True! I know she is a little jealous of my personal circumstances. How can i stand up to her and retain the friendship, on a more equal footing? It's like being back in the playground!

Mishap Wed 18-Jun-14 16:55:27

Why would you wish to retain this friendship? - it sounds as if she is being a proverbial pain in the rear!

petallus Wed 18-Jun-14 17:05:53

It is like playground behaviour. I remember it well!

If you want to retain the friendship, maybe tell your friend how you are feeling.

If she keeps on being unkind you might want to reconsider.

And why not develop some interests which do not include her; you might make some new kind friends.

Rowantree Wed 18-Jun-14 17:10:33

Chris, a similar situation happened to me - we were 'best friends' and then worked together with a small cottage industry business dyeing threads. The cracks began to appear as she grew in confidence but it felt as if it was at my expense. She patronised me, made belittling comments and expected me to laugh at them when they made me feel small and ridiculed. It's a subtle form of bullying - chris999, it doesn't matter how oversensitive you are, how much of a worrier - this is still bullying. It's very tricky working out how to deal with it though. In my case, she told me she didn't want to work with me any more - BY EMAIL, not in person - and the resulting fallout was horrendous as we had to split all our stock and she got her OH to come round and bully me into doing it all by the date SHE set. That was over 5 years ago, and I've moved on since but it's left its mark.
In your case, would you be able to ask her out to coffee or suggest a meeting with her, just the two of you? You could then tell her that you've noticed that you feel your friendship has changed a lot recently and you're wondering if anything has happened to cause that. Tell her how much you valued what you had and how sad you feel that things seem so different, and is there anything you both can do to work things out and make it better. You then aren't accusing her, which might make her angry and defensive, but diffusing the situation a little - whilst making it clear that you feel sad and that you miss what you had.
It's horrible feeling excluded - and I'm sorry to bring up my experience again but we went to the same textile groups and I was the one who had to withdraw from them all to avoid awkwardness with mutual friends and acquaintances. She had also taken up with someone else and they had become best friends. And you're right: it's very much like the school playground. People are complicated beings, aren't they? I do sympathise with your predicament and I'm curious to see what other advice you get on Gransnet. I'd definitely consider talking to her though if you can face it. Youd then have the moral 'upper hand' in that you aren't seeking to blame her but looking together for a solution. flowers

sherish Wed 18-Jun-14 17:42:41

I had a friend who I met when we started working at the same company in 1973. We became very good friends as we had a lot in common, one thing being a bad marriage. We both left our husbands after 25 years in my case and about the same in hers. I met the lovely husband I am now married to now and have been blissfully happy for the past 18 years. She hasn't married but has an old flame who she has a kind of relationship with. She started being what I can only call a nuisance. She would turn up at our house at tea time when she knew my husband would be coming home. She would park on the drive knowing it would be inconvenient. She then started ringing me around 5:15 when she knew we would be having dinner. She would ring about ridiculous things and in the end I just stopped answering the phone at that time. I decided the friendship had run it's course and stopped seeing her. Sometimes things go too far to be ironed out.

chris999 Wed 18-Jun-14 18:09:27

Thanks all, for all your comments and ideas. I'm pretty new to gransnet and it is such a lovely feeling just having someone impartial and supportive to listen x

janeainsworth Wed 18-Jun-14 18:34:56

Chris I am not sure why you think you have to 'stand up' to this woman. You make it sound as though you feel the need to have a confrontation.

Either you want to be friends with her, in which case you will have to just ignore the snide remarks, and steel yourself to not mind her unkindness, or you don't want to be friends with her, in which case just ignore her and spend time with other friends instead.

I think if you tell her how unhappy she's making you, she and the other person will just carry on being unpleasant.

I agree with Mishap, I wouldn't waste time on her.

petallus Wed 18-Jun-14 18:55:58

Let us know how it goes chris999

Marelli Wed 18-Jun-14 19:05:31

I'm with janeaisworth and mishap, here. Let her go. She's not worth bothering about, because real friends don't behave like this.

annodomini Wed 18-Jun-14 19:52:00

I agree - don't broach the subject with her or you might sound needy. Move on and show that you don't need either her friendship or her approval.

