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Dr. Irene S. Levine Headshot

An Inconvenient Truth: She's Made You a Second-Tier Friend

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Dear Irene,

I've been friends with a woman for about four years now. As time progressed, we became closer, or so I thought. We both moved here from other areas and I introduced her to our neighborhood book club, my hairstylist, etc. The problem now is that she only acts like my BFF when she has no one else.

Last fall, after we had talked about going to a nearby tourist town together, she invited her next-door neighbor and excluded me. This summer, since her teenage granddaughter has been staying with her, I've hardly seen her at all. I'm temporarily without a car and even knowing this, she excluded me when she set up her monthly appointment to get her hair cut. We've been doing this together for a year and she didn't even call to give me the "heads up" there would be a change in plans this month because she wanted to go and do it with her granddaughter, alone.

I understand not doing everything with me; I don't want to do everything with her either. But isn't it a little rude to talk to someone about a day trip and then take it with someone else (she used the excuse that she wanted to get to know her next-door neighbor, who is a weekender here) as well as doing something without the other person all of a sudden, when it is to me, "normal" routine?

I had a friend who did this to me and other friends when we were kids and my mother always said it was a control issue, of this other friend wanting to have some sort of power over her friends to be able to exclude them when she felt like it. Or, is it that some people really cannot handle being friends with more than one person at a time? Or, am I being overly sensitive?



Dear Amanda,

Truth is this woman has relegated you to the position of a second-tier friend. She is only your BFF at her own convenience -- when you can do something for her. You are not being overly sensitive; she is being overly insensitive. Rest assured that your expectations of friendship are totally reasonable but you are dealing with a self-centered individual.

The reasons for her being this way aren't really important. You need to find other friends with whom you can have more reciprocal relationships and on whom you can depend. If I were you, I would relegate her to a more peripheral role in your life and begin seeking out new BFFs.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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