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to ask whether this normal and IABU or not?

(32 Posts)
bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 17:38:24

Sorry, the background is a bit long:
Friend who I haven't seen for about 10 years has cancer. She was more a friend of a friend even when I was in touch with her, tbh. We always got on ok and we didn't fall out, just drifted apart and went down to Christmas card friends level. She lives with her DH and teenage son about 2 1/2 hours away.
So, she called me up out of the blue a couple of months ago to say she'd just been diagnosed. She said it had given her a shock and she wanted to get back in touch with all her friends that she hadn't seen for a while. I was shocked at her diagnosis, tried to offer sympathy and agreed to meet up with DH and the children etc.
After a lot of back and forth with dates she asked us to come to her and stay over. I was a bit hesitant about staying over because she's ill and having guests is hard work. Also, I don't know her that well, and tbh I think we'll all run out of things to talk about after a couple of hours. However, she seemed really keen so we accepted her offer after checking that she was up to it.
Then she emailed back saying she wanted us to stay 2 nights instead of one and we'd be expected to "pitch in", and btw some other friends of hers that I have never heard of would be there too. I replied saying I could only do 1 night, but thinking that of course we'd not sit on the sofa expecting to be waited on.
Then, within minutes, she emails again saying that we should arrive after lunch but maybe we could arrive a few hours earlier and help her friends do some decorating in her house. She added that we shouldn't feel obliged to do the decorating but it would be great if we felt we wanted to. (I don't know if she thinks its a good idea to let me DC loose with a paint brush or they're just supposed to watch tv or something).

I am feeling very uncomfortable about this but I've never had cancer. Maybe the only way through is to ask for help?


TitaniasCloset Mon 03-Apr-17 17:42:02

This seems rather IDD to me ti. I don't think yabu. If she wants help decorating then why not just ask and you can say tay or nay and if yay sort out childcare?

Sounds like a madness to have lots of guests, kids and decorating going on.

TitaniasCloset Mon 03-Apr-17 17:42:32

Odd rather. Sorry.

Playdoughinthecarpet Mon 03-Apr-17 17:43:58

If I had the time I would go and help. I think it's sometimes difficult to ask for help and your friend organising a paint party might be a good ice breaker. You might enjoy it.

bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 17:50:04

I thought at first that the other guests were only there for the afternoon we arrived, but now I'm not sure.
If she wants a good catch up, then why would she have people over that we've never met?
If she wants help decorating, then surely she didn't go through her phone looking for old numbers?

I was surprised when she called the first time, but I thought she meant it that she wants to catch up with old friends (maybe she really does?). I just never thought of us as close friends, more just couples who went to the same parties pre-children.
I first offered meetign somewhere in the middle for a pub lunch but she said that would be too tiring. That's why I agreed to go over to her, but TBH I didn't really want to stay over.

bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 17:58:32

We're going to go, but not to the paint party. For a start, it would mean getting everyone up and out for about 7am, to drive for a 2-3 hours in our old clothes.

Is it unfriendly to not really want to get to know her other friends as we'll never see them again? I don't mean we won't be friendly but I am not looking to make friends with them as they (presumably) live so far away and we'll never see them again.

About pitching in: Should I expect to do the cooking? And the grocery shopping? Or the cleaning?

ThePiglet59 Mon 03-Apr-17 18:46:17

It sounds crazy to me.
If it was an old and dear friend the decorating party thing would be OK, and a bit of a laugh, but you're practically strangers.
I wouldn't go near the place

SquinkiesRule Mon 03-Apr-17 18:48:33

I'd book into a local B&B i all sounds weird.

PurpleMinionMummy Mon 03-Apr-17 18:48:42

Sounds really odd to me. I'd be backing out altogether.

kingscrossnoodle Mon 03-Apr-17 18:52:57

I wouldn't go. I would suggest you go another time for a coffee and a catch up. Anything more than that is a no I'm afraid. I don't want to speak ill of anyone with a terminal illness, however there is asking for help and there is taking the piss. I'm not sure why she is asking people she doesn't know that well anyway. Nope, see past the cancer, she is using you.

