It's been a few years since I have posted on this site, but I have a problem that has been bothering me, and I thought this would be a great place to come for a perspective. One problem I have with my issue is that it seems
so trivial, but it soooo bothers me after all of the years.
I have had a particular friend for about 6 years now, and I am bothered that when we go walking in the woods or on trails together with our dogs, she is
always ahead of me by about 5 paces. She is naturally a fast walker, and I am naturally slow. However, when I do speed up to walk beside her, she
merely speeds up again so that I remain behind. It so frustrates me because
I feel like I am shouting at the back of her head to just merely have a
conversation, and anything she says, I can't hear, and I have to ask again and again, "what did you say?" (also there is PLENTY of room on the trails to walk two if not three abreast)
I have mentioned it to her on several occasions, slow down and walk beside me, please, and it maybe works for a half a walk once in awhile. But then it goes back to her being too far ahead, and it feels awkward and lonely to walk like this. So I give up. Then I say, "since you really want to walk fast,
why don't you go ahead" To which she replies," that's alright, I don't mind walking slow" !! Yet she's still way ahead!
Which brings me now to the heart of the issue: Does she really even want to be my friend? Sometimes I think she just keeps me on as a friend because I have always been there to help her out when she needed it and I have done
many many things for her over the years. Also I have had many friendships over the years and I have always spontaneously developed a bond with people who I became close to, yet with her this seems to be lacking. It is a real puzzler. We do like to do things together, but it just seems so outward to me and there is no real depth of friendship.
I probably didn't articulate this very well, and maybe left out some other details, but you all don't have time for anything longer!!
Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated, I am now going to be brave and hit the submit button, before I chicken out!
Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated, I am now going to be brave and hit the submit button, before I chicken out!
Haha, don't get me wrong, but that was the best part of your post. This, however, doesn't mean that I am making little of your problem. No, I mean instead that you have some sense of humor, and this might be useful for you to deal with what is going on.
It is obvious that you have two options here: either you leave her alone and stop going out with her - that is, break up with her, you can give her a real or lame excuse for that - or you keep going out with her because you enjoy the scenery, the pure air, the dogs, the physical exercise, etc, and accept
her "weird" ways as a small (almost negligible) inconvenience. In other words, try not to take it too personally. Maybe she does the same thing to everybody else. Maybe she is going through personal difficulties that she doesn't want to share now. If you think she is being rude, just ignore it, don't keep striking the same key over and over again, if you see what I mean. Perhaps when she realizes that you are being cool and minding your own business, she will reapproach you again.
I have a few questions, if you don't mind...and excuse me if you covered them in your post already...I looked
Do you do other activities with this woman, outside of the dog walking ?
Her behavior is odd, almost like she wants to prove herself as the stronger dog walker- weird. I have had a friend who we walked out dogs together, but not like you are describing. Only if the path became thin would we go single file, but he would always go behind me, as a gentleman would. Other times, he would always walk at my side, so I can see how odd her walking is to you.
Since you have tried talking to her, you might consider doing a few walks on your own, which may send her asking you why you did not include her? Then you can tell her the whole story.
You mention that she needs things from you, how about saying no next time.
Yes, we have done other things together. We've gone out to eat together,
gone yard saling, and even taken some trips to the ocean together. Which is about a 8 or 9 hour drive together in the car with about 3 dogs. Sometimes on the longer trips where we are spending 4 or more days together we have
had some difficulties where we were clearly more than ready to go home. Not outward arguments per se. Some things that bother me is she always likes to have the final word on a subject, she always likes to be right. She can take something that is a small matter and make an argument about it.
When she has an opinion about something she comes on strong.
One time in our hotel room one night we both woke up in the middle of the night and I made a small comment about something and she corrected me.
One time I was boiling some eggs and she told me I was doing it wrong....
I was very upset over the egg comment and did she notice I excused myself calmly to go walking my dog on the beach by myself?
I KNOW to someone else's ears this all sounds comical. But the little comments and attitudes have added up over time, and wore me out.
Now, to play devil's advocate, I am not perfect either. I have tried to put the shoe on the other foot and see where my faults might lie in her eyes.
Some things I have come up with are my personality tends to be a little passive, and she seems to be a very confident and assertive type person. I am sometimes too sensitive. Sometimes I am not a good conversationalist, although I do my best.
So, why am I still in this friendship? I am afraid I will be even lonelier without this friendship. Although I do have other good friends, they are married and are not that available. I have never turned my back on a friend. I am a loyal and dependable friend. I have had friends leave me which had really hurt me and for which I couldn't understand, but I have never turned my back on a friend. I'm feeling like I shouldn't be in this friendship anymore. But what kind of friendship is it really? Like I said, I can't detect any sort of bond of friendship. One time she was talking to one of her friends on the phone and she was using a sweet tone of voice and then she ended with "love you".
I thought "I have never heard that voice before".... at that point I was sorry I did.
Anyway, it is difficult to describe all of the dynamics of a six year friendship in a few paragraphs. I hope I have done a good enough job.
to the first responder, I have gone walking without her and she doesn't seem to care. Then I get even more bothered that it doesn't seem to matter!
It should matter, shouldn't it? I do realize that we are not joined at the hip at the same time, and I try to remain as objective as I can.
Clearly I have an emotional investment that doesn't seem to be reciprocated. I think she "keeps me on the payroll" because I am handy to have around when she needs something, and maybe I am even her ride to the ocean because there's no one else to go with?
