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Background: I am a guy who has traveled quite a bit across the U.S. and made a lot of friends due to an organization that I am a part of (not work related). Last year I went to visit some of these friends in another state and they brought along a few people I had not met yet, and we got to know each other over the course of a weekend. We exchanged contact info and parted ways.

One of the people that I had met needed some help with navigating a few things in our organization that she was learning how to do, and I had previous experience doing them so I offered to help. We began to communicate frequently and I gave her the advice she needed. She is an interesting person and we chatted about a lot of other things via texting/email as well. Note: We do not see each other regularly due to the distance that is separating us

Pretty quickly though, she started to message me a ton and some of the conversations got way too personal for my liking. I asked her to back off, but she would only leave it for a week or two before trying to get too personal again. She also started to tell me a lot of very personal things about her life that I was not interested to learn because we were just casual friends.

Recently I felt very bombarded with how much communication that we were having because it was pretty much nonstop and she wanted me to provide her a lot of emotional support, other advice, and for me to tell her all about my life and past etc... I felt smothered and bombarded and also I just wanted to be casual friends. I had learned from some others that she has some issues with respecting people's personal boundaries, and I had begun to feel that in my own life when she started asking me very personal questions (past relationships, my battle with depression, about when I would next start a relationship, and questioning a lot of my personal choices).

I wanted to create some distance in the friendship so I started to drop hints that progressively became more and more blunt but she still didn't get it. Unfortunately, they didn't translate very well to her, and she continued to bombard me further. Eventually I just straight up told her to please stop bombarding me with messages etc... Even after telling her that, she continues to message me, and is quite upset with me.

Naturally she is very upset by this and doesn't understand why I am telling her to back off. Originally I tried to ask her nicely, but she just didn't get what I was telling her so I had to be pretty harsh.

She also recently told a close friend of mine (a girl) who I was considering asking out on a date (she liked me and I liked her etc...) that she could never date somebody like me blah blah blah. Basically it ruined that friendship beyond repair, and I do not want it to happen again with my other friends. I have since ceased communication with her and no longer respond to any of her messages.

We have a large mutual friend pool due to both being in this organization, and I am concerned that this may happen again.

Question: My biggest concern through this is that I will lose the mutual friends that we share, since she is close to them and spends a lot of time with them and I rarely see them. I am very close to these mutual friends and have known many of them for 10+ years. I do not want to lose those friends because of this situation, but I feel like it could be a big possibility.

How can I preserve those friendships while still ending this one? Is there a way to avoid the collateral that is inevitable in the near future?

Also, how can I explain this situation to these friends without it sounding like I am bashing this girl?

EDIT:

I also just thought of this as well, since I likely will have to interact with her in the future due to our organization, What is the most professional way to interact in the future? (This may be a topic for another post)

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How to Communicate to the Girl

I'm assuming at this point, statements such as "I Feel..." would be fruitless, as this person is seemingly not taking no for answer. I'd suggest indefinitely stop communicating with her for the time being. This friendship seems to be causing you a great deal of stress, and is affecting you negatively. Her behavior is incredibly rude and invasive, especially considering you've asked her politely to stop. You under no obligation to continue communicating with her about anything, let alone heavy/traumatic topics such as depression, past relationships, etc. If she asks you why or gets upset, say, "I asked you politely many times not to pry into my personal life and you persisted, and now I do not feel comfortable sharing with you anymore." Be firm and stand your ground. Another reason not to communicate with her anymore is the fact she is now trying to cause a rift between your mutual friends and romantic interests. Major red flag. This is not the behavior of a "friend", but someone who's toxic and will likely only continue this attitude.

How to Communicate to Your Mutual Friends

You stated:

I had learned from some others that she has some issues with respecting people's personal boundaries

Chances are, you're not the first person whose either noticed this, or been a focus of hers in the past. Regarding your friends, if they've known you for 10+ years, hopefully they'll believe you that you've been forced to act rude to this girl as a last resort. Reach out to them and explain the situation; if they're rational people, they should understand. Regarding the romantic interest, I'd suggest reaching out to her and explaining the situation. Unfortunately, the other girl may have burnt that bridge permanently, which is a possibility you may have to come to terms with.

One thing I want to stress is when communicating with mutual friends, frame the discussion and your decision in terms of yourself. Instead of:

"She was being super annoying and prying, and she kept texting me nonstop. She's crazy, dude."

Say something along the lines of:

"I felt uncomfortable and distressed when she wouldn't take no for answer, and kept trying to pry into my personal life. I don't want to talk to her if she continues that behavior."

If she's trying to cause rifts between your social group, don't say anything she can use to validate her behavior. I hope both you and her get the help you need.

