to let down a friend who won't stop offering help I have not asked for?

(75 Posts)
Blossomgirl Wed 24-Apr-13 22:10:27

I was due to work with a friend in September for a couple of days at a conference she is help organise, but told her no this week because she won't stop offering help that I have not asked for.

Came to a head yesterday when I told her that her last offer of 'help' had gone to far. What she did, knowing I am on a low income, was to send me a link to Oxfam dresses because she knew I do not have a dress for the conference dinner. I was gob smacked. I never ever asked her for help in getting a dress, it was completely uninvited.

This isnt the only incident but the one that bucked me into standing up and saying 'no more help unless I ask, please'

Since then I have been told that she offered me the work because she thought I would find the money helpful. I'm confident that I did the right thing in asking her to be a mate and be there ONLY if I ask for help

TBH I have a sick husband and 2DS's and it's my energy that keeps us on an even keel, me who has to be resourceful all the time and it wears away at my self-esteem so when I got the oxfam email I hit a downer and got proper introspective about how shit I must look to the world, and how hard getting by is etc. It took me a while to work out that I wanted the uninvited help to stop. I told her in a down-to-earth way.

Thing is this friend is also getting married in 3 1/2 weeks. I tried to keep my feelings to myself but she kept asking me if I had had her email and what did I think. Oh dear

I feel torn between my needs and hers.

She sent me a text earlier after turning away at the shops after I said Hi saying how hurt she is. She has taken massive offence. She says she cannot believe that I misunderstood her, and is very hurt at my lack of trust in her good intentions. She says she was only being a good friend and that I have let her down.

AIBU to stay firm to my instinct and say no to working for her knowing the stress it must be adding to her?

Blossomgirl Wed 24-Apr-13 22:12:29

Thanks for reading btw smile

grograg Wed 24-Apr-13 22:13:15

That email with the link would have really pissed me off!! You can get a cheap enough dress on the high street or choose your own charity shop to shop in. Yanbu

CloudsAndTrees Wed 24-Apr-13 22:15:32

September is months away. Leave it until after her wedding.

She might have been misguided in her actions, but it doesn't sound like she was being horrible in any way from what you have said. There may well be other things going on from what you have written, but so far it sounds like she's trying to be kind and supportive to you. Even if its unwanted, it seems mean to me to throw that back at her by letting her down right before her wedding.

SirBoobAlot Wed 24-Apr-13 22:18:07

So you were supposed to be helping her at a work thing, which she asked you to help with knowing you were on a low income.

She knew you would need a dress for the conference dinner and didn't have one, and because you were doing her a favour, sent you a link to some dresses that were reasonably priced.

I really don't understand why you're reacting so strongly. It sounds like she was just trying to help you, especially if you have a tough situation at home to deal with too. I'd have been offended too, especially if she's gone to the trouble of still focusing on you when she has her own wedding in a few weeks time.

gobbin Wed 24-Apr-13 22:18:45

No YANBU. She may be a friend but she has overstepped your boundaries. You feel suffocated and insulted. A step or two away is probably needed. It's an awkward one, but in reality you don't owe her your friendship, harsh as that may sound.

You've told her how it is, at least you've been honest. It's up to her to have a bit of a long look at herself.

Hopeforever Wed 24-Apr-13 22:27:11

Agree with Sir Bob

Jinsei Wed 24-Apr-13 22:29:23

Hmm, I can see both sides. She was obviously being a bit insensitive but I think you're being a bit over-sensitive. At the end of the day, she was just trying to help.

Hassled Wed 24-Apr-13 22:30:37

I'm on the fence - yes, I can understand why you feel as you do. It's sort of rubbing your nose in your skintness, isn't it? But equally I can see a well-meaning woman who obviously cares about you and who was trying to do a nice thing, however misguidedly. I think you should backtrack a bit - her approach was a bit shit, but she had the best of intentions.

foslady Wed 24-Apr-13 22:35:21

Actually I understand where you're coming from - it's one thing your friends acknowledging your difficult circumstances, but this was a clumsy attempt at 'help' and when you're the one constantly having to put on a mask to keep everyone/thing buoyed up this is a confidence knocker. Maybe a get together where you can explain this might help if you want to smooth over the friendship?

