To My Extroverted Ex-Friend Who Manipulated My Introversion introvert ex-friend extrovert

To my extroverted ex-friend:

Remember when we were dining at Pizza Hut and you lamented about the constant fights you were having with your friends? You held a slice of Hawaiian pizza in one hand and asked, “Am I really that bad?” I couldn’t bring myself to say yes and it proved to be a mistake I would soon regret.

We were 14 when we started hanging out. I didn’t understand why you wanted us to be friends; we both liked High School Musical but that’s pretty much where our similarities ended. As we got older, the puzzle pieces began to fall into place. You needed someone to have your back. Someone you could push around to make up for the rejection you went through in other parts of your social life.

As an introvert, I kept to myself in class, often wishing I could stay home and watch The Golden Girls instead of make small talk with our classmates. You must have figured that I, a quiet and reserved kid, would be your perfect target.

PH circle 2What’s your personality type? Knowing your type can help you leverage your natural strengths. Take the free test from our partner Personality Hacker.

Your misjudgement soon escalated into something ugly.

Remember when we did an online math test together? Despite it being part of our grade, you treated it as a game and failed. When it was my turn on the computer, you refused to let me use it. You deliberately gave me the wrong answers and made me fail, too. You took the phrase “all for one and one for all” to a whole new distasteful level.

That was strike one.

Remember when you asked if I could have lunch with you after school? I said no, because I was exhausted and needed to be alone to recharge my introvert battery. I made up an excuse; I told you my parents needed me at home. You were quiet for a moment and then asked for my phone. Thinking you wanted to check out my music playlist, I handed it to you.

You dropped my phone and it smacked to the ground. The cover came off and it fell into the drain. You apologized and I said it was okay. It was an old phone and I was going to get a new one when my mobile plan expired. I could go for another month without a cover. Piece of cake.

You knew I, a shy introvert, wouldn’t blame you for it. You told me you felt guilty. I told you it could be worse. All of a sudden, you said, “Have lunch with me!” I didn’t know what to say. Of course I still didn’t want to have lunch with you, but you looked like you were about to cry. I agreed because the last thing I wanted was to make a scene.

Do you remember it? You manipulated my empathy and sensitivity. You played me. You knew I couldn’t say no to you if you were about to cry. To this day, I still don’t know if dropping my phone was a careless mistake or a sick ruse.

That was strike two.

Months later, you edited a picture we took at a water park. I was looking at your phone, wondering how you’d decorate it. When you inscribed the words BFF, I remember thinking, bullshit. You knew nothing of the term and you used it too lightly.

We had a falling-out during our senior year. You got mad because I sat with a classmate you disliked. You swapped seats. I thought you were being immature. You went home and wrote on your blog about how I wasn’t on your side, how I always break promises.

The former remark didn’t surprise me; the latter was a lie.

I wasn’t hurt by your actions. I knew you would act that way. I was mad at myself for not acting sooner. From there, it became clear to me: I didn’t want you in my life anymore. But that didn’t mean things had to end on a sour note.

I thought of softening the blow to make things less awkward. When you texted how angry you were, I explained my side of the story. After telling you how much I hated you taking advantage of my quiet, sensitive nature, you apologized.

But before I could send my response, you texted back, “It’s your fault for not telling me. How was I supposed to know?” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I remember thinking, “There’s no way anyone could be this dense.”

Remember when you asked if I would do your assignment for you? I yelled, “Can’t you do it on your own?” You became defensive, but agreed. A few days later, you did it again. You wanted me to do your homework for you. I said, “I can’t. Do it on your own.” You threw a tantrum, refused to go back to your seat, and did your assignment right in front of me, as though to say, “How dare you. Fine, if this is what it takes, I’ll show you.”

I never brought up these two events. What was the point? You’d never learn. When you apologized for the second time, I thought you’d meant it. What do you know, the next day, you did it again. You wanted me to run an errand for you, when clearly, it was your responsibility.

Let’s not kid ourselves. You knew what you did, but you would rather push the blame on me and see yourself as the victim. You twisted the facts. You knew, because the sensitive introvert in me disliked conflict, I wouldn’t retaliate.

I was wrong, too. I was a wimp. (But not too much of a wimp that I’d deny it.) I was wrong to let the toxicity of our friendship carry on for four years. It was on me, too. I should have said no more often. I should have stood up for myself. I should have told you early on, “Hey, cut it out. What you’re doing is not cool.”

If I had made the first move, there wouldn’t have been any falling-out. Deep down, I’ll admit that I wanted the fight to happen. I was trying to sabotage a toxic friendship. I was exhausted and I didn’t want anything to do with you anymore. My previous messages hadn’t work, so I thought a big one like this would finally get your attention.

One year after graduation, a mutual friend asked if I would like to hang out with her and you. I texted back, “Count me out.” Then you posted on Facebook about how much you were tired of chasing people. Your very public comment seemed directly aimed at me. After all this time, you still didn’t get it.

That was strike three.

You misjudged my introversion and thought I’d let you push my buttons. And I did–but how long did you think I’d let that carry on?

You still don’t see where you did wrong and the heart-breaking thing is, you probably never will. From a conversation with our mutual friend, I could tell you were mulling over why I’m unable to move on from your mistakes.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it?

I’m moving on without you.

You’re out.  retina_favicon1

Read this: I’m Not Making an Excuse: My Social Anxiety Is Real


  • Lisa Zahn says:

    I am sorry you were bullied. I don’t believe this has as much to do with extraversion and introversion as it does with shyness (on your part) and meanness (on the other girl’s part). I am glad you are no longer “friends” with this person.

