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whoa? first?

I wouldn't tell. That is if it is like you say and not a major pain to you.
Just back off for awhile and maybe she will notice something is wrong.

Glad you took the second glass of wine! :)

Ah. I have a friend very similar to yours. Not mean, but rather tactless and doesn't really think before she opens her nouth. And likes to tell everyone her opinion, even if it makes those around her cringe.

I have chosen to let things slide. She is not a mean or vindictive person, and she would probably be horrified if she thought that she was hurting people left and right with her thoughtless remarks. I have decided not to smarten her up with a few well chosen words of my own because I don't want to hurt her. She truly has lived life with few friends, is going through very stressful times and needs support from the few friends she has. We live quite far apart, and therefore I am not subjected to daily examples of her thoughtlessness, otherwise I might react very differently.

I don't think her behaviour is exusable, but I don't want to hurt her, and I think that what she sows she will reap, and that is evident in her fairly small circle of friends.

As I side note my daughter wants me to tell you that while I am not talking about her in the above post, she (my duaghter) is my best friend, and she just wanted to clarify that. She is 4.

that's a good question.

i think the answer may lie in the foundation of the self-absorption. is the person the primary caregiver (either all the time or during his/her 'off' hours) of small children? is this person caring for an ill parent or other loved one? is this person the subject of many demands at work or at home? or is this person the type who makes everything about themselves--and i don't mean through sharing about themselves in an attempt to relate, i mean just utterly self-centered, couldn't tell you what's going on in your life though you talk at least once a week--and just plain old selfish?

i think if you can get to the heart of the reason for inattention, then it will make the behavior either understandable and forgivable to you, or it won't. if it doesn't, then i don't think a carefully-worded chat would be out of line, but i also think you should go in prepared to lose the friend. and if this is behavior that hasn't changed in many years, i would say that you either learn to live with it or let the relationship drift away, no need for drama.

Hmmm...tough one.

Someone said to me once that we put up with far more shit from friends than we would from a partner. If Marko had treated you like that you would have kicked him to the kerb, but with friends you feel bound to keep the relationship going. Sometimes it's because you've been friends so long, sometimes it's because they are in your social circle and it would be awkward to do it. And sometimes it's because you're just feeling chicken and don't want a confrontation.

I guess a lot of people would say "if you're getting nothing out of it, cut her loose", or "just tell her she's an asshole" - easier said than done.

There is no excuse for being an asshole, even if you don't know you're doing it. Everyone has the capability of stopping and considering the effect of their behaviour on others. Well, narcissists can't I guess. BUT, I don't think your friend is going to change by making a blanket statement about the way she treats you. Most likely she wouldn't be able to think of any specific time she WAS an asshole. I don't think it would help your relationship at all, I think it could just make things uncomfortable by pointing out his/her general asshole-ness (good word??).

But you are entitled to protect yourself too, and maybe you can start pulling up this friend when each incident happens, rather than labelling her character. You know, if she says something mean don't just take it, say something like "ouch! why did you say that??". Maybe if you point it out enough times, even subtly, she'll start to think before she speaks or acts. Maybe she doesn't know she's an asshole because her behaviour has always been fine with you, so she's kept it up.

The other option is to just wind the friendship down, call less often, don't send the odd birthday card, whatever, and gradually bow out. Hmmm, no, on second thoughts, that is how a man would break up lol.

BTW, you are an alcoholic


Hey T, you call us assholes all the time! Why does she get special treatment?? Hurumph.

I think it depends on entirely on whether you think the woman can change. If you gently point out ways in which she is an AH, and she comes to understand and changes her behavior -- great. You`ve done both her and yourself a favor.

But if your points fall on deaf ears, and she continues in her AH-ish ways, then all you can do is accept her the way she is, and put a comfortable distance between you and her, to keep your sanity.

Wine makes it all better.

Well dare I try another posting - well here goes - first of all most likely you are dealing with a GUY as they seem most likely to miss the smaller points of life and not see that is not about ME.

In Fact - Quality of life is a measure of wealth, and your friends are a big factor in the quality of life therefore insensitive friends damage the very root of quality. So one needs to make an assesment are they real or are you merely in need of a friend - and dare I suggest, from what you have described, they are there for a different purpose and not for the long run. The symptom you describe is sitting on top of a root cause and you know already what the root cause is - so deal with it and get things back on track.

Sigh - another glass of wine is ALWAYS Ok

I had a friend like this. Over time the asshole stuff subsided because life changed, you know?

She had a baby and I was sensitive, and you know...now that the baby is 1 it's not bad anymore...I'm not jealous, and I don't feel like she's being an ass, talking constantly about her pregnancy this and that all the time.

I dunno, did that make sense? I need wine.

I had a friend who, among other symptoms, was late all the time in meeting up. We each had one kid, both very easy kids.

Too often, my son and I would be wind up waiting someplace for her, maybe even an hour.

One day, I let her know I was not happy about the situation. I don't remember when/where that happened, but I let her know I was hurt repeatedly by her actions. She seemed to prioritize others over me; she didn't value me enough to make the effort w/me.

