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Old January 2nd, 2018, 07:27 PM
BungeeGum BungeeGum is offline
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Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

Sorry, this might be a long post so bear with me. But the details are necessary.

So I have two friends named T and A. We are all 22. I'm a guy and both of them are girls. These two have been friends of mine since we met in 9th grade and would be going on 9 years this year. However, I'm reluctant to call them best friends... We all went to the same high school and college and they graduated last summer.

T and A are closer to each other than to me although we know each other very well. T is more of the social kind and has this weird take on friendships. She is quick to call people best friends whenever they hit it off well. She makes anniversaries for these best friends of hers. On these days (or birthdays), she likes to put up a string of pictures on her social media and write long descriptions celebrating their friendship together, etc. She's never made one of these for me. She's even made one for A with whom she knew as long as she's known me. I don't mind because I don't care about things like that, but I just find that interesting.

During the times we would hang out together in college, I've been starting to notice this certain friendship dynamic among the three of us. Most times when I try to share my opinion, tell a joke, or try to share my love for something to them, they like to shut it down. This is especially true when I have an opinion that they don't agree with. A would say something like, "Well no one cares what you have to say so shut up". And I just shake my head and say wow or something because I try not to blow up over it. T doesn't speak up but either stays quiet or quickly tries to change the subject. This, again, doesn't happen all the time, but it feels so insulting when it does.

T and A are like yes men to each other. They agree with 90% of everything they say to each other. I don't like being a yes man and like agreeing or disagreeing depending on what it is.

T has a habit of constantly dumping her stories and problems to me. I don't do this because I keep to myself, but anytime I try to explain myself to her about something like a song or movie or little things like that, I feel as if she doesn't listen which makes me not want to try. Like there's this unequal level of communication between us and it really feels draining for her to be constantly talking to me about her stuff.

Now here's the funny part. I should mention that we usually always hang out together as a trio. When I hang out with the two of them individually, the atmosphere feels a lot less hostile to me and all of these problems are lessened to an extent. This is especially with A. When me and A hang out, we can talk about a lot of things. I don't know but to me, there's no awkwardness. I'm free to say what I want without any judgment and the conversation feels nice and she's way less insulting. However, any time there's a third party (especially T) the dynamic changes, and she uses me as a way to make herself stand out in the crowd and look better. She likes to make jokes at my expense to break the ice for her so to speak.

For example, at T's graduation party, some of her old middle and high school friends came to celebrate. I knew some but not all. A was in the same boat I was, but yet she constantly threw me under the bus to give herself some "social points" in the crowd. To the point where one of the guys was laughing but said, "Damn A that's cold". I couldn't retaliate because my anger would've shown and I would've said things that could've made the situation worse. I was uncomfortably quiet throughout most of that party and I think it's because of these problems.

I just feel underappreciated and maybe neglected in this friendship. I'm really torn because I have very few friends in the area I live and they are the closest. To be honest, I hang out with them (even in college) because I'm afraid I won't be able to find anyone else to be friends with. But I feel I've matured a lot this past semester and I'm putting myself first way more than I have in the past. And I don't think I can keep putting myself through this.

They really are cool though! Like it's usually fun to hang out with them and talk and stuff. But every now and then, these problems creep up and make me feel uncomfortable and force me to be more quiet and someone that I'm not and I don't like doing that.

Before anyone asks, no I have not brought up the situation to them but I really don't know how. I just feel that things would go good for like 2 months maybe and then these problems will creep up again. That's why I'm wondering if I should just cut them out of my life. Any of you guys have any advice on what I should do?
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  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2018, 08:03 PM
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LucyVanPelt LucyVanPelt is offline
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Re: Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

Hmmm, it seems you are the victim of "relational aggression." Some people use their relationships to bully others. They are bullying you.

You can say something to them when they are being nasty. You can try to have a conversation with them individually, but you've already said this is not the best option. And cutting them off doesn't seem like a good idea, either.

You can distance yourself from them without cutting them off. Work on making new friends. Join clubs or social activities that interest you. As you become more independent from them, you'll have more confidence and you will be less of a target for them.

And maybe they'll mature a little bit and realize that they should treat their friends a better.

Good luck. You deserve better.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 08:45 PM
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Re: Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

^What Lucy said. They sound very immature. Hopefully eventually they'll grow up.

One additional thing though. Stand up for yourself when they're being jerks. There are lots of different ways to do this that isn't directly calling them out, and that won't be you blowing up. When A says "no one cares what you have to say", do your best Jim Carrey impression saying "Alrighty then" and get up and leave. Or, as my daughter came up with when she was being bullied in Jr High, "Wow. No wonder no one likes you." The key is to always have an escape route (small bills to throw on the table to cover your share of the tab, your own transportation or cab fare, etc.) and to make it clear that you won't tolerate being bullied.

Good luck! The good news is that your horizons and social circle are expanding to a point where these two girls' presence won't be missed.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 08:52 PM
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Re: Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

They sound like frenemies.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 10:54 PM
BungeeGum BungeeGum is offline
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Re: Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LucyVanPelt View Post
Hmmm, it seems you are the victim of "relational aggression." Some people use their relationships to bully others. They are bullying you.