  • Brooke says:

    Good for you! It’s never easy to break a friendship and admit that you’ve been used. You are better off. Good luck in the future!

  • Ashlyn says:

    I went through a big fight recently with my best friend who I let abuse my sensitive nature for far too long like you did. She also tried to put the blame on me for the fight. This article was well written. Good job.

  • Roosa says:

    Thank you for sharing a part of your childhood. I hope this ”friend” of yours will someday read this and realise what you went through.

  • You’re not alone in this. I’m an INFJ whose (former) best friend is an ENFP. Best friends since we were 12, I never seemed to provide enough excitement for her. I felt used in the relationship the majority of the time, and called her out on some of her behavior (in a very loving, kind manner), and we have not spoken since. She then accused me of betraying her recently. It’s brave of us to walk away. Thank you for your vulnerability.

  • oy-with-the-poodles-already says:

    You are the worst kind of special snowflake.

  • “You knew I, a shy introvert, wouldn’t blame you for it. ”

    I feel deep connected with you via this report.
    I struggled too with this kind of friendships, I ‘ve known people treated this way and it’s so painful and fatigue.
    loves and kisses you, girl.

  • Colie says:

    Terrible when people manipulate you for their own means especially when they KNOW what they are doing. Kindness in the heart can be taken advantage of in this world if we are not careful. Thank goodness you decided to end a friendship that sounded completely one-sided.

  • Pauline says:

    I can totally relate to this. I also had a very toxic friendship when I was younger(11 to 14). In retrospect am not even sure if it was really friendship. All she did was take and she gave nothing in return. She knew I was a shy introvert and she used that to her advantage. I haven’t seen her for 10 years and I really hope we never run into each other

  • DeAnn Trotter says:

    @lisa Zahn intervention does not mean shy. Look up the definition before you use a word incorrectly. Every intervertebral is not shy. If you call an intervertebral shy you are insulting them.

  • More than brash extroversion, it seems like the problem here is that your ex-friend is a manipulative jerk, and possibly a narcissist whose world revolves around her (or is it a him?) Good riddance!

    I wish those of us who are conflict-averse introverts could just live peacefully with others. Unfortunately, there are times when we need to be more proactive and confrontational than we’d like. If I can’t bear the costs (time, patience, forgiveness, tough love, etc.) involved in helping a friend grow and overcome their own serious flaws, I’ll probably need to disengage and distance myself from a such a person (even explicitly “firing them”, if I can bear to do that). There may be better alternatives, but I have yet to discover them.

    May this bad experience not turn you off from potential future friendships, even with extroverts (though I don’t think extroversion’s the problem here). There’s always a risk involved in becoming friends with anyone, but it’s often worth it.

  • Chacha says:

    Your story very touch me. I have a similar experience also with you. That was really like a hell, you know?
    People around me had an eyes on me and blamed me because I couldnt be patient and I was the weird one.
    They knew eventhought I was be friend with this person but actually I didnt into the friendship. They knew I didnt like her but they choosed to close their eyes. The worst they blamed me because I couldnt keep the friendship or restrained my self. They didnt say it out by I could feel it from the way they saw me.

    As yet, I am still her friend, literally, of course. Sometimes we hang out together but right now it is not any more. It is like we take a break and actually it is really relieve me.

    I never forget what she did to me. And I move on. I am introvert with characteristic to be a cool and non-emotional person, eventhought I felt a guilty also like an introvert as usual but it doesnt really affect me.

    I undergo my life, pursue my carrier, plan my future, love people who love me back, and find my own happines.
    God really kind to me. I move on and more focus to my life and my own happines, she move out. Out from my life, we still friend but not really related.

    Since I had so many problem relate with this kind of problem, I believe outside I have so many enemies. I want let them laugh at me or happy more than happiness that I can get.

    I will proof my self and be happy 🙂

  • LT says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing! I can relate. I had 1 “best friend” for 23 years whose parents were friends with my parents & siblings were friends with my siblings, so I HAD to be friends with her or at least pretend to be. I knew early on that she was a jerk and only in the friendship to take because I did almost anything for her & she did almost nothing for me, but at the time I was desperate to have a friend try giving her a chance to change on her own. She never did & in fact, every time we’d hang out, she would text her bf at the time and ignore me. Made the mistake of talking to my mom about this friend’s behavior toward me, because I was close to ditching her out of my life, but my mom yelled at me telling me not to because she’s a family friend and that could detriment their friendship with her parents. So I stuck with the friendship a bit longer, until I realized how much I accommodated to being a friend to her (supportive, someone to hang out with, someone to text, someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to laugh in slap-happy mode with, etc). I should’ve ditched her years ago, because that wound of being her using me ached during those years that I was there for her and she never did anything for me, and her mom most times would tell her to be supportive of me and then she’d be supportive. The day I stopped being her friend (2 yrs ago) and started living my life, was the day I will never forget because I didn’t have her to weigh me down from reaching my potential. I improved in school, got involved at my church and found great friends (at school & church), and moved on. Well, this friend wrote me a letter by mail (my fav way of communicating) for the first time in years. It was an apology for all that she knew she had done to me thru the years. I burst into tears reading the letter because I never thought she’d actually apologize. We reunited in-person but this time I met her baby girl and got to see how she can take care of someone else for a change. Although I’ve forgiven her since then from everything she had done to me, she’s still somewhat the same person as before and I’m not waiting anymore for her to change her bad habits. In reality, we were never best friends; just 2 kids whose parents were great friends. End of story. Life goes on.