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“Growing out” of your old friends

Discussion in 'Cafe toonzone' started by BrendaBat, May 12, 2009.

  1. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    I wonder if anyone else here has had this same problem…

    As I’ve gotten older and become more independent and responsible (i.e. working, maintaining my own finances while helping my parents with theirs, moving out of my parents place, etc.), I’ve become increasingly resentful, frustrated, and even a little disgusted with one of my best friends. I’ve grown up; but she still acts like a petulant teenager. I don’t know how to deal with her and I’m posting this in the hopes that someone here can offer some helpful insight. I have a feeling that this problem is likely common with other people my age.

    My friend Anna (not her real name, BTW) is 25-years-old, has never held a job, spends most of her time on MMORPGs, and blames nearly every problem in her life on her Mother and Step-Father. She lives with them and says they’re very emotionally abusive toward her (which, from what I’ve seen of them, is probably true). For the past 5 or so years that I’ve known her, I’ve felt bad for her because she seemed to have no way to escape her bad circumstances.

    However, about two years ago she got a large inheritance from her father. She now has the financial means to get out (and she’s been saying for years that she’d do ANYTHING to get away from her Mother and Step-Father’s house), and yet she keeps making dumb excuses about why she can’t.
    For example, she bought a car and insurance months ago (in order to make it easier to get a job and leave the house when her Mother and Step-Father bothered her), but she hasn’t received her license yet because, and I’m quoting her here, “My mother insists on being the one to teach me how to drive but never finds the time to do it”. So she’s throwing money away every month insuring a car that’s just rotting in her driveway! When I suggested she just pay for behind-the-wheel instruction with a professional (like I did when my parents were too busy/lazy/scared to teach me), she said she was afraid her Mom would be mad at her and her only option was to keep throwing money down the crapper while waiting for her mom to get in a good mood and drive with her. This excuse is REALLY infuriating to me because I own a car (and it took me 3 years to save up for it!) but I can’t legally drive it right now because I don’t make enough to get insurance.

    She complains about how she can’t get health insurance because she’s had mental health problems and is obese (and claims that the obesity is due to a thyroid problem). But I’ve seen her eat large pizzas and whole liters of soda in one sitting. And she’s taking medication for the thyroid problem anyway; so she can’t blame her weight on that.

    Her childish behavior frustrates me. And, at times, I even wonder if the friendship is worth it. In my opinion, once a person reaches a certain age, they need to take responsibility for their own life and stop blaming Mommy and Daddy when life sucks (no matter how much Mommy and Daddy might deserve it).

    However, despite all that, I still love Anna, I want to help her, and I don’t want to cut her out of my life completely. But my biggest fear is that I won’t be able to resist the urge to just unload on her next time we’re together. I’ve thought about giving her a “tough love” talk to urge her to grow up and take some personal responsibility for once. But she has mental health issues (she says she has a mild case of autism and has contemplated suicide before) and I’m afraid that having a major fight with her only offline friend might drive her over the edge.


    So I’m hoping someone here can relate to this problem and offer some advice and/or personal stories about it. I have a feeling that, if I don’t do something soon, she is going to just keep self-destructing. But I have no idea how to help her or how to discuss it with her without getting angry/emotional and possibly driving her to do something destructive.


     
  2. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Why don't you teach her to drive? That would be a start, and it would show her that as a friend you are committed to her changing her life and becoming independent.
     
  3. Marvin Tikvah

    Marvin Tikvah Active Member

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    Huh, that sounds far worse than my problems with certain friends from last year. She sounds like she's just staying in her comfort zone because no matter how much she resents her parents, she knows they'll always put up with her and give her a home.

    Really, the only thing I would do is just leave her be. If she wants things to change, she would take action by herself instead of waiting for mommy and daddy to approve. But I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, so you could probably show her how you live your life, as an incentive for her to become more independent.
     
  4. Master Moron

    Master Moron Active Member

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    You know, I can actually relate to the friend in a lot of ways. I remember after graduating from college I had a lot of trouble finding a job. I of course blamed this on my parents. I finally found my way out by attending law school. Of course, after law school I found I was in the same situation after college. I was struggling to get a job. Now, one could say that this is proof that my parents weren't the ones to blame for the problems in my life after I graduated college, but that wouldn't necessarily be true, since we're currently in a recession and I am almost positive that if we weren't in a recession I would have found a job by now.

    Anyway, now that you've brought this topic up, I now have to wonder if the economy is truely the reason I don't have a job or if maybe there is something more I can do to get a job.

    Regardless, I think all people are to an extent victims of circumstances. I know a lot of people from law school who got jobs immediately merely because of relatives or friends. So, you can't always say that the reason someone doesn't have a job is because they're lazy and can't take charge of their life.

    Of course, I don't have a lot of the problems that your friend has, as I do have a car and I am in good shape. I'm also currently not living with my parents, but without a job I'm not sure how long that will last. I would suggest you take Shawn Hopkins suggestion and teach her how to drive.
     
