This week I tossed two more friendships for toxicity.
The easier one was with a guy in Michigan who shared my fondness for animals but insisted on repeating any anti-Hillary, anti-Obama links he could find. We would discuss them; most were just recycled things that had been debunked ages ago, and after a while it became clear that what I would debunk on Monday he would re-post on Friday. The problem was not that Hillary and Obama have faults; they do and it's worthwhile to discuss them. The problem is that endlessly repeating debunked garbage is a waste of time. The friends admitted and even boasted that he loved stirring the pot.
I finally realized that our friendship is merely entertaining him. I unfriended him over that last month, and he asked to be back. I did, he didn't change, I unfriended him again.
It's nothing personal, but life is too short to waste with people who use you only for entertainment.
The more serious case is Kris. Of course I should not even try to be her friend after she cheated on me and then divorced me, with not even an apology. Whenever I would point out that it would be a good thing to apologize, she would just cry and say "What good would it do?" If her professed lack of comprehension was sincere, then she was simply raised badly ... which is true ... but more likely it's just a power thing: she hates having to fulfill any obligation, especially when it involves me.
(But I really did like Kris as a friend. We were friends long before we were lovers.)
Kris' unreliability has been an issue from early in our relationship but it came to a head the last time I asked for tax documents. The terms of our divorce agreement include cooperating on filing taxes, which for the year of the divorce (2015) means we share wage and income information, and so forth. Kris has not sent me her 2015 W2s. She sent me a statement of her tribal income, which is well enough, but nothing from her main job. When I brought this up, she said she was slammed at work but would get it done. This scene replayed several times: I say I need the documents, she says she's slammed at work and promise to do it next Monday. Sometimes she'd say that the ADP website is hard to navigate, which is a pretty funny thing to say since she's been having the exact same issue for years. I told her not to bother but just to go order a "Wage And Income Statement" from IRS.gov - it takes two minutes and you're done.
The other day I came across a box with Kris' rafting gear in it. It would be the decent thing to do to offer it to her so I texted her a photo. She asked for more information so I sent another picture. She said she wanted it.
I reminded her that I needed her income documents. She said she was slammed at work and that she would get it done Monday and drop them off at the Y.
I confess I got angry at this. It was the same thing, over and over, and it was now clear that she was just lying to me again. I texted her back a number of things on the subject, and ended with something like "If you're slammed at work, it's no doubt with a married man".
That was a reference to the first time she cheated on me (she says...). It turned out that her boyfriend was married, and she hadn't figured that out for three years. There is some karmic balance to this, since she would lie to me about what she was doing when she said she had to go into work on Saturday, and the guy she'd meet would lie to her about his status and intentions. Everyone wins! No wait, everybody loses, except the guy she's cheating with.
Not to my surprise, Kris didn't show up at the Y with the W2s, which is my fault since I had told her that W2s are not enough; she needs to prove a W+I statement because she can not be trusted.
I was unkind but on the other hand I was putting a stop to a pattern of abuse. I feel badly about the first and good about the second. I do regret not working harder on the burn; it would have been better to write "This time when you're slammed at work, is it with a customer or a co-worker?"
But the main point is this: I have edited out of my life a toxic influence. It's a big gap but necessary. I don't know how I will fill it or if I need to, but it's an improvement to have nothing instead of a friend who takes advantage of me, refused to apologizes, and lies badly about it.