What to do with friends who reject you, and then want to be friends again?

adriannaar asks: What should I do if this girl in my class is always mean to me, then nice, then mean, then nice again?! The girl I had the problem with sent me an email saying goodbye, and so I told her goodbye, that I do not want her problems, and angrily said if she were to reply I would block her and she never replied. Then we were talking on the Internet and she said she wants us to be good friends! She is just confusing me – she says goodbye then hello!

Hi adriannar –

As I love to point out, I don’t know much of anything about my pack friends.  I don’t know your real names, I don’t know where you live, I don’t know your ages… and I don’t know if you’re male or female!  If I could sniff you I’d know all these things at once (dogs’ noses are phenomenal!), but over the Internet, I can’t tell anything!

So I might be barking up the wrong tree, as the saying goes.  But one reason why people sometimes behave in this nice/mean/nice/mean way is that they’ve got a crush on the person, or at least are really attracted to them.  I have no idea if that’s the case.  If it is, and she just likes you a lot, then it’s your choice as to what to do about it – you could be super-friendly to her and try to make the relationship closer, or you could tell her that it’s not going to work out, or you could just leave things the way they are and see if her behavior changes at all.

But if that’s not it, if you’re absolutely sure, then we need to figure out what’s going on with her:

Does she treat lots of people this same way?  If so, then this isn’t really about you; she just has some issues about relationships she needs to work on.

Is she jealous of you, and that makes her want to be near you part of the time and push you away part of the time?  If so, you could try to talk with her about how that’s not working, and help her develop the same qualities in herself she envies in you.

Is she picking up signals from you that make her behave this way?  Maybe you have no idea of something you’re putting out there, that makes her feel adoring toward you one day, and furious at you the next.

The toughest part of this is that, if you don’t know, the only way to find out is to ask her, or get someone else to ask her.  Maybe the best idea is to try to, on one of her nice days, get her alone and ask her about it.  She might deny it all, or she might open up and tell you the truth.  But at least you would have tried.

And maybe, even if she says you’re crazy, that she’s not treating you differently on different days, the fact that you asked her will be enough to make her aware of what she’s been doing, and change her behavior to something more consistent.

Again, it’s no guarantee, but at least it’s worth a try.

But I’m noticing one other part to this: You.  If you told her you were going to block her, why were you then talking with her online?  If you said you were through with her, then why were you communicating with her at all?

You see, adriannaar, we all find people like this in our lives (yes, even we dogs do).  People who create lots of drama, and try to make themselves feel better by pushing friends out of their lives or dragging them back in.  And those people are certainly headaches, no question!  But the only thing that makes them able to do all this is nice people like you, who give in!

If you want to, here’s a simple solution to all this.  Tell her you’ll be happy to be friends, but that if she pushes you out again, telling you she doesn’t want to be friends, you’ll shut the door.  You’ll be done with her.  And this time, you won’t be talking with her online and making yourself available to her again.

My guess is that it’ll work.  If I read her right, she’s someone who desperately needs to feel important and powerful and cared for.  So she pulls these games to make herself feel better, but in the end, she really wants to keep you as a friend.  So your job is to make her treat you better.

But… if I’m wrong, and if she starts acting mean and cruel again… let her go.  And this time, don’t let her back.  You don’t deserve this treatment from anyone.  And if she’s that uncaring, you’re better off without her.

Believe me, I’ve seen this sort of situation go well, and really badly.  So be strong.  Don’t let someone treat you worse than you deserve!




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