Everything I Need to Know: Friendship

AdviceTime again for Romance Solves All Your Problems, except for that one with the thing that you didn’t tell your doctor about, naughty naughty.

Today’s letter is about friendship. Sort of.

I have this friend I’ve known for seven years.  She’s unemployed and uninspired to find a job because she can mooch off of everyone, including me.  So she spends her time blogging about her latest month-long boyfriend and telling the world how much she loves him, until he tells her he wants to spend time with his friends without her because she monopolizes his attention.

She gets pissed off and threatens to leave him and tells the whole wide internet what an asshole he is—and people agree with her and say that if they lived near her they would burn his house down.  I am the lone reader who tells her she’s being irrational and selfish and The Boy Needs Friends.  Big mistake.  I’m attacked by her and her house-burning readers, because True Friends always have your back and agree with you no matter what.  They don’t pull that Dan Savage crap, because that’s mean and cruel and if I don’t want to hear about what a jerk the boyfriend is and if all I have to say is mean mean mean then maybe we shouldn’t be friends because I just don’t appreciate her!!!

So now we’re no longer e-friends and I’m banned from responding.  I could easily call or go to her house, but that would make the passive-aggressive a little Edward Cullen stalkery for my taste.  Am I really that bad a friend for telling her she’s acting like a psycho bitch girlfriend with a boy she’s only been nailing for a month?  If seven years of friendship can be washed down the drain because of a fight over a passive-aggressive blog post, should I just quite while I’m ahead and DTMFA?  What would Secondary Character BFF do?

Now Relegated To Former-Friend Tertiary Character

So let me make sure I have this right: she mooches off of you and her other friends, she has an active blog life with many fangirls supporting her every move, and men don’t really stick with her because she expects the same attention from them as her fangirls give her.

You disagreed with her, presumably on her blog, and she’s banned you from commenting and you are no longer, as you put it, “e-friends.” You, and I say this gently, are a heroine I’d like to grab by the shoulders and shake a bit, and then offer a very strong cocktail.

This person is not your friend. Full stop. Friendship isn’t about worship, admiration, or blind support, and though calling her out in public on her site was an antagonistic thing to do, one would think seven years of real friendship would withstand that.

As far as calling or going to her house, if your friendship has existed mainly on the internet, that seems way out of bounds. Moreover, what would doing so accomplish? You want to repair your friendship with this person? What on earth for?

Every now and again you’ll see a heroine in a book who realizes her friends aren’t really her friends. Maybe they’re people she hangs out with out of habit, even though she doesn’t have much in common with them anymore, or maybe she realizes she’s grown up and they haven’t. Whatever the reason, friendships are not permanent entities, and her happy ending requires some new friends.

The internet can make people seem much bigger in their own minds than they really are. While she may be casting herself as the heroine of her own drama, emphasis on drama, this girl is not behaving like a heroine. I certainly wouldn’t want to read a romance about her. 

Therefore you are not the secondary character. I’d argue you weren’t really her friend, bff, e- or otherwise because real friends can be honest with each other, and can weather fights without needing an army of readers to soothe the ego. Moreover, real friendships are more than just whether or not you can comment on someone’s site.

It is well past time for you to be the heroine and jettison this person who isn’t your friend in favor of people who are.


General Bitching...

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  1. 1

    I agree – I say cut your losses and let it go. She doesn’t sound like much of a friend to me – more like an emotional and financial drain. (Can we say drama queen?) You’ll be richer in more ways than one without her in your life sucking you dry. And you’ll have more time to go out and find a new – real – friend.

    Good luck!

  2. 2
    Cat Marsters says:

    I had a friend like this.  At least, she was my friend until she morphed into an emotional vampire, such a drama queen she was really a drama empress.  After the gradual realisation that my BFF4OMGEVA hadn’t taken a single interest in my life for over a year, while continuing to drag me into ever more torrid plots involving her train-wreck of a personal life, I decided that 90% of her problems were either imagined or purposefully created to make life more exciting.

    Following a dramatic argument during which she completely failed to appreciate how upset I was over a personal matter, and instead proceeded to impose her own problems on it, I decided it was excitement I could live without.  I haven’t spoken to her since.  I don’t regret it.

    Dump the chump, is my eloquent advice.  Any romantic heroine worth reading would never put up with this bullshit for long, and neither should you.