After about a month off, she called at 11:15 one day to meet at a place of her choosing for lunch w/the kids. I busted butt to get a shower and get to the place by noon. My son played while I waited. Finally at 12:45, I a gave up on them and ordered our lunch - it's not cool to make a 4yo late eating lunch and it's not cool to make me hurry up and wait either. She pulled up just before 1 as we were starting to eat, saying she'd been on the phone at home. It was frivolous stuff and she was making excuses, but I didn't make a big fuss. We ate and the kids played and I never talked to her again after that day. We'd been soul buddies for about 3 years, but I made the right decision.

Even friend relationships require maintenance and they should be open enough and strong enough to make it through evaluation. If they don't pass muster, if they are more weighty than uplifting, then they don't deserve your energy.

I have this issue with my father. In fact, our whole family besides him has the issue. He truly has no idea how assholish he has been in the past and continues to be. But the dynamics of the family are such that he is almost never called on it. But yet he really suffers because it's obvious that there is tension between all of us, and our bitterness comes out in little passive-agressive ways. I wish just telling him what an asshole he was/is could be the solution, but it's been tried in the past and it just makes him enraged and crushes his fragile ego and he refuses to see it anyway...so we just live with it.

Since he is my father, I have to live with this sort of thing if I want him to be a part of my life (which I do), but if it were a friend? I might be spending less time with this person, setting up more rigid emotional boundaries, or even letting go of the friendship altogether. Life is too short to suffer other people's selfish assholeness unless you are related to them, and even with close relatives I think it's completely sane and healthy to set up FIRM boundaries or limit time spent with the assholes in question.

JMO. I have been pondering 'what to do' about my father since...well, birth. Haven't figured it out yet. With friends who display assholish tendencies, I tend not to let the friendship linger. One good result of growing up with an asshole is that I can smell one (no pun intended) a mile away. LOL!

Gotta post again, because I just remembered a scenario that happened a few years back with an 'assholish' friend where I did NOT end the friendship and it all turned out quite nicely. This person just had foot-in-mouth disease. She was constantly saying things that insulted me or other people, that were downright embarrassing or rude or what-have-you. However she had NO idea she was coming off this way. Finally, when she told me she was worried about my weight and had I been to see my doctor? to check my cholesterol, or for heart problems? (I was 27 and weighed maybe 150 lbs., a little pudgy, but not morbidly obese) - it was the last straw. I wrote her a long e-mail telling her that she needed to GROW UP and think about the results of her words on other people. I told her that I was devastated by her comment, and embarrassed for both myself and her.

And you know what? She replied that she was so sorry, that she totally felt like an asshole. I actually noticed a HUGE difference in her behavior right away. She still says bizarre and insensitive things on a semi-regular basis but is much more conscious of her words, and is truly a sweet person (it's like she has some kind of mild Tourette's, all the weird insulting things...she's not a REAL asshole). We are very much still friends, she threw my baby shower and I'm throwing hers next month.

So sometimes confrontation may be OK. BUT I don't know a lot of people who would have responded so well. And I actually felt pretty bad and guilty about how harsh my e-mail was, so it wasn't all roses...I felt like I had to be an asshole to make her see that she was being one, and it didn't feel quite right to do that, even though it 'worked', if you kwim.

Good luck with your friend. And whoa on the wine! ;)

life is short.
either endure and shut up -
or walk away from the person.

there just IS no way to tell a person that they are an asshole.

I have friends who have become very wrapped up in their own lives, and don't really have time for me anymore. It happens. I don't say anything. People are busy with their lives, and I am busy with mine. I know they aren't doing in purposely to hurt me.

There is no right or wrong answer... I have a friend like this... if you'd ask her she'd probably say that my share of the relationship includes "pollyanna optimism" and not enough blind support... if you asked me you'd here that I'm generally the one contacting her, checking to make sure life in her world is "okay" and sending cards, etc of encouragement... This friend is currently upset about my doing injectables and her not. My husband is over it... me... I'm used to it to a certain extent... I feel that I've always given more to this relationship than she has... and right now with my hormones on a rollercoaster ride I don't have the time, energy or inclination to deal with her so I'm doing nothing.

I figure she'll eventually get the hint that a relationship is a two way street if I don't contact her, etc. We all are busy, but the main reason why I haven't done this before now is that we've been friends for a LONG time... since childhood... and well it's hard to do things like that.

If it makes you angry - address it... if it makes you go hmm not so great of a friend... you have to choose whether addressing it will even make that person change their behavior or start an argument you aren't willing to finish.

I don't think you say anything. You accept your friends for the way they are and don't try to change them (rather like the man in your life). Possibly sometme in her life she will end up in a situation that makes her aware of her behaviour/personality and will slowly start to change.

If you say something it will change the friendship forever - not necessarily for the better!

Go have another glass of wine.

