Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Friend let me down but was I wrong?

(44 Posts)
monkeynuts123 Thu 21-Mar-13 20:06:19

I just need to get a totally objective view on this. My daughter had a disability when she was born which she has fully grown out of. I know that sounds unusual but I don't want to give more details because it will totally out me, suffice to say it was something that given time rights itself and in our case it did just that. Anyway, right back at the beginning things could have turned out very differently and I was totally beside myself with shock, stress and just heartbroken for her actually. I really needed so much support to just get through each day and although I have a great DH and good local friends I really needed my old friends. I had an old friend who lives a long way away who came to visit another friend in the city where I live so for once she was really close by. I was so relieved and was holding out to see her and so looking forward to being able to really talk things through. She was here for 5 days and saw us for only 3 hours and instead spent all her time with another friend. We went out with the kids. She avoided my txts thereafter while she was here and was elusive about meeting back up again. Eventually she txtd to say she'd gone home. She didn't even come to say goodbye.

I just felt so let down and felt how can she really care to do this and that's not what I would have done to her, I would have been there. I told her how upset I was and we didn't talk for several months. Eventually I phoned her because I just couldn't understand why she'd not cared enough to spend time with me. She said I was stressed and she found it tricky. I told her the friendship was over because I couldn't continue to be friends with someone who dropped me like that because I was stressed when my DD was so sick and who didn't stand
by me in the worst time of my whole life. I think I found out she wasn't such a good friend after all.

I do miss her and wonder if I was too harsh. I would put this in aibu except it can be a bit brutal over there and I think she might mn too.

I'd probably have done the same. In fact have stopped contact with several 'close' friends who were suspiciously absent when xp left when dd was a few months old. Though I'm not as brave as you I've never told them just cut contact.

Posterofapombear Thu 21-Mar-13 20:13:25

I think you were right. Friends help friends.

LemonPeculiarJones Thu 21-Mar-13 20:14:15

I don't think you were being harsh. It's at times like that when we learn most about our friends.

Even if she is usually rubbish and awkward around difficult, painful emotional issues, she should have apologised when you called her.

I think unfortunately you found out that she wasn't the friend you thought she was sad

Focus on your other, good friends now. And such fantastic news about your DD's recovery!

monkeynuts123 Thu 21-Mar-13 20:27:08

Thank you for replying. I just feel so upset about it and still can't quite believe it, I can't imagine doing that to anyone let alone supposedly a very very old friend. She didn't apologise at all but just said she felt it was tricky and I was stressed and difficult to be around and that if I ever changed my mind we could still be friends. I mean what for?

EverybodysSootyEyed Thu 21-Mar-13 20:34:46

Trying to be devils advocate

Could she have been going trough something in her life at the time that made it difficult for her? Or it could have stirred memories of a difficult time?

Was she caught between a rock and a hard place with the other friend she was staying with?

Ultimately this is a deal breaker for you so stick to your decision. But don't let it eat you up inside. You've moved on and you have other friends.

Best of luck to you and your family after such a stressful time

monkeynuts123 Thu 21-Mar-13 20:49:35

Sooty that's the thing, I said to her that I can talk for as long as she needs to if it triggered something for her or if she found it difficult for some reason (it was upsetting for everyone), but she insisted she was fine, it was all ok but I was tricky etc so she found it difficult. The other friend had something going on too but she could easily have come by to say goodbye at the least and I know the other woman who would have been understanding as very sweet. Thank you for the good wishes and I am so thankful my girl is well after all.

EverybodysSootyEyed Thu 21-Mar-13 20:51:06

I would just write it off. Friends come and go - it is only really special ones who are there throughout.

Bogeyface Thu 21-Mar-13 22:45:57

What I got from your post was that you were desperate to see her so you could talk to her about your DD. Perhaps she was feeling put upon or under pressure. If you didnt say that you wanted to see her just because you love her and miss her but just talked about how you wanted to discuss your DD, I can sort of see why she avoided you.

Bogeyface Thu 21-Mar-13 22:48:17

Sorry, submitted too soon.

I meant to add that if all you wanted from her visit was to bend her ear about your DD then she could well feel used.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 07:24:43

Bogey, this was a friend of over 20 years for who I had sat on the phone with literally for hours listening to boyfriend issues/mother issues etc and I had always been there for her. I think 'bending ear' might apply to an acquaintance or a friend you meet for coffee but not in this case. She had always been a good support in the past and I am not a high maintenance friend, I have lots of friends to turn to. This was an exceptional situation that frankly I would have thought any long-term friend would step up in.

tribpot Fri 22-Mar-13 07:31:11

I wonder if she just didn't know what to say. A true friend would have known that listening was more important - you weren't expecting her to be able to fix the problem, after all.

