Toxic Friendship.

What with all of the new visitors this week alone ( thousands of you Bridey lovelies – where have you been hiding all this time?!) I have been giving some serious thought to the importance of our community and the friendly and positive environment that the RMW team endeavour to maintain.

Rock My Wedding exudes pretty, and we love that fact. What is more important however is that we provide a platform for diverse discussion, a soundboard for like-minded ladies who perhaps are not in the privileged position of being surrounded by a close network of friends that they can turn to. And we don’t just mean tips on what blooms are in season either. We mean everything. And anything. We are not here to discriminate on topic.

As we move forward into 2011 you may find that we publish more frequently on what you may refer to as a “chat post” – similar to a thread on a forum if you like. Rebecca, Adam or I will essentially begin what to any one of us at that particular point is a pertinent subject matter and invite all of our readers to converse, share their thoughts and ask for advice.

I’ll start with a confession.

I think that I may have, I think that I might have um….. ( says in very quiet teeny tiny voice)……dumped a friend. I can’t say I feel at all pleased about it. And for a long time I felt torn and wretched and guilty, so very very guilty. Because I value my friends more than anything, and as a friend to others I regard myself as kind, generous, honest and above all fiercely fiercely loyal.

The thing is, not all people we build a friendship with in our junior school youth ( as I did with this particular person) will grow into adults that we still share the same interests, beliefs and future plans with. But this isn’t about just that. It’s about getting back what you put in, it’s about that person being there for you when you need them most, just as you would be for them. It’s about that person supporting you, through good times and bad. And not turning their back on you when there is perhaps nothing tangible for them to gain.

It may just be naivety ( or on my behalf looking back complete stupidity) but I bet there is a whole bunch of you whom through an important event in your life ( and as this is a wedding blog I’m thinking particularly the obvious – planning your Big Day)…. have been let down by someone whom you thought would be a really important element of that event. I know I was.

Luckily for me there was so much going on at the time and I had enough genuine friends that by pushing it to the very perimeters of my mind it almost passed me by. And it wasn’t until afterwards, when other people mentioned what had occurred that it all started to sink in.

Like the Titanic.

I had been let down. Hugely hugely let down, by one of the very people that should have basked in my happiness and loved-up elation.

So what do you do? Let it lie? Because I don’t do being mean. Or shouty. Or vengeful.

And so I’ve just disappeared……. Quietly. Because life is too short to spend on those who don’t want to make any effort to return your calls or emails unless it suits them, don’t respect you enough to turn up on time or do what they say they will, think it’s ok to take and take and take…..

A few weeks back I was discussing the whole debacle with Anna K ( you will recognise her as a frequent RMW commenter!) …. as I think the guilt was getting to me and I was a bit concerned about the nature of this post. These are the wise words she had to share:

A few years ago, on my 26th birthday, I looked around the room and realised that for the first time in my life, all the people that I wanted to be there, were there. There were no “should’s”. Only “want’s”.

26! Why did I leave it so long? I hadn’t realised something very, very basic. You can’t choose your family, but you CAN choose your friends.

When I leave a conversation with a friend, I want to be rejuvinated, energised, reaffirmed. I have energy. They have energy. They give it, I give it, and when I leave them, I feel good. I want to surround myself with people who I respect, who I can learn from, who I admire and love, who make me laugh and make me think. I give a hell of a lot to my friends and, I am, quite frankly, too old to be bothering with people who a) drain my energy or b) make me question myself. As you phrased it, the “toxic friend”.

A friendship should be a thing of balance. You should get from a friend as much as you give. And of course, there will be hard times when a friend leans on you more than you need them. That’s natural. But you look at that person in the round, and know they’d do exactly the same thing for you, and you never, EVER feel taken for granted.

If I’m on the rocks with a friend, I always ask myself this – “If this was a boyfriend, would I put up with it?” You know what, half the time you wouldn’t. But somehow, it’s really hard to “break up” with friends. I’ve done it, and it is brutally gut-wrenching and difficult. It’s like chopping off a limb. Friends grow around you, parts of your life are intertwined, you have a shared history and often that history is more complex and emotionally anchored than a history with a boyfriend has ever been. So why would you put yourself through it? Why would you willingly give your time and effort and energy and love to someone who just sucks it all right up and doesn’t give any back?

Because often, you don’t realise that you deserve better. You have a choice. You do not have to put up with someone just because you’ve known them a long time, or because you have a history, or because you should show loyalty. Not if they make you feel sad, or tired, or lacking. That person has a responsibility towards you, just as you do them. When I “broke up” with my toxic friends, I made a choice – and my choice was to surround myself only with strong, kind, wise friends. Because they help me to be a better person. And because I become a better person through knowing them.

Is that toxic friend helping you to be a better person? I doubt it. I bet you feel drained when you leave them, I bet you feel obligated to call them, and I bet you put up with things you simply do not deserve. You know that line in “As Good As It Gets” – “you make me want to be a better man”. That’s the approach I take to friends. They want me to be the best of myself, and I them. And anyone who drags that down just isn’t welcome.

Bravo Anna!

( I love her……)

So lovelies, now it’s up to you, what are your thoughts on toxic friendships? Any stories or advice to share on your own experiences?

We’re here to talk 😉

Big Loyal Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

50 thoughts on “Toxic Friendship.

  1. Would just like to say that I think this is a) a very courageous post and b) right on the money! It’s sometimes hard to face up to the truths about your friendships, but very worthwhile when you do! Since planning my wedding I have been guilty of occasionally questioning do i have enough friends? Who will come to my hen party? Who will be at the wedding? But when it comes down to it, the handful of friends (and I mean proper lie-down-in-traffic-for-you friends) are the only ones I want there anyway, no matter their number! x

  2. Jesus. You read my mind.

    Firstly, the sense of community is why I bloody love RMW. If it wasn’t for you lot we’d be getting married in a castle with cannons. Not for us despite being beautiful.

