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To not seek/ facilitate friendships with people very hard to meet up with

(49 Posts)
Tautologi Sun 20-Oct-19 23:14:33

From a conversation I had today.

I was with a friend and a friend of their’s was there in the cafe too. Friend asked me if I’d seen someone else and I said not really, the amount they cancelled started to upset the kids. Gave an example of how we’d arranged to meet at a distant place for an event, I’d arrived and waited a bit then text to be told they’d just decided to stay in. It was a bit of a final straw.

Friend of friend (fof) sort of giggled a bit and said ‘well... I at least give five minutes notice when I cancel... mostly’. I gave her a funny look and said my child had cried in the carpark when she found out friend had decided to play Lego indoors instead and it was something I found a bit unacceptable to do, but many do it repeatedly. She then got more serious and said she found social things difficult and so did one of her 3 kids which meant they often cancelled last minute (child was present chatting away). I was neutral in tone and just said I find it difficult to maintain friendships where people cancel, as people who do it last minute upset the kids, they’ll be all happy and waiting then I have to say their friend isn’t coming. No warning. It’s also a bit of a grind even if you don’t tell the kids to for example travel to a further park than usual or a different meeting point for no reason, or get a cake or something that isn’t needed. The odd time happens, but when people do it time and time again I personally just find it unworkable.

I left it but she kept bringing it back up after my brief explanation how she felt she had to quite often. I finally said, look, I understand we are different. That’s fine. You will have your like minded people and I will have mine. Made a light hearted comment about time pedants.

Brought it up again. And again, how she isn’t ‘social’. How she needs help to meet up and get out. If everyone was like me what would her kids do. I did then get annoyed and asked if she worked in a job with people and turned up (yes), said she was out now and ‘I’m sorry but I’m not responsible for facilitating other people. I’m sorry if you find it difficult but I find it anxiety inducing that people don’t like me if they suddenly ghost me, stressful to manage the kids and that I miss out often on other things I need to do chasing cancelled meets. For that reason I’ve stopped active attempts to meet up with anyone who cancels for no reason a few times, I won’t ignore contact, but I won’t seek it’.

She was really annoyed at my ‘lack of understanding’, I’d honestly tried to turn the conversation away about 8 times at this point but I did start to get annoyed.

Surely mine is the normal view. That if someone is more than a few times no-showing on you/ the kids, ignoring most texts etc you just stop contacting that person as it doesn’t really seem like they want to be friends? Or that it’s just a big fat effort?

Obviously old friends in need are an exception, I’d not drop a good friend in a time of difficulty.

I get people can be socially anxious etc, but if it’s last minute or complete non shows you have to accept it’s not you make friends? That people also gave their own thoughts, feelings and needs that mean they can’t just provide for you?

So as not to drip feed, I got a bit more hardline as my third is autistic and we use visuals. They want the day planned and struggle with change. If I tell them x is coming and they don’t there’s upset, but if I surprise them it can also cause issues. It’s not my only reason to feel like this, but it adds a layer of difficulty. I’ll be told something like ‘oh Jasmine was so engrossed in her play’ when one of mine is having a meltdown over it. I am a bit worn out, I have 5 kids and not enough time for being mucked around. I’m no social butterfly myself and not over confident or friends with everyone.

Friend who was present does always end up being the helper, seeking people to help. She’s really lovely, and I could see emphasised with her friend. Tbh if anything I think people take advantage of her. So... aibu?

Tautologi Sun 20-Oct-19 23:15:06

God that’s long. Sorry. An annoyed waffle on

Mammylamb Sun 20-Oct-19 23:18:13

She seems like hard work. But honestly, I tend only to arrange to meet people one to one that can be relied upon to turn up. Otherwise I arrange to meet in groups of friends so that anyone who doesn’t turn up isn’t missed as such. I have one friend who just doesn’t turn up sometimes and apologizes afterwards.... it’s just odd

Interestedwoman Sun 20-Oct-19 23:25:50

YANBU, unless someone's going through a particularly difficult time so finds they can't come out or message. A friendship has to have mutual give and take when it comes to effort, or it chips away at your self esteem.

That's without getting into your DC with ASD- letting people do this to them repeatedly wouldn't be fair on them. Hugs xxxxx

KellyHall Sun 20-Oct-19 23:30:16

My dd gets really upset when people let her down (and that's what last minute cancellations are, a let down). After it happened several times in one week, I:
1) stopped telling dd anyone was coming
2) started only arranging for unreliable people to come to see me and dd at our house/to play in our garden
So if they didn't turn up, we weren't inconvenienced but if they did turn up, my dd had a nice surprise.