After I have said all of this, I have to admit, if I have painted a 100% negative picture, then I have left the wrong impression, too. But these things that I have mentioned are so troubling to me and the accumulation over time is wearing on me, and some things have happened that have hurt my feelings.
Going to brave that submit button again!! Here goes! Thanks for the thoughtful comments.
First, I need to apologize for not responding yesterday...I am having some major health issues that could not wait.
Now, Lets get right to you my friend...Just from the two posts that you have written, I can see you are a sensitive, caring person. It could be this woman's perfect testing ground for her need to always be right.
You, passive, caring, friend who looks over much of her bravado..
She, someone who needs to be in charge, and you allow that, being a caring friend, that is not interested in all the arguments that arise from her need to always win.
I imagine she finds no problem in this friendship on the surface, while here you are, feeling terrible. I say "on the surface" because I really think there is something deep inside that created this need for false superiority.
Now, she is a friend (although at times not too friendly)and I can see how even starting this conversation would send her into a tirade of arguements, rather than to listen to your feelings, like a good friend should...Maybe she can't without some help.
You are a good friend to her, but she hurts your feelings, which are sensitive. I would usually encourage you to have a talk with her about this, but I can see how difficult that would be, plus she would have some arguement ready. That would cause a mess. Instead, I have to encourage you to look inside, and think about how you want to handle this.
Since you are the one who has been damaged, you get to choose what to do about it, since she probably doesn't ever realize what she has done. She is self centered for sure.
Pointing that out and asking her to change a few things would be a normal question for a friend to ask another typically, but instead this tool would turn into fodder for the fire, and could result on loosing your friend.
Her not walking beside you, her choice to change simple things into an argumant...arg! Those are the simplest and most beautiful parts of life! Anyone who is not choosing to smell the roses on the path of life are so empty. For, when you have nothing more, those things are always there.You are much closer to understanding than she will ever be, unless she throws off that nasty habit of thinking she has to always be right. People who think they are always right are not thinking about learning anything...that is the wrong attitude. Life is about learning something everyday, some days more. When you know everything, why bother.
I think my response is more like an offering of support to you, than an answer for you.
Now it is time for me to hit the reply button, here goes without reading it back.
thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I have been like you said feeling terrible about this for some time. Your answer is comforting.
You are so right, she doesn't even realize how she comes across. She is completely oblivious and if I brought it up she wouldn't even know what I was talking about.
The reasons I have not brought it up so far is I don't know how to go about
it. I feel like that is who she is, it is her very person, it's not just one aspect that could be tweaked but her entire personality. I am not an expert in matters like this, and don't want to hurt her or cause harm. She is a decent human being, though, and I think she might pause to consider if I bring things up as they happen. For instance one time we were walking with another
gentleman who said he kept his dog's ashes. She came on so strong about how she would never do that and can't believe other people do.... right in front of him. I was mortified for the man telling the story. I need to take on the comments as they happen, and gently try to tell her how that sounded?
The thing is, I have let one thing slide after another after another, because it has seemed not worth it to let things escalate, but like I said I am approaching the end of what I can take....
Another reason I have not brought anything up is because I don't want to put another person under the stress of having to behave according to my
liking. And I always felt that wouldn't be the real person anyway, I don't want a friend to not feel like they can't just be who they are around me.
I also have taken alot of things personally, but the truth is I know she is like that with other people sometimes also. So I think I somehow need to extricate myself emotionally and try to take a few steps back and try to be more objective and then get bold and not fire back at her but just try to mention things as they come up. If I can be brave enough. That is going to be the hard part.
I hope you feel better writeleft, I read your profile after reading your sweet replies to try and understand who you are and discovered you have a lot on your plate. My heart and thoughts are with you! Take care!
Thanks again for your reply! I understand if you are too ill to write, just take care of yourself.
I have actually gotten alot of peace from visiting this site. Typing my own
thoughts out made a big big difference just by itself. And the replies were more than I dreamed I would get, so I am happy. Actually, I have spent some time on here reading about other people's dilemmas and my situation seems like peanuts in comparison. Some of the answers people give just blows me away. So insightful and caring. And wise, too. When I read some of the answers people give I hope the person will be able to take their
Anyway, I have thought I might stay on here for a bit and try to be helpful with someone else's situation. I have had a couple of difficult relationships and some lessons learned the hard way over the years. Doing such a thing is going to be entering into a totally new territory for me, though. Thank you for thinking I might be able to help someone.
Got together with my friend today. She was actually quite mellow, however she had a cold. I playfully mentioned the walking thing in as light a tone as I
could.... I think she agreed not to do that anymore. I say think because I'm not sure if I heard correctly. Well, we are going on a walk in about 45min
so we are going to try it out.... And I don't feel upset, I just feel at peace.
I remembered the spade in my back pocket too..... There was something I was doing that was troubling her and had been troubling her for awhile. About a year ago she mentioned it to me, finally. I knew it was true, too, because I have another friend who doesn't know this friend mention the same thing about me a year or two before that. I HAD to take reflection and it was a hard thing to do and I was very upset about it, but you know what, if two people who don't even know each other both mention the same thing about me, then I had better now definitely pay attention. So I took care of it, for the good of everyone I believe..... So getting back to the spade, I can always say: do you remember when you told me about ----? Well, I hope you'll understand but there's something I need to tell you.....
Thank you again. Your understanding meant alot. The long and the short of it is, that no matter what happens now, I feel more peace about it than I have in a long time. Somehow I will try to keep you updated. I'm not clear about the rules for posting simple updates but it looks like there might be a way to address you personally. Maybe I'll try to figure that out. Thanks again and take care of yourself!