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Did I do the right thing with my friend?


Friendship Having issues with a friend? Get it off your chest!

Old 25th August 2011, 5:23 PM   #1
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Did I do the right thing with my friend?

I have a very good friend that I met 13 years ago on the first day of college. We hit it off instantly because we were both kinda geeky but also very open-minded about things like the underground music culture, art, etc.

We were wildly popular on campus because we'd host these huge parties. This was unprecedented for the both of us because we had rather lackluster social lives throughout high school. During those first few years, let's just say both of us did quite a bit of "experimenting". We both eventually left the school, but we kinda took different paths in our life since then.

I got over the experimental phase and I don't suffer from any kind of deficiencies from that era. I started working a full time job and I matured quite a bit. I eventually went back to school and graduated with really high grades.

With him.. well, it's a completely different story. He was diagnosed with a few mental disorders, such as anxiety, PTSD and Bipolar Personality Disorder. He never got a serious job after leaving school and he's still working to get his Bachelor's to this day.

Now, I still hung out with him because I keep remembering when I first met him and how he was full of energy and motivation to try new things and improve his life. His mental issues were burdensome and frustrating at times, but I worked through them with him. I still believed he was a smart guy that would eventually work his way out of this funk so I gave him encouragement to pursue his dreams, and some tough love when he needed it.

Now, let's get this straight-- I put up with his hard-to-deal-with at times personality and general flakiness for years. I have been understanding for a very long time. I would say that over the past 2 years though, that no matter what I said or did to try to encourage him to get out of his funk, I had something significant working against me: his parents. To say they spoil him and let him get away with whatever the heck he wants to do would be an understatement.

Now see, the thing is, I have worked with his issues for years, so I have accepted them for what they are and deal with them. What I cannot deal with, is the fact that he takes advantage of his parents. He's at the point where he is so used to getting over and getting his way that he has a distorted perception of reality and a sense of entitlement. If he does something bad, he'll quickly pull the "I have issues" card and expect people to give him a free pass. This isn't just my observation, he told me he takes advantage of his situation one day that I was giving him tough love for flunking all of his college courses for the semester (for like the 3rd or 4th time).

Anyways, fast forward to the present. It's summertime here in NY and I love to get outside and go to the beach, public pools, tennis courts, etc. I have invited him to come out maybe 4 or 5 times over the past month and he flaked every single time, no apology, no remorse, nothing. So considering the fact that I've been kinda frustrated by his actions for a while, I finally decided to draw the line and say "enough is enough". I told him that I don't have anything to say to him until he gets his act together because he has let me down far too many times.

Now, I don't regret saying that to him at all, but I'm just curious if any of you have ever been in a similar situation and I'd like to know how it played out.
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Old 26th August 2011, 6:50 AM   #2
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This is exactly the situation I'm in now and I don't know how it's going to pan out.

I have a very close friend I have known since I came to live in the UK in 1993. Pretty long time. He is a very good friend in many ways but he can be insensitive in company and can have a boorish sense of humour on a bad day. I do understand that it isn't something one can just change, you can't just say to someone they shouldn't be insensitive anymore, so I asked him to stop bringing up specific issues in company like other people's weight for example.

I think making direct comments of someone's being over weight in front of others or questioning their sexuality during a dinner party would be seen as pretty bad. I asked my friend repeatedly not to do that especially as he tends to pick on the same person (he doesn't see it as picking on someone) and he did it again last night at dinner.

So now I have told him I'm cutting down on social interaction with him because his behaviour was toe curlingly embarrassing. It's not about being let down in the same way as you have been by your friend OP but potentially I can lose his friendship over this. I just can't sit through another dinner like the one we had last night.
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Old 26th August 2011, 10:11 AM   #3
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Old 26th August 2011, 11:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilia View Post
This is exactly the situation I'm in now and I don't know how it's going to pan out.

