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Friend that wants to hang onto old relationship


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In the late 90s I met a woman on a message board. We were in an email group with a few other people which was fun until it faded after a couple years. When my husband and I were in her state (over 20 years ago) we met in person. She gushed over me and made me feel like visiting royalty. We just didn't click. I didn't anyway. She always seemed to put me on a pedestal but our meeting confirmed it. However, the friendship was SO important to her that I kept it up for a long time. We both had blogs and there was a misunderstanding about a joke I put on mine. She took it seriously and wrote about me on her blog. "I'm SO proud of PrairieSong". When I realized and told her no, it was a joke, she was extremely hurt. EXTREMELY. The level of hurt baffled me. She had even told her IRL friends about me. ??? 

Then came Facebook. She friended me. A few years later I pared down my friends list and unfriended her. Then she sent me an Instagram follow request which I denied. She sent another one. 

Recently she has texted me. At first I thought it was a wrong number but I checked the area code and it was her city. Just short stuff like "happy holidays". She called me once or twice about 15 years ago. I'm surprised she still has my number. 

I mean, it's harmless, right? But it bugs me. For me, it brings back all the discomfort I felt at being sort of idolized. She never knew ME. She knew a version of me that was in her head. I have not interacted with her for years, yet she is still reaching out, and her texting my cell phone feels intrusive.

Just venting, sort of, but opinions are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by PrairieSong
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3 minutes ago, TheReader said:

I think if it bugs you, be honest with her. She may just be clueless and not realize she's being weird.  

I considered that, but her feelings are so easily hurt that I didn't do it. Probably silly of me to be bugged about it. It was just so uncomfortable for so long.

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6 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

I considered that, but her feelings are so easily hurt that I didn't do it. Probably silly of me to be bugged about it. It was just so uncomfortable for so long.

I get that, but.....there are ways you could do it. I say this as one who is often a bit socially clueless, and mom to kids who are equally so/more so. (one wanted to reach out to an old friend.....thankfully he had us preview the message, and we were able to talk him through how to do so w/o being weird....but had he not, I would hope for a reply similar to the below or something vs. just flat out ignoring, honestly). 

A kind note "It was such a surprise to hear from you! Goodness, how long has it been? I can't believe you still have my number! Wow! I hope you are doing well, and can understand that my life is very different now than it was back when we were friends; don't take it personally, but I likely won't stay in touch, I'm just not that person anymore and don't wish to go back to that - that's why I never accepted your IG and FB requests; jut trying to focus on the present vs. the past, I hope you understand! Take care!" 

If she keeps trying after that, or tries to argue, feel free to block her number, but a brief, "I've moved on" message similar to the above (tweak the details as needed) really will be a courtesy to her, even if it hurts her feelings a bit. 

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I think Covid made some people reach out to long lost connections.
My parents received a card addressed to me from the girl who lived in the same house as we did until I was 10. I have seen her last in 1983. I have been living in another country for the past 20 years. Who knows what prompted her to write.

You can tell her that you don't have the capacity to connect with another person right now. Or just ignore her.

Edited by regentrude
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2 minutes ago, TheReader said:

I get that, but.....there are ways you could do it. I say this as one who is often a bit socially clueless, and mom to kids who are equally so/more so. (one wanted to reach out to an old friend.....thankfully he had us preview the message, and we were able to talk him through how to do so w/o being weird....but had he not, I would hope for a reply similar to the below or something vs. just flat out ignoring, honestly). 

A kind note "It was such a surprise to hear from you! Goodness, how long has it been? I can't believe you still have my number! Wow! I hope you are doing well, and can understand that my life is very different now than it was back when we were friends; don't take it personally, but I likely won't stay in touch, I'm just not that person anymore and don't wish to go back to that - that's why I never accepted your IG and FB requests; jut trying to focus on the present vs. the past, I hope you understand! Take care!" 

If she keeps trying after that, or tries to argue, feel free to block her number, but a brief, "I've moved on" message similar to the above (tweak the details as needed) really will be a courtesy to her, even if it hurts her feelings a bit. 

I agree with this.

I don’t do the ghosting people thing (don’t get me started on that one!), and generally try to send something like the above.

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21 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

I considered that, but her feelings are so easily hurt that I didn't do it. Probably silly of me to be bugged about it. It was just so uncomfortable for so long.

I prob wouldn't respond. For all she knows, you changed your phone number or otherwise didn't get the text. If she continued to try to contact me, I would probably block her number. I don't consider it ghosting if you hadn't been in contact for many years.

