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Saving or Ending a Friendship

I have a 10 year friendship with a former coworker. This is a friendship I've valued for all those years. She is black, I'm white. There is no way I can fully understand the injustices of people of color, but I don't understand her comments toward me.

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One day we were discussing the incidents involving Bill Cosby. At that time all the women coming forward were white. She said to me "well all white women are weak". I tried to let it slide, but the more I thought about it the more it hurt. Several days later I mentioned that she hurt my feelings. Rather than being sorry she stated she wasn't talking about me. But did she mean my daughter. She shifted the conversation toward the media and current affairs between blacks and whites and other words I thought inappropriate.

It seems she has such dislike for most white people. I have enough stress in my life and I'm tired of such negativity. I feel as if I've basically lost a good friend over the current state of our nation and the situation between blacks and whites that has nothing to do with neither of us.

Since we no longer work together it's hard to find something to talk about. We're both retired; I'm rather active and have a lot of hobbies so we don't have that much common. We talk about getting together for lunch. We're in different Dallas suburbs. I've told her I'd meet her half way, but that's as far as it goes.

As much as I care about this person I feel like the friendship has run it's course if I have to do all the work. It's hard to end a friendship lasting this long. I want it to work, but I have my doubts. I'm struggling with how to distance myself and ending a friendship that has become so toxic.

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October 14, 20160 found this helpful

Dear Betty, I'm so sorry for your struggle. Perhaps a fresh viewpoint would help. This is a difficult topic to discuss. In any relationship there are bound to be disagreements & differences of opinion. Perhaps your friend felt 'out numbered' at the moment, & her comment was a 'defense', but one can never truly know what someone else is thinking, we can only try to give others the benefit of the doubt. It was good to try to let it slide, but you did the right thing by telling her that she hurt your feelings once you recognized how much it bothered you. Keeping those feelings to yourself could have caused resentment later; by telling her, you were trying to open a dialog that might have allowed healing. I'm sure a direct apology would have made you feel better, and you were disappointed not to receive one. It's possible that her statement that 'she wasn't talking about you' was, in fact, her WAY of apologizing- some people do find apologizing to be a 'sign of weakness'. Something to consider, anyway, given her previous statement. I'm not clear as to how your daughter was brought into it, but that would have just added another layer of frustration and anxiety to the situation for you. You said that you "feel like you've basically lost a good friend over the current state of our nation and the situation between blacks & whites that has nothing to do with either of you" - my feeling is this: what we're REALLY talking about is HER core-belief system- you said that she really seems to hate white people, & she herself said "white women are weak", etc.. We are all raised, or otherwise aquire, prejudices about all sorts of things throughout our lives, & while current events may not have anything to do with you & your friend, it sounds to me like this friend BROUGHT this underlying racism into your relationship with her comment. Expressing her opinion in that way was clearly meant to let others know her thoughts on the subject. Everyone makes mistakes and has said things that they regret; but if you are truly sorry for something that you have said or done, especially if it hurts someone, then you apologize- that should always be the first step in trying to correct a wrong-doing or mend a friendship. That is simple common sense and is in NO way a "black or white" issue, it's a HUMAN one. It sounds to me that for several reasons- retirement, different interests, location, etc- the two of you have just grown apart. You've tried to reach out & meet her halfway, but it always takes effort on BOTH sides for a relationship to thrive. It's always difficult to let go of a long term relationship, friendship or otherwise. It certainly sounds like you've done all that you can, even going so far as to reach out to an online community for helpful advice. She's lost a really good friend in you, Betty. All you can do now is cut your losses and move forward. Leave space in your life for new friendships to blossom. Thank your friend in your heart for all that she has taught you, both good and bad, and cherish the memories you've shared. Forgive her and let her go with love and gratitude in your heart, and you'll find the peace and happiness that you so truly deserve... I wish you much love and happiness in all that you do!

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January 15, 20170 found this helpful

Most friendships in your life are only there for a season. There isn't any rule saying they must all be lifelong. Now that we have Facebook and social media it makes us think we must keep in touch with everyone we've ever known from kindergarten onward, but you simply can't maintain that many close relationships.

Most of us have friends from school, but then we graduate. Friends from work, but then we get another job. Maybe we move and find more friends.

I have friends that I only see once in a blue moon and we just pick up where we left off. Others I fall out of touch with and feel we no longer have anything in common.

I think this is a necessary part of life. We all grow and change. You may be willing to move forward, she may not be.

I hope this helps.

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July 16, 20170 found this helpful

It's hard to lose what was once a good friendship. Under the different circumstances of your lives, I don't see any need to formally end it, just let life and time run its course.

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