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AIBU to wonder if this person is not actually my friend

(95 Posts)
mistydaytoday Tue 01-Mar-16 14:26:31

NC for this. I am struggling to process my feelings on this. I meet up with someone every week, sometimes twice a week with other mums. I thought we were friends. In the last year or so I've noticed she was a bit distracted. I've felt I've been doing a lot of the talking at our meet-ups. Mentioned to my husband that if I asked her a question I'd get a one sentence reply with no elaboration, and if I let silences fall in the hope she'd fill them, then they'd just grow uncomfortable. I had mentioned to DH that maybe she was ill. Or maybe she just loathed me ... But then why meet??

We met on Sunday with our DCs and DHs and again I noticed my DH and I seemed to be talking the most. I also noticed a couple of glances between her and her DH which I couldn't interpret, but when I got home and thought about it I felt pissed off and worried and a bit humiliated; they looked possibly like 'you noticing what I'm noticing' type of glances.

I had also commented to my husband previously that she 'shares' nothing. For example (I've changed details because this could be revealing), we have recently purchased a very expensive item (something she is considering doing too) and i had been talking about it for ages, weighing up pros and cons. Out of the blue she announced she'd regretted she hadn't gone to a show where these items were being demonstrated a few months back, but hadn't managed because she was busy. I found it utterly bizarre she hadn't mentioned the show to me at the time knowing I had a deep interest, and might have wanted to go, especially when we meet up so regularly and I talked about it so much. Similar stuff happens when she drops into conversation a great kids event they took their DD too, but only after the fact and didn't let us know it was on.

Today she announced in a group email to me and other mums that she's given up her job and would be taking a year off, and had a period of notice to serve etc etc. Turns out she resigned in early February?! AIBU to feel very odd about this? I feel a little hurt, but also a bit pissed off... We've met up many times in February and no comment at all about the 'big decision'.

AIBU to think this woman is actually not my friend at all. I genuinely don't know how to process my feelings.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 01-Mar-16 14:28:30

Why should she tell you about her career or events she is going to?

Maybe she didn't want you tagging along? That doesn't mean she's not your friend, just that she wants to do things without you.

ChessieFL Tue 01-Mar-16 14:30:56

Is it always you that suggests meet ups? If she suggests them as well this indicates she does want to be friends. If it's always you - don't suggest any for a bit and see what happens, you'll have your answer.

RochelleGoyle Tue 01-Mar-16 14:32:04

If I were you, I think I would just tell her you've noticed a change and ask what is wrong. It does seem odd that she would keep making the time to meet up but then be so withdrawn.

Roseberrry Tue 01-Mar-16 14:33:46

I don't think she is your friend.
You can get these weird inbetween people that agree to meet up etc but in reality they don't really like you. I don't understand it but I've come across a few.

If I was you I'd take a step back from her. No more meet ups just the 2 of you but stay civil during group meets.

Roseberrry Tue 01-Mar-16 14:34:27

I'd be gagging to know what the secret looks were about though

GreatFuckability Tue 01-Mar-16 14:35:35

I do stuff without asking my friends along, doesn't mean they aren't my friends, just that I like my alone/family time. I think you are over thinking.

BlueMoonRising Tue 01-Mar-16 14:37:16

Have you ever asked her if she is ok?

Taking a year off sounds like something someone would do when things aren't great. Some people don't like to talk about their problems, and if that is what is preoccupying her at the moment, then maybe she doesn't feel she has much to add?

Or maybe she has found that when she does try to instigate or get involved in a conversation, she gets talked over, so has decided it's not worth the trouble?

Or maybe she's just naturally quiet?

It's really impossible to know.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 01-Mar-16 14:37:19

I think she doesn't see you as her friend.

Is there another reason that you meet up - eg dc are bezzies, other mums there at same time etc

mistydaytoday Tue 01-Mar-16 14:38:27

To be fair she doesn't have to tell me a thing about anything. But I suppose I thought friends talked.

And I wouldn't have been tagging along to a show if she couldn't make it...?

To be very clear, I am by no means a 'tagger-alonger', clingy or needy person. However, I do say to her things like, 'I saw this show that F (her DD) would love. If you're interested I can send you the details'.

