Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Is this friendship worth continuing?

(48 Posts)
Losingexcessweight Sat 12-Jan-13 16:43:29

This may be long, but i dont want to drip feed and at the same time its best to have a good picture..

Im 25, i have a friend whos almost 60. We met when we used to work together about 5-6 years ago (we both no longer work there and havent for several years). We have always had alot of contact, speaking on the phone several times a week, seeing each other once a week.

I have found over the years that whenever i see her i usually end up taking her somewhere local or taking her to the supermarket etc and then taking her back home with her shopping (even if i dont need to go to the supermarket myself).

My friend struggles alot with money, and never seems to be happy in her job. So this has resulted in her being a bit of a "moaner"

I cant remember the last time she said anything positive about anything.

Since i ve had my baby (12 weeks ago) i find her personality has become more irrating. I know this sounds awful. I feel shes constantly giving me advice, telling me to do certain things with my DD. I have noticed that when i take my DD to her house, when DD is crying, my friends response to DD is

"Shut up, shut up, shut up etc" This is said in a sharp tone, which i dont think she intends to be aggressive in her tone, but its something i dont like her saying TBH.

Or she will say "Whats all that noise" again in a sharp tone.

When she holds my DD, DD doesnt seem settled with her, and will scream until i hold her myself.

Im wondering if DD is doing this because shes associating her with that sharp tone. I dont know if at 12 weeks old she can do that.

Other comments are:

"shes spoilt already"
"she has you right weighed up"

My friend also constantly offers to mind my DD, which i have refused every single time.

I feel this friendship has run its course, and i dont wish to see her again.

I dont know how to break this friendship off, or if i have no real reason to discontinue the friendship.

I have spoken to my mum about her who has suggested just constantly never being available and too busy to meet whenever she wants to arrange something, but i know my friend will ask after afew times of me saying this, "whats the problem?"

I have enjoyed her company in the past and have enjoyed talking to her, but i have felt abit used by her in the past as i have a car etc.

Any advice on what to do with this situation?

ImperialBlether Sat 12-Jan-13 16:51:44

It's been an unusual relationship right from the start - she's old enough to be your mum but has been dependent on you for lifts etc. Can I ask you who was most likely to make the phone calls? If it was you, how was she if you didn't phone, eg if you were out for a while?

I wouldn't visit anyone who told my new baby to shut up and I CERTAINLY wouldn't let her mind my child.

I think I'd just let it peter out and try to make more friends your own age who are in a similar situation. Do you go to play groups etc? I remember I thought you couldn't go to them until your child was big enough to play and was surprised to find the eldest child was four months old.

I wonder how your mum felt about this friendship - did your friend give you something that your mum didn't?

Losingexcessweight Sat 12-Jan-13 16:56:47

Initating contact has been equal both ways.

I have just recently started going to a playgroup.

My mum was fine about her. My friend is young in the mind for her ages and we have got on personality wise, i ve never seen her as a mother figure.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 12-Jan-13 17:05:33

I find this quite an odd situation.

Speaking to someone several times a week and meeting once a week is quite an intense friendship, isn't it?

Can completely see why you want to cut her out given the things she has said about/to your daughter. I bloody would in your position.

But I'm a bit surprised this friendship didn't peter out ages ago, since there doesn't seem to be much good in it for you...?

I'm finding it hard to understand why you carried on initiating contact with someone so negative/exploitative etc.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 12-Jan-13 17:12:03

Also I find it odd that you said this:

I don't know...if i have no real reason to discontinue the friendship

You don't need a reason and even if you did, there are plenty. Look at it another way - do you have a reason to continue the friendship? It doesn't sound like it really.

If you think she won't let things just fall away (ie take the hint) then you must just be honest with her. Just say you think you no longer have so much in common with her since you had your baby and you don't like the way she behaves around her and the things she says.

It's fair enough. What are you worried about? That she will be angry? A real friend would be mortified, not angry. You seem to feel you owe her something and you don't.

Good luck with it, and enjoy your baby. I envy you having a little one smile

Losingexcessweight Sat 12-Jan-13 17:12:23

We used to work together so it wasnt easy to cut contact then, and after that i think it was just habit tbh.

She has had afew physically abusive relationships in the past and is very anti-men. She admits this on a regular basis.

She does feel my husband isnt good enough (he does have his faults etc) like everybody, and has said that i should never have got married. I have never given off the impression that im not happy with dh etc.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 12-Jan-13 17:17:39

She sounds worse and worse.

