Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Friend has accused me of being a useless friend(81 Posts)
I am currently going through IVF and have been TTC for 3 years. 5th cycle has just failed. I feel utterly broken this time (much more than usual). I have told friends about it because I am tired of fielding off questions and comments all the time. That said, I don't really reach out to friends (I get my support from mom and husband) and put on a brave face, as it were.
Post concerns my "best friend" from college. We're now 30. She's always been emotionally very needy and has always leaned on me and I've gone above and beyond in supporting her over the years. We used to be very close but after uni moved to different areas and of course our contact wasn't as regular but she's always very obsessed with me being her "best" friend. She's not reeeally that great on support but because I never ask her for any I don't feel let down.
Her father sadly passed away suddenly and they had been estranged. I was very sad for her and of course immediately sent a card, called and sent text messages. I didn't hear from her but of course didn't think anything of it and said to call when she felt able and that I was always here for her.
In the meantime, I had a very distressing family situation to deal with (not death) but left me emotionally spent as it was a constant stress. Added to that, I did my 5th IVF cycle and my thyroid completely gave up. I can't start another cycle until I get this sorted and I don't know how long that will take.
During this month, I didn't hear from my friend and I didn't contact her either. Time just whizzed by and I was numb the entire time. We spoke in early May on the phone for 2 hours and I left her to speak only about her dad. I didn't tell her about the IVF failing as It wasn't about me, she needed to talk. She asked if I was pregnant yet and I said I was still trying with treatment but didn't say much else apart from that it was emotionally tough. We exchanged text messages afterwards a bit.
Then our friend had a baby. Yesterday we went to see her and meet the baby. This of course wasn't easy as I don't find babies easy to be around but I am happy for our friend so put on a brave face for our lovely friend who has been lovely to me despite being pregnant.
My friend corners me in another room and aggressively tells me I've been a useless friend and hadnt supported her for a whole month. I said I felt like I had but she hadn't contacted me back and she hadn't mentioned this when we spoke at length recently. I said that I didn't want to harass her if she wasn't returning calls. She said it wasn't good enough and she was amazed at how useless I've been. I said I had had an awful time myself and she said it wasn't an excuse. I'm ashamed to say that I broke down but she kept laying into me.
We left shortly after (felt awful for my other friend but she understood). My friend text me afterwards to say that she felt like I didn't care and was disappointed. I reiterated what I said earlier but she persisted. She said "we need to talk on the phone soon to discuss this as I need to know what you want from our friendship". This has weirdly shaken me. What would you do. My husband is not happy about her being so bullish and I need an impartial perspective I think.
Thanks, sorry this is so long.
Meant uni not college. We lived together for a number of years until about age 23. We're 30 now
Tell her that you are sorry that you can't be the friend she demanded so you are stepping back so she can find someone else.
While you go and find a friend who will ask how you are once in a while.
Thanks Aussie. She absolutely laid into me and It totally took me unexpectedly. I've now been going over and over what I should have done.
Sorry you've been through such a difficult time
I recently went through a cycle of ivf myself so I can appreciate how emotionally drained you must feel.
I also had one of my "best friends" lay into me about how rubbish I had been she sounds kind of similar to yours a bit needy and selfish
in the end I decided that I was better off without her as I'd increasingly felt that the friendship was very one sided and my life was always a bit of a foot note to her drama.
Look after yourself you're going through a really tough process and you need to focus your energy on you if your friend can't appreciate that then you might need to take a step back
I think this would be the end of the line for me. Her behaviour sounds totally unacceptable. If she sees you as such a close friend, surely she would have approached you gently, perhaps a little tearfully to say she'd missed hearing from you and was everything ok etc ?
She sounds quite immature, but then I'm suspicious of adults who need a "best" friend.
Thank you, your posts and kind words mean a lot. I am quite a tough person but this has really unsettled me.
Nicenewdusters - yes I agree re "best friend" thing. My priorities are my family and husband and I friends third. I care about them of course and would always be there but they come after the former and I needed to focus on them.
She is right that there was a month of "no contact" and yes it was a bit shit of me but I was emotionally preoccupied and we spoke for 2 hours in a call shortly after and spoke only of her dad. I gladly gave her this time.
So now I'm just wondering how much I should have done in an ideal world. I couldn't "drop everything and go and see her" as I was having almost daily medical appts and worried sick about leaving the house when my embryos were implanted. I am permanently working from home as a result. Luckily work are being wonderful.
Fuzzywuzzy - sorry to hear you're going through the same thing. I wouldn't wish this on anyone and I hope it all ends happily for you.
So she didn't approach it in terms of, "is everything okay? You seem to have been quiet lately - do you need to talk?" It's all about how you're not supporting her.
I know that the death of a parent can be massively distressing (been there, nearly got the P45, my work suffered so much.) But deaths happen and they don't mean everything else stops. Does she know about the IVF, the thyroid, the family stuff you've been dealing with?
What do you get from the friendship, other than shared history? She thinks you're not supportI've, but has she ever supported you, or has it all been one way with her emotional neediness? My instincts would be to tell her to fuck off, it's not all about her, but because of her Dad, I'd probably let her a bit of slack.
What do you think would happen if you just let the friendship go?
Oh no She's a leech. You need to be there for her because you have been 'honoured' with the role of 'best friend'. That's not a two way street though.
