Two weeks ago, one of my close male friends broke things off with his girlfriend of over a year. He’s been a close friend for years, and we hang out in a tight-knit group of 30-something men and women. Some are married, some are dating, and some are single.
When he began dating this woman over a year ago, she started hanging out in our circle, going to bars and social events with us. None of the women in our group were crazy about her, but we were nice to her face. Now that their relationship is over, most of us would rather not have to continue hanging out with her. But apparently, she was closer to us than we were to her. She’s been calling some of us, wanting to go out for drinks and chat about how depressed she is.
The male friend is appalled that his ex wants to remain close to what he considers to be his group of friends. He’s wants us to cut her off, but I feel sorry for the girl. Is there a nice way to let her down?
— Not As Bitchy As I Sound
Dear Not As Bitchy,
Over the course of a year, it’s hard not to get close to your friends' significant others. This woman apparently didn’t have friends of her own to begin with or she’s lost them somewhere along the way.
Unfortunately, for you and the women in your group, that means your shoulders may be the only ones she has to cry on. The break-up is still relatively fresh, and it’s best that she’s not left to deal with her emotions alone. Although you’re not crazy about her company, it’s your duty as a woman to be there for her through these tough times.
You and your other friends could even be proactive about her healing. Take her out to meet new people, and maybe she’ll form relationships with other girlfriends and possibly even a new dude. When she seems to have improved emotionally, it will be easier to pull away. But be gentle in letting her down. When she calls to schedule a night out, tell her you’re busy and you may not be free for a while. Maybe she’ll take the hint. This is a case where a little white lie may be the best way to go.
In the nicest way possible, you may also need to let her know that her ex has been your friend for years. Explain to her that you’re not going to stop hanging out with him, and if she insists on going out with you and your friends, she’ll have no choice but to run into him. And how awkward would that be, right?
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