Friendship Finale

1 Apr

Dear LetterBalm: Three years ago, I met a woman through a lecture series we both attended. From the beginning, I regarded her as an acquaintance, but she was very interested in me as a friend. She initiated all the planning, and it was clear that we had little in common. In fact, I found her gossipy, opinionated and, frankly, ignorant. I might have been O.K. with brunch or dinner a couple of times a year, but she continues to pester me with event and outing suggestions and invitations to her home. I’ve been able to dodge most of them, but I’m running out of excuses. What can I say to her once and for all without hurting her feelings?

–Not Interested

In a world where friendships can last a lifetime or the brief life of a mayfly, maintaining close contact with people is an art. Ms. L.B. is of the school that friendships should feed the mind and soul, and this person doesn’t seem to be doing either for you. Your acquaintanceship obviously means more to her than it does to you. Invite her out for coffee. Be kind but firm and be brief. Don’t explain. Try this:

Eleanor, I must speak frankly. You regard our acquaintanceship more deeply than I do, and I know you’ve gone to great lengths to maintain it. It should be clear to you by now that I’ve not reciprocated. The truth is that I’m not interested in keeping in contact with you. Sometimes these things just happen in life, and we have to accept it. But I want you to know that even though we won’t be in touch again, I wish the best for you.

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