Hmmm, have you been in my head?
I have been struggling with this exact issue with a long time friend.
The conclusion I have come to is that I just have to suck it up. She will never change. There are some great things about her. So, I try to avoid the situations where she will do things that will make me feel badly, and only hang out with her when I know it is "safe." There was a definite chill initially when this happened, but we got into our new groove and it is just fine.
She, of course, is not aware that any of this was happening. I realized that, if I tried to address the issues, I would lose her as a friend altogether, and I definitely didn't want THAT to happen. So I just created my own space (caller ID is a wonderful thing!), and found out where she could best fit into it.
Good luck. It's hard.

I suppose it depends on how good of a friend you are with this person and how hurtful/pain in the ass the things are that they do. I have a friend like this. A lot of my other friends don't understand why I put up with her shit. I do it because she is my friend, and if she does something that really bothers me, I let her know about it. I don't think there is any excuse to be an asshole, but what you are willing to put up with is a personal choice that only you can make. (Sorry I'm not much help!!)

I don't see anyone else giving this advice: You should give the unintended asshole a taste of her own medicine, treating her the way she treats you. Make sure you don't skimp on the wine, as it will help loosen up your saintly impulses and let you be a hellion to the quasi-asshole.

Could someone fetch me a beer, please?


I'm glad no one but your husband was hurt in making this post.

Um, only 2 glasses? That's pretty good.

I'd say you SHOULD at least talk to that person about it, nicely and coherently but still talk!
You can't let someone treat you badly and NOT say something.

Write out what you want to say and then say it. Don't continue a relationship that is one-sided and makes you feel like shit, that is NOT okay.

You don't HAVE to forgive anyone for pissing you off, no matter how innocently they do it. If someone is hurting you and / or aggravating you, you're entitled to keep them out of your life. It's like, I'm allergic to cats. They make my eyes stream and itch miserably. I know that they're not TRYING to aggravate me, but they do irritate me horribly, just be being near me, so I just avoid them.

So, it all depends on how much she aggravates you. If she is really annoying you -- no matter how innocently -- then you should look out for yourself and spend your limited social time with people who are more congenial.

I had just such a friend. Through distancing myself rather obviously she has backed off and whatever (rare) contact we have is on my terms. I meet her in my vehicle. If she is late I have left (no longer late).

If the behavior is truly unintentional, you would be doing her a tremendous favor if you told her about it. Use I-statements instead of you-statements and be very specific and very brief. For instance, given one of the examples above, instead of saying "It's very selfish of you to keep me waiting for lunch" you could say "I got here at noon because that's what we agreed on, and I'm kind of irritated that you were an hour late." Or "I don't appreciate the personal comments about my weight." (If she keeps on, "I know all about it. I can look in a mirror.") This may work, and if it doesn't, you'll have to decide whether her friendship is worth putting up with it.

Say so. Not in a "you know, generally I've noticed that you tend toward benevolent neglect of our friendship". That's a character statement and will get you nowhere but hurt feelings. Wait until something specific comes up and say something then. And try not to make it into a larger picture. Just deal with the issues as they come up. That's the most fair and hopefully, the most friendship saving direction to go.

Hmmm... this is why I don't tend to have friends. Practically everyone I've ever spent any amount of time with is as you've just described. It just means I don't "hang out".

My soon-to-be SIL is exactly the same as your friend. I approached her about it because she is going to be a member of my family so it is very important that we get along. She actually took it well and has been very active in helping our relationship get better. She understands that she can't talk to me in the same way she talks to her sister (with a real bitchy attitude). In turn, I've agreed to not to be so sensitve and to be honest when she does hurt my feelings.
I think it's best to be honest when you can, if this is a friendship worth preserving.

I had one like that too - great friend but v.opiniated and self centred. In the end I just let the friendship slide and she has made no effort to contact me - kind of re-enforces the idea that I did the right thing :)

I don't think it ever really helps to tell someone they are an asshole because, ummmmmmm , welll, they are an asshole!!!!!
I have known a lot of people along the way like the one you describe. I generally tend to avoid them now as i prefer to have only the good ones around since having the twins especially and my time/patience is limited.
The only ones i have kept around are the old friends that i am too sappy to give up.
I have had "the conversation" with some and not had it with others and at the end of the day it's all the same with all of them.
They are still self-centered and you just have to either accept it or walk away from it.
JMO.... but, i say WALK!!! There is only so much Tertia to go around and your life is too short to waste any of it on someone being an asshole to you even if unintentional. You are too good of a person to be treated badly. You wouldn't do it. They will NEVER get it.

I had a friend like this in high school, and I told her the truth many times before it got through to her. I felt I owed it to her, because she was my best friend, we had an unexplained connection, etc. V. good friend of mine. When I told her, she was sorry, and cleaned up her act for a while. But after behaving for a little while, she started up with the same sort of behaviour, and that's when I cut the cord. I didn't have any contact with her for more than 2 years.

Recently, about two years ago, she called my house. She hung up. Now, we don't have caller ID at my parent's house, and I hadn't talked to her in more than two years, but I just knew it was her. (We apparently still have that unexplained connection.) I looked in at my mom in the next room, said, "They hung up, but... I think it was Jackie!" She called back a few seconds later and we talked for a while. I was v. cold to her at first (self-preservation, don't ya know), but eventually agreed that we could meet up and get some drinks. I wanted to give her another chance, I guess.