    In terms of friendship its difficult. Female friendship is the most complex relationship I have. My best friend is someone I met at university. I don’t have any long term best friends from school. Mainly because school was a complete hellish experience for me and secondly because I “dumped” them as soon as I realised what real friendship was.

    I can count my good female friends on one hand. I have one from when I was born, university and two from postgraduate courses and one from when I lived in London. In the mean time I’ve had friends come and go. We send Christmas cards but it doesn’t mean anything else. They aren’t TRUE friends.

  3. Well done for getting this of your chest!
    I would really love to tell the person ive ‘cut out’ why ive cut them out to their face, as it was them in the wrong, but somehow I know I will look like the bad one for making them face the fact they are not that great a friend. I am safe in the knowledge that they secretly know what they have done as they havent bothered to contact me.
    I think that your right people change as they grow and there is absolutly nothing wrong with that, just because you recognised it first doesnt make you the bad person.

    I think at times like this when you are organising your wedding you really do find out who your real friends are!
    So many people have said to me ‘let me know if i can do anything to help’ and when you ask them to do something or even find something out for you, they convieniently disapear off the face of the earth!

    Ps i love the chat posts idea!

  4. I am one of the newly engaged who have flocked here since the new year – and what a relief it is to have found a wedding site that doesn’t make me feel a) scared or b) a complete chump for not knowing what my ‘theme’ is going to be!

    Anyway, I digress…. this post strikes a real chord with me (and probably almost every other girl) in that I too have struggled with post-friend ‘dumping’ guilt.

    Mine was well and truly extinguished at our engagement celebration, when I looked around the table and saw the same faces that sit round a table with me when the road gets rocky.

    For better or worse definitely applies to platonic love too!

  5. I’m lucky to have four amazingly wonderful close girlfriends and one guy friend that I love equally. All are different- completely different and I think that’s so important. Each brings out the best in me (I hope I do the same for them) and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

    My father once said that you can count your true friends on one hand, your lie-down-in the road friends as JanieP put so well and it couldn’t ring more true! I love my other friends but I know that I could call these people anytime of the day no matter what and they would never judge me and always be ‘there’. Hence now I have 5 bridesmaides as I could not choose between them!!

    I think it’s very natural to drift away from some old friends as we all change as we get older, have busy lives and generally start to go down different paths. I do miss some of them from time to time I have to say but that’s just the way life goes…

    XX

  6. Ahh, such a true post.

    I’ve been in the same situation myself recently, not easy to break away from people but when the relationship upsets you more than it pleases you it’s time to leave it alone.

    It was just a few weeks ago that my friend (a good friend!) and I were discussing the same thing – about another mutual friend. Over a few glasses of vino, we decided she must be a vampire, so re-named her vampire J.

    The reasonings behind our thoughts were that for years now she has sucked the energy from us. Whenever either of us had called to see her, she just emotionally drained us and we felt like the blood had been taken from every part of our bodies. You come away from her house absolutely exhausted every time.

    Now, everybody does go through a bad patch and you should always be there for your friends, but it has been the same for years. Complete negativity and darkness in all parts of her life.

    She attracts the wrong men and keeps them, gets completely drunk and cries about them everytime we see her (mainly for attention) lives in the past and gets depressed over ‘what could have been’
    She cries and moans about her financial status because she is single and thinks a man will come and rescue her from her lemonade life to give her a champagne lifestyle (but then goes out and buys Mulberry handbags and designer clothes on her credit cards)
    She cries about her weight, but then eats nothing but junk food.

    The thing that has made us realise that she has turned into a vampire friend, is her recent revelation that she has been seeing a married man for the past two years. He calls to see her every Thursday morning for sex. It’s that sick that she doesn’t even get out of bed to answer her door, she leaves him a key under the mat and he lets himself in a 7am. Apart from that he never calls or sees her at all. It is just wrong and we can’t condone it. He has 3 beautiful children and a lovely wife. She is convinced he is madly in love with her and that she is going to live happily ever after with him. Deluded!?? I think so.

    Everything she does turns into a disaster and she brings it on herself, she is miserable, negative and we just don’t have the time for her and are phasing her out of our lives.

    It’s sad in a way because her behaviour over the years has just got worse and worse. We’ve sat with her for hours whilst she’s cried about her life, tried to help her but it gets thrown back in your face. She wouldn’t think once about helping any of her friends out in times of need because she lives in a world where everything is about her.

    Bye bye vampire J, time to go!

  7. I agree with Robyn’s Dad, I always thought choosing bridesmaids would be difficult for me because I have quite a few friends that I love and who love me, but when it came to deciding my bridesmaids, the decision was actually instant. I simply thought, if I was ringing right now sobbing my heart out with very bad news rather than amazing news, which numbers would I dial first? Not difficult, in the end.

    I have had to “dump” friends before, actually the most notable ocassion was extremely awkward because I lived in a house with 2 girls and 1 guy, and 3 of us ended up needing to dump the 1 other girl all at the same time. Because while she was a lovely person to spend time with, she was draining in an emotional sense. When we met we clicked instantly, she made me feel valued as a friend, I truly believed we had an amazing and equal friendship and I counted myself lucky to know her… and then she made me realise that it was an illusion, our friendship was only valuable to her when it fitted in with what she wanted. When it was about me, and her plans didn’t fit, she simply didn’t give a backward glance. I would say I found this as devastating at the time as any betrayal by any man. I felt worthless as a friend, like I hadn’t been good enough for her, and I felt immensely betrayed by the realisation that everything that had meant so much to me, hadn’t meant half as much to her. I assumed it was a failing on my part, that if I were better, she would treat me as a better friend, and tried to keep the friendship going.

