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Old 04-20-09, 10:27 PM   #1
WilliamK1974
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How to handle a less-than-desired friendship (long)

The title of the post isn't ideal. Not sure what to call this.

This is the curse of social networking websites. I've managed to use facebook to get back in touch with old high school friends whom I haven't seen in at least 10 years. The first three weeks saw me getting three or four friendship requests every day. The trouble is that FB can also be used by friends whom you hoped to leave behind years ago. Perhaps I should explain.

The people of whom I speak used to be two of my closest friends. He and I were college fraternity brothers in the same pledge class. He could be a little annoying when he had too much to drink and had a bit of a temper. But otherwise, he could be great fun and seemed a loyal friend. She was in a couple of classes with me. They got together at a mixer we had with her sorority. Didn't take long before they were seriously dating and then they moved in together in an apartment not too far from the campus. I look back at that time fondly. I was always welcome at their place. I remember whiling away many an afternoon in their living room and crashing on their couch or living room floor after late parties. This was just a fun time, and it makes more recent events that much more difficult to bear.

They asked me to be in their wedding sometime around 1997. It's not fair to blame their marriage, but I date the bad stuff that started to around that time period. The way I understand it, there were money and job problems pretty early on and they were forced to move into her parent's house for a time. I can see that being a difficult time for sure. I know he started some kind of anger management program that turned him into a wicked smart aleck and she started treatments for depression.

After a period of time, they got back on their feet and got a place of their own. That's when she showed me her pill case. I've never seen such an assortment. She was taking one pill for this, another for the side effects of the first pill, another for the side effects of both pills together, etc. She spoke very slowly, took awhile to get the punchline of jokes, and her hands and head shook and trembled almost like someone with Parkinson's. By this time, I'd met the woman who became my wife, so we spent some time with them. She believed all the stories I told about how they used to be.

Well, our wedding came along, and I asked him if he'd be one of groomsmen. He accepted, and she invited herself to be one of the bridesmaids. My wife paid for her shoes and half the price of her dress, and she still complained incessantly about how expensive everything was. Just seemed odd to us.

They started having New Year's Eve parties once they got back out on their own, and initially they were pretty big fun affairs. Lots of people we knew, and some new faces as well. Problem is that they'd have loud fusses in front of everyone. So, over a few years, attendance dwindled until one year around 2003 it was just the four of us. That was a surreal and very uncomfortable evening as I recall. We stayed awhile and managed to beg off for an early departure. I told my wife that I didn't want for us to ever be in that position again, and that I felt like we didn't have anything in common with them anymore. She agreed, and I thought that was the end of it.

Well, like I said, FB seems to bring some folks back together. I accepted her friendship offer against my better judgement, then found out my wife chatted her quite frequently. Tonight, she said that my frat brother said he wanted us all to get together. I told her no way... I'm a little sick right now, so I have an excuse for this week. But that will only be good for a short time. I'm going to have to handle this somehow.

I feel like we have even less in common with them now than we did at that last party. For cryin' outloud, they have a daughter now, which is a scary thought.

Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but I feel like I just want to let this one go. Enjoy the pleasant memories and see the others as a cautionary tale of sorts.

Any ideas?
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Old 04-20-09, 10:39 PM   #2
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Get real sloppy drunk and throw up on their cat in the middle of the living room rug?

Beyond staying quiet and visibly uncomfortable I've got nothing.
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Old 04-20-09, 10:41 PM   #3
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Discuss this with your wife.

My suggestion is to tell the truth.

Glad to hear from you. Hope things are going well. I'm really not interested in a reunion.
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Old 04-20-09, 10:49 PM   #4
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Stay the heck away from FB. Seems simple.
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Old 04-20-09, 11:03 PM   #5
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Exactly why I never use mine.

The friends I want are the friends I have. But then again once someone crosses a line with me, then there will never be any going back. *shrugs*
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Old 04-20-09, 11:13 PM   #6
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If a meeting becomes inevitable, make it in a neutral place that's easy to leave.
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Old 04-21-09, 06:35 AM   #7
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I'm thinking might be worth a shot. You said they were really cool people and good friends but something changed them. Well perhaps something changed them back. A child can quickly bring some people back to reality.