I had a similar thing with my best friend from uni days. Although it haunts me to this day that I dropped her in a very brutal way, I know it was the right thing to do.

diddl Fri 22-Mar-13 07:42:50

What did you expect from her?

She listened-what else could she do?

I think you probably built it all up too much in your mind about her visit-which was just that to her-a visit-whereas for you it was all about your daughter (understandably).

But all the other old friends that you needed-did they measure up?

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 08:10:11

Diddl I suppose I just assumed she would be there for me and want to spend time with me, I was in a total mess but holding it together obviously for kids and yes I think a true friend would have done that. My other friends have been wonderful so I think from that I take heart. All I know is I sympathise now with parents who say friends sometimes vanish when a child is diagnosed with sn. For my girl things resolved and she's now totally fine but I think this friend just ran for the hills. Odd.

diddl Fri 22-Mar-13 08:20:50

I certainly agree that she could/should have spent more time with you.

I live away & I have a really good friend who I always make sure I see.

There are others I like to see as well, but I can't imagine not putting them off for my other friend if necessary iyswim.

I can imagine that she might have felt a bit beholden to the person she was staying with.

How long had you moved away?

Perhaps she no longer considered you such a friend & was therefore surprised by how much you leant on her?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 22-Mar-13 09:00:18

I don't think she coped at all well and couldn't put her own feelings aside to comfort or listen to you. Sort of a 'good times' person who couldn't step up when something tough was happening to you. Hours spent being a rock for her didn't ultimately count for much when she had the chance to give back.

Glad your DD is on the road to full health.

GladbagsGold Fri 22-Mar-13 09:15:40

Glad your DD is ok now.

You say in your OP 'I think I found out she wasn't such a good friend after all' - I agree with you and I don't think you are wrong to feel hurt and let down. It sounds as though you have done all the running to see if this friendship can be mended. Maybe time to let it go?

Going against the grain here, but I think you are overreacting. (Sorry about your dd, glad to hear she is ok now)

You say yourself you needed lots of support, you have a great dh and great local new friends, but you also needed your old friends. Why? You already had a support network, how many friends did you need to be supportive?

Why exactly did you need that particular old friend who lives far away, and who came to visit another friend for a few days? If she was there 5 days, when you think about travelling, she only really spent 3 full days which were free and for her to use. But she was staying with another friend, and quite possibly this other friend had other plans! You saw her for 3 hours on one of these days. Why was this not enough? What more could she do?

I think you were unreasonable to expect that an old friend who came to visit another friend, should focus so much on you. You sound needy and dramatic, and it sounds to me that you were not coping at all with the situation. But it is unfair to lay it all out on this poor old friend.

I think you were harsh. But I think she is unlikely to want to be your friend again, as phoning her to ask why she did not spend more time with you, was totally over the top.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 22-Mar-13 09:43:37

Disagree, Quint. OP was going through a horribly traumatic and upsetting time and was actively avoided by her friend, who later told her she was being 'tricky' and she didn't want to deal with it.

OP has said that she has spent lots of time listening to the ex-friends woes. Seems like it was a one-way street.

Yes, but Friend did not come to visit OP, she came to visit another friend.
Seems to me that OP was desperate to talk to her friend about her dd, whereas friend just want to have a break and visit with another friend.

But so much is not said in the op, like when she last saw this friend, if friend had moved and came back to native village and possibly had lots of duty visits to fit in. Or if op had moved and friend incidentally had another friend in the same area. Or whether friend had children or not, or had them with her or left them at home with dp/parents/whatever.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 09:50:17

Pq, I suppose you have a different idea of friendship than me. This friend has been happy to lean on me for literally hours and hours but when I most needed her... kerput! She came to see both of us. I think if you knew the whole situation with dd you wouldn't say I was dramatic, in need yes but isn't that true of all of us at some time in life.

Mumsyblouse Fri 22-Mar-13 09:55:00

It is very difficult when you are staying with one person to start emotionally supporting another in a different house. Your friend was on a visit to someone else (not just to a town), perhaps that person was having a hard time, but she still made time to see you for a few hours, with the children. I don't think this is a bad friend at all.

Some of my friends haven't been there for me over the years because perhaps the year I was having a terrible time, they were too (elderly parents, work stress, ill children). I wouldn't dump them over this, but know that these things come in full circle, and it is never bad to have supported someone, even if they don't 'pay back' immediately.

I think friendship works best with reasonably low expectations and lots of kindness, especially with old friends. Your old friend did visit you, indeed clearly made it a priority when staying with other people. This was not the appropriate time for a heart to heart and it was unrealistic. I'm with Quint on this one, sorry.