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I’ll be a bit of a dissenter.

It sounds to me like you’ve pulled back over the years in ways that are clear for even the less-than-socially-savvy crowd (of which I’m a member.) You are free to block her number. 

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6 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

I prob wouldn't respond. For all she knows, you changed your phone number or otherwise didn't get the text. If she continued to try to contact me, I would probably block her number. I don't consider it ghosting if you hadn't been in contact for many years.

Yes, that’s probably true!  If OP and this person haven’t been in contact in years, then it’s really no big deal to ignore this one, too.  It’s already been said/made clear.

 

ETA: I’m probably over-thinking things, as I’m making some similar decisions at the moment.  

Edited by Spryte
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1 hour ago, wilrunner said:

I prob wouldn't respond. For all she knows, you changed your phone number or otherwise didn't get the text. If she continued to try to contact me, I would probably block her number. I don't consider it ghosting if you hadn't been in contact for many years.

I agree with this.  Based on what you wrote about her above, I'd be concerned that she'd take ANY response as an opening to proceed and continue to contact you.  

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She can't seriously expect a response after this long. Sure, it's nice to get one when you attempt to reconnect after a large gap, but you don't expect it. It's okay not to respond - and honestly, I'd advise that. If you do respond, you'll get more communication, and you don't want that.

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I assume BPD mentioned above is borderline personality disorder? She does seem to have a few of the symptoms, but probably not all. I was telling a good friend IRL about this, and she said this person sounds unstable. I agree. I haven't responded to her and I likely won't. I can just imagine if I wrote a "don't contact me again" message, she'd go into hysterics the way she did over the blog post misunderstanding. 

Thanks for listening and voicing your opinions. 

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2 hours ago, TheReader said:

I get that, but.....there are ways you could do it. I say this as one who is often a bit socially clueless, and mom to kids who are equally so/more so. (one wanted to reach out to an old friend.....thankfully he had us preview the message, and we were able to talk him through how to do so w/o being weird....but had he not, I would hope for a reply similar to the below or something vs. just flat out ignoring, honestly). 

A kind note "It was such a surprise to hear from you! Goodness, how long has it been? I can't believe you still have my number! Wow! I hope you are doing well, and can understand that my life is very different now than it was back when we were friends; don't take it personally, but I likely won't stay in touch, I'm just not that person anymore and don't wish to go back to that - that's why I never accepted your IG and FB requests; jut trying to focus on the present vs. the past, I hope you understand! Take care!" 

If she keeps trying after that, or tries to argue, feel free to block her number, but a brief, "I've moved on" message similar to the above (tweak the details as needed) really will be a courtesy to her, even if it hurts her feelings a bit. 

I do appreciate your thoughts, but if I sent her anything resembling the very kind message above, I think she'd grab onto the fact that I'd shown her kindness and keep contacting me in the hopes that we could re-establish communication. She hasn't taken the hint previously and I don't think she would now either.

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9 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

I do appreciate your thoughts, but if I sent her anything resembling the very kind message above, I think she'd grab onto the fact that I'd shown her kindness and keep contacting me in the hopes that we could re-establish communication. She hasn't taken the hint previously and I don't think she would now either.

Ignore and block, then.

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It’s okay to just not want to keep up the friendship.  I think you can safely just ignore the messages if it’s just very infrequent “happy holidays” type messages.  I suppose you could also text back with “I think you have the wrong number,” which is what one of my sisters did, and then ignore any further texts, though she’ll probably stop.  People change phone numbers all the time.

Ive found blocked numbers seem to become unblocked over time.

Nobody is obligated to keep up a friendship for whatever reason. 

Edited by Mrs Tiggywinkle
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4 hours ago, regentrude said:

I think Covid made some people reach out to long lost connections.
My parents received a card addressed to me from the girl who lived in the same house as we did until I was 10. I have seen her last in 1983. I have been living in another country for the past 20 years. Who knows what prompted her to write.

You can tell her that you don't have the capacity to connect with another person right now. Or just ignore her.

I think you are right about COVID. I called current friends to check on them. If I received a letter/email from an old friend, even from childhood, I'd think it was fun and would probably write back. I would not reach out to someone who unfriended/blocked/denied my follow requests on social media. For sure I wouldn't text them! Oh well.

