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To not have many friends due to the state of my house.

(74 Posts)
jenny0000 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:25:23

I am 40 and poor. Live in a council house which could do with a few thousand pounds spending on it. Most of the rooms have not been decorated for 10 years plus. Sofa old and worn, cups chipped etc.

Me and my husband both work, but due to me having anxiety I can only manage part time. I have very few friends and am not comfortable with nights round the town etc and cannot afford to be a lady who lunches.

Last week I saw an old friend in Tesco. I was so happy to see her and it was like old times. She invited me then and there round to her home for coffee. It was beautiful, like something out of a magazine. I really enjoyed seeing her, but there is no way I could invite her here after seeing her house. It is always the same when I meet people and I we just drift apart as I just cannot have people round here and they think I am being funny.

When DD was small playdates were rare, again for the same reason. I even had one mum stop DD playing with her child as we are a council estate family. When boyfriends are on the scene, I try my best, cook nice food, be polite, but I know she and I are uncomfortable with the state of the house and the location.

I do come from a very MC family and people think I have a few quid when they first meet me or if they know my parents and a few reactions I have had to my house are pure shock when they know my parents live in a very nice part of town in a 5 bed detached. My family dont visit as I think they are embarassed.

Things are not going to change anytime soon unless I win the lottery so how do I get past this? DD is grown and I am on my own a lot. I am so lonely, but so scared to reach out for fear of being judged.

Theselittlelightsofmine Sat 01-Nov-14 12:29:39

Pick a room you want to improve and make a start it does not have to cost loads.

Use your local freecycle pages, check out ebay ask if anyone has any spare paint for you,see what's on offer in you local DIY store in their reduced section.

foodsteronahealthkick Sat 01-Nov-14 12:29:51

Honestly - the right people worth being friends with won't care what your house looks like. Promise. I can empathise, I live somewhere where the carpet is absolutely disgusting from last tenant as the landlord has been promising to change it for months, and I do feel a bit embarrassed at times but hand on heart, I know my friends don't think less of me for it.

Hold your head up high. Your worth has nothing to do with the condition of your house!

Thickskinned1 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:31:26

I think it's very shallow to judge people on their home. Mine has not being decorated in a long time either . Would you actually consider giving it a cheap makeover yourself. There are lots of cheap affordable things that can make your home nice. I'm sure it's not too bad and tbh most people don't notice anything like that but would probably love to have a natter and a cuppa with you .

What about trying to join meet ups or something similar to make new friends .

jenny0000 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:36:13

I just would not have a clue where to start with decorating. The last time rooms were done FIL was in better health, he did a room or two and we could afford to pay someone and they did 2 rooms. We cannot afford to pay someone and I wouldnt know where to start. DH is always too tired and refuses to take it on as he says he will just make a mess.

Floggingmolly Sat 01-Nov-14 12:37:37

I reckon it's your own attitude that puts people off; not the actual surroundings at all. You'd probably be amazed to hear you come across as snobbish or aloof yourself, but you may well.
Much like shy people act aloof as a barrier. Let your guard down, most people don't judge nearly as much as you think.

TheLyingOldBitchAndHerWardrobe Sat 01-Nov-14 12:39:18

Decorating is seriously easy, especially if it's just a lick of paint.

Anyway. My house now is beautiful, but in the past I've lived in less nice places and I've still got the same friends. One of my friends has an uber house and I've always just expressed my mild jealousy and still loved her as she loves me.

Its trite, but the people who matter don't mind, and the people who mind don't matter. Truly.

drudgetrudy Sat 01-Nov-14 12:39:37

Don't feel concerned about living in a council house-anyone worth being called a friend won't care.
If it is the internal state of the house I agree with thislittlelight start small and make improvements-it doesn't need to cost a lot. Use e-bay and freecycle-get throws and cushions buy a few nice mugs.

If its untidiness I recommend following the flylady (google flylady) She talks about living in CHAOS ie can't have anyone over syndrome and gives a clear programme for you to follow to get on top of things. It will be nice for yourself anyway to feel better about your surroundings.
Lots of bits and peices are inexpensive in places like home bargains and, if money is very tight you can take small steps which will soon add up.

Thickskinned1 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:40:29

My friend recently painted all her kitchen cupboards with some furniture paint. They look fab. Do as theselittle suggests and do a room at a time. But do it for you and not for what other people think.