The career thing: she has talked about it in detail in the past where she's changed her hours, talked about the pressure. So it seemed odd to not mention it now, especially when I keep asking her about her work.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 01-Mar-16 14:38:49

It's very hard to tell from what you've said - perhaps you need to ask people who've seen you interacting.

If she and her DH seem to be eyerolling when you and yours are talking, then maybe they were irritated by what you were saying, but that doesn't mean they don't like you, it could just be disagreement with whatever you were talking about at the time.

The other stuff just sounds like you have different approaches to decision making. You're obviously someone who likes to talk things through with friends and have input, she perhaps needs to make these decisions on her own. I'm more like you in that respect but not everyone is.

If you've already bought the very expensive thing, it might not have occurred to her that you'd be interested in going to a fair marketing them to people who haven't already, but I suppose it depends on what the thing is. I'm sure I've done loads of things that friends of mine might have been interested in, and other people have been to stuff that I might have been interested in without asking me, but they're still my friends and I'm still theirs.

I think maybe you're overthinking it, but as I say it's really hard to know without being there!

MartinaJ Tue 01-Mar-16 14:39:07

Chances are there's another forum with a thread from a woman who says that she has someone who she likes as an acquaintance but not as a close friend and feels like the other side is a bit clingy and behaves like they are close friends while in reality they are not.

CreamofTartar Tue 01-Mar-16 14:43:15

The thing that stands out for me in what you've said is that you expect her to tell you everything, but she clearly has different standards/expectations about sharing information. I certainly wouldn't feel compelled to tell even my closest friends about events I was going to or expensive things I was thinking of buying, and I would find it very weird if they felt they should have been informed! I mull over important decisions myself, and present them as a fait accompli to others.

The other thing is that it sounds as if you're monologuing at your meetings about things you are going to buy - even if she's also considering the same purchase, are you boring her to death with your endless lists of pros and cons?

She may simply be a more private person than you, but has she any reason not to trust you with private information? Are you a gossip, for instance?

LovelyFriend Tue 01-Mar-16 15:07:20

Do you always ask people a lot of questions?

I've had friends I have distanced myself from because they have a very invasive way of "being friends" which involves asking many questions about all areas of my life, and not taking the clues about how invasive their behaviour is. These people also have set/fixed expectation about "friends do this" and "friends don't do that", which I've found very off putting.

I have no idea if you are like this or not - but you do seem to have very high levels of expectations regarding the behaviour of other people, even those you aren't sure is your friend.

Yes friends do talk, but not every personality wants to have a deep and meaningful conversation with everyone they meet up with. Personally I like to hang out with friends and relax and laugh and talk about unimportant things - this is very relaxing and very valuable way to spend time for me.

Re the looks, yes I'd love to know what those are about. Then again if I was with friends and they were exchanging looks like that in front of me, I'd simply ask them what was going on

ppeatfruit Tue 01-Mar-16 15:08:01

Or maybe she's got the sack or been made redundant is too ashamed to tell anyone and is now too poor to buy the expensive item. So it's jealousy that's at the bottom of the eye rolling.

LovelyFriend Tue 01-Mar-16 15:10:25

At the other end of the scale not everyone wants to talk about the pros and cons of buying stuff either.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 01-Mar-16 15:17:46

Are you her friend?

I say this because your whole post is about how your friend is doing your friendship wrong. I always thought being a friend was about accepting people for who they are. She sounds more introverted and less over sharing. You sound like a natterer who cannot bear a lapse in conversation. Neither is wrong.

What I would find grating is the expectation that I should talk through major decisions with anyone other than the people it directly impacts. And in terms of her job that's not you.

I can understand that the friendship probably feels a bit mismatched and uneven. If it's not making you happy you don't have to see her any more.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 01-Mar-16 15:36:26

Presumably although by your own admission you do a lot of the talking, you do draw breath or give her a chance to contribute?

To me it sounds like you've been downgraded to Acquaintance status.

You two had stuff in common but on a 1:1 basis she is not getting what she'd like from a friendship. Meeting in a group is fine and rather than be direct about it she's content to use your company to fill a space. It is confusing especially when she still falls in with plans for family get-togethers. Unfortunately it's taken you some time to realise this.

