Is there a graceful way to dump a friend?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tictoc, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    I feel like I'm in junior high...I have thought long and hard about a friend of mine--let's call her M--and I have decided that I need to end the friendship, for my sake and for difficult child.

    M and I have been 'friends' since difficult child was about a year old. She has a son the same age as difficult child and our younger children are the same age. I think she has always thought we were closer friends than we really are. I haver never felt particularly close to her since a lot of our values just are not in sync. But, having kids the same age and being involved in similar activities has kept us together.

    Now, however, the boys are in first grade and we are no longer involved in any of the same activities. So, I want OUT. She has been very judgmental about difficult child's behavior and just is not supportive. I don't like the way she speaks to difficult child and I don't like the behavior her son is learning from her. I have many other reasons why I need out of this friendship, but the issues with her behavior towards difficult child are the really big reason.

    So, how does one go about breaking off a friendship when everyone involved is well over 21? I have declined every invitation to get together since September, yet she still calls me. I have even stopped returning her calls, but she still calls. Sometimes she catches me at home, but usually she has to leave a message. I had hoped she would take the 'hint,' but that hasn't happened. I think I'm going to have to be more direct. Is e-mail a cowardly way out??? And, how would that go..."Dear M: I don't like you and I never have." Hmmm...maybe too harsh. OK, just writing that made me feel better.

    Seriously, I'm thinking about this too much.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gosh...this is hard. I am so not good at this stuff so I am not someone to ask. I hope you can find a way to do this easily.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was going to suggest tapering the communication but then I got further in your post and realized that she's not backing off the way most would. Is she not getting the hint or just not respecting it?

    I guess either way the options include changing your phone number and not telling her the new one but that's a PITA. If you just want to make the hint stronger, have someone else answer when she calls and let them tell her that you don't want to talk on the phone that night. Or, you could just get on the phone and say that you don't think you two have much in common anymore so you are trying to make new friends and feel it's best to distance yourself from this friendship at this point in time. Or that you just don't have time anymore.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh...getting a new phone number...didnt think of that! I just did that because I changed companies and boy am I so happy with how many less calls I am getting from people who knew me through my
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I would prefer to do this in person, if possible. I'd just tell her the truth: that you don't have much in common anymore and you do not feel continuing the friendship would be healthy for either you or for difficult child. Therefor, you want to end it.

    She may not take it well, but tough nuts. You have the right to choose your friends.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I would go with structured ignoring. You've already started the process of drifting, so all you need to do is escalate that.

    Does your phone have call-display, or distinctive ring-tones, or some other means of identifying that she is the one calling? If so, put it to use to screen her calls. When she calls, don't answer, and don't return her calls. If she happens to catch you, then be distant and end the call quickly. Say, "You've caught me at a really bad time. I have to go now." Don't say that you'll call her back later or give her the opportunity to ask when to call you back. Just end the call after that statement.

    Be polite but firm. You don't have to give her any reason. Just stop welcoming the contact. Even if she's been ignoring your hints until now, she will pick up on the new behaviour. If she continues to contact you after that, just explain politely that you no longer have as much in common and are not as interested in staying close. I think Klmno's words to that effect were excellent.

    Sorry you find yourself in this predicament.

  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I would opt for Trinity's approach...or non-approach. Putting something in writing can be dangerous if you have a change of heart later- plus, you run the risk of what you've written being misunderstood.

    Caller ID is your friend. :)

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-not writing anything down. It can come back to bite you. I am in a similar position with-a long-time friend who doesn't even have any kids, and there is no hope, ever, of getting her to understand my son.
    It's hard.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wow, tictoc I was going to post about the almost exact same thing, except my ex-friend is a skank, so it should not be that difficult for me to just tell her to blow off.

    I like trinity's idea as well. But if she point blank asks you, "are you avoiding me because it feels like you are?" then what?

    At some point, I think you should be prepared with something to say that will deliver the blow with grace and kindness. Perhaps you could write something down, or practice in front of the mirror or simply go over the 'right' things to say in your head.

