Blah. Heartsick.

Maybe junior-high-style social drama comes in 15-year cycles? Because I’m nearly 28, and feeling it all over again.

Here’s the setup: when I moved to town last July I made friends with a co-worker (who has since left to work for another company) who convinced me to join a local martial arts club, where he’s an instructor. I needed exercise and something to do in the evenings, so I was happy to join, and happy to have him there as a social connection.

Well, socially the club hasn’t been so hot, for me. There aren’t many people in it, most are out of my social range because they’re undergraduates, others because they’re married with kids. Then, there’s B. She joined around the same time I did–actually, about a month earlier. As a result, she’s always been a rank above me. She’s way bossy. She criticizes technique, which she’s way not supposed to do. She’s also sweet on said friend and former co-worker. She found out pretty early on that he and I are good friends, and got jealous. For months, she was giving both of us the silent treatment, which was fine with me–except when she would silently push and shove me around (literally) when he wasn’t looking.

As a friend, rather than as a member of the dojo, I complained to said friend (maybe I was wrong to think that that distinction could be made). So he knew the situation. B is always careful about behaving herself when he’s looking, though.

A couple of months ago, she started to talk to us again. A month ago, we all went to a sword show in a nearby city, and the three of us ended up in the car together. He picked her up first and dropped her off last. You see where this is going. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that they’ve become friends, and hang out together. Today I found out that she’s dating his roommate (said friend is gay).

I’m hurt. I’m pretty well beyond hurt. He made friends with someone who has actually laid hands on me–someone who goes out of her way to make it unpleasant for me to attend class. Hallmark of said friend is that he can be friends with all kinds of people, and also that he’s a sucker for suck-ups… the situation hasn’t taught me anything new about him, just reinforced what I already knew.

Sigh. So. Time for me to force myself to go to class. Now that she’s practically the third roommate at his house, though, I feel like I’ve lost everything I had–she ranks higher, she gets away with hell, and she’s his personal friend, too.

He’s been making an effort to pay special attention to me, to his credit, and I really appreciate it. But I’m still hurt.

I feel pretty low. Like I said. Junior-high style stuff.

To better frame the situation: said friend and I are pretty tight. In addition to the two classes per week we have lunch once or twice, spend most of one of the weekend days together, he cat-sits when I go out of town, etc. He’s definitely my best friend, and I’m certainly in his top 5–probably top 2 or 3. People who don’t know us well routinely assume that I’m either his girlfriend or his sister.

I don’t feel that my friendship with him is threatened by all this, I’m just… wishing there could be a little loyalty or solidarity or something. Said friend is also infamous for not indulging in such things, unfortunately. He really likes people, and doesn’t avoid people until they have been frequently and outrageously bad for him.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick your friends’ friends.

Yup. Some of my best friends are friends with people I don’t like, personally. But I also know that the reverse is true as well (some of my friends don’t understand why I’m friends with my other friends).

That being said, I do think it’s odd that he befriended someone he knew was being actively unpleasant to you. Although if he hasn’t actually witnessed the unpleasantness, it’s possible he might think you were exaggerating.

In my opinion, it’s even more likely that friend is thinking “If I haven’t seen it for myself, I’m just in no position to judge it”.

I can understand how this situation is unpleasant/hurtful, but you are an adult now. As such, you have to remind yourself that you have three choices:

  1. Decide the situation is unacceptable and sever ties with Friend.
  2. Decide the situation is really beyond your control, and value relationship with Friend just as it stands.
  3. Decide that if the situation continues, as it stands, it will be unacceptable, and tell Friend that, and leave the decision up to him.

Any way you slice it, though, the ball is in your court.

I really am sympathetic, and wish you the best of luck!

PS I really hope Jodi weighs in on this, as she is The Doper Most Likely To Feel the Same Way I Do about a situation, but express it much more eloquently than I can.

Hi! :slight_smile: I swear I didn’t do a vanity search, either.

Sattua, I think we may have a different idea of “laid hands on me” in a way that would justify expecting my friends to be mad on my behalf. To me, that would be someone who took a swing at me or manhandled me completely out of the blue and without a context, not someone who took advantage of a martial arts class to shove me around a bit. I also think whether you enjoy the class or not is within YOUR control, and I would not give this person the opportunity to ruin it for you.