Worse that can happen is you have a bad evening out. Best thing you can re-connect and become good friends again.
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Old 04-21-09, 07:27 AM   #8
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I'm thinking might be worth a shot. You said they were really cool people and good friends but something changed them. Well perhaps something changed them back. A child can quickly bring some people back to reality.

Worse that can happen is you have a bad evening out. Best thing you can re-connect and become good friends again.
I wasn't going to post in this thread, but I agree with all of this. ^^

Also, I had a friend and we were best friends for 15 years, then we had a huge blowout and didn't talk for two years (it was a blowout that 14 year olds have, even though we are in our 30s).

I ran across her profile on Facebook and noticed she finally had a kid--something new we both had in common, so I contacted her. The next day we met up again and instantly returned to being best friends.

New things in common; new time of life. People do change (for better or worse) and change back or change further.

As WJ said, the worst that could happen is a bad evening out; not really a big deal and not much to lose. If your wife has been chatting with her and enjoying it, do it for her.
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Old 04-21-09, 07:41 AM   #9
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Any ideas?
The good thing about doing social networking over the Web is that you can ignore people politely. You can either tell him/her how you really feel, or keep pushing them off. The choice is ultimately up to you.

Good luck.
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Old 04-21-09, 10:10 AM   #10
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When they suggest a meeting, gently blow them off 2 or 3 times. They will surely get the idea.
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Old 04-21-09, 10:38 AM   #11
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When they suggest a meeting, gently blow them off 2 or 3 times. They will surely get the idea.
yeah man. no need to fake it, unless your wife wants to get together, if so, then, my condolences.
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Old 04-21-09, 12:11 PM   #12
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Stay the heck away from FB. Seems simple.
*dingdingding*

We have a winner!

But in this case, I'd go with AllenG's response.
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Old 04-21-09, 02:39 PM   #13
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Set their house on fire. They should get the picture after that. It works 9 out of 10 times.

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Old 04-21-09, 03:07 PM   #14
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Stay off the site. They are nothing but problems for the most part. If people really want to get in contact with one another, they can do so without joining social networking sites. I am a believer that too many superficial relations are created these days via the internet.

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Old 04-21-09, 03:13 PM   #15
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close your facebook account and move without leaving a forwarding address
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Old 04-21-09, 05:52 PM   #16
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I find the whole FB old friend thing rather funny. There's usually a good reason we lose contact with those people over the years. I think we are getting more isolated in how we live our lives and spend way too much time living an anonymous existence. As humans we crave connection and it's easier to reestablish old relationships than to go out and make new ones. I think it's a step backwards. We grow by making new relationships, with new people. Reviving contact with old acquaintances is usually nostalgic at best and while that can be fun in the short term it is stagnating in the long run. YMMV.
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Old 04-21-09, 07:34 PM   #17
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I don't think this is a reason for closing up shop on FB. Like one response said, it's easy to politely ignore someone when you're online.

The whole FB friend thing is kind of funny. It's not like everyone's together sitting in my living room. But I at least have their email addresses now if needed. The bulk by far of my FB friends have been people whom I knew in high school. I went to a private, all-male high school, and it seems our friendships were different than those experienced by my co-ed educated peers. By the time we finished, it's not like everyone had become best buds or anything like that, but there was a palpable sense of a shared accomplishment. I felt like I could have trusted any of them with anything. We finished just before email and Internet technologies became so pervasive. I don't remember having an email address until I was a college sophomore. During this time, I lost track of even my closest friends for awhile, but now we're all in touch. We talk by FB, email, and telephone a couple of times per week, and get together for a couple of cookouts and boatrides in the summer. I'm very much in the minority in being married without children. My two closest friends have two kids apiece. I really think it's those old shared experiences during those formative years that keeps us wanting to maintain those connections.

Now, the friends I mentioned in the OP are college/university friends. Back in the Uni days, when people found out were I went to HS and that I was a fraternity guy, they would talk about how my high school must have been like a big frat and that I was just continuing a party that had started years before. Well... There were similarities. But the two organizations were far more different than they were the same. Maybe it's telling that I hear from very few of those guys on a regular basis, and am not all that bothered by it. I used to attend alumni meetings every month, but have started going to the gym for personal trainer workouts during that time.