  5. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    I can't legally drive right now (too poor to buy insurance :().
    My Dad has offered to drive her before. But she used the "I don't want my crazy Mom to find out" excuse. When I suggested that her Mother would never find out if she came to my house and used my car; she said she can't because her car insurance only covers her own car.

    This is a big part of the reason I've become so aggravated with her lately. She has an excuse for EVERYTHING! I've tried a few times to gently suggest solutions for her problems (drinking water instead of soda 24/7, driving with a professional and/or my Dad, canceling her car insurance so she's not tossing $200 down the toilet each month, etc.), but she always shoots my suggestions down and blames her nutty Mom and her jerkass Step-Dad for all the bad things in her life.

    The way I see it, if she wanted out of Mom and Step-Dad's house so badly, she'd jump at any opportunity to do so. Her inheritance from her late Father was quite large. And she could afford to rent an apartment or even put a down payment on a small condo if she were so inclined.
    *sigh* I know its petty to think this way, but my family has struggled with our finances for years. So it really pisses me off to watch her squander the money her Father left her so irresponsibly. I just can't feel sorry for her now that she has a way out of the circumstances she's been constantly complaining about since the day we met.

    That's the way I see it, too. Maybe it's unfair to play "armchair psychologist" (especially considering her mental health issues); but it seems to me that she's just using her Mother as a scapegoat so she doesn't have to take personal responsibility and admit that she might be at fault for some of the problems in her life.
    After all, blaming others is far easier than putting out the effort to change things for yourself.

    For the past few years, I've been happy to be her sympathetic ear and I naively hoped that I could be a good example for her. But sitting on the sidelines watching her self-destruct and listening to her whine about her nutty Mother is just getting to be too much.

    Also, when I visited my parents' house last month (up until last week, I was living in Colorado) and saw her for the first time in months, I realized that she is literally killing herself with food. We went to our favorite mall together and she had to stop every 10 feet to catch her breath! And she consumed an insane amount of junk and soda in the food court. Her real Dad died because of obesity (he weighed at least 500 pounds), and it looks like she's going to follow him soon.
    Watching her kill herself like that is just too depressing. But I don't know how to communicate that to her without making her upset and/or driving her to even more self-destructive behavior. :(

    Probably a little of both. Times are hard. But I wish you the best of luck on your job search. :)

    Believe me, I totally understand that sometimes people are victims of bad circumstances they can't control. I had to move back in with my parents last week because I lost my job and now I'm struggling to find a new one. It sucks. It REALLY sucks! But wallowing around Mommy's house playing video games and crying "Woe is me!" isn't going to make that situation suck any less.

    I got into credit card debt years ago from helping my parents with some overdue bills (I'm still paying it off now). I suppose I could blame them for my money troubles. But considering the fact that I spent most of my adult life living rent-free in their home; I feel like that would be kinda petty. :shrug:
     
  6. Master Moron

    Master Moron Active Member

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    $200 a month! Holy crap! What kind of a car does she drive? Geico only charges me $33 a month.

    I'm kind of in a similar situation. I've been looking for a job for almost a year and my lease is up in July. I might still be able to renew it, but it seems like a waste if I don't have a job. I'm actually considering moving back in with my parents, but they live in New England, and I'm only licensed to practice law in a state in the Midwest, so if I moved back in with my parents I would have to take another bar exam, which they only administer twice a year. I already missed the deadline for the summer exam, so I wouldn't be able to practice law until I take the February exam. Maybe I should just stay in the Midwest and take a crappy menial job at Wal-Mart or something. It wouldn't make a dent in my student loans, but at least it would at least enable me to pay my rent while I continue to look for a legal job. I can't believe I'm a licensed attorney and I'm actually considering working at Wal-Mart. Life sucks.
     
  7. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    The economy is tough, but it ain't so tough somebody with a law degree should be unable to find a job. Keep looking and you'll find something.
     
  8. Tapout

    Tapout Active Member

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    No it won't. I work for Walmart and still live with my parents because I can't afford to pay rent anywhere.
     
  9. yrina

    yrina Guest

    I think your friend is very selfish and doesn't care anyone's feeling. I had plenty of friends and the truth was when I got older my friends were lessen. Are you rest assured that your friend treats and love you as a friend? There are lots of people who they called their selves as friends but once you had a problem they will leave you. Better to observe your friend's attitude and concern to you before you give all your helping hand.:shrug:
     
  10. Rud

    Rud Nine Arts Dragon

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    what state do you live in?, not even a crappy apartment?
     
  11. Captain Highwind

    Captain Highwind Active Member

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    I would say:

    Going through with you teaching her to drive, as was suggested...and,

    While she's living with her parents, get a minimum wage job at the least. It keeps her motivated and allows her to get away from her parents for a while, at the same time doing something constructive. Living with her parents takes care of her living expenses (adding virtually thousands of dollars a year to her income), and lets her build her finances up enough to move her out on her own.
     
