Home » Rants » Meet me at the crossroads . . .

Meet me at the crossroads . . .

No, I’m not dying (any more quickly than usual, anyhow) and I’m not suicidal.

I am however, at a crossroads about what to do with a friendship that I am, quite honestly, tired of.

I have known this person for almost  20 years.  I met her through a friend when I first got to college.  She didn’t go to UAPB with us, but was attending a 2-year business program at a local community college.  Nice, friendly, a genuine person whom I came to love and respect as the years passed. 

She was “mildly” overweight when we met, gained a lot of weight over the years, and at one point was morbidly ill – I think her heart was functioning at less than 15%.  She couldn’t work because of all of the weight and filed for, and got disability.

A few years ago she had gastric bypass. She lost a lot of weight.  But.  Only the initial weight one drops after that procedure.  She didn’t exercise, didn’t change her eating habits.  She’s still overweight, just not as much as prior to the surgery. 

Okay, I’m a little off track here.  I type all of this to say this:  I am tired of conversations about her not having any money (you don’t work honey, and aren’t independently wealthy), about how much pain she’s in from her fibromyalgia, about which of her cadre of doctors she’s visited this week, about her blood sugar level (newly diagnosed diabetic), about how she really needs to lose some weight, about how she can’t exercise because of the pain etc.,etc., etc.

Basically, every conversation I have with her is about her medical ailments in one form or another, and I’m tired of it.

I’m not an uncompassionate person, really I’m not.  I’m sorry that she has health issues.  I don’t mind listening every once in a while – believe me when I say I understand the need to vent (hello blogworld!), but it is getting to be a bit much.  My grandmother will be 87 in June, Lord willing, and doesn’t have or complain about 1/10 of this girl’s issues.

Did I mention that she doesn’t drive?  So all she has to do all day is watch TV, visit doctors, and occasionally get out with a few friends.  She’s 37 with a “real age” of oh, I don’t know 167.

I told Smoochy that I was tired and really considering ending our friendship.  He told me that I was wrong.  That this girl doesn’t have a lot of friends, that she needs me, and that my conversations with her were not “draining” me as I claimed.  That there are times when I gripe and she listens to me.  Valid points.  My husband is also a very loyal friend, and there are friends of his I wish he would dump, but I know that he never will.

I don’t think I’m that loyal.  I am a big proponent of dumping anything that I find clutters my life – clothes, junk mail, people. 

I still care about her.  I just don’t care to hear about the same crap every time we talk – which is just about daily.  Problem is, once you remove her issues, she doesn’t have much left to talk about.

I admit that because I feel as though a lot of her issues are self caused, I have less compassion that I would have for someone who took better care of themselves.  I’m not saying it’s right, but it is where I am . . .

And, she’s very sensitive, so I’m pretty sure that my usual approach which would be “look honey, you’ve got to find something else to talk about,” wouldn’t go over so well.

What, if anything, say you? I need additional perspective on this one.

{Forgot to add this yesterday – scent this day was Beautiful  – Love by Estee Lauder}
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9 thoughts on “Meet me at the crossroads . . .

  1. Hmmm…I agree with your hubby on this one. I think i’m one of those fiercely loyal friends. So I would say don’t just dump her as a friend. Sounds like she really needs you more than ever. Now…I’m also the type of person that gets VERY annoyed with folks’ self-inflicted issues and “woe is me” stories. I have a couple friends like that and let me just say…I don’t talk to them every day. Its draining. Maybe that is the compromise in this situation. Don’t dump her as a friend…but don’t take her calls every day either. Maybe every other day to start or a couple times a week. If she asks you what’s up…you don’t have to lie…you have other friends (i’m sure), a husband, a child and other things that need and deserve your attention. She can’t (or shouldn’t) be mad at that. Just my two cents. 🙂

  2. That’s a tough one. I have an extremely overweight friend who I sat down and just got to the point on…that I thought she ate alot because she was molested as a kid, that I was tired of her constant complaining that no hot guys liked her and saying I had it easy because I was thinner.

    I told her I was worried because she couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without stopping and I wanted her to go see a therapist and get to eating vegetables instead of deep dish pizza. And that I would go walking with her if she wanted to.