As twicks said, you can’t pick your friend’s friends. You can, however, set boundaries for yourself. You certainly don’t have to put up with her pushing you around, literally or metaphoricallhy. Attempts to shove you should be sharply rebuked, loudly and verbally. (“WE’RE NOT SPARRING; PLEASE DO NOT PUSH ME.”) Attempts to correct your technique can be met with a simple “uh huh” or “thanks, I’ll keep that in mind” (bored voice) or more direct “We’re not supposed to correct each other, so please keep your comments to yourself.” You don’t have to hang out with her, you don’t have to like her. Having a friend in common doesn’t make her your friend. If your mutual friend insists that the three of you hang out together, then you will have to decide if you are willing to put up with her to hang with him, or whether you’ll see him less often but one on one.

The only part that doesn’t make a lot of logical sense is that you would be hurt by this. You know this is how this guy is. And you know you don’t really have any right to insist he only like people you like too. And frankly her conduct, while obnoxious, doesn’t sound like it has been egregious enough for you to expect him to be angry on your behalf.

So, yeah, that part does sound a little junior high, though still completely understandable from an emotional standpoint. But I think the best you can do is decide for yourself how much of this chick YOU can stand, and act accordingly. What your friend does to or with her is his business. That may mean that you see less of him in the short term, but if he values your friendship, he’ll come back around. It doesn’t sound like she’d be a very good friend to him either, long-term.

The martial arts we do (swordplay) is completely non-contact. The pushing has been in the middle of class, while arranging ourselves for a drill. She decides I’m in the wrong place, and tries to shove me into the right place.

Tonight she did something pretty precious. It has been 90 degrees every day for a week here, and we practice in an un-air-conditioned gymnasium, and we’re wearing the goofy gi and hakama, and in short, we were all getting pretty melty. Early in class, she decided she couldn’t handle it, so she sat at the sidelines watching the rest of us do drills, and taking notes in her notebook, happily chirping about how USEFUL it was to see all the ways to do the drills WRONG. Then, at one point, she got up from where she was sitting… to tell me to stand somewhere else… so she could see the instructor from where she was sitting. Geezus, lady, sit somewhere else and don’t bother those of us who are actually doing the drills.

Friend is, precisely as you say, not a witness to most of this (though he saw her hop up and say something to me, tonight). He’s a laissez-faire, easygoing kind of guy. And he doesn’t like to take sides or feel obligated. And I knew all of that from the very beginning.

I mostly wanted to vent, here. I’m certainly not going to give him an ultimatum–because I know that people who give ultimatums always lose, with him–but it makes me sad and makes class pretty unpleasant. And I can’t tell him, who I tell everything else. So y’all benefit. :slight_smile:

I’m curious – How did you respond to this?

I turned my head slightly when she spoke to me. After that, instead of stepping to the side in an exaggerated attempt to let the person behind me have a clear view of the instructor, I stayed in place. I wasn’t exactly moving for her, but I was doing something different, so she didn’t have clear reason to huff and puff about me.

Have you talked to your friend about any of this?

I’ll admit, I have a best friend who will be friends with “just anyone” and I get a little turned off by that. When I tell him that I don’t want to do something because one of his sucky friends will be there, he just goes without me. It does suck, BUT I do know he is my very best friend and in a more important situation he’d “choose” me.

Anyway, at least I tell him. That way I don’t have to sit around and wonder what he’s thinking.

Yeah, situations like this aren’t any fun but crappy as it may be you have to let people choose their own friends. She sounds like a kind of selfish, bitchy person and if he’s friends with her long enough he’ll either find that out for himself and get rid of her or he’ll decide he doesn’t care and keep hanging out with her. Either way, it’s his thing.

But there are some things you might want to try that might help you feel better.

You should tell him, clearly, that you are somewhat hurt that he has chosen to befriend someone who you feel has behaved unjustly and unpleasantly towards you. Just tell him, don’t make it an ultimatum or a threat, just tell him how you feel and it’l be up to him how much it matters to him.

Don’t let her push you around. In an incident such as you described (asking you to move out of her line of sight), what you did was fine, but you may have been better off saying something out loud, so some others could hear, such as :

  • “Hey, if you want to look at <his name> all night instead of <activity>, that’s fine. But I’m here to do <activity> and if I’m ruining your view, you can move yourself. Please don’t interrupt me again.”

