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to let down a friend who won't stop offering help I have not asked for?

74 replies

Blossomgirl · 24/04/2013 22:10

I was due to work with a friend in September for a couple of days at a conference she is help organise, but told her no this week because she won't stop offering help that I have not asked for.

Came to a head yesterday when I told her that her last offer of 'help' had gone to far. What she did, knowing I am on a low income, was to send me a link to Oxfam dresses because she knew I do not have a dress for the conference dinner. I was gob smacked. I never ever asked her for help in getting a dress, it was completely uninvited.

This isnt the only incident but the one that bucked me into standing up and saying 'no more help unless I ask, please'

Since then I have been told that she offered me the work because she thought I would find the money helpful. I'm confident that I did the right thing in asking her to be a mate and be there ONLY if I ask for help

TBH I have a sick husband and 2DS's and it's my energy that keeps us on an even keel, me who has to be resourceful all the time and it wears away at my self-esteem so when I got the oxfam email I hit a downer and got proper introspective about how shit I must look to the world, and how hard getting by is etc. It took me a while to work out that I wanted the uninvited help to stop. I told her in a down-to-earth way.

Thing is this friend is also getting married in 3 1/2 weeks. I tried to keep my feelings to myself but she kept asking me if I had had her email and what did I think. Oh dear

I feel torn between my needs and hers.

She sent me a text earlier after turning away at the shops after I said Hi saying how hurt she is. She has taken massive offence. She says she cannot believe that I misunderstood her, and is very hurt at my lack of trust in her good intentions. She says she was only being a good friend and that I have let her down.

AIBU to stay firm to my instinct and say no to working for her knowing the stress it must be adding to her?

OP posts:

Blossomgirl · 24/04/2013 22:12

Thanks for reading btw :)

OP posts:

grograg · 24/04/2013 22:13

That email with the link would have really pissed me off!! You can get a cheap enough dress on the high street or choose your own charity shop to shop in. Yanbu


CloudsAndTrees · 24/04/2013 22:15

September is months away. Leave it until after her wedding.

She might have been misguided in her actions, but it doesn't sound like she was being horrible in any way from what you have said. There may well be other things going on from what you have written, but so far it sounds like she's trying to be kind and supportive to you. Even if its unwanted, it seems mean to me to throw that back at her by letting her down right before her wedding.


SirBoobAlot · 24/04/2013 22:18

So you were supposed to be helping her at a work thing, which she asked you to help with knowing you were on a low income.

She knew you would need a dress for the conference dinner and didn't have one, and because you were doing her a favour, sent you a link to some dresses that were reasonably priced.

I really don't understand why you're reacting so strongly. It sounds like she was just trying to help you, especially if you have a tough situation at home to deal with too. I'd have been offended too, especially if she's gone to the trouble of still focusing on you when she has her own wedding in a few weeks time.


gobbin · 24/04/2013 22:18

No YANBU. She may be a friend but she has overstepped your boundaries. You feel suffocated and insulted. A step or two away is probably needed. It's an awkward one, but in reality you don't owe her your friendship, harsh as that may sound.

You've told her how it is, at least you've been honest. It's up to her to have a bit of a long look at herself.


Hopeforever · 24/04/2013 22:27

Agree with Sir Bob


Jinsei · 24/04/2013 22:29

Hmm, I can see both sides. She was obviously being a bit insensitive but I think you're being a bit over-sensitive. At the end of the day, she was just trying to help.


Hassled · 24/04/2013 22:30

I'm on the fence - yes, I can understand why you feel as you do. It's sort of rubbing your nose in your skintness, isn't it? But equally I can see a well-meaning woman who obviously cares about you and who was trying to do a nice thing, however misguidedly. I think you should backtrack a bit - her approach was a bit shit, but she had the best of intentions.


foslady · 24/04/2013 22:35

Actually I understand where you're coming from - it's one thing your friends acknowledging your difficult circumstances, but this was a clumsy attempt at 'help' and when you're the one constantly having to put on a mask to keep everyone/thing buoyed up this is a confidence knocker. Maybe a get together where you can explain this might help if you want to smooth over the friendship?


HarrietSchulenberg · 24/04/2013 22:41

Re the Oxfam link: does your friend wear Oxfam/second hand stuff herself? She might have thought she was showing you some really good dresses rather than it being a slur on your finances. I say that as a charity shop queen myself and Oxfam online have some lovely vintage clothes. Sometimes it's not about price it's about style.


Blossomgirl · 24/04/2013 22:45

Oh thank you all for the frank replies.

Hmm guess I will have to find a way to meet both our needs.

This was not a one-off just the straw that broke the proverbial. She does it to mutual friends too, the sort of person you can't share anything with without a printout from the internet or a text or loaned books to try when all you were trying to do was share a bit of life and have a chat.

Being on a low income doesn't mean I'm fair game for do gooding tho...

Agggh I get the hurt she must be feeling too. I do feel sorry but she had kept texting saying things like how sympathetic she is to my plight like unrelated to any conversations.

Ok going to read the posts again. thank you agian

OP posts:

Jinsei · 24/04/2013 22:51

Sounds like she means well OP, but is just trying a bit too hard. Can see why it might be annoying but hope you can work things out.


