Friendship reset after covid lockdown - avoiding PD friends

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DH and I both have friends/acquaintances here in town who are either PDs or have serious fleas.  We havenít seen any of them in over a year and we havenít missed the drama at all.  Itís been nice to have seen almost no one in the past year.  Itís been especially nice to avoid the PD, learn what we do want out of friendships in therapy and create new boundaries  when it comes to what weíll accept.

Now weíre vaccinated.  Things are opening up.  School activities have begun again.  The PDs have started calling us after this long COVID year and they are trying to get together.  I canít use my high risk status as an excuse to avoid them much longer.

Has anyone else found that they want to go VVLC with your friends after this past year?  How do you ditch your friends now that you see them as PDs?  Does LC work with really pushy PD friends or do you end up NC with pushy PD friends, too?



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Re: Friendship reset after covid lockdown - avoiding PD friends
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2021, 11:25:48 PM »
Hi Sidney37,

The Covid situation exposed a lot of people for who they were and I had this experience of realising how many PDs I had in my life- people I thought were friends and who could cover their PD traits quite well when things were going fine but who were exposed in the face of this crisis.

Because I'm studying I tend to use the "catching up on assignments" excuse a lot and people eventually leave me alone. But sometimes I simple say "no thanks" if they invite me out. I keep it friendly but a simple no thanks seems to work with some people. The important thing here is that I don't make an excuse. Its important to be able to refuse invitations simple because you don't feel like going out.

Failing that you can just be busy until they eventually fade out.
Other excuses I've used include:
-Now that things are opening up I'm visiting my elderly family/relatives/friends who I couldn;t see during Covid.
-I have a zoom call I can't get out of.
-I'm catching up on [insert things you couldn't do during covid: fitness, renovations, taxes] The more boring the excuse the less likely PDs are to pester you.
-I haven't been out in a while so I'm taking it slowly, not planning too many things in the one day/week.

What worked for me was presenting my life as boring to the PDs (so they don't feel they're missing anything).
Good luck! And good on you for recognizing what you want from friends and exercising your right to choose who you have in your life.



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Re: Friendship reset after covid lockdown - avoiding PD friends
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 11:14:39 AM »
Hey Sidney37,

I'm in the same situation as you, with a handful of friends: one of them is a single mother, and the other is a couple that lives very close to us that we've felt iffy about for years.

I have a thread in "Working On Us" called "am I a co-dependent caretaker?" about my single friend that you can read up on (if you want), and she's hard to figure out if she has fleas or PD - but honestly it's the couple friends who have been more of the challenge over the last couple years, and more similar to your situation.

I like everything that Sapling said. Honestly, I feel like the hardest step is overcoming the guilt of just sidelining them and accepting that that's an OK action to take, toward people who drain you. And that you're not being mean or cruel by doing it. I think some healthy people would do it without a second thought, maybe without even considering it consciously, just pick up that something feels icky or maybe even fake/unengaging/boring, and gravitate towards other people instead (I'm trying to learn to do this and that this is OK.)

How to go VVVLC? I stopped answering their messages right away. Mute them or turn off notifications sounds/vibration too if you have to. And tell yourself that it's OK. You don't *have* to be anyone's friend, what a crazy world that would be.

One thing I've noticed is that we and this couple have mutual friends that live at a distance, but these friends (mostly the healthier-seeming ones) don't seem to mention or reference them much at all, or they will talk about visiting us but not our friends in the same trip - and I think that has something to do with their draining quality/fake personalities, and sensing that they're not top-notch company.

We've fallen into a LC rhythm with them over the years, it even started to happen before I heard about this site. My DH is easily vulnerable to narcissistic charm, and he can sometimes cave to their desires because of that guilt...while I don't, but thankfully we're on the same page that they can feel a bit much, and one of them is more overtly narcissistic than the other.

After COVID they started reaching out to us again to get together and I had that "gulp!" feeling of...oh no...we won't have the social distancing excuse anymore. But I have just said things like "I'm overwhelmed and busy with things, and I don't feel well I need to take it easy" and they don't challenge that. And to an extent it is true, I wouldn't feel well in their presence!

They're passive-aggressively competitive, nit-picky, jabby, superior about material things/quality, wrapped up in a personality that is very fake peppy/cheery. Things started to change when the tone shifted from covert jabs to being directly rude to us individually when the other wasn't around, and that's when I knew they were "getting comfortable" and showing us their real selves (it started with DH first and then me). Both my DH and I noticed and vented about it to each other several times before deciding they were more annoying than anything, and we've been on the same page (mostly) since then.

Most annoying is that they run their own business, and they subtly try to "poach" certain work assets off us and our business (workers, labor, ideas, shipments, etc.) "That's a great idea!" They copy it. "You're getting a shipment of that can we add on?" Never repay the favor, or they don't follow through on promised favors, or they're of extremely poor quality/giveaways/don't offer the same favor in return. "What a great worker that is!" They try to hire them off us, entice them with higher pay, and even passive aggressively mention that when we're all around each other (yes including the worker). "If you find excellent workers we'll refer them to you - and you can do the same for us!" We just smile and think no, we'll never do that.

Anyway, /rant. I can tell DH sometimes wants to fulfill their favors, but I don't, and watch him get resentful sometimes. We agreed that roughly one gathering every 1-2 months seems to appease them, and they "behave" I think because they feel like they haven't seen us in so long, so at least in my situation I don't think NC is necessary. That said, they will still reach out more than we do and not read between the lines so much that we're less available for them, and continue to blur boundaries.

But I could go without seeing them longer! And being around them doesn't uplift me. Going home after spending time with them, it feels almost like I was just alone, but couldn't be myself completely, what's the point? They're part of the community and we work in similar fields, so it is sometimes nice to talk shop. But otherwise it's just not worth it! I'm working on seeking better friendships with other people to fill the time they would want to take.



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Re: Friendship reset after covid lockdown - avoiding PD friends
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2021, 11:43:37 AM »
I have one friend in particular who has been posting extremely distasteful and disrespectful things on Facebook, mostly about COVID and the political climate.  Whether I agree or disagree, what bothers me is the fact that she would post it at all, the fact that she harbors such hatred, and that she's unwise enough to put things in writing publicly. 

I stopped following her and don't even look at her page.  Seeing what I've seen has totally turned me off to the friendship.



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Re: Friendship reset after covid lockdown - avoiding PD friends
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2021, 04:52:30 AM »
I have two friends from high school. They have been in my life for a long time,  and both of them show strong PD traits.  As I have known them for so long, I see no reason to break with them but I just stopped contacting them. And when any of them contacts me, I reply in a friendly, brief, non committal way.  I am busy when they try to get together or only have limited time,  must leave after an hour.  I set my timer on the phone to strengthen my resolve to leave after that time.  Now I consider this good self care and being protective of myself, when once I used to see it as unkind to the other.  Now I see the draining of my energy with their need to one up me, talk endlessly and request excessive consideration, admiration, and boosts to their ego as unkind of them when once I felt to compelled to fulfil their expectations.
So strange, yesterday I attended a meeting and one person who in the past had managed to trap me with a question about myself and then continued with a neverending flow of words about themselves, tried this trick on my again. And I just said smilingly, Sorry, I have to go. And left. I felt so proud of myself.  Two years ago I would have been too polite and self sacrificing to do that. Small victories.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.