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Favours for friends.

(18 Posts)
twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 10:12:40

Following on from a different thread I started, I have been wondering alot about favours for friends.

Do you do your friends 'favours'?
Is this a regular thing?
Do you mind at all?

Do you ask your friends for favours?

What do you expect from your friends?

I know this is probably coming out all a bit gobbledegook grin but I find this part of friendships difficult.

I tend not to ask for favours, unless I am desperate and there is no other way of doing things, since I hate to put anyone in the situation where they say yes, but really don't want to IYSWIM. I am a bit like that, hate to say no, incase I offend anyone, so I dont want to make anyone else feel like that.

If a friend offers me something, then I always ask them if they are sure grin and then graciously accept and it means alot to me, but I am beginning to feel in a minority. Most of my friends seem to constantly need help, which they are always asking their friends for.
I think I offended one of my friends the other day by saying No to looking after her 2DC for an afternoon, so she could spend the afternoon in bed with her b/f.

I am beginning to feel like a really selfish person. blush

I just don't want to be relied upon regularly, unless it's an emergency (There I've said it out loud!! Phew!!)
This may be because I don't rely on other people regularly, think I have asked if a friend could lend me a cup of sugar once in 5 yrs. I find it so hard to say no though.

I usually end up feeling like I am having the piss taken out of me. I don't ask friends to watch my DC, I don't borrow money from friends every week, I don't ask them for lifts, I don't need my friends for what they have got, but rather for who they are.
Am I making any sense? I feel like I have rambled on abit, but I'm beginning to feel quite stressed about this. I do offer my friends help sometimes, but I feel me offering is different to my friends asking IYSWIM. It kind of means I don't mind, or I am happy to do this.
My friends do seem to hint first and I do pick up on these hints ie: I need to get to XXX next week on a Monday, but the bus is going to cost me XXX amount. I usually reply with something like 'Oh dear, thats not good.' Then said friend will ask me outright, can you take me and pick me up? shock

Maybe I should say something as soon as they hint?

Why can't I just say No. Is it really so terrible of me?

Do you rely on your friends for anything?

Opinions v v v v welcome grin

FlightHattendant Tue 04-Aug-09 10:18:16

I don't have the answers as I am a bit like you, but with fewer friends smile

I have had friends who have asked me for favours, and I have ended up resenting them, sometimes because their requests were pretty outrageous, and sometimes because they know I am single and find it hard to cope already, and they don't offer the same back - or if they do, I don't feel I can ask them, because they are a couple and already have plenty of things to do for each other/ their children etc.

I would not want to ask a friend for practical help, as I don't feel I can offer much in the way of reciprocation.

I do ask my mother - mainly for child sitting when I have to go to the dentists or such, but never for an evening out or anything unessential.

I don't know what's normal, really - except that I think we are probably not grin

Lifeinagoldfishbowl Tue 04-Aug-09 10:29:03

I do regulary help out friends or do favours for them; money lending, babysitting, etc. I don't ask for favours as I don't like to be beholden to anyone. I don't mind it but do sometimes feel resentful - but that often depends on the relationship and or the friend.

twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 10:38:45

Flight You sound exactly like me!! grin

It is so nice to know I am not the only one!!

I don't have many friends, I tend to avoid people, because as much as I would like friends, I invariably find they take the p eventually, so it's clearly a problem I must take responsibility for.

I am not sure what's normal or not either.

I can totally relate to the feeling resentful too. I have started to avoid the few friends I have tbh. I do get lonely, and want to have friends, but I prefer to offer, and if I don't offer, it's usually because I don't want to.
When I have to go out to work, my family offer to look after my DC, and I also offer to look after their DC if I can, but that seems different, because I have offered. I avoid having other people's DC round mine, normally because I find it so difficult to say no even to them, and their parents don't say No either, so they end up demolishing my home.
I have had children putting my cutlery down my toilet, tearing apart my bedroom, taking 1 bite out of every piece of food in my fridge, and the parents just say to me 'They were hungry'.

I don't think I am a monster, but I am starting to feel like one.

I can see it is probably all my fault, but I just don't know how to put it right, and is it too late to put it right?

I sometimes have friends wanting to drop in at 11pm, when I am bone tired, but I still say ok.
I don't think avoidance is the answer, well it hasn't worked for me so far, so I need to find another way.
I don't want my DC growing up to be walked all over, so I know I have to change, but I feel like a rabbit caught in headlights when I am put on the spot, and my knee jerk reaction is to say ok, but seethe inside grin

angel1976 Tue 04-Aug-09 10:53:43

twigsblankets - I think you have a problem setting boundaries, which seems to then lead to you feeling resentful because you are unable to say no to your friends and DCs... I also think a lot of it depends on personality and culture you are brought up in.

