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 email@example.com.
About a year ago I invited a recently-divorced male friend to move into my two-bedroom apartment. I was never attracted to him or into him at all, and I thought he felt platonic towards me. After about 3 months of living together, he started cooking us dinner regularly. He'd buy me stuff for no reason. He'd shout, "Alright, bye, I LOVE YOU!" as he left the apartment each day. A few months back, he quit his job and now spends all his time moping around our apartment. I have avoided him at all costs for the past 4 months and he constantly asks me what went wrong. I've told him, "We just grew apart. We're not friends anymore. It happens." He stares at me all the time with these big mournful eyes. Is there a polite and mature way to ask him to move out without being a total bitch?
Let's discuss the definition of "bitch" (aside from the whole female dog thing). In my personal lexicon, "bitch" is a word reserved for a person who deliberately hurts other people with his or her words or actions.
You know who isn't a bitch? A woman who stands up for herself, tells the world what she wants and needs, and takes positive steps to make her life better. There is nothing remotely bitchy about you telling a roommate that it's time to leave. Sit him down and say, "Look, Tino, I don't think it's any secret that things haven't really been working out between us as roommates. I think it'd be best if you move out within the month." And that's that. If he protests, calmly repeat what you've already said. I know it's uncomfortable – I hate having conversations like this one – but you'll be relieved after you get it done.
How can you avoid this situation with other folks in your life? In the future, nip this sort of behavior in the bud immediately by having a chat after the first few homecooked meals or unsolicited gifts (or free backrubs, or what have you). People will generally put on their big-boy or big-girl pants and deal with it when they discover their affections are not returned. In the short run, there may be some hurt feelings and a bit of embarrassment, but in the long run, it's better for all involved.
I am a happily married lady with a super-close guy friend. He used to confide in me about all his dating woes, and I'd give him advice. Now he's fallen in love with a wonderful woman, and he's definitely pulled away from our relationship. I guess I understand, but I miss him! They're going to get married, and I feel like he's suddenly begun dropping the ball on important events where I’m involved (birthday parties, social gatherings, etc.) What should I do?
It's supremely annoying when friends check out on us simply because they've met someone they like to bone. However, I suspect there's more going on here. Your friend may be of the mind that there is room for only one numero uno female-type lady person in his life. This may not be a conscious belief on his part, but it may be influencing his current behavior.
Here's another thought: if you always served the purpose of being the receptacle for his dating stories…and now he hasn't got any more dating stories…well, you can see where I'm going with this. I don't mean to be cold, but he may not have the same use for you that he once did. Again, this may not be a conscious belief. Perhaps he just doesn't have anything to discuss with you anymore!
Going back to my original comment, this really may just be a case of someone disappearing into a relationship. You could give him a little talk about it ("Hey Jordan, I really miss hanging out with you like we used to! Let's get coffee and listen to Buffalo Tom records.") if you think he'd be receptive. Otherwise, I advise you to lower your expectations and your level of effort (and yes, I'd give you the same advice if Jordan were an Angela.)
One of my friends has depression and a really hard home life. On top of all that, she just came out as a transwoman and started her transition. I want to be a supportive friend, but being around her is draining. She won't go to counseling anymore, even though it's been really helpful to her in the past – when I suggested she see a therapist, she yelled at me. She tends to feel as though any concerns other than gender are silly and unimportant. So when I hang out with her, I just feel shallow and bad about myself because she makes it obvious that she thinks that the things that interest me are stupid. It came to a head a few weeks ago when she said some really mean stuff to me. I told her that I needed to take some time away from our friendship. I feel really guilty that I'm not there to help her through this tough time she's having. I'm torn between doing right by her and doing what I think might be right by me.
Your friend is clearly going through a difficult, complex and troubled time. Happy people don't say mean things to their friends, much less yell at them for suggesting therapy. She's making a huge change in her life, and she's also dealing with crap at home. I can imagine any number of reasons she might be depressed.
That said, she needs to shape the fuck up.
Depressed people don't get a pass for being assholes to their good friends. Nor do people who are transitioning. Nor do people with bad home lives.
You need to examine your reasons for wanting to maintain this friendship. Is it because your friend has some wonderful qualities and truly makes your life better, or is it just because you feel guilty?
I suggest you call her up, or sit her down, and say, "Hey, Rayanne. I know you've got a lot of shit to deal with. But you've been really nasty to me lately. You act as if the things I care about are not important at all. I want to be here for you and I want to be a good friend, but you're making it nearly impossible. I love you and I want to support you. I wish you would let me do that." If she sincerely apologizes, give it another go. If not, I think it's time to focus on friends who actually treat you with respect.