Dear Margo: With Friends Like These

How do I end a friendship? Margo Howard’s advice

With Friends Like These …

Dear Margo: I’m getting married in a few months to a wonderful guy. We had an engagement party a few weeks ago. I invited all of our friends and family to celebrate. The issue I am having is with one of my friends. I invited her to the party and saw a different side of her. She had a lot to drink, and her behavior was the worst. She was very hurtful in many ways. She started telling people at the party personal things about my sisters and me, how she should be maid of honor, etc. She made everyone uncomfortable.

It took me a few weeks of not talking to her before I could confront her. I told her she drank way too much and said a lot of hurtful things. I told her the truth. She then said she will be unable to be a bridesmaid and unable to make my wedding. At that point, I decided I really didn’t want to be her friend. Here’s the question: She’s started asking me if I want to hang out and has asked me to do her favors. I have declined, telling her I’m busy. But really, what is the best way to handle this? –Tanya

Dear Tan: The best way is directly. You can’t be busy forever. The friendship has been tarnished, to say the least, so pretending otherwise is kind of pointless. This person turned out to be an unpleasant drunk and withdrew as a bridesmaid because she wanted to be the No. 1 bridesmaid. It seems to me this girl is not wrapped real tight, so I would tell her, the next time she calls to hang out or to ask a favor, that not everything is meant to last, and, unhappily, your former friendship is in that category. Over and out. –Margo, decisively

Familie$ and Money

Dear Margo: A couple of years ago, my elderly parents attended a graduation open house at my cousin’s. While they were saying goodbye in the driveway, my cousin’s large dog and the neighbor’s large dog were running around rambunctiously and knocked my mom to the ground, breaking her shoulder. My parents are not rich (or even marginally comfortable), and my mom had to quit her part-time job for a very painful recovery. She will never have full use of her arm and shoulder again.

During her recovery, my sister reached out to my cousin and very nicely asked for her homeowners insurance information to help pay for the medical bills and loss of income. She appeared to completely understand the concern and readily gave the info, from which my parents eventually received a small settlement to help defray the costs. A few months later, my cousin’s parents (Dad’s sister and brother-in-law) didn’t show up for his 80th birthday party. That weighed heavily on him, so my dad called his b-i-l. He was told that his sister is furious with our family for “suing” our cousin. My dad and his sister have always been close, and I know this rift is really hurting him and my mom. So my questions are: Did we do the wrong thing? Is there any hope for reconciliation? How can things be made right? –Sad for Dad

Dear Sad: What is called for here is some education and an understanding of homeowners insurance. The spirit of the thing is that your mother’s injury happened at the home of your cousin (because of her dog mixing it up with the neighbor’s dog). This is why people have homeowners insurance, so that when there is an injury on their property, it is their insurance that kicks in. It is in no way the equivalent of suing someone; they are already covered for such a situation.

Ask your cousin to explain to her dad (who I am guessing is elderly, as well) that there was nothing personal in it, and in fact, if the insurance money hadn’t covered the necessary treatment and losses, a genuine lawsuit could have been filed. It wasn’t. –Margo, rationally


Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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22 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  Despite your friend’s bad alcoholic induced behavior, you were willing to give her a second chance by talking with her and saying:  hey you had too much to drink and hurt people’s feelings.  I don’t know if your friend is a true drunk or a binge drinker on her way to becoming a drunk or simply someone who was envious at your happiness and went over the edge.  If she were a decent person (and drunks can be decent when sober) she would have apologized profusely for her behavior and sought some way to make amends.  She didn’t.  Whether it was alcoholic denial or simply her own bad character motivating her,  she cut the ties by opting out of your wedding.   I think you just need to be, as Margo advised, straightforward with her.  Tell her you were very hurt by her conduct at your engagment party and even more hurt because she did not seem to be sorry for it.  And say..I can forgive you but I cannot remain your friend.    Maybe it will help her see the light about her drinking but don’t count on it and it is not your cross to bear. 

