Friend or Foe: Should I dump my freeloading friend?

Advice on sticky friendship dilemmas.
June 28 2011 7:03 AM

Is My Friend Just Using Me for My Extra Bedroom?

She comes to stay almost every month, but then she doesn't spend any time with me. Should I dump her?

(Continued from Page 1)

P.S. Returning a wedding gift is the height of rudeness.

Friend or Foe

Dear Friend or Foe,

I have a best friend at college, "Mason," who means the world to me. We were roommates freshman year. Three years later, we still share trips, stories, friends, and everything else. The problem is that our relationship is strained because a lot of the areas that were his strengths in our first year have since become mine. He had a way with the ladies, but I'm the one who ended up in a wonderful relationship. We both started out in the same job, but I got the promotion. The straw that seemed to have broken the camel's back was that I'm now doing better in school than he is. You have to trust me that I'm not competing with him. Rather, I'm trying to be supportive. Lately, I've been trying to convince him that he should focus his energies on what he's passionate about and that he shouldn't take grades personally. I'm also working on the girl thing for him. The problem is that, as time passes, he's becoming more bitter, pushing his friends away, and making things worse for himself. I won't give up my own aspirations or do worse in school to make him feel better, but I'll do almost anything else! Please help.

Trying To Show We Can Both Be Best



You don't say in your letter whether you're male and female (and my attempts to ascertain this information have failed), so I'm going to answer with both possibilities in mind. I admit that I've never before heard of a male-female friendship with no sexual component that had grown competitive. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. In an increasingly a) cut-throat and b) gender-neutral world—at least where the professional classes are concerned—there's no reason that a male student wouldn't envy his more successful female friend. If this is the case, I'd simply do more of what you're doing: reminding Mason what a warm, funny, and talented person he is.

There's also a chance that Mason's bitterness stems from some secret undying love for you. If this is the case, and assuming you have no interest in reciprocating, there's nothing much you can do. I suppose the same advice would apply if you're a guy and Mason secretly harbored special feelings for you. But if you are of the male persuasion, it's more likely he's just plain old competitive. In this scenario, I'd recommend giving Mason some space to work out his own shit. Obviously, he's feeling threatened right now, and the sight of your pretty face is only making it worse.

In either case, if depression seems to be in play, you might want to point him in the direction of a counselor or therapist. It won't be an easy conversation, but you can phrase the suggestion in terms of how awesome a guy you think he is—and how he seems to be the only person who doesn't realize it! Good luck.

Friend or Foe



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.