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How to end a friendship - sorry long!

I have a friend who I've been friends with for about 15 years.  She was recently my MOH in my wedding (though more because I knew she expected it then anything).  Throughout our entire friendship she has had many issues - she has a lot of emotional problems and has even attempted suicide a couple of times.  Throughout the years we've stopped talking a few times because she got severely depressed and would threaten suicide, yet would refuse to get help.  When it got really bad I would call her parents because I'd rather she be alive and not talk to me then not be around at all.

The issue that I have is this friendship is just completely one sided, and has been for a long time.  In college her parents would call me to check up on her all the time, making me kind of a pseudo-guardian (until we stopped talking).  She goes through cycles of depression very frequently with sever highs and lows, but won't get help, so it's like watching a train wreck and is very hard to be around never knowing if she'll hurt herself again.  Whenever she gets a boyfriend, like she has now, she falls off the map and I never speak to her.  I just got married a month ago and I still make the time to call and get together with my friends.  She and this guy have been dating for 3 months, and I don't see how a call is that hard to make.  As with all of the guys she tends to pick, he's not very nice to her from what I hear (I've only met him once because when I suggest the 2 of us going out or even the 4 of us double dating it never happens), so I know when things end she'll be calling me again for the sympathetic ear and fall back plans.

I'm pretty much done with this.  During wedding planning I didn't expect anything from her, but she was also MOH for a total bridezilla, and she used every event (shower and bachelorette party) to complain to everyone about this other girl, even having me ride separately with her in her car to go to the bar the night of the bachelorette to complain about things. They had a round of layoffs at my job 2 months before the wedding, and when I told her about it her response was "Oh...  By the way, can I bring a date to the wedding?"  She just has no interest in anything happening with me and shows no concern for anything that happens in my life.

Now I know a lot of this is my fault - I should have said no more, shouldn't have allowed her parents to put me in an awkward position, and should have shown her that I expect more of a give and take relationship.  These are all things that I keep in mind with friendships I have developed since then.  But I just don't know what to do now.  I've had one friendship before that I ended due to the unhealthy nature of it, but I just told him how I felt and that was that.  With this friend I'm concerned about her depression and tendencies to cut herself or do worse, so I feel stuck (though I have talked to her about her not returning calls or showing an interest in my life, to no avail).  But after so long I feel like it would be really crappy to just ignore her until she gets the hint.

You guys are good with advice, what would you do?


Re: How to end a friendship - sorry long!

  • She ignores you.  Why is it bad if you ignore her?

    I get where you're coming from, but often, w/ the end of friendships, we actually don't get to have the "break up" moment that we get w/ boyfriends. 

    Plus, w/ her many issues - you know that telling her "I don't want to be your friend" could actually be bad.  So... why do it?

    You dont' "owe" her an explanation.  I would just stop calling her or making any effort.  If she seems to catch on and asks whats going on, I would just say "I've talked to you before about how it upsets me that you don't return my calls, or express any interest in my life and I've just run out of energy to keep trying w/ you when I get nothing in return.". 

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  • Ok, that seemed mean considering our history, but you're right - she's not considerate and has issues that I could aggravate by laying it all out there, so I'm better off just following her lead and not calling.
  • I agree with ECB.  It's going to be hard for you because you obviously care about her, but what other choice do you really have?  You surely have enough going on with your new DH and your life together, you don't need this as well.  Just go on with your life and do your best not to worry about her.  If she's unwilling to get help for her depression than there is really nothing you will ever be able to do or say to help the situation.  You gave it your all - at least you can walk away knowing that.
  • Yeah, I wouldn't call either...if she cares that much, she'll call you.  You've made every attempt on your end and it's not fair to you to keep giving without having it be reciprocated.

    You also can't force her to care about herself and as hard as that is, she has to be a grown up and be responsible for her own life.