    #2:  Perhaps your cousin is more resentful of the claim on her insurance than you realize (it surely caused her rate to rise) and has communicated this to her parents. I can hear the comments *her health insurance should cover this..why is she making a claim against us?*  Well…because its their fault…duh.   Its unclear from your letter if a lawsuit was actually filed or not as *settlement* can come at anytime before the jury comes back with a verdict.  And if a suit was filed, unfortunately, your cousin was the named defendant and not her insurance company, even though her insurance company paid the settlement and she did not.  

    Since you seemed to be the person who made the contact with your cousin over the claim, I would call her and discuss this saying you certainly did not intend to make this a personal matter and express the hope that your parents can be reconciled.  The bottom line is your cousin’s dog was not under control and he/she was negligent.  A stranger to the family would probably have held out for much more than a modest settlement.  But no one likes to be told they screwed up so I can understand but not agree with your cousin’s (or her mother’s) resentment.  Make an effort to fix it but if it goes nowhere then just keep sending cards, letters and love to them all and hope eventually this too will pass.  


    • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

      The health insurer may not cover it if they believe it should be paid under the homeowner’s insurance policy. 

  2. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Margo’s right; you can’t be busy forever. And now this ingrate wants favors from you? Cut off the friendship — today.

    L #2: So the cousins’ mother is upset over this? Explain it to her. If she’s still got a twist in her panties, she’ll just have to get over it.

  3. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-I agree with Margo.  Just tell the woman that recent events have made it clear that your relationship is not what it used to be, so you feel it best that you both move on.

    LW#2-I work in insurance claims, and I agree with Margo again-many people don’t understand how the liability section of the homeowner’s policy works.  The injury was absolutely handled properly.  Section II of a homeowner’s policy coveres injuries to others for which you are liable.  A claim was made against it because the dog owner was negligent for letting it knock over someone and was liabile for the injury, and a proper settlement was reached.  Nobody sued anyone else because the claim was handled by the adjuster!

    Another insurance concept that is important here is subrogation.  Your mother’s health insurance, whether a private company or medicare, would have reviewed the physician’s notes on the injury.  As soon as they see that your mother was knocked over by a dog that didn’t belong to them, they would seek to be reimbursed by the dog owner’s insurance company for any payments made since they were the liable party.  Even if your parents hadn’t gone through the cousin’s homeowner’s policy at the outset, your mother’s health insurance would have made a claim against them anyway.

    It’s not personal, it’s just the way insurance works.  If the rest of your family holds a grudge because you handled the matter properly, then there’s nothing you can do.

    • avatar Megan Freedman says:

      Agreed with the above poster.  I am also in insurance and its amazing how many people don’t understand how insurance works.  They think if they get money from someone’s homeowners or auto insurance that they can keep it and let their health insurance pay the claims!  Health insurance is for illnesses or accidents with no third party liability.  If someone else is liable for the injury, its not the job of health insurance to pay for the treatment.

  4. avatar Suzanne Taylor says:

