Dear Miss Emily:
 
I have a friend, I'll call "Julie."  I have known her for 17 years and have been in contact with her either by phone or, frequent visits.  Julie and I have shared so much over the years – but mostly about her colorful life:  her disastrous three marriages (one of whom was sex-addicted and another drug-addicted in the early years!); the loss of a son at age 21 to M.S; another son's methamphetamine abuse and his equally disastrous marriage; a multitude of jobs; the death of various relatives and, maybe the most interesting, the “poor relations” attitude toward her from her three siblings (they are all recipients of a small trust fund).  Through much of it, I have been there for her with a listening ear and as a confidante, and I have absolutely, unequivocally, seen and heard it all.    My problem now, is that Julie has begun to bore me to tears with these on-going sagas. She never seems to learn from past mistakes, and while I have felt a duty, as a friend, to listen, enough is enough!  During our most recent telephone conversation which, predictably, was yet another story of financial abuse on the part of her youngest, ‘ner-do-well son, she was in full song bemoaning the recent attitude of her sister, whom I believe is in the same position as I -- tired of the repetition.  I told her that it was really hard to listen to these abuses/stories/etc., which never change, nor ever will.  Julie, to my delight, informed me that I would not have to listen anymore, and she hung up!     Now, my predicament is that for such a long term friendship, I feel liberated, but I'm  feeling guilty about that emotion.  I wont miss much about Julie, and even though I suspect her action is of a temporary nature, I have to admit that I will not be taking her calls.  For me, there is no going back!  So Miss Emily, should I be feeling a little more sorrow at what I perceive is the end of this relationship?  Sadly, I absolutely feel nothing.

Ready to move on   


-------- Miss Emily’s Advice -------------

Dear Ready:

Perhaps Julie could make a few million by writing a best-seller!  Her life sounds intriguing, but I do agree that the constant drama, without any discussion about what’s going on with you, or even a comment about the weather, is not only grating, but has become a one-sided relationship. Without knowing what’s going on in your life, it seems that, even after a 17 year friendship, you are happy with your decision that a world without Julie would be grand.  But things are never that easy, are they?  You are a caring person who gave a good ear and, most likely, good advice.  Although, in theory it sounds easy to drop her from your address book, can you really, completely cut her out of your life?  If so, count guilt as a wasted emotion, and don’t look back.  On the other hand, if you decide it is too difficult, the next time she calls (and she probably will), be gentle, but tell her that you stand by your position.  If there is any basis for friendship, after making your position clear, it will find its way.  However, if Julie’s pride is damaged, and the friendship was based solely on her sharing the hard-luck stories that you are no longer interested in,  it seems likely that she will decide to go her own way, leaving you to go on your journey, without her.