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Time taken to reply to texts - AIBU?

(94 Posts)
wheresmymojo Sat 20-Jun-20 12:23:07

TLDR: Is it unreasonable not to be held to a 24 hour turnaround on text messages by a friend when I am working my arse off setting up 3 businesses trying desperately to avoid bankruptcy?

Due to lockdown I'm unemployed and DH is furloughed but only only £500 per month as he is self employed via a Ltd company.

Our income went from c£10k per month after tax to £1k per month which nowhere near covers our outgoings! We have burned through our savings and are on the precipice of financial disaster.

Due to the above we have set up three new businesses during lockdown. All are in start up phase which means tonnes of work, they are starting to generate some income (not enough to be back from financial disaster but every little helps and it's promising that maybe we might be able to dig ourselves out of this hole).

I feel like this is important context/background.

I have a friend, we'll call her Claire. Claire is very troubled - she has multiple MH issues. A lot of the time she's perfectly lovely company, sometimes the way she reacts to things can make her a real pain in the arse. Due to being a pain in the arse she's alienated herself from all of our mutual friends. I am her last friend.

She has asked to see me once a week because she's having a difficult time (has been for 3 years). I agreed because I felt sorry for her and seemed like the right thing to do even though I'm really busy with the businesses.

Due to having a difficult time she cancels and reschedules c. 80% of these meet ups over the past year due to insomnia/flashbacks/low mood/anxiety.

Fine. I decided not to be annoyed about this, be glad to have the time back and just reschedule.

I sometimes take a few days to get back to her texts about meeting up due to busyness - example is she texted me last Sunday night about meeting up this weekend. I replied on Weds afternoon that I had plans.

She said "Hi X please can you let me know within a day or so when it comes to making arrangements, so that I can make my own plans. My time is just as important as yours x"

I felt a bit pissed off TBH as a) She cancels 80% of our plans, which while I understand the reasons for, seems a bit rich to then put the last sentence b) I won't be held to some kind of 24 hour SLA on text messages when I'm busy as fuck trying to keep our head above water.

I replied "I’ll do my best but I definitely won’t always be able to reply within 24 hours as crazy busy.

I’d say if I haven’t got back and something else comes up that you want to do - say yes to that thing and just let me know that you’re not available on the original day anymore. I think that’s how most people deal with similar situations." Then went on in the text to chat about meeting on Monday.

Now she wants to "talk about it when we see each other" hmm

My inclination is to stick to what I said in my text message - as in "Claire, I understand you're having tough times but so are we, I'm working my arse off just to stay afloat and I won't commit to always coming back within a day because I know that won't always be possible. If something else comes up for you then and I haven't got back to you then either a) text me to say 'are you on for Saturday because I've got another option?' and that will give me an extra nudge to come back or b) do the other thing and we'll find another time'

I know she thinks I'm being massively unreasonable, am I?

Sorry, long post!

OP’s posts: |
MulticolourMophead Sat 20-Jun-20 12:38:16

Actually, no, YANBU. Your priority is keeping your family afloat.

Yes, it's nice if you can reply, but if you can't then don't.

AskingforaBaskin Sat 20-Jun-20 12:41:49

If she brings it up tell her you've been very accommodating regarding her rearranging and you would like the same courtesy extended to you.
If she can not do this then you will be prioritising your home over her and she will now have to wait until your other stresses are relieved.

AriadnesFilament Sat 20-Jun-20 12:42:26

I think you are being a bit unreasonable, yes. Because a reply takes 30 seconds, even if it’s just to say “not sure, I’ll let you know in a couple of days”, and also for being annoyed that she feels able to do something you do not: tell you that something is bothering her and discuss it in person when you see each other instead of letting it fester.

But so is she. Because it doesn’t sound like she’s taking anywhere near enough account of just how much stress and pressure you are under at the moment, and is expecting that arrangements between you can just carry on with you being her support while she perhaps makes little accommodation for you, and offers little in return in the way of support for you. You feel as if she doesn’t appreciate that cancelling plans at short notice has an impact on you and therefore her pulling you up about taking a while to reply to texts is a double standard.

