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I need some help with this friendship(18 Posts)
I need some help over what to say to my friend. I'm usually quite good at sorting things like this but am really stuck.
Try to be brief.
Long term friends- over 30 years- met at work. Lives now very different. I've DCs now at uni and I am s/e with 2 jobs so quite busy. She has no DCs and doesn't work, but her DH earns a huge amount- they are multi millionaires.
My bug-bear is that she appears to expect me to do all the running- she talks the talk, about how we must meet blah blah, but doesn't walk the walk.
To give you some background, over the years I must have made the journey to her ( 1.5-2 hours door to door by car & train and very expensive too) 25 times or more for every once she's come to me. This is partly down to my having to be in her town for appts of various sorts, so I'd see her at the same time.
Now that she is away on holiday at least 50% of the year - including being at their 2nd home overseas- my trips for appts have not coincided with her being around.
But she has been coming to my town every week for 2 years for an appt. She made it clear from the start that she wouldn't want to meet much when she was here- that she'd have to get back for various reasons-( nothing that couldn't be sorted if she really wanted to) so I've stopped asking if she wants to meet up when she is near me, because I just feel awkward over it all.
I've slowly tried to pull back- not returning her calls so quickly- that kind of thing and TBH the more I've really 'listened' to her the less I've liked who she's become- she's very self-centred.
I don't want to let the friendship go- it's been a long one and we have been very close. But I've suddenly had enough of being treated like this.
She seems to think that offering to 'take me out' to a nice restaurant in her city makes everything fine and that I'm happy to spend almost 2 hrs travelling each way to her. Well- it's not! I'd be happier to have a coffee locally in my town!
Last time we spoke she muttered something about 'next time you come we'll go to X place'. Absolutely no idea that I might not want to travel, or prefer her to come to me. It's bit 'Lady Bountiful'- she has the money to spend on expensive meals but wants me to make the effort to travel, even though she's on my doorstep weekly.
Sorry this is long now- but I don't know how to get some equal footing here and what words to use when she asks when I'm going to go and see her!
Be grateful for some suggestions other than I'm just too busy, etc etc!
Well, you could just lay it on the line. Nowt wrong with, 'It takes a long time and is expensive to get there, maybe you could come to me'. If she would take that as unreasonable, then it doesn't bode well... Sometimes you just have to let some friendships go, as people don't listen when you actually do tell them, or pretend not to. Easier said than done I know. But if you value the relationship equally, you put equal effort in don't you?
I think, after 30 years, you're not going to change someone's behaviour or the friendship dynamic overnight. However, for your own self-respect, I think you should say something. e.g. If you don't want to go to X place, be assertive about it.... 'I'd rather we met up closer to my house for a change and go somewhere cheaper' or whatever.
If she's a good friend she'd take it in the spirit it's intended. If she's not really as good a friend as you think then she might take offence. Either way at least you'll have said your piece. The alternative is the passive approach of say nothing, do nothing and keep pulling back. Lots of friendships fizzle out that way
I agree although I think one issue here is that the £25 fare is meaningless to her ( she spends it weekly to her appt) whereas it's not meaningless to me.
But more to the point, it's about her lack of effort. I spelled it out very clearly about 8 weeks back: I said to her 'don't wait to be invited to me when you are in X. It's an open invitation- if you want to meet when you are passing through, just say and we will.'
I think that was quite clear? Since then she must have been within 5 minutes of my house 4 times or more.
Sorry Cogito- xd posts and was replying to Parsley.
I think that was reasonably clear. It sounds as though she's more important to you than you are to her, sadly. Doesn't mean you can't be friends, of course, but you're going to have to reassess whether you still want to put in as much effort as in the past if you're seeing her with new eyes.
I don't want to put in as much effort, no.
We had a falling out 2 years back when lots of stuff was said- basically she thought I wasn't being that supportive of her marriage crisis. I was- but maybe made the mistake of seeing both sides and being 'impartial' whereas she wanted me to be 100% on her side and not say anything against her but I was a bit too honest!