    Now I know that it wasn’t me, it was her (as they say), because I WAS a good friend, I would have been there for her through anything, and I was. It took me a long time to realise that the problems in our friendship came not from my failings but from hers, and I just quietly withdrew myself. She probably wouldn’t ever have noticed if it hadn’t been for the fact that my other two housemates (who were, by the way, the first two numbers I called above and who are amazing wonderful people) at the same time also opted to withdraw from her for similar but slightly different reasons. I do feel guilty for the fact that from the outside it must appear that we ganged up and left her out, but I know I couldn’t have sustained that friendship. I need to know I am not worthless and I do deserve to get back what I give in.

    Luckily, I do have some very good friends who show me that everyday. Sometimes they surprise me with how incredible they can be, and now when I strive to deserve their friendship, I do it because I know they do the same for me.

  8. Auntie Anna?!? Love it!! Although it makes me feel a bit…matronly. So I’d do my best to make advice a bit frisky.

    I have dumped 3 friends. The first when I was 22. I am ashamed to say I was a coward. Avoided her texts, made up excuses why I was busy and couldn’t see her. Didn’t handle it in the right way at all and tried to let it “fizzle”. Didn’t work in the slightest. Just ended up upsetting her, and only explained why when it was all over and the hurt had set in.

    The second dumping fiasco was when I was 24. I learned from my previous mistake, and tried to do it the grown-up way, how I’d do it if it were a boyfriend. I told her we just wanted different things (we did!) and it wasn’t working and I felt stressed and exhausted and lacking around her. It was brutal.

    Er…sometimes honesty is NOT the best policy. She went absolutely batshit crazy on me.

    Third friend? Last summer. I finally nailed how to do the breaking up. She hurt me very very much, I gave her a chance, she didn’t deliver, and now I have just politely withdrawn. If I see her, I am faultlessly friendly but distant. I don’t promise her anything, I don’t talk with her about anything important to me. She has got a huuuuge Anna K-shaped hole in her life right now. I don’t even miss her.

    But now, my circle of friends is the elite. And I love it.

  9. Great timely post! I love RMW 🙂

    I am still in the process of dumping a friend… She is similar to the VampireJ described above. Thing is she just doesn’t GET IT. And I’m quite weak and though I ignore 50% of her texts I give in and feel bad… I’ve decided to see how it goes although to be honest I have truly withdrawn and am merely at the polite stage… I’m not sure she even knows where our wedding is going to be yet!

    Must re-evaluate it all periodically, and if necessary have the balls (or perhaps that should be boobs?!) to dump her!

  10. Getting married means that your relationships with other people change. For example, maybe there’s now no way your best girlfriend can come round, strew her clothes all over your hall, sitting room and bed before a night out once you are sharing your home with your husband.

    She’s still your friend and you still love her but sometimes accepting change is hard. If you know your friend is worth it, even if she is behaving ‘badly’ cut her some slack.

  11. OMG! This is exactly what happened to me mid-2010. I’d spent so long making excuses for the ‘friend’ who never listened, always presumed, forced herself on every element of my life for almost 10 years. When she forced herself into my wedding party and made me cancel any thoughts of even having a hen party (because I couldn’t bear to imagine what scene she might’ve caused) I had to do something about it. It was so difficult but I finally plucked up the courage and talked to her about my feelings to do with the wedding, in particular as she had invited herself to be my MOH, and how it wasn’t going to work with what I had planned (I worked hard to ensure I didn’t upset her & blamed it all on myself) That happened 8 months ago – and I’ve never heard from her again. All the effort I put in over the years & the grief I went through trying to work out how to tell her that I didn’t want her to be my MOH (I didn’t want a MOH of any kind – if she’d cared to ask in the first place!) & actually she didn’t even care enough to remain in contact.

    But everything happenes for a reason and, at almost 29 years old, I am now surrounded by the most amazing group of friends I could wish for – each of which gives me as much as I give them and I will forever be grateful for that.

    I think it takes a while to realise who your true friends are. I’m just glad I’ve realised now and just my true friends will therefore be part of my big day.

    Thank you for sharing Charlotte. xx

  12. Wow gemma, that sounds terrible, sounds like this overshadowed all your planning, how dare she! Being asked to be a BM or MOH is a privelage not a right! well done xx

  13. This was a wonderful and honest read, and a post like this is perhaps never more vital than when talking to wedding planners. I will be nearly 22 in September when I marry my lovely other half and I perhaps have quite a lot of the naivety you’ve talked about. I struggled to pick a bridesmaid who I trusted to make me feel good about me on the biggest day of my life, and more importantly a bridesmaid who appreciated just how lucky my fiance and I were to find each other. It’s a very special day in a girl’s life, and the people who play a big part in your wedding day should be alongside you for years to come. With this in mind I chose my two sisters, my fiance’s sister and one of my nearest and dearest friends. She, despite being a very normal 21 year old fun-loving single girl, is wrapped up in the wedding planning almost as much as me! She is incredibly excited for our special day because she understands just how rare it is to find love, and what an honour it is to be part of someone’s wedding day.
    I believe that a friendship is like any relationship, it takes effort on both parts to keep it going and keep the ‘spark’ there. If a friend cannot put the effort in on one of the most important days of your life I cannot see her being any better on an average day. Wise words from Anna 🙂
    xx

  14. Wow this was me 3 years ago, I’d been friends with, let’s call her Friend R, since our uni days and for the most part we always got on, along with my bestest friend from uni and the three of us often went on holiday together, going out all the time and lived together for years after uni. I like to think that I’m a good friend and more often than not make the effort to get in touch with friends and tend to be the one that brings friends together for drinks or dinner etc. which being the organisation freak that I am, am generally quite happy about.

