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kattapilla

When should you let go of a friend?

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So we've been friends since the seventh grade. (About 40 years.) We've always been friends, but she has always had a "difficult" personality. She's extremely picky and fussy about everything, and she corrects people constantly (but in a very passive-aggressive way) and has a very irritating way of whining/snapping out when she's put out of sorts.

So why are we still friends? Because we're both into a lot of the same things. Writing, creativity, baseball, music, etc. We're both offbeat people, both "different".

But lately she's become so difficult to be with, that I find myself not wanting to deal with her. Friday we went to an event at a nearby winery. In the 2 hours we were there she managed to (passively-aggressively, mind you) criticize everything from the way I shut my car doors to how I held my wine glass. It was all too much. I found myself lying to her about what days I have off around Christmas, so I can avoid spending time with her.

Don't suggest I broach this subject with her. It won't work. We have a mutual friend who has also begun avoiding the difficult friend, but the difficult friend doesn't get what's going on and is always complaining about how the mutual friend "procrastinates" when getting back to her and then makes lame excuses for not spending more time with her. She won't understand. And if I said I just need a break, she wouldn't get that either. Being brutally honest--telling her she's just like her mom, whom she hates--won't help anything.

Sorry this is so long.

TL:DR: friend has become impossible to deal with. Should I break up with her? Can I do that without hurting her?

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I don’t think you can do it without causing her some stress, but that’s the way these things go. Since you’ve ruled out most options, you pretty much have phasing out the friendship as the option. No need to say you’re breaking it up, although you could do that. My approach is to be too busy and say no to engagements, not return calls quickly, and the like. But I’ve had friends just cut me off, either telling me we’re done, or freezing me out completely. I haven’t liked either one. Do you want to be in touch on occasion, or never again?  If it’s a case of never, then probably just cut off as opposed to tapering. If you may still want rare contact, then I’d say be roo busy or have other plans most of the time. Sometimes I hang onto friends longer than I should, but I don’t think that’s healthy for me. If you avoid giving mixed messages it will go better for both of you I suspect so do consider that part, whatever you do. 

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