Tbh, the whole thing reads as if you are her friend under sufferance and continuing things as they are is really just too much at present.

There’s nothing wrong with a friendship running its course. There’s nothing wrong with saying to her that you can’t give very much at the moment because you have nothing left to give. But there is something wrong with trying to carrying things on in this vein without telling her that it’s too much, that she’s expecting too much, that you’re finding it hard too, and ending up resenting her because of it.

MinorArcana Sat 20-Jun-20 12:42:38

I’m a bit on the fence TBH.

Given how busy you are I it’s understandable that replying to Claire isn’t your top priority. If I had a friend in your position I’d understand that they’d be less available than usual right now.

But on the other hand, it’s annoying if you’re texting someone about meeting up in a week’s time and they take 3 days to reply.

These planned meet ups with Claire, are they usually consistent - e.g. every Saturday morning - or is it a different time / day every time?
IME it’s easier to arrange weekly meet ups if it’s a regular time slot.

Shinyletsbebadguys Sat 20-Jun-20 12:44:14

YANBU I've experienced MH concerns quite heavily in the past and if I'm honest it made me unintentionally selfish. I sort of thought everyone should run by what I needed because of my issues. As I've got older an thankfully have been in recovery and stabilised for years now I realised that it doesn't work like that. I spent a lot of time saying thinks like " but when you do x , y and a it causes me a lot of anxiety so please don't do it" part of stabilising was me learning managing my mood was my responsibility not everyone elses to move their lives to accommodate me. It actually was hugely beneficial to realise this , it meant I wasn't, as it had felt, at the whims of other peoples behaviour but that I could control my reaction. (Over time and with lots of practice it wasnt plain sailing)

Yadnbu set the boundary and hold to it.

022828MAN Sat 20-Jun-20 12:46:11

I'm on the fence too.

She absolutely sounds like hardwork, but I don't think he reply was rude. You can just take 10 secs to reply even if you say you'll confirm later in the week.

I'm 50/50 on it

gavisconismyfriend Sat 20-Jun-20 12:49:47

YANBU you are calmly explaining the situation and making it clear you don’t expect her to wait around for you if something else comes up. Keep on keeping on and she will either accept that or have to find new friends who meet her expectations. Good luck with the businesses.

thepeopleversuswork Sat 20-Jun-20 12:51:08

She sounds very hard work and stressful to be around and a bit controlling tbh. Given what’s going on in your life I think it would be quite reasonable to cut her adrift. The fact you have not done this is to your credit but don’t be a martyr about it. I find it quite selfish that, knowing what you are going through, she is asking you to carve out this much time for her.

As an aside, I think you are BU to say it’s impossible sometimes to return a text within 24 hours. It’s always possible to return a text.

I suspect subconsciously you are railing against the degree of control she appears to want over your schedule which is understandable. But I think you have to be honest with yourself. The issue isn’t that you can’t reply to the text it’s that you feel harassed and a bit bullied by her. As someone else suggested you should go back really briefly and say “can’t plan that far ahead yet, will let you know.”

I do think you ought to have quite firm boundaries with this person though.

JustFrigginNameChange Sat 20-Jun-20 12:51:21

You don't sound like you like her very much. Your relationship sounds like it has some kind of parent vs child thing going on, with you being the frustrated parent and her being the annoying child.

If she is a grown woman then her mental health is not your responsibility. Maybe dial the relationship down until she sorts herself out.

Nellydean21 Sat 20-Jun-20 12:52:08

YANBU. The urgency is part of Claire's MH. It is part of normal human discourse to delay to texts especially during obvious difficult times for the all. MH problems are often all encompassing for the sufferer but this should not serve to drive a wedge. From my own experience learning this, that the panicky need for instant response is not sustainable, is part of recovery. People can support in a normal and loving way without instant communication.
If this has been going on for some time, Claire needs outside professional support before she alienates her remaining friend, you.

TheThingWithFeathers Sat 20-Jun-20 12:59:34

I'm also on the fence.
If you already had plans it seems unreasonable to take three days to let her know that. Her request is polite enough and I see where she is coming from. But I can also understand that replying to her messages is not your priority. Can you maybe just say you won't be available to meet at all for the next little while, and save all the stress?

