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My friend is changing in a bad way

Hey RO
It's been a long time since I last posted. Now I'm in second year uni Smiley Tongue
Anyway, here it goes. So last year, my friend from high school went on a 6 month long trip to Europe where he had a great time. He hadn't been coping well in high school so this was a really good experience for him and I am legitimately happy for him. The only thing is, he came back and he's now unpleasant to be around. Here's kind of list of issues:
1. When he got back, he talked a lot about women he had met up with overseas. He was never gross about it but, with me being in a 4 year relationship, I have nothing to add to it.
2. This goes onto a broader point that he always talks about himself. He never asks questions that may open up a two way conversation, he just talks about what he is doing. As described by my girlfriend "he doesn't talk with you, he talks AT you"
3. At my 20th, he was very unpleasant to my uni friends, who he hadn't met before. Instead of trying to introduce himself, he kind of talked down to them or simply just tried to talk to me about stuff that none of them get in on. He also was weirdly aggressive when playing frisbee
4. He invited me on a trip to Japan with our friend group and I couldn't go because I don't have enough money. He kind of acted like I just didn't want to be involved. He even asked me again to come to Japan in a way that sounded like that I just didn't want to go. Again, I told him I couldn't afford it. He then went on to tell me about a "million dollar startup" that he was starting with some of our friends (this would be something he would talk about a lot).
I have no idea what to do. I've known him for a long time but now he's being a pretentious and arrogant wanker (pardon my language but it's true). I'm not sure if our mutual friends have noticed it and I don't really want to bring it up to sound like I'm trying to start drama. He is also extremely defensive and even when our mates joke about it (nothing malicious), he gets visibly riled up. I also know that my other friends definitely noticed it and agreed with me.
At this point I want to distance myself from him cause it's genuinely hard to be around him but I also don't want to stop hanging out with our mutual group of friends. Any advice?

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

Welcome back to RO @drhalloween! Congrats on being in your second year of uni Smiley Happy

Sorry to hear about the difficult friendship situation - it reeally sucks when the dynamics in a friendship change for the worse and it can be so hard to hang out with someone who just talks at you. So it seems fair enough that you've gotten to the point where you want to have some distance between you - what are some ways you could distance yourself from him? I'm also wondering if talking to him about how he's been lately would be a possibility for you or the friends that have also noticed the way he's been acting?

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@May_

Thanks for replying!
At the moment, I'm mostly hanging out with uni friends (he's a friend from high school) but when I do hang out with my high school friend group, it usually includes him by default. I've occasionally invited some of my closest friends from the group but they have also invited him, assuming it's okay.
I've thought about talking to him but he is so defensive and has always had a tendency to be quite arrogant that I don't think it'd work. It would either go in through one ear and out the other, he'd think it was a joke or he'd get very defensive and lash out with some feeling of betrayal.
My friends that have noticed it as well are not really friends with him so there's little they can do about it (like my uni friends, other people from high school that are not in our friend group and my girlfriend). They agreed with me after I semi-ranted to them about him, explaining that they felt the same way but didn't want to say anything in case it offended me.
There's also this other thing. I've always kind of been on the outside of this friend group, which has been something that has kind of hung over my head. It was only somewhat recently that I found out that they all had a chat together, except for me. I was eventually added to it. And I don't think it was an act of maliciousness that they didn't add me, I think they just forgot, which still hurts. But since then, I've been along to hangouts and it has been a lot of fun. 

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@drhalloweenfriendships can be tough! I always feel like my friendships fall into the following 3 categories, which is probably the same for you:

Friends due to convenience - we are friends due to a common subject; school or uni. a certain hobby, work or volunteer program. Without that subject we wouldn't have much in common and our paths wouldn't cross. When these friendships end I'm sad but at the same time we were friends for a season and that's totally fine. If I see them in the street I will say hi but I'm not going to go out of my way to hang with them.

Friends I make an effort to see and I click with - these are the people I catch up with and see regularly. I have a deeper friendship than the first category and we both make an effort to catch up and stay in contact with each other and have more things in common.