RockUnit Tue 01-Mar-16 15:41:43

Maybe she's quite a private person and doesn't say much to people apart from family, and prefers to travel to events with her DH?

It sounds like you have different expectations.

The glances don't sound good and that would suggest that no, perhaps she isn't your friend.

WhatHo Tue 01-Mar-16 15:54:29

Misty, here's a story which could provide an alternate perspective.

Last year I had two whammies in a short space of time. A good friend lost a bitter, ugly and quick battle against cancer leaving behind her toddler, 5YO and devastated husband.
The next month I found a lump in my breast, and had all the barrage of tests etc.
I went 'underground' emotionally for a few months, quiet, introverted, in my own head. I didn't want to talk about my dead friend because she had been a very private person so it felt like a betrayal of her, and I wanted to process my grief my own way. I didn't want to talk about the lump because I was scared.
One particular friend is very kind, very generous, very percipient. But she also has a need to be in on everything, and normally is as she is so empathetic. I couldn't face the probing questions so I saw less of her and put up emotional barriers when I was around her.
On NYE I had a stand-up, sit-down fight because this friend was so angry that I had withdrawn. She called me emotionally cold, condescending, oh, other things. I was shocked. I gave her what she needed - ie told her what had been going on and she was all 'oh poor you, you should have said!' but the fact is, I DIDN'T WANT TO.

I didn't handle it too well, I can see that. But this is my life and I have the right to live it my way - handle my issues my way, and in privacy if I choose. As you can probably tell, it still rankles. Her determination to know my feelings and thoughts and be in on everything has put a big dent in my respect for her, and made me less likely to tell her things in the future.

It may not be the same situation, but it's something worth thinking about.

WhatHo Tue 01-Mar-16 15:56:41

Ah yes that was the main thing. I have control issues. Hmmpf.

SeaMagic Tue 01-Mar-16 16:01:33

OP, I have exactly the same issue.

A school gate Mum friend [let's call her Sally] and I used to socialise regularly for shopping, coffee, trips to the park, etc. Our DDs are best friends and so I guess we were sort of thrust together but we seemed to have a few laughs together, similar interests and enjoyed each other's company.

But then another Mum [let's call her Mabel] came on the scene, via the PTA and 'Sally' seemed to dump me like a hot potato for Mabel's company... All well and good, they have a lot in common and Mabel made it quite clear she wanted Sally as her BEST friend, made a lot of effort to do stuff for her and with her and fair dues Sally seems to enjoy this level of interest and engagement and so on it went and I was feeling more and more like a third wheel...

But the worst of it is the undercurrent between the three of us... loaded looks between Sally and Mabel. We will all be at the school gates and Sally and Mabel will say they are too busy for a coffee but I will later see them in local coffee shop [I am not stalking them, honest, I just happened to be driving past!].

There's a strange atmosphere which is very hard to explain or put your finger on... I realise that it makes me sound needy and unhinged but as in OPs situation, Sally will blow cold like this but then at other times will be warm and friendly and wanting to make plans for our two families to go away together over the summer!

It's tricky when your children are friends [and actually my youngest is also good friends with Sally's youngest] and so I do try to facilitate their friendship which means playdates and birthday parties and weekends at each other's houses. Otherwise I would probably just extricate myself from this situation. That said DH and I have been invited to Sally's DH's significant birthday celebrations this weekend and it is only a small bash for 'special friends' apparently which again leaves me feeling confused!

Sandbrook Tue 01-Mar-16 16:01:41

My first thought on this was maybe you've over shared some of her news recently with others and she's annoyed about it. So she's made a decision not to tell you anything again?
I could have got it totally wrong though.

Fugghetaboutit Tue 01-Mar-16 16:05:04

Stop meeting up? Easy. Millions of other humans to interact with, no need to hang out with people who aren't nice.

Neveradullm0ment Tue 01-Mar-16 16:12:53

I would hold back from this woman. I had a similar situation with an extended family member; felt we were doing 'all the running'. When I stopped sharing suddenly she wanted to meet up and do things. It might be you've got into a habit, and she's kicking back.
But I would ask yourself what you are getting out of this friendship.

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