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.

fluffyraggies Sun 24-Feb-13 20:33:46

Maybe you should work out a 'good time' to call.

I had a friend who used to be a bit funny on the phone if i had called her while she was about to do something or had only just finished doing something, or whatever. I on the other hand would always chat when she called even if it meant doing two or even three things at once.

In the end i worked out that Late mornings on a Saturday were a safe bet, as she would be back from keep fit, and would have had time for a sit down but had not yet started to prepare lunch before deciding what to wear to go into town.

She knows if she wants the best out of me Sunday afternoon is a good bet smile

Dottiespots Sun 24-Feb-13 20:40:47

. If she doesnt want to take your call when its convenient to you then you can either accept that "this is her" or not have her as a friend if it bothers you so much. If I cant accept a friend with all her quirks etc then I just let them go as the fault is mine not hers.

I have a friend that constantly rings me twice a day once at tea time and the other always always when I'm trying to get dd3 to sleep.

I have told her not too, I love her to bits but it drives me crazy.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Feb-13 20:54:20

I have a "friend" that always calls me when it just doesn't suit me. She sounds just like you OP. She thinks that because I'm at home most of the time, means that I can drop everything and talk to her when it suits her. She forgets the fact that I study from home full time, care for a 1 year old, care for a 79 year old, have five dogs to train, groom and care for, manage a 2 acres property, and I'm in the middle of renovating my house. Just being at home all day doesn't mean you don't actually have things to do and it is annoying when you're trying to get everything done in the day when someone wants to "chat" for two hours about nothing very important at all.

If it's important to talk with her, then do as she requests and make an appropriate time. If not, then you're not that great friends anyway, so let it go.

I have a friend who often phones when I am busy, if I say I'm busy can I ring you back she just says, oh, I'll only be a minute and then goes on at great length about things for 15 minutes, often wants to meet up at times that suit her rather than me then changes the plans at the last minute or turns up late etc etc.

All of this says to me that she considers her time to be more busy and important than mine. I suspect this is because she works full time and I work p/t, but she overlooks the fact that I have two DCs vs her one, one of mine has SNs, I am studying as well as working, don't have a cleaner and do have various voluntary commitments. All of this might mean that I really am just putting the laundry away because this is the only chance I will get till about 11pm and I need to go out in 5 mins. Also some people really can't talk on the phone and do something else at the same time - the last time she rang I had to carry on getting the dinner and didn't take in a word of what she was saying. Could it be the same for your friend?

Could you try email instead?

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 21:12:33

midnitescribbler - you are at home, and have a lot going on. The life you describe could not be further from the life of my friend.

We have been friends for 30 years, and are more like sisters. She has gone from her crazed high-paced professional single girl life to a very simple married life that suits her. She cooks (wonderfully, from scratch) each day, she does laundry, she goes on Facebook, she goes food shopping, she walks for exercise with friends, she picks fruit off trees in her garden to use in the kitchen, and that is mostly what she does. Every day.

She has a lovely life and seems happy. She is occupied and content, and her life is full - but she is not conventionally busy. She has few, if any, firm commitments. She sets her own schedule, and makes her own priorities.

I feel as if we're going in circles now. Maybe I need to resort to scheduling our calls to avoid this conflict/frustration.

lilackaty Sun 24-Feb-13 21:19:36

I used to have a friend who would hold 2 conversations whenever I phoned her (or she phoned me). I found it incredibly irritating and ended up telling her to call me back when she had time to talk but she never really understood how annoying it was.
I think YANBU but probably she doesn't think she is either.

Callthemidlife Sun 24-Feb-13 21:22:28

I am super confident and most people would describe me as super successful. I have often addressed conferences and spoken in front of hundreds of people in business meetings.

But I can't do phones.

Have never ever been able to relax on phone - even when all my business was down over the phone. Am lost without the visual references, and hopeless at anything even approaching small talk. If I need to talk to someone on the phone i need to shut myself away somewhere quiet, make sure I am sat down and there are no distractions. And then talk.

Honestly, you have no idea. She's not doing it to wind you up. So why get wound up?

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Feb-13 21:25:18

You're making judgments about what you think is important, because what you find as important is very different to her because your lives are so different. You're placing a value on her time that you would apply to your own, and I think there's an element of jealousy from you about her being able to fill her day the way she chooses. But that doesn't mean you get to dictate how and when she does what she does.

