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Sincere Advice From A Girl Whose Life Is a Mess #6 | 1 question | Kollen Carney

Kolleen Carney

Dearest Friends:

Happy New Year! I trust yours went well.

I returned to California early on,204,203,200_.jpg New Year’s Eve (and I mean early; I believe I didn’t get back to the house until 3am). It was a bittersweet trip back to Massachusetts, and though I miss my son so much, I was happy to take a hot bath, open my “second Christmas” gifts, eat a frozen pizza, and finally sleep on my bed after two weeks of the couch.

Second Christmas gifted me something I have been asking for since 2008 or so: The Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. I am obsessed with Miss Manners, and cringe every time I see someone committing a faux pas (the most common? Asking for gifts on wedding invitations. Stop doing that! People will ask you if you’re registered!). I’m not going to pretend I know everything about etiquette, but I feel like I will once I read this book. Thank you, Santa! (And thank you, John.)

And now here we are in 2017. Let’s try to make this year the year. The year of radical change and strength.  And asking for help.

  1.  I have a friend who doesn’t seem to see how much she hurts me.  A couple of times, she has told me my opinion was silly, and then when I try to help her she accused me of making her feel stupid. I feel like I am expected to react to her at her level but I cannot expect the same.  She has told me to “grow up” when I have tried to express my feelings about it.  How can I explain it to her without losing her friendship? I can’t allow myself to continue hurting over this. I hate feeling that I am the only one who is willing to respect feelings here.

Oh goodness. I’ve had friends like this, and I admit I have probably been this friend on occasion. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see what they’re doing to others. Sometimes people ask things expecting to hear what they want to hear. And sometimes, people are just assholes.

This does not seem like a friendship worth having. You don’t want to lose her, but all she does is hurt you, dismiss you, and disrespect you. I would give her the benefit of the doubt and suggest that maybe she doesn’t know she is acting this way, but you said you have brought it up to her and she told you to grow up. What kind of response is that? That is so terrible— she is telling you your feelings are not valid to her, and real friends aren’t like that.

If this is a friendship you want to save, I suggest not putting that burden on your own shoulders. Perhaps she is destined to be a friend you only get coffee with, or go to the movies with, or something non-committal like that. Therefore, I suggest that the next time she seeks out your advice, you respond with “You have made it clear that my opinion does not matter to you, so I would rather not discuss this situation with you.” If she balks, give her specific examples of times she has acted dismissive of you.

If she isn’t willing to listen or change, maybe it is time to walk away. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that life is too short for people who aren’t equally invested in your friendship and only use you for their benefit. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. As Francis Bacon once said, “Champagne for my real friends; real pain for my sham friends”. Or was that Drake? Either way.

I publish all questions with a veil of anonymity. I would never want to expose someone, especially if their question is a sensitive one, such as domestic violence, sexuality, and the like. Therefore, I may edit questions down if I feel they are too specific, but please keep in mind that I am considering the whole picture when responding to you.
The advice given is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the legal, financial, medical, or professional advice of trained specialists.

kolleen carney Kolleen Carney is a Boston- born, Burbank- based poet with a B.A. from Salem State University in Salem, MA, and an MFA in Poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has served on the editorial team for Soundings East, Lunch Ticket, Paper Nautilus, and Zoetic Press. Her poetry and other writings have appeared or will be appearing in Currents, Vision/ Verse, Lunch Ticket,, Golden Walkman, The Watershed Review, Incredible Sestinas, Uno Kudo Vol. 4, A Quiet Courage, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk Monkeys, Odyssey, and Five 2 One. She is obsessed with California, Pez dispensers, and macarons. Her website is