An old friendship that no longer fulfills?


#1

Hello,

I currently have a friend who I don’t know what do about. We were good friends in college. We lived in the same dorm and worked together for a few years. We had some fun times and I do still enjoy her company.

However, our circumstances have changed since we graduated. We are now 4 years out of school. We are both married, have full time jobs, and live on opposite sides of the state.

We have kept in touch, but lately I feel her friendship is too high maintenance and does not fulfill my personal need for easy fun and relaxation.

My friend does not drive on highways, so our get togethers are very limited in terms of our options. Her husband has to drive her to my house or the visits require me to drive across the state. Unfortunately, my husband does not have much in common with her husband and prefers not to hang out with him. This puts me in a place of making my husband spend time with another male he does not care for so I can see my girlfriend. It is becoming rather awkward to arrange visits under these circumstances, however my friend is already asking about when she and her husband came come visit us this month. I get tired just thinking about it.

I was also in her wedding and her mom tried to get me to pay for the shower (which I could not afford at the time). She is also Jewish so we do not have matters of faith in common.

However, I feel somehow obligated to continue the friendship. She still calls me and I do enjoy speaking with her, but I tire of her inability to drive and the obligation to always invite her husband along.

What do I do? I have already explained to her that she really needs to learn how to travel her on her own. However, she refuses to change this aspect of her life.

If I do not return her calls anymore she would be deeply hurt. I was also her maid of honor and I would feel guilty just “dumping her”. However, I am not sure the friendship is worth my time and energy given that she requires so many special arrangements.

Please help! I saw an earlier post today about a draining friend and it sparked me to post this question. What do I do??

Thank you.


#2

Friendships are wonderful and you shouldn’t put too many expectations on them. They are what they are. Sometimes we are extremely close and talk constantly, but I have friendships where I still love them dearly but we haven’t seen eachother in years and only speak every few months. These people are no less dear to me, but we all understand that it is the state of our circumstances.

I might suggest that during your next conversation with your friend, you might pepper the conversation with things like “I am so glad that we have the kind of relationship where even if we don’t speak for a months, we can pick up right where we left off"
or
"You are a true friend and even when life is busy and I can’t speak to you as often as I’d like, I’m so grateful for our friendship”.

Again, don’t put too many expectations on your relationship. Don’t beat yourself up about it.


#3

Do you e-mail and talk by phone? It sounds like you are feeling guilty that the friendship is not what it was. But it really is your friend whose unwillingness to drive is cramping the friendship. Resign yourself that your friendship is not what it was and that you are outgrowing her. You don’t have to cut her out of your life. But you also shouldn’t feel guilty that you are unable to continue with a friendship that demands more from you than she is willing to invest. Lots of formerly close friends stay in contact by ever less frequent phone calls and e-mails. That’s life.


#4

The only suggestion I can give is to offer to visit her every month or every other month half way between cities for a girls’ night out.

Other than that, have you considered that she may not want to invest in the friendship? I mean, if she’s not willing to drive there she shouldn’t be too upset at you for it.


I wouldn’t commit my dh to the visits either. I’d just say he is doing something else and let him go do something else. My dh wouldn’t tag along even if he did drive me. (Which I could see him doing just because it’s a likes-to-take-care-of-the-wife kind of thing.) He’d say “hi”, drop me off, and go do his own thing.


I have a feeling that she is going to become upset because I don’t imagine many women/couples she comes into contact with are going to be as tolorant of this, which is going to severely restrict her social life and ability to have outside interests. Frankly, I’m surprised her dh is okay with it? Was she like this before marriage or is this new since then?** **


Once a month seems like a lot to me? But then again meeting up with my local friends once a month is hard to mesh schedules for. Across state would be an over-nighter due to the kids, making it even harder to schedule/afford.


hmmm… odd…


#5

From your post it seems like you truly want to continue your friendship with this woman, but living so far away and with every day life being so full it is hard to continue the friendship in the same manner. My friendships have changed also with my good friends who live in my own town, life does get busy, but we understand that and this does not change our feelings for each other.

I just want to say, as someone who has difficulty driving, pray for her! Unless you experience what she experiences behind the wheel, try not to “tire” or “judge” her inability to drive. This is a cross she has to bear, and I’m sure something that bothers her immensly. Unless it is just a choice she is making in just not wanting to drive.


#6

I have 2-3 long distance friendships that are maintained entirely by letters (the old fashioned kind, not email) and an occasional phone call or visit, maybe once a year. In particular one series of letters we are both saving because there is really a book there on the spiritual journeys of two middle aged ladies. Today will be spent in prayer for her because it is the anniversary of the death of a child.


#7

Thanks for your thoughtful replies. My friend does not insist that we get together every month, I apologize if that was unclear in my original post.