And- I don't dump friends easily because, unlike some people have implied, perfect friends who always do the right thing, who are always there for you, and so on are as mythical as the perfect husband. Unless they are an out and out user (which this friend does not seem) then I don't see the point in having a 'leave the bastard' attitude to old friends.

Mumsyblouse Fri 22-Mar-13 10:00:26

And- because I live somewhere that old friends often do visit, especially when visiting their relatives or other friends in the city (as I met them either at school or work), we usually agree that if they come to see another friend, they spend most of their time with that friend, otherwise they get torn every which way. If my good friend comes for two weeks with her parents and family, we may meet, with the kids, possibly once or twice. This is not personal against me, it's very stressful visiting and trying to cope with everyone's needs at once, as usually your host has already got a programme of stuff for you to do, so every time you leave them, you feel you are neglecting them and the other people feel aggrieved you are not spending more time with them!

I'm not saying she handled this perfectly, but I wouldn't lose an old friend over this myself.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 10:01:34

Thanks for replies. I think replies help me to clarify that I did the right thing for me. I think if a friend can't be there for you when your child is seriously sick then that is not much of a friend, old or new. I have had low expectations of her in past but for me this is as low as it gets. Besides, I think low expectations of how people treat you is not a particularly healthy stance. I think the fact that she was focussed on what my pain felt like to her was self indulgent and sometimes friends are tricky and are in need and that is what relationships are all about, give and take. But not take take take.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 22-Mar-13 10:02:37

I'm with you on this one, OP.

I agree with mumsy about old friendships needing tolerance and kindness. But there are limits.

In your situation I would have been shocked at my friend's detachment, too. I'm not surprised you feel entirely let down by her, especially since you have devoted a great deal of time supporting her in the past.

I find visiting hard.

We live in London, and every time we go and visit either Norway where I am from, or Warsaw where dh is from, there are so many expectations from friends and family. It is really difficult not to offend people. We hardly ever really get to chose what to do or who to see, and we always feel we have not spent enough time with everybody. Dh has two friends in Warsaw that we try to see at least twice. It does not always work that way. There are family obligations too. And the same in Norway.

These visits are tiring, and I always come back feeling that I need a holiday. Not least because we have the childrens expectations to manage too. And because we are not always able to leave the kids with family/friends to go out, or see friends on our own without kids.

It was the same the three years we lived in Norway, coming back to London was a whirlwind of ensuring enough time was spent with the people we care about.

Everybody expect LOTS of time. Not just one visit, but many, but when you count the days spent and the amount of friends, it is hard not to disappoint people.

I think that you need to bear this in mind too, OP, as friends visit was not just about your needs, but this friends ability to fit in everything she wanted to do.

Mumsyblouse Fri 22-Mar-13 10:09:45

Did you not speak on the phone before this? Do you chat a lot?

I just find it odd you pinned all your hopes on having a heart to heart with her at this particular visit. I didn't get if she had children, but you do- so when were these heart to hearts supposed to take place? I don't think this visit was the right setting, and this proved to be the case.

But, as you say, if that's right for you, let go. However, you are missing her and now have no real way back into the friendship and that is a little bit sad.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 10:15:50

Thank you lemon. I'm really not needy or dramatic and am a good friend to people and give my friends support and help when they need it. Even though DH was great he was suffering too and my other friends were very kind but because this friend always called herself my best friend and I'd known her the longest and she and I have been to hell and back in the past in her life and in mine, I just assumed she would want to be there for me. I was bridesmaid at her wedding fgs. She actively avoided me when she was here and I would have been ok with is if she'd said she felt awkward with other friend or even felt it too painful to witness. But it's the fact she said I was stressed and she found that tricky. Blimey I've been there for this girl when she was on edge of a breakdown. I think I have to just let it go now.

diddl Fri 22-Mar-13 10:21:18

" I would have been ok with is if she'd said she felt awkward with other friend or even felt it too painful to witness. But it's the fact she said I was stressed and she found that tricky."

So because she didn't give the excuse you would have found acceptable, you dumped her??

I think if she had been your only means of support it might have been more understandable.

She might have tried to be diplomatic.... Maybe your stress and high expectations that she could not meet were tricky? I would agree with that!

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 10:26:03

Maybe, oh well I'll think about it all. There prob would be a way back in but I don't want to. Sometimes I think things run their course and although you miss people that's not always an indicator that they're good for you. Thanks for all replies, must go and get on with rl now. xx

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 22-Mar-13 10:39:47

Ok OP. I don't think you were expecting too much. It's not the same as Quint visiting Norway and finding it understandably stressful to meet everyone's expectations.

There are certain life events that allow you to need your friends - and you were going through one of them. She wasn't there for you. Stay with your truth about this one.