I don't have an issue doing flavours for friends AT ALL and often do it but I don't have an issue with saying no either if it really puts me out or make me uncomfortable. For example, I would not say yes to looking after a friend's DCs while she spends the afternoon in bed with her BF! shock

But I regularly look after my friend's two DCs if she needs to pop out for an appointment that is easier without them both in tow. But if they are at my house, they play by my rules and she has no problems with that either! She does the same for me. We also take turns every fortnight to babysit for each other so we can go out with our DHs and also on special occasions. We don't keep 'tabs' either, but we are very good friends and this is one friend I would trust my DS's life with! IMO, very few friends are like that.

I think in your case, you are being treated as a bit of a doormat and probably why you are feeling resentful. Can you set some form of guidelines in your head as to what you would say yes to? I wouldn't say yes to lifts etc. That's just taking the p*. But I would say yes if they need to be somewhere not convenient with children in tow. And when you are looking after their DCs, make sure they play by your rules i.e. they get punished if they do naughty things in your house. If they are staying for any length of time and the parents feel they will be hungry, get them to bring their own food. I wouldn't be happy with kids taking a bite ut of all my food int he fridge either. If they are not happy with that, then tough, you won't look after them again. The more assertive you are, the more they will realise they can't rely on you and stop asking! Good luck.

twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 11:16:52


You have hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

I find it hard to set boundaries, because I don't really know what is classed as normal or not. I so want to be more assertive.

If your friend asked you to do something you felt uncomfortable doing, how would you handle it? eg: lifts, looking after DC while she is in bed with her b/f for afternoon.

Do you just say No? I am really struggling with this, and I think my friends know this, and therefore it is making me a much easier target.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 04-Aug-09 11:21:23

Twigsblankets: WRT the example you mentioned, is it that you have a problem with the idea of your friend having a sex life, or is it just that looking after her DC would be inconvenient? Because I would look after a friend's DC in those circumstances as long as a) I could cope with the DC and b) knew that she would look after mine on another occasion.

twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 11:55:06

I don't mind my friend having a sex life grin.
I just don't want to look after her DC when she could do it herself IYSWIM. Her b/f lives with her, so I don't understand why she would want to palm her kids off when she has 24/7 with her b/f. I also know from past experience that it would become a regular thing, ie: 2/3 times a week. It seems harder to say No, once I have already agreed once.

I manoeuvre (sp) my sex life around my DC, so why would anyone else not do the same thing? hmm

I do find her children hard work, but that's mainly to do with the way they treat my own DC.
I suppose it's not something I would ask of a friend. It's not necessary imho, when she lives with her b/f, and they are both unemployed, so have all the time in the world.


angel1976 Tue 04-Aug-09 12:07:43

twigsblankets - YANBU!!!!! I don't have a problem with anyone having a sex life but I could never ever bring myself to ask my friend to look after my DS just so I could have sex with DH. Yucks! So no, I wouldn't like it either if she asked me to do the same and I would say no in that instance.

Boundaries are what you make of them. For example, SolidGoldBrass will babysit for her friend's DCs in that instance and she is using different criteria from us so that's fine. It's what you are comfortable with.

Re: asking for lifts... Can you have 'practised' answers in your head?

For example:

Friend: I need to get to XXX next week on a Monday, but the bus is going to cost me XXX amount.

You: It can't be helped I suppose.

Friend: Can you come and pick me up?

You: Actually, I need to be at XYZ doing XYZ so I'm afraid I can't. Sorry.

You don't have to be rude or anything. Do you know what though? A friend who tries to palm off her kids to you and use you as free childcare 2/3 times a week? I rather not have a friend like that! But that's just my opinion. I am actually really willing to help my friends but they do the same for me so there's no resentment. Doesn't sound like the case here!

FlightHattendant Tue 04-Aug-09 13:09:28

Twigs. I am like you in a way, but the difference is I went through all that crap while I was still at school and decided that I didn't trust anyone, because people always took my stuff, broke it, took the piss basically - and therefore I developed a strategy of not being available to people, not having the kind of friends who would take the piss, and generally giving off an air of unapproachability.

It's worked, somehow, because I never get asked for things any more and if I do seem to acquire a friend who just wants my stuff, or me to sell random possessions belinging to her dodgy friends on ebay, I move house to get away from her, or find another way to give a VERY distinct impression that it is not going to happen.

Yes, you need to get assertive and if that means losing a few dubious friends so be it - you'll still attract the nice ones. smile

Just do it - life is too short to be forever resentful. It's very passive aggressive too, and bad for the soul smile

DITCH them all. TODAY.

FlightHattendant Tue 04-Aug-09 13:11:20

I think the problem is wanting everyone to like you, actually, which is easier to tell someone to get over than to actually get over.

