Gransnet forums

Relationships

"toxic friends?"

(24 Posts)
Sillygrandma5GK Thu 10-Oct-19 20:48:59

I am going through a very difficult time (just left H of 20 years) and two of my longstanding friends are miffed that I didn't and won't share the gory details with them.

I have very specific reasons for not doing so, one is very gossipy and has a good relationship with my ex (which I'm fine with - he might need all the support he can get) and the other is very controlling. I don't mind meeting them for a coffee once in a while but how do I distance myself without being overtly unkind? I have known them both for over 50 years.

Jane10 Thu 10-Oct-19 22:00:09

Just be very 'busy'. Keep out of their way until your break up becomes old news?

Missfoodlove Thu 10-Oct-19 22:00:19

Self preservation!
You need to protect yourself, keep them at arms length and concentrate on the friend/s you can trust.
Have a simple statement you can roll out,such as “ I’m not ready to discuss this yet” or I don’t want to burden you”
I despise gossip and understand your dilemma.
Good luck.

rosecarmel Thu 10-Oct-19 22:13:56

Perhaps the length of the friendship = "right to know" for them- It's a shame that their expectations take priority over your need for privacy-

Be honest with them- After knowing them for 50+ years it's all I can suggest- Express your need for privacy and personal space to adjust to a life changing event- Should they pressure after your efforts they'll have provided with even more reasons to back away-

Good luck going forward-

Namsnanny Thu 10-Oct-19 23:53:40

Try saying as soon as you meet, before they can ask anything

'I'm really grateful to see you as I am so sick of thinking about my separation/divorce(?) and it will be good for me to talk about something else for a while!'

Then avoid for a while and repeat.

BradfordLass72 Fri 11-Oct-19 03:36:46

Great advice from posters here.

Just bear in mind that the only person who can make you talk about things you do not wish to discuss, is you.

You are entitled to your privacy; they are not entitlted to all 'the gory details' however long you've known them.

'I'd rather not talk about it thanks' may even elicit further questions from people will not take a hint.
No matter. Just keep repeating it, with a smile, ad infinitum, until they gte the point.

Sillygrandma5GK Fri 11-Oct-19 07:29:44

These are really great suggestions - thank you. It's difficult to think straight when my head feels like mince! Your suggestions are simple and straightforward and even I should be able to remember them.

I guess if they are true friends they will respect my wishes and if they don't then perhaps they need to accept that we won't be seeing each other much, if at all.

Many thanks again for your help - appreciate the support.

Coconut Fri 11-Oct-19 10:00:17

You’ve made the very courageous step to walk away from a long marriage, so well done for that. Of course you are left with a wide range of emotions, but they are your emotions and it’s down to you who you share all this with. You now have to become a bit selfish as whatever else happens in your life is now down to you, not anyone else. If you tell friends that you do not wish to discuss it and they continue to ask, just ask them to please respect your feelings. If they don’t, they’re not true friends. Good luck with the rest of your life 💐

Applegran Fri 11-Oct-19 10:07:32

I agree with the sensible advice others have given - if you don't want to talk about it, it is totally appropriate so say so. And keep saying so, if you have to. However - when I left my husband of 25 years, it was a good decision, but it was also an awful time. I made the mistake of not thinking it was OK to talk to people and tell them how hard I was finding it. This made it much worse - we all need someone to talk to. So I hope you have some wise, caring, trustworthy friends who know how to listen, and will not gossip. If not - please consider counselling or seeing if there is a group you could join - Relate may run such groups. I wish you well - this is a hard time, but it will pass. I hope things become much happier for you.

LondonMzFitz Fri 11-Oct-19 10:21:02

Love Namsnanny's advice.

Rosina Fri 11-Oct-19 10:22:38

It might be a good idea to say something like 'after so many years this is really painful, as I am sure you can imagine, and I don't feel I can discuss it'. If they persist they are not friends as you have told them it will hurt you. It's even worth saying 'I told you it hurts me - why are you asking again?' Someone would have to be pretty insensitive to do that, and you don't need people like that at this time.

Riggie Fri 11-Oct-19 10:23:31

"My legal advisor has told me not to doscuss it"

Supernan Fri 11-Oct-19 10:40:49

Good one Riggie.

rocketstop Fri 11-Oct-19 10:56:16

Hiya,
I agree with what others have said , you could also say 'I'm turning over a new leaf, making a freash start, so what's gone is gone, and you, as my friends can help me do this, so from now on I'm not discussing my marriage or divorce' That's so direct and bright and breezy that I don't think they would dare to ask anything else, without being rude you are telling them it's very much 'Case closed' ! Wishing you lots of luck as you start your new life .

TrendyNannie6 Fri 11-Oct-19 11:31:34

Well done you for taking such a big step in doing this, I wish you all the luck in the world, there is no way I would be discussing any of it with these too friends, it’s your business n no one else’s, why ppl think just because you have been friendly for a very long time they should know the ins and outs of your marriage is beyond me, I’m quite an assertive private person so I’d find it quite easy to say it, lol the type of friends I have though I don’t think would pry, if these two friends don’t take the hint after you telling them that you won’t be discussing the situation, then I wonder if they really are true friends, hope everything goes well for you love

Lancslass1 Fri 11-Oct-19 11:37:09

Nothing to add except to say that I am very impressed with the good advice given on this blog.
Good Luck Sillygrandma.

luluaugust Fri 11-Oct-19 11:55:22

I expect knowing them for over 50 years means you all know an awful lot of the back history of your lives, so if you feel you can't trust them with details of what has gone on recently you are quite right. Lots of good advice here, so just to say good luck for the future.

palliser65 Fri 11-Oct-19 12:29:22

You are valuing the long history you all share. People change over time and you have to ask if you'd be friends now. I haven't the time to spend with toxic people and do not do so. I value quality time and I would suggest you do the same. Some people think all relationships are of value and shouldn't be discarded. I understand that but relationships are 2 way.

Yellowmellow Fri 11-Oct-19 12:39:44

Most of us have toxic people in our lives. First thing is recognising they are toxic. This may mean managing the situation e.g the length and frequency you are with them....or cut them out of your life completely

Bellocchild Fri 11-Oct-19 13:19:31

My aunt and her ex simply put out a joint statement to quell curiosity: 'he wasn't (her first husband) and she wasn't (his first wife). Better to part.'

Quizzer Fri 11-Oct-19 14:54:47

I find that the phrase "I can't discuss that for legal reasons" usually does the trick. Do not elaborate just leave them guessing!

Mamma66 Fri 11-Oct-19 15:04:30

When I was going through a very difficult time (bereavement) I got to the point where I recognised I needed to try to move forwards. Kindly meaning friends tried to understand but didn’t and said things (unintentionally) which didn’t help. I took to saying, “I’m sick of being so miserable and I thought that you were the perfect person to help me move forward and focus on the positives”. It worked a treat and stopped all well-meaning, but unhelpful comments. I know this is not the same situation, but I think it’s a strategy which could work for as you redirect them in such a positive way who could resist? Good luck and I wish you well.

nanamac77 Fri 11-Oct-19 18:00:59

I have a similar situation which involves one of my offspring. Though friends may care, I feel that there is often an element of nosiness. I just say that I have to respect my offspring's right to privacy and so can't talk about it.

Sillygrandma5GK Fri 11-Oct-19 18:51:40

Thank you so much for such helpful and wise advice! I've paved the way by text with the controlling one so we'll see!

I found this really supportive and want to thank you all for taking the time to respond.