Welcome to Liverpool Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Liverpool ConfidentialHealth Beauty & Fashion.

Dear Nicola...

How do I ‘dump’ my longtime friend?

Written by . Published on February 10th 2011.

Dear Nicola...

Nicola Mostyn

Friday 4 February 2011

How do I ‘dump’ my longtime friend?

Dear Nicola

I have a friend I’ve known since we were at school together and who, I’m beginning to realise, I only see out of duty. I generally come away from meeting her feeling bad about myself as she seems to take every opportunity she can to talk about herself and her perfect life and subtly put me down. I’ve thought about confronting her but I can’t see her changing and she’d probably just deny it. I think I would be happier if I just didn’t have to see her again, but she keeps calling and arranging to meet up and I don’t know how to extricate myself from such a long time friendship without bad feeling.

Nicola replies:

Ah for the simple days of high school where ‘breaking friends’ was an almost hourly occurrence. Unfortunately, allegiances get more complex as you get older, based on concepts like loyalty and honesty and shared experience, rather than a shared love of George Michael and ra-ra skirts.Loyalty is a great quality, but paying your dues to time spent doesn’t really help anyone. You will have changed significantly since you both met (at the very least I’m guessing you won’t still have a bubble perm). Perhaps your friend is still operating on the old school girl hierarchy and you haven’t found a way to enlighten her that those old rules no longer apply. And if she sees you as part sounding board, part flattering mirror, and you have not set her straight, she has no reason to begin acting any differently. I’m not suggesting it’s your fault - undoubtedly your friend could do with a touch more self-awareness - but we can only get great friendships (supportive, inspiring, nurturing and fun) if we’re willing to give and exchange information honestly. You are playing a role to your friend – one which you clearly resent - but similarly, if she feels required to buoy up her ‘perfect’ life at your expense, she’s probably not being totally truthful either. Not all friendships are about deep conversations, true, but if you’re not having any fun either then what precisely is the point?It’s hard - though not impossible – to update your files with long time friends and it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise, but the success of this depends on whether there is any love between you. We need different things from different friends at different life stages. Currently you two might have little in common except history, but as people pass through various new experiences - motherhood, illness, career shifts, bereavement – once dormant, friendship can blossom again in unexpected and rewarding ways. If you do love your friend at heart but she is, just right now, irritating the hell out of you, then take some distance, but without a blazing row (something which, if you continue your friendship on the current basis, is almost certain to happen.)Get suddenly very ‘busy’ with a project for a period of some months – this in itself should send the message that your time is precious. Then, after some distance, initiate contact on your own terms, and make a commitment to having the sort of friendship you actually want. This means pointing out the things that she does that you find offensive in as gentle and firm a way as possible – even joking about them if you can. If she doesn’t shape up, then at least you gave her a chance and – crucially – learned how to stand up for yourself.

Friendship never ends?
If confrontation really isn’t a possibility or you just don’t care enough to put yourself through that, then do what most people do – drift off, phasing out one-to-one contact altogether. It’s not the ideal option simply because, no matter how old we get, none of us like to be ‘broken friends’ with, at least not without the chance to know what we did and attempt to put it right. But sometimes it is the only way. Losing friends is tough, but occasionally essential. It we all kept the same company for our whole lives, then it would be impossible to grow and have new experiences.Learning when to hold on to friends and when to let go is probably the most difficult part, since, unlike school, the days when you could just swap a George Michael key ring and magically ‘make friends’ again are, alas, long gone.

Disagree with our columnist's advice? Have your say below....

Post your problems, anonymously if you wish, to:

Nicola Mostyn
Liverpool Confidential
14 Colquitt St
L1 4DE

Or alternatively, submit problems to Nicola via the form below:

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants


You are truly well informed about this topic www.digitalhikes.com/…/pitampura.html… I got so…

 Read more

Do you want to sell your kidney? Are you looking for an opportunity to sell his kidney for money…

 Read more
Dr Sood

Dear Sir /Madam, Do you want to sell your kidney? Are you seeking for an Opportunity to sell your…

 Read more
Kate Perry

hello, my name is Kate perry am a doctor in world wide national teaching hospital and i deal with…

 Read more