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Help, I think my oldest friend had just 'dropped' me!

(52 Posts)
Thurlow Wed 01-May-13 12:10:28

I've posted about this before if it sounds familiar, as I've been having difficulties with this friend for a while now that I haven't known how to react to.

We've been friends since we were kids, now in our early 30s. For most of our 20s we lived pretty near each other and were able to see each other every few weeks. 18 months ago I moved away, so we're now in counties opposite sides of London. I had DD (DC1) 15 months ago, friend doesn't have any DC. I'm now back at work f/t, DP works shifts, we don't have family on the doorstep to babysit, so I've been struggling to find time to see my friend. I'm trying my best but it's so rare that DP is around evening, night and morning so I can go and stay at my friend's. I have mentioned that I could come down with DD and stay at hers as a fix but she's not keen (fair enough, not everyone wants kids in their house). Her job makes it difficult for her to come in to London of an evening for dinner/drinks, which would be easier for me to arrange. Over the past year, I've made it to my friend's once, she's been up to mine a couple of times. I know she dislikes the fact that DD is around when she comes over, and that we generally have to stay in rather than go out for a meal etc. We also struggle to find time to talk on the phone as she tends to go to bed (early!) about the time I've got DD down. I'd love to catch up more and see her more, but logistically it's just a challenge.

Friend came up on Saturday - had a few hours with DD around, she went to bed, we had dinner and stayed up late chatting. All good, I thought. But I've just got a letter (a letter!) from her saying that she's been feeling for a while that I just don't have the time for her any more, and she resents the fact she is making all the effort (I thought Saturday was a joint effort, she drove to me but I did invite her up if she was free, she didn't invite herself up iyswim) and that everything has to be done with DD - and as I "obviously don't have time for her anymore" she "takes the hint" and thinks we should stop seeing each other.

confused

I don't know how to respond! WIBU not to respond? Part of me doesn't want to! I've tried to be honest with her and explain it's not because I don't want to see her, it's just so difficult to arrange at the moment. Or should I reply and tell her again I do want to be friends? God, it all feels so childish for our early 30s, but she has been a great friend over the years, I don't really want to lose her - but why press it if she has a low opinion of me?

So, AIBU to ignore her, or AIBU to keep plugging away?

claudedebussy Wed 01-May-13 12:13:41

well i think she has no clue how much work babies are and she's feeling put out that you put your dd before her.

it's ludicrous to put your friend first, so really there is no compromise here. she's stated you're not making enough effort. you can't make more so she's going to have to lump it isn't she?

perhaps one day if she has a baby and begins to understand what's involved she'll look back on this and cringe.

headinhands Wed 01-May-13 12:15:34

I'd reply sooner rather than later that you're sorry she feels like that, it's really not the case and that you do cherish the friendship too but that sometimes, when things are too busy, it might seem like things get overlooked. For whatever reason she's feeling sensitive ATM.

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 01-May-13 12:17:17

Is there really anyway back from here though? I'd find it hard not to be 'weird' around her I think!

It's not because she wants children but can't have any for some reason? It sounds like jealousy.

everlong Wed 01-May-13 12:20:19

Omigod what a loon.

Don't do anything yet. Digest it and wait.

It is obvious now you have a child that your friendship is going to change to some degree in that you can't just stay over or out late drinking etc but she needs to accept that, understand it.

You think you know someone well and then they drop a bombshell!

Talk to DH.

merlottits Wed 01-May-13 12:21:01

My God she is going to feel a right tit when she has a baby and realises what an idiot she's been.
She sounds very immature, how strange competing with a small child for your affections.

I'm not disputing that she wouldn't be hurt but to lay a guit trip on you - ridiculous. I suggest a curt response. I'm sorry you feel like that, I care about you very much but I can't do more because blah blah.

She WILL realise in due course she has been silly and hopefully your friendship will recover.

Purple2012 Wed 01-May-13 12:21:07

I'd reply saying you are sorry she feels that way but that obviously your daughter is your priority.

Friendships change as we get older. When young free and single I think your friends are the most important people in your life but that can't last forever.

I am meeting a friend for lunch today. It's been ages since we have done this (well ages for us). She has a toddler and is pregnant so we are having a catch up before the new baby arrives as I know she won't have a lot of time after. Today it's just the 2 of us, sometimes she brings her toddler. That's fine. If I want to are her I know that sometimes it's not just us and I completely accept that.

Your friend is old enough to understand that she can't be number one in your life and needs to grow up a bit.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 01-May-13 12:21:17

Well. Isn't this 6 of one scenario. I sympathise with both of u. It's terribly hard when lives diverge and common ground alters.

May I ask how it was when u were together? Did u talk easily, feel like no time has passed? Or was it more stilted?

