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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Ask Annie: How should I handle having a maverick for a friend?

Facing a problem yourself? Annie has answers. Ask away!

Hey Annie, 

I have a close friend group of like three friends. One of them decided to study abroad. It was upsetting because they messed up our roommate situation with their last-second decision after they had already committed to living with us, but whatever. When they got back it seemed like they were a lot less receptive to proposals to hanging out. 

While I understand that growing apart is normal, they continued to lead us on with plans before last-second canceling on us, or if their previous plan fell through, they would make plans without us. They are in a constant loop of chasing after romantic endeavors while ignoring us, which has gotten to a point where we are silently happy when they ghost us.

We find this quite upsetting and have been meaning to talk to them about it. How should we do it? 

Help please,

Number 2 Tom Cruise Fan

Dear Number 2 Tom Cruise Fan,

It sounds like you have a Maverick on your hands. I’m not talking about the sexy kind that flies planes and has sex with his teacher, but a maverick at its core: somebody whose individualist nature and reckless attitude have the potential to destroy friendships.

Your friend’s behavior is not “whatever.” It’s expected to have a friend you grow apart from, but it’s not expected to have a friend who makes selfish decisions and treats your friendship carelessly. Before I advise you about how to talk to them, let’s reflect on if you should even bother.

Choosing to study abroad isn’t selfish, but deciding to leave at the last minute after committing to live with you is self-centered. Chasing romantic endeavors isn’t selfish, but doing so while ignoring friends speaks to someone’s values. Not making plans with you, canceling on you and choosing to see other friends over you suggests disinterest in growing your friendship. These constant, last-minute decisions tell me they’re not a reliable copilot.

They’re either taking your friendship for granted, or they don’t want to be your friend right now. What is talking to them going to fix? You can’t make someone appreciate you or force them to be your friend. Also, selfishness and unreliability are traits college students won’t fix in one conversation.

They have nearly crashed your friendship into the ground. Rather than offering directions, get out of the navigator’s seat and into the pilot’s. Tailoring your expectations of them and devoting your energy to making memories with your other friends may be a better use of energy. If your friend group goes out to dinner, leave them off the reservation. Their behavior suggests they’re not coming.

If you decide to give them another shot at being your wingman, consider your expectations. Have a conversation with them. You can’t expect them to change their behavior, but you can express you feel hurt. If you want a talk to bring you together, don’t provide a list of everything they have done wrong or use accusatory language. Focus on using “I” statements.

If you want to be extra kind, ask if everything is alright with them. People do not ignore their friends, chase romance after romance and make last-minute decisions when they feel good about themselves. Remember, any reason they provide is an explanation, not an excuse. You can still tell them they hurt you, but giving them space to come forward may help them feel closer to you and less ashamed they upset you.

Friends come in and out of your life. They were in your life in the past and may want to join again in the future, but they don’t seem enthusiastic about spending time together now. While talking with them allows you to get your feelings off your chest, it doesn’t mean their behavior will change. Just like how Maverick moved on to start flying with Rooster. It may be time for you to find a new copilot.

Fly high, not away,


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