  3. 3
    Lita says:

    I know how hard it is to drop/dump a friend, but this person is not a friend.  She’s a emotional leech that can’t exist without 100% approbation.

    You deserve better.

  4. 4
    Stelly says:

    She doesn’t sound like a friend at all.  Friendships should feature equality, just like other healthy relationships.  From your description, your “friend” sounds like she’s just been taking without doing any giving.  Forget her and find yourself a true friend, one who will appreciate you and be willing to listen to any advice you’re giving.

  5. 5

    Cheese and crackers, I’d be glad to be cut loose from this whack job and her posse!

    Now, go out and find some real friends, ones who don’t mooch off of you or dump on you for speaking up.

  6. 6
    DS says:

    What Sarah said.  Learn to do this now and you won’t be repeating this pattern for the rest of your life.  -

  7. 7
    Lori says:

    True Friends always have your back and agree with you no matter what

    This is a really common attitude and I think the “agree with you no matter what” part a source of endless trouble.  Learning to walk away from people who expect that kind of blind loyalty is hard, but you’ll be better off in the long run if that’s not part of your life.

  8. 8
    ChrissyV says:

    1. Guys do need friends outside their significant others. We all do. It’s called A Life.
    2. Friends takes each other’s advice and criticism seriously, they don’t ban them from speaking. Friends may not agree, and that’s OK too, but you at least have enough respect for each other to listen and consider.
    3. Being over 18 and refusing to support yourself speaks to a lack of maturity, and that’s as far as I’m going to go on that subject.

    I’m sorry you’ve spent 7 years on this person, but she’s not looking for a friend, she’s looking for an audience.

  9. 9

    Word.  I had a friend who demanded blind, unfailing loyalty throughout all sorts of drama in her life, and each time she came to me, the demand for support was harder to meet.  Cutting her loose was painful—I had always bought into the myth that in order to be a good friend, I had to nod and smile and heaven forbid I judge her stupid, stupid choices—, but it was the best thing I ever did.

  10. 10
    elianara says:

    I’ll take advise from Dan Savage, and say that True Friends tell you the truth, and grabs you by the shoulder and tells you when you are doing something stupid. You did that, she doesn’t care for your opinion, so DTMFA. If she someday grows up, she’ll see that you did her a favor by telling her the truth about her behavior, and she might come back and apologize. Until then, find other friends that appreciate you more.

  11. 11
    Liz says:

    i agree with everyone else here.  i had a real-life friend like this for while.  every time we would talk it was always about her destructive relationships.  at one point i had enough of it and i told her that her one true love bf of a lifetime was a real jerk who didn’t appreciate her no matter how many times he told her he loved her.  she didn’t like that very much.  not long after this she sent me a message about how great things were with him (although she had blogged the day before about all of the problems that they were having), and i told her that i was happy for her.  i haven’t spoken to her since.  if you can’t speak your mind to your friends, then they aren’t your friends.

  12. 12
    rebyj says:

    That woman doesn’t want a friend, she wants an appreciative audience.
    There are MANY books about toxic people. Even webmd talks about them http://women.webmd.com/features/toxic-friends-less-friend-more-foe

    I learned that term during therapy after my divorce. Dump the woman before you need therapy, it’s expensive LOL.

  13. 13
    robinjn says:

    I had a vampire friend. We were friends for over 20 years. Not e-friends, but real friends. Except that her life was more important and more worthy, she was a complete drama queen, and every single conversation we had was all about her and her problems and issues. My problems and issues were brought up and dismissed. Everything was a power play. I always drove. She always decided where we’d eat then she would always be late because, after all, her life was so much more important than mine. It was okay for her to leave me sitting waiting for a half-hour or more, but she would drop everything in an instant for other friends.

    The end started when she had to have serious surgery and I had to take her everywhere. She had me fetching and carrying like mad. And I did it. Two years later I had to have serious surgery. She visited me once in the hospital for 15 minutes (and she WORKED there!) and once I was home, she was conspicuously absent. Too busy.

    I finally realized that I was worth more than that. We had a stupid disagreement and she refused to speak to me, I’m sure she thought for a week or so. I simply never called her again. And she couldn’t possibly call me, she was too important. It was hard for me to sever this relationship that had gone on longer than any relationship I ever had with a man. But I am SO glad I did. People like that suck the life out of you.