HerOtherHalf Mon 03-Apr-17 18:53:01

Sorry but it sounds too manipulating for my personal liking. If she needs or wants help decorating she should just be up front and ask. If you go along with this to avoid offense do you really think this will be the last time she tries to play you?

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Mon 03-Apr-17 19:00:19

It does indeed sound weird.

If I were you I would cancel with the excuse DC have an infectious illness which you wouldn't want to risk her catching when she is ill.

If she doesn't ask you to reschedule, or asks you to help with something else when she does, then she really does just want you to do her decorating after all.

Topuptheglass Mon 03-Apr-17 19:10:13

I'd call & cancel. Sounds odd.

QueenofallIsee Mon 03-Apr-17 19:26:06

I guess cancer doesn't preclude people from being either cheeky or a bit odd! I would do anything for my friends but I am not sure I would drive 3 hours to help a friend of a friend that in knew years ago paint her hallway

PaddingtonLoverOfMarmalade Mon 03-Apr-17 19:28:33

Sounds a bit like DIY SOS?

bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 20:58:51

I thought about an infectious illness. It need only be a cold.
However, DH is saying to me after i showed him the emails that it's odd but if we back out and she really does just want friends and then the treatment does not work then how will i feel to not have made the time to see her. He's not up for decorating though.
Tbh i wish we were meeting on more neutral ground now.
I was thinking that maybe she's just got so used to people volunteering things that she's started to allocate jobs without waiting for help to be offered?

bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 22:09:51

Bumping for more opinions

TheMythOfFingerprints Mon 03-Apr-17 22:25:34

I'm with the others I think, I'd back out.

Your dh is asking if you'd feel bad for not making time to see her if she dies?
She's not asking you to make time to see her though, she's asking you, a "friend of a friend" that she hasn't seen in over 2 years to do a 6 hour round trip (with your dh and dc) to wallpaper her house and cook her tea confused

TheMythOfFingerprints Mon 03-Apr-17 22:26:21

10 years, not 2.
Ten years!

milkmoustache Mon 03-Apr-17 22:31:38

No, it all feels highly demanding. If it was a friend you had previously been really close to, that would be totally different, but it sounds more of a casual acquaintance.
Suggest you meet at another time, so you will be able to have a proper conversation with her, and if she backs off, then you will know you were simply being guilted into doing some favours for her.

bananacake1 Mon 03-Apr-17 22:40:27

It seems almost unanimous then. I was wondering she was just a bit batty.
i didn't feel ok about it even before the decorating came up. I was having to talk myself into it.
Tbh it's more than 10 years. I think I've seen her twice that i can think of in the last 15 years. And both times we were both part of a much larger crowd. I've never been in her house and she's never been in mine and each year i have to check the note i made so i can recall her son's name to put in the Christmas card.

fc301 Mon 03-Apr-17 23:25:32

I've had cancer twice. Lots of help is appreciated and it can be hard to ask.
But this woman is batshit crazy. Tell her it's coming out of both ends for all of you and you wouldn't DREAM of endangering her fragile health.

dowhatnow Mon 03-Apr-17 23:42:33

Just be honest and say that while you are up for a catch up you'd prefer it without others you don't know around. See what she says.
Stay in a b&b as you don't want to subject her to your noisy, early waking kids... And catch up for a couple of hours/until you can stand no more.
Just forget it. 10 years is a long time and you don't owe her anything despite the cancer

What I wouldn't do is stay in her house with complete strangers with no get out options.

chastenedButStillSmiling Mon 03-Apr-17 23:47:27

Agree with those who suggest something contagious as a get-out.

Don't go, but wish her well.

(but sorry for her ill=health!)

downtherabbitholewego Tue 04-Apr-17 04:10:47

Agree with PP, say you have come down with something. It's all a bit hmm imo. In terms of treatment not working and missing your chance - There's nothing stopping you from organising something another time where you are comfortable about it.

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