Breaking Up With A Selfish Friend
Wednesday - December 06, 2006
“You have to do it already,” Simon was telling Jan.
“I know,” Jan said, sighing. “It’s just so hard.”
“But it’s killing you to stay in this relationship,” Simon said. “It’s time to get out.”
Sometimes, you just have to break up. When the relationship is more effort than it’s worth, when you dread the person’s calls, when every conversation is one-sided and every encounter is draining your soul - it’s time to call it quits.
It’s difficult enough to end a romantic relationship, but what about breaking up with someone who is just your friend?
“You think I should do what?” Jan had asked Simon weeks ago.
“I think you should break up with her, with Gina,” he replied.
“What do you mean break up with her?” Jan asked.
Simon had listened to Jan complain about Gina for months. Jan and Gina had been friends since they were little, but recently Gina’s constant bad attitude was really draining Jan.
Gina would call every day, sometimes 10 times a day if Jan didn’t pick up her phone. Gina would call five times in succession, which was extremely distracting when Jan was at work.
When Jan did pick up the phone, she was irritated by Gina’s ongoing drama.
“I can’t believe it!” Gina would shout into the phone without even saying hello. “I think Leon is cheating on me again.”
“Again” was the key word here, as Gina and Leon were always treating each other badly. But Gina refused to leave Leon, and instead seemed to enjoy rehashing her problems to Jan.
“You should leave him already,” Jan would encourage. “You deserve better.”
“You just don’t understand,” Gina would cry. “I love him. I’m so alone in this world. Without him I have nothing.”
Then Gina would proceed to tell Jan, ad nauseum, how her life was so horrible - how she never had what she wanted growing up, how her family abandoned her and everyone she encountered in life was against her, including her boss, her friends, even the cashier at the grocery store. (“He tried to over-charge me for yams, but I caught him! He thought he could get away with it,” Gina recounted in a different conversation with Jan.)
It would happen every day. These conversations would go on for the better part of an hour with Jan barely able to get a word in edgewise, even if it was to comfort Gina. Gina would never ask how Jan was doing.
Gina took and took and took, and then she took some more. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Gina called Jan to borrow some money - $300.
“I don’t even have enough money to buy a cup of coffee at the cafe,” Gina complained.
(If she’s so broke, why is she buying her coffee at a café, instead of making it at home?, Jan wondered. Jan also wondered why Gina was so desperate to borrow money when she had just bought a new designer handbag.)
“That’s a lot of money,” Jan said. (Jan was working and supporting herself, but was by no means rich.)
“I know,” Gina said, still crying for effect, “But if you don’t lend it to me, I can’t pay my rent and then I’ll be out on the street!”
Jan was tired of Gina’s exaggerated problems and her ability to shamelessly abuse Jan’s generosity. Gina was, for some reason, unable to function as an adult and had no problem taking what she could from everyone she knew.
Jan knew if she lent Gina the money, she’d never get it back. This is when she realized that Simon was right. As much as it pained her to do so, Jan needed to end her friendship with Gina.
Unable to muster the courage to say it to Gina over the phone (plus, Gina wouldn’t let her talk anyway), Jan wrote out a check for $100 and sent it to Gina in the mail with a note that said:
“We have been friends for a lifetime, but you need to figure out how to get your life together on your own. You are almost 35 years old. I hope this money helps you, but I also have my own life issues I’m dealing with. I care about your well-being, but I don’t think we should be friends anymore because it’s affecting my well-being. I’m sorry.”
And with that, Jan broke up with Gina.
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