  12. Master Moron

    Master Moron Active Member

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    I think you're greatly underestimating the death spiral that the economy is in. There were 12,000 legal jobs lost last year and it doesn't look like it's going to be getting any better anytime soon. I applied to a job a couple of weeks ago and the response I got was that they received over 500 applications. It's pretty impossible to stand out among 500 other applicants. I have an interview next week, but I'm not too hopeful as I have to assume that they'll be interviewing at least 10 other applicants, many of which will probably have more experience than me. I'm actually thinking about starting up a business with some of the other people who I graduated with. Sure, it's a huge risk, but it's better than sitting around waiting for someone to hire me.
     
  13. Grenzer

    Grenzer This is Kyokugen Karate... 2016 Style

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    Not to derail this thread too much, but I know a thing or two about the legal industry. It was oversaturated long before the current economic downturn, and it's not going to get any better in the near future. The good news is that a law degree can be applied to many fields in business, so Master Moron at least has some options available to him.

    As for BrendaBat's friend, all I can say is that while it's sad to see an old childhood friend turn into an poorly adjusted adult, it's a part of of life. Some people just don't grow over time, and it causes rifts with their former friends. BrendaBat should make an ultimatum: either her friend does something to improve her life and move forward (and not end up dead by 30 from a heart attack), or face losing her friendship as a consequence. It's not an easy choice, but maybe the shock of being given such a choice might shock BrendaBat's friend out of her malaise. If said friend does not respond at that point, then perhaps it is a sign that the friendship is simply no longer all that strong, and that Brendabat should tactfully disengage from it to avoid further heartache.
     
    #13 Grenzer, May 17, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2009
  14. KPTitan

    KPTitan The Doc is in...

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    Man, you'd be suprised. Because of the economy and the greedy apartment building owners around where I live, even the crappy apartments in the bad part of town are charging too much for single mothers, or just plain single people.:sad: It's this type of reality that's making it really tough for people of my generation to find our own place to live.

    I've kinda grown out of my friends too, but it's not because of maturity issues. Since they're younger than me, both in 9th grade while I graduated from high school last year, I hardly see them at all....and yet they're my next door neighbors. I've been working my butt off at work amoung other things, while they're at school and participate in after school activities...and tend to go out of town almost every weekend. But I still try and keep in touch with them, like through text messaging or other means of communication.
     
  15. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    Actually, bad economies hurt professionals (lawyers, engineers, etc.) way more than they hurt minimum wage grunts. So a degree is no guarantee that a job will be any easier to get.


    My rant made Anna out to be a selfish brat. But she’s actually a really sweet and generous person. She paid for both of us to take a trip to Anime Expo last year and got me a laptop for a going-away present when I moved to Colorado.

    That’s part of the reason I feel guilty for being so aggravated with her. She’s been nothing but nice to me. But her childish attitude and behavior have just been getting on my nerves (especially now that she has the financial means to move out and start living independently). When I talk to her these days I feel like I’m conversing with a moody teenager (“WAH! My Mom is like totally ruining my life!”) and not someone who’s actually older than me.


    I don’t know if I’d have the heart to make that ultimatum with her. Mostly because I’m afraid that a harsh ultimatum might prompt her to talk about committing suicide again; and I definitely don’t want THAT on my conscience. Then again, I don't want to look back a few years from now and regret not saying something before it was too late. So I guess its a bit of a catch-22. :sad:

    But I also know that gently bringing the subject up would just prompt her to bring out her long list of lame excuses. So for now I’m just not contacting her.
     
  16. Sparticus

    Sparticus Should be drawing right now...

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    Hey, since you have to move in with your parents anyway... maybe you should suggest that you and your friend get an apartment instead. If she really truly considers you a friend - and really truly wants out from under her mothers thumb - she'll probably jump at the idea.

    And if she chickens out... well she's probably a lost cause. :shrug:
     
  17. G. Wen

    G. Wen aspiring artist

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    I faced a similar situation as this during my senior year of high school. My suggestion is to convince her to get therapy. She needs it. It may not save the friendship (I eventually convinced my friend to use psychological services at her college, which turned out better for her, but never mended our friendship), but she needs to be able to survive on her own.
     
  18. KPTitan

    KPTitan The Doc is in...

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    That's true. I read a recent article in a local newspaper stating that even the middle class people with some sort of college degree were having as much trouble as anybody else. That, and I guess the supposedly "recession-proof" videogame industry are examples that not everyone is immune to our crappy economy.
     
  19. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    I couldn't live with her 2 cats (allergies). :sweat:
    But even if the cats weren't around, I wouldn't feel comfortable entering into a financial contract (like an apartment or condo) with someone who's never held a job or taken personal responsibility for anything. Maybe that's cold-hearted; but it's also common sense.

    Also, having to see her MMORPG addiction and unhealthy eating habits in my home 24/7 would drive me nuts! I want to help her be independent. But not at the cost of my sanity. :shrug:


    Therapy is a good idea. I know she's tried it before. But maybe I can convince her to try it again.
     
  20. Rud

    Rud Nine Arts Dragon

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    hmm, do you actually still even like this friend?
     

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