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 24-Apr-13 22:41:09

Re the Oxfam link: does your friend wear Oxfam/second hand stuff herself? She might have thought she was showing you some really good dresses rather than it being a slur on your finances. I say that as a charity shop queen myself and Oxfam online have some lovely vintage clothes. Sometimes it's not about price it's about style.

Blossomgirl Wed 24-Apr-13 22:45:41

Oh thank you all for the frank replies.

Hmm guess I will have to find a way to meet both our needs.

This was not a one-off just the straw that broke the proverbial. She does it to mutual friends too, the sort of person you can't share anything with without a printout from the internet or a text or loaned books to try when all you were trying to do was share a bit of life and have a chat.

Being on a low income doesn't mean I'm fair game for do gooding tho...

Agggh I get the hurt she must be feeling too. I do feel sorry but she had kept texting saying things like how sympathetic she is to my plight like unrelated to any conversations.

Ok going to read the posts again. thank you agian

Jinsei Wed 24-Apr-13 22:51:03

Sounds like she means well OP, but is just trying a bit too hard. Can see why it might be annoying but hope you can work things out.

I broke off a really solid friendship after said friend turned up at a girls night out, told me I shit friend for not replying to texts, (as I had not been able to respond to texts due to massive trauma involving police and being moved to a safe location) then texted me afterwards to say She was buying me food as I has said I was brassic so couldnt buy rounds! I just said I didn't need food, I needed a friend who didn't fucking judge me so much.!

DoctorAnge Wed 24-Apr-13 22:54:44

She does sound like her heart is in the right place.
Is she really a friend of yours as you talk like you really don't like her. confused

maddening Wed 24-Apr-13 22:57:54

if the friendship is important to you but you want to go forward on new terms I am sure that there is a good way to approach her which would leave everyone feeling ok and perhaps a stronger friendship out of it all.

I have a do gooder friend - you say you like a comedian and she's found a show and worked out travel for you - lovely and well meaning but overbearing. So you have a typical chat about how things are going - money's tight etc and then this opportunity comes up and she thinks of you. You can say no though and there is no need to feel insulted - just say you'll sort yourself out. If this isn't an isolate incident though and it is a bit much you do need to have a chat - but approached in the right way it needn't herald the end of the friendship - if you want to retain the friendship.

BackforGood Wed 24-Apr-13 23:12:36

I think you are reacting really oddly to someone who is just being a good friend.
Re the work in September - if you don't want to do it, then just say so, but I can't understand how it is in anyway offensive for a friend to offer you a couple of days work confused.
Nor can I see what is offensive about sharing a link about bargains with you (like Harriet I'd be delighted).

Blossomgirl Wed 24-Apr-13 23:20:31

Some sound advice here terrifically helpful. I wish I was more emotionally literate but managed to hit a real downer over this boiling it down to the bones. It is very helpful to see how this looks from the outside, and I feel I have much more of a balanced perspective now. Time for a cuppa and a think...
Thank you all very much

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 23:24:40

Oh come on. Would all of you saying that her heart must be in the right place and she's trying to be a good friend really email links to Oxfam frocks to wear at a function to someone you consider to be a friend without discussing it first? Cos I bloody well wouldn't! That would be a conversation I took a great deal of care over.

If I knew my mate - and she really was my mate - was skint then the last thing I would do is send emails recommending she buy a certain frock -even from a charity shop - when I knew she had no money. I'd actually try and help her and not refer her to a charity shop. Cos I'm her mate like. But that's just me.

OP your friend sounds like a twat. If you've got to spend money to buy clothes so that she gives you work and she takes offence so easily it really isn't worth it.

bonnieslilsister Wed 24-Apr-13 23:32:50

To some people this would be fine; she just misjudged you. All you had to do was delete the email.

