Forsaking Friendships

With my friend and her roommate, all of the excuses applied. She’d known him forever, he’d been generous in the past, and she felt responsible for him. She believed she was doing the right thing by trying to help him be less of an asshole and more of a nice guy, less shady and more honest. After explaining my stance to my friend, I paused to take another sip of wine. I said, “It’s true, you might be doing the right thing, according to some people. Certainly according to this guy. But no matter how I look at it, I can’t see any way in which it’s right for you.”

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There is another liability factor - the friend who knows your business contacts and who will bad mouth you if break off the friendship. I have had to stay "friends" with someone like this for a very long time, and am slowly weaning myself away. As with your friend, the calls are about needing things, but they are usually of a more tangible and less emotional substance. "Hi, it's X. I'm bored. Do you have any magazines?" "Can I borrow (borrow?) some of your Retin A (at $75.00 bucks a tube)?" It's insulting. She comes over and takes inventory of my bathroom, looking at thing she thinks I don't use and wanting to "trade" for something. Usually this entails my very expensive perfume, which she helps herself to without asking. I mentioned I was going to have a yard sale. Her response? "Let me come over and go through everything first. There might be something we want." She knows she has some power over me, and she uses it to her advantage. I could go on and on, but what's the use? I am just now getting back into my business after a year off, and I cannot afford to make any enemies. Any advice for this situation? I know you are not an advice columnist, but you have a very good head on your shoulders and seem to be able to remove negative influences in your life without much aftermath.

I once dropped a friend because she was just toxic to my life and mood. We became friends because we were both going through bad breakups at the time, and everybody knows misery loves company. She was a lot of fun at first, but then I started seeing how clingy she was to me and how much drama she caused whenever we went out, so the first chance I could I severed that tie. Luckily, we didn't have a lot of history so I didn't feel the least bit bad about it.

Snackycakes, oh, the rebound friendship! I know it well. I've jumped too hard, too fast into friendships that, like a crush, turned out to be less substantial and wonderful than I'd imagined they'd be. Good for you to snip it. this column you bring up great points (as you usually do), but why no details? MsGrant told us details about her person, and it made it more interesting. We read a column like that, and we're dying to know...just WHAT did this roommate do that is so bad that you terminate the friendship? I'm sure you were right to do that, but still. Details would totally enhance this. Can you tell us in one of these posts?

And MsG...with a person like that, two things. Why would you ever tell her ANYTHING? Never say "we're going to a movie," or "we're going to a yard sale," because you never know how that can turn out. That's the first step. Second...anybody that she badmouths about you, probably realize what kind of person she is (especially at the moment she's doing that). And really, why torture yourself over that? I'd want to call her on the BS, and see if she does do that. You could very nicely say "Hey...that stuff is expensive, I can't just let you use it anytime you want." It's like someone that always bums cigarettes off their friends, or never has money when the check comes. You gotta call them out on that, because everyone else just bitches and bitches, and nothing gets done about it.

MsGrant, that is a sticky situation. But I don't understand what "power" it is that she has over you. Most people don't take petty s***-talk seriously, especially from an acquaintance. Thank you for your faith in my advice, and I'm more than happy to give it. If I were you, from what little I've heard, I would begin to create distance. You don't have to "break up" with her. Just be less and less available. She sounds like a real leech, and you're better off keeping busy and having appointments that don't include or involve her in any way. An occasional, "Hey" can be meaningful and honest, but you are genuinely too busy working on the positive to deal with this chick's drama. Remember that the next time she calls to say she ran out of Retin A. Even for the vindictive, there's nothing negative to say about someone who's otherwise occupied. Hope that helps.

Joan Jett says, "Ya got nothing to lose, ya don't lose when you lose fake friends."

Right on Barb. And lets not forget the co-factor. Holding on to fake friends enables them to continue their bad behavior. They'd be so fortunate to be presented with why they are no longer real friends. I rarely have the guts to do this....

Josh - were it so easy. This person literally destroyed two people in my old office because she did not like them. They were clients of mine as well, and worked with the same person that she did. We work in the same industry, just in different capacities. Because I like them both, and worked with both of them, she questioned my loyalty to her, said things that got back to me, and even once sent me an e-mail telling me we could no longer be friends because she felt our friendship was compromised. When I said something to the person she worked for, repeating something awful I had heard frenemy said about me, that person (a very good client of mine) told her what I said. Hence the e-mail. I don't know if you, as a man, are familiar with that particular brand of female that seems to wield power over other women because they are afraid if they don't kiss her ass, she will do everything in her power to destroy your business contacts and your reputation. They sense that she is dangerous. I had to suck up to keep my business relationship with her employer. The two that she did not like wound up quitting because she convinced a snarky group of people in the office to hate them as well.

Thank you, Alan! So true regarding the codependent stuff. It takes two to maintain a toxic relationship. Unfortunately, I have experience in that regard. But on the upside, the older I get, the less BS I tolerate.

Cool link, Fred, I wasn't familiar with that one, and I like Joan. Thanks for sharing!

Cool link, Fred, I wasn't familiar with that one, and I like Joan.

Wait till you Joan in concert! She Rocks!

Sometimes what passes for friendship is merely one seeking the public advantage of being seen with another.

I've been told this is a common theme in many television soap operas...

Meaning one benefits from another's reputation? Like hanging out with the cool kids makes you feel cooler? If that's the case, I need to find some cool kids, stat. My inner dork is on the rise. ;)

Hahaha... I was thinking that maybe people were hanging with YOU to appear cool...

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