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Or is my friend really overstepping?(276 Posts)
I work a super high stress job. It can be quiet at times but when it flares up, I can work 16 hour days with barely a chance to breathe. This week has been like that.
I have a very very close but very demanding friend. She's wonderful but she is in touch A LOT.
This is usually fine and we chat throughout the day but today I told her I literally couldn't chat because I was absolutely snowed under. I don't think I've had a work week so stressful for years.
Nonetheless my friend messaged me incessantly all day. I replied several times to reiterate that I wasn't ignoring her but really couldn't talk. I was close to tears with work stress today.
I was due to go for a walk with another friend after work and did manage to get to it, albeit an hour late.
I needed to massively decompress, so I didn't read or answer my demanding friend's messages (I checked they weren't urgent but they weren't) and went off for my walk.
My friend then text again to ask if I was ok. At this point I lied.
I told her I had cancelled my walk with my other friend and was still stuck working,
I know I shouldn't have lied...I know. I was just tired and needed to not read and reply to her stream of consciousness from the day. I wanted a quiet walk with a calming friend.
This would've been fine and would've given me a much needed breather and break from the screen, except what I didn't know is that she'd already called my au pair (!!!!) to ask where I was (under the guise of checking if I was ok as she hadn't heard from me for hours). My au pair told her I'd gone out for a walk with my other friend, thus revealing my lie.
She sent me a message after to say how hurtful it was that I'd gone out but hadn't replied to her and accusing me of lying (which I was). I managed to convince her the au pair had her wires crossed, but not sure she believed me. I should've confessed right away but my brain was just fried from work and completely blown away that she'd checked up on me, despite knowing exactly where I was and that I was snowed under
I now have to deal with this tomorrow. Both the fact I lied AND the fact that I'm overwhelmed and disturbed that she checked up on me.
AIBU to know I shouldn't have lied but to think this was crazy behaviour on her part?
How would you handle this now? I'm dreading that I have to deal with this when I talk to her next.
This is the second time she's had the hump because I've been too distracted with work (and she's a career woman herself so this really surprises me).
Youre wrong for lying, but it seems like you were trying to stress the importance of not being able to text. Be that due to work, or just needing a break from the phone it doesn't matter. She wasn't listening.
I couldnt deal with what sounds like constant harassment from her. Checking up on you is going way over the top. Especially when you have told her more than once that you cant chat as you're super busy.
Your issue is boundaries, and you are letting your friends constant messaging cross yours. You also do not need to be put in a position where you have to lie for being a grown up and deciding your own activities.
Your friend will not change, and if you say for example; only answer texts or messages at the end of the work day or in a time slot you decide, and if your friend does not like this then that is her problem.
Sometimes people are just too needy and have to be reigned in by your boundaries.
How would you handle this now? I'm dreading that I have to deal with this when I talk to her next
I'd tell her to go fuck herself, tbh. This isn't what friendship is.
I would completely step back and stop looking at or answering her messages during work time. Tell her you are busy and will catch up at x time or y day and then stop looking.
Forget about the lie. If she wasn’t being so weird you wouldn’t need to lie.
To be honest I would tell the truth, that you are overworked and stressed at the moment, that you simply can’t cope with her incessant contact and whilst you are sorry you lied you needed to a) get out of the house and b) just have some peace from her
Tell her moving forward it’s got to be one text a day and that’s all
Right i absolutely understand where you were coming from with the lie because I've been in this situation before.. but it wasnt a good idea to lie..
What you really need to do is actually sit down and talk to her about levels of contact.
Then you need to stick by that and not answer her at all when you are busy and can't really reply.. do not even answer 'are you okay' texts. Tell her at the start of the day or whenever things are too busy for you, tell her you can't talk right now then DO NOT REPLY TO ANY MESSAGES.
Most people will adapt to this new dynamic of messaging and she will tone down her level of contact accordingly.
Dont let this continue by lying and trying to avoid the issue to spare her feelings... you need to just plainly say to her.
I someone who hates conflict so I understand the desire to lie to get pit of it but this will just go on forever and whats more you will feel guilty for lying and so try to be more open to contact which will strain you further and lead to more lying.. it will go round and round..
So just sit down with her and have this conversation about contact levels. And when you do it remember you have an absolute right to need space and an absolute right to ask for whatever level of contact you can deal with... she maybe won't see it that way at first but you do need to assert a boundary here...
Friendship shouldn't be draining.
Tell her that if she cannot respect that you are working that you will need to block and unblock her during the periods that you are not free to speak to her.
Also there is a massive difference between getting outside for your walk to destress than to have to deal with her trivia which causes you more stress.
I had a friend telling me I should not go back to work on Monday (in a school) until I had the vaccine and that I need to keep myself safe etc.
In the end I messaged Just stop! I need to go in to work. I will have my vaccine when it is my time. She soon got the message. Sometimes you do have to take the cruel to be kind route.