We go to Norway 3 times a year, so no, in that respect I guess it is not the same.

Lots of people who have never moved around much, and dont have friends and family spread across the country, or Europe, would never understand the issues surrounding visiting and expectations.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 11:10:02

It's not Norway to UK or anything like that distance. When she avoided my txts when here was because she was having an afternoon nap most days cos was up in evening chatting with other friend. Nice.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 22-Mar-13 11:13:39

Quint it really does sound like your situation is very different to the OPs.

Issues surrounding visiting and expectations are one thing, someone with devastating news about her newborn child being let down by a friend badly is another.

I was not saying my situation is the same, merely illustrating how difficult it is to get to spend enough quality time with everybody you want to see. And how you cannot just leave your children behind with friends and relatives to have evenings out or visit other in the evenings.

monkey. You are upset that your friend was sitting up chatting to the friend that she was visiting. Instead of coming to spend time with you. I hope one day you will understand what a predicament your friend was in, and how rude she would come across if she abandoned her hostess in the evening to come and see you. Especially if you and her hostess did not know each-other. And especially if this required the hostess to babysit your friends children. I am assuming your friend has children as you have been asked this by many posters, and not responded to confirm that she hasnt.

Bogeyface Fri 22-Mar-13 11:36:55

was up in evening chatting with other friend. Nice.

Sorry but I dont see a problem with that either! She was staying with this other friend, why on earth should see not stay up talking to her? Are you saying that although she was staying with this other friend she should go to bed nice and early in order to spend all her time with you?

I am sorry, but you really do sound needy and demanding.

monkeynuts123 Fri 22-Mar-13 11:38:15

I'm afraid her host knows me and is an absolute sweetie. I'm not talking about hours here, just even to come by and say goodbye. We're not ladies in pearls here minding our ps and qs (no pun intended!)

Bogeyface Fri 22-Mar-13 11:42:17

Does she have children?

diddl Fri 22-Mar-13 11:42:34

I hear you Quint-my ILs are always aghast that we don't want to spend entire visits with them & people of their choosinghmm

Mumsyblouse Fri 22-Mar-13 12:22:56

I have never visited someone to say 'goodbye', the more you say, the more I think this was just a huge misunderstanding, you felt she was coming to visit you both, but in fact, she was visiting the friend and naturally stayed up late at night chatting, and having a nap (perhaps she was using this as a break/emotional time-out herself) when the opportunity came up. Perhaps her friend was talking through her problems every evening! She came to see you for three hours, presumably had a lovely time with the kids. I am still not seeing her major crime, although if you don't have a close phone/email relationship I can see how you might (incorrectly in my opinion) have pinned your hopes on this.

One way to handle this might have been to assume the best, and not the worst. I would have assumed that my friend was getting pulled in all directions and had made the effort to see me, and so no big deal. But if I wanted a personal heart-toheart, I would have phoned afterwards (and I have done this) and said 'it was so lovely to see you the other day, I felt it would be nicer to keep in touch even more regularly' and then start chatting about your issues/problems in that way.

If you/her don't chat on the phone and aren't that close any more, this is a bigger problem that couldn't be fixed by this visit and in which case, perhaps you are best to move on (if insolvable).

BarbarianMum Fri 22-Mar-13 12:44:21

OP I have been in a very similar situation to you.

I did not lose any friends over it but I did learn which of my friends would be there for me at a bad time and it was not the friends I would have guessed. They are the friends that I hold dearest now. Some others - well I see them when it's mutually convenient but I don't look for more than superficial friendship with them, regardless of how long we have seen each other. They are 'good times' friends and that cuts both ways.

Tbh I find all the 'maybe it wasn't a good time for her/maybe she didn't know what to say/maybe she had better other things to do excuses quite poor. When a crisis comes I am there for my friends. If I don't know what to say (almost always the case), I listen. Or do something practical to help.

When we were so worried about ds2 one of my friends sent me some smoked eel, with a note to say she was thinking about us. smile She has no children, has never wanted children, doesn't even like children and would be the last person to understand what we were going through or know what to say but nevertheless she got in touch and showed she cared. And I have never forgotten it.

BarbarianMum Fri 22-Mar-13 12:45:05

...regardless of how long we have known each other...

Doh!

Shakey1500 Fri 22-Mar-13 12:52:07

It sounds to me like you really needed her, was expecting her to be there more than she was. She obviously didn't realise just HOW much you needed her but nonetheless, if she couldn't see some of that, then I wouldn't say she was on the same wavelength at all.

What is telling though is that, if she genuinely hadn't realised, she would have been more apologetic during the phone call. Says to me that the friendship, on her side, wasn't that deep to her.

I would wish her well and move on. Glad your DD is well smile

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