JasBBGG Sun 20-Oct-19 23:38:28

YANBU. We have a friend, a lovely friend but she's a frigging nightmare to arrange anything with. This year for our annual group meet up she booked her hair appointment in the middle of the day, then tried to change where we were meeting. Then got miffed everyone else wouldn't change to meet at 2 instead of 10! I think some people just don't have a very big world.

Tautologi Sun 20-Oct-19 23:39:50

@KellyHall I used to do that. Then I decided just running to our own schedule completely whether it was craft, cinema or park was more fun that the hanging around just in case we were surprised with a visit tbh. Why bother if people are known to be flakey

Dollymixture22 Sun 20-Oct-19 23:48:00

If people have such little respect for me and my time that they cancel at the last minute, or leave me waiting for ages I phase them out.

The exceptions my sister, she leaves me waiting all the time. But can’t ditch her😊

ChicCroissant Sun 20-Oct-19 23:50:49

I know someone who does this (cancel) at the last minute, similar to FOF she also suffers from anxiety - but even if you just attempt to meet up with her child (our children were friends) that is also cancelled at the last minute. The last time we set a date for the children to meet up I did warn my DD that the last few times hadn't worked out so she wasn't too surprised when it happened again.

We all have bad days or emergencies/illness, I don't think anyone would hold that against you. It is, like the OP says, the constant last-minute cancel that puts you off making the effort with them again.

WomensRightsAreContraversial Sun 20-Oct-19 23:56:18

Yanbu. I can't imagine having friends who think it's ok to cancel last minute unless it's an emergency.

Tautologi Mon 21-Oct-19 00:02:32

I’m quite refreshed at the responses!

I seem to encounter it so often I was wondering if Iabu.

It’s like when people say they are so ‘ocd about housework’ when they aren’t actually suffering from ocd, I think many abuse ‘anxiety’ as a term around arrangements. Sometimes as a get out clause to do what they want.

100PercentThatBitch Mon 21-Oct-19 00:05:50

I think if you have small children someone who fucks you about regularly when you are trying to organise and plan isn't someone worth pursuing regular meets with

Xmasbaby11 Mon 21-Oct-19 00:07:52

Yanbu at all. My dd 7 has ASD and it's hard enough if we have to change plans for a genuine reason e.g. illness, weather. None of my friends would behave like this and I don't think they'd tolerate it either.

Dinosauratemydaffodils Mon 21-Oct-19 00:09:39

I have a lot of mental health issues (diagnoses include ptsd and gad) and I'm currently really struggling but if I say I'll meet someone somewhere with the kids, 99 percent of the time even if it's the last thing I feel like doing, I'll be there.

Unless it's an absolute emergency, I'd never cancel with minutes to spare. I think that's just plain rude.

Tautologi Mon 21-Oct-19 08:44:18

You see some like you @Dinosauratemydaffodils I’d understand having bad days, I’d be flexible as it’s a more unusual circumstance and it must be difficult for you.

Invariably the people I seem to meet lately are quite affluent, have good jobs involving interactions, otherwise seem seem fine doing various activities and asserting their needs. Obviously there are exceptions, but there is a definite type round here that are hard work. A sort of carelessness towards others and an expectation things are done for them.

Windydaysuponus Mon 21-Oct-19 08:50:23

Sounds like she got anxiety and couldn'tgiveafuckness mixed up.
Honestly some people just don't appreciate other people's time is as precious as theirs.

AliceLittle Mon 21-Oct-19 08:56:43

I find it rude and annoying just like those who repeatedly turn up late. It just shows no respect for anyone else time.

HeyMissyYouSoFine Mon 21-Oct-19 08:56:52

Did have a friend bit like this - she was usually very late rather than not coming. I used to suggest places that it didn't matter if she turned up or not.

Though I do remember truning up pre-arranged at her house for a trip to find she'd decided to go out with someone else - that was hard as my toddler did get upset and it hadn't been a great day for me and getting us there had been hard going.

Did make me think about whether I wanted to continue the friendship - I did but made dam sure to avoid similar situations again.

JustDanceAddict Mon 21-Oct-19 09:03:59

I sympathise with you and I would be the same. Even as someone with older DCs they get pissed off when their friends cancel last minute, as do I. I think it’s human nature to gravitate to the more reliable people if you find cancelling last minute stressful.
I also understand that people can find it difficult to leave the house for many reasons, but then if I had a friend like that I’d arrange to go there instead.