Who does she think she is?

tumbletumble Sat 12-Jan-13 17:17:44

Maybe you feel a bit guilty about ending the friendship because she relies on you to help with her shopping etc? But her treatment of your DD would be ringing alarm bells for me.

Losingexcessweight Sat 12-Jan-13 17:21:49

I dont like negative feeling etc and thats why i dont want to just blurt everything out to her etc. And probaly why i ve allowed this to continue for so long. :-(

ekidna Sat 12-Jan-13 17:24:22

Peter it out and if she does ask you why tell her you don't want to spend time with someone who talks to your daughter like that full stop. She sounds horrible- cant see any reason to look back

ekidna Sat 12-Jan-13 17:27:54

Not your negative feelings to deal with they are her negative feelings to deal with. Check out some assertiveness formulas on web and stick to them if she tries to cling on to you

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 12-Jan-13 17:32:55

You sound like a nice person. It's not easy feeling that you are hurting someone's feelings. But she sounds like someone who thinks the whole world is against her. I think you know, don't you, that if you break off this 'friendship' that you will be the next focus for her resentment. And you probably don't like the idea of that either.

But it's a self fulfilling prophecy from her, really isn't it? If you are miserable and negative people will lose patience with you and not want to spend time with you... making your more miserable and negative.

This is not really your problem. You need to focus on your own life and you are not obliged to have someone in it who irritates and drains you. This is not a healthy friendship anyway, not at all. She is jealous - your dh is one focus and now your daughter. It reminds me a bit of Notes On A Scandal, why don't you watch that film? Judi Dench is brilliant in it smile

Losingexcessweight Sun 13-Jan-13 06:22:22

How do i break this friendship off without being offensive to her?

Sneets Sun 13-Jan-13 06:49:02

Does your DH work? Is your mum available? Do stuff with them instead at first to break it off slowly. And join playgroups, she certainly wouldn't want to go to them with crying babies! It may take time but if you do it slowly it won't hurt either if you. And if she does feel hurt, she'll get over it, she's a grown woman! You have too much to look forward to in life being so young, don't keep her in your life.

WinkyWinkola Sun 13-Jan-13 06:57:26

Never ever leave your child with her! Not that you would now that you're looking to end the friendship.

Next time she calls to make an arrangement, tell her you're busy. Extend each visit by a week or so. Fade away.

However, if someone said shut up to my dcs, then I'd have probably fallen out with them already. And the comments about your marriage - did you not stand up for your dh and you? dSounds like she leans on you for lifts etc but is actually very rude to you! sad

Does she have children of her own btw? Does she have anyone else in her life apart from you?

barbiecollector Sun 13-Jan-13 07:01:25

I feel this friendship has run its course, and i dont wish to see her again.

There's your answer. I agree that you should 'fade away' as she hasn't actually done anything wrong and you don't want to hurt her feelings. If she asks why you don't see her anymore, maybe say something like you prefer hanging out with other mums with small children?

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 13-Jan-13 07:13:14

Op I used to have a much older friend met through work. Does she have any family or are you her only friend?

Tbh I don't think you are going to get away without it becoming unpleasant, there is no way to break contact without her feeling hurt as she will miss you. That's not to say you have to keep seeing her. Some white lies and not calling if you can't face anything more

Losingexcessweight Sun 13-Jan-13 07:14:37

Of course i did correct her about my dh.

She can be quite rude, i have noticed that. She has a dd whos 34. She has fell out with her afew times but says her dd has a attitude problem hmm

"I think your dd is really coming on, and i'd tell you if i felt she wasnt whether it upset you or not"

So theres a compliment and a horrible comment in there in one sentence.

Sneets Sun 13-Jan-13 07:19:24

Obviously SHE has the problem. Probably why she THINKS her dd has one, and why, when you fizzle out her life, you will hear that you have one!

Losingexcessweight Sun 13-Jan-13 07:20:14

She has about 3 friends (they are her own age)

She has family close by, not alot of family tho.