    However, sometimes you want to know that if you did not get in touch with a friend that they would make the effort to pick up the phone and see how you were doing. But towards the last couple of years of our friendship (and I think it’s an age thing too, unfortunately it’s probably taken me longer than most to realise this), I got increasingly annoyed with her lack of effort in keeping in touch, now considering we lived round the corner from one another it shouldn’t have been too difficult. We had an almighty fall out when I sold my house, which she was living in and she blamed me for her financial situation saying that she couldn’t afford our Ibiza holiday as she would have to pay a higher rent elsewhere (but she was still managed to go shopping for shoes and clothes of course!!), it’s too long to go into the nitty gritty but suffice to say she had years of a very reduced rent and I was always there for her come rain or shine. I gave her plenty of notice, I informed her of all the stages of the sale, talked to another friend about her moving in with Friend C, helped her pack, move etc. Did I get a word of thanks, NO! As far as she was concerned I should have waited until the time was right for her to move out and not the other way round, not even having a second thought that I had my own financial situation to consider. We finally sorted it out but there was always an underlying resentment at the way she reacted towards me and I never looked at her the same way. Fast forward a year later and I’ve been dumped by my boyfriend. It was then that I realised how little effort she made at all, when she finished with her long term love, I was continually asking her to meet up to see how she was doing, asking her to come out with me on nights out and just being there for her. This was not the case when BF and I broke up, I think in the 3-4 months after the split she asked me to come out with her on about 2 occasions (again we lived very near each other so it wouldn’t be hard), and these times were partly due to me making it obvious to her that she hadn’t been in touch for ages. I found it very hurtful that after all the time I had helped her in the past with her break up she was not there for me and it hit me, why was I bothering with someone that couldn’t be bothered with me?

    Fast forward a couple of months and we have another fall out but this time about a holiday, in truth I was partly to blame and this I recognised so I apologised on several occasions and even wrote her a long email to explain what happened (I’m never good at explaining my feelings face to face and find it easier to write them down) but also brought up issues in our friendship, i.e. the way she reacted about the house sale, the lack of friendship she showed when me and BF broke up etc. it had all been simmering under the surface for a couple of years and this was the final straw. She promised that she would respond to my email, 9 months later she was still telling our mutual friend that she was still in the process of responding. I told said mutual friend to tell her not to bother, it was way too late and the fact that she was taking so long to respond was an actual insult! It was quite clear that she did not care enough about our friendship to make an effort to patch things up. As time went on I realised I didn’t miss her at all, after all what was I missing out on when I was the one keeping the friendship going, unfortunately we still have mutual friends and I recently saw her at a Christening, to be honest I had no desire to really speak to her or make chitchat, our friendship was over and nothing was going to restore it as too many years had gone by and I found the whole thing rather awkward, she was obviously trying to make conversation but I just couldn’t be bothered. I still get the odd text to wish me a happy birthday and I just don’t understand why she bothers, is this some attempt at patching things up, but I just leave it as I have nothing left to say to her, it may sound harsh but too much has happened for us to ever be good friends again.

    As you get older I think you begin to realise that you only want to surround yourself with friends that give and take the way that you do and for it not to be one-sided. It’s sad that it’s happened but I guess it’s all part of growing up!

    Excuse the epic response!!

    Thanks for sharing Charlotte & everyone else! Happy weekend everyone xx

  15. This is so relevant to my life right now. Thank you for making me realise I’m not a bitch, I’m just normal! Am making some tiny changes to my personal life right now (really very very minor in the grand scheme of things) and rather than being supportive and helpful I’m being ridiculed and teased and shown up in front of large groups of people. Yet when I reacted and said “please don’t do that/call me that/say those things about me” I got the typical “woooooo, someone’s sensitive, grow up” response. I was made to feel guilty for reacting to what is essentially bullying. Uh, cheeeeeers!

    I’m hurt, upset and feel a bit let down, and all in relation to something very very minor.

    If this were one of the bigger life changes I have coming my way and I needed the support, quite frankly I don’t think I’d get it… which is very helpful in making up my mind about a few things this year.

    This year is all about body, finance and social life rejuvenation for me – thanks for making me realise I’m not alone.

    xoxo

  16. Well ladies, I have a confession. I am probably one of the biggest fans of this site going! I simply can’t get by without my twice daily fix. I have been hooked ever since that Cosmo Bride article, when I discovered the site and then spent the rest of my day trawling back through every-single-post ever written by the beautiful, and ever inspiring, Charlotte and Rebecca. And yet….I have never posted myself!

    Call me shy, but although I have always felt part of this little community, I have never posted anything in response to anyone article. I have always felt that everyone else’s comments said it all. But today’s post has compelled me. The timing is so perfect that I just burst into tears at my desk. So I felt the time had come to respond and say…..thank you Charlotte! And everyone else who has just responded too.

    I have recently been through a ‘break-up’ with one of my best and oldest friends. The person that I always considered my best friend in the world. The person that I couldn’t ever imagine not trotting up that aisle behind me in a bridesmaid dress. And it is one of the most heart renching things I’ve ever done.

    Ever since she found a boyfriend last year (who, by the way, I adore and think is perfect for her – I am fully supportive) it’s almost like she’s just forgotten about me. I know it’s a cliche and the same old story – girl meets boy, girl dumps friends – but somehow I never expected it from her. I thought that kind of stuff got left behind at school. So I was crushed when I realised that the time had come for me to just stop trying so damn hard to keep the two of us together. A friendship, like any relationship, needs investment. And that will never work if it just comes from one party.

    It was one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever done – to admit to myself that it was time to let go. But today has made me feel, well… normal. And every word of Charlotte’s and Anna’s struck home. And hey, if it’s meant to be then maybe, just maybe, she’ll miss me and one day we’ll get it back. But for today I feel comforted.

    So for that, thank you ladies. xxxxxxxxx

  17. Hi Ladies

    What an honest and interesting set of responses, it’s ao great that everyone here can share advice and experiences.

    I think it’s so important to value yourselves and those that value you will remain friends for life.

    Big Love

    Charlotte xxx

  18. “If I’m on the rocks with a friend, I always ask myself this – “If this was a boyfriend, would I put up with it?” You know what, half the time you wouldn’t.”

