Ask an expert

11 Aug 2011

Friend problem or not?
Does a real friend set limits on what may be discussed during visits? I am a single, career woman and she is married and trying to fall pregnant. Not that she is not career driven, she has in the past made nasty comments about how much money I earn etc. It has happened several times now, the moment we sit down she says work talk is off limits today! I feel totally deflated, because with who else do I share my ups and downs? We are supposed to be best friends. She did it again on Womans day, I booked a Spa special for us abd when she got in the car she said it. I felt like I should have invited someone else, because the whole day I had to make an effort not to say a word about work. Is the friendship really worth it if I can''t have an outlet for my feelings? How do I handle it next time it happens or how do I prevent it? It angers me that my friend is so bored or irritated witg my work that she has to set limits. True friends accept the good and the bad, or helps you to see what you are doing wrong. I live for my work. I can''t just cut it out of a conversation. Tuesday I was exhausted by making small talk and anxious at the same time because I did not work and spent my time talking about the weather. In the end the whole conversation revolves around my friend. I don''t whine about work, but I need to share what happened during the day to explain my mood, why I''m tired, excited, anxious etc. The friendship is pointless if I can''t share the topic that takes up 12 hours of my day. I''ve decided to start a hobby this weekend and meet new people. But what do I do if she makes work talk off limits again? I still have to listen to the infertility issues..........
Answer 441 views

01 Jan 0001

This hardly sounds like a friendship. And she sounds exceedingly prickly, and insisting on avoiding even mild discussion of areas where she may feel inferior, or simiply not interested ( no good friend finds aspects of your life which are important to you, uninteresting. If only her feelings matter, and yours are irrelevant to her, that's certainly not a Best Friend - is it any genuine kind of friend ? As you point out, she insists on you listening to her infertility woes.
Helen seems to be not quite getting the point. Work IS important to you, just as childlessness IS important to her - so they ought to be something you could both talk about and listen to, IF you are important to each other.
She seems to want you to simply listen to her gripes. I dont see how other readers can view YOU as selfishly self-absorbed, and not see your friend as at least equally, if not more so. This woman seems to insist on an entirely one-way stream of woe from her side, and absorption from you.
Presumably those readers who bizarrely take only your "friend's" side, behave in exactly the same way, themselves.
If you want to discuss what troubles you about her, rather than just let the relationship drift apart, don't "confront" which is a current fashion and nonsense. Tell her calmly tjhat there are aspects of the relationship that trust you, and you would appreciate her listening thoughtfully as you try to express this, and you would then want to listen thoughtfully to how she feels about it.
And as Caro and Just Saying wisely point out, maybe its kinder just to drift apart, perhaps mentioning that you don't want to bore her with your work-related concerns, or to burden her with your worries. Its not a mater of who is at fault, but that this relationship is clearly not satisfying nor helpful for either of you. Wish her well, and move on

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.