Dh hates me going to see her, as i come back in a bad mood and we end up having a row :-(

I have thought about ignoring all calls and texts and hoping she ll give up. But i dont think thats a nice thing to do, and i wouldnt like it if that was done to me

Sneets Sun 13-Jan-13 07:22:31

But you don't sound horrid so none would do that to you. Slowly fizzle it out. Your better than this. See other friends, make other friends.

lagoonhaze Sun 13-Jan-13 07:27:01

Friendships often wane as you adapt to motherhood and meet new people. You really don't need to have a friend as toxic as this zapping your energy around your precious time with new baby.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 13-Jan-13 07:32:37

Dh hates me going to see her, as i come back in a bad mood and we end up having a row :-(

Oh dear. Well yes you need to finish things then. I think your mums advice is right. When she asks if there's a problem just say you have been busy with lots of things

MaryPoppinsBag Sun 13-Jan-13 07:55:21

You need to screen calls and don't answer them. Reply to texts but say you are really sorry but you are busy on that day/ week.

She will get the message.

StupidFlanders Sun 13-Jan-13 07:55:23

As your baby gets older you'll find yourself much too busy for this regular meet up anyway. I'd say that you've joined a few mums' groups so you're busy most days and be very direct if she asks you to meet up after say that the busy morning exhausts you and your dd so you'd rather not.

If she still wants to catch up I'd be very specific and say she could come round to your place from 10-11 next Thirsday (or the following week) without offering to pick her up and continue in this manner. Your life is very different now, don't make it harder.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 13-Jan-13 09:09:35

Has she ever been to your house or is it always you going to hers (in your car, etc...)? The trouble with inviting her to yours (unless you are 100% sure she won't bother to make the trip) is that you can't decide when the visit is over IYSWIM. I think, from what you've posted, that you'll struggle to be hard-hearted enough to block her out of your life, unless you are really ready/annoyed enough to do that. If not, the 'gradually spacing & shortening visits' approach is best - and, of course, gather your stuff together and leave the next time she tells DD to shut up. 'Better go now, her crying is obviously upsetting you'. Good luck & keep posting!

Walkacrossthesand Sun 13-Jan-13 09:12:56

PS I meant that you need to block her out in the longer term of course - just a question of whether it's gradual or 'cold turkey'!

Losingexcessweight Sun 13-Jan-13 09:19:37

I wanna go cold turkey, but dont really want to explain why (god im a wimp).

She lives in my hometown which is 40mins away, so i couldnt even use the excuse that i havent money or time to travel etc as she knows i go to see family etc on a weekly basis.

Would it be horrible of me to just no longer reply to texts and phone calls?

navada Sun 13-Jan-13 09:32:04

Hi op:

The age gap wouldn't be a problem for me, in fact, I find your attitude wonderfully refreshing ( older women are still lovely interesting people smile )
however, the friendship has clearly run it's course & you have to be honest with her. I wouldn't ignore her calls, you need to keep your integrity & not just disappear like a wimp, tell her the truth - & the truth is you simply haven't got the time now for such an intense friendship. How about catching up with her once every couple of months? - suggest that & see what she says.

WinkyWinkola Sun 13-Jan-13 09:41:30

You are allowed to visit whoever you want without feeling obliged to visit her even if you're in the next street.

Say your petrol costs are too high travelling 80 mins every week.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 13-Jan-13 09:49:01

I wouldn't drag it out as others have suggested - it is clearly over, so why have her somewhere in the background still playing on your mind.

I know it is very hard to break up a friendship having worried and worried about doing it myself. However, I did and although after a lot of procrastination, it was actually quite easy.

I did it in a very simple way: a) Didn't text her b) when she did, I didn't reply straight away, left it for 2 days or so, and just said I am so sorry I am very very busy at the moment.

This happened a couple of times and then she got the message. Simple!

I don't think it's cowardly (I actually don't mind confronting people). It spared her feelings, and from time to time I will probably bump in to her, and it won't be embarressing for either of us, because nothing negative was said, if you see what I mean - ie. it just ended up fizzling out.

So my advice would be don't delay just do it!

Losingexcessweight Sun 13-Jan-13 10:59:19

Grrr just recieved a text from her

"Hi, sorry to bother you, but work are wanting my e-learning done by the end of the week and i havent got time to do it, could you have a look at it? Ta."

E-learning is a online learning thing she has to complete every year to do with her job, and over the last two years i have done it for her as she says shes not good on a computer and the questions are too hard. It takes hours to do.

i know she cant work a computer very well. I ve just texted back that i havent got time for that and she ll have to do it herself.

heres the reply

"whats the matter with you stress head, your not the only one to have a baby, your heading for trouble girl!"

I texted back "fuck off" i was furious!!!!

And got one back saying you too!

