I’m quitting an inherited friend. I received her back when I was a plump pre-pubescent priss. No one wanted to befriend her because she was an irritating jap, but I took pity on her, certain there was more to this label-conscious “Oh my gawd, I had the most a-maze-ing weekend!” girl. Mommy bought her a Lexus, new boobs, and Japanese hair straightening sessions. Electrolysis. She tanned her body in beds throughout Philadelphia, then spent her afternoons with Koreans who layered her in Ballet Slippers and Marshmallow. She’s still ugly, the inside kind.
When she visited me in Manhattan, I always made time for her. I mean, had I gone to Philadelphia, she’d certainly extend her home and time to me. And, on lazy afternoons, I did enjoy her shopping company. She was great at telling me what suited my figure. “No no, you must get these. They’re perfect for you.” So I took her in doses. Though each time she’d return to Philly, I’d renounce our friendship to another friend of mine. “Promise me, if you ever again hear even a scant word about my having plans with her again, tie me up. I’ve got rope in my closet.” Without fail, after each interaction, I felt frustrated and disgusted by her.
She’d really be a very sweet girl if she weren’t so repellent. When I’d gone through my divorce, she was there for me. “Whenever you need me. Maybe you want to get out of Manhattan for a while. Come play with me here.” She understands dating and my anxiety, so she always offers seasoned, rational, advice. I thought this made her a good friend. Bbbzt. You just hit a whammy! I’m through pressing my luck.
She is there for me when I feel like shite. But when I’m happy, she doesn’t have any real interest in my life unless she’ll get something out of it. “Oooh, does this mean more parties?” When she speaks, I actually have to bite down. She laughs at herself constantly, especially when telling stories of the wealthy men she somehow finds to treat her to steak dinners. I genuinely can’t get through a meal with her anymore. I actually wrap the rest to go. “Oh my Gawd, Stephanie, I mean he is load-ed. Oh, waiter, yes you. I don’t want this. Take it away.” Holy motherfcuker. “Please,” she’ll tack on after she sees that my mouth is now agape. There’s a thing called tone. She throws on a “please” thinking it will catapult her into Klass. She’s tone deaf by way of class. And don’t worry, she doesn’t read my blog. She doesn’t care enough to.
Bottom line, I had a friend but could not keep her. Now it’s time to quit or beat her. So I’m giving my two weeks notice. Nobody likes a quitter; well then don’t like me because it’s time to quit-her. But here’s the thing. There are ways of doing things when it comes to quitting.
Dumping a friend takes the same skill as quitting a job or a romantic relationship. It takes grace, honesty, and courage. The difference, of course, is you have to quit a job because you’re taking a new one. You’ve got to desert the guy to curry favor with someone more promising. But you don’t NEED to terminate a friendship.
I need to terminate this one. It’s not that she’s a bad person. She’s not even that negative. It’s just whenever I spend time with her, I want to gouge something. And that makes it a need. Life is too short to accommodate these feelings when you know the source.
So how do you dump a friend? Do you just stop returning her phone calls? Ignore her IMs? Or do you confront the friendship with a direct and honest approach, delivering the news as swift as a guillotine? “I’m sorry but this just isn’t working for me anymore. We’ve had a lovely run at it, and I wish you the best. If things change, I hope you’ll be open to hearing from me again.” It’s nearly a business exchange with a closed door, a desk, and an exit interview. Sure throw in some flattering adjectives to blunt the blade. “I think you’re really great, though. Really.”
This method shows respect for her time and for her feelings. It seems like it’s hard to do because you worry how she’ll respond, and you worry she’ll be hurt. You worry you might be, just maybe, making a mistake. And since there’s no real reason, you might as well just do the phase out. You can’t very well be honest, “I don’t like spending time with you because you’re shallow, your voice is annoying, and any time I bring you around my real friends, they roll their eyes and duck out of plans if they hear you might be coming.” That’s not nice. So what do you do? Tell her you’ve been paying close attention to your own body language lately, and you’ve noticed your time with her leaves you enervated and gagging? I mean, she’s not a bad person; she’s just bad for me. I’m certain Hallmark handles this, but I’m not certain how I should… only that I will.
Or won’t. I’m such a wimp who can talk a good game.