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Nothing comes for free

(29 Posts)
Neoflex Wed 20-Sep-17 15:26:32

In January I met a woman at a party and she offered to do me a favour. I don't want to reveal myself but imagine something along the lines of cleaning my house, taking care of my kids, etc. (not a sexual favour please dont let your dirty minds run away with you). :D :D

This favour was usually costing me about 200 quid a month and we met at a party and i was moaning about how much stress i was having with my current situation. She offered to help and I thought I would give it a go. After a few tries we agreed it was working out and we came to the conversation of payment. She said she would do it for free, which came as a bit of a shock. I kept insisting on giving money, asking about bank transfers etc. and she just kept saying no. Well I was a bit baffled but figured she must have her reasons, maybe she was just genuinely a helpful person, and that I would figure it out later down the line.

9 months later and i've come to the conclusion that nothing comes for free and in fact this woman is a very controlling person. over time she's come to believe that i owe her certain psychological things in return for this favour she is doing for me. if i don't comply then i get the silent treatment or she suddenly cancels on me... leaving me in the lurch for that day.

for example, we have some mutual friends (that's how we met). but she is on the outside of this group and refuses to be around one of the women in the group (her dh's ex). plus it's a very flimsy group in the sense you have to put yourself out there and make a lot of effort, be spontaneous etc.She is often forgotten or left out of plans because she doesn't make the effort and is quite a control freak when it comes to plans. i try to always invite her along, but she doesn't like the spontaneity of it all. she asks for more notice but i can't give it, since usually we organize a few hours in advance. or for example, one of the girls organized a dinner at her house and we all had a specific course to make. there was not much room to just invite someone else and i didnt really think about it. the host didnt even know the other girl that well, although the other girls there were mutual friends. anyway a photo got posted on fb and that got me the silent treatment for a week.

another time i was hosting a pizza evening at my house where we all watch GOT once a week. i invited her, but then she tried to reorganize the whole evening. since she doesn't watch GOT, she tried to hijack and convince the group we watch a movie instead. plus the time coincided with her fitness class. she couldnt understand why i wouldnt reorganize the whole evening just for her.

so gradually i just stopped trying to be her PR woman and have been very secretive about any social activity.

then its other things. comments on the food im eating. e.g. healthiness, amount. or how much im on my phone. wont let me have a differing opinion. e.g. a convo was shut down because she doesnt think gays should have access to fertility treatment. i disagreed, but was soon reminded that she is doing me this favour, so i should just listen to her ranting etc.

so ive realised over time that i am actually paying for this favour, just in a different way. my question is, aibu to be bothered by it? i am actually saving a lot of money and hassle. i must admit my life has become easier in general. or should i, on principle, just go back to paying the 200 quid a month in return for my freedom and self respect. i do feel like she often talks to me badly, like in a way you wouldn't normally talk to a friend/stranger. and i have the sense she gets a kick out of having this weird power over me.
but then is it a win-win? part of me feels im reading too much into this and should just nod, smile, and accept the free services. another part of me worries it could spiral out of control and ill end up this woman's bitch for life.

TurnipCake Wed 20-Sep-17 15:30:17

or should i, on principle, just go back to paying the 200 quid a month in return for my freedom and self respect

Read this again. And again.

It's a no-brainer.

Littlebitshort Wed 20-Sep-17 15:31:08

Seems like an odd set up. Id personally drop her and pay someone for this favour, then you know where you all stand. She sounds weird!!

Mulberry72 Wed 20-Sep-17 15:32:00

Very strange set up.

I’d get rid.

Phosphorus Wed 20-Sep-17 15:32:32

She o my has as much control as you give her.

She's your unpaid help, not your friend.

Trills Wed 20-Sep-17 15:33:27

You need to disentangle your life from her.

ZoeWashburne Wed 20-Sep-17 15:35:12

Yes, you need to go back to paying someone to do this favour for you and extricate yourself from the indebtedness.

pigsDOfly Wed 20-Sep-17 15:35:28

The whole thing sounds seriously screwed up and like the plot of some sort of Hitchcock film.

Sounds like you really need to remove yourself from this situation and relationship. It's not worth the £200 you're saving.

ToEarlyForDecorations Wed 20-Sep-17 15:39:39

It will get worse.

End it now.

You will have to put up with her bitching about you in the neighbourhood and with friends.

The longer you leave it the worse it will get. So, end it now and just brace yourself for the fall out.

Oh, and she'll also give the impression that you didn't pay her. Ever.

I expect she will let a load of confidences slip as well. Including the ones she's made up.

I'm assuming it's easier to pay someone else to do a similar job for you ? Housekeeping, bookwork, childcare, life coach etc. Just guessing.

