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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Girl With an Agenda

I bumped in to a friend today at the local Coles. Actually, no. Scrap that. She's not really a 'friend'. More a past acquaintance. A friend of a friend at best.

I met her through my friend, Rachel*. Right from the start I found her unusual. She never seemed a very genuine person. It seems, with whatever she had to say, there was some hidden agenda behind it.

She eventually dated my ex-boyfriend. Now you could be forgiven for thinking I was bitter about that, hence my impression of her. But no. That wasn't the case at all. By the time they got together...in fact - some time even before that - I was very much over my ex. Very much. I had more than moved on. Our relationship had never really been very good (you can read more about it here), so it was a relief more than anything when it ended.

But I have a feeling she didn't think so.

The ex and I still socialised, because his friends were my friends and vice versa. And neither of us wanted to give that up. And so, one night, I found myself at a bar with some friends, including my ex, Jeff and his girlfriend - my 'friend'.

She approached me. We made small talk for about five minutes, before she suddenly said, "Things are going really well with Jeff* and I." "Hmm," I responded, not really listening. I didn't feel comfortable around her, and I was looking for an excuse to leave her side. And then she said, "The sex is really good. He says it's great." I stopped. For a second, I thought perhaps she felt comfortable enough with me or something to confide in me. And then I looked at her face. She was smirking. She thought, I'm quite certain, that she was ruffling my feathers. And in a way, she was. But not how she intended. It was at that moment I realised something about her: she was insecure, and was trying to make herself feel better about herself, by attempting to insult me. To be honest, I think she felt threatened by me. And in a way, yes, I can see how she might be uncomfortable about an ex-girlfriend hanging around. But did that make it ok for her to attempt to put me down?

And it wasn't just me who experienced her remarks, underlined with spite. She was like this with many. She was just one of those people who took pleasure in making people feel bad. It made her feel better to see others in pain. Unfortunately people like her exist. And they're toxic.

Years later, she moved to Sydney, but I never caught up with her. Rachel would visit me, and then visit her, but we never made plans together. Until Rachel also moved to Sydney for a while. Then she organised a dinner. By then we were all married with children and much time had passed. I thought it perhaps possible that she would be different. Less uptight. Happier. More secure.

I was wrong.

It wasn't long before she was making the same sort of comments she always had. Slightly snide remarks that, perhaps to the 'untrained' ear could be construed as innocent. This time, it was her remark about birth. She'd had a cesarean and made a comment about it being a "safer birth option than a natural birth." She then said, "At least I won't have incontinence issues when I'm older." And then came the smirk. She knew both Rachel and I had had 'natural' births.

I'm not sure why she felt she had to justify her cesarean, but it's obvious to me that she did. I don't get when people do that. It wasn't a choice for her in the end anyway, and even if it had been - whatever. It's her body. Her choice. But it was obvious that she felt some need to "justify" it. And the only way she could do that, in her mind, was to put the rest of us down in some way in order to do so.

So when I ran in her today, I made a point of being nice. Asking after her family. Asking if she'd spoken to Rachel lately. I kept it light. Get in, get out - that was my aim. We were saying our goodbyes when she suddenly brought up that she had visitors coming. I made the passing comment in sympathy that it's a lot of extra work at times. And then she said, "Oh, well we have a granny flat. They stay in there. We hear nothing. It's right past the pool, so it's great."

Now to most, that's just a comment that's nothing out of the ordinary. But not from this girl. I knew what she was trying to say to me: "I really am doing well. Look at me! A house. A granny flat. A pool! I'm doing ok!"

You know what? I felt sorry for her. It was as if, in the short conversation we had today, she had to find some other way to prove to me (but really, to herself) that she was worthy.

If I didn't find her so frustratingly difficult, I'd almost want to help her. Better things to do with my time, I'm afraid. But one thing I know for sure: she hasn't changed, and quite frankly, it's not my problem.

Ever had someone in your life like this? What did you do? How did you deal with it?

Until next time...

* Names have been changed.


Anonymous said...

As you say it seems that she has a very self esteem and feel the need to brag about herself or bring others down. Thankfully you don't have to see her very often.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Sorry the above quote is from me, didn't realise I had to put my name in. xx

Jane said...

I've never understood the people that try to make themselves feel better by putting others down. I have two friends who sneakily do this (they happen to be brother and sister - a parenting fail, perhaps?!)

It's almost like they're too scared to do things on their own. For example, if they're at the pub but everyone else has to drive and therefore can't get drunk, they will start talking crap about how the teetotallers are boring losers, almost as a way of justifying their actions so they can start to feel OK about doing what they want to do.

It's too early in the morning to think of other examples, but you are so right when you say that if they didn't give you the absolute shits, you'd help them out! For my 'friends' I just limited the amount of time I spent with them. I hardly see them anymore. Too much attention seeking for me to handle!

Great post though, Jodie! I can totally relate.


Bern said...

Yeah, I think it all just comes down to jealousy. You are confident and happy with who you are and where you're going. She's not. Until she is, nothing will change. Thank Christ you don't have to hang out a lot :)

Thea Smith said...