    LW#1: I am struggling to figure out how why you invited this woman to be a bridesmaid in the first place. You don’t seem to know her very well at all. You were serving alcohol at a family party, so you obviously don’t come from a long line of teetotallers. You must have been in situations where your friend had been drinking before. If the behavior at the party was out of character for your friend while attending this type of event, I probably would have reached out to find out why. When you reprimanded her for her behavior, you forced her into a face-saving gesture, which was to bow out of the wedding.
    I might be different than everyone else, but I don’t scold my friends for their transgressions. I am not their supervisor or their parent. It is not my place. I try to understand the motivation behind the behavior. If what you relate is true, your friend seems to be in “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” mode. You might have tried to talk about the feelings that caused the behavior. Instead of getting even with her for what she did at the party, you could have seen if you could salvage the friendship.
    Not every relationship can be saved, but it doesn’t sound like you were this person’s friend in the first place. You didn’t know her very well, and the only mistake you made was inviting her to participate in your wedding. Take Margo’s advice and let her know that you are not friends. It’s the truth.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Suzanne, you must be inexperienced in the ways of the world. LW1 may have been out with her former friend many times, even when alcohol was involved, and the friend might very well have not over-indulged for a variety of reasons.  Not all alcoholics, or even those who are heading in that direction, or the terminally unpleasant, fly their colors on a regular basis. And there is definitely a popular misperception that alcoholics are raving drunk 24/7. But give someone so inclined a perceived reason to become inebriated and lose control, and the situation can quickly become a nightmare.
      If you read the letter carefully, you will notice that Tanya has sisters, one of whom is probably maid (or matron) of honor. You will also notice that the excessive drinking, and subsequent ugliness did not involve the former friend kvetching about her sadness at never being a bride (which usually results in a lot of maudlin tears, and an outpouring of sympathy), but, rather, regarding her appropriateness for the position of maid of honor, which obviously went to someone else. And that she then turned on the bride-to-be and her sisters, revealing all the personal details of Tanya’s and her sisters’ lives that she knew (which sounds like quite a bit of information, leading to the implication that the friendship was one of many years’ duration), and being quite bitter and nasty. This was LW1’s fault exactly how?
      I don’t think that telling one’s friend after she became a drunken mess at one’s engagement party (I really doubt they were doing beer bongs or someone held her down and poured shots down her throat…she was responsible for her own behavior) which obviously was a complete shock, or that she deliberately revealed a lot of very personal things about one and one’s family, which is the truly hurtful issue, is reprimanding her, or scolding her. It is trying to get to the core of the issue, which is why she would do something like that at one’s engagement party. What, Tanya was supposed to say, “O, darling, you were a teensy bit tipsy, and maybe said a thing or two that was sort of poopy. I mean, it’s okaaaay, you can be maid of honor if you want”. Really? Really? Because it certainly appears that this may have been exactly what the former friend wanted. Tanya tried to talk to her, and she, rather than explain, apologize, or take responsibility for her actions (ie: behave like an adult) delivers what she believes to be the ultimate female sucker punch and says, “Well then I won’t be part of your wedding or even attend it”. Excuse me, but who is trying to manipulate who, and behaving like a spoiled child, and displaying a lack of maturity, accountability and understanding? Please.
      I don’t blame Tanya for wanting out of the friendship. I do think too much emphasis is put on having the “Perfect Day” regarding the whole loathsome Wedding Machine (I was the antithesis of the Bridezilla, in fact). But I don’t think that is the issue here. People change over time, and there is no unkinder cut than an old friend who slices you to the bone at what should be a happy time for you…no matter what the occasion…engagement, new home, baby on the way, new job or a promotion…or even small, personally significant things, like a new haircut or weight loss or even a pair of shoes. And when, having delivered her coupe de grace, she returns a short time later wanting to visit and asking for favors…it is definitely time to terminate the friendship. Either the friend is a clueless idiot…or she is a manipulator who thinks she has the upper hand.
      Tanya did no forcing or getting even. She tried to talk to her friend. I would have done so as well. As a long recovered alcoholic, from a long history of alcoholics, I have no tolerance for drunken binges. I warned several people at my first wedding to stay the hell away from the bar (open, because daddy was paying, and daddy…not an alkie…wouldn’t hear of his daughter not having an open bar at her wedding. I didn’t touch a drop all night, and I was a several years from drying out then). I certainly would not have wanted one of my bridesmaids getting ripped, and spewing all sorts of hateful, jealous bile at my reception…and I would have taken steps to insure that didn’t happen…not so much for my sake (I’m impossible to embarrass) but for my other guests. And alcohol’s mere presence is not an excuse to behave like monkeys at the monkey house. Ever. Period.

