to be dreading this weekend away?(36 Posts)
I am in a circle of friends, some of whom were initially introduced to one another by me (e.g. university friends, old work friends, school friends etc) but who also now obviously have their own friendships with one another, having shared the love (no pampas grass involved - just to be clear ).
I have a friend (Jane - names have been changed!) who can be very sweet at times but also very hard work. Every holiday or trip away we have been away on has involved a lot of sulking. I find sulking v hard to deal with - I don't particularly like confrontation but I would rather know what I have done wrong so I can at least try and put it right and prolonged sulking on holidays over the past few years has ruined an entire weekend in Edinburgh and several days out of a week's break abroad (involving Jane being particularly nasty to another friend's new girlfriend who was being a bit overbearing but well intentioned towards Jane - was concerned Jane was being left out ironically because she didn't want to to do a particular activity we all booked to do on a day out and Jane ended up snapping at her).
So....another friend (Zoe) from the group is planning a big birthday weekend shortly. I have had a horrible time over the past 2 years involving court cases, bullying at work, partner leaving me with 6 month old baby etc. Jane like I said can be really sweet at times but is quite self-absorbed e.g. I know everyone's names at her work because I have to listen to a detailed breakdown of work events every time we speak, whereas she doesn't even know what my job is really and it is quite apparent that she switches off if you bore her with your own problems so I tend to withdraw from communicating with her when going through a tough time myself. It's just easier that way if I view her as a good time friend (she once put the phone down on me the only time I have cried to her!) In one big outburst from her (again on holiday) it became apparent that she thinks I just wing through life on a lovely fluffy cloud being jammy and her constant refrain when I either offer sympathy or solutions if she's having a moan is "well it's alright for you".
Zoe is unaware that Jane thinks she is weird (zoe is not weird, quirky yes) and Jane does not really like certain kinds of conversation (e.g. if we get involved in chatting about books - some of the friends were met on a writing course so we have this in common). I have been out of contact with Jane for a month or two due to me dealing with some more shit so I've just gone off radar for a bit until I can be robust enough again just to have fun.
Anyway...skip to the end. Zoe has invited Jane to the birthday weekend away in a few weeks time and I am absolutely dreading it. I know I will have to get in touch with her before then and apologise for being out of contact (she hasn't pursued other than one text saying hello?) but I am not sure I am robust enough bear a weekend. I have tried to mention to Zoe about Jane and holidays not mixing well (she witnessed the outburst against the new gf on other trip) but it's not my place to say to Zoe who she has at her birthday and I think Zoe just thinks I am trying to control friendships which I would not want to do at all. (Zoe and Jane never speak on the phone or have any other contact really outside of social events organised by one of the group - Jane does not organise stuff socially generally). Zoe would be v upset if I dropped out and I had already been excited and helping her plan and book stuff before she mentioned she had emailed Jane so it would be me being the sulky one and I don't want to ruin Zoe's birthday.
AAAAAARGH and yet I know (am seeing a psychiatrist, on A-Ds) that my tolerance is incredibly low (used to be a v easygoing person and am v sad that recent experiences have made me not so anymore) and I am going to have to organise childcare, spend a lot of money (which will also be a trigger point for Jane - she earns less so needs to budget and I hope we are sensitive to that in terms of affordability for everyone but combined with the other vetoes she wants to wield on what food she will/won't eat out it gets v difficult - Zoe wants to splash out for birthday and I don't think realises the constraints we will need to be conscious of) to go another holiday marred by long periods of sulking.
Am I being unreasonable? I have always introduced my friends to other friends and now I feel like a complete bitch because I promised myself I wouldn't go on holiday with Jane again after the last time but I am just going to have to go and suck it up aren't I? TBH I am a bit worried with such a short fuse at the moment I am going to end up telling Jane to snap out of it if there's a sulk going on so am going to be on edge keeping myself in check.
Sorry for rambling length, am two gin and tonics in on pondering how I can extricate myself from this before submitting to wisdom of MN.
FFS just don't go. It sounds hideous, Jane sounds hideous. Have a last-minute bout of D&V or summat. Life really is too short for this level of angst over something that's meant to be fun.
Agree with Hassled - it sounds absolutely awful. Jane sounds very selfish and oblivious to the feelings of others and it's clear that you don't need that at all - or even for her to be in your life! I would also tell Zoe your reasons for not going, exactly as you've set them out here. Do something nice with your dc that weekend instead!
Tempting Hassled but got to pay deposit for apartment we will all be sharing tomorrow and then flights will need to be booked soon too. Hence drunken Sunday night panic. Don't really want to waste money on something to pull out at last moment.
