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To think friend is looking for an excuse to not work

(150 Posts)
Beadyohfeedme Wed 11-Dec-19 23:28:31

This is going to sound harsh.
My very close friend hasn't worked since her ds was born nearly 3 years ago. She's a single mum and has done a bit of temporary work, cash in hand and started a college course. She's a single mum so I do think she finds things tough but has very supportive family near by and a nice flat which is hers for life.
We have both struggled with our finances and she is currently nearly £20,000 in debt. I know it gets her down and she tells me that she ignores the post and phone calls. Everything goes on the credit card and she has taken her son out of nursery as she owes them nearly a grand and can't afford to pay.
I was absolutely delighted when she got offered a job a few weeks ago and not just any old job but a well paid one with career progression in an exciting sector. We went out to celebrate and after her first day she told me how great it felt to be earning and making a fresh start.
Last week she said commuting and dropping her ds off and picking him up at 6 was tiring and she didn't know how much longer she could do it. I said why didn't she drop to three days and try to do a lot of stiff the night before, batch cook on a Sunday etc. I have a dd4 and a ds3, a dp that's out the house 7-7 each day and full time job so even if I don't know exactly what her life is like, I know it can be tough day in and day out.
Today she said that because of something that happened at the Christmas do (married colleagues copping off and a fight between a guy and his wife) she didn't think she could work there anymore (because of the atmosphere.) I think this is a bit of a feeble excuse. Why would you chuck away a good job because of things that your colleagues have done wrong? Why not try to shorten your hours or look for something else whilst in this role? I think she's just tired and the novelty has worn off. Should I say something? I suppose I'm a big believer in work for self esteem, keeping your brain active and for making life more interesting. I just think she's making a mistake.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 11-Dec-19 23:31:27

I would stay well out. If she's making a mistake, it's hers to make. Confronting her will only end badly.

7Days Wed 11-Dec-19 23:31:50

Yeah, you are probably right.
Though I might be the same, if I could not work and survive, so I wouldn't condemn anyone for that.
Maybe she is feeling out of her depth at work.

Beadyohfeedme Wed 11-Dec-19 23:32:20

I wouldn't confront but maybe remind her how unhappy she was a few months ago on UC.

WatchingTheMoon Wed 11-Dec-19 23:32:32

It's not your business really.

Beadyohfeedme Wed 11-Dec-19 23:38:37

@WatchingTheMoon it's not, but don't true friends try to help eachother? Her life before was not sustainable in the long run and it made her depressed. She already can't remember feeling that way.

DrMadelineMaxwell Wed 11-Dec-19 23:42:03

If she's only just been given the job full time, it's highly unlikely her work will look favourably on dropping down to 3 days suddenly, even if it would work for them.

Beadyohfeedme Wed 11-Dec-19 23:46:08

@DrMadelineMaxwell it's only four days a week at present.

Dislocatedeyeballs Wed 11-Dec-19 23:48:51

Its her life her choice her decision and not anything to do with you whether its an excuse or not if she is unhappy and wants to leave she's a grown adult and can do what she wants. Talk to her about it but your life as a presumably better off than her 2 parent family without all of her debt worries is incredibly different to hers and only she knows how much stress she can cope with

gamerchick Wed 11-Dec-19 23:48:58

She's a bit stuck really because if she quits I don't think she can just go back on benefits easily can she?

*I don't know much about UC personally

24hourshomeedderandcarer Wed 11-Dec-19 23:52:27

as a single mother on benefits(im assuming as she doesnt work) the debt wont catch up with her as income support is not taxable(dont know about UC)

so as soon as they cotton on shes working all the debt companies will be coming after her

this is what a close friend did years ago(really a friend not me)

pregnant she was on single person job seekers which im saying roughly 50-60 pound per week?(never been on it so dont know 100%) by the time the baby was 2 she ran up 6 thousand on catalogues and credit cards.ignored all letters and buried her head in the sand,never had bailiffs turn up

she was offered a part time job in our local chippy and worked for a few weeks,she that told me sobbing they have found her and was going to legally come after after her wages so she contacted a debt charity

someone there told her that on benefits they cant legally come after you as that money is the bare minimum for you and your child to live on so its not classed as spare or left over money and they have to write it off

8 years later she still dont work and at 4 the child was diagnosed asd and she gets carers Income Support and dla which is all exempt