Though the course of the night, it became completely clear that she was just the same as she'd always been, and I spent most of the time at the bar talking another aquaintance that happened to be there. I don't regret it at all, however. It gave me peace of mind to let her have her say. I think everyone deserves a second chance.

I've been struggling with this lately. I started getting to know and really liking a gal pal in the year before my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Our children had playdates and we seemed to enjoy each other's company and for awhile I thought she had a wicked (in a good way) sense of humor. When my husband was at his most ill, she was awesome and would come by and bring food and presents my children and me and would share her experience with cancer (her dad had it). At that point in time I couldn't reciprocate my friendships the way I wanted to for obvious reasons. Everyone seemed to be very understanding. But when things eased up a little bit and I was able to start reaching out again for some reason it felt like I was getting the cold-shoulder from this friend. I did try to talk to her about it but got a "no, everything is fine" type of response that told me that I wasn't going to get anywhere. I was really hurt for months. I saw her quite often (our children are in the same class) and I'd see her making plans with other people but not with me. Occasionally she'd include me in her plans with others but she never showed any interest in anything I had to say. I finally realized that I didn't deserve to be treated like that no matter what her reasons were (it may be simply that it's because she's an emotionally distant person but I'll never know) and I stopped caring and stopped being hurt. We are still friendly but only in the way that I'd be with an acquaintance.

Long story, but I think what I realized from this whole episode is that while I know that I at times I must work on my reltionship with my husband, he is worth it. I am just not that willing to put so much energy into righting what's wrong with my female friendships. Some stick and some don't and I think I'm OK with that. Not to say that I don't try to clear the air if there's a misunderstanding. Only to say that if I come clean and I try to communicate and I come up against a wall -- then I think it's not really worth it to try to work any harder. There's so many other wonderful women who I'd rather have coffee with. That's where I am at the moment with my thinking on this, but I give myself the opportunity to change my mind....

BTW, my husband seems to be cancer-free and is doing very well...

PS. I have "It's a Boy" and "Literary Mama" on my nightstand... Another good book on the topic of your current post is "The Friend Who Got Away: 20 Writers Tell the True Stories behind Their Blow-Ups, Burnouts, and Slow Fades." Edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell.

I had a friend like this for about 15 years. She was, by far, the most self-absorbed human being on the face of the earth. I accepted it for a very long time, but at some point it got harder and harder. She was very competitive and she had a real issue with my gifted son, comparing him over and over again with her very bright, but normal son a year younger. It got more and more difficult for me to watch her parent her child competitively with mine, and I started to withdraw from our friendship. At one point I did speak to her and tell her that it was getting hard to be a friend of hers because she was terribly unreliable (once she left me with her 3 month old daughter for 3.5 HOURS sans food while she shopped at Tiffanys for a new engagement ring), always late, always had an excuse for why she needed my help but wasn't willing to return the favor, etc. I even gave her a job and ended up doing it for her while she was too busy househunting and then redoing her new house at the job's expense.

The interesting thing is, she blew me off in the end. She is a big social climber and at one point realized that I wasn't getting her ahead of the game, so she just stopped calling. And so did I. I don't regret the end of our friendship, as it was always pretty tense around her, but I do regret that we never sorted it out. No closure. But I'm much happier without her in my life. She drained me.

Walk away. Fuck her. Seriously. I have had a 'friend' or two like this. It never helps to tell them they are an asshole, cause they don't want to hear it. More than likely, someone else has already tired this, and they didn't listen. Sometimes you just need to choose friends that don't suck the life out of you.

PS.. you're drinking for those of us who can't right now... have a little for me please!

You can explain, but not excuse being an asshole. No matter what else is up in someone's life, they owe it to you not to be an asshole and you shouldn't put up with it. Unless the asshole was me. Did we "talk" Friday night? Shit. I never do ask you how you are, because I know from the blog, but...how are you? And the kids? Shit, shit. Worried now.

Is it me? Hahaha see making it all about me. But am very scared that it is actually me.

What a timely question, T! I try to ignore this type of behaviour, I really do. It's always a sibling (I have five) who will speak to me as if I am a dog. For SEVENTEEN long years I have behaved myself and not carved any of them a new arsehole when they do it. I became a parent seventeen years ago, so I have tried to set my kids a good example. Until yesterday. (Do you have my house bugged?) Well, long story short, my brother won't be coming here anytime soon to call me stupid in front of my kids! Seventeen years worth of pent up wrath just jumped out of my mouth. He deserved it. The point is, he knows I am helping to plan the funeral of a friend's child on Wednesday and I am a bit sensitive about everything. Besides that, I realise if I had called him on a few other things over the years, I wouldn't have exploded. It's hard, when you care about people, not to rock the boat. I say, tell your friend they have pissed you off at the time. I wish I had. He would have known not to overstep the mark if I had only set one.