It's just the sulking. Any good stock replies to jolt someone out of a sulk would be great. I don't think I handle it very well (pandered to it in the past) and am even less able to atm.
How many people will be there? Can't you try and avoid being along with Jane? TBH, I think you will have to go and suck it up.
Would it be an option to confront Jane before you go and tell her how difficult you are finding her? She might genuinely not realise that she is being such a PITA.
Go and enjoy, it sounds like you need some R'n'R ... If the silly mare has a fit of the vapours ignore her ( sulks need an audience ... )
Tryharder There will be 5 of us, possibly 7. All in the same apartment. In Edinburgh the starter sulk turned out to be about the fact that Jane did not have a sheet provided on her bed, but instead of coming out and saying something like "damn I need the reception number got no sheet" everyone thought they had pissed her off for the first 24 hours. I think I'm just a bit broken. I've always been the social organiser (not all the time, others do as well) and although I like seeing friends 1 to 1 and do, when it comes to bigger events I've always been the more the merrier which is how these friends got to know each other. Which is why I can't really withdraw from one and it not affect the others.
To pre-confront would be out of context to Jane - unless I said look I can't bear to go on holiday with you anymore. Eeeek.
I have a friend like this and I have finally learned that I was feeling responsible for her bad behaviour because initially I was the mutual friend. I have since decided that I will stop feeling like this. She is not my child and if they choose to invite her, out up with her silliness etc. that is up to them, their choice. Now I just ignore her when she is like this and, as we are usually in a group, leave her for someone else to deal with and spend my time with others in the group. I love her, she is my oldest friend, but she is high maintenance and I have stopped trying to maintain her!
Demi Spot on. I do need to stop feeling responsible but when a sulk is in full swing I am the one being asked What's up with Jane? I did try to explain to Zoe but I think everyone has this perception of me as being jammy, happy, upbeat etc (despite knowing what's gone on recently) and so it just came across as maniuplative and as soon as I could see Zoe thinking that I just shut up because it's not up to me who she invites to her birthday. I know she feels like she doesn't have many friends anyway to invite and it's her 40th and she just wants to have a good time and so she should.
Oh fuck it. What a waste of money. Will go and endure. Feckless Can't really relax because until I can do as Demi has said I am on edge. It's a lot to do with how I feel at the moment too (not Zoe's problem at all) and just feeling like I can't predict how I will react and pressure to not ruin Zoe's birthday.
I also agree with Demi-you are not responsible for Jane. I would really try to relax and let it all go:
-don't ring Jane and apologise for anything. That just reinforces the current pattern of looking after Jane's feelings and setting her trample yours;
-expect nothing from her and your anxiety levels about the holiday will probably drop significantly;
-resolutely ignore any sulks. REALLY ignore them, just speak to others and leave Jane out if she won't behave;
-don't gossip about Jane, explain her or apologise for her with the others. If she makes a tit of herself, so be it. If she burns bridges with some of the others, so be it. People who are that demanding, unkind and childish do not deserve to be shielded from the consequences of their actions;
-the minute Jane is lively and fun you can respond and enjoy her company;
-you've clearly had a hard time of it lately so enjoy this trip and make sure you get the nice break you clearly deserve.
Doh! letting not setting.
Sorry if that sounded bossy by the way-am in full-on grump mode at the mo.
If anyone asks me what is up with my friend now I always say breezily " no idea, you'll have to ask her." then i add change the subject with something like "right, whose round is it?"
Eldritch All helpful thanks not bossy/grumpy at all. Right no phoning in advance to apologise/forced cheerfulness. Got that. Thing is if she asks why I haven't been in contact on weekend I am sorely tempted to say "Ah well just been very depressed/dealing with shit and know you don't want to be bored with that so have just kept away" which in itself is a bit passive aggressive and sulky (even if honest).
Demi Will direct them to source as you suggest. Will also have to refuse requests to go and check she's ok as per previous holidays - it's hard to break a pattern of behaviour because I've created expectations in others now of being the person to sort it out and then by now suddently not taking responsibility for sorting it out you're adding to the arsey atmosphere.
Ye gods I couldn't be arsed with all that.
I cannot tolerate sulky adults.
I can't bear sulkers either. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people feed their sulks by pandering to them. Don't do it. If your sulk detector radar starts pinging, then WITHDRAW, immediately and let them get on with it.
If she asks about the lack of contact you could just say you've had a lot on your plate and leave it at that.
As for the others and their expectations, as long as you keep it light with no bitching it needn't add to the arsey atmosphere.