    That’s so true. I wouldn’t dream of putting up with the bad stuff I’ve received from friends in the past from a boyfriend. Loved this post, I don’t think there are many women out there who haven’t been in this situation at some point in their lives!

  19. Oh boy, I think you have to be incredibly lucky to have never ever gone through this with at least one of your friends! Over the last 10 years my group of friends and I have broken up with each other, made up again, lost others along the way either through just drifting apart naturally or strategic dumping. However, some of those dumpings have not always been permanent, and I think it depends on how much you really like and love each other as friends, and where you are in your lives at the time. I fell out with my best friend and MoH a few years back and we never spoke – with no intention of ever doing so again – for 2 years! Then I did a lot of thinking, and got back in touch, and since then things have never been better! Our little group is now so different to how it was then and we’ve all grown up so much!!

    That’s not to say that all my friendships now are a bed of roses. Far from it! One of my pals whom I really wanted to be involved in our Big Day has shown no interest at all, and laughed at my plans, so she’s been crossed off the list; and another couple of so-called friends are so friendly in fact that they don’t bother speaking to me but are still assuming they are coming to the Wedding, so I’m thinking, why the heck should I invite them?!…

    Girls will be girls eh?!!

    Thanks for this post Charlotte, another great one as usual xxx

  20. I also think weddings create a make or break time in friendships, its truly when you realise who cares about you and those who go out of their way to get involved in your day. I’ve been shocked by some of the lifelong friends who just don’t seem to be bothered or cant make an effort at all but then have also been pleasantly surprised at others who just come into their own and are there for you 100%.

    I dont have hundreds of friends but the girls that I do have are wonderful, amazing people and even though we dont see each other as much as we like I always walk away thinking how lucky I am to have such great people in my life.

  21. Scary scary scary.

    This is exactly what I’m going through. Although I don’t want to say too much online. I so know how this feels.

    It’s very true that when planning your wedding/having a baby/going through a major life event… you find out who your true friends are. They are not those who become disinterested when you slip off the social radar.

    Hmmm. This has given me food for thought and definitely makes me feel less alone.

    Thank you xo

  22. Wow. I am going through this exact problem at the minute!!!
    Thanks so much for writing this blog, it’s nice to know I am not alone! I am just keeping quiet as I don’t want anything to affect my wedding in July but once this is over I think it will just take it’s natural cause and fizzle away 🙁

  23. Can I just say that you wouldn’t get honesty like this on many blogs. Inspiring.

    My fiance and I have a mutual friend that we’ve known for years. She drains us and I never feel positive after meeting or talking to her. There are so many things I could write about, but I think for me the reason I would love to have her out of our lives is that when we told her we were engaged (it speaks volumes that she wasn’t on the list of people we phoned…) she uttered the one phrase all long-term couples hate: ‘it’s about time’. How is that helpful? You think you know us so much better than we know ourselves, that you think we’ll like you telling us that we should have got married years ago? Well, and I think I speak for many people here, we hate it! We got engaged when it was right for us, both of us, together.

    I am stressing about how she’s going to behave at the wedding, don’t want to invite her to my hen do, but she’s always telling us how much we mean to her. It’s hard…

    Thanks for this excellent posting RMW xx

  24. Esme,

    I think you need to ask yourself the same question I was forced to:

    On your wedding day, do you really want to be stressed? To have to put a face on for anyone? To pretend you want to be talking to them?

    My answer was no… and so I will not be inviting them to the wedding. I want to be surrouded by people who I love and genuinely am happy to see. If you feel really pressurised to invite them, would you consider inviting them to the evening instead?

  25. Firstly can I just say thank you to Charlotte (for writing this post in the first place) and secondly to all your other lovelies who has also written above. I have been through this twice in the space of 3 years. The first time was a girl, T, who I had considered one of my closest friends, yet when the lovely boy and I got together she not only dropped off the face of my world and then started bitching about me but also made everything about her every time I saw her. Although the bitching hurt, I was more bothered by the fact that when my grandmother died she disappeared altogether. Needless to say, polite withdrawal from her life. Second time around was no less hurtful but rather more eventful as she promptly screamed at me and threw things at me when I tried to understand what was going on.

    Although I know that on both accounts, it was the right thing to do, I have always felt guilty about the way in which our friendships ended, but at least now I know I’m not the only one.

    As for Robyn’s dad’s advice – I agree, however, I am having a dilemma – My oldest friend is getting married this Summer and I am one of her bridesmaids. Now do I ask her to be one of mine? As Katielaze so abtly put, if I was ringing with bad news, she would not be at the top (or even top 5) people of those I would call, sobbing my heart out. But as my oldest friend and bridesmaid, should I ask her anyway?

    Any advice always appreciated!

    Thank you to all you lovely ladies who make me feel happy, whether it’s a Monday morning or Friday afternoon! xxxxxx

  26. I am absolutely one for quality not quantity when it comes to friends but I can honestly say that this is not something that I realised until I hit my late 20’s.

    Before then I would be the one who would never know when to say no and get lumbered with the wierd one from uni and spend the rest of the year trying to avoid them.

    Now however I am much more selective with who I pursue a friendship with, I havent got enough time to spend with the amazing friends I do have as it is!
    x

  27. I’ve been really burned by female friendships in the past. They can be so intense that it’s deeply shocking when someone turns around and does something that makes you realise they aren’t a friend at all!
    Planning my wedding I’ve felt a bit sad that I don’t really have any childhood friends left, and have never really got that close to anyone from work. I will have 2 friends from uni at my wedding, and have taken a difficult decision to not include a 3rd. But I thought back over the last year and she hasn’t contacted me once, unless it’s to reply to one of my texts. In fact she has even visited my city and not bothered to get in touch so we could meet up! I would rather have 2 friends that I care about than several who don’t really give a damn.
    Thank god I have an amazing sister who is like a best friend x 1000!

