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To be aggravated that my friend can never talk when I ring, and always has to ring me back?

(44 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 19:07:47

Me:
single parent with sole responsibility for dd, house, garden, dog, shopping, meals, bills, etc
working (albeit in a job with completely flexible hours)
volunteer several hours a week

Her:
Married
Both she and her dh stay home, and are effectively retired (don't work by choice)
No children, no pets, no commitments outside the home
Hobbies: cooking and walking group (2x per week with friends)

I spend my days juggling various obligations, and have 'windows' of time when I am free to talk and give her my undivided attention (vs multi-tasking - i.e., calling her while I walk the supermarket aisles). But, she is almost never able to talk, and the reasons are usually ludicrous/laughable: 'I'm folding laundry, can I ring you back' or 'I'm cleaning up from lunch can I ring you back' or 'I'm putting away the shopping, let me ring you back' or 'I'm in the garden, and need to ring you in a few minutes'.

I absolutely do not expect she should always be available when I call. But, I make time to speak to her and frankly find it insulting that her laundry/dishes/plants, etc take priority. She is completely focused on whatever she is doing, and it can never wait.

To be fair, she always does ring back - but by that time, my 'window of time' has closed, and i am often unavailable (in a meeting, collecting dd from school, on a conference call, etc), and we play phone tag endlessly.

So, go ahead and tell me IABU. Or is she? Btw, her solution is that we pre-arrange times to talk so she can plan for it in her day.

BadabingBadabong Sun 24-Feb-13 19:12:36

She sounds like a nightmare, no I don't think you are being unreasonable. Would annoy me too.
Although I expect a lot of people will come on and ask why your time is more important than hers. Why can't she clean up from lunch and talk?

SilverClementine Sun 24-Feb-13 19:14:39

If she's busy then why does she answer the phone just to say she can't talk? Baffling. YANBU.

EMS23 Sun 24-Feb-13 19:15:28

Are you sure the problem isn't her DH? I have a friend who's DH gets really shitty when she speaks to friends or family on the phone so she prefers to do it when he's not around. (I know that's a really odd relationship dynamic but to discuss that would be another thread).

MajaBiene Sun 24-Feb-13 19:16:29

Her solution sounds great to be honest!

At least she answers her phone, I don't answer if I am doing something.

thebody Sun 24-Feb-13 19:16:39

Her solution sounds sensible so do it and then there isn't a problem is there?

You do sound as if you feel your life is much busier and a tad more important than hers to he honest.

She has too little to do and what you consider minor tasks are expanding to fill her day.

bigbluebus Sun 24-Feb-13 19:18:08

I think it is the 'retired' thing. My Mum and Dad used to say "we can't come over on Thursday, we do our food shopping on that day - inspite of the fact that they were doing sod all on any other day of the week and could easily do their shopping another day, whilst I was running around after 2 children and juggling no end of other activities.
It is a hard habit to change even though it seems completely unreasonable to you and I.

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Sun 24-Feb-13 19:18:36

YABU. Sometimes she just might not feel in the mood for chatting. I think its good she picks up and explains, i would just ignore a call if i was busy or not in the mood to talk.

shellyf Sun 24-Feb-13 19:18:53

Maybe she wants to save the price of call from your bill.I often ring people back as I have lots of"free" call minutes.

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 19:20:00

Interesting that you use the phrase thinking 'my time is more important than hers' because she said exactly that to me when I raised the issue.

I replied that my time is not more important than hers, but it is less flexible because I have more commitments (the time for collecting dd from school is not negotiable, but folding laundry can be done when convenient - for example).

She was made redundant 5 years ago (and as i said earlier has not worked since by choice). She has become very rigid and inflexible with her routines since then.

badtemperedaldbitch Sun 24-Feb-13 19:20:49

maybe she likes to get comfy and settle dwn to give you her undivided attention... since she knows that you do the same?

DoJo Sun 24-Feb-13 19:20:55

Perhaps she thinks she's being nice by ringing you back and therefore paying for the call...

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 19:24:29

bigbluebus - your post made me laugh, as it rings true.

Before she left work, she was in an extremely stressful, high-powered (and well paid) job with lots of meetings and travel. Honestly, it was much easier to get her on the 'phone for a chat back then.

drivingmisspotty Sun 24-Feb-13 19:26:49

Is she shy/nervous? Just wondering as I sometimes don't answer phone as I feel thrown or that I need to prepare for the conversation. Even with some people I know well and like. Sounds silly but I guess I just don't like the phone.

More practically, can you get into her routine eg every other Monday at 12 you call? Or text her first - fancy a chat today sometime between 8 and 10 when kids in bed?

Can see why you're frustrated btw. If she really wants to talk I guess she will also be frustrated by it.

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 19:28:01

Money and who pays for the call isn't the issue. They are careful with money, but have more than sufficient.

I've learned not to call before noon because they sleep late, then fix/eat breakfast and linger over coffee, then must clean up. For example.

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 19:29:11

Oh no, not shy at all. She is a gutsy New Yorker, with a voice/laugh that would peel paint!

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 24-Feb-13 19:39:50

I think her solution is the way to go.

It doesn't matter if she spends half an hour every day staring at her feet, it's her time and her business what she prioritises.

I would resent someone telling/implying that my time is being wasted on whatever task it is I'm currently doing because their priorities are different to mine and they feel that their life takes precedence and I should drop everything to fit into their schedule for a 'chat'. It's at best patronising.

I'm another who just wouldn't answer the phone and call/text back when I was free to see if you were. You sound just as rigid and inflexible as her tbh, shouldn't friendships be easier than that?

Dottiespots Sun 24-Feb-13 19:51:21

I hate people just phoning me and wanting to talk. Im a bit like your friend and like to plan when I talk to someone on the phone. . Maybe she actually feels you phone her too much but to be fair she does ring you back. If she didnt phone you back then you would have a reason to feel cross. Phones can be very intrusive things . Just because you feel that your world is busy cause you have kids, her world is equally busy to her.

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 20:03:17

iamsparkly - well, i will give it some thought that i am equally rigid and inflexible because that hadn't occurred to me. My initial reaction is: no, not true.

There are certain things that are 'set in stone' each week for me wrt my schedule, but many other random things that simply get slotted in where there is time (dd needs to go shoe shopping, has an appointment at the dentist, etc). I have to be flexible to make those things happen.

I want to maintain close contact with this friend, so make a real point of making time to chat. It would be far easier to simply carry on with my life and drift apart since our paths don't naturally cross (and she lives 2 time zones away). When things like laundry take priority, it is easy to feel unimportant.

NopeStillNothing Sun 24-Feb-13 20:05:07

I hate to say this but I do exactly the same thing to my friend. We are very close but she doesn't half fucking go on and can spend hours bitching at chatting to me on the phone. I prefer to ignore her when she calls so I can prepare myself and make sure I have no distractions.
Maybe you're 'that' friend? blush

MamaMumra Sun 24-Feb-13 20:05:58

My friend and I used to play phone tag and we do pre arranged 'catch up' calls now, when we both have time. It works really well.

Give it a go.

Dottiespots Sun 24-Feb-13 20:06:01

What about just stopping phoning her and seeing if she actually does make the effort to phone you first? Maybe you will find that the friendship doesnt mean as much to her as it does to you. Just a thought.

cumfy Sun 24-Feb-13 20:06:39

What happens when she phones you ? (not just returns your call)

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 20:23:18

cumfy - I am usually the one who initiates the calls.

Fwiw, we have friends in common and they have also commented on this quirk and feel equally frustrated by it. So, not just me being 'that annoying friend'!

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