However, when we do get together, she won’t drive on the highway to get here. Thus, her husband always has to drive. Like I said before, my husband would prefer not to spend time with my friend’s husband-- different interests and maturity levels that don’t really “mesh”.

I can’t see just keeping in touch for the “sake of it”. However, like I said before, it would hurt her feelings trememdously to just cut off contact.

Any other insight is appreciated!


#8

Can you just be direct?


#9

I have many, many long distance friendships thanks to being in the military. And I do have a friend that hates to drive through big cities (she wouldn’t even drive alone to the Atlanta airport to pick up her husband when he was flying in from Iraq for R&R)… she did develop the ability to conquer that fear of driving when (I think) I told her that’s a silly fear and if she just followed regular traffic laws and followed defensive driving, she’d be fine. I also told her that having a paralyizing fear that restricts her isn’t healthy. (my opinion)

Just let her know that it’s getting harder to meet up with her so can you plan for a twice a year get together for a gals’ weekend someplace. I would never subject my husband to people that aren’t his friends (which is nearly everyone that is my friends… he’s very introverted and a people watcher, not interacter). My husband could honestly care less about my friends so I don’t even bother. Also friend that expects you to always come to her isn’t fair.

I know it’s not much advice, but i do hope it spurred a few ideas at least. :o good luck!


#10

!My husband could honestly care less about my friends so I don’t even bother. Also friend that expects you to always come to her isn’t fair.

I know it’s not much advice, but i do hope it spurred a few ideas at least. :o good luck!

My husband is the same way as you described. He really hates his time being wasted by my friends who he does not care to see. He is very busy and his weekends are valuable to him. The problem is, is that the friend thinks my husband likes her husband, so she always suggests “Jeff and I will come down”. This obviously isn’t what I want. Plus, when I see friends, I typically want to ditch our husbands if you know what I mean.

Maybe I am overanalyzing this, but I am tired of my friends controls over the friendships and her helpless ability to drive. I sort of resent the fact that I risk my own hide on the state’s most dangerous highway to go see her, and she refuses to do the same because she refuses to get experience on the road. I suggested to her last time she visited with her husband that she do the driving while he coached, so she could practice driving and then be able to do it on her own. I even asked them when they arrived whether she had driven. The husband was like “ha, ha, NO! I don’t want to get killed”. So, to them it is a matter of jokes.

There is no easy answer to this, but thanks for your answers.


#11

There is an easy answer here, you are unwilling to accept it! Write this friend a note and tell her that you are unable to maintain the friendship beyond phone calls and letters. If she has a difficult time with that, it’s her problem. You aren’t her mother. What is a mystery to me is why you place this inconsiderate friend’s needs above those of your own and even worse, your husbands. And you feel that your personal safety is at risk? What’s wrong with this picture? The real issue is why are you allowing this friend’s insecurities drive the relationship and allowing her use you as a result. What’s more important to you; a selfish friend or your own well-being? Are you so passive that you can’t take control here? Or do you just like to whine about situations you are indecisive about? You’re a big girl, stop complaining and act like one!


#12

I have several friendships like this that are just hard to keep up.

My wife doesn’t care to see them.

I often find it difficult and/or draining to visit with them.

The occasional phone call is nice. Christmas cards… maybe once a year {or every other year} a brief visit.

I know that they would like more of a friendship with me.

I have just grown apart from them.

The truth is I recommend that you let your frienship dwindle to a level that is comfortable for you.

Let it happen naturally. Don’t call her back right away.
Don’t be available for visits as much.

Be honest about the fact you husband may not be available for the double date with her husband. {Leave the motivation out}

Be honest about the distance and tell her that the highway drives are becoming a bit taxing for you too.

She will either get the idea or become very frustrated with you and try to address it.

Some people can take a hint - some can’t.

I suggest if she brings things to a head that you maintain the idea that you still consider her a friend but that your life has changed and you unfortunately can’t keep it up like you used to.

Most people will feel a little hurt - but if they are mature will get it.

:nope: I don’t advise the route of total brutal honesty and the “cut off”.

You would cause her unecssesary pain and may burn a bridge that you didn’t need to.

One day this friendship may shift again and bear fruit in the future.:slight_smile:

Be honest with yourself about the level of the friendship and let her believe what she wants.

Often I have found people value my friendship more than I value theirs – and vise versa. When I find this out i try not to mention it or bring it to a head.

I just try to accept the friendship as it is and love them.
and hope they do the same.

good luck and God Bless.


#13

Young Catholic,
I understand your agony about this. It’s tough to hurt a friend. She’s still your friend even though you would rather cut her off. It’s not like she did something bad or wrong, then it would be easier. I think this is a hard situation. I agree with the above poster who said that because she doesn’t drive the highway she’s probably more dependent on your friendship. That makes it more of a burden for you.

