Friends as baggage

By: Mar 30, 2012
Friends as baggage

Signs a friendship has become too draining to keep.

Most of us have been there at one time or another. We have a friendship with someone that is just becoming too draining to keep. You used to come home energized from hanging out with her or him, but now you come home feeling like you just ran a marathon you’re so exhausted. Sometimes it is very difficult to pinpoint where things went wrong and even if they have gone awry. If you are having difficulty recognizing the signs of whether you have a friend who has now turned into baggage, you are probably having a tough time deciding what to do about it. Here are some things to look for.

The Constant Calls
Who wants to be awakened by the phone ringing at 2:00 in the morning? When your BFF started going through something and you offered her to feel free to call you anytime, although you meant it, you had no idea she would take you quite so literally! You also didn’t mean that she could text you all hours of the day and night and call you at work five times a day. You have explained until you sound like a broken record that this isn’t acceptable behavior. Despite promises to stop, it doesn’t.

Negative Attitudes
Okay, the whole contrary for the sake of being contrary thing is getting old. You ask her opinion about the latest fashion trend and somehow it segues into a vitriol about what’s wrong with so and so’s life. In painstaking detail she offers an account of every horrible thing this person did from the time she was born until this very moment and now your eyes have glazed over. Unfortunately you have realized that no matter how often you start with a positive topic, it always turns into her slamming somebody.

The Help Rejecter
Regardless what the situation is, sometimes it is necessary to go from commiserating to offering her sound advice. The help rejecter has a knack for finding a million reasons why she couldn’t possibly follow your advice. But can she continue to dump on your shoulder?

The Bad Boy is Sexy…In the Movies
What woman hasn’t seen Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise or Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful and fantasized about being with a bad boy? You don’t need to continually dip yourself in the bad boy well to know what the outcome will be. Evidently some women do. You would have thought that after the last one cheated or the one before that had to be bailed out of jail she would have had enough. But apparantly not.

Her Life is Just a Hot Mess
Creditors are calling her because she keeps running up debt and not paying it. Her landlord is threatening eviction because he’s tired of the neighbors complaining about the raucous coming from her place every weekend. Her boss has given her one more chance to stop showing up late for work or he is going to fire her. You have tried to counsel her because you don’t want her homeless, without a job and begging to stay with your husband and you.

No More Drama
Unfortunately, there are people for whom perpetual drama is an integral part of their lives. Maybe your BFF wasn’t always this way or you didn’t see the warning signs right away, but now they are too blaring to ignore. It is never easy having to tell someone you care about that it is time to end the friendship. Whether it has been two years or 20, friendships aren’t supposed to inflict pain on you. When friendships turn to you feeling used, abused and taken for granted, and despite numerous talks things don’t change, it’s time.

How to end the friendship depends on many things. Some people live in the present and will take things in stride. A simple, “hey, things aren’t working out. You’re a drain on my life,” may work. Sometimes it is easier to do this in an email or in a handwritten letter, especially if you are afraid of her reaction. And sometimes face-to-face is the best way. While you owe it to her to tell her why you are ending the friendship, you also don’t have to allow her to turn into 50 phone calls, trash talking you or begging you not to leave. You don’t have to be mean but you have to be firm.