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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Friends => Topic started by: Flutterbye on May 23, 2016, 12:06:48 AM

Title: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Flutterbye on May 23, 2016, 12:06:48 AM
I made a new 'friend', that's probably too strong a word. We've seen each other 3 times. I feel trampled, disrespected and walked all over by her, it's not good. I get profoundly disturbed, dissociated in her company and it triggered EF's that lasted days.

It didn't start well but instead of ending the association after the first meeting, I didn't listen to my instincts, went into fawn response, got real stressed & agreed to see her twice more. I was bending over backwards for her, waiting for her to be 40 minutes late, organising my entire weekend plans around her wishes & prioritising seeing her exactly when and where she wanted. I know, sounds crazy. Classic fawn response. On our last meeting I realised what was happening - we have nothing in common, she insulted me to my face (wow that helped clear things up quickly), I realised that of all the hours I'd spent listening to her probs she's never asked "How are you Flutterbye?" or asked me anything about what I'm doing or how my life is going. (This sounds absurd now I'm writing w the benefit of hindsight).

So I realised I didn't want to see her again. She wanted to see me 1-2 times/week. I felt no ill-feeling towards her, no grudges & wish her well, I just didn't want to pursue the friendship. I let her know that as politely as I could. I'm very isolated & friendless so almost entirely inexperienced at ending friendships but I thought I did quite a good job. I was very surprised by what happened. She replied she was shocked, upset and requested I call her (we've never spoken on the phone) to explain what's wrong. I thought I'd already explained that politely & don't have anything to add.

I'm not going to call but feel obliged to reply by email. I really don't know what to say, I tried to end the friendship gracefully & politely but it doesn't seem like she's accepted it. I don't want to be cruel by ignoring her request or by replying tactlessly. I also don't want to leave it unresolved & left open to us spending further time together. May sound mean-spirited, cynical or warped but I just feel her part in the friendship was so 'me me me' and insincere, no regard for my needs.. I don't know how serious her upset can really be? the time we spent together reminded me so strongly of being with my narcissistic mother I want to put it behind me & move on but feel guilty.

Has anyone had to end a friendship gracefully? any kind word or suggestions would be most welcome  ;)
Title: Re: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Dutch Uncle on May 23, 2016, 04:22:14 AM
This may sound trite, but the only way to do it tactfully is by using a tactic that fits you.
And gracefully? From what you have written on your experiences with her, grace has not been part of this 'friendship' to begin with. She is not a very graceful person, to put it mildly. So you may forget that.

If you send an e-mail, I suggest you tell her what you said here.
Something along the lines of: "we've met three times, and it is not working for me. Once you were 40 minutes late, and I don't like that.  The next time we met, you insulted me. This is not developing in a way I feel comfortable with. So I won't be meeting you again. So long."

I think nothing more needs to be said. Keep it factual, and leave out the emotions. It's perfectly OK to have these emotions, but they are not something to be brought up. Keep those for yourself.

Personally, meeting someone a few times does not make a friend. You have met someone, tested the waters a few times, and the water is too cold for you. That happens.
For me things like this are not easy, and so I struggle with it too, but I once read an article on commitments, and it made clear there are several types of commitments. One of them being a "Trial Commitment". One is committed to try something, or in this case check out if she could be a friend. Well, she has proven to be not what you seek in a friendship. Nobody's fault, but reason enough to end the trial commitment. You have held up your trial commitment, have tried and met her three times. Now you want to end the trial commitment.
You are free to do so.

That this may upset her? Not your problem. I think you made it quite clear that these meetings are only geared to her not getting upset with you. That's no basis for a relationship of mutual respect. If she reminds you of your Nmom, then that's a great reason to end it. Follow your gut feeling here.
She already is upset, so chances are that affirming your choice not to meet her will back her off for good. Still, expect a vitriolic mail back (she already insulted you once, right), shred it, dump it and move on. Quite possibly you might even think after reading it: "Good grief, best thing I have ever done: getting away from her."
Don't answer any more calls, and keep her out of your life. She'll find somebody else soon anyway.

