Pushing friends away - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Pushing friends away

I got laid off in December. Since then, I have only left the house a handful of times. About once a week or less. The only people I've seen are my husband, my parents (by force because of the holidays and a birthday, blah), and my brother and his wife (both by force and because she is soooo social and expects me to want to be the same way )

The last time I spoke with anyone else was literally the last day of my work, or the day before that, which was when I found out about the lay-offs (YEAH, it was so scarily fast!!). I called them to tell them and because I was excited (I hated that job and they all knew it!!). Some of my friends (who all happen to be previous co-workers from years past) have tried to contact me about once or twice a month since then, but I have ignored all of their calls. One older friend knows that when she doesn't hear from me, I am usually not doing well. She understands and is okay with it (God bless her!). Another lady is so busy with her own life and kids that I doubt she even realizes I never called her back.

The last girl who called me again today (I am afraid to listen to her message) has left me messages here and there about 2 times a month. She has even spoken with my husband, and he assured her I was okay. He said she should stop by sometime (Yeah I reprimanded him for that one!!!) but she hasn't yet. Everytime I hear a motorcycle outside I get nervous now.

I can't bring myself to call her back. First of all, how can I explain myself after all this time? Secondly, I am ashamed to say that I have done nothing job-related yet. This friend refuses to email, so why can't I refuse to talk on the phone? If I tell her how depressed and anxiety-ridden I am, she will just say I need therapy and to get medication. I am not ready for that yet. She has been going to therapy for years and also takes medication so for her it's normal and correct. She has always been open about that (her Mom is a social worker who majored in psychology, for crying out loud). But she never had SA. She had depression and she still gets anxiety attacks (which I have trouble acting sad about when she tells me about them-- they are self-inflicted in my opinion because she goes out to big cities and parties and bars, gets drunk, and then wonders why she freaks out??!)

I used to sit right next to her at work, and our relationship changed because of it. I don't think she ever saw it, but I sure felt it. I pushed her away from me and pretended not to care that she was bossy and self-absorbed. She was constantly on the phone and I was constantly emailing. She proclaimed how much she hates email and online but I think that's because she can't type! She is a total phone person. I have phone phobia!!!

I am consciously pushing everyone away. It's funny how differently people react. She is the only person who has tried more than once to contact me (besides my sister in law who is just stubborn and can't believe that anyone would ever ignore her or not want to talk to her, God forbid!!). Actually there is one lady that I used to work with before round 1 of layoffs who never I never spoke with again after I told her I would call her later. I never called her. First I forgot to call her back but then just didn't because I thought she was mad at me and couldn't handle it. She never emailed or called either. Funny how some people have such a low tolerance for being ignored. That was the quickest end to a friendship I ever experienced. I kind of prefer it that way because it is the least confrontational.

My husband told me today that he updated his work profile to state that we would re-locate if they offered him a better position. Previously, he refused (he has a big family in this area). I am actually hoping that they will ask us to move to the east coast or something. Then I can start over and won't have to worry about people suddenly showing up at my door.

How have people reacted to your not responding to them? I feel like such a horrible person, but I don't feel like they ever really understood me. They were friends during my happy-go-lucky dating my future husband days. I worked with them so I HAD to see them everyday. I would have to apologize for not calling them back for so long. Ugh. I am at such a low point in my life and would just end up lying to them about how I am doing, or lie and say I am soooo busy. I am numb right now, so let them be upset with me. I felt nothing from their friendship anymore. What's the point?

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 04:03 AM
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Re: Pushing friends away

I have lost many friends from not contacting them, and now sad to say, I'm down to two (one is my boyfriend). The other one would be gone too if it wasn't for the fact that she made an effort to keep in contact with me, despite my non responsiveness for a while (I can't thank her enough for that).
I do feel quite lonely now and miss having friends.

If you don't think the friendships really matter or can benefit you, then it is probably not worth the stress of having to call them and come up with excuses.

However, there does seem to be that person that keeps trying to contact you, which shows that she does care. Maybe it is worth it having to call and come up with an excuse?
Think of it this way, if you did contact her and tell her you want to keep in contact (you don't have to go into depth why you haven't called, it's none of her business and it depends if she would understand), will this one phone call matter to you in 1 or 2 years time? Will you look back at this point of time and wish you had have made a phone call and kept your friend?

It is up to you. I know it is difficult though.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pushing friends away

Thank you for the sweet response.

The last couple of years, I just felt like the friendship was not equal. I guess I felt like I was giving more than I was getting, and she would almost speak to me like my supervisor when we worked together again (we were equals). I am very sensitive, so I felt she was callous when she spoke to me sometimes.... she always talks about her older boyfriend and their money and my husband and I are struggling with money. It is none of her business what our situation is, but I don't want to listen to how much money they make and how he is going to spend 10 grand on her engagement ring. I am jealous, but they are in a different place than I am right now I guess. My husband and I have a lot of growing up to do.

When we didn't work together, I only saw her itermittently for a few years and it was fine. I just don't know. I would end up complaining to my husband about her more than anything. Our conversations were basically her talking about herself and me just sitting there staring at her. I just don't think such mundane information about my life would be something that someone actually would want to hear.

When it comes down to it, I feel like she thought we were closer than we really were.
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