      • avatar Lunita says:

        I agree with you regarding LW1…it sounds like she did try to see what was going on, and there’s nothing wrong with being honest and telling someone that their behavior was unacceptable. If I acted stupid while drunk (or for any other reason) I would want to know and I would apologize. It’s my sense that the friend didn’t apologize; otherwise, I just feel like the LW1 would have mentioned it. At any rate, I think LW1 seemed to act maturely given the situations.

        When I first read the letter, I thought the friend’s actions in immediately giving up her place in the wedding and refusing to go to the wedding made a bad situation even worse; however, now I think that perhaps she was just really embarrassed about her behavior. All the people who witnessed her scene will be at the wedding, and she probably would feel as though she were being judged. Not that LW1 isn’t justified in her feelings of wanting to give up the friendship. But perhaps if this was the reason (embarrassment), and the friend had actually told her, she would have understood. Contrary to the comment above, I think LW1’s friend should have been more forthcoming (assuming LW1 is giving all the information accurately) about her actions. The whole favors thing is weird, but like Sarah mentioned below, if the friend doesn’t realize the friendship is over, and if they have been friends for some time, maybe she thinks it’s acceptable.  

        The situation LW2 described is very sad! I hope it’s due to a misunderstanding regarding the workings of homeowner’s insurance and that the sister can be made to understand what is going on.

    • avatar Nicole Swearengen says:


      I agree with you whole-heartedly. I understand that the letter writer was angry with her friend for her behavior at the engagement party. And rightfully so. However, instead of just being angry she should have tried to find out why her friend behaved in such a way. Obviously it was out of character for her, or she wouldn’t have been invited to the party. Also, the friend should have apologized. But I don’t blame her for backing out of the wedding. She was probably mortified at her behavior and too ashamed to face the sisters and other party-goers who witnessed the behavior. I agree that it is in poor taste for the friend to be asking for favors, but it may be the only way she knows how to reach out. We spend so much time being angry/hurt/etc for the way people behave, but spend no time trying to understand where that behavior came from. I agree that letter writer should inform her “friend” that the friendship is over. Mostly because it appears that neither party is willing to admit that they aren’t mature enough to resolve the issue like adults.

      • avatar Lindsey M says:

        I’m divided on LW#2.  I’d like to know what has driven the former bridesmaid’s behavior as well.  If she is able to apologize for her atrocious behavior, I’d consider trying to rebuild the friendship.  I’m just not sure if the LW’s conversation with her delved into this or not, or ended up being more of a reprimand as some have suggested.  I can’t tell if the friend dropped out of the wedding to be malicious or because she was terribly embarrassed about her behavior.  I think figuring that out is the crux of the matter.
        If the LW did really try to talk about why this happened and the friend just isn’t willing to discuss it or take responsibility for her actions, then there is nothing the LW can do other than cut this toxic person out of her life.  But if the friend can apologize and explain why she became unglued, I think it’s possible to still be friends and she could attend the wedding or be part of the bridal party.  Weddings can bring up weird things in families and close friends.  I’m not excusing the behavior, but if the LW finds out what motivated it, the one night of drunken foolishness may be much more understandable and forgivable and the friendship may be salvageable.

        • avatar Sarah Trachsel says:

          I am divided on LW2 as well.
          1) It sounds like the girl was a pretty close friend, if she knew personal details of not just the bride but also the bride’s sisters, and if she thought she was a close enough friend to even be considered for MOH, and it seems extremely unlikely that the bride had never seen this side of her friend.  What seems more likely is that the bride is upset bc she showed that side to her family, and she was embarrassed in front of them.   2)  The LW never said whether the girl apologized or not, just that she bowed out, so it’s not really fair to bash the bridesmaid without having all the facts.  3) LW has decided she doesn’t want to be friends anymore, but hasn’t bothered to tell the poor girl, so why is it so strange that the friend would think everything was normal and want to hang out and/or ask for favors, which in any long-term friendship is totally normal?  Maybe the only thing she is guilty of in this aspect of the situation is that she is too dense, or too hopeful, to read the writing on the wall.  4) Weddings are stressful and emotional for everyone involved, and I think in general a little more tolerance than usual is called for.  If bridesmaids everywhere started ending friendships with bride/zillas for their lousy behavior, no married people would have any friends.
          But all that aside, if you really are sure you want to end the friendship, you need to do it right away.  Out of respect for the years of good friendship you had, she doesn’t deserve to be strung along indefinitely just because you don’t have the courage to start the conversation.  She deserves to hear the whole truth about why you want to end the friendship, preferably without bitterness and unnecessary cruelty, face to face.  And you need to be really really sure this is something you want to do, because as hard as it would be to come back from this, cutting someone out of your life completely is a much bigger wound to heal.