DIYapprentice Wed 24-Apr-13 23:44:33

I think you need to make it clear to her that you want to be her friend, and not her charity case. You understand that she wants to help, but she's gone too far. You don't need or want 'saving'. You like her for her, and not for what she can do for you.

lisianthus Wed 24-Apr-13 23:54:07

This would annoy the heck out of me too. I also don't like the way she is now banging on about how you have "hurt her feelings". How does she think you feel? In fact, she doesn't seem to pay any attention at all to how her interference makes you feel.

lisianthus Wed 24-Apr-13 23:55:19

Great post from DIYApprentice. I'd quote those words in your response.

AgnesBligg Thu 25-Apr-13 00:12:11

In your shoes I think I would feel incredibly patronised by her and feel like crawling under a little stone somewhere grin.

defineme Thu 25-Apr-13 00:14:35

I have a friend that offers unasked for help constantly.
It is so so so wearing being 'grateful' for the offer when I am busy/stressed and just need to have a normal chat rather than constant unsuitable offers of help for things that I don't even consider I need any help with. It's also hard not to feel there's an implied criticism in there somewhere. Eg if someone offers to run you up a new pair of curtains, that's surely implying your old ones are crap?
I want people to leave me alone and let me get around to sorting stuff out in my own sweet time.
If I need help I am very good at asking for it.
I prefer to ask for help from people who will also ask for my help if they need it.

Blossomgirl Thu 25-Apr-13 00:46:12

I work late nights in a shop, and I like the midnight hour here too! Really insightful and straight forward.

Being hard up all the time has changed me and I survive by personal autonomy and being loving at home, I hold my head up my boys are good kids and we look nice, albeit with a small wardrobe and home-cut hair.

I found it really hard to have my world shook, to find out my friend actually offered me work out of pity and to have her treat me like I have not heard of Oxfam and to invite herself into my purse and assume that I did not have the answers, that she held the key.

We have to apply patience in our house if we need something 'new' and old sayings like 'everything comes to those that wait' have meaning to us. My kids choose toys to sell if they want new ones and that to me is not the stuff of ''woh is me" it's the best life skill I can give them given our circumstance.

But perhaps because I live outside mainstream I can be over protective of my boundaries and a well meant gesture can be mis-read as a put-down. Still naffed me off though.

You like her for her, and not for what she can do for you.

Thank you for that sage advice DIY, in terms of reconciliation that is indeed the place I will start from...our common ground.

Thank you again for all these posts, I love the range of responses and for the lift up too - I am very hopeful, but that may be lack of sleep. Off to bed now operation relentless continues tomorrow (our house word for small boys up early) xx

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 25-Apr-13 00:57:36

She maybe just came across the link and was impressed by the dresses and thought 'that would do Blossomgirl for that conference she needs a dress for'

Sorry but you sound a bit snobby about Oxfam and a bit too touchy IMO.

LittleMissLucy Thu 25-Apr-13 01:04:32

I disagree with Fanjo - I expect you're not snobby about Oxfam, but perfectly capable of getting yourself down there for a look yourself without needing being led.

DIY gave the best, most balanced advice. But I think your friend is also being "high status" and patronizing you, unwittingly or not. That's my most extreme reaction to this, feel free to ignore it.

LittleYellowBall Thu 25-Apr-13 01:12:40

She's playing Lady Bountiful. It'd stick in my craw too. YANBU.

Thumbwitch Thu 25-Apr-13 01:14:02

I agree with LittleMissLucy - it feels a touch patronising, what she has done - as you say, she may think she is only trying to help but really she is, possibly unwittingly, indicating that she thinks you are incapable of dealing with the issues presented yourself!

Just because you're hard up, doesn't make you dim.

Jux Thu 25-Apr-13 11:23:03

To me, it would depend entirely on the relationship I had with my friend. There are a couple of friends from whom I would just take it as helpful. She was skating on thin ice there, wasn't she, and needed to be a bit more careful. At the least, she could have waited until she spoke to you and dropped into the chat that she'd seen a really nice dress online....

PearlyWhites Fri 26-Apr-13 00:18:05

Tbh she sounds really nice, I think you are way over sensitive.