  28. Didn’t say much earlier, and probably won’t again now- but came back to re read your post. It is a sad but honest post and it makes me feel like I have done the right thing in stepping back from a friendship. When I weigh up just how much I did for someone versus what they did for me (and yes we are talking weddings here), and the general attitude towards my wedding, I realise that they are are not a true friend. We share the same social circle but whilst I will be pleasant when I see them I can never be close, as the trust is gone. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog.

  29. I think ultimately a friendship is a two way street – both people have to be willing to put effort into it. When it is only one person working on the relationship they become either bitter or uncertain (or I guess both).

    Regardless how hard it is to dump a friend, I think another reason why some of us try to retain those friends is b/c the older we get, the busier we get, the harder it is for us to make new friends….

  30. Frienship is such a tricky topic, and weddings do seem to bring out both the best and worst in people.

    Following the behaviour of someone I considered a lifelong childhood friend, i’m now thinking of seriously stepping back from the friendship. I’m really sad about it but her behaviour and attitude hurt and surprised me so much.
    I didn’t ask her to be a bridesmaid, which she’s taken as a massive personal slur and really guilt tripped me about. When we went out for dinner she actually said to me “so – I have to ask – why didn’t you ask me to be a bridesmaid?” I was so shocked I had no idea how to respond. She even said she might only come to the ceremony (a 300 mile round trip) as it would be “too upsetting” to stay for the whole thing. Sigh… I might ask her to do a reading to try and diffuse the situation but I’m really resentful that I’ve basically guilt tripped into it. If it was the other way round I’d just respect her decision and move on!
    There are other little things too, but it’s as if this has opened my eyes a bit about the friendship in general. I made a special trip for her significant birthday, she’s never seen my house (I’ve been here 4 years).

    Sorry to vent, but your post really hit the spot as it were. Great post – thanks

    x

  31. TigerTea- in the words of the Grange Hill kids… JUST SAY NO! Don’t get her to do a bloody reading, please! She sounds like such a drama queen!

    While we’re all sharing…. we’ll call her L. We were 14, 15ish and totally wrong for each other. We had fun times but she always made me feel shit about myself, and like people have said, “drained”. We would have “weigh ins” and she would make me feel awful about how I looked, what I wore, you name it. If I ate anything more than an apple and a can of Dr Pepper a day she’d give me grief. I phased her out after I realised how awful she was.

    Then… fast forward a bit and I’m 22 and see her in a bar. She approaches me and I feel guilty so get chatting. Seems she’s changed and I am a weak sucker, so we got back in touch. However, every time we went out I’d come home and feel shit. Again.

    I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say years later and I am MUCH happier without her.

    Naomi, I’ve had problems with inviting friends, there is one who isn’t “Toxic” as such, just has gone a completely different road to me in her life and I don’t really like it. My answer- evening invite!

  32. tiger tea, dont you dare feel like you have to ask her to do a reading, shes already outed the situation, so having her up there will only put the spotlight on it on your special day. If she leaves, after the ceramony, then great you can enjoy the rest of the day without her cloud over you !sounds like after the wedding you wont see her again so you dont need her contaminating your photographs ! xx chin up xx

  33. Ladies! Loving your comments. SO interesting to see how many of you have been/are going through a similar experience.

    Tiger – you don’t need to do anything that would impact in a negative way on your wedding day, it’s about you and Mr Tiger (!) not pleasing anybody else out of guilt.

    I hope sharing our stories has made people feel a little bit more positive about things…..

    I know I do.

    Happy Weekend Everyone 😉

    Charlotte xxx

  34. Brilliant post! I asked an old school friend to be a bridesmaid, her, my other bridesmaid and I were very close, and have kept in touch over the past few years. I was there for her through everything, even when my own situation was dire. When i asked her to be bridesmaid, she said she’d ‘think about it’. After months of asking her, she declined. She’s decided to go travelling, and return 6 days after my wedding. She doesn’t understand why i’m hurt. I don’t understand why i asked her in the first place- it’s a one way friendship and i’m tired of giving. Suffice to say, life is easier with her at arms length. I’ll always care about her, but it will take more than a click of fingers for me to go running.
    How do I stop being treated terribly by the Sister-In-Law to be from hell though? You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family!

  35. I’m fairly new to RMW, but without it I know my wedding planning wouldn’t be going quite as smoothly as it is. Its had its moments, but you have been here for every bit of advice I could have hoped for.
    This post comes at just the right time for me as it seems like all I’ve done recently is question my friendships. One friendship in particular has been like hell. I got engaged december 2009 and she has not asked me a single thing about my plans, we have been friends since we were 13, we’re now 29! If things don’t revolve around her, she isn’t interested. I knew our friendship could never be the same when I sent her a message to tell her I’d finally found my dream house and she messaged back with the words ‘ we’ve booked our wedding for 25th june’ no ‘congratulations’, just those words. And so it turned out that although she’s been engaged for years with no mention of marriage, she has now booked her wedding 6 weeks before mine……..at the same venue!!! This is supposed to be the most special day of my life, one that I should be enjoying and planning with her, and she swoops in and steals my thunder!
    I spent many upset nights wondering what I had done to make her behave in such a way, until I finally realised, it isn’t me, its her. I haven’t managed to phase her out of my life, yet, I just don’t really bother with her. I’m bigger, I’ve taken the high road, I’m……… wearing white to her wedding?? (At least I am in my head, but I can dream) 🙂

  36. wow, this post really hit me- i love this sight and read it everyday three four times a day! i have recently got engaged and have had TF issues. I have ended up feeling that I am being selfish or silly but this post has made me feel better- surely if you are about to experience one of the most amazing things in your life- your ‘real friends’ should be happy for you right? they shouldnt make you feel bad about being excited right? you shouldnt feel that you can never mention your wedding plans or your happyness right? as that is how a close friend has made me feel.. and looking back over the years- whenever anyone has been happy she has always done the same and put a downer on the situation. i have found it hard to decide how and what to do as her reaction and attitude has really upset me and has made parts of what should be the best time of your life really quiet painful and hard…. reading this has made me realise now maybe its time for TF to go… thank you once again rmw, you really do rock… much love xxx

  37. Sadly, I have been there, done that, got the tshirt when it comes to a toxic friend. Thankfully (and it is only a small saving grace) our friendship came to an end near to the start of my relationship with my lovely future husband, and not now, when I need my friends tight around me.