  5. avatar John Hlavaty says:

    Another popular advisor, Dr. Phil, stated that sometimes one has to “clean house” with regards to friends.  That is, examine who fits into your life now and which person is important – remove those who aren’t healthy for your world.

    Some friendships we can keep for a lifetime, despite infrequent conversations or distance.  When we meet up with those people, it’s as if a day hasn’t gone by.  However, for other people, sometimes a wedge is created that cannot be overcome.  We change (our goals, our lives), they change, or something we overlooked for years has become so annoying that we can no longer tolerate it.  At that point, it may be time to “clean house”.

    For example, I have a friend and coworker who has become tremendously anti-government and anti-corporation.  He reads material online that suits this agenda.  If you disagree with his findings, he “feels sorry” for you and may even scold you.  He believes so strongly in these anti-government online rants that he lets it affect him personally and at work. 

    Recently, I tried speaking to him to see what was wrong.  I endured an hour long anti-government/anti-corporation rant.  When I tried to say calming, but admittedly banal, statements like, “Well, this company is not unique and we still have jobs.” I was countered with bitterness about how “greedy” the company is.  Even when I agreed with my friend, I was insulted.  I let this situation go, even apologizing as I felt I made my friend more upset.

    A few weeks later, my friend missed a party I hosted.  He apologized saying he was in a “bad place”.  I asked if I could help, and he retorted how *I* bring up negative items (like in our talk)!  I can assure you, I never want to spend an hour ranting about a corrupt government or greedy corporation (by the way, can anything be more obvious?).  I stated that I was tired of hearing his rants and him not doing anything positive about it.  His response was to shut me out. 

    And at this point, I’m glad.  I stopped enjoying his company a while ago and this recent change is too much.  With my thinking clarified, I now recall all the other times I let his bad behavior slide. He’s still an overall good person, but clearly he and I will no longer agree on enough items for this friendship to continue.

    It’s possible that the LW friend is similar.  The LW accepted her friend’s bad behavior before, but eventually the friend want over the edge (at the engagement party).  To make the situation worse, the friend essentially pushed responsibility onto the LW (by bowing out of the wedding) just as my friend blamed me (for apparently bringing up antagonizing topics). 

    Unlike the LW’s friend, my friend (or former friend) hasn’t really tried to engage me.  Still, I feel it is time to move on. 

    If the LW wants to know what’s truly bothering her friend and wants to see if the friendship can be repaired – then please meet up for lunch and have an open discussion.  But if the LW has reached the point where it’s been enough, then there’s the answer.  The LW’s friend may be trying to reconnect with these calls and favor requests, but really, it’s a weak attempt.  I recommend ending the friendship and moving forward.

    Good luck!

  6. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the insurance letter does not just turn out to be a misunderstanding of how insurance works.  I am a bit of a Judge Judy fan and I’m always AMAZED at how many people show up who seem to think that just because something is an ‘accident’ that they are in no way responsible.  (As Judy says,  ‘Yes, I know it was an accident.  That’s why it’s not called an ‘on purpose’.)  And I think it is more prevalent in older people – the attitude that if no harm was purposefully done, then you have to deal with all repercussions yourself.