RawShark Fri 26-Apr-13 07:15:45

Tbh I think she sounds ok. I don't understand why people think it is ok for you to drop out of working at short notice for her cos of your hurt feelings but then say they think she is overbearing for admitting she feels hurt!

And offering the chance to earn a little extra is a nice way for a friend to show practical support. It doesn't mean she thinks you can't cope just wants to make things a little easier.and maybe she sent you the dresses as you're busy?

Tbh I would sit down with her and have a good chat about how you felt and acted and how you read her actions. And then decide about the friendship

Fwiw I have a tendency to try and solve friends problems so have to watch myself to make sure I offer listening ear first

OrWellyAnn Fri 26-Apr-13 07:32:29

Your op worries me, because it's totally the sort of thing I do regularly for friends and I had no idea that it would be offensive to anyone in any way...which makes me kind of oblivious to others. Gulp.
It honestly comes from a love of other people and a desire to be a good friend...mostly because I am the sort of or person who would NEVER ask for help in any way and yet would occasionally love to receive it, so I assume others would feel the same and see the gesture as an act of love rather than an intrusion.

OrWellyAnn Fri 26-Apr-13 07:33:49

Also think the offer of work is MUCH more respectful than just trying to loam or give you money, it shows she knows and considers you have self respect?

ScumBag Fri 26-Apr-13 07:53:04

YANBU. It sounds like your friend has a real 'rescuer' mentality and that's why she offers people unsolicited help & advice. This does not make her a bad person but the problem is, for her to 'rescue' she needs you to have a victim mentality. That would mean that you would be grateful for her 'help', she would feel good about herself and you would both come out of the situation feeling happy.

The problem for your friend in this situation is that you do not feel yourself to be a victim & you are in control of your own life. Therefore you have interpreted her behaviour correctly - as being extremely patronising! I can understand how much it must have upset you and I think you did exactly the right thing by making your feelings clear.

Your friend is now upset. She's upset because the offers of help were about meeting her own needs, not yours.

I hope you can resolve things & that she will not accept that you will have a friendship with her that is on a equal footing.

cornydash Fri 26-Apr-13 08:02:45

there's helping and there's interfering
I have a family member that 'helps' to the point of interfering and it is very intrusive

Snog Fri 26-Apr-13 08:13:31

Agree your friend has been insensitive and you have been over sensitive.
What is needed is some honesty if you value the friendship.
I think your situation has made you defensive, inward looking and isolated and this is the main reason for your over sensitivity.

I don't know why your friend is insensitive, perhaps inexperience, perhaps ignorance, perhaps a desire to play Lady Bountiful.

If you like her then be straight with her, if not then end the friendship.
Do you have plenty of other good friendships? If not perhaps you are pushing people away?

purrpurr Fri 26-Apr-13 08:14:59

Fab post from ScumBag there, 100% agreed. I am a stubborn jackass, to quote, er, Donkey from Shrek, and really dislike being on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, sometimes to my own detriment. It really doesn't sound like you're stubborn or cutting your nose off to spite your face or anything like that. I really do think it's your friend who has the problem here.

BackforGood Fri 26-Apr-13 08:20:55

I totally disagree with ScumBag
When we were really broke a few years ago, a very good friend of ours offered my dh some work (in his garden - digging out a patio he'd not got round to doing) and it was just what we needed. Some cash for our family, a job that needed doing actually getting done. Win win all round. It's not patronising at all - it's "killing 2 birds with one stone" IMO. She needs someone to do a job, and would probably prefer someone she knows thought she could trust to not let her down, rather than a random agency person, and your situation would presumably be helped by a bit of cash for a few days work. Perfectly viable option when you were first offered to say "No thanks" if you didn't want it, it's not like she came round and stuffed a few ten pound notes into your tea caddy when you weren't looking.

