Take me off that pedestal!

A letter writer said no to girl’s night and now she feels guilty.

Let go of your dependent friend, says our elder.

Dear EWC

Friends for 20+ years and now I just don’t know anymore. As we have gotten older our lives have gone on completely different paths. Right now she has a lot going on in her life, then again she always does. She’s always been the kind of act first person then she wonders why. And to be honest I really don’t think she knows herself. She always seems to try to emulate me, take responsibility for my personal achievements and creativity and even goes so far as to use my name in my presence at social events. I’m now at the point where I feel drained, exhausted and irritated when I spend time with her. She wants to set up a girl’s night in hopes of escaping from her home life. I’m personally very introverted and would rather not socialize all the time. So when I tell her hey listen once a week is too much for me. She then tries to make me feel guilty as if her only sanity is her perceived girl’s night idea that I never once agreed to. Now I just don’t know what to do. It’s like hey I’m not in high school any more. I have other stuff going besides hanging out. How do I get it through her head that this is too much and she should not make me feel guilty? Now I feel stuck.

Ms Mary replies

It sounds like you friend idolizes you. However, she also seems very dependent on you. Honor your feelings. Your responsibility is to yourself.  You don’t owe her anything. If you don’t enjoy being around her, then it is time to let the friendship fade away. She is responsible for her own happiness, not you. Besides, if you feel drained around her, you have nothing to give.

Many individuals experience what you are describing. It is difficult to let go of a long-time friend, but if it no longer serves you, you’ll just be going through the motions. Friendship is about the quality of the relationship, not the amount of time you’ve known each other. Friends will come and go throughout your lifetime. As you pointed out, you are no longer in high school; you are on your own paths. As you grow and change over the years, so do your needs and desires.

There is no reason to feel guilty. And, she can’t make you feel guilty unless you let her. Take your power back. Stand up for yourself without being mean. All you need to say is that you don’t want to do a girl’s night. Of course, she will want to know why. Simply tell her you just aren’t in the mood and don’t feel like it. It’s hard to argue with how someone feels. A person’s feelings are valid, whatever they are. There doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to them. If she hounds you about why you feel that way, tell her you don’t know. No further explanation is needed. If you make up an excuse (other than saying how you feel), she will try and talk you out of it.

Your friend will be okay.  Don’t let her manipulate you. Eventually, she will find another friend who she has more in common with. If you think you may want to see her in the future, let her know that if you have a change of heart, you will let her know (now isn’t a good time for you). You can’t make her happy, and it would be ridiculous to try. She’s a big girl. I’ve found that when one of my friendships is on the rocks, it helps to send my friend good thoughts energetically. Before you fall asleep each night, wish the best for her. Imagine her as happy and finding a friend who she connects with. Treasure the fun memories, but don’t feel obliged to continue trying to please her (not your job).

I hope I’ve helped you a bit. I’m happy to talk to you further if I can be of more help. Wishing you confidence, strength, relief, and happiness as you move forward.

Letter #: 429782

Category: Friendship

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