Delphine31 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:42:07

I second the idea to select one room (the living room?) and do it up as best you can. You could do this for next to nothing using freecycle.

I often see full tins of paint being given away, and if you were to put a 'wanted' post on freecycle asking for decorating tools, people would offer you their spare paintbrushes etc.

The same with mugs, crockery etc. I often see people giving this away on Freecycle. In fact I've got a full crockery set I'm looking to give away. Plates, bowls & mugs and I just haven't got around to it.

Don't be scared of using Freecycle. Lots of people do because they don't want unwanted items to go into landfill - it's not charity or anything like that.

Apart from the chipped mug, absolutely nothing from your post would put me off visiting you. As long as a house is reasonably clean, worn furniture and need for decorating does not matter one jot!

whois Sat 01-Nov-14 12:43:48

I just cannot have people round here and they think I am being funny

Well you are being funny! As long as your house is clean and reasonably tidy then no one will car about dated decorations or shabbiness.

You could buy yourself one non chopped guest mug is you are embarrassed by the chipped mugs.

Another one for saying decorating is easy if you're just painting. You can obviously use the internet so I'm sure you could google 'decorating for beginners' or something.

If you are unhappy with your situation, make some changes. Help yourself. A kick of paint is reasonably cheap and very do-able.

namelessposter Sat 01-Nov-14 12:43:53

Painting a room is very very easy. Move the things out, or pile them in a centre of the room & cover with a big plastic sheet. Paint the walls with emulsion using a roller, and a small brush for the edges (wash brushes with plain water), and the skirting boards/doors with gloss or eggshell (clean the brushes with white spirit). Wait 12 hours for it to dry. Put all the stuff back out. A room can all be done in a weekend, and needs no special skills, strength or experience.

longtallsally2 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:45:39

I think that it becomes a vicious circle: you don't have people around, so you don't decorate/tart it up a bit. You don't tart it up because there is no one coming.

Try brightening the place up one day. New curtains from a charity shop, look out for second hand covers. Treat yourself to a bunch of flowers Ask your dd for a pretty throw to go over the settee (you can get cotton style ones: like this one

Once it looks brighter, you can move onto the next room, and let us know how you get on! Then you might be brave enough to paint a wall or two too - I'm the world's least practical person and I can paint!

Viviennemary Sat 01-Nov-14 12:45:44

I agree with starting on one room. And most people have friends with houses in varying states. So as long as you have a tidy round before anyone you don't know very well comes, that will be fine. And just buy a set of four nice mugs from a supermarket which won't cost much and keep them for visitors. And a throw for the sofa for the time being.

formerbabe Sat 01-Nov-14 12:50:54

I have friends with stunning homes and friends who live in rundown houses. I really don't care and pay very little attention to them...I go round to see a friend not gawp at their interiors.

SomeSortOfDeliciousBiscuit Sat 01-Nov-14 12:50:54

OP, repeat after me: 'I am not my house'.

I understand the embarrassment. I do. I live in a terrible area, in a rented terrace with a lot of problems that the landlord is slow to sort out. We have damp patches on the walls because of problems with the gutters and everything is old and worn and tired-looking. The bathroom looks permanently grotty because the builders who tiled it did it very badly and left sweeps of grouting and plaster everywhere that won't come off.

You have to either decide not to care, or decide to do something about it. I improve my house by trying to keep it free of clutter. I make the living room feel inviting by having co-ordinating cushions, throws and candles. None of them are mega expensive and are from Primark, B&Ms, Home Bargains and the like.

Pick one room and start there. I'd go for the living room first because that's where guests will spend the most time. Get a nice throw to cover the back of your sofa. Some cushions will disguise the seat of it, or another throw folded around the seat part will disguise it completely.

MrsAtticus Sat 01-Nov-14 12:52:33

I truly honestly think that most nice people would not mind the state of your house - I would never judge someone on this, and if I got a nice cuppa and a comfy seat when I visited would give it 10/10!
I agree with others that clean and tidy really helps, whatever the state of your house.
Also, do you know about freecycle? People give stuff away, often including half used pots of paint, and lots of house stuff. This may be a way to spruce things up a bit without spending money.
I really hope you can relax and open yourself up to building some friendships, you sound lovely!