  14. 14

    This person is not your friend. Full stop. Friendship isn’t about worship, admiration, or blind support, and though calling her out in public on her site was an antagonistic thing to do, one would think seven years of real friendship would withstand that.

    Ditto, ditto and ditto.  What good is a friend if you can’t be up front and honest with her?  And how good a fried is she to you if she thinks ‘having your back’ means you agree with her and go along with everything she says, even if she is acting like first class idiot?

    I’ll talk an honest friend over one who offers lip service any day of the week.

  15. 15
    Liz says:

    I’ll talk an honest friend over one who offers lip service any day of the week.

    i absolutely agree with you.  Once I dumped my friend, I started finding real friends that actually cared about what i said, and i am so much happier now than i was back then.

  16. 16
    Laura Anne says:

    Every now and again you’ll see a heroine in a book who realizes her friends aren’t really her friends. Maybe they’re people she hangs out with out of habit, even though she doesn’t have much in common with them anymore, or maybe she realizes she’s grown up and they haven’t. Whatever the reason, friendships are not permanent entities, and her happy ending requires some new friends.

    Amen.  It can hurt like h*ll to let go of old attachments, but when they turn toxic like that?  Good riddance to bad rubbish, and time to find companions who like you, opinions and all.

  17. 17
    TracyS says:

    90% of her problems were either imagined or purposefully created to make life more exciting.

    I’ve known people like that. If there is not enough drama in their lives, they create it.  There is no reasoning with people like that.

  18. 18
    Keira says:

    Yikes! Back away from the psycho blogger immediately. You have better things to do with your time – like read another romance.

  19. 19
    Linnet says:

    Just wanted to say that yes, sometimes you have to dump people out of your life and it will improve your well being. However, if you are like me you will still miss that former friend. I know that I only miss the good times (which are idealized in my memories), and not all the drama. I still miss her sometimes though, even though it was worse then breaking up with a boyfriend.

  20. 20
    robinjn says:

    There are times I miss my friend. But then I think of how exhausted she made me, how worthless I felt, and how much nicer my life is without her as a constant chaotic drama magnet.

    Actually, a year or so ago we got back in touch. We’ve been to dinner a couple of times. I could see her more often but I am simply not interested in seeing her more than once every few months or calling her. And I’m fine with that, and glad that we did reconnect in a much more superficial way.

  21. 21
    Liz says:

    i know what you mean, there are still some times i miss the girl i had been friends with in high school, but i don’t miss the one that she morphed into a few years later.  it is nice to have the memories.  for awhile i couldn’t think about them because it hurt so much, but now i’m glad i have them.

  22. 22
    Suze says:

    Yep, DTMFA.  If your life were a Harlequin Presents (which books are like jellybeans, I tell you!), you would be the sweet and naive heroine, and she would be the “friend” who does mean, selfish, and irrational things that get you into trouble, from which your hero must rescue you.

    Or she would be the mean, selfish, and irrational friend who causes Big Misunderstandings with your hero.

    You know, the slutty friend who causes the hero to think the virginal heroine is a slut (or a thief, or blackmailer, or conniving mother of his beloved dead brother’s child, or what have you).

    She’s not your friend.  You’re her entourage.

  23. 23
    Mary Beth says:

    Robinjn- I had the same sort of thing happen to me. A coworker and I became close friends. Or so I thought. She was diagnosed with cancer and was off work for weeks d/t surgery and radiation treatment, etc. This woman lived paycheck-to-paycheck so missing work was a big deal. I gave her gas cards, bought groceries, called for updates when I couldn’t see her. I told the head of our HR department that if it ever looked like her insurance was going to be cancelled because she wasn’t working that I would offer to pay her portion of the premiums. When she came back to work I made lunch for the both of us every day and brought it since she could no longer afford to go out for lunch like we used to do. She had an emergency regarding her daughter’s tuition for school and I gave her $1600 no questions asked knowing I’d never see it again. The following year I had a total knee replacement. When was my “friend”? Who knows. I got not one phone call, email, text message- nothing. I realize it wasn’t a life-threatening condition but still, it really hurt. I asked her about it when I went back to work and her reply was “I was busy.” That was it.

    After that I still poke to her at work and we ate lunch together but I knew in my heart that we were no longer friends and I would never help her out again nor expect anything from her. That was 2 years ago and I don’t see her anymore.

