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Draining friend - help!

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smileyhappy | 17:13 Tue 26th Jul 2005 | Body & Soul
9 Answers
Can anyone tell me how to end a friendship without looking like the most uncaring bitch on earth?! I have a friend who I've been friends with for 6 years... she's the kind of person who is a big drama queen - loves the attention, loves talking about herself (loudly!) etc etc. I've been able to handle it up until now - don't get me wrong as she has her good points too, it's just that I've realised she drains me more than anything else and I'm tired of constantly listening to her problems and forking out advice when she seems to love being the victim anyway. I feel like she hardly knows what's happening in my life anymore, firstly because she rarely asks and when she does she doesnt listen very well, and secondly because I've stopped telling her things because I've been trying to ease away from her. And the crazy thing is is that I've been living in a different country to her for the past year and her emails alone get me wound up! She came to stay with me for 3 days for a holiday and drove me insane, I wanted to press a button and make her disappear. The main problem is is that I am moving back home in a few months and am dreading having to even see her. She views me as her "best friend" and I'm not the kind of person who wants to get involved in conflict, but the thought of having to put up with her in person again just gets me down. I just feel terrible about it as she doesnt have many other friends and whenever I think she is about to push me over the edge and give me the courage to tell her how I feel, she goes and says something like "I don't know what I would do without you, you've been the most caring and supportive person in my life" etc. Aaaah! I've got to the point in my life where I feel that I don't need to put up with something that doesnt agree with me anymore, but I just don't know how to break it to her gently and without causing pain. It seems that the more I try to put her at arm's length, the more clingy she gets. Any advice out there?!


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If I were you i`d try and ignore her emails,dont reply to them,if you have to- ignore whats she says about herself and talk about you.Maybe it would be a good thing losing your temper and telling her what you feel,it would clear the air.She acts like this because she can,tell her how you feel and why.Its best to tell her straight than have her hanging around, she may not realise what shes doing and appreciate being told.

Goodness-you sound just like me!!  Do not let her drain you.  Just reply to her emails- thanks for your email, i'll read it properly when i get a chance.  Be cool with her, I have been in the same boat, and you just have to play the 'Oh really, that's nice' card. Be warned though, if she enjoys being the victim, she will bitch about how unsupportive of her you are.  Just rise above it, say you are working/busy etc.  Trust me, do nothing, and it will feel like she's swallowing the life out of you...

I agree with missmooncat and I can see exactly where you are coming from smileyhappy.  I to have a friend exactly like this.  We have been friends for 22 years and I don't know how i've put up with her for so long.  She depresses me, always talking about her problems, her tragic life, more problems and doesn't even ask anything about me.  I also get the "your my best mate and I don't know what I'd do without you".  I moved into her flat for 8 weeks whilst I was waiting for the builders to finish my house and within that time she drove me mad!  A couple of months later I found out that she had been selling my clothes that I had accidently left round hers on ebay.  We had a massive row and I told her how I felt.  She cried and said she didn't realise they were mine.  Now as nothing comes out how mouth is true, I still don't believe her.  We haven't been close since then and all I can say to you is distance yourself from her, vase your friendship out slow....don't always reply to everyone of her emails/texts and try and ignore some of the things she says about herself and talk more about your self.  Just try and keep conversation to the min.  Eventually your just going to have to cut all ties..  Its a shame you can't get hold of her mobil and delete your numbers... she wouldn't be able to contact you then.
Tell her everything you've just told us. If she values your friendship as much as she tells you she does, she will try and change in order to hold onto your friendship. You can't just ignore her, that's too cold. And you can't very well ignore her once you get home, can you?

Sound advice, as usual from muh colleagues - i think I'd be inclined to put your feelings in writing, and e-mail them to her.

Explain that you feel your relationship has become rerally one-sided, and you ned to balance things up a little. Ask her to take a week to think things over properly, and then e-mail back to you. If you can get some cyber-communication going, it may help you to get your friendship back on track.

The delight of e-mail is, you can stay in touch, but on your own terms, without her invading your space, and if you don;t want to movve back to personal contact, tell her, and take it from there. Good luck.

i too have a friend like this.  in fact over the years i've had a few, i think it's because, like you, i don't like confrontation and so try to be nice and understanding, people who are self obsessed see this and cling to you because they know you'll always be there to listen to them.  i did confront my friend a couple of months ago, i nicely told her that i found it upsetting that she didn't seem to care about me and my life and that she always just talked about herself and her "dramas".  she made an effort for a couple of days but it didn't last.  what i do now is just talk over her when i can, i don't listen to her very much, belittle her "dramas" and change the subject whenever she talks about herself.  since i started doing this she has made excuses not to come out with me the past few weeks, so i think it's working.  you don't have to be nasty, just do to her what she does to you.  good luck.xx

Oh wow, your story is so like mine....I had exactly the same nightmarish thing going on a couple of years ago & came to the same point of desperation.

I hate to be anything less than friendly to anyone, and became almost physically sick at the thought of really telling her how I truly felt. The thing was, having tried to avoid her for ages & avoid having to be honest, I realised that it was giving me just as much stress as actually being in the same room as her!

I finally bit the bullet & sent a couple of heartfelt letters explaining (gently) how I couldn't cope with all her problems/phonecalls/visits.....and would she please give me space. She didn't really get the message & still drove me bananas until I actually got quite irritated (not like me) which gave me the kick up the butt to text her a very short note; Please don't contact me again. That did the trick & she never came near me again.

Huge weight lifted & definitely worth the 3 hours it took me to press the send button on my mobile phone!  It was a horrible thing to have to do, but I don't regret it for a second. I just don't need someone like that in my life.

Been through this so many times with friends.   One thing I have come to relaise and try to accept is that I have different kinds of friends, some who are the carers and listeners who tend to get walked all over and used(like me and which I do get frequently) and others who will never be there for you in that sense but you can have the most fantastic time with.

I've had to accept with some people that however much I give I won't get back but to try not to let it ruin the friendship and fun times but to make sure I also have the friends around me who do care and to split my time wisely.  Needs a lot of strength and will power but worth it in the end.

Very hard though, I've found a few times that just by standing up to them (usually when i got to the very end of my tether) that because they were so used to the quiet, passive, giving me, it came as such a shock it ruined the friendship (however many times I'd put up with their crap over and over again)..  Happened very recently but did me the world of good and my social circle just opened up hugely, people even commented how much I'd changed and how the "friend" had such a bad effect on me while I was with them, being drained and "under the thumb" etc...  Much happier now with a far more balanced set of friends. 

Good luck x

Angel1978, you sound like me.  It was just this weekend gone that my other friends said how much I had changed whilst being around my self obsessed friend... since I haven't spoken to her they said that I've gone back to my usual self.  I didn't really notice it personally but my other friends enjoy seeing me more now.

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Draining friend - help!

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