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Dr. Irene S. Levine Headshot

Friendship on the Rocks: She's never invited to the parties

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QUESTiON

Dear Irene,

I met my best friend at a small restaurant where we both used to work. Even after I quit, Dee and I were very close and talked on the phone two or three times a day. We knew every personal detail of each other's lives. She used to tell me you are lucky to get one good friend in a lifetime and that I was her one true friend.

The bizarre problem: During the 15 years that I'd known Dee, she has had parties and never invited me. This included a party of 300 for her daughter's graduation. She also had a jewelry party and I love jewelry--but she told me about it the next day. I did confront her and stopped talking to her a couple of times because of this. Her excuses were evasive like you don't know my daughter, or blame my husband because he mailed the invites. One year she even lied to me about passing out candy at Halloween so we wouldn't stop there. Then, the next day she told me she only passed out candy for an hour.

Towards the end of our friendship, at 5:30PM one evening, Dee invited me to a psychic party that was scheduled to start at 6PM. She said that she needed seven people or would have to pay $35 for each one who didn't show. I told her I would have come if I had been given proper notice. Then she said, "Don't say I never invite you then."

Without this stupid problem, we had a very good and very strong friendship. I really miss my friend but I don't know how this problem could be solved. The last time I talked to her she was having a jewelry party and I know she could sense the anger in my voice when I heard about it. We both hung up that day and I didn't call and neither did she. That was last year. I was hoping you could help me.

Signed,
Carla

ANSWER

Hi Carla,

Dee has definitely drawn lines in the sand and relegated your relationship to one corner of her life. When something is so hard to fathom, it is usually because you are missing some piece of vital information (Think of it like trying to solve a puzzle with a missing piece.)

In this case, I can think of three possibilities:

  • There's something about you that makes Dee feel so uncomfortable so she doesn't want you involved with her family or other friends;
  • She is uncomfortable about some aspect of her own life that she hasn't chosen to share with you; or
  • She has divulged something to you that she wants kept secret from her family and acquaintances.
Whatever the reason, this is more than a "stupid problem" because Dee lied, deceived, and hurt you--multiple times--rather than tell you the truth. Oddly, the way she chose to handle your friendship is reminiscent of someone carrying on an adulterous affair.

Since so much time has elapsed since your last contact with her, my best advice would be to let go, tell yourself you don't want that kind of friendship, and focus on nurturing healthier relationships than this one.

I hope this is helpful.

Best,
Irene

Have a question about female friendships? Send it to The Friendship Doctor.

Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author. She holds an appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Her new book about female friendships, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, was recently published by Overlook Press. She also blogs about female friendships at The Friendship Blog and at PsychologyToday.com.

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