If she asks why you haven't been in touch you say "I've been very down and had a lot to deal with". If she doesn't act in a normal concerned friend manner to that, you can rest easy knowing you did nothing wrong and it's her lack of empathy in the wrong.
On the holiday you are scared you will lose patience and have a go at her. So what? If it's justified maybe you should just be doing that. Like everyone else says I think you need to treat her as you would anyone else who was sulking- ignore until she's better.
But you need the holiday!!!
oh my god what a nightmare person. seriously she is not your problem. attention seeking cow. i had a friend like this and i have to say the friendship didnt last long past me stopping pandering to her every whim. if she sulked and behaved like a child i ignored it rather than trying to fix it, if i hadnt heard from her for a while i left it (and felt relief) rather than chasing after her, it culminated in a your such a bad friend email. which had me send her one back which she didnt like at all, that was no holes bared
if you go i agree with the others that say ignore her if she is putting you down etc, it you do say something about your life at the moment and she starts just walk away from her dont engage. vapid self obsessed poo bag
and if you really really dont want to go, then bloody well dont love. you dont have to. stay home get a bottle of wine and a dvd or go out with some less hard work friends.
Go and enjoy.
Jane is an adult she can look after herself. If friends say 'what's up with Jane' say 'no idea'. If they say why don't you go and find out just reply 'oh I've seen her like this before and she'll let it out when she's ready, you can't force these things'.
You are NOT responsible for Jane's behaviour at all. You might have introduced them, but you're all adults and responsible for your own friends, friendships and behaviour. If she behaves badly and burns her bridges then she simply won't be invited again (relief!)
Don't apologise for not being in touch, she hasn't exactly left countless concerned messages has she? One message is not much when your friend is going through hell.
If you really want to go just ignore her if she gets in a strop, if someone asks what her problem is say 'Dunno'.
Sounds like a great big pile of not your problem.
If you don't want to go, then don't.
Bet Jane lives on her own with a house full of cats !
Seriously, some very good advice on here. Try not to be responsible for Jane, make Zoe's birthday trip a great one and try and enjoy yourself as much as possible even if Jane does throw one of her sulks which sounds likely. Keep pushing her mood away and make it smaller in your head if that makes any sense? Don't let it dominate the time away.
Hope you have a lovely time .
trim Jane, really, trim, you need her like you need a hole in the head
and bail from weekend a few weeks before as your childcare has bailed on you, simples!
this is assuming you DONT want to go
YABU to say that you should phone Jane and apologise for not being in contact! Bloody hell girl, it sounds like you have had a shit time and even though Jane comes accross as a bitch if she was a friend then she would make a bit of an effort.
I would go as i think you need some fun. However, be prepared to ignore Jane. If she is a bitch, there will be other people there. Worst case scenario you tell her what you think and ask her to be more compassionate.
Have fun with Zoe, just ignore Jane. Please stop pandering to her as she does not deserve it. She needs to apologise to you.
Go, have fun, get tiddly, and have a laugh!
JajasWolef Jane is often down about not being in a relationship - no cats yet but....despite her having lashed out with the it's alright for me stuff before on relationships (she's never been in a relationship) she was very lovely when I had DS and during first difficult months and I know she worries she may never have DCs so this is what I mean about also being very sweet - lesser people might have dropped me/been off with me during pregnancy and immediately after so she is not a horrible person . Which all adds to the guilt.
So share of apartment and flight comes in at just over £350 for the weekend - emails going around about buying flights today too. I can afford it to actually go. It's just such a waste of money when (a) I am going to spend next few weeks getting anxious about it and wishing I could drop out and (b) if I do drop out that's the time and money gone I could have done something actually nice and relaxing with!
porcamiseria I do want to go. I just don't want to go with Jane, if Jane is going to behave as she has on every holiday (actually thinking about it the only holiday she hasn't done it is when she and I went off to the States just together - no others) but I guess I just have to accept there's nothing I can do to change that - have to find a way to change myself/my reactions etc but don't know how to do that. Psych seems to think have ptsd as a result of workplace bullying during pregnancy and straight after birth which leads to overreactions because anxiety levels have been reset to constant high alert so I am v aware at the moment that I am liable to just burst into tears. Am much less likely to be angry but have also recently had to tell my mum I cannot speak to her at the moment so have cut contact for past 2 months. I think there are just certain high maintenance people I cannot cope with atm and it doesn't matter if they're family or old friends I just can't face dealing with them which I know is v selfish but I am viewing it as self-preservation for me and DS just for the moment.
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