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always has to be about HER.....

(39 Posts)
lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:13:53

was going to namechange for this, but then thought, hey, if friend recognises this, then maybe it will save me a difficult conversation!!!

I am not a particularly needy friend for the most part - tho, as we all do, occasionally need a bit of support. Took my DS to uni yesterday... thought I was well prepared but actually found it very hard - not so much because he is living away, more because it's the end of an era, and our family life will never be quite the same again. Friend messaged me to ask how I was doing - and after first sentence, it was all about how hard she was going to find it when her children go to uni. I mean all about, nothing else about our DS. Her eldest won't be going for at least 5 years!!! Ok, yes, I appreciate it's hard for her to think about that - but even though it made her fret about her own fledging the nest, she had absolutely no real interest in how I'm doing at all.Pointed out that her separation was in the future, mine was right now - and it was "yeah, I know, but I still can't imagine what it's going to be like, it;s hard etc etc etc"...so found ,myself consoling her, about something which will happen years ahead (if indeed it does happen).... which is fine, she deserves friendship too, but I kind of feel for once, it could have been about me. Not asking MN any questions or for a response, but am actually quite angry about it and it's festering... so just thought if I wrote it down here, would help me either forget about it, or if I decide to discuss with her, maybe I'll have the anger out of my system!!

Tortington Sun 18-Sep-11 21:15:24

i had a freind like that - i saw an opportunity to dump her and i did. self absorbed.

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:18:29

Custardo, how often do you say what I'm thinking on these threads!!! She is self-absorbed, very. But also has some positive characteristics which I love about her. So hard just to dump - although that is becoming an increasingly attractive option as she is becoming increasingly self-absorbed....

LittleHousebytheRiver Sun 18-Sep-11 21:20:25

Hi lilolil I can't suggest a way to make your friend more empathic but I can share your angst over losing your DS as he sets off to start a new stage of life. My DD2 just rang from her new flat full of excitement as she is going out on the town with some nice lads from the floor above. While I am thrilled she is happy I am missing her and regretting the passing of an era of family life.

I am consoling myself with wine and chocolate in front of Downton Abbey...

unavailable Sun 18-Sep-11 21:23:29

Well, you know your friend, but my reaction to your first post was that she was empathising.

Tortington Sun 18-Sep-11 21:24:57

friendships for me are very complicated, i never thought i expected a lot - but it seems i do. so i really find it hard to have 'real' friends. i have lots of acquaintences, good social life etc. but real friends....not really.

so i say this to give you a rounder picture. the friend that i had was a neighbour and we were in each others gardens ever day and houses every day and it occired to me that she had lots of 'drama' and i was listening and consoling her and advising her - she nver listened . never actioned. she just moaned

moan moan fucking moan. her life was always worse, if i had a problem - she wouldn't hear me, console me, advise me, becuase shed experienced it and it had been worse for her.

in the end i just thought -fuck this competative misery shit! it took a long time, and she was a real friend and it took me ages to consder that i wasn't actually etting anythng from the relationship - not a fucking thing.

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:27:14

ah, littlehouse, how are you doing? Sounds like your DD is settling well (and wouldn't it be funny if my DS was one of the "nice lads from the floor above"!!!) I'm not completely distraught, I am very happy that he is embarking on this new chapter of his life, excited for him, have been a student myself (which is possibly more worrying in some ways!) BUT was a bit emotional nonetheless. Got wine, but no chocolate - and working sort of so can't watch Downton. Will get some chocolate tomorrow and watch it on catch-up!!

SinicalSal Sun 18-Sep-11 21:30:03

I thought she was empathising too, is she often like this?

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:30:20

@ unavailable... "Well, you know your friend, but my reaction to your first post was that she was empathising." - really? By spending a nano-second asking how I was feeling about my child actually leaving home yesterday - and then spending the rest of the conversation about how hard it was going to be for her, in 5 years time, when her PFB left home?? Seems I just expect too much from my friends....

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:31:40

oh, and sinicalsal too... gosh, maybe it is me that's got this friendship thing wrong then... good to get a balanced view!! Which is why I love MN

MangoMonster Sun 18-Sep-11 21:32:27

I think she was empathising with you on her own way...

