piece illustrates an example of when friendships go wrong. Old friends
may grow apart over time and cease to be friends at all, without
either of the 'friends' even realising it. The point is knowing
if and when an old friend is no longer a friend anymore. Read what
happened to the old friends in the article...
by Wayne and Tamara
- Column for the week of October 18, 2004
I met my friend
when we were in graduate school, and we enjoyed hanging out together
outside of classes. After receiving our degrees, we both left school
to live in different states. That was 10 years ago.
We've kept in
touch, but our phone conversations and twice-a-year visits became
opportunities for my friend to talk endlessly about her problems.
When I tried to fill her in on my own life, she obviously tuned
In the past
few years I've not visited her at all and dread her occasional phone
calls and visits to my house. She invites herself now because I
no longer invite her. When she's at my home, she literally follows
me from room to room, talking nonstop, until I make an excuse to
get away from her. I tell her I need to take a nap, but I don't
sleep. I sit in my room and read or enjoy the quiet.
Here's the worst
part. She and her family, including two young children, are moving
to our city. Her family has a small income, and they are buying
a house in a grand neighborhood they can't afford. She asked if
she and her husband and her children can stay at my home on their
trips to our town to deal with house matters.
My husband and
I have no children. Even though our home is tiny and perfectly sized
for us, I let them stay. She told me her husband would start his
new job before they finished purchasing this house. I felt obligated
to offer him our guest room. If I hadn't offered, she would have
Now he's here,
and it turns out he'll be staying on through the weekends. I am
I would never,
ever, under any circumstances impose on a friendship this way. I
feel used, resentful, and don't care if I ever see her again. Should
I end this friendship? I'm getting absolutely nothing from it but
a knot in my stomach.
hands us lessons all the time. When we don't learn the lesson, life
gets more and more difficult until we do.
You were making
and accepting calls from a woman you didn't even want to talk to.
Now her husband is living in your house. Furthermore, she plans
on moving in with her two small children. Where does this lead?
Count on being a free, drop-in babysitter. Count on her asking you
to pick up her kids after school. Count on imposition after imposition
until you finally learn to say no.
uses the example of oatmeal cookies. If you don't like oatmeal cookies,
don't be "polite" and say you do. Otherwise you will always be offered
oatmeal cookies, and friends will make you gifts of oatmeal cookies.
That is why you cannot fake emotions out of a false sense of politeness.
being done to the advantage of your "friend." Nothing is to your
advantage. This arrangement isn't working, and her husband needs
to stay elsewhere. It is too much of an imposition. Call her tonight
and tell her. Pick a day soon, like Friday, and tell her that will
be his moving day. Let her know she and her family must make other
arrangements when they move, whether their house is ready or not.
time on long explanations or sugarcoat it. Make the call short and
You are so absolutely
positively right. I am instant messaging my husband right now to
discuss our visitor's last day. I think what I found most helpful
is your pointing out that I'm accepting calls and visits from someone
I don't want to talk to. It's so crystal clear. Thanks for giving
me the kick in the butt that I need.
we will lift our glasses and toast your victory.
Wayne & Tamara
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advice on how to make friends is to always be yourself.
This means not pretending to be someone or something you're
not, in other words being genuine and sincere. Add to that an honest
concern for the other person and you have the way to achieve lasting
friendships. Like any relationship, friendships have to be worked
on, of course, they have to be maintained and allowed to grow.