I dont think Ive ever posted a problem that has to do with a girl friend...I always seem to obsess over my romantic problems. So I am really curious as to the advice I may get over this.
My best friend is amazing in so many ways (hence, why we are so close). I feel like we can really talk at length about anything, we spent nearly every day together for the last few months as we were enjoying the summer, and we just tend to typically get along.
However. My friend has a tendency to get depressed (tho dont we all)...and while thats fine, her way of dealing with it is to ignore my phone calls, emails, texts, and I guess my existence in general. I never have any clue what is going on...all of a sudden she disappears and I worry and have no idea what happened. And she does this to everyone, not just me.
So, I know everyone deals with their issues differently, and thats fine. I tend to be overly expressive (hence my usage of these boards, talking with everyone I can in person AND online) whereas she holes up in her apt. and ignores the world. Cant say I think that her method of coping is in any way healthy or productive, but whatever...its the way she is. So I told her that if she was going to withdraw, at least TELL me so I know and dont think you're dead in a ditch somewhere. That was before we were as close as we are now.
Lately, shes just gotten a little bit...ridiculous, for lack of a better word. She has started arguing with me about how I feel. I will talk about my life and she will say "thats b/c you feel this way" and I will say "no, not at all" and she will say "yes, you do, b/c you do x and y and z" and she will keep it going, arguing when she is totally off base! Its really irritating. I know sometimes friends can help you discover your problems, but in these situations shes usually just wrong, and its frustrating. Instead of just chatting about life, I find her telling me how I think, and me trying to defend myself! Ugh. So I tell her to stop and then she gets extremely defensive and short with me and wont talk with me for a few days. So its like Im on tip-toes sometimes.
She also very mood-swingy (again...arent we all). She will call me crying, and I will miss her call, then almost immediately call her back concerned, and she ignores me. For a day or so. B/c she suddenly decides that she just doesnt want to talk about it.
This past month shes been having a bit of trouble with this guy she was kind of dating. I dont know what happened with him, but as of yesterday I was suddenly being ignored. I ended up having a small personal issue last night and called her (my call was ignored), emailed her my problem (which was ignored), and sent her a text today at work about my excitement over my first day of my new career (which...surprise! Went ignored). Then, when I get home from work, & I have an email in my box saying "I got your call and your email. Im in a bad mood and will be withdrawing completely for awhile. Maybe I'll talk about it someday".
I am infuriated. I understand she has her needs as a person. I wish I could be there for her, but its not like she lets me...b/c I do try. However, what makes me mad is that I have needs too, as her friend. I need her to be there for me in some way if I have a crisis, or to wish me luck on my first day of work...even if she isnt feeling too hot. Or, at the very least, just acknowledge my troubles if Im going through something instead of ignoring me! I just find this to be very selfish. I try to respect the fact that if she doesnt want to talk to anyone, fine, but Im starting to get sick of the mood swings and the running away and shutting me out when I didnt do anything.
I have other friends (thank god) and I can always turn to my mother if I have a serious emergency with no one to talk to. But I feel very let down by her at the drop of a hat. I am also irritated b/c I feel like she expects to be able to just come back and I will be there with open arms after she cuts me out for however long she wants to deal with her crap.
So I dont know if I'M being selfish here...(am I?) but I feel like she is. I expect a lot out of my friends, just as I do a boyfriend.
What are your opinions on this? And what should I do?
How long have you been best friends with this girl? Long enough to notice a pattern of her withdrawing vs her irritation?
There is a distinct possibility that she has a mood disorder - a chemical imbalance. If that is the case she CAN'T just snap out of it & call you to tell you how she is doing because she isn't knowingly cutting you off
Do you know her parents well enough to express your concern to them? Is she living at home? If she is on her own they must have experienced this withdrawal when she is depressed also.
Truthfully I've learned that we have to be willing to accept others as they are.
If that's not possible, we need to back away from that relationship.
Ruth makes a great point. It took me a long time, but once I finally just accepted what people's limitations are, it was a relief. When I feel like one of my friends is really disappointing me, I try hard to remember all the good things she does for me, too. Sometimes you do have to say something, but if you decide to go that route try not to be accusatory.
