to be sick of my friends treating me like a slave?(187 Posts)
Hi everyone. This has been grating on me all day so feel I need to get it off my chest...
I'm a single parent. Have two DC under five (one with moderate/severe autism) and I study full time at university which involves being on placement for most of the week. On top of this I run my own business from home, as well as doing the usual household shopping/chores/ferrying children to and from grandparents 40 minutes away on weekends when the eldest stays to get respite from SN sibling who is violent. The children are also in school/nursery out of the catchment area, not far but a good 6/7 miles each way, and with the youngest's endless hospital/educational appointments etc I seem to spend half of my life on the road. This is fine, I chose to go to uni, appreciate the grandparent's help and am happy to drive that bit further so they can go to an outstanding school.
The problem is, I have no free time, at all. I should be working on an assignment instead of being on here, but I'm so riled up right now. My friends (a couple in particular) seem to think I'm some sort of servant/taxi service. I have to get up at 4/5am a lot of the time for uni/placement/work. And my SN child often doesn't sleep until 1/2am. My car's on it's last legs, because I'm doing on average 100 miles a day. Saturdays are the only day when I can have a lie in (he might stay up until 2am but on the plus side that means he sleeps through till midday!) and then I usually like to go shopping or for a meal in a big city - I live in the back end of nowhere.
Married, unemployed, one child in school full time, husband drives (illegally) and MIL lives next door who also drives. Yet she expects lifts constantly. To be fair, she's always been a thoughtful friend who would go out of her way to help me with things. But she often rings me at 7/8am on a Saturday, waking me up, to ask if I'll drive her up to see her family and take her to the supermarket. All in all this is a 30 mile round trip. I often don't feel assertive enough to say no, though I have been making excuses lately and explaining that Satudays are my 'free' day. But she still seems to carry on, and she's now started doing it when I've just done the school run and have half an hour free before having to head to work. Sometimes she just wants a lift to town, which is maybe 3/4 of a mile from her house - with a bus stop directly outside that stops off at the main bus station/train station with good public transport links! Her excuse is she hates that it takes an hour on the bus to get to her family - but it takes me half an hour each way! Sometimes chips in for petrol, but rarely.
Single, unemployed, two kids (one grown up though), lives rurally (though only 2/3 miles from civilisation and there are buses) is a driver but got rid of car to save money. Total p-taker - rarely does anything for me though we have a lot in common which is why we've stayed friends. Asks me for everything and anything bar wiping her ass. Recently had a phone call from her (at 7pm, hammering it down with rain and DC in bed) saying she'd gone away for the weekend and forgot to put her cat in the house, could I go and do it (12 mile round trip) playing the guilt card 'Well, I know you're busy but would it really be that much trouble, he wont survive outside all weekend..." Has also asked me to do insanely stupid stuff, such as picking up a pint of milk and dropping it off at her house.
It's all getting a bit much for me, but I think I'm too much of a people pleaser... people seem to think that because I can afford to run a car, it's fine. I have explained how run down I am with everything in my life, and I get "I know, I feel terrible for asking BUT I'm desperate and too poor for taxis." I've even said before my phone will be switched off on weekends - but then I'm bombarded with emails/messages on social media etc. Especially during 'emergencies' (ie. Friend 1 having another domestic with violent OH who she refuses to leave, and then goes back to after I rush to pick her up and take her to family.)
I guess what I'm asking is how can I be more assertive? I've always put myself out to make other people happy, but when it's at the expense of my health (exhausted all the time!) then I guess things need to change. But I don't want any conflict I suppose...
Just say NO. Neither of these 'friends' seem bothered that you're busy and desperate too! Sorry to sound harsh OP but you have two plates full of stuff to deal with already. Sounds like lightening the load by ditching these two would be doing yourself a favour.
say no to each and every request, don't let them use you like this!
You need to be more assertive or less available or somewhere between the two
I suppose the first thing to decide is, do you want to stay friends with them?
If no - then easy - just stop answering their calls, delete them from social media, etc.
If yes - then be assertive without being rude. "No, I can't." "Why not?" "I'm simply not able to. Such a shame. I do hope you find someone else to help out. See you Monday for coffee? Oh, child vomiting, got to run. Byeeeeee!"
You sound absolutely wiped and if you were my friend I'd be round to watch the kids and do the dishes, not asking you for pints of milk.
When they call you just don't answer the phone. Don't respond to texts. Ignore, ignore and ignore some more. Speak to them when you choose to. Don't make excuses to them. You are a busy mum. You don't need to explain anything. Eventually they will get the message.
What the heck?! I wouldn't dream of asking my friends to do all this for me. Who are these shamesless users? Next time they call, either don't answer or tell them to call a taxi!
I second the face!
If anyone woke me up on my ONLY free day knowing that i was balancing all that you are, that would be the end of that friendship.
Madness. Just say "im sorry I can't".
Just politely say no when you don't feel up to it. It's not like you don't have enough to do yourself. You don't get any better thought of running around like a blue arsed fly on speed. Trust me I've been there and done it all.