Well thats done with now.

barbiecollector Sun 13-Jan-13 11:07:05

Well, that's that then, Losingexcessweight. I wouldn't bother with her anymore.

For what it's worth, I think you sound like a really nice person. Get yourself some better friends and don't allow people to take advantage of your good nature.

WinkyWinkola Sun 13-Jan-13 11:28:31

WOW Losing. She's really going to miss you!

She says you're a stress head when she's foisting ALL this work onto you? And she does it so casually too. Has she ever shown you appreciation, got you a little gift for the e-learning work you have done for her? She should do it herself. It's her work.

And if the questions are too hard and she's not good on a computer, then either she's on the wrong course or it's a complete fib to get YOU to do her work.

My word. She's been taking the p*ss and you sound like a lovely, caring friend. Enough now - the eff off text was the right thing to do. You said no and she insults you for not wanting to manage her life commitments as well as your own?!!!! She's mad. Well rid. Long may it last.

And don't forget there are plenty of other people out there who will take the piss too and they're equally hard to shed so maybe don't be quite so helpful next time. It's a shame because the piss takers can really make you hesitant when offering to help. I always think twice now unfortunately.

HollyBerryBush Sun 13-Jan-13 11:45:51

I was going to suggest just letting it slide ..... plenty of excuses with a small baby.... not immediately returning texts or phone calls .... but I see you have managed to do it all for yoruself!

grin

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 13-Jan-13 12:10:36

Well done op.

Now you are fully able to brush off and attempt she makes at making up.

Not nice but hey at least it's over with.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 13-Jan-13 12:25:32

Ha, that's what you call shooting yourself in the foot innit? All she had to do was be nice and she'd have had free lifts, company and her work training done for her (bad practice, that) for ever after.

Only one thing wrong with your response to her, OP. I know texts are supposed to be brief but you have to observe proper form with these things. The correct expression is: "Fuck the fuck off to the far side of fuck, and when you get there, fuck off some more".

Memorise for future occasions!

wow. Just wow.

Lucky escape.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 13-Jan-13 22:23:25

Wow - this must win the MN award for 'dilemma reaching the quickest conclusion'! Your 'friend' certainly showed her true colours today didn't she OP - such a hostile response to a simple 'no, sorry I can't help'. Well done for your swift and clear response - it's clearly more important to her to feel 'in charge' than to keep sweet those who help her. Let's hope that's the last of it - although I fear there will be more hostile/abusive texts to follow after she's stewed over it a bit. I hope you'll be able to ignore them, as they deserve to be ignored.

Sneets Sun 13-Jan-13 22:41:30

Blimey! Good riddance and have a happy life! Forget about her, just one of life's takers. Don't let her ruin your lovely giving side, it's a beautiful person who can give. She's mental!!!!! grin

blueshoes Sun 13-Jan-13 22:42:58

Job done. Well done, OP.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 13-Jan-13 22:51:30

Use this as the perfect reason to break free, so even if she tries to contact you and comes crawling back STAND FIRM!!!

ImperialBlether Sun 13-Jan-13 23:42:59

So she asked you to do it "because she didn't have time" but when you really don't have time, she goes mad?

You've been lucky, OP. You've put her firmly in the wrong and you don't need to see her again!

Losingexcessweight Mon 14-Jan-13 11:29:20

Thanks for your support. I did get a text from her about an hour later saying she wasnt asking me to do it, and calm down and i thought we were friends?

I never replied.

digerd Mon 14-Jan-13 12:47:20

Good for you!
I was wondering how she has any other friends at all, or is she only like that with you and as nice as pie to her other 3 "friends".
She sounds a nasty piece of work, and you have put up with her for too long.
Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

lemonstartree Mon 14-Jan-13 13:06:02

wow, she sounds like a horrible negative toxic person. You, on the other hand, sound lovely (but maybe a bit too giving ?) You are well rid !

JustFabulous Mon 14-Jan-13 13:09:47

How old she is is irrelevant. She is telling your newborn to shut up, is being spiteful about her. I would be ending the "relationship" PDQ.

JustFabulous Mon 14-Jan-13 13:26:04

As usual I answered the OP without reading the developments.

Telling her to fuck off wasn't very mature but OMG I understood why you did.

I would be letting things go now though be prepared for when she is weedling around you again. And OF COURSE she was asking you to do her work. You have done it before and there was no ambiguity in her text to you about it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now