You also hit it on the head when you said you expect a lot from your friends. Expectations can be too high sometimes. It may sound pessimistic, but I actually mean it optimistically when I say keep your expectations low, and you will never be disappointed. You may feel like you are often the better friend, and maybe you are, but you are responsible for your behavior and your behavior only. Expecting others to have the same good behavior isn't always realistic.
Truthfully I've learned that we have to be willing to accept others as they are.
If that's not possible, we need to back away from that relationship.
I couldnt agree with you more...and I think thats why Im feeling the way that I am, is b/c I feel the need to back away from her and its upsetting me. Its not that I take it personally, b/c I dont at all. It just makes me very angry. I get frustrated with her over the way she just cuts everyone out b/c she wants to/cant deal with whatever is going on in a different, maybe more appropriate way. No matter what other people might have going on in THEIR lives, it doesnt matter. I guess I just really disagree with it. I think also if something happened like a death, a bad breakup, a family crisis, it would be understandable. But this stuff just comes out of NOWHERE- I will call her one night wanting to talk about something, and she just wont call back for days. And I have no clue what happened. I want to accept her as she is, but I find it incredibly hard to do so when she pulls these reactions. I see friendship as being there for each other consistently; in this situation, she doesnt let me be there for her, and shes not there for me.
Maybe being there for her is by just letting her go and do this. I have thought about that too, but after awhile, the more I get cut out and ignored, the more I just stop caring and the more irritated I get.
As far as whether or not she has a problem, Ive never thought of it that way before. I think she might have some form of clinical depression...? Her brother has severe depression, and tried to commit suicide a few times in the past. I have known her for about 5 years now, but Ive only been super close with her for maybe 2. Shes always been a closer friend than most, but the past year or 2 we've been inseperable. She lives with 2 roommates here in NYC. She never seems quite happy, and shes admitted before how insecure she is and how low her self-esteem is. Theres always some mood shes in, to be honest...it just varies in intensity. One day she'll be overly chipper and call me 6 times in the day; the next day she completely ignores me. I dont know her parents well enough to confront them about this. Plus, I think a lot of the way she deals with her problems is from her upbringing. Her cultural background primed her to never show her emotions (so she says). And her family never expressed any emotion or talked about their problems. THat may have a lot to do with it.
The problem is that she IS knowingly cutting me off, b/c now she tells me so(before she didnt, which was even worse). I also feel like she can be very hypocritical (part of the mood swings maybe) b/c not only will she try to convince me of how I feel, but she will get on me for being upset over something in my life, and then turn around and get 10 times more depressed over a similar situation in HER life. Its just hard to understand what shes all about. I feel confused a lot by her.
I dont know. Maybe Im just venting. I really do love her. I just dont know how to take her lately. Even if I do fear that she has a chemical imbalance, its not like she will listen to me and do something about it...Ive tried. She bites my head off if I try to get her to talk about any problem shes having, plus she wont even pick up her phone. So, maybe I am feeling selfish, but if she would let me in, I would try to help her and therefore maybe be able to see it more from her side (and learn that she really cant do anything to help this). Instead, Im completely shut out, ignored, and dont know why...and I think its just starting to build a lot of resentment, as this is one of many times this has happened.
*Bulletproof I didnt see your post before. You always write such nice responses to my issues. I do have very high expectations of people, but I think that stems from having amazingly high expectations of myself. I just try to be the best possible person I can...sometimes at the expense of what I want, which Im working on. I know I have to either accept her as this way or leave it...