It took me a while but now nobody horrible likes me and several nice people do, so it has just need to like yourself a little bit more and let yourself get defiantly annoyed that they would even ask you to do such and such...ignoring works quite well too.

bubblagirl Tue 04-Aug-09 13:23:28

iwas people pleaser who just got dropped for no reason probably because i had served my purpose and they didnt value me as a friend

i learnt to toughen up test boundaries ask for small favours to match ther'es if they said no i said no next time they asked i wont allow anyone to walk all over me now and i dont care if i have no friends id rather real friends than fake friends

i always felt like it would feel nice to be likied by all but i was never happy for it felt used no one was there for me when i needed someone made me feel more lonely

i now ahve few friends but they are all there for me if i need them and vise versa

cat64 Tue 04-Aug-09 13:48:34

Message withdrawn

KIMItheThreadSlayer Tue 04-Aug-09 13:53:13

I have a lovely lovely friend who collects DS2 from school every Monday while I am at my mums grin

twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 14:06:36

angel The example of the response you have given is a good one. I think I can say that, without feeling too mean. grin Thanks for that.

Flight You are so right. I want to trust people, and trust them not to take advantage. I suppose I have a problem with 'approval'. I feel like I need people to approve of what I say/think/do. It looks really quite pathetic now I have written it down.

bubblagirl People pleaser. hmm Interesting you say that, because I told my mother a few weeks ago that I was sick of being a people pleaser, and I don't want my DC to grow up to be people pleasers. Her reply was 'It's not really people pleasing when you do things other people want you to do, it's called consideration for others' I said, what if they are not considering me in return, then you are just making yourself unhappy to please other people and whats the point of that? She replied that at least that makes me the better person hmm

FWIW my mother has no friends, because she doesn't trust anyone, and truly believes that when someone invites her for tea etc, they dont really mean it, they are just being polite. I don't agree with this at all.
Those people probably think my mother constantly refusing means she doesn't want to know them, so they back off. When they back off, she believes it was because they didn't want to know in the first place, and as she originally thought, they were being polite. A self fulfilling prophecy.

My mother is probably one of the biggest people pleasers I know. She will go to extraordinary lengths, putting herself out for certain people, saying she doesn't really mind, but then when she gets nothing back from them, or she needs them and they are not willing to help her, she complains at everything she has done for them. Personally, I find my mother very difficult, because she is a very sarcastic angry person with me, but I think I encourage that, because I don't stand up to her either. sad

Also, any advice on how to subtley, and gently break off friendships or keep certain people at arms length? I think some of my friends would be ok if I only saw them once in a while, and now I have started writing, I am realising just how much of my life this problem extends to.
My friends don't like me just explaining that 'I am busy' and my mother will be very persistent in wanting to know everything about me, including where I have been, what I have eaten (quantities too), who I saw, why didn't I answer the phone when she rang etc etc.sad My mother thinks I should please others more than myself, even if that means living my life in a way she approves of, even if it makes me unhappy. My problems probably stem from there tbh.

I'm so happy that I can come on here and get some support. So Thank you so much everyone.

Funnily enough, my XP was always insistent on wanting to know everything I got up to too, and asked alot of the same questions as my mother does, but she cannot see a resemblance. So I must change, and it must start today. Is it too late for me to change?
How hard will it be?

twigsblankets Tue 04-Aug-09 14:14:22

cat64 I think that sounds lovely, the way you help people out.
I used to take my DC swimming lessons and would happily take my friends DC at the same time. I was already going that way, so seemed silly not to, and I honestly didn't mind.
I did however mind when another friend became rather aggressive because I would not enrol my DC in diving lessons on a different day because her DS wanted to go to these diving lessons, and she had no way of getting him there. She wanted my DC to go too, so I would take her DS as well, which I probably would have if my DC were going. (My DC didn't want to do diving.)
My friend then put pressure on my DC every time she saw them, to go to diving lessons. It was not nice for my DC to have that pressure from an adult sad

She has moved away now, but my DC never did end up going to diving lessons.

I really do still want to hear what other people do for their friends. grin

It is giving me a chance to see what others do, instead of wondering. grin

cat64 Tue 04-Aug-09 14:27:14

Message withdrawn

babyowl Wed 05-Aug-09 14:18:18

In the past I have been taken for a ride in the process of doing people favours so that does make me a bit cautious about being drawn into people's personal lives & also who I do stuff for.

But ultimately, I do favours similar to cat64's way, basically offering help if I can irrespectively of whether or not I would ever get anything back. I think it's nice to help where & when you can. And I have also found help from the most unexpected people over the years, so I consider it a bit like karma.

I have a mother similar to Twigs who insists upon "consideration for others". Consideration is great, but not to the point of offering yourself up as a human runway. There's a time & place for everything, I feel.

The good news though is that I am getting more "selfish" everyday, especially with my own little family to tend to. I just do not have the time or patience that I once did to share with all & sundry. Plus the lack of a good night's sleep certainly releases all my inhibitions about being social/subtle/diplomatic with people.

Re: the nosy questions thing, I've heard asking the person why they want/need to know or changing the subject are good techniques. Blanking them also helps & if the questions are raised again you can again blame lack of sleep, feeling tired & oh wouldn;t it be wonderful if someone could help with...

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