Or something. That at least will maybe embarrass her and let her know you’re not there to be pushed around by her. If she’s physically pushing you around, even lightly, make it known.

  • “I’m sure you didn’t mean to push me just now. Please try not to do it again.”
  • “If you can’t do <activity> without shoving me around, please go and do it away from me.”
  • “Please watch what you’re doing, I don’t like being pushed.”

Let others, instructor included, hear you politely but firmly ask her to stop.

I’m sorry this is making you feel bad. I have a good friend who has some seriously crappy other friends. I’d go so far as to say I hate them. I don’t understand why he is friends with them, especially as he seems to know that they are, by and large, unpleasant people. He knows I dislike them and he knows I don’t understand why he hangs around them. But it’s still up to him whether he does or not.

  1. Talk to your friend casually, and mention that while you like spending time with him, you’d appreciate it if he’d leave you out of plans that include his new passive-aggressive buddy.

  2. Talk to your martial arts instructor, and ask for a referral to a different class, since passive-aggressive chick is interfering with you getting the full benefit of this class.

  3. Find some other friends and something else to do. I suspect this seems like giant drama because you don’t have anyone else to hang around with to get perspective from.

I agree with Lightray. I would add to point 1 to make certain that you don’t come across as being the passive-aggressive one. That is, you don’t want to appear to be giving a passive-aggressive ultimatum. I’d try to work in how you and other woman’s personalities clash, that you don’t expect to get along with everyone, that you’re fine with him having other friends, and you enjoy your time together too, that you don’t want him to have to get involved between you and her, and for him not to take it personally that you have asked your martial arts instructor to be included in a different class.

First, said Friend is the instructor. And there are no other classes in this discipline in the area–I’d have to give it up altogether, which I’m not yet willing to do. So I’ve basically decided that it’s worth it to keep putting up with her, for now.

Second, said Friend is profoundly aware that the two of us clash, and does keep us apart socially. While he hasn’t witnessed her pushing and shoving, he does know that she’s bossy, and takes steps to contain her when he can. He also volunteered his opinion that she’s neurotic and more than a little self-centered. Three cheers for him.

Third, he does know that it upsets me–he may not have thought it through while making friends with her, but now that I know, he has figured it out. I’m trying to not complain about her to him, any more, unless he brings it up first.

I do have other friends, some in the same circle and some completely separated. Interestingly, all of this developed around the same time I started dating again (after the nasty breakup of a long-term relationship in January).

What do you mean by this? I’m getting an undercurrent of mixed feelings towards this ‘friend’ of yours, are you wanting to be more than just friends with this guy?

Sattua, you’re getting a lot of unnecessary attention from this person. I think he/she likes you.

Sounds like you have the situation under control and you just wanted to vent (which is totally understandable). Sorry for not having provided a good ear and just listening.

It also sounds like he’ll have to figure a way to distance himself from Ms. Neurotic and that any tensions between you and your friend will naturally ease as that happens. Sorry that you have to put up with it in the mean time.

Yeah, if she’s enough of an idiot to physically hurt you, she won’t be able to keep her jerkiness in check around him for too long. Be the bigger person and stay friends with him on your own terms. Don’t bad mouth her too much. Chances are they’ll have a blow up soon enough and you and him can dish all you want about her.

Do I have this right? She publicly points out to the class, in front of your friend the Instructor that everyone is doing it all wrong? Doesn’t she see how rude this is to the Instructor? How would you feel as a teacher if someone sat on the sidelines laughing at how bad your class is after you’ve been teaching them?

Couple of things occur to me with that. If your friend really isn’t bothered by someone undermining his teaching of his class then he is unbelievably laidback and accepting of other people’s bad behaviour in general. So if he isn’t even bothered for himself, I can see why he has trouble seeing why such behaviour irks you. OTOH, if he is bothered by all this then I imagine this girl is increasingly making herself an utter pest in his eyes with such antics.

So either way, I don’t think think there is anything to gain by speaking up to him. Take the higher ground and hope she continues to dig her own grave. But in the meantime, my sympathies - she sounds an utter pill for all concerned.

Wellll, only sort of. It was a very long set of very complicated drills that we had only seen once or twice before. Everyone was bound to zig when they oughta zag, at some point. And because we were so distracted by just trying to remember the zigs and zags, form went out the window. It was a particularly irritating time for her to be sitting on the sidelines and watching.