I have a friend that tends to NEVER listen to my advice. We would argue about things (nicely, but seriously) and she would always have something to come back, which in my mind was I don't want to take your advice. I totally knew what I was talking about as I knew her for @ least 7 years and I knew her kids. She just never seemed to listen to what I had to say, she had her mind set in what the problem was and how to solve it. She knows how I feel, and we blame it on a "SAGITARIUS" THING. So if you or her is a "Sagitarius" that could be the problem. Sagitarius seem to think everything they say and do is correct and NO ONE can tell them any differently. They will listen and they will argue some kind of point. If this is not the case in your situation, then maybe she is into some kind of drug and doesn't feel comfortable telling you! There is many options here, but I have found back off and don't push the issue and well it may cause distance between your relationship, but that is what you will have to do unfortunately. I have also found to much advice and not enough just listening has been a big issue with me and friends. My friends are all about telling me what they think instead of actually listening to "HOW I FEEL" Which makes me not talk about how "I FEEL" So take it to heart and figure out how you react to her and her problems. Sometimes we just vent and want to talk to a friend not hear all the negatives we already know. Ok have a great nite and I am sure you 2 will always be friends!
Citigirl, I love to respond to your issues because you are so genuine and so much more self-aware than most. I have lived in NYC, and I know how hard it can be and have been through exactly the same things you speak of, both your male/female relationship issues. People are difficult in general, and in a city where everyone is crammed together and forced to get along so intensely, it can really make you feel like you're the crazy one. But you're going to be fine, in all aspects, because you have a good heart and a good attitude. Take care.
Hi Citygirl! I can completely relate to what you are going through. I am having difficulty with one of my girl friends as well. It seems whenever I need to just vent about life or a particular guy in my life the conversation always turns back to her and her problems. I love my friend to death but I have realized I have very high expectations as well and sometimes I just need to back off. But, I have also realized true friendship/love is the ability to love someone for the good and bad. That is mature love. I mean my friend absolutely ticked me off yesterday. I understand to a degree why she said what she said, but she knows this event is extremely important to me and she wouldn't commit. Her boyfriend took presidence over it. Anyways, sorry to ramble. I know it is hard to deal with someone like this, but you have a good head on your shoulders and you will be fine. As for your friend just back off but don't close the door. She may come around in her own time and when she does I hope you will be there for her. Take care!
Hi Kerry- It appears things are going really well for you lately and Im glad, I know we were both going through some similarly tragic experiences a while ago and its good to see your same intelligent and thoughtful advice on here
Its funny, but today I am not really upset over my friend as much at all. I mean, I still miss not talking to her (its been 4 days now) and I would like to ask her if shes going to this party we were supposed to go to on Sat...but Im just giving her her space. I guess Im just not really angry anymore...so I must have just been venting. Im still irritated in the sense that I would rather have MY space from her as well (maybe this is working out perfectly!).
Thats not to say that I dont get really ****** off and/or fed up with her behavior (mainly her dramatic way of dealing with things). But I just dont think I could ever cut her out. Even if I feel like doing so in the moment! Yesterday I was so convinced that I just couldnt be her close friend anymore...but today it feels like, 'eh, whatever'. I know I do have to accept her and that is proof of a mature relationship. My head tells me that. But I guess in these moments where she goes off the deep end for whatever reason and I have to suffer for it, I just forget about all of her good qualities and focus on how ridiculous she is being. I guess that is normal, but...all I can say is Im so glad I have these boards so I can come, write neurotically about whatever Im going through, and then read all of your amazing responses vs. lashing out at my friends/boyfriends, haha. Well. Shes still pulling her disappearing act...dont know how long it will last, but I think just for my sake I am going to keep my distance a little even after she comes back....just to make sure things are OK with her, and also so that I dont get upset again and it builds up
Yeah...maybe I spoke too soon. She decided tonight that she wanted to talk to me again, and told me so through an email, and along with that she went on as to how a certain guy did something so horrible that she had to take a whole day off of work, etc. etc. So, i call her and ask her what happened? And she snaps "I dont want to talk about it" and i said we dont have to, Im just wondering what it was that he did, and she said "wonder all you want, but im not talking about it".
So that set the conversation off to a great start! Clearly I dropped it immediately- Im not going to push her into talking about anything, and if she doesnt want to talk about it thats fine. But then dont reach out to me and start telling me about it and then retract it back. As selfish and immature as I may sound, it sort of reminds me of a kindergartner saying "I know something you don't know!" and making it sound really juicy, and then refusing to tell you. I think we can all remember how infuriating that game was.