SoonMeansNever Sat 01-Nov-14 12:57:17

I'm similar OP, I don't enjoy people seeing my house. Our issue is the vast amount of stuff in it tho, it looks like a tip even after a huge tidying effort.
From what you wrote tho, it sounds like your DH is an issue - if he won't pitch in or show enthusiasm then it's hard to motivate yourself. My DH hates my efforts at tidying even tho he's desperate for the house to look better - he just can't stand the mess it involves, as obv you have to break eggs to make an omelette.

My advice would be to stop involving him in your plan to make your home nicer. Don't expect his help, and don't accept him being a hindrance.

You don't need to do a whole room at a time, just do one walk if that's all you have time for. Maybe start in a hallway if that's easier, then bathroom, small spaces where you'll feel the impact - it'll lift your mood 100 miles high. smile

BlueBrightBlue Sat 01-Nov-14 12:59:08

Aldi are selling five litre tubs of Crown emulsion for just £10.

jenny0000 Sat 01-Nov-14 13:00:05

SomeSortOfDeliciousBiscuit Thanks for getting it. Yes, a lot of the issues are caused by the landord. Bathroom and kitchen over 30 years old, bad damp, so even if we do paint mold grows back etc.

A lot of council houses and many private rentals are in a serious state. It makes me so cross.

A lick of paint in a new house is so much easier in one that desperately needs replastering/new kitchen

airedailleurs Sat 01-Nov-14 13:00:13

OP I can kind of identify with your post, and it touched a chord with me.

The bottom line is it's rude to judge people on where they live as you don't know their circumstances, and nice people who are worth knowing and who really like you won't do that (including your family).

It sounds as though you are in a bit of rut though, and while you can't change the location of your house, the suggestions made by other posters on how to make the inside of your house more inviting are quite easy and cheap to do.

When you meet someone you'd like to know better, why not arrange to meet in a coffee shop or do another activity that doesn't involve going to your house if that's all that's stopping you from pursuing their friendship?

It's also not impossible that there are other people you may get on with living in your area, are there any opportunities to socialise there at all? Do you have a dog? Dog walking is a great way to meet local people, for example.

Monica101 Sat 01-Nov-14 13:02:29

Do a little bit at a time, it's overwhelming to think of the whole house.

Don't be ashamed of it being a council house or in a rough area. I've been in some gleaming council houses where once your inside you forget where you are and are just impressed with the decor etc.

I've been there, steaming wood chip off the wall... It's a nightmare and your partner should help as with two people doing it it'll be ten times easier.

White paint is cheap, even cheap carpet is doable. Gumtree for second hand furniture, especially as you have a man to do the heavy lifting.

Topaz25 Sat 01-Nov-14 13:05:09

I agree with the advice to look for things in charity shops to cheer up your house. I got a lovely big canvas with a pretty outdoor scene in a charity shop for about 6 quid and it's really changed the look of our living room. We also got throws for our tatty sofas and some cheap cushions in a sale at Tescos and they look much better. I know that it can seem overwhelming when there are lots of big things you want to improve but start small and work up. Keeping the house clean and tidy is the main thing. People who judge you because your house is in a council estate or the decor isn't up to date aren't worth knowing.

longtallsally2 Sat 01-Nov-14 13:07:47

PS Well done for posting about this. It sounds as if you have been in a bit of a rut with the house for a while now, and it can be depressing. However, the more you do, the more you will be inspired to do . . . agree with the posters above who suggested a really good spring clean of one room at a time, and some paint for brightening the kitchen cupboards can be good too.

A few plants in summer for the window sills or garden also work wonders. Nasturtium seeds are cheap and give you lots of colour, or appeal on MN for spare seeds - marigolds, poppies and hollihocks all give hundreds of seeds which are easy to post and easy to plant.

Best of luck.

SmellyMuffin Sat 01-Nov-14 13:08:26

Don't feel ashamed of living in a council house. Both of my parents grew up in one and a few members of my family still live on council estates, many of them are good solidly built houses with spacious rooms and large gardens. You can do a lot with them to make them nice.

You can easily nicely furnish a house on a budget these days, I like Dunelm Mill. But there's also the supermarket chains and Primark that now do affordable and nice home furnishings.

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