    We had known each other for five years, and met when we were both single, had lots of disposable income for going out and we basically spend the first few years partying hard. But when I decided I wanted to buy a house, then I met my h2b, she couldn’t quite grasp that I couldn’t go out every weekend, that I didn’t have the time or the cash to go off on holiday with a new mortgage to pay, and she was jealous that I was falling in love (bear in mind, she was 27 at this point, not 18!) I desperately tried to please her, suggesting dinner dates, nights in, lunches, weekends shopping and going for coffee, but basically if I didn’t do what she wanted, she wasn’t interested. She was forever putting me down, making digs at my relationship and how ‘boring’ I’d got, that eventually I had enough. I stopped talking to her, and while it probably hasn’t been done the best way, I don’t regret it for a second. I don’t miss her, my life doesn’t have a big hole where she was, and I hope never to find myself in that situation again.

  38. I was massively let down by someone who I considered a very good friend – I even mentioned this on my What Jenny Did as it was only through feedback from true friends that it dawned on me that her behaviour was out of line.

    I still am not entirely sure what it was I did to deserve the treatment I got from her. I remained baffled for a long time.

    But now I am over it. And it is behind me. I should have read the signs it was clear to Mr O that her friendship was toxic to me. I put myself out for her time and time again and it was all thrown back in my face.

    This post is brilliant Charlotte, I am off to have a ponder and call those who mean most to me

    Sending love

    Jenny O xxx

  39. What a great idea to have these posts, I always worry about writing too much on every subject that comes up so this solves it!
    I have had TF all throughout my friendships starting at primary school when I had to do everything my best friend wanted or she would threaten to fall out with me! Sadly I am one of those people who are easily walked over and I keep hoping one day I will grow out of this habit and be able to stand up for myself and not allow TF’s to rule the roost!
    I was moved about a lot growing up (different country and then different parts of the country) and as a result dont have any friends still that close from an early age.
    I have found that my best friends in the world are my mum and my middle sister. We can count on each other for anything and are fiercly loyal to one another. My sister is really protective of me and we are so close its untrue.
    I have two other friends who I class as my close friends but to be honest, I am still a pushover in those friendships. One of them never visits our house, its always me going to her, this is supposedly because she has a small child and its hard for her to get out and about with her! She also has a habit of not thanking me for gifts and things unless asked if they were ok?! We have been friends for 8 years. I see her about once a fortnight. (I even came back off holiday a day early for her wedding because she was really upset that we were on holiday when she decided she was having her wedding!)
    I have one other friend who I probably am closer to but she is very competitive and money orientated and feels the need to make everything about money. She has lately started being really rubbish with getting back to me with texts etc and leaving a day or two between replying. This really bugs me. Its the sort of friendship where if my fiance and I have an argument or something is wrong…I dont really want to say anything to her cos I know she will be secretly smug that its happened. Thats so bad I know but its true!
    So I have to say the one person I can trust with anything, turn to for advice and laugh until I cry with is my husband to be. And thats exactly why we are getting married. He is my bestest friend forever and I know that as long as he is with me, it wouldnt matter if I had nobody else. He is all I need.
    Its sad really that I am so soft with people and dont stand up for myself however I am trying each year to get better at it and hope one day I may have a proper girly friend but if not I have my mum,sis and perfect man!!
    Great topic and great to read everyones situations, it really makes me feel better!

  40. I think this post rings true for so many of us, it does for me. I too have a TF who I feel obliged to remain friends with, but it’s just that, it’s an obligation, not a pleasure. I get anxious whenever I think of speaking to her because I know the conversation will be ‘all about her’. No matter what’s going on in my life she has something bigger that requires attention. When I called her to tell her I was engaged her reply was ‘Right, great. I think I might be pregnant.’ Honestly. And at the age of nearly 30, I think I need to face up to the fact that it’s time to call time on this friendship. Thanks Charlotte for a thought provoking post!

  41. I can absolutely relate to every single comment. I came to the realisation that I needed to dump my friend a few years ago and the guilt botherered me for a long time…

    Guilt is a strange one isn’t it? This person is bad for you and makes you feel sad but you’re confused because you ‘loved’ her and have shared so many special times together in your long history together…

    I was relieved when she made contact upon hearing that I was getting married, and genuinely happy when she texted me the morning of my wedding to wish me all the best… I made facebook friends with her so she could see the photos of my special day and foolishly anticipated a friendly reconciliation…

    I felt hurt when all the pretty photos went up and everyone commented apart from her. Why couldn’t she bring herself to be happy for me when she had made the effort before the wedding?

    I considered de-friending her on fb to cut ties for good but decided against it – thanks afore mentioned guilt – the whole situation just didn’t sit right with me at all.

    A few days ago, I realised that she had defriended me on fb.

    The relief is immense. Toxic friends exist to make you realise how beautiful your other friendships really are. The ones that make your heart sing with joy and lift your spirits.

    We all have to go through it at some point to some degree and endure the pain of the loss so we can truly value our real friends. I understand this now and I no longer feel any guilt.

  42. Hi all, Sorry for rehashing this post up – but for anyone still reading..i am in the same place as a lot of you and on the verge of ‘dumping a friend’ – eww that sounds so nasty.

    I can’t tolerate her anymore, VVV long story short (as possible anyway!) is shes one of those that you question why you are friends with her, and then find some justification somehow for why they are still around.
    Though my patience has well and truely gone now after Ive had my eyes opened by some more important matters to deal with.