I think no matter what you do you’re going to feel bad about it. You’re between the Scylla and Carybdis emotionally with this one. It’s like you’re danged if you do and danged if you don’t.

I like Cupofkindness’s idea of looking out for yourself. I just don’t know how you would tell her what you want. It’s like, “Hi, I just want to tell you that I no longer want to see you or talk to you again but you were a good friend. Have a nice life.” That just seems so brutal! In a way it’s alot like breaking up with a sweetheart. Actually I think it would be easier to break up with a sweetheart. At least we all understand that you can only have one of those but you are supposed to be able to have many friends.

If I put myself in your friend’s shoes I realize that I wouldn’t want to be hanging around with someone who really didn’t want me there. Maybe you can call her and say, “I’m sorry but I don’t want to continue our friendship anymore.” When she asks why say “It’s just too hard for me.” She doesn’t get it. You reply with “It just is.” Maybe you can end it with “Take care”. If you go into specifics, her lack of driving, your hubby not being into it etc… she’ll probably try to talk you out of it. I think just being forthright and ambiguous might be your best bet. Just keep telling her it doesn’t work for you.

I think it’s gonna hurt no matter what you do but if you continue to see her and her hubby then, in essence, you’re lying to her and you’re imposing on yourself and your own husband. Friendship out of duty isn’t really friendship, is it?

I say bite the bullet and do what needs to be done as nicely as you can, being compassionate to her, your husband and yourself! That’s my best advice. Let us know what you choose to do and how it goes. I think this is a very tough thing to do and we can support you with it.

Crystal


#14

[quote=Cupofkindness]There is an easy answer here, you are unwilling to accept it! Write this friend a note and tell her that you are unable to maintain the friendship beyond phone calls and letters. If she has a difficult time with that, it’s her problem. You aren’t her mother. What is a mystery to me is why you place this inconsiderate friend’s needs above those of your own and even worse, your husbands. And you feel that your personal safety is at risk? What’s wrong with this picture? The real issue is why are you allowing this friend’s insecurities drive the relationship and allowing her use you as a result. What’s more important to you; a selfish friend or your own well-being? Are you so passive that you can’t take control here? Or do you just like to whine about situations you are indecisive about? You’re a big girl, stop complaining and act like one!
[/quote]

I find your words a bit harsh. I was seeking some advice on a difficult situation, not looking for someone to call me a baby. Thanks for the comfort, “Cup of Kindness”


#15

[quote=uncleauberon]I have several friendships like this that are just hard to keep up.

My wife doesn’t care to see them.

I often find it difficult and/or draining to visit with them.

The occasional phone call is nice. Christmas cards… maybe once a year {or every other year} a brief visit.

I know that they would like more of a friendship with me.

I have just grown apart from them.

The truth is I recommend that you let your frienship dwindle to a level that is comfortable for you.

Let it happen naturally. Don’t call her back right away.
Don’t be available for visits as much.

Be honest about the fact you husband may not be available for the double date with her husband. {Leave the motivation out}

Be honest about the distance and tell her that the highway drives are becoming a bit taxing for you too.

She will either get the idea or become very frustrated with you and try to address it.

Some people can take a hint - some can’t.

I suggest if she brings things to a head that you maintain the idea that you still consider her a friend but that your life has changed and you unfortunately can’t keep it up like you used to.

Most people will feel a little hurt - but if they are mature will get it.

:nope: I don’t advise the route of total brutal honesty and the “cut off”.

You would cause her unecssesary pain and may burn a bridge that you didn’t need to.

One day this friendship may shift again and bear fruit in the future.:slight_smile:

Be honest with yourself about the level of the friendship and let her believe what she wants.

Often I have found people value my friendship more than I value theirs – and vise versa. When I find this out i try not to mention it or bring it to a head.

I just try to accept the friendship as it is and love them.
and hope they do the same.

good luck and God Bless.
[/quote]

Thank you for your sound advice. Your wisdom has resonated with me. Thank you very much.


#16

[quote=Youngcatholic]I find your words a bit harsh. I was seeking some advice on a difficult situation, not looking for someone to call me a baby. Thanks for the comfort, “Cup of Kindness”
[/quote]

I did not call you a baby, but asked you to accept responsibility for the things that you need to work on. Moreover, you asked for advice and received it. Whether the truth is couched in cozy terms or not does not change the truth. Life is tough sometimes.


#17

Suggest she take the bus or Amtrak if she won’t drive. Tell her your hubby is unable to take time to visit with her husband right now, so it would just be you 2 girls for the day/week. Do this in a letter. Enclose bus and train info. Screen you phone calls and let the answering machine pick up. Just communicate by letter and email. If she accepts that, great. If not, oh well…you know she’s not likely to show up at the front door unannounced. Is she?


#18

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