SHESAID resident psychologist Kim Chartres answers your most awkward and confronting questions.
I’ve been friends with the same woman for ten years, but in the past few years the friendship has become incredibly one-sided. She expects me to do everything with her and for her but is never willing to do the same.
When she got married I ran myself into the ground helping her with every possible detail even though I wasn’t even a bridesmaid, then when I got hitched recently, I asked her to help me out with one simple task (picking up flowers) and she said she was too busy.
She never asks me how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life, I’m starting to think I’d be better off without her, except that she’s always calling to tell me about her problems or ask for help with something. How can I politely tell her I’m just not interested anymore?
It sounds like you’re stuck in a very one-sided friendship indeed, and it’s a shame you want to escape it, because you’ve been friends for so long. Obviously you shared some good times together in the past but I understand your reasoning, having gone through a similar experience some years back.
Incredibly, all it might take for you to politely bow out of this friendship is to simply say no to your friend. This will give her the option to either end the friendship or it will change the equilibrium, allowing the friendship to develop into a relationship of mutual give and take, as friendships should be.
From what you’ve said, it sounds like you’ve been her ‘phone-a-friend’ for quite a while and I’m assuming this has happened because you’ve felt unable to say no. Over time this pattern has developed and it’s happened as a result of a simple communication issue. Plenty of people have gone through this, myself included, because it can be difficult to say no to people you have a connection with.
Ironically, this may even save your friendship. I’m guessing you only want out because you’ve become tired of having this woman rely upon you. That’s completely understandable but perhaps if it reverted back to one of mutual give and take you’d continue to want her in your life.
Alternately, if you really have had enough, I suggest you tell her honestly what you’re thinking, and how you’re feeling. Either way, there’s no easy way out of a friendship and both options will probably make you feel a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately if you want your freedom back you’ll need to make a choice about how to approach it.
Good luck, and I sincerely hope everything works out for you.
Got a relationship dilemma or serious life issue you’re not sure how to deal with? Send your questions to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.