Oh yes, this reminds me so much of my ex-friend that I've blogged about numerous times. She wasn't really the insecure type, more the 'I think I know best' type. She would often begin sentences with, "Oh, Thea! You didn't/don't blah blah blah." I always felt like I wasn't quite a good enough mother, wife, sister, friend. Much better off without her.

miss carly said...

oh my god. did you ever read my other blog - the one i kept secret?

i had a very similar post on there in this sort of regard. i will type it here - cause i know that the boyfriends sister only reads my blog and tweets. sigh

at their fathers wedding in september. we were all sitting there and his sister, Lily* was texting me most of the day asking whether we were going. which we were. his dad was marrying a 29 yr old from the Phillipines. He is in his 50s. anyway. she eventually arrived. halfway through dinner. and came and sat down. the three people across from us regularly are down the club and we always talk with them. so i was chatting away and one guy who completely rubs me the wrong way was chatting me up. as usual. and the boyfriend was sitting there talking to his dads mate. i just ignored it. i wasnt going to make a scene at his dads wedding. but Lily decides to say to me. not so subtle that she thinks he is a creep.

i giggle. pretending she said something funny. not insulting. and thats where it begins. she then tells me about Ally* a girl the boyfriend used to work with and no longer does. a girl that used to flirt insatiably with him. really get me annoyed by her comments on fb to him. anyway. she has since stopped. but Lily says. "oh you know boyfriends friend, ally. she messaged me on fb. she wants a job where i work." me. oh yeah. i know. the boyfriend told me. lily. "she seems a bit weird to me." me. oh okay. lily. "oh dont you like her?" me. no never said that. i dont know her. lily. "oh.. okay.." with smirk and all. i wanted to throttle her.

then over the next week or two. she began writing her statuses on twitter and fb as "i wish ally was my sister in law".

the boyfriend told me to ignore it. and i did.

apparently they arent friends anymore.

but doesnt stop me from having to deal with his sisters continuous backhanded comments. sigh.

she messages me on twitter every so often. and usually i am nice back. but sometimes. like the other day she told me how many points the chicken wings would be. i just said. "thats nice. my book says different. by thanks." she didnt reply to that.

i dont know. she is like it all the time. but she has her moments when she is really nice too.

fingers crossed she doesnt read this.


jessica said...

trying to help a woman like this would only lead to resentment b/c she would never ever show an ounce of appreciation Toxic is right.

Ami said...

Ah yes, the toxic friend. I think I've mentioned before that I had one of those. The problem was that she was my 'best' friend and I live with her for a while. I didn't see the damage she was doing to my other friendships and to my self esteem until I moved out on my own.

It was by far the hardest 'break-up' I've ever gone through, and sometimes I miss her friendship - the good parts only of course! And then I remember the shitty times, like when she offered me her old 'fat' clothes because she thought I'd put on weight and when she told me I was only interested in my boyfriend (now Husband) because he had a nice house, and suddenly I don't miss her at all. (Times those kinds of situations by about 1000.)

Sorry, long comment! But you did the right thing Jodie, keeping it light! And like Jessica said, even if you did try to help her she wouldn't appreciate it.

It can be so hard being the 'bigger person', but it's far more rewarding in the long run! x

Nomie said...

People like this make me sad, why the constant need big note? A granny flat, big deal! You never know, without seeing said granny flat & pool, it could be an old converted shed just past the paddling pool with evaporated rain water, mosquito lava and soggy leaves!

Aussie-waffler said...

She sounds like a right proper pain in the derriere. I don't understand why people go out of their way to makes others feel bad, it's such a pointless exercise and life is too short. But then, I like to live in a land of rainbows and blue birds ;)

Brenda said...

Argh! I had one like that. Cut the b*tch off my life. She was TOXIC! 'nuff said.

Sarah P said...

the toxic friend, they are so good to leave behind. However,having "broken up" with one there are elements of our friendship I miss. But not enough to get in touch again! Great post.

MegsyJ said...

Yep. Great post, I think we all know someone like that.

I'm struggling with a couple at the moment actually. Both are generally nice, but one is just being weird about my little girl. Last time I saw her, she said, 'You and hubby are both skinny, how did toddler get to be so... *big*?' WTF? She's a chubby baby!

The other was happy to be my friend when I was struggling a bit with things, but now won't come near me and sounds really disappointed when I have spoken to her and say that things are working out for me. Again, WTF? SORRY for not being miserable forever!

RubyTwoShoes said...

Ah, yeah. Sure did. I booted her ass out of my social circle is what I did. I always suspected the behavior was based on her insecurities and jealousy. But I also always questioned why it ruffled me so much - was I just as insecure?! Who knows, was a long time ago!...Needless to say, she is not missed!

Tracey said...

Yep, I had a friend like that too. Lots of little snide insults, which increased over time. Over the years she would try flirting with boyfriends of mine, and once (when she was visiting from out of town) she even quizzed me on where my boyfriend at the time was living, and what his phone number was! She had no valid reason for needing to know.

Some years ago, when I still saw her, I applied for a university course which was very competitive to get into, and I was successful; when I told her, she got a bit grumpy, then the NEXT TIME I saw her she said she'd been "invited" to do Masters in the same department at the same university! I was already aware that no one gets an invitation and that you have to apply (which she did, a year later). But that was the last straw: the next time I moved house I didn't tell her, and that was the end of that.