This couple that I mentioned in the OP... I sometimes think that the reason I didn't cut them loose years before was that I hated to see what was happening to them, and hoped that one day they'd wake up and see for themselves. She'd realize that she'd turned into an overmedicated, quivering mess, and he'd figure out that his anger management program and adult ADD weren't helping him all that much. Trouble is that psychological issues rarely work that way.
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Old 04-21-09, 08:12 PM   #18
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Get real sloppy drunk, eat their cat and throw up on their living room rug?
Fixed
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Old 04-21-09, 10:09 PM   #19
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Fixed
Can you change it to their dog instead of their cat? They're not cat people. Seems they have four dogs now.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:05 AM   #20
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I don't think this is a reason for closing up shop on FB. Like one response said, it's easy to politely ignore someone when you're online.

The whole FB friend thing is kind of funny. It's not like everyone's together sitting in my living room. But I at least have their email addresses now if needed. The bulk by far of my FB friends have been people whom I knew in high school. I went to a private, all-male high school, and it seems our friendships were different than those experienced by my co-ed educated peers. By the time we finished, it's not like everyone had become best buds or anything like that, but there was a palpable sense of a shared accomplishment. I felt like I could have trusted any of them with anything. We finished just before email and Internet technologies became so pervasive. I don't remember having an email address until I was a college sophomore. During this time, I lost track of even my closest friends for awhile, but now we're all in touch. We talk by FB, email, and telephone a couple of times per week, and get together for a couple of cookouts and boatrides in the summer. I'm very much in the minority in being married without children. My two closest friends have two kids apiece. I really think it's those old shared experiences during those formative years that keeps us wanting to maintain those connections.

Now, the friends I mentioned in the OP are college/university friends. Back in the Uni days, when people found out were I went to HS and that I was a fraternity guy, they would talk about how my high school must have been like a big frat and that I was just continuing a party that had started years before. Well... There were similarities. But the two organizations were far more different than they were the same. Maybe it's telling that I hear from very few of those guys on a regular basis, and am not all that bothered by it. I used to attend alumni meetings every month, but have started going to the gym for personal trainer workouts during that time.

This couple that I mentioned in the OP... I sometimes think that the reason I didn't cut them loose years before was that I hated to see what was happening to them, and hoped that one day they'd wake up and see for themselves. She'd realize that she'd turned into an overmedicated, quivering mess, and he'd figure out that his anger management program and adult ADD weren't helping him all that much. Trouble is that psychological issues rarely work that way.
Bill:

All well and good but you did not say if you were going to meet up with them or not.

Come on now you sucked us into this now we have a stake in the outcome.

I'm an optimist so I say you meet up they are all better and you all become best of friends.

And I'm not so sure its a FB issue. After all you could have both belonged to the same country club or something.

Bill
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Old 04-22-09, 03:10 PM   #21
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Bill:

All well and good but you did not say if you were going to meet up with them or not.

Come on now you sucked us into this now we have a stake in the outcome.

I'm an optimist so I say you meet up they are all better and you all become best of friends.

And I'm not so sure its a FB issue. After all you could have both belonged to the same country club or something.

Bill
Ok, the reason I haven't said yet whether or not I'm going to meet up with them is cause I haven't decided. They haven't thrown out any concrete ideas or anything like that, so I don't have anything to go on just yet.

This isn't the best moment for something like that as I'm dealing with training for a new job, finishing up a course at the uni, and getting sick all at the same time. Don't feel like making a complex decision.

It's nice to think that they could be all better. I hope that's the case if only cause of their daughter. She needs a nice stable home with normal parents.

I don't know, but I have this nagging feeling that part of me, or even most of me, at the least doesn't care one way or the other if the friendship works out again and might be closer to not really wanting to get into that again. When it was good, it was really good, and I stuck with them as long as I could when things were bad. But a breaking point came, and making the break was kind of a relief.
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