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  • I feel like I'm giving up on her, which sucks, but she's either not calling me, or only calling because she's upset, at which point she gets self-destructive and won't get help so I worry all the time.  I think I just needed some validation that at some point it's okay to say "I've done all I can" and move on, so thanks!
  • I have a friend exactly like that.  She would call me endlessly when depressed or even not depressed.  I couldnt always answer the phone which would throw her into a phone calling frenzy making sure I am okay.  Anyways she was in hospital many times and would call me many times a day for support while she was in there.  I couldnt take it anymore after about 5 years I stopped calling her, stopped ansering her calls.  Finally I answered a call and she was sooo happy I did.  She asked why I was ignoring her, I just said "you know I am going through a tough time in my life and am cutting out all my friends who are depressed, suicidal or on drugs"  That was it.  Of course she was my only friend who fit that description but she didnt know that.  I havent talked to her in almost a year, no phone calls no emails.  I pray to God she got some help somehow and isnt dead, but she needed to get the help on her own, she wouldnt listen to me and I couldnt take it anymore.  Maybe someday I will email her and see how she is, or maybe not.

    This is un christian like way of being, but sometimes if the person isnt willing to help themselves and is partially destroying your life, its time to say goodbye.

  • I'm not the best person to give advice on this since I have a tough time cutting people out too, even ones who are toxic to me.  But, I saw my friend go through this with another friend.  This girl was bipolar, and toward my friend she acted clingy and possessive.  At one point, my friend went to the police because they were sharing an apartment together and she felt unsafe living with this girl.  The worse this girl got, the more other friends stopped hanging out with her.  It got to the point where her only support was her girlfriend and my friend.  Her girlfriend was also very destructive, worse than she.  My friend had a falling out with the girlfriend and distanced herself from both of them.  So, this girl had only a very, very toxic girlfriend in her life.  Then the girlfriend broke up with her.  And do you know what happened?  She woke up and started taking responsibility for herself because she finally realized no one was going to do it for her.

    She reconnected with my friend about a year ago, and this time, my friend made sure to set the terms.  When this girl would complain about her life, my friend would say "go see a counselor" or "take your meds" and nothing more.  Because the two of them hadn't been friends for so long, this girl no longer felt like she could continue to push my friend until she got the reaction she was looker for--this was a new friendship and she didn't want to lose it.  According to my friend, she is a much more pleasant person to be around, and they're getting along.

    Only your friend can take responsibility for herself, and her decisions are hers alone.  Maybe someday your friend will be the person you need her to be, but right now she's not.  You need some space, and that's ok.  Like the others said, you don't need to say anything, just don't call.  Good luck.

  • I had a very similar problem.  I'd been friends with this girl for 6 years who was bipolar and depressed most of the time.  I watched her ruin her marriage to a good man despite my best efforts to help her "save" the relationship when she would beg for my advice.  It was a one sided friendship and became basically non existent when I got engaged, even though she insisted on being MOH and I had a hard time saying no to her.  I finally had to realize that my life was much happier when she wasn't in it.  And that she only made me feel bad about myself and my DH with her constant snarky comments about us (always cleverly disguised as a compliment though)  I had to stop calling and emailing her.  I was just hurting myself keeping it going.  It's been over 2months and she hasn't said a word to me, so obviously it's ok w/ her.  It hurts to end a friendship but you can't make someone stay or be the friend you want them to be.  You'll be much happier when you don't have to worry about her anymore.  Trust me.
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  • I know all too well what you're going thru. I really want to do the same thing with my friend whom I've been friends with for 14 years. It seems to be draining me. I know you're concerned about her and knowing her tendency to cut herself, I would advise you not to be aggressive with it. However, you do need to do something. Ingoring her for the time being seems to be good. But eventually, you'll have to do something else. That's where I'm stuck too. My grandfather passed last week and she texted a "oh wow, I'm sorry" and that's the last I've heard from her. The anger I feel is amazing but really I'm just more hurt than anything. As much as I dont want to end the friendship, I cant keep going like this. Take it a day at a time and prayer always works if you're a christian.
  • I'm going through same thing with my best friend. It's very awkward, but I'm close to just letting it naturally die out. I see her once a month or so. We chat every two weeks or so. She used to call every day, 5x a day. I just stopped answering the phone. When I call her she doesn't always answer either, so I guess she's just getting back at me. But whatever. You can't spent more time thinking about another woman then you do thinking about your DH.
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