Both of u have different priorities. I don't see why you have to cease being friends. I don't get that attitude that seems extremely prevalent today. My parents have friends that maybe they only hear from at Xmas by card. They still swop info and have for 40 odd years. Depth of feelings alter, as do circs. Quite why people feel that unless you get drunk together every week you are not friends is beyond my present comprehension. A friend is someone who helps regardless of when last seen. It's that simple surely?

If you feel something similar then write back saying you cherish her friendship and while you accept it's changed for now you hope it will find a way to continue. Then send cards at birthday etc as u did. See what u get back? It could be a break works it in five years u can pick back up. I don't see why it has to be broken irrevocably.

aldiwhore Wed 01-May-13 12:21:34

She needs to get a grown up mindset. You cannot force this, you won't make her believe that actually it is normal and understandable to have less time for friends when you have a family, especially if that friendship requires a lot of planning. It doesn't lessen the friendship, or shouldn't, it simply changes the rules of play.

You do need to respond I think, with honesty. With love. Without apologising or getting angry. State the facts, sign off with friendly words and leave it at that.

I would love to see much more of my close friends, one lives the other side of the globe, one the other end of the country, and one lives close but has no children and like your friend no concept of the responsibility involved or the difficulty in going on regular spontaneous jollies. Sad to say, I'm not close to the latter anymore, but her will, not mine.

I'm 'closer' than ever to my far away friends, because there's a mutual acceptance that life keeps us apart.

It is very sad, but this is not your doing. You don't have to become enemies, you can always carry her in your heart as your friend, and tell her so, but you cannot start blaming yourself.

shewhowines Wed 01-May-13 12:22:56

I'd have one more attempt to explain - probably by ringing her, then tell her the ball is in her court. You'll be upset about it but it's up to her if she wants more than you can offer at the moment.

Thurlow Wed 01-May-13 12:25:01

Thanks for the 'loon' comments, they are honestly reassuring!

She has mentioned having children in the future, but not mentioned that they are either trying or having any difficulties. Obviously at this age you never know whether that's the underlying problem. She's no fan of children, certainly, which doesn't help this situation.

DP thinks she is a bit odd anyway (she can tend to the negative so he finds her hard work) so wouldn't be too bothered if the friendship did come to an end!

But headinhands, you're right, there could be so much more going on and for some reason she is taking it out on me, which would mean it's all not as simple as it looks.

The other month I sent her a copy of DP's shift schedule so she could see I wasn't making up excuses not to see her.

taypottick Wed 01-May-13 12:25:34

I would do what headinhands advises. I think this is about what is going on in your friends life at the moment. I hope you can work it out.

Fillyjonk75 Wed 01-May-13 12:31:30

I would do what headinhands says too and write back. I actually love to get a letter, when it's a good one anyway! I have one friend and we hardly see each other or phone but we do write, it's actually quite nice.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 01-May-13 12:32:29

All my friends have now got children, I'm the only one without. I fully expected that once my friends had kids or got married that their partner/children would become priority. Anyone who doesn't think like that is immature imo. Friendships change over the years and it seems your friend is trying to live in the past.

pickledginger Wed 01-May-13 12:33:10

How was she before you had your DD? Has she ever called your friendship into question before?

sobored2013 Wed 01-May-13 12:34:45

she needs to realise that she is not, can not, and will never be, your top priority.
my best friend and i havent seen each other in nearly 2 yrs, we live on opposite sides of the country, have 7 kids between us and husbands who work shifts. just because we dont see each other does not make us less close.

Crinkle77 Wed 01-May-13 12:35:08

YANBU I think she is being incredibly selfish and this comes from someone who does not have children of my own. I acknowledge that my friends with children don't have as much time as they used to and I am also quite happy do do other stuff where they can bring their children.I think she needs to grow up a bit. She is acting like a teenager when she says that she does not have enough of your time

Scholes34 Wed 01-May-13 12:39:26

An old uni friend, who I shared a flat with briefly, then met up with frequently when we were both in London, then less frequently when we had children, then even less frequently when we both moved out of London said the most lovely thing about 15 years ago, that whilst our routines meant we couldn't see each other as often as we might like, it didn't mean we thought any less of each other and that one day we'd have space for each other in our lives again. So now, when I drop the occasional e-mail to her, or birthday or Christmas card, I have no feelings of guilt about how long it's been since we were in touch.

RubyrooUK Wed 01-May-13 12:39:53

I also agree with headinhands.

I know that when my best friend had her child, I honestly didn't appreciate how much it had changed her life. I remember feeling annoyed that she decreed there was only one evening each month we could meet, that everything had to be arranged round her DC, that she didn't seem interested in my life anymore.....I was very stressed and struggling at that point and I missed her.

Well, roll on some time and more friends had babies. I got a bit of understanding of how things worked and was enormously glad I had never ever expressed these views. Then I had my own DC and now I can laugh at what an arse I was to think that she was doing anything other than trying to get by.

