How do you handle disagreements with your friends? (a little long)

I have a good friend who occasionally does things or says things that I just don’t agree with. She’s a great person but can be vindictive and hot-headed. Normally I try to gently let her know that I don’t really agree with what she’s doing, but sometimes I have to speak up more strongly. I’m not sure what compels me to do this, because it always escalates. I just feel like most people in her life kiss her ass because they’re scared of her temper - and that since we’re such good friends, maybe it’s my duty to point out something that I think is a big mistake.

What inspired this thread is that today she signed on to an ex’s email account to read his messages. I believe she is also contemplating sending messages on his behalf, or forwarding his messages to other recipients. (This is not an ex-boyfriend even, just a guy she slept with maybe a dozen times, but she was hoping for more of a relationship with him. They haven’t even been together in a couple of months, but she just found out on the weekend that he has been with someone else all summer). She has already sent an email of her own with the hopes of ruining a future business prospect for this guy.

I’ve told her I don’t believe she’s justified in what she’s doing - that I understand she’s hurt and disappointed and probably feels a bit foolish - but that invading this person’s privacy is just plain wrong. (note: both my friend and I are in our 30’s).

So, how do you handle differences of opinion with your good friends? Do you think I was wrong for speaking up?

Wow. Uh, not to be too harsh, but I’d handle a disagreement like that by not being friends with that person. I mean, that kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable.

Maybe I’m abnormal, but I don’t have many arguments with my friends. We may disagree on politics or the best pizza delivery store in town, or something, but it’s okay to have differences of opinion between friends. If we disagree on an ethical dilemma, it’s usually pretty mild, the kind of thing where you could see it both ways. If someone says that they did or are going to do something I think is a little sketchy, I’m not shy about saying pointing out that maybe that’s the best course of action. We can debate things a bit, and, if we don’t end up agreeing, we leave it at that. Usually, I can say, “Well, I would not handle the situation as you are handling it, but I can see why you’ve made the decision you did.”

In this case, I couldn’t say that. I cannot imagine any possible justification for what she is doing, and I wouldn’t be able to be friends with someone who would do that.

She’s an insecure control freak, from the sounds of it. What she’s doing is completely unacceptable, and I’m pretty sure, illegal. I wouldn’t associate myself with this type of individual.

Anyways, as it seems talking to her may be akin to talking to a brick wall, is there any way you can contact her ex and inform him of her activities? At the least he could change his password, but if she’s ruining business relationships, he’d be well within his right to go to the police.

As Podkayne said, I can’t imagine being friends with someone who would act like this. Not only is her behavior toward her ex completely inappropriate, but you’re afraid to point this out for fear of her getting pissed off at you. Not good.

To answer your question, though, if a friend of mine spontaneously started acting like this, I would probably say something along the lines of “you did what?? Are you psycho? What the fuck are you doing?” That would hopefully snap them back to reality. If not, I’d change all my passwords.

Giraffe - yeah, that is pretty much what I said. She got really defensive and shut down (her usual passive-aggressive way of dealing with people when she knows she’s in the wrong).

She’s kind of like a sponge - she absorbs the characteristics of whoever she’s been spending the most time with. For the past week she’s been staying with a girlfriend who’s a bitter, man-hater, vengeful bitch. I’m sure that she has gotten my friend even more riled up and I’m sure she’s supporting her actions.

My friend can be such a great person, she just lets her HURT manifest itself in really unhealthy ways. I care about her a lot, so I find myself unable to just stand by and watch while she makes really bad judgment calls.

I don’t have disagreements with other friends either, but I’m not usually on such close terms with other people, to the extent where we tell each other our deepest darkest secrets, like she and I do.

She’s told me that she is done with the email and she feels like she’s gotten it out of his system. The most (?) upsetting part is that she feels he deserved it. THAT is what I truly do not get. :frowning:

I handle disagreements with friends by either trying to talk it out or agreeing to disagree. I handle cold-bloodedly vindictive acts by psycho hose-beasts by getting the hell out of Dodge.

I used to have a friend who was/is rather like your initial description. She was funny and bright and a lot of fun to be around…until you disagreed with her over some minor point. Then, as you said, she was hot-headed and could be pretty vicious. And she escalated. Oh sweet Jesus, would she escalate. She could get from you being mildly irritated to her pushing the red button to empty the missile silos in about five minutes. Arguing with her was like a poker game where you raise $5, and the other guy sees your 5 and raises you $200. You just sit there with your mouth hanging open, thinking “Holy shit, where the hell did that come from?” I ultimately cut her out of my life because of that garbage.

Even she never stooped to the sort of low, nasty, probably illegal crap the woman you’re describing is doing, though.

I think you really need to ask yourself if you really want to go through life dealing with someone who is willing to treat another human being like this with little to no provocation. I can tell you from experience, she won’t hesitate to treat you just as badly if you commit what she perceives as an infraction. Are you willing to go through the next fifty years walking on eggshells? Is that really what you want out of life?

I have a friend who is great. However, we have slighly different…moral code. When she does something I think is wrong, or is about to, I let her know how I feel. When this behaviour is directed at me, I just tell her to knock it off. Most people won’t tell her this. But because we are friends, she accepts it from me.

What friends?

Did he mislead her? Kick her dog and step on her turtle? Promise to move to Jamaica with her and then back out? WTF? This is the kind of thing one would expect from a 13 year-old, not from a grown woman. It is especially grevious considering that she is f’ing up business prospects for him. How shallow is that?

I’m not sure that I would classify these as “disagreements.” It is more like a character flaw if you ask me. I disagree with my friends over a multitude of subjects, some to the degree where we deliberately avoid the topic because we get so heated about it. However, our disagreements have never impacted other parts of my life. That is sort of what being an adult is like.

I have severed ties with two people with whom I have found that I, simply, could no longer be friends with. The first was arrested for being a peeping tom and the second came back from a stint in the Army as a total rascist. I had been friends with both of these guys for years and while it was difficult I felt that the differences in our character were just too great.

Life is too short to associate yourself with that kind of baggage.

Yeah I hear you guys … thanks. She is someone whose friendship and opinions I normally value, but we have definitely hit some rocky patches over the past year or so.

A year and a half ago I got together with a wonderful man, and we have a great relationship. I did NOT want to be one of those women who ditches her girlfriends just because she’s with a guy, and she has accused me of that many times. So I think that is part of the reason that I have been hanging on to our friendship. Plus, we work for the same company, so we will always be on the fringes of each other’s life.

Anyway, she is not a bad person, and she has never done something anywhere close to as bad as what she pulled today with buddy’s email. I have given her the benefit of the doubt many times, but this is something that I just can’t even stand to hear her try to justify or explain.

I appreciate your input - sometimes I need to get outside opinions 'cos I have a really bad habit of living inside my head instead of out there in reality. It’s nice to get perspective from others!


Pistols at dawn. You have less friends but no disagreements.

That would be “fewer friends”, and this is probably one of the reasons I don’t have any.

You 're lucky I don’t know you. If we were friends we’d have a date in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow :slight_smile:
Then I would have one less friend :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, a couple of months ago a friend of mine took some pictures from someone else’s harddrive without their knowledge or consent. He felt really bad about it afterwards and told me about it. He then asked whether he should delete the pictures and I told him that this would be the best course of action and I’d kick his ass if he ever did something like that to me.

I suggest talking to your friend - don’t give up on your friends just because they make a bad call once in a while - and make her understand that what she does is wrong. She’s probably not a bad person, just a bit misguided at the moment. I’d wager it happens to all of us once in a while, it’s nigh impossible to always do the right thing in every situation.