Dear Captain Awkward,
My friend N alternately acts like she feels threatened by me and like she wants to be me. It’s really creepy but I don’t know how to address it without sounding jealous and paranoid.
I met her three years ago. We became close quickly, and she had a crush on me, which I suspect was a nice distraction from the awful breakup she was going through. She invited me on a camping trip hoping to hook up with me, but was surprised that bringing a second woman along meant she was no longer the only woman in an otherwise all-male group, and she was no longer the group’s tomboy because I have more camping experience. Several guys hit on me, including her ex. She spent the whole weekend sulking and making passive aggressive comments.
I thought her resentment would subside when I started dating someone, but she became really possessive of my boyfriend. They’ve never dated, but sometimes play-fight when they drink. My boyfriend and I both practice martial arts, and our rather hilarious how-did-you-two-meet story involves a fight club. Often when N and I are meeting someone new, I mention my boyfriend’s name. The other person asks, “Oh, who’s that?” Before I can answer, much less tell our story, N interrupts me with, “That’s her boyfriend, who ***I*** introduced her to, who I fight in the street! I’m a street fighter!” and she tells the story of that time she tried to fight my boyfriend, but fell and twisted her ankle and he carried her home. Then she talks about herself at length. If this new person is male, she doesn’t let me get a single word in edgewise. If a guy hits on me, she pouts and starts up the passive-aggression. She also tries to one-up me on comics trivia, which she only got into after meeting me.
I’ve tolerated this because she’s a great friend when sober. But lately, we only see each other at parties, and her behavior is getting more obnoxious. Recently she interrupted me talking about work to tell the “street fighting” story to people who had already heard it a million times, while positioning her chair in front of me so that her back was to me and I was physically excluded from the group. Later she glared at me, sat on my boyfriend’s lap, and talked about how great he is.
I’ve asked my boyfriend to deliberately invite me back into conversations when she excludes me, and to not make physical contact with her. I don’t know what to say to her though, and our once-close friendship is becoming a sad competition where no one wins.
–Not-Single, Not-White Female