Hi fellow teachers I hope this doesn't sound awful, but I have a situation that I'm sure some of you have experienced before, and I need a little advice. Last year I did a long term sub in my district. During that time I had a mentor teacher that helped me out soooo much. In the process I got to know her pretty well. I saw her outside of school briefly once, and I would consider her a professional acquaintance. This year I am at a new school and have made new "school friends" with the faculty. My new school has an overall more positive buzz than the last one because of a super supportive administration and awesome teachers. Here's the problem: The teacher I knew from last year does not have any one to talk to at her school. The faculty is not very social and I think she feels isolated. So she has been calling me at least two to three times per week to vent about school and life frustrations. There are many reasons why I do not want to move to a friendship with this person. The biggest one being the negativity. She is very negative about both her school and personal life and I do my best to surround myself with positive people. I have tried to just be a listening ear and sounding board for her, but it's hard to listen to someone complain for 30 minutes 1-3x per week. In fact, it's awful. The worst part is that I can get sucked in and complain about my job too, which is something that I am trying so hard not to do. This person was a great help to me last year, and I certainly wouldn't want to burn any bridges. But how to I let this teacher down easy? I think that she thinks we are friends, but I don't want a friendship with this negative Nelly. So far I have been making excuses about why I can't "hang out" with her. She's invited me out several times and I have always made an excuse. Is there a way to tell her that I don't want to be friends socially?