  7. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Okay, ladies, perhaps I’m exceptionally dim…but LW1 did not seem so much angry as shocked and hurt at her friend’s behavior at the engagement party. If you read the letter, you notice that she did not react to the her friend’s alcoholic meltdown, but waited a few weeks to speak to her, which suggests, at least to me, waiting for her emotions to settle before tackling the problem. It seems obvious that the friend did not contact her during that time to make an apology, or state her reasons for her unexpected and rather inappropriate behavior. As for telling the woman that she got drunk and said a lot of hurtful things…I apologize for my poor bedside manner, but isn’t that the truth of the situation, and isn’t it obvious that in stating the truth, LW1 was asking, somewhat plaintively, “Why did you do this?”.  Why tip-toe soothingly around something that caused you deep and unexpected confusion and hurt, and for which you’ve received no explanation or apology? Because the offending party might be embarrassed or guilty or hurt? This sounds like something that was festering for a long time, and since the friend addressed her issues so directly, and publicly, I see no problem with LW1 doing the same in private.
    A lot of you seem to have placed the blame squarely on LW1, and have already labeled her a dreadful Bridezilla. Why, because she dared to have an engagement party, and didn’t make this particular friend the maid of honor? Because her friend decided that this was the perfect time to air whatever long-held grievances she had tucked away, and get drunk and vent her spleen in front of the bride and her sisters, possibly giving away secrets she had been carefully entrusted with for years? LW1 did not say she was embarrassed, she said she was surprised and hurt. Having a valued and trusted friend, one whom you have asked to be in your wedding party, break that trust at an event that should be a celebration of love, friendship and joy would hurt even the most non-material, easy-going, casual bride-to-be.
    If LW1 was truly the heinous, unfeeling, selfish Bridezilla some of you would so like her to be, she would have had quite the rant at her own party, then cut her friend dead, never to speak to her again. She didn’t do that, instead, she allowed herself sufficient time to become calm, and attempted to address the problem with her friend, only to have the friend back out of both attending and participating in the wedding…still without any explanation for her behavior (and if that reaction isn’t a serious deflection…I’m not certain what, short of smacking the LW silly, would have been).
    Friendships die sometimes, and it sounds as if this one might well have been terminal already. Something unpleasant, which to me speaks deeply of envy, was unseated by LW1’s engagement. I’ve been a bride arranging a formal wedding. Two of my bridesmaids were quite the special cases. One, my middle sister, complained incessantly about the dress not coming in a size small enough for her (then was furious when a 4 fit her with small alterations…she was convinced she had to have a 2), then declared she wasn’t going to let the fitting ladies see her naked (considering the thousands of women they’d already seen…and no, my sister was hardly vestal, or vested in some dogma of modesty). My other problem child lived an hour away, wouldn’t make use of the excellent bridal shop I found just 10 minutes from her house, claimed she was afraid to drive to the shop near me (requiring four hours of highway time every time she needed a fitting…because she also refused to take the train from her very clean and pleasant station…to my even cleaner and more comfortable station). And my sainted mother wore black, and his sainted mother wore white. I just meandered through the insanity, including my parents’ rancorous fighting about their impending divorce (I had no idea whether to seat them together, or put them together on the invitations until the last nanosecond), my youngest sister breaking her leg five weeks before the wedding (she was on a cane the day of), and my profound wish on The Day that someone would give me $500 and an old hooptie car so that I could run for the Canadian border because I knew I was making a terrible mistake. It might have happened if I was a man with serious bro-friends. But hey, it is what it is, and here I am. But I understand well how seriously bizarre people’s actions can be…and it isn’t always the bride’s fault.
    In this case, not her fault at all. If fences are to be mended, the friend needs to stop wanting to hang out and asking for favors (that is incredibly presumptuous, whether she’s socially retarded or not)…and explain herself. Otherwise, game over.

