friend or acquaintance

joulesR4meApril 15, 2004

okay  hereÂs my first topic - if this is not appropriate for the forum, just let me know!

IÂve had several years of "HanginÂWith the Girls" and have started wondering about the foundation on which they are based. IÂve maintained several types of girlfriends, ranging from 23 & single to 50+ & married w/kids. The dynamics of these friendships are interesting.

IÂve started to realize that I do not have the time (or want) to nurture all of these relationships. In addition to the typical home, pet and personal obligations, IÂve been spending more time with my SO, working OT, attempting to dedicate more time to my immediate family and starting school next month. I have to decide which friendships to preserve and which to abandon. Not so easy - not all friendships are what they appear!

Today IÂll discuss Ms Z. SheÂs one of my younger friends from work who IÂve been friends with for 5+ years. We are two of the few females in our industry and share similar backgrounds. But IÂm questioning the depth of our friendship  we have diverse perspectives on The World. Because IÂm usually so depressed after an evening with her, I wonder if this is one to Go, but I just canÂt do it. She has had a lot of negativity in her life; abandonment & abuse, mental instability and poor health. She doesnÂt make friends easily (nor keep them for long) and I donÂt want to be another to cause her pain. I just know there is a nice person inside! She is intelligent, pretty, resourceful and conscientious. But she zaps every bit of energy and optimism out of everyone she contacts. Not only is does she constantly complain, but she is negative, argumentative, judgmental and critical. But, by far, her worst trait is that she insults people openly, in a matter-of-fact manner, and is surprised when they show offence. After 5 years, it just rolls off my back. She complains about not having many friends, but I canÂt bring myself to discuss it with her  IÂm a wimp  she is easily angered, offended and unreceptive! What do you do with these people? Can you help them?

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is this someone you see everyday and are closely connected to at work? If so, I would tell her just what you said here...that your are starting school, wanting to spend more ime with family, etc. I probably would not want her to think that I was choosing the new SO over her unless she is also very happily attached, since she may have a hard time beng happy for you. I guess I would tell the whole group much the same thing. After all, its the truth. Once you have let everyone know what is going on, no one should be offended or take it as a personal affront. Your true friends will be happy for you, and you will soon know who you miss the most and want to see, and who you miss less.

this is a good topic. I have friends that I don't see often because our lives have changed, but when we do cross pathes, the affection is still there and its fun to catch up.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 6:45PM
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It sounds like you are being a good listener for her, but the thing that separates friends from acquaintences is what do they, in turn, do for you?'s all a definition of what a friend is in each ones book, I guess.....I have many acquaintences that are satisfied when I don't have any complaints and listen to them when they do....I have two close friends, that no matter how bad things are they are still there for me.

I say, do a couple shots of Absolut and do as jc suggested and tell her what you told us, in a tactful will narrow down the friend/acquaintence question in your mind and she will either become a better friend or get mad and not talk to you again...sometimes it's a win/win situation....good luck

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 7:48PM
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I'm going to look at this from Miss Z's point of view, not from yours, just to be different. She sounds like a very unhappy person, who needs a sounding board. I've been like her to some extent - so lonely and miserable that criticism is the only way to deal with it (you hate everybody because they're happy and you're not), but I have a true friend who told me, and I listened. I'm quite sure the way she behaves is a turn-off for everyone, but she's developed it into a habit that isn't easily broken. Quite probably, she doesn't fully realise she sounds like this. Of all the people you know, she's probably the one who needs a friend the most, and since you've seen her positive side to some extent, you're probably the one who can be the best friend she ever had, and she may eventually become the best friend you ever had, too. All it needs is to tell her where's she's going wrong.

Now, nobody likes to be criticised, and anger can be expected. But you have something to tell her, and she has something she needs to hear. So say it. Just the way you've said it to us. Show her this thread if necessary. Criticism doesn't have to be nasty, you can criticise in a loving and caring way. That's called constructive criticism. She might hate you for it to begin with, with I'll bet she takes it on board, and eventually, since she's intelligent, she'll decide to see herself as others see her, and to make the necessary changes. If she can't comprehend what you're saying to her, and she remains angry, then the decision on whether to stay friends or not is taken out of your hands, isn't it?

Either way, your dilemma is sorted.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 2:49AM
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Joules I have the same problem. I have a wonderful friend who needs to hear from me on the phone on a continual basis, bordering on obsession. I feel smothered. I don't know how to put it to her without jeopardizing our friendship. I never imagined as a straight woman I'd be saying this to a GIRLFRIEND, "I need more space!"

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 4:19PM
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Though we used to pal around out of work, I mostly only see her now at the office. She comes to visit me (2 hr visits mind you) and it's about as much as I can take. I finally got a project shoved my way and will be up to my ears in work (that's good, days will fly by) and told her that I'll be spending a lot of time doing research in another area. That's give me some time to get the nerve to decide how to handle it. I'd love to do as you say, daisyduckworth, but it'll take some doing!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 8:41PM
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