Walking on Eggshells – Yikes!

Dear Robin:

I found you on Venus’ blog and I love your attitude, you are so sassy!  

Can you help me?  I have lived in the same city since I was a child and a few months ago an old friend (Marie) moved back into town after 20 years away.  We hung out in high school but drifted apart after that but were friends on Facebook so kept in touch over the years.

She reached out when she moved back and we have gotten together several times and I remember now why I didn’t maintain the friendship with her: she is really volatile and can be very mean!  Not just to me but to others as well, including servers in restaurants and anyone who annoys her and she’s easily annoyed.  I’m sick of being yelled at and facing her wrath at the smallest things like being five minutes late to a lunch.

I get a stomach ache every time I’m with her or about to see her so I’ve started begging off when she asks to get together but she just told me she is thinking about buying a house in my neighborhood which will make avoiding her very difficult.  

She has a big mouth and loves to gossip and I don’t want to make her angry but I can’t deal with her anymore.  Any ideas?

-Tricia

Dear Tricia:

I don’t think there is a reader out there who can’t relate to your story.  I know I can.  

Angry people are exhausting: they wear you down with their tirades and mood swings and make social time dangerously unpredictable and prone to producing liquid bowel movements.

Because I’m a nerd, I sometimes watch science programs while I’m working out in my home gym.  They pass the time and simultaneously up my RKQ (Random Knowledge Quotient), which may seem useless to some but it often comes in handy.  

Case in point: I recently watched a terrifying program about sinkholes.  I won’t go into details except to note this would be the ultimate terror for me: being swallowed, crushed and suffocated by Mother Earth is not the way I want to go.*

There are farmers around the world who must work in fields heavily prone to sinkholes due to the underlying porous stone beneath the soil.  Because of this danger, the farmers strap long poles across their backs in the foolishly optimistic hope if a sinkhole does open up beneath their feet, it will not be wider than the pole is long and they can dangle there until someone rescues them.

Yes, there is a point.  I’m getting there!

These poor farmers have to work in those shifting and treacherous fields to survive.  You, my frightened little friend, do not.  

Some people may tell you life is too short to spend time with volatile assholes, but I’d respond that life is actually too long to endure this type of person.

It’s time we located a nice, silky pair of Big Girl Panties for you.  Happily, you can acquire them for free right here!

Step-by-Step Action Plan

If you think Marie is capable of change, please follow the steps below.  If you are certain she is not, please skip to “Burn that Bridge” below.

  1. Set up a date and wait for her to suffer the inevitable implosion/screaming at waiters/lashing out at you.  If possible, record her ridiculousness on your phone.**
  2. Calmly inform her you simply cannot spend time with her if she cannot comport herself in a normal fashion.  If you had the chance to record her, play it back.  Tell her it is rude and embarrassing and you choose not to be around such negative drama.  Feel free to use my “life is too long” line but please send me $20 for licensing fees.
  3. If she seems open to working on this issue, give her another chance.  One…maybe two if you are an especially patient and generous woman.  You may be the person who changes her life for the better because you were the only one honest enough to make her face herself and realize that good people don’t want to be around assholes.  Let’s hope so!
  4. If she can’t act like a decent human being, please utilize the “Burn that Bridge” plan.

Burn that Bridge.  Burn it Hard.

Why are you so afraid of her gossiping about you?  What are you, 14?

You have lived in your town your whole life, and she has only recently returned after a 20-year absence.  In addition, with her attitude and behavior it’s not as if anyone you give a damn about is going to listen to her rants.

Put on your new AskDesCamp Big Girl Undies (low-rise thong also available) and tell her the following:

“Sorry Mary, I’ve come to the conclusion we aren’t well-suited to be friends.  I hope you can consider how your behavior has impacted our relationship, but regardless, I need to separate myself from you.  Your anger and unpredictable nature causes me stress, anxiety and embarrassment and I will not purposefully inject those feelings into my life.

“I wish you well and urge you to look at your approach to people very carefully, because what you’re doing now?  It’s not working.”

Good luck and please let me know how it goes!

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*My dream death scenario involves Mr. Patience and Understanding, three bottles of champagne, hours of dancing, and a monkey.

**please check with your state’s statutes on recording people without their knowledge.  Also, please remember I am not your lawyer so don’t even think about messing with me.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. therese descamp

    This is great advice. Those kinds of people are like walking shit storms, and those of us who are committed to being “nice”–read “I am going to ignore this behaviour as if it weren’t happening and maybe she’ll learn learn from me or at least stop it”– don’t actually help. We just let the abuse go on.
    Robin, you make me laugh and you make me think. A great combination. Thank you.

  2. Astrid

    GAH! Sinkholes are second only to the unforgiving, relentless, unknowable force that is the ocean for me. Yeah, yeah, I can choose to avoid going much beyond the beach, and deep sea fishing, but DAMN! You never know where that limestone lies! It could be under my house, right now! Double GAH!! In any event, a “friend”
    who behaves this way deserves to be called out on her bad behavior, and , if unwilling to have a hard look at herself, is equally deserving of being set free. End. Of. Story. Thanks, Robin.

    1. Astrid

      Okay, just to let you know of maybe a glitch, as I know you are on the left coast of the US, and not in western Europe ,but my post time stamp on the prior post is six hours off… is your website based in Italy(just kidding)?

  3. Pingback: Friday Feedback! – Robin Descamp

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