When to Say, “I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend”

After a three-day passive-aggressive fight with a Gentleman Caller (GC), I realize how important it is to say, “I don’t want to be your friend.”

Over the years, I’ve lost many friends. Switching towns and schools every couple of years as a kid ruins the ability to have lifelong friends. Being shipped off to grandparents or relatives in summers for daycare imparts seasonal playmates.

With adulthood, I started losing girlfriends to their boyfriends, husbands, and eventually kids. Those were the fade-outs. The girls that gradually became too busy. ‘Wish I could’ and ‘Next time’ changed to voicemail only. Eventually, they became ghosts. Dead to me.

Amid a text message argument, GC threw a cheap shot, “You wonder why your girlfriends start to phase you out.” As if somehow his sensitivity to over-analyzing my actions and the former were connected. Completely ignoring the possibility that my thoughtless actions might be the antecedent, I concentrated more on the certain girlfriend he was eluding too.

It was certainly true that former roommate, This Chick (TC), and I had many differences. We are diametrically opposite from physical traits to diverse lifestyle choices, temperaments, and experiences. The bond between us was forged by similar problems; each of us getting out of a relationship and needing a new place to live.

After I moved out, we made weekly Hersday Thursday plans that usually consisted of shopping. Then, those trickled away. It wasn’t until I broke up with my next boyfriend that I knew phase-out had occurred.

It’s simpler to end a relationship in a big fight or after a situation. You can point to something and say, “That’s it. That ruins it.” From there it’s acceptable to stop talking, to never see them again. There’s a definitive end.

However, what happens when you realize you just don’t like them anymore? When you realize that their personality is just so [expletive], you can’t associate. Without a disagreement or problem, how do you tell them, “I don’t want to be friends”?

Men just stop talking to a bro they don’t like, somehow eliminating that person’s existence in their mind. Women tend to back out slowly, flawlessly fading into a French Exit.

french exit: To make an early exit without saying good-bye

I can’t think of one friendship that ended from a rational, even-tempered conversation. Most of us are guilty of avoiding the confrontation. Why can’t we be frank? Be blunt, even. Give them a reason and move on. “I don’t want to be your friend because…

  • “you get drunk and create drama.”
  • “you’re just too much maintenance.”
  • “you don’t ever shut up.”
  • “I slept with your husband.”

After calling TC out on her avoidance techniques, we went to lunch with the ironic purpose to talk about why she didn’t want to talk to me anymore. She didn’t like my hedonistic ways, my party lifestyle, and the trajectory of my life. I paid for the meal like a bad ex-boyfriend and walked out of a three-year friendship.

GC and I talk through our melodrama to I presume fight another day. Perhaps the fade-out is the best method, low drama, certain results. I can testify to both sides of that war.

Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh


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