I have this...let's call her a friend, although it's been awhile since I've felt that friendly towards her. I've known her for some years now, and in the last year or so things have gotten increasingly frustrating. I swear, she wasn't this person when we first met. She was kind and sweet and thoughtful and I liked her a lot. But in the last year, she's changed. One of the biggest problems is her total and complete lack of self-awareness. She's convinced that she's this passionate, opinionated, intelligent, strong-minded person, when in fact she's hysterical, capricious and pig-headed and completely incapable of dealing with a reasonable debate, and she's completely lost touch with the sweetness and thoughtfulness which used to be her chief virtues. She gets extremely defensive every time someone disagrees with her, and has taken to the "I have a right to an opinion" school of debate, which drives me completely fucking batshit insane. There are a lot of concrete reasons for the changes, but regardless, she's become an endlessly frustrating person, and I'm feeling less and less friendly with each day.
Anyway, I'm not the only one who feels this way amongst our mutual friends, and recently there was a bit of a stink which resulted in a period of estrangement between her and most of the group. And then she started making friends again, wanting to hang out, emailing, etc etc. And at first, I was happy. She apologised for some of her more toolish behaviour, and she seemed to be getting a grip. Only, after awhile of hanging out with her again, it was an illusion. She hasn't changed. She's still Ms KneeJerk '05. And after various uncomfortable and frustrating discussions with her, most of which involved her apparent determination to take everything I said and spin it into something she could actually cope with, I'm finding myself right back where I was before the stink, and wishing I hadn't gotten back into this with her. I wish her well, I'm just not sure I wish her me at this point.
The thing is, I'm in a situation where I have to see her almost daily and she grates on my nerves incessantly. There is a way that I could get out of it, but it would be a loud, public way of saying that I didn't want to talk to her any more, and I'm very conflict averse, by and large, and that would almost certainly draw more people into it (and by almost certainly, I mean DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA), and I don't want to put any of our remaining mutual friends through that.
So, what do I do? Is it worth trying to tell her these things, especially my irritation about her determination to misunderstand me? Is it even worth the stress? Is this a friendship that's dead and should just be buried and she dealt with like a ghost, mildly irritating but easy to walk through? Or is there any point in trying to work things out with her? Should I just continue to smile and nod and complain about her behind her back? Should I find a way to avoid her as much as possible and just grin and bear any encounters I can't avoid?
And if I should just deal with it as something that's inevitably on the peripheries of my life, how do I make it less annoying??
Unfriendly in Uzbekistan
If you hadn't said you have to see this girl every day, I'd be all for the big blowout, because inevitably, this sort of person thinks the silent treatment is a punishment rather than a true gift. From what you've said, there doesn't seem to be much point in trying to work things out further. You've tried, and don't get anywhere.
However, I don't know if I understand why it should be so drama with a capital Crazy, and I don't get why it has to be public. I mean, everyone else gets that this chick is a shallow nutter, right? So, no judgement from that quarter, and if anyone gets pulled into it from her end, that's their own problem. Your line should be, "We tried being friends again, but it just wasn't working for me," end of story. Let the drama happen without you.
As for how to withdraw from the friendship itself, well, you have some options. You can continue to call her on her bullshit, and point out what she's doing as she does it. You can tell her privately that while you thought the friendship was salvageable, it really needs work from both sides, and you don't feel she's putting in the effort, so you need to cut anchor. You can minimize your contact with her and keep any interactions superficial, making excuses to avoid social situations that will involve her. Or you can outright lie, telling Ms Drama Queen that you're experiencing some personal issues you need to focus on, and don't really have the energy or time to devote to friendships at the moment, and thusly avoid her. However, be aware that the latter options will only work for so long, and things will blow up anyway, because Getting The Hint Gracefully is not in this personality's repertoire.
Whatever you choose to do, try to look at it as a lesson in dealing with drama maturely. It's not like you're worried about keeping her as a friend--you don't want her around, and her huffing by you at the water cooler or refusing to go along with the gang to the bar isn't exactly a bad thing. Shrug and go on with your life.
Drs. Snacky and Monkey