Sarah Weir
December 03, 2014 8:00 am

Dear Sarah,

I have (had?) a good friend and I’m not sure if we should break up. She’s two years younger than me and went away to college this fall. We were pretty inseparable in high school.  But now that I’m a little older and wiser (I think anyway), I’m questioning the whole basis of our friendship.

She was always the one coming to me for advice and guidance. I never had a problem with that.  But, any time that I wanted to share something exciting about my life (moving in with the BF, a new job, etc.) she would respond with silence. I would laugh at her stories and be genuinely interested, but she was like, “Yeah, well, anyways, I. . . ”

Things really started to take a turn for the worse when she became, umm. . .wild.  I’m a stay at home person and like to chill with family and friends. She really got into drinking, and when she left for college, she told me she wanted to experiment with drugs.  She’s made me uncomfortable in so many ways— like letting strange people into my house while I was asleep, bringing alcohol over when I told her not to, and asking me to lie to her parents to save her ass. When she left for college, I decided that I wanted to slowly end the friendship because of our differences, but I keep finding myself making plans with her when she asks.  She’s my only friend from those days, and I don’t want to lose that.
Do I remain her friend and hope to be a guiding light, or do I end it and not worry about her anymore?
—Uncertain in North Carolina

Dear Uncertain,
So, what exactly are you getting out of this relationship anyway? Feeling like you are helping? The excitement of being around someone who’s maybe edgier than you? The warmth of nostalgia? Maybe you are just sharing the difficult aspects of your relationship and not the great things right now, but I’m not reading much here that spells “friendship.” Friendships are mutual, and even though sometimes one person leans on the other more because of a specific circumstance, they should never be a one way street.

Solid relationships are built on trust, otherwise the connection is just an illusion. I’m sure you are worried about her and that’s kind, but its not your responsibility to rescue her—especially if she’s willfully making questionable choices.

If you’re feeling really unhappy about your relationship, it may be time to cut the cord—at least for awhile. You don’t need to be harsh or judgey, you have different values and lifestyles and you want to move on. Maybe you’ll both change and evolve, and you can revive your relationship down the road—but I wouldn’t count on it. Meanwhile, if you are feeling the need to bond with some people from your high school days, you can always reach over social media. Who knows, you might discover a new old friend.
Love, Sarah
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