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Breaking up with a friend?


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

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Old 9th November 2012, 1:07 AM   #1
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Unhappy Breaking up with a friend?

Hello!

I was hoping to get some advice on a delicate situation that myself and my partner are currently in. Any advice or help would be greatly greatly appreciated, as we are very stuck.

A brief background:

My partner and I met another couple, lets call them Ken and Kim at a hobby we were mutually interested in. They both seemed like really nice people, so we began to hang out with them every now and then, either as couples, or completely separately, it didn't really matter. Now, before I continue my partner and I are not very social people, we enjoy our own space and don't feel a strong necessity to see the same friends day after day after day lest the friendship become ruined. We believe in the types of friendships where there is no problem if you don't see your friend for a day or two, things will continue as normal. We decided to voice this opinion early on as our friendship blossomed. Letting this other couple know quite clearly that we valued our own space and didn't want friendships that need daily maintenance, we have this easy going friendship with lots of other friends so we both know it is possible. Luckily Ken and Kim agreed that they were like minded. They told us 'we don;t like seeing friends more than once every few weeks, we don't think its necessary, we are pretty easygoing, if you guys are busy or can't hang out that's fine too'.

Great! We thought we had found some friends who we were compatible with and for the first few months, things were great. We all got along really well.

Slowly, slowly... things began to go downhill. First of all, we learnt about a lot of unsavory business they were dealing with. Owing a lot of people a lot of money, avoiding debt collectors, not paying rent, lying to people, etc etc. But they were nothing but lovely to us, so we simply listened to their stories and offered sensible advice. At this time, we made a note in our heads never to lend them money!

Secondly, they began, in a very short amount of time, to become very needy friends. And not only needy, they began to make us feel like horrible people for not seeing them on a daily basis. Both my partner and I get texts, calls, etc from them every single day asking us to visit them (they live over 30 minutes away). They then get incredibly offended when we cannot, even if our reasons are legitimate, for example, I am at university, or my partner is at work. To them this is not a legitimate reason and we will get sent a barrage of abuse, often I will get messages sent to me about what an ass my partner is because he won't ditch work to visit them.

As well as this, often when they do ask us to come and visit, there is always an ulterior motive and we end up helping them clean their house or build something in their backyard or help them sort out one problem or another. As well as this, they ask us over and then order pizza for themselves, once the pizza comes, they 'forget' their cash, and we end up paying for their pizza because we are push overs!!

If we cannot ever get to their house for whatever reason (and remember we are asked at least once a day if not more) they will often ask to visit us, or turn up at our house unexpectedly..

It gets even worse if we do not have a legitimate reason for not seeing them. For example, tonight my partner and I planned a well deserved date night as we have't seen each other in weeks. Of course, I got my daily text message, and rather than lie (as I do sometimes as it is easier), I was honest. I told her that my partner and I really needed to spend some time together to help our relationship, as she knows we haven't seen each other for ages. I got back a curt reply. They then messaged my partner asking the same question and got the same response, and he then got a nice guilt trip 'clearly you don't care about us, we do so much for you, etc etc'. We the got a guilt trip about how they haven't seen us for 3 days and its just too long and how we are bad friends. How they miss us and just want to spent time with us. And as we have told them, whilst it's very nice of them, we need our own space. Again, they start on how we are selfish, etc, it is an endless cycle.

This is made worse by the fact that they think we owe them. After they helped us move houses, we paid them $300 for their time. When they had to move houses a few months later, they had one day to do so, where unfortunately both myself and my partner were working so we could not help out. Since then, they have made an effort to remind us how much they 'did for us' that day they helped us move, but they seen to forget we paid them the same amount we might pay a mover for their work. I understand they did help us, but we were both working, and they can't just hold that over our heads forever. As well as this, there was no way they were considering paying us, as they are broke and kicked out of their home with no money.

Additionally, when we go and see other friends, they get extremely jealous, often saying horrible things about the other friends to us, or even the other friends themselves, and make snide comments such as 'oh you have time for them and not for us' or 'oh you double booked us' even when we had no original plans to see Kim and Ken in the first place. They just assume anytime we have free time we should drive the 30 minute drive to see them, and nothing else should come first.

Pretty much, my partner and I are sick of being made to feel bad for not seeing these same friends every day. Every time either one of our phones go off we are filled with dread because we know we will either have to see these people or get guilt tripped because we don't.

My question is, how do you break off a relationship/friendship with these kinds of people? We are worried that trying to break it off will make them more abusive and mean. As well as this, they are not above going against the law, as they have told us in the past, and we would not be surprised to come home to find our house vandalised or broken into (they have demonstrated that ability to us previously), the fact that they also have no money and they know that we do makes this a real possibility.

Is there any way to break this kind of thing off gently? Continually saying no to their advances will not work, as we have tried, as they will continually ask us (we have tried for weeks on end to say no) as they have no other friends at all, they simply keep asking and asking day after day after day, guilt tripping day after day after day, no matter how long we either ignore them or decline.

So... suggestions? We are just very very stuck. It was a bad decision to get into this friendship in the first place, that was our mistake for giving the benefit of the doubt, but we don't feel like we should be continually on edge, punished because we took a chance and trusted someone!
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Old 9th November 2012, 1:05 PM   #2
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If you're genuinely worried about vindictive repercussions, if you try to walk away graciously---

There's a method that might work, even though it sucks.

Become very unpleasant to be around..

Be rude, dismissive, chronically late, whiny, complaining, maudlin, boring,
interrupting, invalidating, etc. Act disinterested whenever they speak, and keep switching the conversation back to being about you.

Essentially cut off the attention supply, and hopefully they'll seek it elsewhere. Sour the milk.

A similar method was used by a woman I knew who needed to get out of an abusive marriage.

She knew instinctively that if she left--she'd be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life, that her H would never be able to withstand the blow to his ego. He would've stalked her & the kids.

So-she soured the milk. She quit cleaning the house, cooking, taking care of her appearance, and quit reacting to his attempts to bait arguments.

Within six months, HE up & left, and was never heard from again.
She was then able to raise her kids in safety, & peace, even though they struggled for awhile.

He had to think it was HIS idea to leave.
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Old 9th November 2012, 5:06 PM   #3
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Both good ideas...

Thanks for the responses guys! I think it is true that honesty is the best policy and that there is a way to be diplomatic, but diplomatic doesn't always work for irrational people haha, so I may just have to risk it, be diplomatic and hide my valuables haha.

The option of becoming unbearable to be around is also definitely on the table, it would be an intricate challenge considering I'm normally a bit of a push over, hah. Just hoping that they don't continue to hang around us anyway because we are their only friends, or that it doesn't take months to get rid of them.

Will have to consider both of these options before I get my next guilt trip text message haha, because my options are limited!

Any other suggestions or advice still appreciated!
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