    To attempt to cut it short, she found out her bf of 10yrs was cheating on her, so naturally i felt terrible for her. She stayed in our house for 2 months until she thought about what she wanted to do with her life, i spent HOURS and nights listening to her being upset and trying to plan things for her to look fwd to. She decided to go travelling for a year.

    In the final week before she left, we were also moving house and it was my bday so i said to her she could have some friends over to join my bday gathering/dinner as her leaving party too. I got a FB invite to her leaving party in my own brand new house along side over 100 other random people (Open invite i might add, with my new address for all to see!!!!) I said to delete it immediately and i just arranged my close friends to dinner as i originally stated – more so also because my mum was very ill during all this and i wasnt in the mood to party either.

    As this friend was living with us at the time, i told her in confidence about how we thought my mum had had a stroke and we were devastated. I must’ve got a total of 5mins to talk about it until we were back talking about her ex again.

    The afternoon of my party i got the call from my dad whilst cooking the dinner to tell us my mum had died. I was an absolute mess to put it mildly.
    My friends obviously text me to say how sorry they were, and the said ‘soon-to-be-dumped-friend’ sent me a card then went on her travels. Well that was a year ago, I have recieved a handful of round robin emails from her whilst shes been away saying what an amazing time shes having and if we dont hear from her its because “shes having too much of a good time”(her words not mine). Ive had NOTHING from her to say even ‘thinking of you’ throughout this whole year and have struggled a LOT (obviously). I am now on antidepressants, had months of conselling and different therapies and have done a lot of growing up in the past year, and feel like i have changed a great deal. I have worked incredibly hard to get my own little company going designing wedding stationery with an extremely good friend. You really realise through bad times what amazing and horrendous friends you have out there…

    This girl is due back to England anytime now and im just waiting to get the call of ‘im back!!’ so she can show off her tan and ‘me me me’ stories. Oh – and she’ll need somewhere to stay too no doubt.

    My question you all you ladies is – i can cope with cutting this ‘friendship’ – but what about when you have so many mutual friends? How do you deal with that? I dont want to be the baddy in all this and as much as i dont want to feel guilty, i do – and i just hate it. I have so much other stuff to deal with in my head other than this stuff.
    How do you go about it? This ‘friendship’ has gone back way too far to just simple defriend her on FB – i dont know how to go about it without people thinking ‘ooh she’s changed since everything, she’s not who she used to be, shes cutting everyone off’ type stuff (because there are others i have cut loose too in all honesty. Not to defriend, but im just growing up in a different way i guess.

    Anyway – im rambling! Thanks for reading! If anyone has any tips it’d be very appreciated – the other posts have made me feel less of a heartless cow – so thank you!!

  43. I know this blog is ages old – before my RMW time! – but it was linked to from another blog and I just had to comment, even if no one reads it, to get it off my chest.

    Earlier this year I was a bridesmaid, there were three of us, and the chief bridesmaid (CBM) – a mutual best friend of the bride and I – sucked! The bride lives abroad and was back for two weeks and CBM could barely make time to see here. While the rest of us were making the most of every moment she was making excuses not to show up. She had moaned to me throughout the planning stages that she wasn’t involved enough, rather than speaking to the bride and asking her what she could do to help. I could live with her being selfish in the few days before the wedding, but on the day itself the way she behaved was unbelievable and it upset me so much.

    As soon as we got to the reception it was all about her. The other bridesmaid and I ran about making sure everything was in place, coordinating guests and liaising with the photographer while she went off to do her own thing with her boyfriend. She moaned about being bored sitting on the top table (with a family she had known since she was a child). She disappeared completely between the afternoon and the evening when the bride and groom had a surprise for all the guests – she knew about the surprise and decided to ‘opt out’. Since when has a CBM opted out of any part of a wedding??? We had to chase around everywhere to find her to be there for the first dance – she didn’t see why she needed to be there and thought it was stupid that the bride wanted parents, bridesmaids and best man on the dance floor. That is the short version of the selfishness I witnessed on the day of our best friends wedding. Some of our closest friends commented on her behaviour, I only hope we managed to avoid the bride realising how awful she was being.

    Now I’m starting to think about my own wedding – hopefully in 2013 – and I’m hoping it will be small with the people I really love. I’m not sure that includes CBM, and I don’t want to deal with her selfishness on my wedding day. Over the past 6-12 months I’ve felt we were growing apart, and it makes me so sad. We’ve been close friends since secondary school and have so many memories of amazing times together, but that doesn’t seem the person she is now. I didn’t even get a birthday card from her this year – she used to send me silly cards for the sake of it. I really struggled with what to write in her birthday card because I just don’t feel like I know this person any more.

    If she’s got problems I have always been there on the end of the phone to talk to. I planned visits to near where she lives around her work schedule, but no matter what I do it’s impossible to track her down. I feel like I have made every effort to keep this friendship alive, but I’ve hit a brick wall. All I get, on the rare occasions I get a text is her telling me she misses me so much, but then when I call or try to see her she doesn’t respond.

    I feel like I’ve already been dumped by her, but that she’s kept something alive by going on about how much she misses me. If this were a relationship I would have walked away from the guy long ago. I don’t want to let an important friendship die, and I know despite her lack of effort she will get angry and upset at being left out. But I don’t feel like I know her any more – especially not the incredibly selfish person she was at our best friends wedding.

    I realise if I was behaving this way with a guy I would think I was absolutely pathetic, and perhaps it’s time to accept the situation and move on. I have so many fabulous friends, and I’m lucky enough to have three other best friends who are always there – even if they are in other parts of the world, we work at our friendships and make sure we make each other smile every so often. Maybe if I spent more time thinking about them, and less time thinking about CBM I would be a lot happier…

    …maybe I’ll take my own advice!!!

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