I must say one thing though. I really don't see what them being unemployed has to do with anything, but I'm sure you've got your reasons for mentioning it.
Agreed, you sound like you have enough going on without being everyone's errand girl. You are obviously a nice person who doesn't like saying no, but it's having a detrimental effect, so please give No a try!
I would put myself out for the cat...even if it was 20 miles away, if someone asked me to go and put them in or they'd be out all weekend i'd do it or it would play on my mind.
Other than that...yabu. If you lie down like a doormat, people will treat you like one. Just say NO. Don't explain that you're tired or why it will be difficult or um and ah. A bright and breezy 'Oh i'm sorry X but i'm busy, I can't now' and repeat if they ask again.
Honestly, just say No! You don't even need an excuse.
I hate conflict, and was always a pleaser, but it is actually quite easy when you get the hang of it.
Don't answer the phone to them, just text back and say, sorry I can't help
Either say no straight out or sometimes it's helpful to say i can't commit right now, let me think about it and I'll get back to you if I can help. That gives you space to think properly whether you want to do whatever it is they're asking. Just keep doing it and it'll get easier.
Friend 1 and the 'lift vs public transport' thing - point out that she is asking you to give up an hour of your time to save her half an hour of hers, when the thing she is doing is nothing to do with you. Totally unreasonable - as are all the other examples you give. Value yourself more, m'dear, and you'll find it easier to say no.
YANBU AT ALL!! I am beyond shocked that they are treating you this way. I live in the middle of nowhere and rely on buses as I can't drive, and I would never dream of asking friends or family to drive me around (though if they offer, it is very gratefully received). I am also a people-pleaser and hate conflict, so am afraid I'm not the best person to give advice, but I think you should make it clear you have made a decision not to do this anymore rather than just avoiding them.
You could also maybe give them a 'notice period', like 'I've decided from next month I'm going to be spending all my spare time at home with my family, so I'm not going to be able to give you lifts anymore. I'm sure you understand how important giving my DC my full attention is'
Wow - who has 'friends' like this? I don't think I have ever asked or been asked to do any of those things you mentioned. Sounds a weird kind of friendship - more unpaid skivvy.
I appreciate giving lifts - if you were going past their house and in same direction at same time - otherwise it's massively cheeky!!
It maybe take your friend an hour to get to her family. But it also takes YOU and hour there and back.
So she thinks her time is more valuable than yours.
She could go to mil nextdoor when her husband kicks off.
There's online shopping.
Bet the cat could have been let in by a neighbour.
Dont answer texts or calls from them until a couple of hours later. Coz you are busy.
If they are putting messages on social media dont reply until an hour or two later, coz you are busy. ( do they get anyone else dropping everything to help)
Dont justify or explain why you are busy. You dont need to. Your time and family are just as valuable as theirs
None of this is normal on the part of your friends. They have cottoned onto the fact you are a people pleaser and are simply taking the piss. I have lots of good friends, and none of them ever ask for things like this, in fact, I'm amazed at how little people ever ask for and apologise even if they are going through a once in ten year crisis!
So, given this is not typical friend behaviour, and more than one person behaves like that with you, you are the common denominator, and you need to be assertive and say no, as everyone says. If you turn off the mobile, also don't look at social media, or keep repeating, sorry I can't I'm busy this weekend at all times.
I hate to say it but you may end up losing these friends, as your friendship seems to be predicated on you being their taxi service and if you take that away, or god forbid, ask for help in return, you may find out they aren't friends at all, sorry.
Yanbu. Please just say no. When you explain your life it sounds busy but they are obviously too thoughtless to see that. The requests are frankly ridiculous and would be laughed at. The friend with the cat needs to leave a key with a neighbour for such situations. Good luck. Be strong!
I was like you. I don't do well socially and make poor friendship choices. I now suspect I am on the Autistic spectrum, so over sensitive to others needs in the same way you can be to smell, noise etc.
As your child is diagnosed I wonder if you think you may be too?
Thanks for your replies. I guess it is going to be a case of ignoring the phone from now on, maybe even changing my number lol ;) I do wish to remain friends with them, though perhaps distant friends is better...
Ghost - I only mentioned them being unemployed to illustrate that they have plenty of free time to go and sit on the bus if they need to get somewhere, and as their children are old enough to get themselves to and from school too. Didn't mean to sound rude.
Have you thought of reporting the man who is driving illegally?
You are obviously very busy and these friends are unemployed, surely they have more time than you.
You need to start asking them favours when they ring to ask you. And ringing the police on behalf of violent friend.
- No, I can't collect you this time.I'll call the police for you.
- Sorry, I can't drive you to the supermarket as I'm completing an assignment while DC sleeps. As you're going, can you pick up some milk and bread for me please.
They are taking the piss out of you im sorry had to say it.. Please stop doing this stuff for them! Just say NO you are busy.. Dont answer the phone or respond to the messages.
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