MadameDefarge · 24/04/2013 22:52

I broke off a really solid friendship after said friend turned up at a girls night out, told me I shit friend for not replying to texts, (as I had not been able to respond to texts due to massive trauma involving police and being moved to a safe location) then texted me afterwards to say She was buying me food as I has said I was brassic so couldnt buy rounds! I just said I didn't need food, I needed a friend who didn't fucking judge me so much.!


DoctorAnge · 24/04/2013 22:54

She does sound like her heart is in the right place.
Is she really a friend of yours as you talk like you really don't like her. Confused


maddening · 24/04/2013 22:57

if the friendship is important to you but you want to go forward on new terms I am sure that there is a good way to approach her which would leave everyone feeling ok and perhaps a stronger friendship out of it all.

I have a do gooder friend - you say you like a comedian and she's found a show and worked out travel for you - lovely and well meaning but overbearing. So you have a typical chat about how things are going - money's tight etc and then this opportunity comes up and she thinks of you. You can say no though and there is no need to feel insulted - just say you'll sort yourself out. If this isn't an isolate incident though and it is a bit much you do need to have a chat - but approached in the right way it needn't herald the end of the friendship - if you want to retain the friendship.


BackforGood · 24/04/2013 23:12

I think you are reacting really oddly to someone who is just being a good friend.
Re the work in September - if you don't want to do it, then just say so, but I can't understand how it is in anyway offensive for a friend to offer you a couple of days work Confused.
Nor can I see what is offensive about sharing a link about bargains with you (like Harriet I'd be delighted).


Blossomgirl · 24/04/2013 23:20

Some sound advice here terrifically helpful. I wish I was more emotionally literate but managed to hit a real downer over this boiling it down to the bones. It is very helpful to see how this looks from the outside, and I feel I have much more of a balanced perspective now. Time for a cuppa and a think...
Thank you all very much

OP posts:

MrsPoglesWood · 24/04/2013 23:24

Oh come on. Would all of you saying that her heart must be in the right place and she's trying to be a good friend really email links to Oxfam frocks to wear at a function to someone you consider to be a friend without discussing it first? Cos I bloody well wouldn't! That would be a conversation I took a great deal of care over.

If I knew my mate - and she really was my mate - was skint then the last thing I would do is send emails recommending she buy a certain frock -even from a charity shop - when I knew she had no money. I'd actually try and help her and not refer her to a charity shop. Cos I'm her mate like. But that's just me.

OP your friend sounds like a twat. If you've got to spend money to buy clothes so that she gives you work and she takes offence so easily it really isn't worth it.


bonnieslilsister · 24/04/2013 23:32

To some people this would be fine; she just misjudged you. All you had to do was delete the email.


DIYapprentice · 24/04/2013 23:44

I think you need to make it clear to her that you want to be her friend, and not her charity case. You understand that she wants to help, but she's gone too far. You don't need or want 'saving'. You like her for her, and not for what she can do for you.


lisianthus · 24/04/2013 23:54

This would annoy the heck out of me too. I also don't like the way she is now banging on about how you have "hurt her feelings". How does she think you feel? In fact, she doesn't seem to pay any attention at all to how her interference makes you feel.


lisianthus · 24/04/2013 23:55

Great post from DIYApprentice. I'd quote those words in your response.


AgnesBligg · 25/04/2013 00:12

In your shoes I think I would feel incredibly patronised by her and feel like crawling under a little stone somewhere Grin.


defineme · 25/04/2013 00:14

I have a friend that offers unasked for help constantly.
It is so so so wearing being 'grateful' for the offer when I am busy/stressed and just need to have a normal chat rather than constant unsuitable offers of help for things that I don't even consider I need any help with. It's also hard not to feel there's an implied criticism in there somewhere. Eg if someone offers to run you up a new pair of curtains, that's surely implying your old ones are crap?
I want people to leave me alone and let me get around to sorting stuff out in my own sweet time.
If I need help I am very good at asking for it.
I prefer to ask for help from people who will also ask for my help if they need it.


Blossomgirl · 25/04/2013 00:46

I work late nights in a shop, and I like the midnight hour here too! Really insightful and straight forward.

Being hard up all the time has changed me and I survive by personal autonomy and being loving at home, I hold my head up my boys are good kids and we look nice, albeit with a small wardrobe and home-cut hair.

I found it really hard to have my world shook, to find out my friend actually offered me work out of pity and to have her treat me like I have not heard of Oxfam and to invite herself into my purse and assume that I did not have the answers, that she held the key.

We have to apply patience in our house if we need something 'new' and old sayings like 'everything comes to those that wait' have meaning to us. My kids choose toys to sell if they want new ones and that to me is not the stuff of ''woh is me" it's the best life skill I can give them given our circumstance.

But perhaps because I live outside mainstream I can be over protective of my boundaries and a well meant gesture can be mis-read as a put-down. Still naffed me off though.

You like her for her, and not for what she can do for you.

Thank you for that sage advice DIY, in terms of reconciliation that is indeed the place I will start from...our common ground.

Thank you again for all these posts, I love the range of responses and for the lift up too - I am very hopeful, but that may be lack of sleep. Off to bed now operation relentless continues tomorrow (our house word for small boys up early) xx

OP posts:
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