I had a very close friend just like this. (Don't you think its interesting how many of your commenters have friends "just like this"?).

I didn't see any point in telling her she was an asshole. So I changed tack with her. I made sure the relationship was on my terms, and I became as self-absorbed as she was.

For example, if any of my other friends called at the last minute and asked if we catch up as they were feeling a bit down, I would drop nearly everything to get there for them. But for her, I would only do it if it was convenient for me. After many years of feeling like I was being used and it being very one-sided, this way I did not feel tramped upon.

It worked for a while, but she has since gone to work overseas. You know, she didn't even call to say goodbye. Sad, huh?

If you have time to babysit the relationship, then I'd say put up with it and keep your mouth shut.

I have/had a friend who was totally self absorbed. She was an only child and I always wrote it off as that. We were college roommates and then friends and remained friends after that. I think the last straw for me was one day after work, a bunch of people got together to celebrate her upcoming out of town wedding. It was a few weeks before we were leaving to go to Russia to adopt two kiddos and if anyone dared asked a question about my adoption, she would literally stand up and wave her arms at herself and remind everyone that we were there for her and her alone. Our relationship went very downhill after that. Not that I wanted some spotlight, but give me a freaking break, it's not always about you. Very selfish, only called when she needed something, not really a good friend. I've never confronted her about it and probably won't, but she still calls every few months to whine about her uncle (who in reality is her half-brother, maybe it's not her fault she's so f*ucked up) who only calls her when he needs something. I always do the exaggerated "noooo", and make other comments that most people would pick up on, but she doesn't.

Sometimes you have to cut your losses and then realize they weren't really losses at all.

Has your friend always been an asshole? Is she/he an adult? Then he/she knows of the assholishness and it is who they are and will not change. Tigers do not change their stripes no matter how many times they are told they are offensive.

Do you get enough out of the relationship to continue ignoring the offensive behaviors? If yes, hang in and be friends with an ass - it happens to the best of us. If not, cut the ties - you will feel great relief.

I would say something to her, but I'd probably wait until something else happened unless the last thing was very recent. There's no use in bringing up the past, only to move forward.

It depends on the friend. I have friends that I've been friends with for almost 20 years. We met in junior high/high school and have been through a lot together. But to be honest, if I met some of them today, I'm not sure I'd have all that much in common with them- we're just too different. And with a couple of them, there are things I excuse that I'd never put up with in a "newer" friend.

I'm the asshole friend in my relationships. Mostly it has to do with being late, not calling back, not making an effort, and never being thoughtful. I've always been this way. For instance (this is about as bad as I get), a friend let me borrow their car while I was in town, so I could check out some universities I was thinking of going to, and instead of being back in 3 hours, I was back around midnight with no phone call. I instantly apologized when I came in, b/c I knew I had been an asshole... but why the hell didn't it occur to me to call before then?

A close friend from college has been trying to get back together with me since I had the baby, and I have replied to only one of her 2 dozen emails.

WHen I get called on being an asshole, I always feel bad. (And sometimes defensive... I have no time! But then I remember that I"m always the flake, so it can't be that I'm too busy... it must be that I'm just this way) But I never seem to consistently get much better. I think, in terms of "justice" the payback is that I'm not as close with people as I could be, simply because I don't put enough effort into my friendships.

And for friends that I used to be close to, but who have cooled on me b/c of my flakeyness, I feel some relief (and regret). B/c I hate to endlessly dissapoint them.

So, in my experience, even though I apologize and feel bad about being an asshole, it doesn't really change my behaviour, and my reaction doesn't seem to make the other person feel much better about the situation. I think, if I was given a concrete way to make it up to them, it might be better (You have to arrange a time for us to go out, and get babysitters set up, etc).

The problem is, then one of the friends is always the parent, and one is always the child (me!) and the feeling of "Why can't you be a grown-up?" always persists.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

I'm a lurker but decided to speak up for this post. I have been a friend that became so wrapped up in my own life that I forgot and or neglected my friends. I didn't realize it until my friends did a sort of intervention. It helped me greatly and yes, I was hurt but I got over it and realized they were right.

It was quite a few years ago and we have all moved in different directions in our lives but I was taught a valuable lesson that I'll never forget.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

Delurking to say that I have a friend just like yours. She's spoiled and not at all aware of how much of an asshole she can be (but are any of us, really?). She's done some very hurtful things in the past- an older, crankier me might not have put up with it, but the younger me was more nonconfrontational. Anyway, I just stopped sharing information with her that was too personal- that way if she said or did something rude regarding that info, then I wouldn't be hurt. It was best not to arm her with too many of my confidences. But we go way back, and I didn't want to lose her as a friend- I just put an emotional buffer between us and went on.

Now she's had some experiences that have made her a little bit softer, and I can see that she has changed somewhat- she's more sympathetic and far more willing to confide in me about what she's feeling. I'm not saying that your friend will change as well, but she might. And even if she doesn't, if you remain friends with her it means that you are her friend and love her despite her idiosynchracies, and it's best just to not let it get to you if you know she's like that with everyone. If her asshole-ness is part of her personality, it's not going to change, and calling her out on it may ruin the friendship. It's a risk vs. reward scenario- you need to weigh the options with the consequences.

