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Stay friends or part ways?


Marv
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So, I have this internet friend who I've known now and been friends with for about 4 years now, but it's become increasingly obvious (at least to me) that our brains just aren't compatible. He's only 23 and he's in numerous gaming servers and stuff and works with children in a school, so you'd think he'd be pretty on it with present day issues, right? Wrong. He's full of controversial opinions, immaturity, and I'm fed up his stubbornness and ignorance towards the things he talks about. 

Now, I'm all for different opinions and having a friendly, respectful, intelligent discussion, but he just isn't on it. I play fortnite with him and sometimes his cousin, his cousin who is super immature, regressive, and uses language that I'm comfortable hearing - for example, his cousin is totally fine using the word fa**ot, the N word, 'slag', so you can see why I don't like him much. My friend tries to impress him and behaves incredibly immaturely with his cousin. Anyway, opinions-wise, and I know not everyone agrees with me but, he doesn't believe in white privilege, he doesn't think we need Pride month, Pride history month, Pride parades, he doesn't believe there is or ever was a patriarchy, he claims to have OCD (and what he's described to me (I'm diagnosed with OCD) doesn't at all sound like OCD) and has HAD IBS (which from my sister, I know you don't just have IBS for a year and then you're fine, it's a forever life long thing); he also doesn't see the difference between sex and gender even after I've explained it to him (and I know not everyone gets it but I explained it very clearly and he wasn't having it), he keeps telling me to just 'be myself' instead of tackle my gender problems. The list goes on. Now, he also works at a special school with kids who have behavioural issues due to ADHD and autism. I've told him that I believe I have ADHD (now diagnosed) and autism. I told him all my experiences and he told me that I don't have either because I don't act like the kids he works with, so I've gone through a lot of doubt about myself. As I mentioned, too, I'm currently having gender issues and I've been trying out he/they pronouns for a while (I'm AFAB). The other day, I reminded him of this and last night I called and played fortnite with him and his cousin... for the ENTIRE call (which was about two hours) he used NO pronouns for me at all. He chose not to refer to me as anything. On the one hand, i wasn't being she/her'd  which was good but the fact that he carefully structured each sentence he said so that he wouldn't have to use pronouns for me hurts so much. I felt really invalidated, left out, insignificant, and sad. I couldn't stop thinking about it last night. I understand that not all cishet people will understand it, but considering how close we are, I'd have thought he'd try. I feel like I'm hanging onto him in the hope that he'll change. I've tried so hard but he just isn't getting any of it. Trouble is, he helped me a lot through my depression, so it'd be really hard to part ways with him. Some people would probably say it's petty to let a friend go just because of this, but I feel like if we were high school friends, we'd have parted ways a long time ago because our brains just don't really match up? Most of my friends queer or disabled or neurodiverse in some way so they get me, but me and him are just not on the same wavelength at all. I do have some uni friends who are cishet but they're university students and they tend to be very accepting of diverse people - he didn't go to university he's never experienced diversity aside from me.  I'm also really starting to struggle with calling him with his cousin too because, it sounds odd but, they're so neurotypical I don't actually understand them anymore. Last night, I barely spoke, my brain just can't present/mask anymore with them, I couldn't communicate.  It was horrible. 

I really don't know what to do. I know that the best thing to do would be to talk to him, but he gets so awkward and weird about stuff. And I can't seem to get him on a call alone anymore, it's always with his annoying cousin. 

Edited by Marv
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  • Digital Mentor

Hey @Marv

I wanted to hold off on replying to this to see if any of our members who have experienced something similar and gave advice, but now seems like a good time to jump in 🙂

I'm sorry to hear that you've had a tough time with this friend; I completely get why you're not at that point where you feel like you can't mask yourself anymore with them. I think that with friends, its good to have differences as well as things in common, but I guess that there's a fine line between accepting differences and then tolerating problematic views. It's good to ask yourself what the pros and cons are to staying friends with this person, and whether the positive outweigh the negative; what do you think? 

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Hey @Monsoon

I agree. We've discussed together before how opinions shouldn't be a barrier to friendship, but I guess like you said, it's gotten to a point where his opinions (which I think a lot of them are quite ignorant and damaging) have impacted me negatively. I've tolerated it all for so long and masked for so long I just can't do it anymore. It's been a week since that night, and we haven't sent any messages to each other. We usually message every day and it's been 7 days... we've never been quiet for this long. It feels really weird; on the one hand i'm feeling much better, but I feel like I miss him too and I'm sad about it. He's made me doubt myself a lot and I feel like h e's stopped me from growing in certain ways, so on that note I feel like just during this past week I've felt better with my identity, I feel less trapped, I feel more free. But I do miss him. I want to confront him at some point soon. The thing is, this has happened before, and he usually goes silent because he knows he's done something to upset me. So I think he knows, I don't think he'll message though, I'll probably have to message him. My friends have said they'll help me with messaging him and things which is good. 

