Odd behavior from a friend
One of my friends (who is friends with a bunch of other friends) has suddenly cancelled attending two events that he *really* seemed to want to go to in a row for vague reasons (he "felt tired" then "felt sick", although he didn't seem at all sick), and I'm worried. (He's also, according to other friends, dropped off the face of the earth.)
A bit more detail:
1. In January, he acquired a new girlfriend. He wanted me to meet her and get to know her. She's...pretty terrible. She's said stuff in front of her kid like how she hates kids, wished she'd never had kids, and wishes her baby-daddy would take more custody of her kid so that she can go out and party more + hang out with her new boyfriend. (And by partying, she means getting black out drunk. She showed off a huge burn mark she made that she "didn't even remember getting, I must have had so much fun!" *giggle* She also regularly no-shows at work because she gets too hung over.)
This woman also went on a hiking trip with me, friend, and other mutual friends and basically radiated hatred at my friend. (It was to the point where the rest of us were joking that she'd push him off a cliff and his last words would be a triumphant "FREEDOM!" Like, she spent 5 hours radiating fury, and he looked like a dog that was getting his ribs kicked in. It was painfully awful to watch and everyone else on the hiking trip commented on it excessively.)
2. In February, friend was invited to a few things. He seemed to perk up a bit for one hiking trip (over the first weekend) that new girlfriend wasn't invited on, but then spent the whole ride back glued to his phone. He mentioned that he was supposed to hang out with new girlfriend, but then apparently he couldn't, so he ended up spending the evening with me and some other friends. (Similar things happened a few other times in January/early February when we hung out. He'd hang out with us, but stayed glued to his phone, receiving constant texts. Then he'd say something like, "Oh, I'm supposed to hang out with my girlfriend..." just for her to no-show last minute.)
3. After that, no one's seen him. (In over a month.) He was supposed to show up at a friend's party, and asked if he could bring his new girlfriend, but then no showed because he was "tired" (even after confirming he'd be there an hour before it started.)
4. Now the final thing that worries me - he *really* wanted to go skiing with me, so I invited him last weekend. I also ended up inviting another mutual friend, and kept getting these weird texts about how the mutual friend probably wouldn't want to go with us. (But friend *really* wanted to go...just he didn't think the mutual friend would want to, which was weird.) Then 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave, he was suddenly "too sick" to be picked up...which, again was odd since the mutual friend talked to him the night before and confirmed everything was good to go. (And that the friend seemed in perfect health.)
I like to think that it's *nothing*, but my friend prides himself on being very conscientious about showing up at things, someone normally sees him weekly, etc. And now he's dropped off the earth for a month and no-showed twice in a row (after confirming he'd be there just a few hours before) for stuff he'd normally love doing....and for really vague reasons.
Any thoughts as to what's going on? Anything I should do?
So sorry to hear this. Never fun to know a dear friend is struggling. I'm no professional, but here's my opinion. 1) you're right to be concerned. But trying to get him to "see" what's happening won't work. Unfortunately, this is all up to him, and if you try to initiate that conversation, I expect he'd get defensive and the friendship would likely suffer. 2) Is it possible his new gf is jealous? She sounds pretty immature which breeds insecurity. That could be why he wants more friends so it's not just you two? Jealousy is not a rational emotion, so it would explain a lot.
As for what you can do now? Just be there, always. He will need you in his corner, regardless. But on this issue, it would be better for all concerned if you let him come to you (and other friends) if or when he needs and wants your input. Wish I had more positive advice, but in my experience, infatuation with a "bad influence" just has to run its course. And it's incredibly painful to watch someone you care deeply for put up with that kind of treatment. Just remember it's his choice. All of it. He'll find his way back to his real support system. May require patience on your part, but that's what real friends are for. Hugs to you! You're an excellent friend for wanting to help however you can. He's lucky to have you in his corner. <3
Thank you so much for your kind reply!
I'm glad to know that I'm not just being paranoid. And yeah, my worry about "doing" anything is that people make their own choices, he's an adult, etc. (And the last thing I want to do is to be like, "Get rid of your horrible girlfriend!" just to have him see that as a reason to cling more closely to her.)
It would not surprise me if the new girlfriend is jealous. It's part of why I've tried to invite him to things that are obviously NOT date-like (i.e. during the day, when I'll be in ugly ski gear, with other people, etc.) Weirdly, it's been the friend I'm worried about who seems to not want other people around (who are also his friends). So I don't know.
(Although, to be fair, it's always really hard to read into things. I mean, maybe he honestly *did* think the other friend wouldn't have fun with us.)
And yeah, I'm hoping that whatever happens runs its course and he's back with the old crowd before long. I miss seeing him happy.