Well seeing as how I’ve been a bad, bad, bad internet fan/”friend”/admirer/and have been in true lurker form I feel I must reply to this one.

I have a friend like this and have at times found myself as a friend like this, as tempting as it is to confront my friend who tends to be self absorbed (= I frequently only hear from her when she is single or have some other drama in her life) I never do. That is unless she is being REALLY assholeish and even then I only give her a gentle talking to.

I agree with all the people saying it's worth saying something, and that it's much better to call them on individual hurtful behaviours. Nobody is going to respond well to being told "you are an asshole, all the time, now please stop it". Sure, they might not change their behaviours, but they need to be given the opportunity to learn. Maybe they're sitting home lonely wondering why they always loose friends!

I had a friend/roomate who was highly self centered, codependant AND competative. She had this odd habit of imitating my life choices, then getting very competitive about it, then blaming me if things didn't work out for her becauce I was leading by example. I'm talking about stuff like when I joined a dating agency, I found a lovely man to whom I'm now married, SHE joined the same dating agency (I never suggested it, she just up and did it the week after I told her I was giving it a go) and got a bunch of creepy emails and no dates.

Another example: we both wrote for our own entertainment. We shared favourite authors and were both really into a Japanese author with a particular style. She'd been experimenting with using this style herself, I wrote a piece, a very cathartic personal piece about a traumatic experience I'd had, and I used this same style because it was what I eas reading right then, and it fit for the purpose. She was furious, and claimed I was stealing her creative ideas, copy-catting etc etc. In my opinion we were both of us working through our issues, using writing as a tool, and it's not surprising that our styles might become similar since we were living together, talking a lot and reading the same books. Then she told me she's stopped writing poetry because it was "my" thing, and so I was supposed to not write creative prose, because it was "her" thing. Evidently I was also supposed to divine this rule psychically.


I moved out as soon as I could. Haven't been friends with her since. Every time I run into her the competitive bitchiness is right there immediately. Little snide comments about the part of town I live in, or my husband's lack of a university degree...

Maybe if I'd called her on the assholishness right when it started, we'd still be friends. As it was I didn't realise for a long time that it wasn't a normal friendship, and by that point it was better to just run screaming.

I am also a recent lurker and today your post hit the emotional nail on the head. My parents are the self-absorbed people in my life. Every time we plan a birthday or other special events for our kids that are really important to us, they have conflicts with the dates and times.

Our son's first birthday is coming up at the end of April. We thought that we could solve all our scheduling problems by selecting a date and time and announcing it way back IN JANUARY for the late April birthday.

This morning I get the email from my mom. They have a conference the following week and their travel time conflicts with the party. If we could just schedule the party a few hours earlier they could come and still start driving when they want to. Never mind the fact that it would screw up nap time, or that it might be less convient for some of my partner's family that also have small kids and a long drive to get here.

I feel like I'm being vindictive for not wanting to accomdate their schedule and not adjusting the party time by a few hours. However, this is an on going issue. Something else always takes priority over their grandkids and it pisses me off.

(by the way... in addition to our 10 month old son, we also have 3.5 year old fraternal twin girls. I love looking at the pictures of your kids. They are adorable)

I have some family members like this in my life. And since you should be a psych/sociology major you might enjoy reading up on concepts such as "Boundaries" and "Non-Violent Communication".

In my relationships I have found my education on Boundaries very useful. Basically it sounds to me like your friend is non-responsive to your needs as a friend/person (e.g. need to be treated with respect, basic consideration, etc.). And no, being self-absorbed is no excuse for this sort of ass-holeishness. Please recognize that those are valid needs and you have a right to use boundaries to protect yourself and your well being. It sounds to me like up until now you have been 'compliant' - you've allowed him/her to treat you this way. Set some personal boundaries and defend them. . . BUT don't attack your friend in the process. This is where 'non-violent communication' comes in handy. Telling your friend that they're a self-absorbed asshole will probably do nothing more than inflame an already sticky situation. But stating you boundary and a consequence if your friend violates this is completely acceptable, such as "I don't like it when you speak with me like that. Please stop or else I will hang-up." I am in no way an expert on such things (still in the learning stages myself), but there are plenty of psych/sociology/self-help books out there on these topics. You might find them very interesting.

Also, appropriate boundaries are things that we learn during our upbringing. As a parent I find learning about boundaries very fascinating because I want my children to have healthy boundaries when they go out into the world on there own.

Hi - long time listener, first time caller...

I wonder if we all have the same friend? There can't be this many of them, can there?

In October, I told one of my best friends that we were expecting #1. She seemed happy, but occupied. Fine, I thought, she does have a brand new baby at home herself.

In November, I called to tell her that there was no heartbeat, and I had to have a d&c. The baby was no longer alive. She seemed distant. Fine, I thought, she's surprised and didn't know what to say. Also, scary thing to hear from a friend and look at your own 6 week old miracle.

