Toxic Friendships: When to break up with your BFF
By KarenLynnn on August 22, 2011
There was a little segment on this on the Today Show which jogged me into writing this blog. You see, it's been rather difficult. I don't handle breakups well. And I seem to break up "meanly": saying things I regret later just to make sure they too get angry enough to not want to have anything to do with me ever again. And then I rewrite history in my head. I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I push the dagger in to sever the tie and then I miss the friendship, the relationship, the past.
I broke up with my best friend "Cath" just about a year and a half ago. We met while her and her hubby were painting our house. Michael and I decided we were tired of white walls and wanted to bring color into our house. They were/are awful nice people. We started doing Tuesday dinner out, which was pretty awesome because it took one day of cooking and cleaning up out of my weekly equation. But we always went where they wanted to go. At first we thought they were just excited about showing us their favorite restaurants, but after the 67th time eating 50 cent wings at the same place Every. Tuesday. Night. we were done there.
We started doing football games, always at our house because we have a man cave and 82 inch TV. The prep for game day always requires planning, what are we going to snack on, and what to serve for half time, but she helped and made it more fun, rather than work that fell on just my shoulders. Hubby and her hubby also became fast friends. They'd lift weights together Every. Single. Sunday. Morning. But that was ok with me, it gave me a chance to do things (or not do things) around the house while he was out.
The trouble started when our 17 year old son and their 18 year old daughter fell in love. The four grownups had long talks about how the kids relationship will never come between our friendship/s.
Cath is quite a gossip. At first I thought she was just "filling me in" on people she was prepping me to meet. The info she fed me about each person was endless, relentless, just exasperating. My mind would be marshmallow by the time we would go our separate ways after a "date" with them.
I'm a great multitasker, on the computer. Not so much in real life. We would have the game on, and her constant, incessant chattering would make me just space out. If we were out eating, when her hubby and mine were talking about something, she would turn to me and start another conversation, always gossip. I don't do mixed conversation well. I hear bits of each conversation and my brain just can't sort quick enough. I blame that on chemo and menopause, but I digress. I don't do gossip well.
The break-up came within a month of my daughter asking Cath (a later 40 something) where she shops- "in the junior section?". There was a rift between our daughters and us girls, my daughter did not approve of the way Cath dressed. My friend turned to me and said "at least I don't dress like a frumpy grandma". I was floored. My dress style is nothing like hers, she's an aging Harley Chick, still wearing the clothes she wore in her teens when on the back of a Harley. Scantily clad.
I tried not to let that affect our friendship, but my bff wanted me to take her side against my daughter, and don't ask me to take sides against my kids.
I started putting room between us. During a game, I'd sit on the end and make hubby sit beside me, and of course our friend Ed wanted to sit next to M. so that put enough distance for me to avoid listening to gossip. I was just hating it. The only time we were alone together was for smoking outside and I was just courteous, not engaging at all. I would change the conversation to photography or gardening but she would never stop.
Then their daughter broke it off with our son. They had a whirlwind relationship and were engaged with a ring, within weeks. When they broke up, he was devastated, so crushed. It was ugly around here, without going into details, their split affected just about every aspect of our life.
The week of the breakup, they joined us for dinner and filled us in with gossip about our son. so b. is seeing s. again? and they are engaged? obvious info gathering questions. M and I decided that was it, we were done, we had had enough, B.s problems were very serious and we just didn't want to look to him like we were taking their daughters side, or whatever, we didn't want to hear any more gossip about the kids. It was over.
Then they took our friend Ed out for his birthday dinner. Ed is 85. She told him that we were terrible parents that we had done "this this and this" and blah blah blah blah blah poor Ed couldn't even eat his dinner he was so upset at the gossip AND he was stuck with them because they picked him up and drove him to the restaurant!
That was the end. I called her and said "how dare you gossip about us to Ed" and "this is why we broke up with you guys, because you are a GOSSIP and you drive me BONKERS".
We've run into them since the breakup and we just do the Hi How Are You Gotta Go Bye conversations.
Here is the crazy part. I miss the friendship. I miss doing things with them, even though she made me crazy. It was fun to have a 4 way friendship, when we all liked each other. Honestly, the split feels like divorce.
How do I reconcile my heart and brain?
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