ScumBag Fri 26-Apr-13 08:27:45

Will now accept a friendship that is on an equal footing (autocorrect, sorry)

badguider Fri 26-Apr-13 08:34:32

I think you've been too touchy. If you had lots of disposable income she might have sent you a link to a phase8 dress she spotted. But she thought that was insensitive so chose a cheaper option. I think it was done with good intentions.
If you want to mend bridges you will have to admit to some degree of oversensitiveness but you can also ask her to back off a bit in future too if you frame it as your issue/sensitivity rather than her "fault". If she is genuinely a nice person shell follow your wishes.

MadBusLady Fri 26-Apr-13 08:38:45

Taking her behaviour as a whole, I agree with scumbag.

I would add, though, that while she may have couched the conference thing in terms of "I thought it would help you to earn some money", she cannot have meant that was the only reason. You must also be competent and a good fit for what is required. I can't see that even a "rescuer" type is going to make themselves look bad by introducing someone unsuitable. In her position, even though I'm not a "rescuer", I would probably have thought over a number of suitable mates and asked the one who I thought would most appreciate the chance to work some extra hours. I think that's just normal human give and take.

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 08:41:46

I recently offended a good friend by giving her a bag of DS's old clothes - I usually give them to a different friend, but she's travelling for 12 months with her family, so I thought I'd give them to someone else who had a son who is a couple of years younger than mine.

I thought she looked annoyed when I gave them to her, although I gave the usual caveat of 'if they're no good just put them in a charity bag or something', and her annoyance was confirmed when she text to say she had given them to the charity shop without even opening the bag. The next time I saw her she said I had insulted her by suggesting that her children needed hand-me-downs.

I am mortified, as she has genuinely misinterpreted my intentions - another friend gives me clothes for DD when her DD outgrows them, and it doesn't offend me at all. Anyway, I suppose my point is that my natural inclination is to assume that your friend had good intentions and is now reeling from your reaction. BTW I was called Lady Bountiful too and it hurt.

PicardyThird Fri 26-Apr-13 08:45:46

I think you have been slightly oversensitive, but I also think she is more in the wrong here. The sentence that jumped out at me from your OP is when you spoke about feeling torn between your needs and hers. Her behaviour is to a great extent about her needs, even if she doesn't realise that herself.

I often find myself on the receiving end of offers of help (practical rather than financial) that I don't want. I am happy to help people out now and again but I don't really want or need any myself except in the direst of situations. I think people want to offer me help so they feel they are giving something back, but I really don't need that. And I know I have caused mild offence and/or puzzlement by turning offers down. It mainly involves people wanting to take my kids and I don't always want that.

I do think your friend is overreacting or, rather, cannot see your POV. You two need to go for a coffee and talk. Tell her, using 'I' rather than 'you' sentences, how her behaviour has made you feel, and say it was not your intention to hurt her.

MadBusLady Fri 26-Apr-13 08:49:58

adeucalione She was VU, what a weird reaction! I am about the same size as a friend and we're always passing old clothes to each other. Neither of us are short of money, it just seems logical - and even more so for children's clothes. Some people are really hung up about money.

Ragwort Fri 26-Apr-13 08:51:01

I have had exactly that experience adeucalione blush - and it is mortifying. Personally I love hand-me-downs and always dress myself and DS in charity shop bargains - I would have loved that link to the Oxfam vintage site. But I have learned to respect other people's views and am very conscious not to offer second (or third grin) hand clothes to friends unless I am very sure they would like them.

I know my SIL struggles financially yet she always buys her DC clothes from Next etc, when I mentioned that I have had some great buys from charity shops she just says 'I would never put my children in second hand clothes'.

To me, the OP does sound slightly insensitive & her friend was just trying to be helpful, but it just shows how we are all different smile.

Some people have a 'listening' frame of mind and some people have a 'problem solving' frame of mind.

By this I mean that some people are able to listen to you talk, and then immediately forget what you said and go on with their day, knowing that you were just chatting. But others listen to what you say, pick up on the 'perceived' problems and then their brain gets to work on how to solve them.

I am of the second kind, and it took me a long time to understand that just because someone mentioned something to me, they didn't necessarily want a solution presented to them. Even now, I struggle to understand "why the heck you told me about this if you didn't want help solving it". It's a symptom of any overly-analytical mind, "If you didn't want my help, you'd have kept this to yourself surely, but you told me, so you must want advice, ok, what can I do/say/find that will help".