But yeah, it's all so complex, there's so many pros and cons to our friendship. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

Yeah, I can totally see what you mean about the pros and cons to your friendship. I think that a lot of people would say just be done with it and move on, but friendships are so complex, and I think a lot of good relationships are a good balancing act in a way, but yeah, it can be hard to figure out when too much is too much. It will be interesting to see what happens if you do message them. How do you think it might go?

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Hi,

I think I'm going to message him soon. I had a bit of a cry yesterday, I missed him a bit, and I found a song that explained how I felt about it all - hence the crying. But yeah, I'm going to message him soon maybe and see what happens. In a way, I'd like to move on? but that's really tough so, yeah I don't know, I guess we see how the conversation goes.

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey Marv,

Sorry to hear that you had a cry, but I guess it's also good to let those feelings out, because once we've proceed them enough, we usually then have a clearer idea of what we should do to move forward. What do you think you'll say to him if you do message?

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Hiya,

It's nearly been two weeks now I think since I last spoke to him... I probably shouldn't be counting 😅 I've spoke to a bunch of friends about him and my thoughts and feelings which has helped. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'd say to him... probably something simple like 'Hi, it's been a while...' and go from there. My plan is to have a couple of friends in the room with me to help me with replies and stuff. Although I think I've missed him, sort of, it's been a nice break away from him - and his cousin especially. I've felt more relaxed, I haven't had the stress and anxiety of calling him and playing Fortnite, I've been able to just be me and process some feelings. For example, he made me doubt myself a lot in regards to autism, which really isn't good, but in the last couple of weeks I've been able to recognise that, if that makes sense. I guess, in other words, he was holding me back quite a bit in some ways? But yeah, as much as part of me wants to just not message him, I still want to know what's up with im and why he blanked me, so at some point soon I'm just gonna bite the bullet. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey @Marv

I think it's completely understandable to count; it can be a tough adjustment when you go from speaking to someone all the time to not talking at all. How has it been for you being apart? I really like the idea of having some friends around to help you with the replies. When do you think you might do that then? It kind of sounds like it's hanging over you a bit at the moment, and having closure and being able to move on is really good for your peace of mind.

 

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It's been good and  bad. Like I've said, I feel like coming away from him for a while has helped me realise how much he was making me doubt myself and how much stress being on call with him and his cousin was at times, so that's been good. But also, I have been counting the days and I keep checking my Snapchat story to see if he's seen it. I don't know why... I think, yeah, closure, just talking it out would be really good. I currently have a friend staying over so I'll wait til maybe this week end and message him - it'll be three weeks then... I shouldn't be counting how long it's been ugh. I definitely just need to message him otherwise I'm going to keep thinking about it and counting. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey Marv,

Yeah, having time away from someone can really make you recognise the positive and negative parts of the relationship quite clearly. I think that the feelings might become easier as time goes on, but I do also see how the closure might be really good for you. I can imagine that you'll feel much better once you've spoken to him to try and sort it out. What do you think you'll say to him? 

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Hi Monsoon,

Hmm.. Well, I guess I want  to find out his thoughts. Usually, when I've been a bit off or if he thinks he's done something to upset me, he always messages to ask what's wrong, but he didn't, so I think he knows that he did something to upset me, and that's what I want to find out. I understand that I could have messaged him at any time, but also he could have to, so I guess I'd like to know why? i'm not 100% sure really, but I have a few friends that are going to help me when I do chat to him so hopefully it goes well. I'm going to talk to him this Saturday because he isn't at work then. I'll let you know how it goes!

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey there,

Yeah, I think it will be really good for you to just have a chat about it and see where it goes. If you want any help from us with this, please do just say. Good luck with it all 🙂

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Hey, 

So I didn't message him but i'm literally doing it this very minute whilst writing this. I told my dad about the troubles and he said since it's bothering me so much I should message him. I'm going for something basic, 'hey, so um it's been a while... not sure what to say but hope things are okay?' so I'll update you on how it goes 

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Hi,

It went good? but also I haven't got what I wanted out of it. Either he isn't willing to chat about things, or sees no problem at all. We had just a general conversation which helped relieve some of the anxieties but, yeah, I didn't get what I wanted out of it. I dunno, just feels a bit crap really. I mean, the big part of it is him respecting my probable trans-ness. Like I sad way back at the beginning, the last time I chat to him he didn't use ANY pronouns for me at all... like I'd much rather he used she/her instead of nothing, but he didn't. So, I almost wanna maybe join in for games and see what he does. If he keeps doing that, then I'll be firm with him and tell him what's wrong????

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