I have had a friendship with a seemingly really sweet lady for over a year. During that time, we laughed, cried, spoke about mutual tv shows that we like, design (she is an illustrator) art, books, etc. and followed each other’s careers.
We live on opposite sides of the country, and in different time zones, but we are both creatives and night owls. She could always out message and out-talk me, which, in the beginning, was part of her charm. I always laughed that she could send 43 messages while I was still typing out my reply to her first one. I should have seen the red flag then and there.
We never really discussed anything too personal, such as politics, religion, relationships. I really don’t share too much with outsiders, and tend to save that for people that I am very close to. I don’t spill all the details. I’m an adult, and I don’t feel it is necessary.
While I lead a very private life and am very career-focused, she lived an entirely different one. I began to be privy to some odd conversations. She would often share a bit too much, family stuff, and I get that she felt comfortable doing that, but, it got a little uncomfortable for me to be in the middle of all of that.
That Ah-Ha Moment- I began to see patterns of jealousy, an “I’m better, smarter, more talented” kind of attitude. I am not one for gossip and always lived by the creed that if someone gossips about somebody with you, they will gossip about you behind your back as well. I don’t play that. Often she would copy/paste conversations that she had with friends, and I often wondered, feeling very embarrassed for the person she was doing this to. I never said a word, I really didn’t read too much of what was going on, it would have been illegal to, not to mention, immoral, and quickly deleted whatever she sent me. I really didn’t need to be part of whatever was going on. I would often just give simple, practical advice, but I am neither a therapist, nor a professional. I would find that she would post her issues on social media, looking for validation or other suggestions. Again, I always stayed silent, never playing into whatever she was seeking.
The Pressure- I don’t do drama. Never did, never will. I am there for people, but when it gets too much like a crutch or an episode of a tv show, that is where I draw the line. I began tapering off on my replies, letting messages go a bit, hoping that she would see that this stuff was just not something I wanted to participate in. I would have to turn my phone off at night because if I didn’t, I would have over 40 messages shot to me in 2 minutes time. When I turned my phone on in the morning, there were the messages, just like clockwork. I started muting her, first for just a few hours, then for eight, then for 24. Whenever I would go online, she would automatically pop up. Like she was waiting for me. While I had her messages muted, they would still show the last one. The messages started getting threatening, and malicious. They were cruel attacks. They were personal jabs at me to solicit a reply. She would (what seemed to me) stalk me and wait for me to sign on. She started sending emails when she realized she could no longer get a response from messaging or calling me. She attempted to post to my other social media, but I quickly blocked her, and unfortunately, I was forced to unfriend her and block her everywhere, as it was just downright scary. She actually tried to get me to introduce her to the editor of one of the magazines I worked for so that she could do illustrations for them. She asked me to do a social media blast for her, which, (having offered several times in the past with no reply) I finally said no to.
The Final Straw- That’s when you know you need to end a friendship. At that point, I wasn’t a friend anymore, merely someone who could (in her mind) introduce her to the right people, and I was convenient. I just couldn’t be the only source for her. It was draining the life out of me, and it was way too negative. I’ve long since removed anyone who showed an inkling of being uh, unstable. I no longer accept friendships or relationships like that. Sure, I feel bad for standing my ground and not really replying anymore to a once cherished friend, but I don’t see life as a competition, but rather a team event. We all help each other. There was always something wrong with the “other person” in her world, and I began to see narcissistic behavior.
How it Helped Me- This person turned out to be a nightmare. I have never had anything like this happen. Needless to say, I felt like I needed to file a restraining order. What I eventually did was write a really nice email, wishing her the best, wanting her to be happy. I wanted to get the message across that while I valued her as a person, that I couldn’t continue on with being a friend anymore. It was a nice way of saying “You need to get your bleep together.” I let her go with love and light. I learned to gracefully and tactfully detach.
Perspective- It’s sad because we need our female friendships, we need that sister spirit, but when it isn’t growing you, inspiring you, challenging you (in a friendly way) but makes you roll your eyes, it just isn’t worth it. I’ve long since found my people. I hope that someday, she finds hers, as I really do want her to be a happy, healthy individual, but I’ll pass on anything else.
The experience taught me to set boundaries going forward and to not be afraid of letting go of toxic situations. This was one bad friendship that I probably should have ended a while ago, however, I felt obligated to try to help.
My Take Away- Just don’t, I could have saved myself so much stress. I can’t tell you how much better I feel not taking part in that. I recognize red flags now and pay attention to them. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. I’ve learned to trust my instincts. They haven’t lied to me so far.