You can say something to them when they are being nasty. You can try to have a conversation with them individually, but you've already said this is not the best option. And cutting them off doesn't seem like a good idea, either.

You can distance yourself from them without cutting them off. Work on making new friends. Join clubs or social activities that interest you. As you become more independent from them, you'll have more confidence and you will be less of a target for them.

And maybe they'll mature a little bit and realize that they should treat their friends a better.

Good luck. You deserve better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayKay View Post
^What Lucy said. They sound very immature. Hopefully eventually they'll grow up.

One additional thing though. Stand up for yourself when they're being jerks. There are lots of different ways to do this that isn't directly calling them out, and that won't be you blowing up. When A says "no one cares what you have to say", do your best Jim Carrey impression saying "Alrighty then" and get up and leave. Or, as my daughter came up with when she was being bullied in Jr High, "Wow. No wonder no one likes you." The key is to always have an escape route (small bills to throw on the table to cover your share of the tab, your own transportation or cab fare, etc.) and to make it clear that you won't tolerate being bullied.

Good luck! The good news is that your horizons and social circle are expanding to a point where these two girls' presence won't be missed.
Wow thank you both for the awesome reply! I would've never guessed that what I was experiencing this whole time was a form of bullying. I always thought bullying was mostly physical as I've barely ever experienced it in my life. After reading up on relational aggression, I think it fits my situation. It's funny because this last semester was the first semester that I didn't see or hang out with them on campus... and I've never felt better. This was when I went through that maturity phase I talked about and decided to put myself first more often. My grades went up, my head was clear from overthinking, I spoke my mind more often, and I just felt good. With this, I feel more confident in standing up for myself in front of those two.

But with all this being said, if this is a form of bullying, wouldn't it be more healthy for me to not see them anymore? I guess I'm just confused on how to address this situation now that it's put into perspective more clearly. T has tried to call me but I didn't answer. Would it be a good idea to bring this up if I call her?

@KayKay I've definitely tried a few times (emphasis on few) to stand up for myself like that, but obviously those problems kept happening. It's never been a consistent thing so I will try more often. I've never tried to use an escape route because we've always drove in A's car (as I don't have one atm until I come home and use my parents' cars). An escape route is a great idea though because there were times that I felt like leaving.

Sorry but one other thing I want to mention is that every time I hang out with them, my body feels more stiff instead of loose and natural if that makes sense. Sounds weird, but this feeling that rushes over me feels like a combination of nervousness, anxiety, etc. It's definitely an uncomfortable feeling and I get more quiet, more reserved, my muscles feel tight, and I just feel drained and tired after I stop hanging out with them. I've never really felt this with my other friends before. Is this a form of social anxiety?
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Old January 4th, 2018, 12:29 AM
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Re: Should I cut these two friends out of my life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BungeeGum View Post
But with all this being said, if this is a form of bullying, wouldn't it be more healthy for me to not see them anymore? I guess I'm just confused on how to address this situation now that it's put into perspective more clearly. T has tried to call me but I didn't answer. Would it be a good idea to bring this up if I call her?
I wouldn't bring it up. There's no way on earth she's going to admit to bullying you. It'll just put another target on your head, and give her the opportunity to play victim. She seems to me to be the type who likes attention.

It's hard to say if you should not see them anymore. You say that overall you like being around them, and you'll go 2 months or so without the problems. That tells me that it isn't all negative, and hopefully the two of them will grow up someday. I think the way I would handle it would be more along the lines of giving them a "time out." I don't know how often you see them, but if there is a misbehavior on their part, back off for a while. Be busy, don't return phone calls promptly, shorten the conversations when you do text/talk, and take a break. No explanations necessary, just you being happy and busy. I think if they learn that there are consequences to their behavior (they don't have you to push around anymore) they will slowly, slowly catch on and stop taking you for granted. The main thing is to train them to stop bullying you.

If there was nothing positive to your relationship with them, I'd say to stop hanging out with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BungeeGum
@KayKay I've definitely tried a few times (emphasis on few) to stand up for myself like that, but obviously those problems kept happening. It's never been a consistent thing so I will try more often. I've never tried to use an escape route because we've always drove in A's car (as I don't have one atm until I come home and use my parents' cars). An escape route is a great idea though because there were times that I felt like leaving.
Uber is your friend. It may be expensive, but your dignity is worth it. Other ideas are to suggest going out to places where your other friends will be (or nearby so you can walk there), places that are walking distance from where you live, etc. And finally, even if you don't leave to go home, you can get up from the table even just to go to the restroom. If you are at a bar, mingle with other people. Flirt with a really pretty girl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BungeeGum
Sorry but one other thing I want to mention is that every time I hang out with them, my body feels more stiff instead of loose and natural if that makes sense. Sounds weird, but this feeling that rushes over me feels like a combination of nervousness, anxiety, etc. It's definitely an uncomfortable feeling and I get more quiet, more reserved, my muscles feel tight, and I just feel drained and tired after I stop hanging out with them. I've never really felt this with my other friends before. Is this a form of social anxiety?
It sounds like flat out anxiety. Hanging out with them stresses you out. It's a byproduct of being bullied.
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