The next day, the day of my d&c, she called me to tell me what a bad mother she was, because she had taken her newborn to the mall to have her picture taken with santa - haha, she said, isn't that funny? I have to go, I said, and went back to bed with my kleenex.

The day after that she emailed me pictures of her perfect, adorable, newborn baby daughter on santa's lap. Not so fine. I emailed a short note back, asking her to kindly remove her head from her ass.

She got it. She apologized and we moved on. I was really hurt by her behavior during that miserable time in my life. I understand she had a new baby, but we've been friends for over 10 years. I did expect more and didn't get it.

Long story short [too late], I can't cut the cord. Our husbands are friends, we've got mucho history, and when she's not being a self-centered asshole, she's smart, fun, witty and lovable. I did what I could. I have to make peace with that, and it's been hard.

ps - I'm currently 6 1/2 weeks along with #2. I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid. I'm not telling her about this one until, say, preschool.

and sorry for the novel - have a lovely week.

Sad Panda - Congrats on your pregnancy, I hope it is all happy and smooth sailing. I can't belive what an asshole your friend was!!

wow, panda. I'm sorry for your loss. Your friend's insensitivity was way beyond the pale. But I'm so happy that you're preg again! And I don't even know you! Ha ha! I'm crossing my fingers for you.

Otherwise, I couldn't read this yesterday, T, because I was going through the exact same thing myself, and it hit too close to home. I called and told this so-called friend that at times she had hurt my feelings, and I'm sure she hadn't meant to-- but I just wanted to get clear on things because I'm sure maybe I was just misunderstanding her or something? Well....she proceeded to grill me and want detailed examples of every time she had ever said something that hurt me. When I told her that I had chosen not to hang onto those memories, but had decided to say something today because I felt I might have taken her comments in our last conversation wrong....long story short-- it did not pay to try and have a civil, "Surely it's not your fault but I feel..." kind of conversation with her. She flew off the handle, and I figure that's the end of our relationship. Except for wishing I had the last word, it's kind of a relief. I had been distancing myself from this A-hole for years. No, if I'm lucky, it's over and I can do what so many of your readers have suggested-- save my time for people that are really worth my while.

Hey Tertis....my thought on this is you may have to just adjust your expectations. We have a woman in our neighborhood group of friends like this. She really is super nice and would do anything for you, but she often does things that are rude (and they usually involve her complete lack of time awareness). She doesn't say rude things, but sometimes acts selfishly. I personally don't get hurt by any of it because I just expect it and accept her for being that way but I know others have been hurt and very annoyed. I've decided nobody can change her, she certainly doesn't want to be changed so if we want to be her friend we just have to change our expectations.

"If you don’t meant to be an asshole, does that mean your asshole’ish behaviour is excusable?"

No and no. Unknown assholery should be given the opportunity, if you want to bother, of fixing the asshole behavior. If you don't feel like bothering just stop making the effort and see how fast the "friendship" disolves.

It's up to you, but spending time giving energy and resources to a relationship with minimal returns is silly. The hardest thing is to let something like this go, but it's really best for everyone.

And this is from someone who often turns herself inside out to keep up relationships. In fact, soon I'll have a post about this, but regarding siblings, at Speckblog.

Heh. Does everyone have this issue? I thought it was just us.

There's this girl. She's exactly as you described - self-absorbed to the point of assholishness, but with a genuinely good heart. She pisses you off, but she's "nice", so you feel guilty about being pissed.

In my case, I don't consider her a friend. She's an aquaintance, friends of friends, so I see her, but I don't go out of my way to hang out with her, avoiding most of her annoying behaviour.

Most of the mutual friends ignore her. Every once in a while; however, she does something so over the top assholish that tempers are lost. Words are said, apologies are exclaimed by the asshole, and behaviour is straightened up for... oh, about a week.

Meanwhile, on those instances we gather without her, nasty, mean words are said behind her back, purging us all of the vitriol we can't say to her face, leaving us refreshed for dealing with her the next time.

No, I didn't say it was healthy.

God Tertia you just know when to post your topics. I've been mulling over a similar dilemma with an equally asshole-ish friend recently and I am at my wits end. Thanks for having some sort of ESP as the comments have really helped me! My asshole friend and I were v close (I had sympathy labour pains for her twins, ferchrissakes!), they're not so well off after 4 kids and we've helped them out with fridges & washing machines that were passed on when we got new ones with a relocation allowance, I've looked after her twins when they were newborn cos she was so tired, I've called and visited her when she was v v pregnant and feeling miserable. That was last year.
She's done sweet *f* all for me. She hasn't called more than twice since my son was born, has never visited me, I told her last time we spoke that I had bad PND, but she never picked up the phone to see if I was ok. She says she can't visit me as she has no money or time, but is constantly leaving her kids to go out to expensive gigs and stuff, and has the time to sit on the computer all day but not to call. I do still send her kids b'day cards as they shouldn't miss out. I am meant to be godmother to her son but god knows if she even invited me to the ceremony - I wouldn't know. I have a big hump with it as I feel taken for a ride. I tried to tell her last time I called how I felt (after 2 months of not hearing from her I got worried about HER, duh!) but it doesn't seem to have sunk in - she just moaned about how bad her life was - and didn't ask me how I was. Does that make me selfish?
Hmmm. I don't call her any more, I have written her off as a #1 assh*le but it doesn't stop it hurting, does it? Hmmmm. Tell us what you do about it, Tertia - I'd be interested.
Though why someone would be such an a-hole to such a g&d person like you, I don't know.
Sorry, that was such a bum-licking thing to say but it's true.