Friends who are pretty much family and I know I will always be in their lives to some degree - I can count on one hand these friends and while I may not see them often (due to distance and time) I know I could call them in a crisis and they would drop everything.

Most of my friendships (and yours) will move between the first two categories and the ones that will stick will eventually move into the final one, but that will take years.

 

In you're young adult life you will loose and gain friendships, there are also friendships that aren't healthy to be in or need to limit time with. It sounds like this friend is one that you need to limit time with and see what happens, maybe it will fade out (which could be a good thing) or maybe he will see that he loosing you as a friend and will want to work harder at it.

 

As for feeling on the outskirts of your friend group have you tried talking to them about how you feel? They probably don't realise they are doing it and will make more of an effort of including you.

 

 

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Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

Hi @drhalloween Smiley Happy

I'm sorry to hear you've been having difficulties with your friend... it always hurts when someone you considered yourself close to changes, so that it shifts the dynamic of your relationship. It also seems that you're not the only one to notice changes in him, so have you and your other friends discussed what similar changes you all have seen in your friend? It is a bit therapeutic to let out the frustration together.

In terms of talking to your friend about his recent behaviour, it really depends on whether you wish to collapse the bridge built between you. Yes, potentially it may not have any effect at all, but the question is do you want to try be close friends again? If yes, then an honest conversation about how you've felt might be the way to go. If no, then maybe this is a natural distancing as you are two different people.

 

And sorry, which friend group did you feel like a bit of an outsider in? Was this your university friends? It's natural that you felt hurt by the exclusion, and it can be hard to look past it, even if unintentional, but it's awesome that you're focusing on how much fun you're having right now when you all hang out Smiley Happy You're being the bigger person and looking at the present.

 

Friends and changes in relations can be difficult for everyone, so welcome back to RO and happy to talk whenever you need to Smiley Happy

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@drhalloween I totally get that - some friends/people reeally don't respond well to confrontation and you're the best judge of how that would go with him.

Ah it's so hurtful to feel excluded or forgotten even if it isn't intentional as you mentioned. Good to hear you're feeling more included now, is this with your Uni friends?

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@sweet_baking This is my high school friends that I feel excluded from

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@May_ Yeah my uni friends have really made me feel welcome Smiley Happy

Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

@sweet_bakin 
I have discussed it with friends and it is very therapeutic. I do like a good rant. And I think what is most reassuring is that others' observations are similar to mine so I don't feel like I'm just misconstruing the whole thing.
I think that if he is going to act like this and that this is his personality, I'm not sure if I want to be close friends again. While I know people who have greatly changed their personality and become better people, this has only been when their previous personality was a real piece of work. I don't think he sees anything wrong with how he is behaving and the reinforcement he gets from his lifestyle tells me he isn't likely to change. I can tolerate hanging out with him when there are other people, but I find it hard to deal with him when he tries to talk to me, as he only talks about himself.
I think that with coming to uni and meeting so many other people who are admittedly more accepting and inclusive of me as a person, I find it a lot more fulfilling to be with them. I get involved in comedy shows and generally just feel more at home with them. WIth my high school friends, I was always kind of on the fringes (many of them knew each other since primary school). I still love hanging with them for a good laugh, but I find that I have a lot more fulfilling and wholesome experience with the people I've met at uni.
I think it's just a moment of a natural separation, which I kind of figured would happen. My main stress is just having to deal with him when I hang out with our group.

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Re: My friend is changing in a bad way

Hey @drhalloween some really good suggestions made by everyone here and it highlights that in life we naturally keep and move through friendships. It takes a lot to let go of a friendship but I can tell you have really thought this through. It's so great to hear that at uni you're surrounded by people where you feel safe, supported and connected with- those are the friendships to keep <3 If you see him again in the group, what kind of things can you do to look after yourself? Sometimes creating some boundaries for yourself might be helpful? Or chatting more to people in that group whose company you enjoy? Sometimes having a bit of back of plan helps to ease the anxiety and stress of something that's been on your mind Smiley Very Happy