Friendship Issues

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    Hello everyone,

    I am having trouble with a friend of mine and i am not sure what to do. This might be a long rant so please bear with me…

    Lets see, it all started 4 years ago in college – we were in the same class, totally lost over our subject, attuned to literature and bonded over agonizing. I became her counselor in many ways (used to be that way for a lot of my friends because i have a knack for identifying certain things). Anyway it was all hunky-dory till then until my relatively lower grades and guilt over indifference prompted me to action in the next year. I became heavily involved in studying, classes and joined a number of societies. As you can guess, i no longer had the time to be an agony aunt. Naturally, the silent fights started. Meanwhile, i was having some problems with my room-mate and constantly fluctuating self-worth. She was obviously going through stuff as well. Eventually we patched up after some months and it was relatively peaceful. Then third year started, by then i was exhausted from working, confused about the future, my nearby friends were gone and had a shitty break-up and placement season. I guess i already had depressive and anxiety issues but this time, it just hit me like a ton of bricks and i just shut everyone out. I admit i have always been the type who likes to first manage her shit and then turn to others once it becomes unbearable.

    This worked well earlier but not when i had prolonged bouts of non-functionality. Meanwhile, she too was going through a crises about the subject she had taken but not as severe as mine as she was able to function atleast. For me, i stopped coming to college, found it harder and harder to do every day activities, lost interest in life and progressively became suicidal. Anyway, i did have bouts of recovery in between and eventually made some hard choices – decided to come back home after the degree was over and just work on myself (its a 3 year one). Meanwhile, after many months when she learnt i was troubled, she tried hard to contact me but i just didnt respond. It wasnt just the depression, it was other stuff too – in the past, she has always had issues when people dont answer her calls or texts – gets very upset and agitated. When i go home after months, i tend to want my space while she wants to talk. Eventually, this resulted in her sending me upsetting long passages on facebook which sounded highly pushy, aggressive and retaliatory. Our friends often joke if we are in a relationship or something. Anyway, we are exact opposite – i like to be given my space while she likes to be prodded (thats how she cares). I am sensitive but not overtly sentimental.

    She is highly sentimental and often, very aggressive in her approach. I hate conflict unless absolutely necessary. Somehow she always manages to push me into those unpleasant situations. Once she called me like 25 times because she was worried i wasnt picking up and honestly, all it did was give me an anxiety. She managed to procure my room-mate’s number to contact me. I know to some this may come across as a concerned friend but i need my boundaries. She keeps bugging me to tell her what is wrong, she wants to be closer etc etc but i dunno, somehow i feel very tensed with her. I find her very negative and possessive at times. Her obsessive need to be in touch is something i dont understand. I dont like talking much on the phone to anyone except family but she keeps posting these needy, sarcastic, hurt messages which just piss me off even more.

    I have tried to be more open with her now – believe me, now i am more open with my closest friends and have reached out to the old ones but with her, i am just plain scared cuz she gets so freaky. And then sentimental too. I dunno why she doesnt get it. She behaves a bit possessively with her other close friend too. Honestly, i want to be away from her and maintain as much distance as possible till i feel normal around her – her past taunts, aggressive behaviour and excessive concern, pushiness have just repelled me. She is often so needy..I dunno what to do but she manages to send my anxiety levels over the moon!

    Any thoughts? Thanks for reading, i know its long.

    – Moongal


    Hi Moongal,

    I think it’s best if you contact her and say, “It’s not working”. By saying “It’s not working” you’re saying the relationship is not working. She’s acting in her nature. You’re acting in yours. Neither of you is wrong. But “It” ~ the friendship ~ is not working.

    Or, you can give her boundaries, like, call once a month. But here’s the thing. You would have to reach out to her, too.

    Tell her that you are safe. But that the constant calling activates your anxiety. “Doctor’s orders”.

    I had a friend where it got to a point where I would cringe every time the phone rang. She would want to rehash what was wrong in our friendship to the point where there wasn’t one.

    As we get older it’s not about the quantity of contacts it’s all about the quality of them.

    Good Luck,



    I had a similar friend. There was the possessiveness and excessive concern. I would set boundaries, it would scare her, and she’d break them. We deserve to have friends that respect our boundaries. I actually think the “excessive concern” they have is not for our well being but actually a concern to get reassurance that they have their foot in the relationship still. So I find it not caring at all. I ended up having to state that I was pretty unhappy with things and I just stopped communication. She did initially make attempts to reach out, apologized, then slowly faded in the attempts, but I had to remain consistent because it was like she was looking to open up that door of no boundaries again.


    Hey there, Thank you for the insights Inky and sunflOwer, it seems keeping some distance is healthy for both of us. I pray we both find some neutral zone to work with as we repeatedly have these episodes and it tends to spoil things unnecessarily.


    “Honestly, i want to be away from her and maintain as much distance as possible till i feel normal around her ”

    It’s good to know what you want. You have a right to boundaries. You don’t have to be everyone’s agony aunt, (I like that phrase).

    If I am totally off base ignore me please. But, as another agony aunt, in recovery, I wonder is there maybe a substance abuse issue here. You might check out Al Anon. I for one was astonished that we are a whole species of servers raised to deal with the pain and general crazy of others. If it’s not for you that’s fine, they have some good literature too.

    I believe it was Conversations With God, i’m not sure but, somewhere I heard, “now you crave, solitude, that’s good” Now you can want your own company and your own accomplishments. I give you permission. ; )

    “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
    Albert Camus

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