SadSisters Sat 20-Jun-20 13:07:07

YANBU, she’s being a total pain. If she pushes it when you see her say ‘you’re disrespectful of my time every time you cancel plans but I don’t make a fuss because I appreciate that you have things going on in your life that can make it hard. All I am asking is that you show me the same consideration in return.’

Elieza Sat 20-Jun-20 13:07:37

I can see both sides of this one.

Could you resolve it by instead of binning the planned meeting she wants to cancel you have a chat on the phone or something instead? ( If she is well enough obv. Sometimes it’s the going out that some find too much. Or perhaps it’s different to her issues. )

If not use the time you would have spent on meeting her to rearrange another date. You were going to see her for an hour or two. A text takes a minute. What’s the problem. You’re just annoyed at her expecting you to jump when she shouts.

Or keep a regular date in the diary. If she cancels one she has to wait til the next one. Eg if you’d meet monthly, the second Tuesday of the month at (time place). If she cries off it’s fine see you next month. Sorry I can’t do in between as works manic.

Or do that fortnightly or whatever frequency.

Just make it a regular thing so there’s no dubiety and tell her you can’t change due to work pressures.

gutentag1 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:12:35

Three days is a bit unreasonable to leave her hanging. You seriously didn't have 30 seconds before that to just say "sorry I can't that day, how about Tuesday?"

GinDrinker00 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:16:19

It takes two seconds to reply to a text. Three days is a bit unreasonable. But on the other hand she sounds just as bad.... so you’re both being unreasonable here.

TinyPigeon Sat 20-Jun-20 13:18:12

Yes she sounds like hard work and I can see you're quite resentful of her. But it takes 10 secs to reply, even if it's to say that you're not sure yet.

namesnames Sat 20-Jun-20 13:18:27

I see both sides too.

Taking days to answer a question is unusual, and a completely separate issue to her cancelling frequently.

Next time you see her, why don't you arrange another catch-up 3/4 weeks away, then both put the date in your phone so no need for her to ask to meet.

That way, you have more time, she's not waiting for you to respond, as well fewer opportunities for her to cancel.

TinyPigeon Sat 20-Jun-20 13:19:00

Also if your income is that high then you should have had more savings than could be got through in a couple of months. That's just irresponsible.

KaptenKrusty Sat 20-Jun-20 13:25:18

Oh god - I hate this! This is why I hate social media, WhatsApp/text etc

It facilitates being contactable all yeh time!

I had a friend like this - couldn’t understand how come I couldn’t just talk on the phone in the evenings for hours at a time !

If she saw a photo of me on Instagram at an event or just out somewhere I’d get a text asking why I didn’t invite her?

I’d get texts on WhatsApp saying I can see you are online - reply to me ??

Our friendship ended I just couldn’t handle her anymore!

But I’ve also set my WhatsApp to never show me as online and I no longer have any social media - I like to have phone free time as well!

It’s ridiculous to expect instant responses all the time !

SadSisters Sat 20-Jun-20 13:28:55

The problem is it’s not just a 30s reply. Because if they then reply to that, you get sucked into a whole conversation you don’t have time for there and then. It might genuinely be a few days before you have the time and mental energy to have a text conversation.

KaptenKrusty Sat 20-Jun-20 13:33:29

@TinyPigeon sounds like the difficult friend 🙄

SadSisters Sat 20-Jun-20 13:34:01

Also if your income is that high then you should have had more savings than could be got through in a couple of months. That's just irresponsible.

What a shitty, judgmental thing to say.

trixiebelden77 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:37:04

As a busy person I don’t read a text and then re-read and reply to it three days later.

It’s a waste of my minimal free time.

I deal with stuff the first time I read it. Which won’t be straight away - my phone is unavailable to me for 12-16 hrs at a time at work - but will be as soon as I have the time to check my phone.

EmbarrassedUser Sat 20-Jun-20 13:39:58

Really annoying and quite frankly rude. A text takes what, 10-20 seconds? For someone with anxiety who you claim to want to help, you don’t seem that bothered about her feelings. Glad you’re not my friend.

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