Rowantree Wed 18-Jun-14 20:12:49

I guess it depends on how much you want to re-kindle the friendship. In my case we'd been friends for over 25 years so boy, did it hurt. After the business split, she didn't contact me and I didn't contact her apart from half hearted Christmas cards for a couple of years. Then I decided that I wanted a total break from even wondering whether we'd be friends again - I knew though that I felt much too hurt - and proud - to even consider it, after everything that had happened. It was far more involved than I've said and not really of any interest to anyone else, but I wouldn't want anyone else to suffer the same. I still wonder whether there was anything I could have done differently to make a difference, but in the end, everyone has their price or their cut-off point. The balance of opinion here is to cut your losses and ditch her, but you have to feel ready to do that and in a place where you'll have emotional support to weather any resulting backlash. Go with your gut instinct - and good luck. Let us know how it all goes.

Faye Wed 18-Jun-14 21:19:29

I wouldn't want to be friends with her either. The problem you have is you are still working with her. I would ignore her if possible. If she continues to make snide remarks and you feel the need to stand up to her, turn it back on her by repeating what comment she has said then ask her why she would say that. Or if you say something like, "that's enough," when she or her new friend makes a snide remark to you they might start to understand you are not going to be bullied.

People do show who they are, your friend has shown she can only be friends with one person at a time, she isn't loyal and she is a bully! Good luck flowers

Eloethan Thu 19-Jun-14 01:47:32

I remember with shame when I was around 12/13, I gradually got more friendly with a girl who eventually became my "best friend", replacing my previous "best friend". For some reason I can't quite fathom, my new "best friend" and I started taking the mickey out of the old one. Not the sort of really vile bullying that you hear about nowadays, but spiteful nevertheless.

My old BF behaved with great dignity and completely ignored our nasty, childish comments. We quite soon stopped making them, presumably because they weren't having the desired effect of needling her.

Bearing this in mind, I think I would completely ignore any nasty remarks they make and not seek out her or her friend's company. My - admittedly rather feeble - excuse is that I was relatively young at the time and have not behaved like that since. There really is no excuse for an adult to be so unkind and neither of them is worth your friendship.

Jen67 Thu 19-Jun-14 08:48:15

Hello chris, well some people do seem to enjoy letting others know just hoe great their lives are . They seem to have to make sure that everyone knows just how good things are for them especially if you say this person may be a little envious of your personal circumstances, I think you will find that she feels that she has one better in this area than the new lady! This new lady probably has a not very good home life so your friend feels that she has one up, as it were , and this gives her confidence!...strange how people's often about oneupmanship it seems. I agree, either let it go and just try to let all the silliness wash off like water off a ducks back, or have a quiet coffee and ask your friend if you have done something wrong? Turn the tables on her and " act all innocent" ......good luck

KatyK Thu 19-Jun-14 14:48:37

I agree with the above. She may be miserable inside. I worked with someone once who was hateful to me for no reason. We weren't youngsters, both in our 50s. She excluded me from conversations, turning her back when I tried to join in, then told the bosses that I was 'uncommunicative'. She tried to belittle me at every opportunity. She bragged about her family, wonderful husband and home life. I subsequently found out that her children were giving her a lot of trouble and I heard her say to someone once that she couldn't stand the sight of her husband! Fortunately she put her foot in it with one of the bosses and decided to take a career break and never came back. Chris if you can try to just get on with your own life and ignore her. Not easy I know when you have to work together.

Aka Thu 19-Jun-14 15:19:51

I've heard it said ....

'There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life'.

I'd let her go. The friendship has run its course and it's time to move on.

goldengirl Thu 19-Jun-14 16:33:38

If she's being unpleasant she's not really a friend is she? I agree with other posts that suggest you move on. She's not worth the effort.

