Bad friends deserve to be dumped: Last week, Shona Sibary described the pain of being dropped by a friend. Here, SAMANTHA BRICK says she probably had it coming
22:16 GMT, 25 July 2012
Samantha Brick has no problems with terminating unwanted friendships
Over the years, I have attended more hen parties than I care to remember, spending thousands ensuring girlfriends have weekends (the days of the hen ‘night’ are long gone) to remember.
So when it came to mine, I breezily assumed Debbie, one of my close friends, would be there.
We had been friends for more than ten years. Our friendship formed in the office in the late Nineties, when we were in our late 20s.
Debbie was the outgoing, lively half of our partnership, while I was the quiet, reliable sidekick.
I propped her up, providing an endless supply of tissues and tea when her mother died. I scoured the streets with her every time her cat went missing.
So it stood to reason that she would attend my hen party. As my fianc had insisted on marrying abroad, the cost meant only he and I would be at the wedding. I was nervous about saying ‘I do’ without my friends around me, so I’d placed huge importance on the hen do, ensuring it was conveniently located for everyone in London.
On the night, I waited excitedly to see Debbie. She didn’t show up. Hurt, I called her the following day and was astounded to hear her feeble excuse: ‘I couldn’t get a taxi.’
Despite every attempt to put her snub out of my mind, I spent much of my honeymoon ruminating over her behaviour. When I returned, I did what I should have done when she didn’t show up: I terminated our friendship. At the time, I had little experience of dumping friends, so it was a timid termination by text message.
I was reminded of this when I read Shona Sibary’s piece in last week’s Femail about her experience of being dumped by a friend. I have dumped countless friends throughout my life. I have no regrets at all. I think women should be more ruthless and less emotional when it comes to female friendship.
There is nothing more pleasurable than female solidarity, but the sisterhood is equally capable of despicable behaviour: two-faced gossiping, unreliability and disloyalty. Only a fool would put up with such behaviour when it comes to romantic relationships, so why tolerate it just because someone happens to be the same sex as you
Terminating a friendship isn’t easy. Yet there are times when your soon-to-be ex-friend needs to know exactly why, when their phone rings, it is never again going to be you.
Take Marion. We met at university in
London when we were both 18. Nervous about living away from my family in
Birmingham, I was grateful when Marion knocked on my door. In
hindsight, I can see that sharing halls of residence was the only thing
we had in common.
graduation, I began a career in television and Marion was offered a
position with an environmental ‘group’. We continued to meet, yet the
only area of my life Marion was interested in was my job.
Brutal culling: Samantha thinks friendships are not meant to last forever
As a researcher on a weekly live show, I gave in when Marion harangued me for an audience invitation. On the night she and her alarmingly grungy friends arrived, I naively gave them a choice of where to sit.
Imagine my horror when the show started and I watched them attempt to sabotage it by jumping on stage. Luckily the presenter cut to an ad break, thwarting their attempts to protest about their latest gripe with the Government.
Lucky to hold on to my job, and furious that I’d been used, I told Marion in a heated telephone call that she had been well and truly dumped.
Shona Sibary in the Mail, July 19
All my life, I’ve had a weakness for women my male friends call ‘broken sparrows’. One, Lily, fitted that description to a T. I was 29 and holding down a stressful job at a broadcaster. I rarely arrived home before 11pm, yet that didn’t prevent Lily from phoning to chew over her latest dilemma.
I know that I, too, get something out of these relationships — I love ‘fixing’ people and dispensing advice. But it took me months to figure out that Lily just wanted a free therapist.
Rather than break up with Lily overtly, I dumped her more subtly — by introducing her to another friend who loves picking over others’ problems.
You might think that with such a hard-nosed attitude I’d spot a slippery character within seconds. Sadly, I’m a sucker for a hard-luck story. Take Mollie, who bounced into my life in my early 30s. Looking back, it’s clear that Mollie, on spotting me, had seen a free meal ticket. Within weeks, she’d taken to staying at my house whenever she was in London.
And when she phoned up in tears one day, pleading for a loan to cover two missed mortgage payments on her home in Somerset, I paid 3,000 into her account. Fast-forward one year and Mollie’s money problems were over. But whenever she called, it was as if the loan had never happened.
Eighteen months passed and I finally sent her a light-hearted email to remind her. She never replied. The ugly truth dawned on me: Mollie had no intention of repaying me. I terminated our friendship with a terse second email and never saw her or the money again.
Then there was Julie. We met while working in a music store and cemented our bond in the mid-Nineties. Both single and in our mid-20s, our social life revolved around concerts.
Yet a curious thing happened whenever Julie joined me and my then-boyfriend; to an outsider I could easily have been the third wheel. I would watch, speechless, as Julie would shake off her introverted demeanour and flirt and simper with my beloved.
At first, I dismissed it as a one-off. I lightly mentioned that I didn’t approve, but she denied all knowledge of her come-ons. The second time it occurred, I dumped her. If you can’t trust a friend with your boyfriend, that person no longer deserves you.
Today my friends range in age from 14 to 87. The one thing those relationships all have in common is mutual respect. I know they won’t all last for decades, but friendships aren’t meant to be for life. They should always serve a purpose to your current situation.
No one hangs on to a boyfriend just because you have fond memories of time spent together in your teens, so why should a friendship be different