Here’s my conundrum. I currently have a friend that I might almost call my best friend as we have known each other for a long time and have gone through many ups and downs through the course of our friendship. But upon further reflection I see that I am there to help with her issues but my issues fall to the wayside. She’s a really good person and I love her but I think she doesn’t have the ability to acknowledge that friendship is a sharing environment and a giving environment. Frankly I’m growing weary of every conversation being about her issues so I’ve had an epiphany that this is not a good relationship for me. How do I slowly separate myself from this person without having hurt feelings?
Hurting in Huntsville
Breaking up with a friend can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. More on that later.
Your letter says that you don’t think she (I assume you are both women because men don’t give a shit about this crap) can participate in a symbiotic friendship. Well, you didn’t say exactly that, but I like to show off my big vocabulary so I am paraphrasing. What your letter doesn’t say is whether or not you have addressed this issue with her in a direct and honest manner. If you have, and she simply isn’t interested in or capable of change, dump her using the DesCamp Friend Extraction Method ™ (patent pending) described below.
My question for you is this: if you have not broached this subject with your friend, why not? It isn’t fair to make an assessment about a person’s capacity for change without first giving them the chance to rectify whatever is bothering you. In fact, it’s kind of assholish. You say she is a very dear friend and a good person, but if you haven’t bothered orchestrating a sit-down with her to discuss your feelings, I’d say it is you, not her, who isn’t a good friend.
Some people are so mired in their own shit that they can’t see the shit that other people are struggling with. When these people find friends that allow them to do a daily diatribe dump, they take advantage. I’ve been the dumper and I’ve been the dumpee, and I am grateful to a certain friend of mine who called me on it and made me see that friendships, unlike the Back Door, are supposed to go in two directions (sorry guys, never gonna like that).
So, Hurting, give her a chance. Tell her exactly what you told me, using the word “symbiotic” because it’s cool, and see how things go for a while. It’s really the least you can do.
If you have already had this discussion with her, I apologize for calling you an asshole, but it’s not my fault your letter did not contain a full representation of the facts. Anyhoo, if you’ve delved into the matter and she just doesn’t get it, I suggest using the DesCamp Friend Extraction Method ™. Here’s how it works:
1. Reduce your availability to this person by not immediately returning phone calls, emails, texts and the like. This process should be gradual so as not to set off their Friend Dump Radar.
2. When she asks you if you are mad at them, say, “no, why would you think that?” and pretend like nothing is wrong.
3. Change your hairstyle and method of dress so if she sees you on the street, she won’t recognize you. If you have a dog, take the dog to the pound and get a new dog for the same reason. May I suggest a Labradoodle?
4. Consider moving to Argentina.
Or, you know, you could just be straight with her like you would if this was a romantic relationship. It’s strange to me that we struggle so hard with how we end close friendships, trying to slip away unnoticed and hoping that we can separate ourselves from another person surreptitiously. People don’t do that when they get divorced…that would be weird.
“Hey Mom, where’s Dad? I haven’t seen him in months.”
“Gee Timmy, now that you mention it, neither have I! How odd!”
Tell her how you feel and that you need a break (if this was an acquaintance, I wouldn’t suggest being so direct – if you would like advice on the DesCamp Acquaintance Avoidance System ™, please email me).
See what happens. Maybe your friend will take some time to reflect on her behavior and she will renew your friendship under terms that are satisfying to you both. If she doesn’t, you are better off without her. Selfish friends can be draining on your emotional bank account, and they just aren’t worth it.
I have a sexting addiction. Recently, even though I lost my job and nearly lost my family due to my proclivities, I began an online relationship with a woman (let’s call her Perth Linens). She outed me, and now I lost the chance at a job I was close to getting and I’m pretty sure my wife is leaving me today. What should I do? How can I curb this addiction to sending random women pictures of my junk? I really want to change, but how?
-AW in NYC
Seeing as how you attached a photo of your dick to the email you sent me, I think you are beyond hope. Get a job in porn and leave me alone.