  24. 24
    Jessa Slade says:

    What were you getting out of the relationship?  Even tertiary characters have their own GMC.  I think you should make sure you address those when you DTMFA so you don’t end up a recurring cliche character in the next installment of the series.

    It is well past time for you to be the heroine

    True for all of us.

  25. 25
    Val says:

    I can relate to everything said here. My vampire friend is one that I’ve known for over 20 years, since first grade even! I finally figured out the deal when we went to a wedding oversees and she ranted to me about how selfish I was because I wanted to do one specific thing in the TWO WEEKS we were there and she didn’t want to. (It was see a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theater – that takes less than a day!) But she had no problem borrowing money from me for the plane ride, rental car, hotel for the wedding, etc. She hasn’t spoken to me since our return – that’s 8 months now.

    The kicker? I have to see her in a few weeks at another wedding that we’re both standing up for in Cancun. Funny how she has money to attend that but not one dime to pay back any of the $900 she owes me. Since its just the two of us and the bride I am dreading having to do “bonding” stuff with her. Just…ugh.

  26. 26
    StephanieL says:

    This woman sounds like a wack job.  She also seems to have an entire group of followers that condone her messed up thinking.  Friendship is like every other realtionship, there is give and take and you are not always going to agree.  Obviously this person hasn’t matured any since high school.  Her flavor of the month needs his friends just as much as she needs hers.  And of course this woman is going to monopolize his time, she has NOTHING better to do with her life. 

    I have had a friend for 19 years and we don’t always agree but we have enough respect for each other that we agree to disagree.  We don’t threaten to commit arson.  Yes true friends have your back, but they also have enough balls to call you out when you act like an ass. 

    This woman is not your friend.  She is needy and emotionally toxic and sometimes you just have to cut out the toxic people from your life to hold on to your sanity.  Instead of enabling her to mooch off of you cut your loses and run far, far away.

  27. 27
    Holly says:

    When I was a young thing – in my 20s – I had a number of these diva vamp girlfriends and roommates.  My mother, whose wisdom I was too young to appreciate, always recognized them before I did, and I would inevitably have to go through a mini-version of hell before shedding myself of them.  One of them was very tall and strikingly attractive, but had some serious esteem issues and so had to bed every guy she dated, and she’d become unhinged when a guy showed interest in me over her, and as I recall she even slept with a few of her sister’s boyfriends.  And another one was a queen who demanded a lady in waiting and I got tired of it.

    It will hurt to lose someone who’s occupied so much space in your life, but you’ll be glad you did.  Today my best friend of 30 years lives in the same town I do, and I have my sister and my two sisters in law, and we’re all friends, so my collection is complete and I’m not looking to acquire any more.

    In time you’ll come to recognize soul-sucking chick friends as readily as you do the soul-sucking boyfriends, and life will be easier.

  28. 28
    Barb says:

    Ten ways to protect self from emotional vampires:  http://www.albernstein.com/id62.htm

  29. 29

    I agree completely.  I had one of these friends.  She had screaming fits because other friends would back out of plans, and call me up in hysterics because “X” didn’t like her anymore.  So I’d drive down and be supportive.  Then if we had plans, and X called out of the blue, she’d call me up and cancel, or if I was already on my way there (pre-cell phones) I’d get there to find a note on the door saying, “Oh, X called so we went out.  Sorry I didn’t call in time.”  Bear in mind it was at least a half hour drive on the freeway in light traffic to get there.  And since I drove and she didn’t, I wound up ferrying her everywhere.  It was just this amazing, one-way street of me giving her all this support. 

    Then when I was suicidally depressed for the first time in more than a decade (including figuring out who I would leave my cats to if I did it) I drove down to hang out with her hoping for a little return on all the support I’d given her over the years.  I told her how I was feeling and that I really needed some reassurances, and she turns to me and says, “I don’t think I can hang out with you anymore.  You’re too depressing.”

    To this day she says she doesn’t understand why we’re not close anymore.

    Best decision I ever made, in fact the depression started to ease up right about then.  I had never realized what an emotional leech she was until I got rid of her.

  30. 30
    Robin C. says:

    These seem like Relevant Links for your Friend:

    Flowchart of Internets Bliss
    (Pay special attention to Step #3, “If you use the internet as a crutch, be prepared to have it kicked out from under you”)

    Guide to the 5 Geek Social Fallacies:
    (Mostly GSF 2 and GSF 3)

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