Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just don't seem to get along with girls very well. It's never been a conscious choice on my part. I just find most women to be boring. I know that sounds really bad! I just don't want to talk about babies or clothes or makeup or dating or diets or weddings. I want to talk about business and gaming and sports and stuff like that. I have a few close girl friends, but they are often characterized as being "like a dude in a dress" (and yes, I cringe when I hear that). I hate it when my boyfriend goes off with his guy friends at a dinner party and I'm stuck with the ladies. What do I do?
My first thought: why not just hang out with the guys? It is the year of our Lord 2014, after all. Try it once and see what happens. Then try it again and see how that goes. If it feels weird or rude in some way, try hanging with the ladies and introducing topics that actually interest you. Some of these gals may surprise you with their interests. In fact, some of them may actually harbor the same concerns as you! Maybe it's on you to be the brave one and talk about something other than kids, kids, kids, kids, fertility, Jenny Craig, shopping, and kids.
Here's another approach: tell yourself, "Tonight I am going to talk to a person who intrigues me. It does not matter whether the person has a ween or a vajeen. I seek to engage with people who stimulate my mind and nurture my soul and know all the right Simpsons quotes." Keep that in mind and go enjoy some nice human interaction.
After a fight with two of my closest friends, I realized that I am a toxic friend. I am often selfish, temperamental, and a gossip. At worst, my behavior can be almost emotionally abusive. I know I have many positive qualities and I have friends for a reason. I apologized for the fight, as it was completely my fault and I was totally in the wrong. I don't want to hurt my friends any more. They deserve so much better and I hate the thought of hurting them, but it's second nature to me. I'll work my ass off in therapy to change. Should I remove myself from our group until I'm a better friend?
You sound like a lovely person. I'm not kidding! I know you just listed all your faults and flaws to me, but your honesty shows me that you are a good egg. None of us is perfect (not even those of us who gives ye ole advice for a living – we are far, far from it) and it takes a hell of a lot of guts to look at one's own behavior and say, "I fucked up. I'm sorry. I want to be better." That's exactly what you're doing. Take a moment to be proud of yourself.
I'm glad you're doing therapy. That's fantastic and it'll help you figure out why you do what you do when you do it. But this work must take place in the real world for it to have any positive long-term effect. You're absorbing important life lessons here, and this is not a classroom exercise. This is experiential learning. I don't think it would benefit you to withdraw from the world for an extended period. You need a weekend or a week away? Maybe a solo meditation retreat or something like that? Go for it. Sounds perfectly healthy to me. But removing yourself from the group of friends, even temporarily, seems drastic to me. It also seems counterproductive.
Try asking your therapist for little homework assignments. Maybe she'll tell you to do some visualization exercises. Maybe she'll tell you to spend an hour just listening to one of your best friends. Little by little, you'll start to feel more confident about your own friendship skills. Don't be afraid to check in with your friends occasionally in order to ask how you're doing.
My friend and I had a falling out, and now she won't let me see her kids (I'm their godmother and they call me Auntie). She started acting really crazy when her marriage began to fall apart. I tried to be there for her, but it seemed like I couldn't do anything right. Once actual divorce proceedings started, she really went bananas and flipped out on me in public. It was scary and uncomfortable, to say the least. Anyway, I really miss her kids, with whom I had a close relationship. I'm sure they miss me too. What do I do?
Bottom line is, her kids are her kids. She gets to decide whom they do and don't see, except in situations where the law says otherwise (like, for example, if their father or grandparents have the right to see them). Unfortunately, if you're not a parent, a grandparent, or a primary caregiver, I don't think you have any rights in this situation.
You don't say anything about your desire to reconnect with the friend. Do you care to maintain a relationship with this woman? Because you're not getting to see her kids unless you and she work your problems out. You might consider waiting a little bit of time – maybe that means a few days, maybe that means a few months – and then getting back in touch after her rage has died down. When people feel threatened – whether it's rational or irrational – they don't function normally. Perhaps when she's feeling more secure and stable, she'll be able to be a good friend again.
Image by Jim Cooke.