I have a very close friend I have known since I came to live in the UK in 1993. Pretty long time. He is a very good friend in many ways but he can be insensitive in company and can have a boorish sense of humour on a bad day. I do understand that it isn't something one can just change, you can't just say to someone they shouldn't be insensitive anymore, so I asked him to stop bringing up specific issues in company like other people's weight for example.

I think making direct comments of someone's being over weight in front of others or questioning their sexuality during a dinner party would be seen as pretty bad. I asked my friend repeatedly not to do that especially as he tends to pick on the same person (he doesn't see it as picking on someone) and he did it again last night at dinner.

So now I have told him I'm cutting down on social interaction with him because his behaviour was toe curlingly embarrassing. It's not about being let down in the same way as you have been by your friend OP but potentially I can lose his friendship over this. I just can't sit through another dinner like the one we had last night.
Wow, it sounds like your friend has no problem being selfish and putting down others for his own amusement. That's a sign of insecurity right there. I kinda know how you feel. You're thinking "was he always like this" or "how did I ever relate to this person". It doesn't really matter because he isn't what you thought he was, much like in my situation.
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Old 26th August 2011, 12:38 PM   #5
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I can't say that I've had the same situation, but it sounds like you did the right thing. It's important to respect yourself and to expext others to respect you. You are not unreasonable and having been very giving, understanding, and patient with this man. To continue on as you had been doing would be disrespectful of yourself and enabling him to continue in his poor behaviour.

Tough to do considering he's been a friend for so long and there's history and sentimental attachment, but necessary.
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Old 28th August 2011, 4:56 PM   #6
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UPDATE

I see him online on AIM often. A few days ago he tried IM'ing me something about his gf. I didn't respond tho.

No apologies, no attempts to patch things up. Nothing..

He told this mutual friend that he thinks I am mad at him.

I get the feeling he doesn't think I was serious.
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Old 29th August 2011, 1:28 AM   #7
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OP, you absolutely did the right thing. In college you could put up with him because you still got something out of the relationship. But now it seems like you give and give and he just takes. When thinking about whether to end a friendship or relationship, the one question you have to ask yourself is what positive things am I getting out of this relationship? If the answer is little to nothing, then breaking it off is definitely the correct thing to do.

I have little doubt that your friend or ex friend is the manipulative type. He'll pout for a while, then contact you and try to make you feel guilty for "abandoning him." Don't let him play mind games with you. Don't let him try and turn the tables and make you feel like the bad one. Just stick to your guns and tell him that you're willing to give the friendship another try, but only if he makes an attempt to grow up and think of your feelings and needs instead of just his own.
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Old 29th August 2011, 2:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AmEricanWomann View Post
OP, you absolutely did the right thing. In college you could put up with him because you still got something out of the relationship. But now it seems like you give and give and he just takes. When thinking about whether to end a friendship or relationship, the one question you have to ask yourself is what positive things am I getting out of this relationship? If the answer is little to nothing, then breaking it off is definitely the correct thing to do.

I have little doubt that your friend or ex friend is the manipulative type. He'll pout for a while, then contact you and try to make you feel guilty for "abandoning him." Don't let him play mind games with you. Don't let him try and turn the tables and make you feel like the bad one. Just stick to your guns and tell him that you're willing to give the friendship another try, but only if he makes an attempt to grow up and think of your feelings and needs instead of just his own.
Thanks for the advice. I'd just like to point out that back when we were in college together, he was different. I didn't really have to put up with crappy behavior back then. It was after college that things started getting weird (and progressively worse).

You're absolutely right though. He is the kind of guy that manipulates and shrugs off blame. He has no problem taking gifts or help from others without reciprocating. Earlier this year, he told me he was definitely going to get the credits he needed and raise his GPA enough to finally graduate. He also managed to get a part-time job working for the board of education. I gave him an old gold chain I had to congratulate him (his birthday was around that time too). Since then he got laid off from his job (there's a whole story behind that), and he has to go back to school to finish up this fall. Sigh.
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