FeelingUseless100 Mon 21-Oct-19 09:05:25

FOF probably on another thread soon asking why she doesn’t have any friends 🤷‍♀️ Some people really do lack self awareness.

Tbh I think there are friendships that just don’t quite work, and if one person repeatedly doesn’t prioritise the other then it’s absolutely right to let the ‘meet up’ cycle die the death. I’ve been on both sides of this and in hindsight interpret it as the friendship running it’s course.

However, I do know a couple of people who just say yes to all invitations (even double bookings) and decide what to go to on the day. Much like FOF, totally unapologetic. No anxiety, just a sense that their own time/needs are more important than anyone else’s.

On one hand it’s impressive to be so ballsy an open about self preservation. On the other, it’s a very quick way to end up with no friends!

AutumnRose1 Mon 21-Oct-19 09:12:03

"I think if you have small children someone who fucks you about regularly when you are trying to organise and plan isn't someone worth pursuing regular meets with"

I don't have children but I won't deal with flakes.

YANBU at all. I have depression and anxiety as well but increasingly I'm hearing people using it as an excuse to cancel last minute, I wonder if they are actually in treatment or just saying it.

NotANeuroticApple Mon 21-Oct-19 09:56:46

Ooh this is a hard one!

On the one hand I have severe social anxiety and several chronic health problems that mean I don't get much of a choice in whether I am able to get out of bed, let alone leave the house. I can see where she's coming from but surely she is responsible for managing her own mental health issue? I generally know more than 5 mins before that I'm not coming, i would always cancel at the earliest opportunity. I don't really make plans though as my health precludes going out a lot of the time.

On the other hand I have aspergers and get very upset when my plans change unexpectedly, especially at short notice. I've definitely found it challenging not to automatically assume people hate me or other such nonsense and the sense of "something isn't right" is overwhelming when plans change, it can be debilitating! Makes it very hard to get on with your day.

Now, I don't particularly seek out friendships. I have two best friends other than DH, they both live 00s of miles away where I grew up. One has kids and while I love them like an auntie and buy them gifts on birthdays etc, I can't cope with small children and so we rarely see each other but text constantly. The other one is single and busy busy busy so we talk less often and see each other more, although still sporadically as logistically it makes most sense for her to visit me. (My house is set up for my wheelchair, its a long journey so I'd have to stay over and she lives in a top floor flat with no lift, no brainer she comes here or we get a hotel)

I have a huge circle of people I like and can hang out with but am not close to in any way. I refer to them as friends because societally we have quite a loose definition of a 'friend'- to me its someone you can trust to have your back when you actually need it but I think we use the word to describe much more superficial relationships too. Acquaintance seems more appropriate, so formal though! I used to get quite invested in being 'friends' with these people but realised they didn't care as much about it as me so now I don't really try to make plans and if I do I don't invest anything in it, I assume they will cancel so have an alternative plan in place so that I can cope with the disappointment.

Thisishowwesurvive Mon 21-Oct-19 10:01:38

YANBU I don't have much time for constant no shows either.

PlinkPlink Mon 21-Oct-19 10:51:12

When I had depression, I let a friend down. I left her waiting for an hour at a coffee shop, couldn't get hold of her because of bad signal and it was at a time when her time was most precious.

She laid right into me. Made me cry.

And rightly so!! I have lost that friendship as a result of my shitty actions. Yes, my depression made me pretty unaware of other people's perspectives but that didnt mean I shouldn't suffer the consequences.

Depression and anxiety is not a get out clause for shitty behaviour.

Cancelling multiple times at the last minute is shitty behaviour. It says 'I don't value you or your time'.

Time is the most precious thing we have. If someone gives you their time, it should be acknowledged how precious that is. You can't get it back.

GettingABitDesperateNow Mon 21-Oct-19 10:56:06

I have a chronic health condition and have to cancel things quite a lot. But I still think you're in the right. I hate letting my friends down but sometimes I physically cant manage it. I do have times of year where flare ups are more common though and if i book anything in then I do it with a caveat that there is a decent chance I wont be able to make it...I've still had friends insisting then getting annoyed when I couldn't get out of bed. I also try and give people as much notice as possible eg will tell them if I feel unwell a few days before and put them on notice it looks unlikely.

While I sympathise with anxiety I dont think this is a get out clause to tell you last minute and expect you to be fine with it and it not affect your friendship

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