    That was 1993 and she stopped speaking to me. I just got an email from her a couple weeks ago and she added me as a friend on Facebook. She’s bigger than ever, not married still, but has three master’s degrees so that’s good, I guess.

    Anyway, I don’t think I was super tactful or good at telling her that I wanted to have her in my life when we were old, and not in the sense of having to go visit her in a nursing home, but if I were you, tell your friend honestly what you’re seeing. If she chooses to never speak to you again, at least you have ended the enabling behavior she counts on.

  3. Ladies, thanks for your comments and suggestions. When I wrote this I was in a pissy sort of mood. To be honest, I still am.

    I will not end our friendship. I will limit the frequency and duration of our conversations. I probably will not talk to her about her lifestyle habits and how very unhealthy and deadly they are. She knows this and is not yet ready to face her demons and better her life. I will continue to pray for her.

    Thanks again – I appreciate it!

  4. wow a toughie, however, i agree with los angelista, but i’m glad you’ve found a great way to handle it. good luck. i started feeling draining just reading your post. i understand how you feel. i have a preggo sister that’s just having a horrible time. of course i don’t want to drop her, but even she admits and feels bad about complaining a lot. i’m cool with it, but i know it’s a situation that will change in a few months ha!

  5. For years, I was the loyal friend/garbage can for everyone to dump their issues on. It was emotionally draining. Eventually, the negativity started pulling me down, turning me into someone I almost couldn’t recognize. Also, I noticed that after all awhile that venom was being directed at me. Now, I don’t play. If you’re coming to me with negativity all the time, it’s time for us to go our separate ways. I refuse to allow anyone to stress me out and make me feel as if I have to take a nap after I get off the phone with them. I know this may sound a little self-centered, but my mental well-being is just as important. This is just my experience. Your friend sounds like she has an excuse for not doing what she’s suppose to in order to get out of her situation. I agree with Los Angelista. Talk to her, but if she refuses to change then you have to decide what’s best for you.

  6. Kick her to the curb. That may sound mean but time is no reason to feel committed to someone. Once you start feeling obligated to be someone’s friend it’s usually a bad sign. Your well intentioned hubby is asking that you be a friend out of obligation and compassion, which works for some people, but not for me. A friendship is a two way street and if you are no longer getting anything out of it, and she is, it’s still not worth it to you. And you can’t make her change, get active and stay healthy. If she started down that path then you should be there for her. However if she’s not even interested in taking the first step in her journey then you have to do what’s right for you.

  7. I am definitely a fiercely loyal friend but at the same time I’ve had to learn to be a closer friend to positive energy. This means no matter how long or how much I may have cared for a friend, the reality is negative energy is like a toxin that can literally puncture and deflate one’s entire being.

    Taking a step back may be not only good for you but also for her. No one should ever expect you to martyr your own happiness for theirs, and until she can find a way to at least have a better outlook none of your help or attention can really make a difference. I hope she wakes up and starts making some sort of change soon so she can appreciate the priceless treasure having a real friend truly is.

  8. Hi Nerd Girl,

    I guess I’m a little late commenting. Anyway I try to find solutions to problematic friendships, rather than just end them. I think in life there are times to cut people loose but this doesn’t sound like one of them.

    Maybe you can re-direct the friendship. Instead of it being one where there is a lot of conversation, which ends up in her complaining, possibly you could invite her to participate in activities that don’t involve a lot of talk time.

    Maybe the two of you could take a class or exercise together, maybe walk. My point is maybe it’s just that the relationship needs to change rather than expecting her to change.

    I hope that helps.

  9. Thanks everybody!

    I’ll not be kicking her to the curb. We live a state apart, so we don’t have the opportunity to do things together, our relationship is mostly over the phone.

    Anyhoo, in the last few conversations we’ve had, I’ve gently steered the conversation away from her health woes when she tries to go there. So far, so good.

    Mes Deaux Cents – I think you hit the nail on the head – I shouldn’t expect her to change, but I can definitely change the relationship.

    Keith – thanks for keeping it real. I think if she were physically closer then I would have to let her go, but the distance seems to work out in my favor this go round.

    Yolanda, Fashionista and Kia – I am going to try and strike a balance and find that happy place where I don’t feel emotionally drained but where she does have an opportunity to gripe a little. After all, that’s what friends are for.

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