Some background: I'm 23, in the process of recovering from clinical depression/alcohol abuse. Things are slowly getting better.
There is a girl with whom I've been "friends" for quite some years. She also struggles with depression; she also likes to drink. I put "friend" in scare-quotes because for the past while she really hasn't seemed like a friend at all. We have less and less in common nowadays. We both go to uni and share an office (which is part of the trouble), though she very rarely works on her thesis or wants to talk academia. She's recently started dating a guy from the university department (who's a friend of mine too) and most of her energy and attention goes to him, which I'm perfectly fine with, but to be honest, find a bit boring (they both have the potential to be far more interesting than they are when they're in a relationship with each other).
It's become increasingly clear over the years that she doesn't understand who I am, and that she is dealing with too many problems of her own to be a true friend. Talking to her is a matter of continually walking on eggshells, stepping delicately around topics that might offend her. I believe strongly in bantering and playful ribbing amongst friends; it's nearly impossible to do that with her. She emails me a lot, but we have so little to discuss nowadays I mostly find the resultant conversations inane.
In short, I feel that she is not good for me and I am not good for her, that we can no longer have the kind of relationship we once did, and that the more she is around the more I resent her. None of this is healthy. I have no desire at all to hurt her - she is a good person, we have just drifted apart.
How on earth do I say these kinds of things to her without causing offense? She is likely to be sad, angry, guilt-trippy, emotionally manipulative... I just want to leave my old life behind and to be around people who, if they're screwed up, at least they're acknowledging that and at least trying to do something about it, rather than bringing the rest of us down with them. I just.... I don't know. How do you go about dumping a friend anyway? And is it a horrible and callous thing even to be thinking these things?
Posts: 16 | From: Canada | Registered: Aug 2005
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I don't think it's horrible, or unusual, to think about dumping her. Even true friendships go through periods of ups and downs, when people get tired of each other.
But it seems like "breaking up" with her would strain your work relationship. You say that you doubt she would react well to a "breakup" with you. Since you guys share an office, that would possibly be very awkward for both of you.
Do you think it would be possible to just drift apart from her, rather than confronting her about these issues? For example, cut back on contact with her unless it's work-related. Since I don't know her, I don't know how well this would work out, but it's something to consider. Also, you mentioned recovering from alcohol abuse and the fact that she drinks. If you guys tend to hang out in places where drinking occurs, that is a perfect situation to excuse yourself from.
Posts: 143 | From: USA | Registered: Aug 2009
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I've recently gone through a similar situation. Twice. With the same individual, or "friend," as you so aptly stated. We both have grappled with anxiety/depression over the years and after a time, only seemed to do anything that involved going out for drinks.
During the first instance, we drifted apart before having an inevitable falling-out while living together. This was explosive, to the point that our landlord had to drive to the apartment and, calmly, ask her to leave indefinitely. That said, though I hope your "friend" isn't as emotionally volatile or manipulative as my former acquaintance has been known to be, I'll second coralee's suggestion; don't confront her, but instead attempt to back off and shut down little by little until she, likely, loses interest or gets the hint.
It's not uncommon for individuals to drift apart or move in separate life-directions; if you don't feel comfortable staying in touch with her, it's probably best to follow your gut.
Best of luck with everything and let us know how things go!
Posts: 19 | From: United States | Registered: Jul 2007
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