Hekabe Wed 20-Sep-17 15:39:56

Agree with PP. You are in control here:

A) stick with her controlling weird vibe (which will prob get worse)

B) Cut her loose. Be free.

The choice as they say is yours.

DoomGloomAndKaboom Wed 20-Sep-17 15:42:26

I have had my share of mad friends and I would gladly pay £200 a month to be shot of her.

It's very very weird that she's offering that much work for free, to someone who (initially) was a friend of a friend. Is she secretly stealing from you? Using your address for something fraudulent?

I find it weird - I would make my excuses and part company. If she throws a massive tantrum all you've lost is her friendship, which doesn't sound like it's worth much.

A word of caution - let her go with no notice, don't say 'we don't need you from next month' just say 'we don't need you as of right now' because i would worry she could be vindictive. Don't give her a chance - she doesn't need any notice anyway, she's not being paid.

CavoliRiscaldati Wed 20-Sep-17 15:44:16

I wouldn't be comfortable asking regular favour from someone I just met, how strange. It's give and take with your own family and close friends, but a complete stranger? How very odd.
I think it end up costing a lot more when you have to buy gifts etc to thank someone if you don't pay for a service. Fine if it's a one-off, but a regular thing? No way.

You are a grown-up, act like one. Stop the "favours" and don't let her boss you around.

Evelynismyspyname Wed 20-Sep-17 15:49:12

Does she have a key to your house?

It seems clear that you need to end the very peculiar arrangement, but likely that even if you do she will choose not to really believe you mean it and she'll have copied the key and keep letting herself in. You'll need to change the locks before you've seen the last of her.

paxillin Wed 20-Sep-17 16:00:19

Surely you didn't think a random stranger would hand over £2.400 a year with no return?

Evelynismyspyname Wed 20-Sep-17 16:06:23

paxillin I bet she's dog walking/sitting or something that someone with free time who doesn't work and doesn't need extra cash just might do for free because they quite enjoy it... Or picking the op's kids up along with her own and saving the op after school club fees - again there are people who expect other parents to consider this "no trouble" and do it for free, though of course as a regular thing it's an absolutely enormous favour not to mention a position of trust...

Cleaning not so much something anyone could possibly believe that an acquaintance would do for free...

Anecdoche Wed 20-Sep-17 16:11:56

there is a reason she is doing this.
control of you, access to your account, access to your belongings...

you need to remove her from your life.

PoorYorick Wed 20-Sep-17 16:20:15

What a bizarre situation.

Hissy Wed 20-Sep-17 16:23:56

Beware the Free Stuff.

Every time grin

Hope you can make the changes, but I guess there is going to be a whole load of drama coming out of this...

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 20-Sep-17 16:29:08

Line up your replacement. Then buy her a thoughtful and expensive gift. You can afford up to £200 as you've saved it this month. Then give it to her the next time you see her tell her much as her help is invaluable, you really feel you couldn't impose on her anymore. She's been wonderful. But you simply cannot continue like this. Flatter flatter flatter. Rinse, repeat, no you couldn't possibly. Treat it as a big surprise for all the effort she's put in.

BorisTrumpsHair Wed 20-Sep-17 16:42:45

I could not live my life like this.
Get rid of her (kindly and tactfully) and start living life the way you want to.

fullofhope03 Wed 20-Sep-17 16:45:31

I am totally gobsmacked.
WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?

fullofhope03 Wed 20-Sep-17 16:47:24

PS - Mummyoflittledragon suggestion is MUCH nicer than my outburst - I'd go with that OP.

EamonnWright Wed 20-Sep-17 16:50:49

It's weird but she only really thinks she has control, she doesn't really. £200 Extra on your hip every month.

Or she could turn out to be another Kathy Bates shock

guilty100 Wed 20-Sep-17 16:57:00

Of course nothing in life comes for free. That doesn't mean there is a charge for everything. But reciprocity is the basis of most healthy social relationships.

I have a situation between two friends at the moment: the relationship, stretching way back is that A offers emotional support (and I mean really heavy lifting) and her cooking skills, while B pays for dinner occasionally in return. However, B has got uppity about always paying, and decided that that A isn't a 'good friend', despite the fact that B lacks all capacity for empathy and is completely self-centred, bringing no emotional support to any relationship. I think B is being really unreasonable in expecting to be able to draw on A's support constantly, without any return whatsoever, don't you? (For the record, I am neither of these people! I pay my own way, always).

SonicBoomBoom Wed 20-Sep-17 16:59:40

This is the symbiotic relationship you have.

It's not really worth it, is it.

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