We got over it, but it made me re-evaluate who she was and I felt she was incredibly self-centred and this has stayed with me.
I've stopped phoning her as much- we used to talk at least once a week- and now she phones me more than I phone her. But there is still this issue of her not making the effort to meet on my patch.
It's probably just run its course. It's a little sad when that happens but we all change as we get older and become rather less tolerant of people. I know I have I expect she'd be fine in small doses spaced far apart.
Could you try saying you can't meet her when you next have an appointment in her town? Then suggest she meets you when she's near you, just see what her reaction is.
What are her appointments for? Do you know? Do you really know? I mean, the real reason?
Clearly she does want to see you and be friends with you, but for whatever reason she doesn't want to combine these appointments with a visit to you. Do you know why? There may be a reason. I wonder if there is something going on that she doesn't want to tell you about.
Why not extend a specific (not open) invitation for her to come to you on a particular day (not an appointment day)? If there is a place near you that you could suggest (e.g. 'X restaurant is really good, why don't you come over and we'll go to lunch' - or a museum, gallery etc - something that is near you) then you will see how willing she is to come over. If she makes excuses you could ask her why she doesn't want to come to you. She may not tell you the truth, but you can ask.
After several experiences with a few friends of mine, I have concluded that you just never know what is going on in other people's lives. I wouldn't assume that her reluctance to come and visit you is anything to do with you or your friendship.
I think I remember your story - it's the 'she's in my town every 2 weeks but expects me to travel 2 hours to hers to meet up' that had me and still does. Maybe you could make a pact with yourself, that you will only travel to her town specifically to see her, after she has done the same for you, and on a strictly one-for-one basis thereafter. What
excuse reason does she give for not coming to you? Also like the 'let's meet halfway' idea. I let a long friendship drop because I was making all the running - and gradually realising that I didn't much like the self-centred side of my friend that was increasingly emerging. I don't miss her - and she hasn't contacted me to ask where I've gone!
I did mention this before- she goes to a counselling session and has been going for 2 years. I know the counsellor as a friend, although we never ever discuss my friend, but we are colleagues. I told my friend that I didn't 'expect ' her to see me when she was here when she was very distressed initially, but things have moved on hugely in 2 years. She could easily have some 'her ' time before or after the session before we met up.
Meeting half way won't work-she lives in a city, I live in the sticks but due to the location there is nowhere half way and me travelling half way would in fact be harder across country than the direct line to where she lives.
Ah that explains it. A counselling session can be exhausting. I expect she doesn't feel like friendly chit chat after seeing a counsellor.
Clearly, it should be a more reciprocal relationship, OP. I would just make less effort and see if she wants to put any energy into the friendship. You could be honest and tell her you'd love to come and see her but its expensive and why doesn't she come and visit you next time? And leave it at that and see what happens. If the friendship becomes more distant, well you will just have more energy for other things in your life.
Excuse- I understand that and that's why I said what I did at the start - but it's now 2 years that she's been coming and she has talked for ages about stopping the counselling- she thinks it's become a habit - so I know she isn't especially emotional after it. But she could meet me beforehand for a coffee- but chooses not to.
Well she hasn't stopped it, maybe she still needs it. I know people who have had counselling for many years. They don't feel socialable before or after a session.
"I know she isn't especially emotional after it"
You don't know that, actually. I think it would be very unreasonable to expect her to fit you in on the days when she comes for counselling - for whatever reason, it isn't what she wants to do. That's her decision and she doesn't deserve to be criticised for it. You may reasonably expect her to make 50% of the visiting effort, however, so why not just invite her to do something that's near you, or to come over for dinner/whatever at your house?
Not on her counselling days no way but she can afford to see you on other days. Maybe she feels that she'd rather go to better places where she lives to eat and secretly looks down on your choices of places to go. Could be this.
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