Your friend sounds like her mind works like this - and she might not understand until you say very clearly 'I prefer to find my own solutions, but thankyou for caring'.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 08:58:32

OP I completely get where you're coming from. Your friend has completely over-stepped the mark and been very controlling and patronising.

I think you were very smart to have told her, nicely but firmly, that you didn't want any more help.

If she had an ounce of sense and empathy she would have twigged and accepted what you said without all this spurned, it's-all-about-meeeee crap.

Don't doubt yourself.

hackmum Fri 26-Apr-13 09:05:14

OP, YANBU. Obviously you have been good at managing on a low budget and you really don't need people pointing you in the direction of Oxfam dresses - you're clearly capable yourself of working out how to find an inexpensive outfit if you need to.

People like that are really annoying. I think most of us, when we have a moan about something, just want some sympathy, not advice for how we can sort things out. Because most of the time, anything a friend can think of is something we have already thought about ourselves.

RawShark Fri 26-Apr-13 09:15:45

lemon I think controlling is a bit harsh! In no way has the friend tried to modify op's behaviour.and she has been honest in saying she is hurt by op's change of mind on helping at the conference - think op acknowledges she hasn't really explained her reasons yet.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 09:27:03

Hmm maybe a little RawShark. But the friend wasn't hurt by the OP changing her mind really, she was upset OP raised her voice about the 'help'.

It's so patronising to address one's perception of another's need in that way. I get what the OP is saying about her friend thoughtlessly assuming that she wouldn't have thought of checking out Oxfam and was failing at managing her money.

I do think its controlling, really. I think sometimes people who constantly offer 'help' in this way are imposing on their friends. And to tell her she only offered her the work because she's skins - that is very undermining.

There are lovely ways to help out friends in need, and we should all try to help our friends, i completely agree with that - but OP's friend is getting it very wrong.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 09:27:36

*skin = skint, obv!

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 09:28:23

So is it better to be a friend who listens to a moan and then forgets about it, than to be a friend who listens to a moan and cares enough to want to help?

I think OP's friend has been insensitive to send a link to a charity shop if there was no contextualising discussion beforehand, but I'm impressed that she cares enough to do so given that she has her own imminent wedding to think about, and I would have rebuffed her unwanted helpfulness in a kinder way.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 09:31:08

adeu it's always better to be a friend who cares, naturally.

But the OP's friend was inappropriate and it seems to be a running theme in their friendship.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 09:31:45

I am very pro-helping. But you have to be sensitive about it.

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 09:35:35

Hmm I suppose we do need to know if there was any context to the Oxfam link.

If there had been some discussion about OP needing a dress for the event, and not wanting to spend much on something that might be worn once, then I can see why her friend might have sent a 'they have great dresses here' link and certainly not have meant that as a criticism of OP's money management skills or ability to source a dress herself.

FWIW all DD's friends scoured the charity shops for prom dresses as vintage is much cooler than high street, so I just don't see the Oxfam suggestion as an implied criticism really.

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 09:38:22

I do know that my position on this is coloured hugely by my own recent experience, mentioned earlier. I just don't think that you can look at this action and know what OP's friend was thinking. Maybe she sends that link to everyone who does casual work for her. Maybe she shops there herself. IMO people are too quick to think that they know what other people are thinking, and assume the worst.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 26-Apr-13 09:54:16

I think your recent experience is different adeu. It's understandable you are connecting your feelings in this case but the OP says:

This isnt the only incident but the one that bucked me into standing up and saying 'no more help unless I ask, please'

This is a running theme for her in the friendship. Nowhere in any of her posts does she says that she and her friend discussed her needing a dress and being skint and wondering where to buy it.

If they had had that conversation this thread wouldn't exist!

It is hard to give sometimes - if two people in similar financial situations help each other out from time to time then it's a neutral thing. But a wealthier person giving unsolicited stuff to a poorer friend - unfortunately there is a power dynamic there. You didn't mean to upset your friend adeu and I would have been hurt too at your friend's reaction. I suppose the truth is that there is always a risk of offending friends by unsolicited giving. Unfortunately.