Well, this situation is infuriating too, and its not so much that I cant stand it and am dying to know (although I would like to, b/c she keeps making references to it but then not actually telling me...its annoying). Its more that I have no idea how to take her. I thought that she was cool enough to at least tell me what happened, but then she snaps at me again. Its getting to the point that I dont want to talk to her b/c we havent had a natural, interactive conversation lately. Its always her being so defensive and then her moods rub off on me (i.e., I stop wanting to talk to her mid-convo). Im the type that has to bond with my girlfriends (like a lot of women) by sharing/talking about my feelings, getting advice, discussing how we think...etc. So as much as Id love to accept her as she is, to be able to do fully, I almost feel that I have to make her less close of a friend. B/c if I cant count on her for that type of bond, i wont feel like we are as close. I can accept her as she is, but I will have to accept her as a friend that I just cant rely on for those aspects that I find so important in friendships. So I guess I need my space from her for a bit...I dont know.
So as much as Id love to accept her as she is, to be able to do fully, I almost feel that I have to make her less close of a friend. B/c if I cant count on her for that type of bond, i wont feel like we are as close. I can accept her as she is, but I will have to accept her as a friend that I just cant rely on for those aspects that I find so important in friendships. So I guess I need my space from her for a bit...I dont know.
I know exactly how you feel. I am going through the same thing. My girl friend wasn't there for me emotionally when I truly needed her. I now feel like I have to distance myself and accept that I won't have that close bond with her the way I would like. She's a lot like your friend. Just shuts down for no reason. All though my friend has a tendency to make everything about her. I personally do not agree with some of the choices she is making in her life, but they are her choices. I feel her life revolves around her boyfriend way too much. She is trying to find herself in him. She never has been single and enjoyed it. She's looking for validation of some kind. I know it is hard having a friend like that where you don't have the close bond like you would like. I can't rely on my girl friend to be there for me, but she knows I would be there for her in a heart beat. Maybe, I'm too giving or caring. Plus, she is having a hard time understanding the change in my attitude since this weekend. I may add that is a positive change. I had some eye opening experiences over the weekend and she just doesn't get that.
Okay, I've rambled enough and this isn't about me. I think you are doing the right thing. Accept her for who she is but also except the limitations of the friendship. I know that is hard. Always, here if you need to talk. Take Care!
Thanks Kerry. I think that what upsets me is that she IS there for me emotionally and she is everything that Id want her to be and more...that is, when she isnt in a mood or going through something (which lately has been quite often). When all is great in her life, shes there for me 110%. Which is why its so hard that when she gets in a rough mood, she completly shuts off. It would be one thing if she withdrew, didnt want to see me or talk much about the issues. But her reactions to these things are just so extreme. And, I know I already mentioned this, but Im still ****** off about this aspect: if she doesnt want to tell me/talk about what happened, then stop referring to it!! That is so infuriating. Its like shes teasing me.
So yeah. I guess I just need to expect the limitations and pull back some. I have recently met a new group of girlfriends through work and I love them. I am actually going out with them tonight. Im really excited (I have a hard time finding very cool, genuine, NICE girl friends). Over the summer my best friend was one of the only people in the city (many of my friends went away) and we were inseperable...but lately I guess Ive realized that I need some time apart from her. Its sad, and I dont like it, but I dont know how to else to help the situation.
The only suggestion I can offer is that you sit down and write a big long letter/email, explaining your feelings to her. Be honest, but tactful, and make it clear that you don't want to lose her as a friend, but you feel that the way she acts sometimes is not the way you expect to be treated as a close friend.
Now, I'm guessing from how you've described her, that this may not be well received and she might just get defensive and see you trying to put blame on her etc. However, I can't see your relationship getting any better - in fact, the longer you accept her behaviour as "just her", the more it is likely to continue or even escalate further. Sometimes, despite how much you care for someone, you have to get it all out in the open and let them know that their attitude/behaviour isn't acceptable, otherwise you're just an 'enabler' for it to continue.
By being honest you'll either get her to see the problem and maybe face up to it (unlikely), or it might change your friendship forever and make you less close, but you have to ask yourself, is that so bad if she can treat you like an emotional convenience and not be there for you? Personally I don't tend to keep friends unless they give as good as they get.