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Is my closest friend really my friend at all?(82 Posts)
Hello all, I'd really appreciate any insight here.
Since having children and moving areas, I haven't had many close friends in my town. Lots of people to socialise with and some good friends, but no one I really clicked with.
I met a woman 18 months ago when our children started school together and over a few months we became really close. She pushed the friendship at first, texting and calling every day and it built up.
We started having play dates with the children most afternoons. I love her. She's warm, funny and down to earth.
After a few months, she suggested a big night out, but then a few days later I found out on FB that she'd made plans with another friend instead. Bear with me here..I'm not 15 and I don't care about this, but it's relevant. When I double checked with her she said she thought I'd fallen out with her because I hadn't texted her for 2 days. I was bemused but told her I didn't have an issue, and I made an effort to be in touch more often, which set the tone for the closeness of the friendship.
For the next year or so, we spent time together most days, usually at my house. She needed a lot of emotional support, turning up late at night was a regular occurrence. I provided food, alcohol and child care during half of each school holiday. She didn't..but I had no issues with this as I was not working and she was a single parent, and I live right by the school.
My Dh, however, has never liked her and has said she's 'a user'.
She met a new man and is now pregnant.
For months now she has, I would say, dramatically cooled the friendship. We see each other once a week or so outside school runs. She texts maybe twice a week...yetshe says we are still best friends. It took me ages to notice as to be honest that's more the level of contact that's normal to me with friends anyway. Plus she's busy with her new man and coming baby.
But it's been nagging at me late!y that perhaps she WAS using me. She acts the same, very effusive, when I see her, but we have no real interaction beyond small talk...and last week she didn't turn up for our usual play date. When I asked her where she was, she said 'I thought you'd fallen out with me because you hadn't texted me for ages'. I'd texted her several times with no reply. Am I daft to think she's not being honest?
Now I keep noticing that she stopped coming round when she couldn't drink alcohol provided by me any more. That the level of contact goes up dramatically just before a school holiday, which results in me providing free childcare. That she has a partner and no longer needs to borrow money an d pour out her woes. That she has a trail of broken friendships behind her and I don't really know why.
This has been long, sorry. I don't mind her cooling things, but why is she still going through the motions, pretending nothing has changed and being disingenuous about why? Is she possibly just using me? I really like her but can't shake the feeling I'm being taken for a mug.
It's natural that she should be around less when she is all loved up with a new partner, whereas previously she was single, bored and alone. But I hink your DH is right, she does sound like a user, a nightmare and quite high maintenance. And I wouldn't be surprised if this relationship is over as quickly as it's begun and soon she will be on your doorstep expecting support and sympathy and practical help with the new baby etc etc.
The trouble is, she is one of life's takers and she's latched onto the fact that you are a giver. You are always going to come off worst in this relationship.
If I were you I'd work on finding other friends and not expecting all your time to be filled by this one person, who sounds like a PITA anyway. You are a better friend than me - I have very little patience with people who suck me dry, monopolise my time, expect me to text them daily to prove I care about them, and who constantly require 'support' and favours and childcare etc. Especially if I get very little back in return.
The giver/taker thing is how my DH has always described it. I didn't think it was deliberate but just that she had some issues. It's the fact that I've previously bought her excuses and now I just don't think they make any sense. She's fun and easy to relax around and very lovely, which made being friends with her very easy by comparison with my other friendships, which are less dramatic but also less close and less fun. I liked having a friend I could just relax with and laugh with..but I'm starting to think is not worth the drama!
The other thing I've noticed is that she can be critical of the fact I don't work and comment on how much free time I have. It was mentioning this on another thread tonight that prompted me to post here.
Anyway I'm waffling. Baby is awake and it's late! Thanks for replying.
Yes she's a user! But as you say, great fun.
I know ppl like this and they are great fun. I know to hold my boundaries around them; know this is how they are ; know that if things don't go their way there'll be hell to pay. So I don't advertise my boundaries bit hold them anyway. It's your choice.
'Wouldn't trust her further than you could throw her' comes to mind. Your husband is right, she is a user. The intensity of your friendship from the off is imo a red flag.
I've just met someone like this. Currently knocking the friendship on the head. This one isn't worth it (even her homemade soup doesn't sway me).
Ie her interest in you depends on how useful you are to her.
Sounds exactly like my sister whom I am NC with.
She's had numerous 'best friends' over the years, but she's only interested as long as there's something in it for her. Anything from childcare to cars and holidays. Then when they outlive their usefulness she's suddenly too busy to see them, doesn't see or respond to texts or social media contact, misses calls...
Cut her off not worth the hassle.
yes these people are always great fun! They are also quite flaky and unreliable whenever you need anything from them and they work on keeping you sweet so they can manipulate when they need you, like a reliable little pet/servant on the back burner while they whizz around having more glamorous and exciting times with other people.
I'm glad to have my feelings validated. I'm a little sad because we really felt close but I think you are right and I should focus on other friendships. I'm quite lonely without her regular presence whereas I don't think I realised become how much I'd neglected having good friends since having children.
This friend's new partner is EA. We have discussed this but she thinks he's a good choice because his family is wealthy. Go figure. I don't think it will last. My prediction is that as soon as she is on maternity leave in the summer she will be here every day with her children, eating, drinking and making merry. Better make sure I'm working by then!