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2 hours ago, PrairieSong said:

I do appreciate your thoughts, but if I sent her anything resembling the very kind message above, I think she'd grab onto the fact that I'd shown her kindness and keep contacting me in the hopes that we could re-establish communication. She hasn't taken the hint previously and I don't think she would now either.

I agree with this. I have NPDs in my life who try to contact me despite me wanting to avoid them. If I sent them a polite message, they think that I am too polite and well mannered and I can be manipulated into jumping into conversations just by constantly texting me. Any contact is better than No Contact to them. I have learned the hard way to not send explanations about my life being very different now because it always starts a new thread of "Why?", "What did I do to you?" etc. It is not Ghosting when dealing with people who seem unstable and with whom you are not currently in touch.

Just ignore her texts. You could block her number if she sends more texts in the future. If you do not click, don't bother responding.

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5 hours ago, regentrude said:

I think Covid made some people reach out to long lost connections.
My parents received a card addressed to me from the girl who lived in the same house as we did until I was 10. I have seen her last in 1983. I have been living in another country for the past 20 years. Who knows what prompted her to write.

You can tell her that you don't have the capacity to connect with another person right now. Or just ignore her.

I think you are right. In the past year, I was contacted by a “little girl” who I babysat when I was 18. And just this week, I reconnected with a friend from my 7th grade math class. I guess they finally had the time to do the research needed to find me. 

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2 hours ago, PrairieSong said:

I assume BPD mentioned above is borderline personality disorder? She does seem to have a few of the symptoms, but probably not all. I was telling a good friend IRL about this, and she said this person sounds unstable. I agree. I haven't responded to her and I likely won't. I can just imagine if I wrote a "don't contact me again" message, she'd go into hysterics the way she did over the blog post misunderstanding. 

Thanks for listening and voicing your opinions. 

Yes, borderline. And ghosting is fine. As is saying “wrong number,” and then blocking. 

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People with BPD are still people with BPD, not their personality disorders. I really dislike describing people as 'NPD's or 'BPD's'. We don't talk about 'bipolars' or 'depressives' any more. 

Having said that, don't even respond. It's not like you two were friends a week ago. It's been years, there is zero obligation to do anything but ignore, delete and block if it continues. You're not responsible for her mental health. She is. People with BPD (if indeed the armchair diagnosis is correct) can and should learn skills needed to cope with social rejection. 

 

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I agree that she sounds a little off.  I feel really badly for people like that, and if she was my neighbor who lived next door to me, I'd probably think: well, she's in my physical circle so I'm going to try and be a healthy friend for her.

But she's reaching out from far away, and you've had no contact for a long time.  She's practically a complete stranger.  Sadly, I'd probably just let it go and ignore (hopefully she'll think you're not at that number anymore).   I'm sorry she might be struggling, but unless you're really motivated to keep up the friendship and be there for her, I'd drop it.  Hopefully she has other people in her life.

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27 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I agree that she sounds a little off.  I feel really badly for people like that, and if she was my neighbor who lived next door to me, I'd probably think: well, she's in my physical circle so I'm going to try and be a healthy friend for her.

But she's reaching out from far away, and you've had no contact for a long time.  She's practically a complete stranger.  Sadly, I'd probably just let it go and ignore (hopefully she'll think you're not at that number anymore).   I'm sorry she might be struggling, but unless you're really motivated to keep up the friendship and be there for her, I'd drop it.  Hopefully she has other people in her life.

She does have other people in her life: husband, grown daughter, grandkids, local friends. I don't know exactly how she is doing, but the relationship was so lop-sided and awkward that I am not motivated to try again. 

I guess I feel dumb for letting this relationship continue for years, even if it was less and less over time. I thought of her as needy and odd but I never connected it to a possible personality disorder. Even if it is not that, something about her is off. 

 

 

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Well last year I finally friended someone who had reached out for years apparently.  I don’t usually check the friend request list and if I do, I rarely click accept.  She finally sent me a message asking why I was ignoring her.   She was an old classmate from grade school, someone who was nice and in my classes, but not someone I particularly hung out with that I recalled. Anyway, I messaged back, we needed up chatting (maybe the first time since we graduated 40+ years ago), and I friended her.  My life has changed in subtle but very good ways since then, due to postings she’d make that had me research and look into things and such.  And I really am grateful that she kept reaching out. Maybe she felt called to do it, I don’t know.  We haven’t spoken by phone again, but we will message periodically and it’s friendly and not weird. We did have a nice grade school and many of us do keep in Facebook contact with each other.  
so just my experience. 🙂
 

 

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