    • avatar A R says:

      I have to back Briana on this. The LW did attempt to talk with the drunk bridesmaid weeks after the fact—not even in the heat of the moment. She was commendably forthright with her friend about what occurred that day.
      Whether the friend retaliated or bowed out from embarrassment was the friend’s prerogative. What the friend didn’t appear to do is offer at minimum an excuse or at maximum an apology.
      Whatever the friend’s motives are, she did not try to make this right. Calling and asking the letter writer for favors in the wake of this is not a way to signal that she wants to hug and make up. At the very least, the letter writer needs to cool the friendship to give herself time to reassess the person she thought she knew.
      I am a firm believer, based on my experiences, that when people get drunk what is in them tends to come out. The drunk who says hurtful or jealous things had those thoughts all along, and the alcohol set them free.

  8. avatar A R says:

    L1: I agree with others. You talked with her about her behaviour and let her know it was hurtful to others. She retaliated by dropping out of your wedding party (her prerogative and probably better for you in the long run). What’s done is done. You can either tell her it is over, or you can send her a strong message by not taking her calls or emails any more. Which of the two you do depends on which is more tolerable for you.

    • avatar Nancy Pea says:

      i think that sending her a message by not taking her calls or returning her emails is just leading her on. best to get it out in the open. i have a hard time being dishonest in this situation. if someone has done something like this to me and later has still not apologized and still not at least tried to explain themselves, they they will definitely hear from me about it. especially if they have nerve to keep pestering me for favors and friendship. most ppl do not understand the “strong message” angle. maybe it comes with being incredibly dense, but it’s really a waste of her time to do that. just cut the cord and get it over with. best for everybody concerned. also if she keeps dragging it out. she is no better than the tipsy bridesmaid (who might think that everything is okay now and she can come back and be friends) and that would defeat the whole purpose!

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        When I was much younger, and clueless in the ways of “being cut off”, I had two different female friends simply cease communication with me. In both cases I had not actually done anything egregious…well, nothing deliberate or that I was aware of (in once instance I had briefly dated a man of the “incorrect” race…who was no worse than any of the other Bad Boys I dated, but offended my friend’s delicate racial sensibilities). I was at first puzzled, then irritated, then actually made an effort to uncover the cause of the sudden silences. In the one instance, obviously I found out, and I decided that the friendship was indeed over (I don’t have racial or ethnic prejudices, and hers came as an unpleasant surprise after years of sharing and knowing each other). In the other, I simply never knew what happened. Even long after it doesn’t really matter, it is still something I puzzle over sometimes…especially since no one else could fathom it either.
        So, yes, the LW absolutely should tell her friend that she is not interested in continuing the friendship, preferably that simply and directly, as in, “I need to let you know that I think our friendship has run its course, and come to an end”. Own it, make no accusations, and leave it be. And do it face to face…this current practice of texting or emailing bad news is just so craven and gauche…and somehow dishonest.

        • avatar D L says:

          I understand where you’re coming from with the friends dropping routine. The same recently happened to me as well. I had been friends with this girl for roughly 10 years. We met at my last job, hung out together, had fun together. My now-husband and I used to get together with her and her husband from time to time. I was in her wedding and she was in mine. She helped me move; I was there when her deal on a new home fell through… you get the idea. For the past 2 years, she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant. They had recently decided to do IVF. I made the decision to not have kids but couldn’t have been more supportive of my friend. We had endless emails and talks about how she was progressing with her new doctors, how upset she was that another friend had gotten pregnant or that the latest IVF round hadn’t taken, etc. I always did my best to be there for her.

          Suddenly within the last year, she no longer wanted to get together. I would ask about going for coffee (with me alone), dinner for us and our husbands, shopping, movies, etc. I was always told that things were just “busy”. I asked if everything was ok and was told things were fine. I knew my friend and her DH were homebodies. I also thought perhaps she was just too upset over her pregnancy issues to go out and put on a happy face so I let it slide, although it did bother me. Last August, they bought a new house and I was so thrilled for them. I congratulated them, sent a “congrats on your house” card and asked when we could swing by to see the new place (we live close to each other). Was told that they had to get the house “in order” but that an invite would come soon. It didn’t. I even brought it up again, saying that a few boxes lying around wouldn’t bother me. Again, no invite was extended. Yet we continued to email each other every day from work (and yes, I do mean every day) chatting about the new house and work and the weekend and whatnot. I was perplexed and for the seemingly hundreth time asked AGAIN if there was a problem I was unaware of: did I say or do something to offend her/her husband? Did my husband? Did something need to be discussed? Again was told no, that everything was fine.

