MOORE — Dear counselors, I have a friend who has recently started acting very controlling. She only wants to spend time with me. She controls what we do and even tells me what I should and shouldn’t wear.
When we are with a group of people, she makes a fool of herself trying to belittle me and win them over to her side. I wasn’t aware there were sides. This is really upsetting to me because we have been friends for a long time.
— Staci, of Norman
We can tell this is obviously causing you stress and unhappiness. Although this behavior is often seen in middle-level kids, we get the impression you are older, even though you didn’t say your age or grade level. We believe true friends are people who bring out the best in us.
They make us laugh, are honest, helpful, always on our side and they aren’t afraid of ruining the friendship by telling us something we may be afraid to hear.
It doesn’t sound to us like your friend fits these requirements. There is no place in a friendship for jealousy, belittling or controlling. It takes two to make a friendship.
In relationships, you are the boss of you. We’ve always felt that one of the hardest life lessons is knowing how to gracefully bow out of a friendship that no longer makes you happy. If you choose to end the friendship, be honest, up front and explain your feelings. Make yourself less available for texts, calls or activities.
You must decide if you are going to allow this “friend” to disrespect you by trying to control you, because if you don’t allow it, it won’t continue. When you stop allowing yourself to be treated this way, the friendship will either survive or not.