My elderly relative has to sit down and watch a couple of shows that are on during the day. She doesn't NEED to, but it's important to her that she does it. The phone ringing for someone just wanting to chat during those shows would be an unwelcome distraction. She'll talk for hours at other times of the day, but those two hours are hers. If I'm watching something and the phone rings, I just hit record and tape it to watch later, but I'm not her, so it's not my place to decide whether or not it's a valuable enough use of her time to expect to call her then unless it's vital that I speak to her right away about something. A "chat" can wait until after the shows are finished and I respect that.

If you really are as close to her as you say, and you want to continue to be, then just do as she asks and schedule a time to chat.

WipsGlitter Sun 24-Feb-13 21:25:22

My mum sort of does this.

Drives. Me. Nuts.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 21:25:55

It's you getting cross not her. Why should she speak when you demand it? really?

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 21:28:14

callthemidwife - i suppose I get wound up as I feel I am making a special effort to create time for us to stay a part of each others' lives, and she does not recognise or appreciate the effort. And then i feel frustrated (or even insulted) when laundry folding (etc) is the reason given. (A variation on the joke of what to tell a boy you didn't want to go out with: 'I can't, I'm washing my hair that night').

As i said before, it was much easier to get her on the phone when she was a Senior Vice President for an international company!

Oh well.......that is life, i guess.

dearcathyandclare Sun 24-Feb-13 21:29:11

Just want to say a phone call is an invitation to talk not a command to answer, and as some others have said maybe she doesn't like being interrupted, regardless of how inconsequential you perceive her activities to be.

Earlybird Sun 24-Feb-13 21:34:31

midnitescribbler - you are right about the judgements, and i need to give that some thought. Thank you for pointing it out.

I suppose I am expecting her to be the person she always was before this phase of her life. And she is not, she is different now. And that needs to be taken into account.

And, i (honestly) don't feel jealous about the life she has now. It would never suit me, though I'm glad she is so content.

I am free to answer a call or talk when I want to or am able to, not when someone else wants me to or is able to.

Doesn't matter whether its work, domestic or otherwise. Its up to us all how we manage our lives and organise ourselves.

Give a little, take a little.

TheSmallClanger Sun 24-Feb-13 21:41:46

One of my friends is like this. I know it's a bit unreasonable, but it does piss me off. I don't talk to her that often, so can't always work out the best time to ring her.

I don't really like using the phone, and the only thing worse than winding myself up to use the bloody thing is having to wait for it to ring. The friend in question will then spend at least the first five minutes of the call waffling on about whatever she has just been doing and pretending to be out of breath. I do like her really, it was just better when we actually saw each other.

If it's not convenient for me to answer the phone, I just don't answer it.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 24-Feb-13 23:07:36

YABU. She obviously doesn't want to have long phone chats, so why push it? I hate talking on the phone, but always answer it if I can see it's friends/family as I always think "what if something bad has happened". If it turns out they are just calling for a chat I say "actually, I'm in the middle of something, can I call you back"? Then I email them to arrange a face to face meeting instead grin

OhLori Sun 24-Feb-13 23:15:16

Know where you are coming from. Sadly, I dropped a friend like that OP.

How about this response: When she rings you back YOU SAY "Oh I'm just in the middle of watering my plants/folding my laundrey/making a cup of tea" - can I ring you back later. Keep doing this until she gets the message. Alternatively, say you are out the rest of the day when she offers to call you and leave it at that. That way, you will never actually get to speak to each other! You will, however, lose a friend, but it depends how valuable you think the friendship is hmm. I am suspicious is someone is never available when I am....

aldiwhore Sun 24-Feb-13 23:35:41

YABU. I can't multi-task but I can't leave a ringing phone unanswered either. I'll phone you back in a minute/at a certain time is all your friend should say, her excuses make you feel less importante than pant folding and for that YANBU at all.

Arrange a TIME when you're both free for a chat. I rarely speak to my mates via phone, we send a couple of texts (I loathe texting) and arrange to meet when we're both free, sometimes it takes a few weeks to meet up but when we do we have each other's undivided attention.

I think YAbothBU a little.

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