Dear Barb – Friendship Isn’t an Obligation

Dear Barb:

I’ve been reading your column regularly but have never read of a dilemma like mine. I have a friend that I’ve talked to from time to time through the years. We never had much in common, but I managed to maintain somewhat of a relationship with her. Problems began a few years back when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Marie continued to call regularly, wanting updates on my husband’s progress and then keeping me on the phone for extended periods. Consequently I began avoiding her calls, until I finally told her that I didn’t have time for her as I was caring for my husband. She let up a bit on the phone calls until my husband’s death. Then she began calling daily to see if I was all right. I appreciated her concern, but again began avoiding her phone calls. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I have a lot of other friends that I feel closer to. As time passed she began sending emails asking why I was rejecting her. I just don’t get it! Why would someone want to pursue a relationship with a person who clearly does not want to be her friend? How can I get through to Marie without hurting her feelings?

Looking forward to your advice.


Thanks for writing, Patricia. I understand what you are saying. Sometimes people just don’t ?click? and it seems like this is the case here. You have enough friends and don’t feel a need to expand your circle to include Marie.

Obviously you have expressed how you feel but Marie is not accepting it. Assuming she doesn’t have any sort of mental or emotional disorder, she should eventually accept your position. On the other hand, she may be an emotionally fragile person who cannot accept rejection. I would suggest that you continue to tell her how you feel, while making sure you do not do or say anything that she could misconstrue and cause her to believe that you really want to be friends with her.

If you do all these things and she continues to bother you to a point where It’s causing you considerable distress, you may have to obtain a peace bond. If she breaks the peace bond she may have to pay a fine or even spend time in jail. Obtaining a peace bond is only a last resort and I really don’t believe things will reach this stage.

I am confident that if you stand your ground Marie will get the hint and move on to friendlier pastures. Good luck, Patricia.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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