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How do you deal with those "difficult"; friends?

(21 Posts)
ScribblerOnTheRoof Tue 03-Nov-15 14:39:11

I have a friend who I have known for well over 10 years. She is a great friend, has helped me out a lot financially over the years when I found myself in difficulty.

I have also helped her out with accommodation, a shoulder to cry on etc.

Anyway, this friend is a lot older than me, she is 60 and I am 33. I don't think this is relevant at all but worth mentioning.

Over the last couple of years my friend has become increasingly difficult - or I have only just noticed it!

One Christmas I invited her over because she was on her own - her Mother had recently passed away. I cancelled all pland and asked her to stay with me for the whole of Christmas. We bought each other gifts and I made dinner.

I cooked all morning with no help from her (I didnt ask for help), and she would interupt me at regular intervals to ask me to bring her another glass of wine.

An hour or so later she asked if I was sure the Turkey wasn't cooked yet, she came over and inspected it and told me it was overcooked and proceeded to take it off my hands.

She went back into the living room and cotinued to browse on her ipad and sup on her wine. I asked her to come help laying the table and as she took the plates from my hand she said in a shocked voice "you haven't warmed them??". This pissed me off.

Its the same whenever I invite her over for a weekend for a few drinks. I am expected to pick her up as she doesn't drive (this part is not a problem). I then am asked to bring drinks etc to her, cook food the next day, and ensure I am up early in the morning to take her home as she doesn't like hanging around.

Last weekend me and my partner asked her if she wanted to pop into a large retail store before going home (she doesnt get out much and has a bad leg) and she said yes.

10 minutes into the shop and she text to say she was by our car and needed the loo so we had to leave our shopping to take her home.

This weekend we are going to the theatre (her, me and my dp) and my dp wants to make an evening of it, nothing too much just a meal and a few drinks but she is reluctant. "what people usually do when they go to the theatre is go straight there any maybe a drink or two after" Well fuck me, I want a drink and meal before theatre and a drink after but of course she is staying at my house so we will once again have to follow her lead.

I dont want to go NC but I am seriously considering putting a stop to our social events! Am I a crap friend?

TheyCallMeBell Tue 03-Nov-15 14:49:30

The thing with friendships is that they are supposed to be a two-way thing. Sometimes one friend has more input into a decision about what you do, other times it will be the other friend. It sounds like everything is on this woman's terms and that's not friendship.

You're not a crap friend. She sounds like she is a very trying one.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 03-Nov-15 15:09:54

How? By knowing your boundaries, stating them, and enforcing them. She is the way she is and won't change, but you don't always need to go along with what she dictates.

"You haven't warmed the plates?"
"No, I haven't." (even tone and stare; you do not have anything to apologise for)

"I will be able to drive you back from mine at 10.00 after we've had the time to walk the dog/have breakfast/lie in a bit."

"We'll be in the shop for another 15 min while we queue to pay for our shopping, hold on."

"That's nice, but our plan is to have a drink and a meal before the play and a drink after."

timelytess Tue 03-Nov-15 15:18:01

We'll be in the shop for another 15 min while we queue to pay for our shopping, hold on
Erm... not everyone can!

But yes, OP, you seem to be very involved with this person who doesn't do anything for you and doesn't show any appreciation. Step back a bit, eh?

Sillysillywoman Tue 03-Nov-15 15:19:26

This doesn't sound like a friendship almost like your looking after your mother /elderly aunt.
Would drive me Barmy.
I'm 30 and my aunt is 64 and this is exactly how she goes in.
I need the wine just to cope with her.

ImperialBlether Tue 03-Nov-15 15:23:45

This isn't a friendship. You are doing everything for her and she, frankly, is behaving like a woman a lot older than her years.

pocketsaviour Tue 03-Nov-15 15:25:13

By any chance op was/is your own mother overbearing, demanding and critical?

HorseyCool Tue 03-Nov-15 15:34:23

Honestly, just give her the option of joining you for your evening the way that you want it or not.

ImperialBlether Tue 03-Nov-15 15:37:53

But it sounds as though they'd be picking her up and dropping her off, Horsey. I think they should just say, "This is what we're doing. If you fancy it, join us."

TendonQueen Tue 03-Nov-15 15:38:29

Yes, say 'We're going to go for a meal first. Shall I book a table for all three of us, or do you want to make your own way to the theatre and just join us for the show?'

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 03-Nov-15 16:16:35

She's helped you out financially. I think that counts for a lot, though it does not mean you have to be a doormat.

As others have said, you need to set your boundaries firmly to protect yourselves, but .... honestly, I don't think you should give up before trying a lot to make things more okay for you; getting back to a more pleasant and fun relationship.

ScribblerOnTheRoof Tue 03-Nov-15 16:33:57

I kind of see her as a Mother figure I guess. I lost my own mother when I was 9.

It is kind of an unconditional friendship if that makes sense?

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 03-Nov-15 16:40:09

Yes, and it sounds very unhealthy.

Unconditional love and support is reserved for children in our care. With other adults, our love and support is conditional on them treating us with respect, respecting our boundaries.

The kind of dependency you suggest in your relationship with this woman is the basis of all manipulative relationships. Roughly speaking, she gave you money and a replacement mother figure, and you feel you can't say 'boo' to her even when she tramples on your time and plans.

TopOfTheCliff Tue 03-Nov-15 16:40:15

Well if she is a mother figure that is still not an unconditional relationship. You only have to read the threads about toxic mothers to see that there is a limit even a parent can overstep.
Why are you still allowing her to push you around? What does it do for you?
Is there anything she could do that would be unacceptable or will you just let her treat you like a skivvy then complain later?

I would be limiting time with her severely in your shoes

Puzzledandpissedoff Tue 03-Nov-15 16:43:58

It is kind of an unconditional friendship if that makes sense?

In a way that's how I think friendships are; most don't stop to think "oh, I did this" or "ah, but she did that but just enjoy the friendship for what it is

It's often when you have to start counting these things that it become rocky ...

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 03-Nov-15 19:34:34

Do you feel she sort of sabotaging your time with your dp? Or does she feel like a third wheel when it is the 3 of you going out? Imho, I don't think it would justify her shortening the outing(s) but if there is a reason (and a pattern to this behavior), it might help find an answer.

However, if you are feeling irritated, then stepping back may be a good thing to do.

Stillunexpected Tue 03-Nov-15 19:47:03

Why have you even invited her to the theatre if she is so difficult? And why is there no compromise in this friendship - why does it always have to be her way? What prevents you from saying no/maybe/later to her sometimes?

PassiveAgressiveQueen Tue 03-Nov-15 19:56:55

Doesnt the big shop have toilets, most do.

Just try standing your own ground 2 or 3 times, see how it goes down, she might have just got used to stating her preferences and you doing it, so she thinks you are happy that way.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Tue 03-Nov-15 20:00:17

I have been accused of being overbearing because i talk in statements, "I prefer going for drinks after than before", it is only a conversational opener and i expect people to respond yeah but i will be starving so need to eat.
I hate pussy footing hinting people are expected to somehow magically spot, you were wearing blue on a Tuesday so of course you wanted pasta sort of nonsense.

Dragonsdaughter Tue 03-Nov-15 20:20:54

Unconditional love is for children and pets - everyone else get boundaries smile

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 03-Nov-15 21:37:12

"I understand that you would like to do the theater and only drinks after, but this time, dp and I are going to dine and drinks before hand as well as a drink after. You are welcome to join us, but, just so you know beforehand, we are not going to alter our plans."

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