Perhaps I'm a bit of an oddball but I don't like to get too close with anybody. I enjoy friendship; I have friends for different occasions rather than a best friend. I used to have a best friend at school, but once I went to college and my circle grew I didn't feel the need for a particular friend any more. I still see a lot of my 'old' friends and we continue to get on well and carry on where we left off but have no desire for a 'best' friend.

KatyK Thu 19-Jun-14 16:47:51

goldengirl - I am the same. I've never been one for friends. I have one or two ex colleagues who I meet up with occasionally and who are lovely and a friend who lives in another town who I have known for many years but don't see much of but I have no desire for a best friend. I sometimes think it's because I am close to my two sisters. They are my best friends. The people I meet up with occasionally would try to help if I was in trouble as I would them, but when the chips were down they will look after their own, as would I.

whitewave Thu 19-Jun-14 17:03:00

Oh I am pleased to read the last 2 posts as I have never felt the need for a best friend. I think I am too lazy and would not keep in contact as much as I should. I would not make a good best friend although saying that if any of my friends called for help I would be there. So that mitigates my attitude a bit hopefully

goldengirl Thu 19-Jun-14 17:18:53

I'm glad I'm not the only one after all!

kittylester Thu 19-Jun-14 17:31:10

Today, one of my longest standing friends and I decided that we are going to stop seeing someone else we have been friends with for over 30 years.

In all that time, she has never 'made any of the running' in our relationship and since the first friend was diagnosed with cancer, has rung her three times. She never offers lifts if we go anywhere, suggests anything, rings for a chat or interacts at all. She seems to come along for the ride. We have been thinking this for a while and have found our friendship is much closer without her in it. When we talked about it we couldn't remember whose friend she was originally and, when we worked it out, she was friend of someone who moved away 25 years ago. It is quite a weight off my shoulders!

I'm sorry to hijack this thread but I feel so much better for saying it all.

So Chris my advice would be to leave her out of your life, move on and don't take 30 years about it!

janeainsworth Thu 19-Jun-14 18:06:30

I have some very good women friends whom I trust and whose friendship I really value.
My life would be poorer without them.
But I think you have to choose the right ones in the first place and not expect too much from a friendship.

Rowantree Thu 19-Jun-14 18:49:49

I haven't got a wide circle of friends but I do have a few close friends who I value and trust and, like janeainsworth, my life would be poorer without them in it. I don't always see them frequently, but we know that each other is there - each is a 'still, small voice of calm', non-judgmental, comforting, supportive or a listening ear. I used to think my ex-friend was, too, but....well, I was wrong, and sometimes friendships can turn mutually toxic. Perhaps this has happened for you, chris999.

chris999 Sun 22-Jun-14 15:48:57

Hi all and thanks again for all your responses. Lots of food for thought. I've never had a 'best friend' since school (we lost touch) and I moved around a lot after getting married. Therefore, the feeling of having a 'bestie' was a novel one for me. Looking back, this person moved on from her then good friend to me. I'm happily married with children and grandchildren, a situation that I know she is envious of. Her new friend also lacks what I have, and this is a bond for them. I'm going to take a step back, let her do the running, texting and social arrangements and see how things progress. I'm going to come over as less needy and more self sufficient. The element of trust and closeness has gone. I believe that she actually needs me more than she realises as I've been there for her in bad times, but I've learned a bit of a lesson here. Thanks!

grandma60 Sun 22-Jun-14 19:37:18

Hope everything works out for you Chris999. My best friend caused me a lot of pain a few years ago after leaning on me while she was going through a bad time. I havnt posted the details as it is a long and complicated story. In the end I did exactly what you say you are going to do. It worked , in the end she phoned , took me to lunch and apologised. We are friends again now although we don,t see each other as often as we used to, but we have a more even relationship.

Those who say they do not need friends as, they have sisters are very lucky. I was an only child so my close friends are like family to me.
Good luck with everythingflowers