Have I been a rubbish friend?(22 Posts)
Ive been friends with A for over 20 years .
We live an hour away from each other but we both regularly keep in touch via text / phone / email etc - every week or daily at times .
A doesn't work (out of choice) but occasionally volunteers; she also has no children.
I have 3 young children and I work part time due to illness . My DC each have sports they're involved in every week.
I'm also chronically ill and life can be difficult .
A visits me around 4 times per year.
On the rare occasions I get a chance to go out without my DC (or feel well enough to) . I meet her half way between our towns where our favourite restaurant is , or I'll travel closer to her town (we both live rurally).
When A visits , I make an effort to get in her favourite foods and I cook for us when my DC are in bed.
A tends to be the one who suggests meeting up outside and I'm the one who tends to invite her over. (I usually have my DC at home).
A is very house proud and doesn't like mess ; when I rarely visit A it's stressful trying to keep my DC entertained for hours on end , even when I take toys for them .
A can be emotionally needy - I've been very supportive of her throughout. I've checked up on her , offered her advice and gone out of my way to ask how's she coping. A trusts me and confides in me - I've been patient with the most trivial things.
I can also confide in A but I'm a very private person and it's rare that I do .
I've also offered financial support to A at times (not huge amounts) and vice versa . No problems there .
Out of the blue , A has decided she no longer wants to come to visit me; she says I never make an effort with her .
I pointed out I make an effort in other ways and it's not always easy for me to drop everything as I have other people (DC) to consider.
A has called me selfish and says she is sick of my excuses.
It appears she wants to throw 20 years of friendship away . I'm bereft.
I've tried to call her but she won't answer.
Have I been a rubbish friend ?
No, you haven't. She sounds a self absorbed twat. Withdraw with your dignity intact, I bet she'll come running soon enough.
No doesn't sound like it. I once had a "friend" that in the heat of an argument told me she was pissed off because i never visited her - i pointed out she NEVER invited me and only came to see us when she happened to be in the area visiting her parents and we DID invite them round yet they still only came when it suited them when she could combine it with a parents visit. Some people just cannot see the wood for the trees sometimes and she was adamant I was in the wrong and we've never spoken again. I was sad about it but i figure that sometimes these things happen and true friends will last the course. Keep trying with her but only for so long, you are not in the wrong.
Offer to visit her more often?
She sounds a bit mad TBH. I wouldn't care who travelled more - you can tell who's making an effort by whether they initiate contact, arrange food, that kind of thing
It doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong.
If she doesn't work and doesn't have kids what does she spend her time doing??!
Friendship is give and take. It sounds pretty even to me, from what you've described so maybe she's having some difficulty mh wise and is taking it out on you cause you're closest to her? Give her space, she'll either come back to rant some more or with explanation.
I would bet that there's something else going on in A's life that you're not aware of. Her behaviour towards you is clearly not on.
I'd probably reach out one more time saying you can't understand where this is coming from and you don't want to lose her as a friend, but if that gets you nowhere I'd back away.
How often do you actually make the effort to go to her? It does sound lazy and like you are leaving it up to her to come to you all the time.
I think she has no concept at all of the logistics, stress, organisation and hassle of taking 3 DC anywhere. She only ever has to pick up her handbag and walk out of the house. She thinks your respective efforts to meet up outside the house are equal. They are not.
She needs to live a day in your shoes to truly appreciate what you do for her. This won't happen though. Maybe you could try messaging her or ask to meet up and sort things out between you if you want to save the friendship. Otherwise perhaps your lives are just too different now to have anything in common any more. This happens naturally and it's not your fault. You both just made different and possibly incompatible life choices.
I think it's the fact that you have kids and she doesn't. I have a best friend who is similar- and we have drifted since I had kids and she hasn't got kids. She used to ring me all the time and was totally self absorbed. However since meeting a man she has totally disappeared after 20 yrs of friendship. I found that before- she had no respect for my boundaries and used to get pissed off if I was in the middle of feeding my kids when she rang. She had no respect for the fact that I had other priorities
I'd be suspicious there was something else bothering her. Have a gentle dig and let her know how much she means to you first.
Sounds like she's gotten fed up of two things:
1. She visits you but you rarely visit her
2. She confides in you but you rarely confide in her
It seems a bit asymmetrical in those respects.
The first one could be addressed by talking about it openly I think. You may both just have fallen into a pattern that no longer works equally. E.g. "Thank you for usually coming to me, it makes such a difference to my health and is easier with the DCs. I just want to check that you are comfortable with us continuing like that?".
The second is trickier. Shared vulnerability is one of the most important things in creating a bond. So if you don't confide in her, she may feel that she is bonded with you but not vice versa. Some people just aren't comfortable with that. She may feel like she depends on you but you don't depend on her, and she is unhappy with that level of exposure. She might feel like she is on the outside of your life whilst she has let you in so to speak.
I don't think you have been a bad friend. But it does sound like there are sufficient tricky circumstances (health, emotional needs, distance) etc, that this friendship will need some more concerted and explicit discussion in order to work.
No, I don't think you've been a bad friend.
She sounds like one of those navel-gazing types who stew over minor issues because they've got nothing real to occupy their brains with.
With my friends we look at the practicalities and who has it worst at any particular time. If someone is ill/disabled/pregnant/has children/has small children, they tend to be cut some slack.
Sorry, OP, when she said 'she says I never make an effort with her', does she mean an effort to visit her?
But if she usually suggests meeting up outside, and you agree and meet her closer to her home, then there is no rational basis for her to call you selfish. If she wanted to, she could invite you to her home, as you invite her to yours. It's not your fault you have DC and you understandably don't want them to cause a mess in your friend's home, as she is houseproud. She could make you feel more relaxed in your house, but is clearly happy with you running after the kids.
She could make you feel more relaxed in *her house
SaucyJack that seems a little extreme - not having children or being single doesn't mean you don't have stuff going on in your life you'd hope your friends care about.
Admittedly , I haven't been to visit her in a while for all the reasons I listed above .
Due to my illness I rarely socialise and if I do , there are limits .
A likes to be spontaneous - she will call asking me to go out that night , I will say I can't I have DC or I'm not well , you can come here and I'll cook? She agrees , but has now decided I'm selfish because of this.
She doesn't sound like a true friend. Sometimes friendships come to an end. I would move on.
'I think she has no concept at all of the logistics, stress, organisation and hassle of taking 3 DC anywhere. She only ever has to pick up her handbag and walk out of the house. She thinks your respective efforts to meet up outside the house are equal. They are not.'
I agree with this.
And I think Gatto's post is v thoughtful.
I think she is feeling an imbalance in the friendship, and likely has more time to stew on it, too.
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