    That is what I've been's difficult not to allow my anger to get in the way, but I try, of how I try. I won't hijack your post, but believe me, your post couldn't have been more timely!!! Good luck and let us know how it goes~
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    "My life is getting busier now that easy child is old enough to be in her own activities. I have decided to cut down on some of my own activities to make sure my kids can be involved in the programs they want to be in. I am no longer available for the events we used to do. It may be a few years before I can get involved again."

    That will not work for JoG. For JoG: "I have decided to cut down on my commitments outside the house. Now that my girls are adults, I would like to be more available to do mother/daughter things with them. I just don't have the time for the things we used to do together."
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I would do as Trinity said. Since your kids are the same age, you are likely to run into her at some point and you don't want things to be tense or even adversarial.

    If she asks outright why you've been avoiding her, I would be honest about your feelings about how she treats difficult child. Tactful, but honest.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I concur on the drifting away. Limit as much contact as possible. If she asks... Yes, be tactful, and be honest, but my personal opinion? "Things are very busy right now and I just don't have the time I used to. I'll let you know when things settle down."
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think using lack of time is tried and true - and it IS being truthful. You simply do not have the time for her in your life! That is the tact I am going to take with my exgf. After reading this thread last night I thought more about what I would say, as I have been doing since Christmas when I learned she is moving back to my area, and I am ready.

    tictoc - practicing what you would say will help you if you run into her unexpectantly. That is my fear, that I will run into my exfriend at Kohls or Walmart or someplace. Best of luck!
  14. ML

    ML Guest

    I love what Andy wrote!
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    We (I say we, but it was mostly husband) had a friend who--similar to situation you describe--we no longer had anything in common with. Our values did not seem to be in sync. We would decline invitations, but he did not get the hint.

    Finally, husband sat him down and just said politely, but matter-of-factly, that we had grown apart and seemed to be headed different directions in life. And that's OK. Don't feel bad--we just don't feel the same closeness that we used to. yadda yadda yadda.

    And that seemed to work. We felt bad--but relieved.

    Sometime later, we were moving. Most of our "friends" were unavailable--too busy to help. This guy (who had heard through a friend of a friend or something) came by and OFFERRED to help us--for the sake of old times. He totally went out of his way for us.

    We ended up feeling really terrible that we "dumped" him....because he turned out to be one of the best friends we ever had. Today, our kids call him Uncle.

    So yes, maybe the friendship is not what you need right now--but perhaps you should not close the door all the way? You never know....

  16. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I would just continue to ignore her calls and avoid her. Like many others have said, you may run into her at events or school or may even have that child in your son's class in the future. If you do run into her, you can just be polite and tell her you've been involved in so many other things. If she confronts you, then perhaps you may want to just say that you haven't liked the way things have gone the past several times you've gotten together with them and tell her you'd like to leave it at that.

    If you flat out tell her you don't like her and don't want to be friends with her, she may end up talking to other people and bad mouthing you, causing problems with other people, teachers, etc. You never know how she'll react.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think this is an interesting thread. Mostly has always been myself and Dude that have been dumped, and over the years I swear I have added friendship dumping 101 to my list of knowledgeable talents. (sadly) Then again, like I say Dude always did have that innate cowboy-like talent of cutting our true friends from the herd.

    On the flip side of this tictoc - Aren't you curious why this woman still wants to be your friend? Is it that she doesn't have other friends or is she just a friend collector, or maybe she feels sad or sorry for you or difficult child because some of our kids just get treated very wrong and there are some of us that will stick up for the underdog's kid and their parents no matter what, and continue to include regardless.

    I'd ask her what it is about you that she finds so appealing - flat out - that makes her want to stay in touch like she does...then lead in with "Because I was thinking we really seem to have gone in different directions with our kids doing different things and all, and that's okay - but I have so much time dedicated to X that it makes it hard to really be the kind of friend I like to be, and I don't ever want to hurt anyone's feelings or come off like I'm better than anyone and I sure don't want you to ever feel like I'm avoiding you."