Title: Re: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Flutterbye on May 23, 2016, 09:48:48 AM
thank you Dutch Uncle I really appreciate your support  :hug:. And sensible advice. Pretty much everything you've replied resonates with me very strongly, I almost jumped when I read 'expect a vitriolic reply'.

I did email her. Silent for a bit. Then I've received a vitriolic reply. It was condescending & demanding, disagreeing with each part of the explanation I gave her & arguing all the different ways why my decision does not work for her & how she wants to spend her time. (How can you disagree with someone's explanation why they don't want to pursue a friendship with you?  :stars: ) Then it started to get combative & insulting towards me, it was so horrid I just shook my head & deleted it, I knew, "I'm not even going to read this, if I do I know it will trigger me & keep me up all night ruminating on it." I'm glad I didn't read it. I'll block her from my email.

My only regret is I put it in writing by emailing her so she could circulate it to mutual acquaintances if she wishes. Hopefully she's expressed her rant out at me, that'll be enough and as you say she'll find someone else. I wish I'd written it as brief as you suggested - I think that is very wise - but I expanded on the explanation I'd already given her, I may have even been apologetic & vulnerable, like 'I have my weaknesses, no-one's perfect & this is no-one's fault' to be polite. I'll chalk it up to a experience. If this situation comes up again in my search for friendships, at least I'll know how to handle it & to be very brief. Someone gave me a suggestions too, just to skip any explanation and repeat until it sinks in that 'sorry, this isn't going anywhere'.

I do feel a bit  :doh: for responding to her request for further explanation, the part of her reply I read indicated she'd clearly understood my original explanation, I'm now guessing keeping the interaction going (maybe even n-supply) albeit by email may have been her motive rather than being hurt, I don't think her upset was about losing me but being told no. One thing is for sure, she certainly expressed nil concern for my needs & nil thanks for all my effort during our 3 meetings (it was a lot of work!!). nothing about me at all actually except some negative criticism about my skills & character. hmm, that's telling. pretty much felt exactly like our meetings felt & I'm certain I don't need that!

thanks again DU, it's sad that other people find this situation hard too but it's nice to know I'm not the only one. it's gotta get better with practice. the good news is I have some other people in 'trial' (great concept) who I like, I'm seeing them this week so hopefully I'll put this behind me, compose myself & be able to relax & enjoy their company.

Title: Re: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Butterfly on May 23, 2016, 09:58:08 AM
Just to add I find that toxic friendships fade as I become stronger at setting boundaries. Sometimes they probably don't even begin. Calling out bad behavior immediately in a calm way from the start.

It's also become my strength to face that I can't control others, only me, truly. When uPDm says something rude instead of telling her that's rude I say 'why would you say that' and shut it down.

This person may have honed in on your nature and is taking advantage. You get to decide how you spend your precious time. You've already said why and telling her you've already said why it isn't working is sufficient. You owe no further explanation. She may try to Hoover you back in, turn it around back on you, and try to work on this or that, make false promises only to fail if it's not in her nature to respect others. It's not wrong to be busy, unavailable, block email and number if you choose. Protect yourself any way you wish.
Title: Re: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Dutch Uncle on May 23, 2016, 10:04:20 AM

I'm sorry I was right about the vitriolic reply. As much as I value validation, there are times I can do without.  ;)
I trust you can relate.

I'll chalk it up to a experience.
That's the spirit!

My only regret is I put it in writing by emailing her so she could circulate it to mutual acquaintances if she wishes.
Well, if she does, you could always give your mutual acquaintances the short version. And then close the subject, and see what happens. Within a week or so this will probably all over.

I think you can give yourself a pat on the back. You handled this well. Especially given the circumstances.  :thumbup:

Take care,
Title: Re: how to end a 'friendship' gracefully & tactfully?
Post by: Flutterbye on May 24, 2016, 09:43:14 AM
This person may have honed in on your nature and is taking advantage.
good point, thanks for the reminder Butterfly. Rings true. I forget that just because I've gone NC with my Nmum doesn't mean I won't meet another N's while I'm trying to make new friends.

Thanks again DU for your support & advice. The SHORT version! Indeed. :)