Hopefully one day your friend will look back and realise that working with a small child is hard work and good friends have to sometimes "take what they can get" for a short while over a lifetime of friendship.

But in the meantime, I would write back to her and say that you do value the friendship. Say you're sorry that you don't have more time but it doesn't mean you aren't thinking of her, just that you're trying to juggle work/child/relationship. Say that you are such old friends you had assumed that she would know this was down to life at the moment and not you feeling differently about your friendship. Ask if you can find ways to try and stay in contact more and ask her to tell you if she feels this bad again because you don't like it when she feels upset and you never intended to contribute in any way.

Hopefully that will open the gates and she will talk more to you about her feelings without bottling stuff up. If it is an old friend, I'd try appealing to her before writing things off.

Tryharder Wed 01-May-13 12:42:41

She sounds very hard work. Is she still in 6th form??

TBH, I wouldn't want to remain close friends with someone who clearly has such a disregard or even a dislike of my child.

harryhausen Wed 01-May-13 12:50:26

Oh God. What a prized idiot. Her not yougrin

I did almost exactly the same as your friend when I was in my 20's. I had a huge strop towards my sister. She had 3 dcs, was a busy childminder and her DH worked abroad. I used to bitch about the fact that she never had time for me and that even when I phoned for a chat the kids always butted in and took over. Ohhhhh what a twat I washmm
About 8 years later when I had my own dcs I suddenly saw it all in a different light. What made it worse was that my Dsis was/is an amazing aunt who gives my dcs so much time and effort. I felt so awful about my past behaviour I went and confessed and talked to my Dsis to apologise. She just laughed and told me to forget it, that I just didn't have much of a clue about kids. I love her for that.
I'm 95% certain your friend will feel exactly as embarrassed as I did in a few years when she has her own dcs.

I totally understand what you mean when you say how you can't just arrange a weekend or meal out whenever you want. I have no family support either. I've managed to keep my best friend (gay man) because I think he made a decision early on that he would get involved in my family to help keep the friendship alive. Consequently he babysits for me all the time, and on the odd occasion at the weekend when we're not doing much I go out for a grown up lunch/coffee with my friend.

Take time to respond. Just reiterate that you still value her friendship. Sorry she feels like this blah blah blah. Make sure she knows you're leaving the door open.

MadBusLady Wed 01-May-13 12:50:53

I've made it to my friend's once, she's been up to mine a couple of times

I think it must be that she doesn't see her visits to you as "real" visits, because they are limited by your DD. And of course, they do involve her driving a fair way, including the latest visit, so there IS an imbalance of effort there. I completely see that there's no alternative for you, but I do take her point. I don't think it's particularly selfish. As many have said, friends do slip down your priority list when you have kids. She's perfectly within her rights to not like that, it doesn't make her a loon.

Her letter is a bit annoying though because it's so obviously designed to get a certain response and I hate it when people can't just come out with things. If she genuinely felt the friendship was a bit uneven she'd just quietly stop making the effort and drift off. But she's Written A Letter, which kind of suggests you're meant to... what? Ring her in floods of tears? Commit to a certain number of childfree visits per year? Pay some kind of penance, anyway. It's a question of what you feel like doing to save the friendship, I guess.

ElizaDoLots Wed 01-May-13 12:53:38

I agree with the loon comments! She sounds like a child herself. I wouldn't say much in return and wait for her to have children herself and see the light.

PrideOfChanur Wed 01-May-13 12:57:38

I don't think your friend is a loon at all - I think from what you've said that it sounds as if she misses your friendship.Not sure what you can do,but rather than just drift away she has made an effort to communicate how she feels.
The only really unreasonable comment is her statement that everything has to be done with your DD - well,duh...

And I do think that the attitude that anyone should be able to accept that their friends now have other priorities and so will not see them as much/ever hard to get my head round.In an ideal world maybe we should all be able to be well balanced about that,but anyone who has lost a friend will know it isn't that simple - when one of my longstanding friendships fell apart it was pretty much on a level with splitting up with a partner/losing my parents for unhappiness generated.

Of course if you feel the friendship has run its course,then ok - but if you still want to be friends then tell her so! So what if she needs a bit of reassurance that you do still value the friendship - eventually your DD will be out with her friends and it'll be nice to still have your old friends around!

saintlyjimjams Wed 01-May-13 12:58:41

She sounds very needy. Was she like this before you had kids (needing to be the centre of attention etc).

I'd wait a bit, then reply saying sorry she feels like that, the friendship is important to you but you have very little spare time to see anyone at the moment. Then leave it- it sounds rather as if she's throwing her toys out the pram to get you begging her to stay friends or something, and I suspect you feel like you can't be bothered with that sort of game playing.

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