I would just tell her that you have a lot of stuff going on and it isn't working for you. There'll be recriminations and blame but you need to just deflect and remember you're calling her on unacceptable behaviour. Don't argue, don't take it on board. You're leaving an abusive situation.
I do hope things work out for you
Don't wonder about how much you should have done in an ideal world, neither you nor your friend are going to be living there (if you do, let me know the address !).
If I don't hear from friends for a while I generally assume they're busy, preoccupied with stuff they don't want to share, or some other reason that may well not concern me. Like you, because I'm not leaning on them heavily, I don't take it personally.
I think she just has very different expectations of your friendship. What I wouldn't be able to get over is that she didn't behave any differently after you'd explained that you too had been having a hard time.
Thanks Ebearhug. It would be difficult as we share a friend (the one with the baby). This friend lives only 20 mins from me and is absolutely wonderful. I'd still be able to be friends with her I'm sure but it would be awkward I suppose and I wouldn't want to make her feel that way. She does however totally understand where I'm coming from here and phoned me earlier to check if I was ok and did this is classic behaviour from her.
Just as you said, I wouldn't want to be too harsh because she has lost her dad. But she seems determined to "find out why I haven't supported her and how we can get our friendship back to where it once was". Like my reasons aren't good enough and she expects me to grovel.
Tbf we will hopefully lose our parents before we die. That's the way life works. You're struggling with a whole other intangible grief for your ability to be a mother. That can be unutterably difficult as others pop out dc and there's no name for that fear or loss. You don't get to mourn the thing that didn't happen.
Giddy - thank you. That sums it up perfectly.
Your friend sounds very hard work
to you for the IVF. I would say she is the one who's been unsupportive to you!
Hi there. I had a 'friend' do exactly the same thing in exactly the same dramatic way. I was in the middle of 2nd lot of IVF and dealing with losing a parent myself. I'm horrified to think that I did grovel and almost beg to make it up to her at the time. I now look back and realise I had done nothing wrong. The friendship has not recovered once I realised she was the unreasonable and selfish one.
People not in the know think IVF is just something you have, like an injection. They put no consideration into what it takes and how likely it is to fuck with your head!
Stick to the friends who don't make your life harder, life is too short!
Good luck with the IVF, I now have 3 week old and the last 9 years of chlomid and IVF and miscarriage have faded out of my kind, I know the hardest bit is not knowing if it will ever work. Don't give up hope xxx
Sack her as your friend because she hasn't been friendly towards you. I get that she has experienced someone close to her dying but you are also going through something very upsetting to you.
Calling someone a friend doesn't mean you get to dictate how they behave, which is what shes doing. She doesn't get to decide how much emotional support you owe her, ever.
She doesn't get the right to judge how adequate your friendship is and then get to tell you off for not living up to her expectations.
She doesn't get to rank both your problems on some secret scale known only to herself and decide on how much worse hers are, especially when she is deliberately avoiding knowing about any problems you have.
She has no right to publicly berate you for what she percieves as your inadequacies, or expect to be able to push her opinions on you until thing are sorted out and changed to her satisfaction.
True friends don't treat grief as a competition.
I think you may have a bond...but I don't think it's friendship. You possibly need to step back and look at what this relationship really is all about.
I would say write down its main features and see what other dispassionate people make of it! but your already there !
I lost my father and no, the full expectation I had that I would lose my parents did not, in the slightest, lessen the blow.
There is no comparative scale of grief. Trying to figure out which of the two of you were having the worst time is nonsense.
Having said that I would try and gather myself to speak to her to say that you think friendship should be about mutual support and should not come with instructions and minimum standards. However close you were, the friendship is now feeling like a burden and a negative thing and it's better if the two of you step away from each other. As she is so clearly disappointed and angry then she will presumeably be happier finding a friend to support her as she wishes.
I think that's the angle I would take. Use her anger and indignation back at her by saying 'I am being as good a friend as I can. You think that's woefully inadequate so we have different ideas to the point of incompatibility.' Why would she want to be friends with someone she views so poorly?
I lost a parent in my late twenties and was very, very raw for months after, and not myself for at least a year. I made poor decisions and behaved in some very un-characteristic ways.
Don't judge her by the present time. I say that as someone who is also going through infertility.
Don't let her pressure you into crying on her shoulder. I think it sounds like your friendship has just changed a bit, you aren't as close now- there's nothing wrong with that.
I wouldn't want to be friends with someone who attacked me so viciously. It sounds like she's totally lacking in empathy, wrapped up in herself. You've reflected on this and said that you need to prioritise your husband and family, which is totally understandable.
She wants more than you can give. She wants a one-sided friendship where she can lean on you more than she offers support.
Time to take a step back I think.
Someone did this to me last year. Due to the fact I am forced to see her regularly I do have to remain friendly with her but we are certainly not friends anymore. It was shocking and really upsetting, and made me question my personality, my worth as a friend and even my sanity at one point. So I know how it makes you feel.
But this is all about her and nothing to do with you so do try not to let it eat away at you too much.
Before her outburst were you still enjoying her company and contact with her? It sounds as though the friendship hadn't been reciprocal for a while, you weren't that keen on her, and that you were unable to discuss your problems with her but felt you had to listen to hers.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.