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    I have since stopped all communication with this person. The romantic interest is definitely permanently burnt at this point. I am just concerned with this carrying over to other mutual friends. +1 for framing the discussion in terms of myself, that is a very helpful tip I can use for any and all conflict resolution in the future. – lukebeast887 Aug 7 '18 at 20:22
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    I think this is a great answer, and I just want to add something: as long as you limit your discussion on this and continue being the same, likeable person that you always have been, she is going to keep doing the work of showing that she is less credible than you. You don't have to do almost anything to show that you are the reasonable party here. – Karen Lowe Aug 8 '18 at 13:07
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It seems like a bit part of your problem is because she is chasing a romantic relationship with you. You have tried to address the symptoms but not the actual cause.

It is time you have the define the relationship talk

I suggest you initiate contact as it gives you a bit more control of the conversation. Be firm and explain bluntly that you are not interested in a romantic relationship with her. Explain to her you don't feel the same way and you don't want to waste her time chasing something that cannot be. If she takes that as presumptuous it is even better for you as she will most likely back off to show you that you were wrong in presuming she had romantic interested in you.

The problem with this is some people really do not take rejection well. You can expect her to try to create a rift between you and your common acquaintances. I really don't have anything to help prevent that but it is rarely a thing that can affect 10 year old friendships between people. I like to think if people stop being friends with you over things like that they were not really friends you can rely on and want to keep anyway.

She might also understand and move on and I believe all your issues will go away.

Preserving the friendships

I would advise to keep doing what you have been doing with your other friends. Keep in contact, meet up whenever you are in town, stay connected. Nothing has changed in your relationship with those people.

As to explaining the situation to them. Do so only if they ask or if you notice a big change in their attitude towards you. They might not care at all about the situation and if you start the conversation on this topic unprompted it will always come out as you bashing your mutual friend.

Regarding the girl

It would be better if you can come up with some compromise about your relationship with the girl in question. Going for "no contact" can be rough on your friends. You don't want to put them in a situation where they have to chose to meet with you or to meet with her. It would be better on your relationship with her and your mutual friends if you can be civil with each other on the rare occasions you get to hang out together.

  • The DTR talk is part of what kicked this entire thing off. I had to bluntly explain to her that I am no longer interested in any friendship with her at all. I am not asking how to deal with her, so much as I am asking how to preserve the other mutual friends. – lukebeast887 Aug 8 '18 at 12:15
  • @lukebeast887 I guess I have misunderstood the situation. I will write a new answer for you. – Ontamu Aug 8 '18 at 12:24
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With respect, it sounds to me like you're letting your insecurities get the better of you.

Why don't you trust all your close friends' advice before you trust advice from strangers like us? What are friends for? Get help from them first. Find a couple of your closest mutual friends, let it be known that this woman is angry with you because she has made advances that you found inappropriate and you rejected them, and ask them for advice. (That isn't "bashing" her; you haven't said that the advances were inappropriate, but that you found them that way. You're not suggesting that you're in the right and she's in the wrong.)

If you're uncomfortable talking about this with a friend because she is a woman (a lot of men are, about this sort of thing), do it anyway, if you think she can give you good advice. And keep in mind that you build your friends' trust in you by trusting them. So do it. Nobody is going to be able to sabotage a friendship that is built on trust.

And by the way, real friendships don't get "ruined beyond repair" by people who are attempting to sabotage them. If the lady friend that you liked accepted this woman's negative input about you without giving you an opportunity to respond, then I'm sorry, but she probably wasn't as much of a friend as you think that she was.

The most professional way to interact with her is to interact with her professionally and keep it that way. If she tries to steer your interactions with her to a personal level, that's unprofessional, isn't it? As you say, that might be a topic for a different post, but it will certainly be something to take up with your friends. Find someone who you think is really good at dealing with that sort of situation and seek out his/her advice.

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I think this may be the problem...

I wanted to create some distance in the friendship so I started to drop hints that progressively became more and more blunt but she still didn't get it.

Don't drop hints. It shows very poor character. It's rude and inconsiderate, and ultimately just hurts people's feelings more than is necessary.

This girl is clearly interested in you in. If you do not feel the same way, you should simply tell her that.

By dropping hints, all you're really doing is hurting her feelings, and potentially eroding her confidence, simply to save yourself some embarrassment and awkwardness.

A good rule to follow, like always. Treat others how you would like to be treated.

Consider how you would feel if the situation were reversed.

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    The next sentence states that I was extremely blunt with her in the end and she STILL doesn't understand. If the situation were reversed, I would likely appreciate having the opportunity to gracefully back down, and if I did not understand after being told directly, I certainly wouldn't go around trying to trash this person and ruining their friendships. My question pertains more to how to preserve my mutual friendships, than how to deal with her. – lukebeast887 Aug 8 '18 at 12:18

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