I think I have outgrown my best friend
Thank you for reading my post.
I may come off as a mean jerk for the confessions I am about to make in this post, but I think I've outgrown my best friend. I met him when I was younger, about 17 or 18. I am 35 now. As the years have passed, I have grown and changed while he has stayed the same. I'm no longer interested in most of the things I was really into when we met, while he is still very much into these things. That's perfectly fine, except he is not content to enjoy his fancies alone; he wants to try and involve me at every turn. I have discussed it with him countless times, and it's as though he doesn't hear me (or doesn't care) that I am not interested in being directly involved in these activities.
It's gotten to the point that he has invited himself to stay at my house some time this summer so that he can harass me into going to an event I care absolutely nothing about and am not interested in wasting the large sums of money (which he has at his disposal and I don't) on going to the event. I have explained my financial situation to him several times, since he doesn't seem to get the fact that I am not interested, and he insists that I can have fun without spending any money, and that he is going to make me go and have a good time. He also wants to get matching tattoos, which I really *don't* want to do, and again, I have told him, and again, my pleas fall on deaf ears.
Please don't misunderstand me. My friend is kind, and a good person. I think that the pushy attitude that I once found captivating has become an annoyance to me, because I feel like I am expected to go out of my way to entertain him, despite my protests. He can be rather dense at times, and it is starting to wear thin. For example, for as long as I have known him, whenever he calls me and I don't answer, he leaves a voicemail. Every. Single. Time. If he calls me 5 times that day and I don't pick up, I will have 5 voicemails waiting for me that say nothing of importance. I have been telling him for years to stop leaving my voicemails because I don't even listen to them anymore, and he continues to do it. I ended up paying extra for visual voicemail services just so I could delete his messages without having to call in to voicemail. Small complaint, I know. But after about 17 years of telling him to stop it, I find it to be a bit disrespectful. Does he not listen to me when I speak? Or does he just do what he wants, regardless?
When he calls me, he goes on and on about how he needs me because I'm his "wingman". He tells me stories about how he just can't do anything without me when it comes to dealing with people, and how needed I am when there is a cute girl around to talk to. I'm starting to feel more like a service and less like a friend.
I know my friend, and I know that none of this is intentional. He really is just a super dense guy. But over the years, I find him to be clingy, pushy, and annoying. I don't feel like we have very much in common anymore, aside from his "need" for me, and I am ready to call it quits. But I don't want to discuss it with him, because discussing things with him goes *so* well, but I don't want to just up and vanish, either, leaving him to question what HE did wrong. I don't think the problem is him at all. I think it's me. I just grew up.
How should I handle this? Should I just bow out gracefully?
I think you've been as graceful as you can be, but yes it would be good to bow out. If he cared he would respect your wishes.