Wretched asks: Hello Shirelle! It’s been a long time since I last reached out to you. Hope you’re doing well. Anyway, I am really conflicted right now if I should cut off my long time friend or stay as is. She’s been my friend for 6 years now but I feel more and more uncomfortable around her. I admit that I am also in the wrong here but this issue just keeps on recurring. I am not really fond of messaging people tho we’re the bestest of friends, 24/7. I prefer interacting with them personally but in social media, I am really cold. My energy is drained and I find interacting with them exhausting. So I only reply only when I’m at my best because I don’t want to give them a half-hearted reply. So this friend was hurt by this kind of behaviour of mine. Mind you that this was not the first time that it happened. She kind of noticed this behavior right from the start of our friendship. It’s just that I find it truly exhausting to explain this thing over and over again to her for the past six years. I am busy (which she was aware of due because of college) and was dealing with a lot of things personally (anxiety, depression and overthinking) but I still has to deal with her emotional baggage. I understand that I am not the perfect friend but I do hope that she somehow understands me. We’ve been friends for a long time already but why can’t she understand that I need a lot of space, me-time and my energy drains really fast with just interacting with other people. She always complains that I don’t reply fast (that’s because I’m not 24/7 on social media, I am always reading books) and that I always reply the next day (which is because she always message me at night and I had already told her that I’m already sleeping at 9 pm or 10 pm at most and I don’t really message them back if it’s way past that time. I think that’s called boundary.) So I knew her when we were teens and now we’re on our 20’s, but I feel like she hasn’t grown mentally and emotionally. I understand her trauma from the past but we’re already at the age that we are accountable for our actions. I just think that our values and goals doesn’t align anymore. I also get annoyed that she doesn’t seem to move on and let go of the me on the past. I’ve long changed from the person I was before and was unlearning bad behavior and such, but she still believes I am still the same person who she first knew. I just laughed it off awkwardly and let her be. But the thing is we were really close. I can’t cut her off nor put a distance between us because it would seem awkward to our friends. We are in group of four and my college friends are also kinda close to her so it would really be awkward if something happened between us that would sour our relationship. Is what I’m feeling right? I do have the strong urge to cut off our friendship but things will get messy.
Hi Wretched –
I have to admit, I’m a little perplexed by this one. You two have been friends for six years, and are great when you meet in person, but she’s suddenly saying your friendship doesn’t count unless you spend more time on social media, and respond to her right away there? I hate to think how she treats her grandparents!!
You say she hasn’t grown, and may well be right, but she does sound like she’s changed over this time. And it definitely sounds like she wants to take charge in the relationship – not be equals anymore but define what you need to do and when. We dogs have a similar issue, especially with friends of the same sex, where our whole pack mindset requires one member to be the Alpha. And once that status is set, we get along great, but until then we’re likely to fight to determine who that is. So it sounds like your friend wants to be the Alpha in your relationship, and you’re not willing for that to happen – and that’s fine.
I fully understand why you’d want to resolve all this, to come up with some solution that makes it all okay and easy. But I don’t think she’s going to allow that. As you say, if you pull away or cut her off, that’ll make things messy. And I’m not sure you want to do that anyway, as it sounds like she has other qualities that are great.
So here’s my advice for you, Wretched: Keep things exactly as they are now. But state your boundaries even more clearly.
What does that mean? It means to write her a note and say something like “I know you want me to respond immediately to you on social media, but I need you to know that I’m only on there occasionally. I’ll always get back to you when I can, but I go to bed before you do. There’s no point in your getting your expectations up – I simply can’t stay up later. I love you and will always be your friend, but I’m too busy to spend that many hours on these sites.”
Then if she complains again, you can just remind her that you told her this was exactly what you’d do! And if she tells you you’re not cool because you’re not hanging out on the social media platforms she is… agree! Tell her she’s right, that you’re too busy to be doing cool stuff like she is, and maybe even say you envy her about it.
I get this myself. I only respond to emailed letters. People ask if I can meet them on Discord and such, and I just apologize and explain that I can’t.
I find that people accept it once I tell them this. And I hope she is able to do the same with you. But again, I insist, the only way it’ll work is if you write her something very clearly. Not in a reply to her complaint, but all on your own.
Hoping this works!