I think your wish to help your friend was kind and a neutral act for you, you only wished to help, you didn't want to lord it over your friend. Unfortunately she has let you know that for her, receiving is not neutral or positive. That's not your fault and now you know. Hopefully next time you see her she will have softened and acknowledge that you only meant to be nice.

But with the OP's friend: in a way it's a little like one friend, who's happily married, sending emails to a single friend about dating sites and spontaneously offering up advice about how to get a relationship. If it was part of an ongoing exchange initiated by the single friend, then fine; but if the single friend had never asked - smug and somewhat insulting.

Does sound like OP's friend has continually offered up suggestions in a vaguely insulting way though.

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 10:05:05

Well OP does say 'she knew I didn't have a dress for the conference dinner' so presumably some sort of discussion must have taken place, but I concede that OP hadn't asked for any help in finding one.

I just think it sounds a bit 'chip on shoulder' because, in my case, my friend had attached a whole range of motives to my actions yet hadn't once considered the obvious one - I had a bag of stuff that was too good for the bin and needed someone with a 12yo son, without giving any thought whatsoever to their family finances.

But you do make a strong argument lemon so message received, fair enough.

IntheFrame Fri 26-Apr-13 12:59:35

I think it's not so much what the friend actually did but the why she feels the need to do it.
I have a similar friend is who is a bit of a control freak. She isn't happy unless she had suggested and organised everything. It's got to the point now where even if I arrange something simple, getting the children round for a play after school she'll continually ask "are you sure you don't mind" as if it's her that asked me to have them.
I did snap the other "yes it's fine because I suggested it".

adeucalione literally every item of my son's clothing has been handed down from two women in the village. I would be checking other peoples motives though if someone just gave me stuff without asking first. Even if it's the assumption that you have the time to deal with other peoples tat.

adeucalione Fri 26-Apr-13 13:14:16

intheframe - that's a bit harsh. She is a good friend who I see several times a week, and the stuff I gave her was good quality (Boden, Jack Wills, Hollister - excellent condition, coats, jackets etc). The friend I usually pass it on to is loaded - hence travelling the world for twelve months - and is always delighted, so I am certainly not passing on tat to people who couldn't afford to buy new. I said 'I've had a sort out of DS's wardrobe and wondered if any of this is any good, if it isn't just pass it on or bin it'. It's the charity shop next time, lesson learned.

Mumsyblouse Fri 26-Apr-13 13:19:08

I read this as even worse than the OP suggested, that the OP's friend was worried she wouldn't turn up looking 'right' and so was micro-managing.

Of course, if the OP and her had had a chat along the lines of I haven't got a dress, how about Oxfam they have some amazing vintage stuff there, I'll send you the link, all fine.

But, it does sound like your friend is trying to manage the event and how you appear rather than out of genuine altruism.

And yes, it is about the power differential, I had this recently with a funeral, I was very tempted to step in and 'help' someone with an outfit as I knew they had no suitable clothes, but I also realised to do so (when they didn't ask for that help, which they could have done if they wanted it) was really patronising, I had to tell myself to butt out- they turned up looking a bit scruffy but it was no big deal, and the OP's friend should also leave well alone, especially if she knows the OP is having a hard time and might be sensitive to this.

IntheFrame Fri 26-Apr-13 13:46:28

adeucalione - Sorry. Wasn't having a go at you, I love peoplethat give me stuff! The "tat" comment was just why people may not be happy to get an unsolicited bag!

However if you know her so well/see her frequently, I'm surprised you didn't mention you had a bag of (quality) stuff? How can you know if she would be mortally offended by the idea of second hand clothes if you don't ask?

Generally I would ask out of concern that other people might not have the time to look through it and dispose of the unwanted stuff or might have just brought a load of clothes ad not have the room.
Don't charity shop the next lot though...I'll have them they sound fab!