Tell her the truth.
I am really busy at work and you refuse to respect that. It's adding to my stress. Yes, I lied. I needed some time to relax but you won't accept that and I was trying to spare your feelings.
Either she will take a good look at herself and stop being so demanding or she'll be so offended she'll chuck her dummy and the problem will solve itself. 🤷♀️
"I'm sorry I'm just really stressed with work at the moment so I need to stay away from screens for a while, hope all is good with you, will maybe give you a call at the weekend? Madness here. Hope you're ok. Take care" and don't answer anything else
I'm sure we can all understand why your friend was hurt but she needs to respect your boundaries better.
I'd write her an email explaining it the way you've explained it us, finish off by reassuring her of your friendship but when things are that busy it may take you a few days to reply while your brain decompresses.
Propose a time to catch up properly when you're able to able to enjoy it and move on.
However, if she continues to cross boundaries and bombard you with messages/check up on you then you need to be firmer and tell her to back off.
YANBU. She has no boundaries. She needs to start listening and respecting what you're saying.
Yes you lied but that's not the issue here.
Oh jeeez, this 'friend's needs to get a grip. You dont owe her your time. It's supposed to be fun. And it's not your job to manage her either. Unless you need something else on your list of chores which I doubt.
I'd just tell her straight. "I'd had a mental day, which you knew, and all the messages and now THIS (gestures at batshit crazy self made drama) just added to my stress. I shouldn't have lied, but I probably wouldn't have done if you listened. I like hanging out with you, but it all feels a bit much (--and all about you, you needy headcase--).
But then, I dont have many friends.
My reply would have been: Please stop!
I get why you lied, I would to and have done similar in the past and then got caught out so wish I’d told the truth in the first place. It’s difficult OP.
But she’s needy and clingy and doesn’t get it. Why on earth ring your au pair?
**Tell her the truth.
I am really busy at work and you refuse to respect that. It's adding to my stress. Yes, I lied. I needed some time to relax but you won't accept that and I was trying to spare your feelings.**
I don't think you're wrong for lying at all, you told her the truth repeatedly and told a small white lie which did no harm at all to avoid a bigger issue.
Contact her first before she gets to you and tell her clearly and unemotionally (as in don't be soft or kind about it, tell it neutrally) that during work hours you need to focus and having the pressure of someone requiring replies is affecting your mental health and capability to do your job. Tell her you'll message her when you can but to not expect replies immediately as you have busy days. End it with a check in with her and maybe even try to schedule a phone call so she still gets time to speak to you but at a time that suits you.
If she continues, tell her she needs to get a bloody hobby!
If you are having a really busy day switch you phone off or just don't answer any messages, leave them unread. You shouldn't have lied but ultimately this is about you needing to set boundaries.
Blimey she sounds Very hard work and a bit controlling!
I would explain honestly, like you have here, that you are sorry for lying but that you don't want this level of contact or to have to account for your movements.
I've recently started hiding whatsapp notifications during the day in order to stay more focused at work. (WhatsApp has an inbuilt timer setting you can use to do this - it stops notifications but if you go inside the app you can still see any new messages). I've mentioned that I've done this to a couple of friends who message me a lot through the day so that they know not to expect immediate replies. Perhaps you could do something similar? If she's a real friend she'll definitely understand.
If the messages are on WhatsApp I’d mute her for however long you want to so that you get some head space. I get why she was hurt but you told a white lie, to spare her feelings and give you the space you needed. You didn’t sleep with her husband or bitchslap her nan. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
I’d be tempted to challenge her - how dare she call you au pair to check up on you?!! That’s massively overstepping and she should be told. “Friend. I asked you to back off. I had an insane day at work and you wouldn’t leave me alone. We don’t need this level of contact all day every day. It’s not healthy that you feel you can check up on me by calling my au pair nor that I felt I had no option but to lie to you to give myself a break. I think we should reduce our contact as this has become too much.”
Then put boundaries in place for yourself as don’t waver. She sounds batshit tbh.
I can't believe she rang your au pair. That's insane. Did your friend think you'd suddenly died in the afternoon or something? I feel claustrophobic just thinking of it.
When you speak to her don't be too contrite; she's pushed you to the brink. Say something like
"You knew I had a really busy day at work yesterday but you kept messaging me constantly, then you even called my au pair to check up on me. Do you have any idea how abnormal this is? I shouldn't have lied about the walk but I can't cope with giving you constant attention every hour of the day. This is not ok."
She is in the wrong here. Who behaves like this?!
She sent me a message after to say how hurtful it was that I'd gone out but hadn't replied to her...
Does this person dictate your every move - do you answer to her.
This is so weird. I am not surprised is a v v close friend - because I suspect she has no other friends who would tolerate this nonsense.
Your friend has a lack of
more like an absence of self-awareness, so I think you need to establish some boundaries, and tell her why.
Handling her with kid gloves is the worst thing you can do.