Miss Manners: Can you change the dynamic with an oversharing friend?


I wish I wasn't so critical of everyone. (Getty Images)Getty Images

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one deal with oversharing from a friend?

I have a friend who turns almost every conversation into a chance to use me as a free therapist. She tells me, in great detail, about her very active dating life -- her feelings about each date, plus her tedious self-analysis of every doubt, feeling and changing mood. She asks me for my insight and advice about every trivial event in her life.

She rarely asks how I’m doing, and when she does, it’s obvious that my life bores her.

Is there a way to change this dynamic, or should I just ghost her? Can I end this friendship?

GENTLE READER: What friendship?

No one has discovered a pleasant way of breaking off a bond when one party does not suspect anything has gone wrong. Ghosting -- cutting things off without explanation -- is considered cowardly and cruel. But issuing a report card, with all the reasons that the once-liked person is no longer tolerable, is worse.

Forget the idea that such a critique will inspire them to reform and go on to have a happy life. If they try, what happens when they discover that the relationship was already beyond repair?

Thus the it’s-not-you-it’s-me approach, which is tactful, if worn. Miss Manners prefers a modified version of ghosting, which is drifting off -- just being less and less available. But she admits that while it sometimes has to be done, there is no truly charming way of doing it.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)



1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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