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To want to get this friendship onto a more equal footing?

(22 Posts)
LewisAndClark Thu 18-Aug-16 13:04:22

I'm going to try to keep this vague, just in case.

I have a newish friend. She's lovely. Her kids are lovely. My dd(12) is very close to her in particular.

DD has had about seven or eight sleepovers there this holidays. She's been taken out on expensive day trips and shopping, where she came back with the money I'd sent and had been bought clothes (£80 worth).

Every time I try to reciprocate she kind of squishes it. I looked after her youngest on the day she took DD shopping and she brought me back a box of chocs and a bottle of wine.

I've had her kids over for lunch and she's phoned me asking exactly what they'd eaten so she could replace it (I obviously told her quite firmly to piss off grin).

I've invited her girls over for sleepovers loads and most of the time they decide to have DD at theirs instead.

Whenever I do have her kids, she phones me several times to thank me and offers to pay me or buy me a gift.

It's getting to the point that I'm feeling embarrassed, which is ridiculous.

There is a huge financial disparity as well, she is a single SAHM in a rented house and I have a high earning husband. That said, I couldn't afford to take an extra child out for day trips and shopping without a great deal of clever budgeting.

I think she is just genuinely a generous person but I a)don't see how she can afford it and b)feel quite uncomfortable at the inequality.

What can I do? Just keep trying to reciprocate? Or go with it and accept this is just the kind of person she is?

She has been quite forceful in refusing money from me for the things she's paid for, in fact she was very offended. So that's not an option.

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:12:14

I would for now accept its the kind of person she is - but for me some red flags would have started appearing...some may say her behaviour sounds a bit controlling so YANBU to want the relationship to be on s more equal footing.

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:12:39

a* more equal footing..

Wigglewogglewoo Thu 18-Aug-16 13:15:04

How is she controlling? Have I missed something?

LewisAndClark Thu 18-Aug-16 13:19:33

She doesn't come off as controlling.

I'm pretty sure it all comes from a good place, but it does upset me a little bit that she won't allow me to reimburse her but keeps insisting on reimbursing me (although I don't let her).

I might just start getting more forceful.

gruffalo13 Thu 18-Aug-16 13:20:59

Hmmm yes red flags for me too.
I would feel uncomfortable with such an inequitable arrangement. I prefer my friends to give and take - of course it's not always exactly the same things but the spirit should be.
I would think she has a low self esteem.

OohMavis Thu 18-Aug-16 13:23:32

I have a friend like this. It does come from a good place - she has this urge to look after people, all the time.

I just try to make sure I do things for her in return that she can't refuse smile

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:24:10

OK maybe my interpretation is wrong - but when relationships are unbalanced in some way often 'control' a major the fact that she's 'very offended' at offers of reimbursement etc. To be honest OP, if you absolutely won't let her reimburse you then the relationship is more even than I thought then, I've got it wrong.

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:24:59

control is a major factor** I should say!!

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:26:00

But I think in general all friendships by definition should be on an equal footing so YANBU!!

hearthattack Thu 18-Aug-16 13:30:38

If there is financial disparity between you could she be over compensating to make sure you don't think she's leeching or taking advantage?

Or could she be lulling you into a false sense of security before she leeches or takes advantage..?

See me battle with my inner cynic!

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:34:36

I was thinking along the lines of hearthattack in terms of financial disparity

LewisAndClark Thu 18-Aug-16 13:39:35

It could be overcompensating. I get the impression she's very proud of being seen as independent and self sufficient so it could all be part of that.

We (outwardly at least) have all the trappings of being relatively well off, house, cars etc. We're actually pretty strapped, I'm on ESA and PIP and our mortgage is huge, but she wouldn't know that. I wonder if it's a little bit of, not competition exactly, but not wanting me to see her as 'poor'.

I dunno. Maybe I should stop analysing it and just enjoy the friendship.

ImYourMama Thu 18-Aug-16 13:41:04

She might just be incredibly grateful for your friendship and DD's and this is her way of showing gratitude. Have you invited her over to spend some girly time with her over a glass of wine or something to see if there's something going on? Maybe she feels isolated and this is her way of reaching out?

Don't look at it negatively, I love spending money on my friends though I can't always afford it

TheSparrowhawk Thu 18-Aug-16 13:47:10

I really dislike this sort of behaviour. A friendship is supposed to be reciprocal - any attempts to prevent that are controlling. It sounds like she's very insecure and wants to hold on to your friendship (and your DD's, for her daughter) by paying for it. The problem with that is that if you do have a problem with her at some point you risk having all her 'generosity' thrown back in your face.

Not allowing you to 'repay' favours is manipulative. She probably doesn't realise she's doing it, but it does make friendship really hard. You feel indebted to her and uncomfortable, which is no foundation for a good relationship.

LewisAndClark Thu 18-Aug-16 13:47:56

Good idea about spending time with her without the kids, and actually that will happen when they all go back to school, we've already arranged to do some things together.

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:52:05

Sparrowhawk - your post mirrors what in thinking - not w

WoburnSands Thu 18-Aug-16 13:52:54

Sorry posted too soon - Sparrowhawk 's outlined what I'm concerned about - not for now but the future.

maggiethemagpie Thu 18-Aug-16 14:10:26

Some people can do too much for others not simply out of generosity but because they want to feel needed, or think that it's not quite enough just being themselves, they have to buy presents or give lots of things in order to be appreciated and liked. Could your friend fall in that category OP?

Stevefromstevenage Thu 18-Aug-16 14:15:03

My friend has ASD. You would absolutely never know but this is one of the things she does like your friend. Because she is not sure of the social norms she over compensates to be sure she has not got it wrong if that makes sense. It may well be a form of social anixety for your friend too.

VladmirsPoutine Thu 18-Aug-16 14:41:25

Stevefromstevenage That makes perfect sense. I have a friend that does the same thing - unfortunately for her it tends to make people bit wary of her because it's always a bit of a song and dance which most people just can't be bothered to deal with.

ComedyWing Thu 18-Aug-16 14:51:34

Some people can do too much for others not simply out of generosity but because they want to feel needed, or think that it's not quite enough just being themselves, they have to buy presents or give lots of things in order to be appreciated and liked. Could your friend fall in that category OP?

My mother has done a version of this all her life, and I have seen over and over again how it pushes people away or weirds them out, as the slightest normal friendship give and take is hugely over-reciprocated by her. She doesn't believe anyone would just like her. In her case, it is actually (unconsciously) controlling, I think, because she simply doesn't listen to what the other person in the relationship actually wants at all - rather like the OP's situation - like whether they might occasionally want to pay for her, or not have something minor 'rewarded' by a stream of bouquets and cakes and thank you cards.

I think part of it is also that she's not very good with the usual casual social rules and in being terrified at looking ungrateful, she over-compensates and makes the recipient uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, this means that she is completely friendless in her seventies. sad

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