Beadyohfeedme Wed 11-Dec-19 23:55:40

@Dislocatedeyeballs I can empathise with the debt thing. My dp is on minimum wage and I'm on a debt management plan so I do know how it feels and how it's easier to bury your head sometimes. Also as we are homeowners we don't get any help with housing. I get being stressed but in the long term your life is so much better and full of promise. Three years ago I was about to be made homeless and in a citizens advice crying as I had no job. Fast forward and I've got an interview next week for a £30,000 p.a job. In those three years I worked minimum wage, I worked long hours, I did horrible commutes in the rain with two toddlers. I feel like this was her big break and I just want her to see the bigger picture. Benefits are only enough to let you survive, whilst working gives you opportunities to earn enough to enjoy life. Credit cards won't do that.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Wed 11-Dec-19 23:59:05

I noticed you pointed out she’s a single mum. What if she was a stay at mum who grew her own veg only fed her kids organic food and was married to a Banker. Would you have the same thoughts or is it a different set or rules for 2.4 mothers

DeathStare Thu 12-Dec-19 00:00:16

It sounds to me like she is struggling emotionally or with her mental health. If you want to to support her it would be worth encouraging her to get some counselling and helping her work on her self-esteem/self-confidence.

Please also bear in mind working with small children is about (100x harder in more ways than i can explain) as a single parent than as part of a couple.

lightbulbshade Thu 12-Dec-19 00:02:07

I find work a struggle and I have a dh who can support me if I'm ill or I need to stay late and also if dc ill I can share the annual leave off.
I don't know how single mums do it and cannot imagine the stress of debt hanging over your head at the same time. Cut her some slack and just be a friend whatever she chooses to do.

DeathStare Thu 12-Dec-19 00:02:58

I've just read your update. She's not you. Trying to force her to do things your way is not going to help her - it's only going to make her feel inadequate and overwhelmed. Especially when she is in a different situation to the one you were in. If you want to be her friend accept who SHE is and help her to find the right way FOR HER

Beadyohfeedme Thu 12-Dec-19 00:03:56

@Awwlookatmybabyspider I was raised by an amazing single mum so none of that usual prejudice is coming from me. I simply have (twice) pointed it out as I wanted to demonstrate that I am very aware that it is hard and lonely. However most single mums I know work, and so it isn't impossible.

Beadyohfeedme Thu 12-Dec-19 00:06:35

@DeathStare I know she's not me. I know she is struggling. But the debt won't go away. Once it's there the only way is to clear it, isn't it? Or maybe there is some charity that I could be signposted to who could help her to clear it whilst not in employment.

JKScot4 Thu 12-Dec-19 00:07:48

Jesus another single parent bashing post!
Ok wondergirl you work and have 2 kids but you do have a DP to share finances, parenting and for emotional support.
Your friend sounds overwhelmed and in need of a less judgy ‘friend’.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Thu 12-Dec-19 00:08:01

That’s not what I asked or said though was it.
Plenty of married women don’t work and don’t want to. What are your thoughts on them, because neither party works. What’s the difference

WatchingTheMoon Thu 12-Dec-19 00:08:04

Good friends support each other, rather than telling each other what they should and shouldn't do.

You don't know what's actually going on with her life.

Just listen to her and ask if she wants your advice or not, rather than assuming what is best for her.

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Thu 12-Dec-19 00:09:36

Nothing to do with you,she's probably just finding the new routine hard and wanted a moan. Mind your own beeswax!

KnowBetterDoBetter Thu 12-Dec-19 00:11:05

I was raised by an amazing single mum so none of that usual prejudice is coming from me. I simply have (twice) pointed it out as I wanted to demonstrate that I am very aware that it is hard and lonely. However most single mums I know work, and so it isn't impossible.
You're not really aware how hard and lonely it is, if you've never been one. *

I'm a single mum of a 4yo, I work, and am doing a full time masters. I still think that single mums who find work too much to cope with whilst raising a two year old alone should not be looked down upon or judged. Maybe just show her a bit of empathy, instead of trying to make her life decisions for her?

Beadyohfeedme Thu 12-Dec-19 00:11:07

@JKScot4 far from judgey. My friend is an amazing mum and human being which is why I know she is capable of so much more than being reliant and avoiding the final reminders.
I would say absolutely the same if she was a SAHP with total reliance on a mans income. It's not living if you don't have money to do anything and have to wait till the last Friday of the month to put petrol in your car or top up your electric!

DeathStare Thu 12-Dec-19 00:11:26

You sound almost evangelical about her taking the same path you have. I know you mean well but this is her life not yours. She really doesn't sound in the best place emotionally/mentally and i think she needs some support with that before anything else will change. Putting her one some sort of "back to work bootcamp" - which isn't anything she has asked of you - is not helpful at all, no matter how much you may intend it to be. Back off!

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