          Towards the end of the year, she sent me a quick email that her work was cracking down on internet use so she wouldn’t be able to email me from work. Of course I understood and sent an email to her personal account saying so. I asked how everything was in terms of her health, the house and when we could get together for coffee. I got a response back after a few days answering all my questions except the “get-together” one. I waited a week and emailed again about getting together. I never received a response nor have I received any other type of email correspondence.

          We’re friends on FB but no comments or anything have been sent to me or posted on my wall. Then, low and behold, just after New Year’s, I went on FB and checked out her wall. Posted was a picture of a sonogram titled “our baby”. I went from happy to confused to angry to hurt in a moment. I was of course ecstatic that they were finally going to have a baby after all they had gone through but was surprised and hurt that I hadn’t received a phone call or something more personal. I’m not saying its all about me but considering how close I thought we were and all the conversations we had about this very subject, I thought I would at least get a text telling me about their good news. (Another good friend of mine called me from the delivery room right after she gave birth; another friend invited me out for dinner to tell me I would be an “aunt”). I posted a big congrats on her FB wall and sent her a personal email again congratulating her and her husband. She did respond and said how excited she was and everything. She said how they had been telling friends about their good news and I cringed b/c I thought I was a friend to be told. Apparently not.

          I haven’t emailed her again, not being I’m purposely trying to be mean or vindicative but I can plainly see that my presence and friendship is no longer required. She didn’t ask me anything about my life in this last email. She made no mention of how she may need help shopping for the baby or picking out clothes, something fun to do with a friend. I commented on a few of her FB posts she made but never heard anything back to me. I told my husband how sad I was and he suggested that perhaps she just “outgrew” me and that seems to be the likely case.

          So, like many of you had listed, I’m hurt and puzzled by the whole thing but there’s really nothing I can do at this point. It’s hurtful when a friendship ends especially if there really isn’t a good reason for it to end. While it may be a part of life that some friendships just end and that we just need to accept it, it doesn’t make it any less painful.

  9. avatar David Bolton says:

    Exactly. If the homeowners had NOT had insurance or had been under-insured and subsequently sued, they would have been bemoaning the fact that they didn’t have a policy to fall back upon. I also can’t help but wonder what the response would have been if the injured person had been a friend or an associate (or a child) rather than a relative—would they have been “furious” then, or grateful that the person didn’t sue the pants off them for not controlling their animal?
    As for LW#1: I have abruptly ended friendships and had them ended by friends. There was a lot of water under the bridge, and in retrospect the terminations were likely for the best, for both parties. If the LW is ready to call things off with the friend, then it’s likely there’s a past history of behavior, or that the friendship hasn’t matured enough to weather the problem. Either way—there are more pleasant people in the world to be around. Reflect and move on.

  10. avatar GingerSpice says:

    This conversation has made me realize what incredible friends I have.  Not that I’ve screwed up a lot, but when I have I was never called on the carpet.  I was ashmamed of myself and apologized and was forgiven.  I’m positive I have hurt them or embarrassed them in other situations and never apologized.  Again, never scolded.  Just forgiven. 

    • avatar CanGal says:

      Ginger, I think some people, including the LW, are confusing friends with acquantances.  The people in your life sound like true friends, the person the LW is talking about is an acquantance.  If the person she was refering to was a true friend she would not have done what she did, if the LW was a true friend she would have been more understanding.  Most people who think they have friends only have acquantances.  Acquantances we can exclude from our lives, but true friends do not come along that often. I have one true friend (well 2 if you include her husband and I do) and I would not ditch them no matter what they did.