I should add that the fridge & washing machine she took saying "I will pay you back in toys and clothes", as her kidlets were 1 year older than mine. We haven't received so much as a tshirt. When my husband popped in - an hour's detour - to pick up a walker she promised me in the last phone call, she said she'd not got it anymore. WTF?
Sorry for the rant *oops*

Ladies it sounds so familiar to me. Faith I totally emphasize with your story.

I had a "best friend" in the whole wide world when I was 19. She went through a very rough patch so I was always there for her. I used to go out every weekend and sometimes through the week with her so she could talk about her problems and cry on my shoulder. The poor thing had parent problems then being dumped by her boyfriend for being a liar (boy that should have given me a hint). Then she said she had a miscariage, changed career, father had a heart attack and bi-pass and then the crowning piece she had a terminal illness that she could only tell me about. There I was 19 going on 20 trying to be the only support person for this 21 year old women. Needless to say when she found another boyfriend the mystery illness just vanshied.

Okay flash forward about 4 months after her father had bi-pass, my father had a heart attack and then bi-pass. She saw me twice. Then I had boyfriend troubles, she dismissed it. Because her boyfriend was my ex she kept making nasty little comments about me that she said "I always took the wrong way". I slowly cut contact with her during her engagement and wedding. She never noticed as she was too busy with her life.

The hardest thing I had to do was maintain my distance when 3 years later her first child was born 5 weeks premature. I stood my ground, gave sympathy if called but did not get involved.

When I was 26 she called me again and said she really missed me and could we be friends again. I gave in and she ended up lying to me and my husband again. I stop responding but she still sent Christmas cards each year.

At age 32 we ran into each other again. We talked, she raved about her children, I mentioned I was infertile and BAMB she said "I know exactly how you feel as I thought I would only have one Child"

I finally ended up confronting her about her attitude and lack of friendship. Her response was that I needed to see a therapist as I could not let the past go, if I had we could have been friends and she had done nothing wrong........ When I mentioned all the support I had given her and said I just wanted the same she said "they were your problems and your life it was up to you to work out".

To end a very long story...... I tried talking it didn't work. I tried ignoring it didn't work. The only thing that worked for me was to tell her that I did not want to hear from her again and I did not want to be her friend.

I dump assholes. Always. Years ago I decided I would rather be alone than have my energy wasted with this kind of person. I just dumped a "friend" of mine (extremely long-distance acquaintance actually) that was like this recently. After college he only wrote once a year, at Christmas, to send one of those xeroxed and much-abused holiday letters. Except that it was always chock full of so much bragging and pomposity that I could hardly stand it. I mean it was so blatant that I wondered if he was being FUNNY (he wasn't). For a long time I kept quiet because it seemed stupid to call him on it when he only did this at Christmas. But the letters got worse every year--last year's was so utterly narcissistic and vomit-worthy I couldn't take it anymore. So finally I told him off by way of sending back some articles I'd clipped from the newspaper about how awful those holiday letters are. He got the hint.

Hello...thanks so much for all of your comments above. I'm stuck in a sticky situation. I am 25 years old and my very good friend is 61. We used to work together. She has always been pretty odd and I sometimes never understood her behavior, however I loved her (still love her) and wanted to do everything to keep her in my life. I was ALWAYS the one making the phone calls, sending the emails, inviting her to dinner, etc. Her input, however, was pretty limited. She made up for it with material things for me, telling me she "adored me" and "couldn't imagine life without me." One day, back in 2007, we were supposed to meet up, however she said that something came up, and I flipped out, because this was so typical of her! After realizing that I hurt her feelings and said not-so-nice things, I called her back and tried to apologize. She did not pick up. I went over to her house with coffee and flowers...but she didn't open her door to me. Finally, a few months later, I received an email from her telling me that she no longer wanted to communicate with me. I flipped out! I was a mess! She meant everything to me and I didn't want us to end our friendship like this. So, I was in such pain and agony that I sent a very nasty email to her...I couldn't stop...the pain she caused me was so hard. After a few days of communication over email, she agreed to meet with me to talk about our friendship and possibly resurrect it. My hopes were high! However, after we met, months went by with no contact from her, but lots of contact from me. Cards, emails, etc...Finally, this past December I got another email from her telling me that our friendship was over. How can someone who used to call me her "other daughter" not forgive me? Of everything I did for her...she just couldn't forgive me. I miss her terribly and think about her everyday. What should I do? Her bday is coming up and I want to send her a card. Thanks, everyone.

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