This weekend, I’m going to see an old friend for a bit. We were best friends in college, and lived together senior year. However, we have some residual weirdness from that year—we ended up fighting a lot, she would criticize me all the time, and I became very depressed that year (which certainly was not because of her, but it did somewhat exacerbate it).

We’ve kept in touch, but have not been super close. She got married in her mid-twenties, moved to a different country, and is now a stay-at-home mom. Her husband is super-rich, and works for his family business, and her life has just gone in a very different direction from mine.

Anyway, a few years ago, out of the blue, she sent me this long e-mail apologizing for the being shitty to me when we lived together. She obviously meant well, but it was kind of upsetting, as I’d kind of forgotten a lot of it, and it brought back all the shitty stuff she said/did, and how depressed I was that year. I decided to ignore it, because I wasn’t really sure how to respond and didn’t want to invite any further conversation about it. 

But the last time she was in town visiting family a couple years ago, we did get together. For the most part it was okay—I visited with her and her kids and her mom. But she also made weird comments about how it was weird that I was good with kids, because she thought that childless women didn’t know how to interact with kids (which is especially weird because she knew I volunteered a ton with kids in college, and at one point was considering working with children). I pointed out, in addition to the college volunteering, that I’d helped out a lot with a friend’s baby/toddler, as well as with my ex’s niece and nephew.

That was a mistake. She then gave me pitying looks and kept asking questions about my break-up and getting over my ex (the break-up was a few years back), and made it clear the thought it was SO SAD that I’m single and don’t have kids. And then... it got weirder. She started asking all these questions about if I’m still depressed, how I managed my depression, if I talked to my running buddies about my depression... It was especially weird because I made it clear that I wasn’t currently depressed, and hadn’t been for several years... and she kept harping about it like it was a terminal cancer that’s about to recur and ruin my life.

Anyway, I said yes to getting together while we’re both visiting family, and she seems game for bring the kids to a park district event that I really wanted to go to, so I think we’ll have extra distraction instead of just sitting in her mom’s house playing with the kids and talking. But I am apprehensive she’s going to harp on the same stuff again. Any ideas for how to shut down or redirect that sort of stuff?