SinicalSal Sun 18-Sep-11 21:35:35

Wel, you know her! But when my neighbours' DS started primary last week I said that i felt for her, I can't bear the thought of my DS going and that's 3 years away. i did mean it in an empathic way, and I think she took it in that spirit...

unavailable Sun 18-Sep-11 21:38:52

OP - I thought talking about how had she difficult will find it after asking you how you were feeling was empathising? But as I said, she is your friend, so I dont know the history.

LittleHousebytheRiver Sun 18-Sep-11 21:39:36

No she is just selfish and unable to see beyond imagining how she would feel in the same circs to offering support and kindness to you. That is not empathy it is all about her.

lilo I agree it is worse to have been a student yourself. I can remember being drunk in Freshers week and climbing up a crane 100 foot over Bristol Docks watching the police cars down below. I hope very much she doesn't manage to do that! With or without your DS

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:40:06

well of course, empathy is absolutely important - telling someone you can imagine how hard a situation might be, even if you've not been in it yourself, yet, IS supportive. As a one-off comment. But for me to then have to start hearing all about it - why it would be hard, why my son will be ok, but why it will be so much more worrying for her in 5 years time because, because, because... (but appreciate I didn't go into these details in my OP)... and actually just needed to rant!!! And I am actually quite a nice person - and do feel for you Sal, hard to think about your children going away, whether to school or leaving home - I do care about others and am not self-absorbed myself - but now I've read all the "but she was being empathetic" posts, realise I am being selfish myself!! thanks all

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:41:31

LittleHouse - is your DD in Bristol too?

SinicalSal Sun 18-Sep-11 21:43:37

Oh ok Lilo the extra details do make it worse. Does sound less than empathy and more about her hypothetical feelings rather than your real ones.

Your DS will be grand, it's an adventure for him smile he'll come home loving and appreciating you all the more.

twankie Sun 18-Sep-11 21:43:45

there's quite a lot of research done on how some people (esp women) do 'empathy' by matching what they are hearing.. sort of like..'I can really imagine how you feel' as they relate it to their own experience... she probably did think she was being empathetic... perhaps when she next does this..silence on your part may make her rethink how she has phrased things... that's if you really can't see what she is doing as empathetic. Tbh, I can see both sides..my mother does this..I am sure she thinks she is being empathetic..to me it sounds like the conversation has turned back to her again so I can understand what you mean.. it's just that I think they think they are empathetically relating to what you are saying

unavailable Sun 18-Sep-11 21:46:51

Lilo... He will be more than fine. He will have a fantastic time and when comes home on holiday he will appreciate home and parents in a way he hasnt done before. This is good change.

SinicalSal Sun 18-Sep-11 21:47:38

I'm jealous of all these freshers....

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:48:25

well, the MN jury seems to be saying she was empathising, so I'll try to rein in my anger!! I guess it's about the balance of the conversation... to me, empathy isn't about "how are you - no, don't want to hear how you're doing cos I want to make this about me for the next 5 minutes" - but realise that I am probably being selfish.

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:49:38

sinicalsal I am so jealous, I could burst!! WHat I'd give to be back doing freshers' week myself (as an 18 year old, obviously!! )

lilolilmanchester Sun 18-Sep-11 21:51:55

unavailable - I know you are right. Well, about the fantastic time bit. Whether he'll truly appreciate us more when he comes home - time will tell. Suspect he'll be home a few days at Christmas and we will be ready for him to go back!! Understand all that - been there, done it myself - but am still his Mum and still had a tough day yesterday!! Am ok today about him being away, was feeling a bit let down by my friend but can see now that I shouldn't have felt like that.

SinicalSal Sun 18-Sep-11 21:54:02

I don't blame you for feeling let down tbh. You are right, it's about balance.

Ah to be 18 again

LittleHousebytheRiver Sun 18-Sep-11 21:54:47

I'm jealous too! She's in Brum lilo where she was born 18 years ago. Very exciting! Is your DS in Bristol then?

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