She does sound like a user and she's tapping into your generosity. Please don't feel bad about your kindness.
She is going through the motions as she might need you again so wants to keep you available if that makes sense.
I'd keep it cool and focus on your own family, join a gym or something and make your own plans.
Oh I had a 'friend' like this OP. Once I wised up to her I started making myself unavailable. She managed to work her way around the other mums at the school befoe bagging someone else's husband and moving counties.
I heaved a mahoosive sigh of relief.
I suggest you use this time of reflection, and insights gained, to prepare your strategy for when (as is likely - due to school holiday or relationship fail) she is all over you like a rash again.
You don't need to go back to work to avoid her (!) - but look back over how she sucks you in, and have deflecting responses ready.
Redefine the friendship taking account of your needs.
Thanks everyone. I do need to grow a Jacobin and set boundaries.
Yep I agree, user. It sounds like your friendship has no substance cos it´s all about what she can get from you. Would you turn to her and expect emotional support in a crisis? That´s what real friends would be like, mutually supportive, whereas she´s on the take! Also, did you never go round her house? Why did you provide all the hospitality all the time?
Also, true friends wouldn´t take the huff if they don´t get a text after 2 days! What´s that all about? She sounds needy and hardwork and veryexhausting to be around. I would keep her firmly at arm´s length and don´t offer anymore hospitality, childcare etc. She´s clearly not a quality friend. I think she sensed you were lonely and thought you desperate for friends but she´s taken you for a mug and taken advantage of your nice nature and current situation, SAHM, lonely etc.
She´s a trail of failed friendships behind her for a reason! Stop suffering fools gladly.
She's intense, and has issues.
Charming people can often be needy and manipulative, and very inconsistent . I hope she finds more stability, for her own sake. But you do not need to be dragged down by her - keep your distance and stop expecting anything from this friendship.
I do go to her house on occasion, but it's become the norm to come to mine because it's much closer to school -and I cook and provide wine and have a garden- . She would help me out if I needed it, and has done, by giving me craft items and helping me decorate, but it's infrequent. This is why I've been reluctant to see her as a real taker, but I can't ignore it any more really. It's almost the Easter holidays, so I'm expecting hrer to become super friend again in a week or two, then ask for a week of childcare for her quite hard to handle DC. Then she'll drop off the face of the earth apart from just enough to maintain a façade of friendship..until half term. I'm feeling a bit sick thinking about it.
Well now you´re wise to her motives so you won´t be doing any of that anymore will you? Sounds like she was doing the bare minimum just to keep you sweet.
Would´ve been nice for her to provide the wine if you were going to the trouble of cooking though.
Just be assertive, stop texting her, she´ll assume you´ve fallen out with her anyway after 48hrs of NC so her perculiar childish attitude could work in your favour!
Also, what do you mean exactly by providing childcare? You mind her kids whilst she goes off somewhere? Playdates are one thing, actually childminding regularly is quite another. Esp if it´s now become expected! You need to stop or you will indeed be the biggest mug in the whole entire universe. Nobody likes to feel like someone´s taking a lend of them. You´re just a convenience as far as she´s concerned.
She sounds very insecure IMO. She's basically required daily contact from you until meeting a new, wealthy partner that she can shackle herself to due to pregnancy. She's now getting the attention she craves elsewhere.
Most probably she was using you. I guess she just needs to be important to someone at all times and isn't too bothered who that someone is!
By childcare I mean having her one current DC here while she's at work for half of all school holidays, including providing food and activities. I have 3 DC and, while it's nice for the children, it can be wearing. I had no huge issue as I understand I am lucky not to have childcare issues and as a working lone parent I understood her predicament. However, she's no longer a lone parent and has only taken three weeks off I'm holiday time since I've known her, so it's cheeky really. Her DC's father refuses to cover any weekdays.
Sorry about the typos. I really don't have the hang of this phone.
I didn't mind because I felt she'd do similar for me were the situation reversed, but her situation has greatly changed and the expectation that I do these things is now built into the relationship. I have no idea how to change it.
MummyBex, your description rings true.
The sad thing is that, while her partner's family is wealthy, he earns a lowish wage and refuses to pay towards many bills. She is pinning her hopes on the baby changing him and his family stepping up with money towards a house purchase.
She waited for the first acceptable man to come along and then deliberately became pregnant within a few months. The relationship is a disaster in the making. I think part of the reason she's withdrawn is that she used to spend hours discussing his faults, leaving him and returning etc. I think she's ashamed to ad!it to issues now she is pregnant, and when she doesn't drink (she drinks a lot more than me) it doesn't come out.
I'm just not sure I want to be the one to help her when it all goes wrong, again, as I don't think she even likes me, though I have no real way of knowing.
Her life sounds like a car crash blundering from one disaster to another. She totally USES everyone she meets. She looks to be constantly building and building, hoping something will stick by sheer force of will. People like you - kind, giving, considerate, thoughtful - are a godsend to people like this. I doubt very much she would see your point if you tackled her. She wants the short cut to everything. Maybe she thinks that's what friends are for.
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