toxic friends (and the dumping thereof)

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Is it just me, or is “friend dumping” hard to do?

For that matter, dumping anyone without having a clear reason why?

Example. When your boyfriend cheats on you, it’s super easy to dump his ass like the prick he is (and can’t keep to himself) because the transgression is obvious, clearly defined, and is a socially-accepted dumping offense.

Dumping friends or boyfriends for less obvious reasons is more difficult. It’s open to interpretation. It’s open to the “I can change” or “You might change your mind, so I’ll just hang around” syndrome.

Sirensong blogged about Kirstie, her toxic friend who enjoyed banging any potential boyfriends before Siren could even get her pants down. I had a friend like that once. Dumping her was easy because of the “sleeping with my potential exes” issue, but difficult for the more deeply rooted, and really, more pertinent issues.

My ex-friend, we’ll call her Used Hard and Put Away Wet (UHAPAW, courtesy of Meeps). My very first conversation with her consisted of a smoke break where she described her anguish regarding a threesome she had, and the infighting between the husband and wife that resulted from this oh-so-sweet tryst.

Did I mention she was married? Oops. Did I mention it happened in her own house? Oops again. Did I also forget to mention that her kids were home? Oops AGAIN! Silly, forgetful 2N.

Needless to say (at least, I hope it’s needless) I didn’t actually know all this up front, or else that first conversation would have been our last. At least, I like to think so. Back then (this was about three years ago, and I was having marital issues myself, although not of that variety) I prided myself in being non-judgemental. As in, live and let live, what she does in her personal time doesn’t affect me, so who cares what she does?

I give UHAPAW full credit for changing that attitude slightly.

Anyway, the story is long and drawn out, and I could actually produce several (hundred, perhaps) blogs regarding the misadventures of UHAPAW and myself. For the purposes of this blog, however, we’ll just say that she had a selective memory thing going on when it concerned the men she wanted to sleep with and the fact that she had a husband. Most of these men included guys that I was interested in (at first) or guys who had expressed interest in me…it was like a challenge she couldn’t resist, a continual pitting of herself against me, with the one who gets fucked first being the winner. That is, I guess, if you decide to play. Which I decided not to, after a while.

The net result is, that after watching her screw about 10 guys in a row that, incidentally, were not her husband (except occasionally), being lied to, talked about behind my back, etc etc ad nauseam, I came to some realizations about what I wanted and what I was getting, and decided that the friendship needed to end.

Here’s why, and it’s not just the sleeping with my love interests or lying or talking about me behind my back part.

I am affected by what I let into my life. I can’t control what other people do. But I can control what I expose myself to. I have no interest in infidelity, or drama, or backstabbing bitches who can’t keep other people’s hands out of their pants. I also have no desire to be lumped in with the type of person that would do those things. “Birds of a feather flock together?” Yeah. True. And also not, but per my Soapbox the other day, I beleive that people will perceive what they want to perceive, and the perception is oftentimes very far from the technical truth of the situation.

So I could continue being her friend and ignore the fact that she had an awful reputation, that most everyone looked at her with disgust, or even pity, in their eyes. I mean, it’s not like she was doing anything really really awful to me. The lies were relatively small except for a few cases, and the sleeping with the men…meh. If they were really interested in me they would have kept their hands off her, and they didn’t, so. I could retain my objective “it’s not me that’s doing it, so it’s not my place to say anything” stance that really was an excuse to not stand up for my values and what I beleive in. I could be the rooter for the underdog and remain her friend even though she was losing them at an alarming rate, and most of the ones that remained were men who didn’t necessarily see what the big deal was.

But really. Why?

She brought no divine understanding to our relationship. She gave me a place to crash for a month, which I appreciated, but in no way should that have made me obligated to retain our friendship. She was funny, sometimes. She was a nice person, I guess, when you didn’t consider all the lying and cheating that she was doing. The bottom line is, she wasn’t doing anything for me. Not in the literal sense, but in the sense that nothing about her sparked any kind of lasting bond within me.

So I dumped her.

I told her that the kind of person she was and the kind of person I wanted to be were going to forever be in conflict. That it’s not my place to approve of or disapprove of her activities, but it was my place to decide that I didn’t want that in my life. That I had no desire to continue to be her sounding board regarding her latest romantic fuck up, that I didn’t want to hear one more story about the guy that she slept with last night, and how good the sex was. I sincerely, utterly, completely, did not ever want to speak to her again.

It was a tough conversation. Getting rid of a toxic friend is never easy, especially when the dumping is not triggered by some cataclysmic event that you can use as an excuse to unload all the pent-up irritation you’ve been holding onto because it never seemed like enough reason to “dump” her for.

Sometimes, though, you just need to decide that what you need from a friend, and what he/she is able to deliver to you as a friend, is just not enough.

I have fabulous, fabulous friends. This is not to say that we haven’t had our moments. My best friend and I have gone through periods where we didn’t speak for several months, but always made up in the end. Why? Because we each brought something to the table that was equivalent and necessary to what the other person brings to the table. My needs match her friendship style, and vice versa.

I try to keep people in my life that bring something to it. An added perspective, an ability to tell me when I’m being a jackass, honesty when I need it and support when I need that. And I try to give those things in return. People who don’t contribute anything to my life other than drama and stress are like empty calories…something to fill the time, but ultimately very unsatisfying.

People still ask me if UHAPAW and I have “made up” yet, like we’re just having some sort of disagreement. I ran into her and her boyfriend the other day, and he had the balls to call me out for not saying goodbye to her, after I had said goodbye to him. The fact is, I didn’t even consider it. Not because I was being catty or bitchy, but because I have nothing to say to her. The thought of saying goodbye or hello to her does not even cross my mind. I have spoken with her a handful of times since “the breakup” but never have considered going back to being friends with her.

I much prefer to cut my losses and move on. She was not so much of a loss as might be hoped. Oh well.

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