    Maybe something like that instead of doing to her what everyone has done to me and Dude...and still do for a change would be refreshing.

    Either that or you could consistently invite her to come with you to attend some mundane hobby-lobby activity like making crocheted toilet paper cover kitties and maxi-pad Christmas slippers.....or tell her you volunteer five nights a week at the homeless shelter would she like to come assist you? ----You come here you know - ideas for nutty things to tell her wouldn't be so hard to find. :tongue: Woodworkers Union Hotdog BBQ and Roller Derby Disco.....Campfire Girls Car wash in January to benefit Neil Sedaka's new album......
  18. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I have a person/friend like this. She is also a "M". My M and I got to know each other when both our boys were about 8. It seemed we had a ton in common initially. Once we got to know each other, I wondered how on earth I thought I had a thing in common with her.
    I tried various tactics to no avail, to dump her. It eventually plummeted to me being brutally blunt. IE> M, please stop calling me when all I hear is you interupting conversation to berate your son, call him names, tell him he's stupid, call him a retard, tell him to get the BEEP out of your face, etc. I find it very degrading to him and I cant' believe you speak to your own child that way. I also can't believe you don't see how rude it is to behave that way during a phone conversation with me, then cheerfully say "sorry about that" and resume whatever thread of chat you were previously on about. We have nothing in common. It's time we both face it and stop contacting each other.

    That didn't work either!!!

    So I made call display my best friend. She was the reason I had the company add it to my phone line. When I got fed up of hearing the phone ring, which I would ignore, from time to time I would answer and do as suggested above. "Sorry M, no time to talk, busy times around here" (you get the idea). The odd time I would say "No time to talk, being sucked into a social whirlwind, so sorry" (to hint I was moving on with other people, although frankly I'm a closet hermit and have a limited small group of people I consider friends that I socialize with).

    She calls me a few times a year now. I don't answer. But, if I see her out in public I don't have to worry about a huge falling out etc. She probably feels crappy towards me and doesn't like me much now, which is fine. But because it didnt' come to a huge fight or war of words, we are civil and that means no drama.

    Good luck, it can be tricky.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think the best way is just tapering off communication/participation.
    If it doesn't start to happen naturally, and she asks, then go ahead and say that your life situation has changed and that you are doing different things these days and will not have as much time for chit chat or to do the kinds of things you two once enjoyed together.

    This pas year, I did not send as many emails to an old friend (tapering communication).

    We have clearly drifted apart...but it is as if no one wants to fully acknowedge it. When my son got married, she did not attend (although she was invited).
    When major things happen in our lives...there are no phone calls (this goes both ways).

    This year, I did not send a Christmas present to her. I did sent a nice card with- a little note. The Christmas present exchange was becoming a longer enjoyable. At this seems like a nice card/note is more appropriate. A present is too personal and not warranted.

    It was hard to do...but it was my way of limiting the relationship. Sometimes I wonder if it was the right thing to do...but overall I am sure it was. The relationship has simply changed.
  20. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Thanks for all the advice! I don't think I have the nerve to say anything in person...wish I did. The tapering isn't really working. To answer the person who asked why M is holding on to this friendship: I think she is lonely. We used to be involved in a playgroup together, but most of those moms have either gone back to work or have moved away. I think M has had trouble finding new friends. I do feel bad for her. I think part of the problem is that she has poor social skills and doesn't realize that she says very rude things to people. Seriously, she says something rude or insulting (about difficult child, my house, someone else's child, etc) nearly every time I talk to her. I just can't handle the negativity any more, especially as it relates to my child and my family.

    So, what to do? Right now I'm debating between leaving her a message when I know she won't be home or sending a quick e-mail. Either way, the message will be that I'm very busy with my volunteer work (true) and my new yoga class (also true) and that I don't have time to get together.

    I hope it works.