Selfish Best Friend

January 20, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

I have been friends with “Lena” since third grade and she’s been there for me through thick and thin, but she’s incredibly selfish. She wants us to get together every week and go out like we did when I was single.

I’m married with 2 kids now, I can’t just take off whenever I feel like it. She acts like I’m a disloyal friend because I put my family’s needs ahead of hers.

I have always bent over backwards to accommodate her. I’m sick and tired of her attitude. She’s a 35 year old bratty only child who only thinks of herself. I’m so over it!

“Isabelle”

Dear Isabelle,

I hear your frustration. Take a deep breath and let your blood pressure return to normal before you make any rash decisions. A friendship of almost 30 years is worth the effort of salvaging, if at all possible. There’s nothing like a friend who has been there since day one.

Give Lena the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps her experiences as an only child and single woman have affected her world view to the degree that she is unaware of the realities that others have needs, too.

Think long and hard about how much time and energy you want to give Lena and set your boundaries accordingly. It will likely be emotionally rocky at the outset as you are no longer “bending over backwards,” but rather standing up for yourself.

Stick to your guns and don’t engage in arguments or attempts to negotiate for more time together. Reiterate that you care about Lena, value the friendship, and are able to give “x” (only you can decide what that is).

The likelihood is that Lena will eventually accept your boundaries and peace will prevail. It may take a while. Remember – patience is a virtue. If Lena refuses to accept your right to set appropriate boundaries in your life, at least you’ll know that you made every effort to salvage a long-lasting and meaningful friendship.

All my best,

Kathy

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