RawShark Fri 26-Apr-13 13:48:02

lemon I missed the bit where the friend blanked her. That is decidedly off I think

BalloonSlayer Fri 26-Apr-13 13:57:17

The link was rude and insensitive.

When you called her on it, she should have apologised.

By acting the injured party she has been even more rude and offensive.

" she cannot believe that I misunderstood her, and is very hurt at my lack of trust in her good intentions" Well I cannot believe that she can't imagine how sending someone a link to a Charity Shop site, unsolicited, is totally weird and rude.

It's the sort of thing Margaret Thatcher would have done. Can you imagine her voice: "Thar's some vereh vereh naice gowns here, my dear, that even someone on your budget should be able to afford."

(This reminds me a bit of the episode of the Good Life when Margo condescendingly gives Barbara one of her (hideous) dresses out of "charity." Then is furious to discover that they wanted it for the scarecrow.)

Ragwort Fri 26-Apr-13 16:51:56

I read it totally differently Balloon - I was sent the link to the Oxfam Vintage shop, thought it was excellent. I bet its had a lot more traffic anyway after this thread grin.

The comment about the scarecrow amused me - this really happened to me, I am a Cub Leader and the Cubs bought old clothes to make 'Guys' for Bonfire Night, some of the clothes were so nice that other Cubs took them home for themselves grin.

Sorry, off topic now !

I love charity shops and can certainly afford Boden, etc. I just get more joy from a bargain.
I wouldn't be upset at all, but I expect that is because I'm not hard up. I'd probably feel very differently if I were.

MeNeedShoes Fri 26-Apr-13 17:25:43

Where is the link?

scarletforya Fri 26-Apr-13 17:54:09

She sent me a text earlier after turning away at the shops after I said Hi saying how hurt she is. She has taken massive offence. She says she cannot believe that I misunderstood her, and is very hurt at my lack of trust in her good intentions. She says she was only being a good friend and that I have let her down.

Oh please, the martyr act. Poooooor mee. Melodramatic shite.

She tried to patronise you, you called her on it and now she is playing the dying swan to try to cover it up. She'll be telling everyone next what an ungrateful nutter you are. It's all about her eh!

IntheFrame Fri 26-Apr-13 18:43:06

oxfam link here

Genius idea

BackforGood Fri 26-Apr-13 20:26:49

Thanks for the link InTheFrame
Massively expensive prices for a charity shop though ! shock
Not sure how that affects the OP's thinking about it though grin

GrendelsMum Fri 26-Apr-13 21:30:05

I got half my wedding outfit from Oxfam vintage. I'm well classy, me. <irrelevant>

quesadilla Fri 26-Apr-13 22:00:34

The thing is it can be very hard to know what people's sensitive spots are. I personally wouldn't be insulted at all by someone pointing me toward charity shop dresses ( though I can understand how you could be), but if I were single and a friend repeatedly tried to matchmake or send links to dating websites as LemonPeculiar mentioned I would be seething.

I think it's always worth offering unsolicited help of this kind once to gauge the reaction: a person who is in sincere need of help and not sensitive about it is likely to be eternally grateful.

By the same token though its incumbent on you as a friend to learn to read the signs a bit. If someone politely declines the help the first time then - assuming you are not talking about something really serious like DV/serious marital trouble/mental illness - you need to back off if the signs say not to go there. People who keep on after being politely told their help isn't wanted usually are doing it for reasons to do with their own psychology and ultimately are being selfish.

I have a friend who I know is skint who I invited to an activity for toddlers as our dcs are roughly the same age and she said she couldn't afford it. I offered to pay, she politely but firmly declined. I won't ask again: she knows the offer is there but I am not going to hammer it home again and again.

Inevtitably sometimes we misread the signs and offend: that's when you need to sit down and thrash it out, but if you have been told once you've been told. Your friend was no doubt well-intentioned but she has done this before and not learned the lessons. If you care about her, tell her in no uncertain terms that you value her but she needs to learn a few boundaries.

greenformica Fri 26-Apr-13 22:07:58

I think you are being over sensitive. I think your friend is just trying to be helpful and cares for you.

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