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How to respond to this!?

234 replies

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 21:56

Really good friend, one of my best friends sent me this this evening.

Back story is I have an 18 monrh DS, DSS and a partner who works away a lot. We have DSS every other weekend and up until recently I've been working 26 hours a week. Life is crazy, and I'm barely seeing friends who live down the road. This friend lives down south, with partner, no kids, both high flying jobs, family up this way but they moved further afield about a year ago. Friend comes up regularly but is quite often busy with family stuff and fairy inflexible in times she can meet. Not a problem, if we can't meet we can't meet. Life's crazy for everyone.

My problem is I want to see this friend so badly, but it's always massively inconvenient but a few times I've said yes, then had to pull out when I've realised just how much it's going to take to get there. This friend doesn't drive so I'm having to pick her up from places and drop her back sometimes up to half an hour away. Her parents place is an hour away. I work every afternoon from 12pm.

So this weekend we arranged to meet and I've had to pull out. DP has come back from a works trip that happens every year and involves early starts and stupidly late starts. I explained I was concerned it wasn't going to work but after her ignoring my messages I said I'd have to bring DS along (she doesn't seem to like me bringing DS when we meet, which is understandable). Well, I've never seen him so tired. He's been looking after drunks the last few nights and he's come in and collapsed on the sofa. We also have DSS this weekend who is 2 hours away. We leave at 7:30 to pick him up. We're concerned DSS isn't having as much fun with us recently due to being so tired and finances being tight as well as illness, timings and an array of other stuff. We're trying to pull our fingers our our arses and get back to doing what we used to so we said this weekend we'd have lots of fun.

DP is so tired I've said I'll take DS over to pick up DSS so he can have a lie in and we can get back and both be ready to have a fun filled weekend all together. I've explained this to my friend and this is the response I got.

Last time she refers to she said she told me she was there for two weeks but I honestly don't remember because when it was mentioned in passing later I was genuinely gutted. I've also offered to meet for a few drinks tomorrow night once the boys are in bed as a compromise.

I get it's frustrating and I do feel bad. But this is my best friend of 11 years. We talk regularly via SM. She's helped me through some tough times and I've listened and offered advice through hers. I love this person to bits. When I read her message I burst into tears and now I'm feeling angry.

I get it's shitty, but it came down to family or friend and family always comes first. Surely they should? I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I feel stretched so thin and someone who's supposed to understand has dropped me, just like that. 3 months before the wedding, after discussing colours of dresses only a few days or so ago, despite her saying she's been feeling this way for a few weeks. I had other friends I wanted to ask but decided to just keep it to my absolute closest friends. Invites went out yesterday. I could have invited another close friend to the ceremony, but I can't now.

What's the point in trying to explain how I constantly feel like I'm drowning. I feel like I don't do well at work, the house is a mess, I don't see my friends, or give them enough attention when messaging and trying to stop my toddler from killing himself for the 199th time this morning. She won't understand, and it's futile trying to get her to.

So here's the message.

Hi lass, To be honest, this whole pattern of friendship isn't doing me any favours, this is the third time I've made plans to see you this year and you have bailed. I always have to have a back up plan and somewhere to stay that doesn't rely on you. I understand that you are busy with your family, but I also have a new family and my parents and in laws and friends that I have to divide my time between and I've been trying to make room for you but this doesn't feel like it's being reciprocated. I was at my parents place for 2 weeks and you didn't make time to see me then, when you could have had your pick of time. Few several weeks now I've been feeling uneasy about being your bridesmaid as although we have been good friends in the past, I do feel that that time has gone and I don't want you to feel resentment that I am in your wedding photos or part of your day when I'm no longer a part of your life. All things come to an end and I think we've reached ours. I wish you all the happiness in the world and that you have the happiest of weddings :)

If you got this far, thanks. So I guess AIBU, and how on earth should I reply?! Getting past this isn't going to happen is it?

OP posts:
PeopleWhoRun · 22/11/2019 23:23

It sounds like you've consistently let this lady down. She obviously doesn't feel very valued...

I think you have two choices, to ring and explain how busy you are (if you really feel you are) how much you do value the friendship etc.

Or just let it go. It's a very good message that she sent, and whilst it must hurt, she hasn't put anything mean in there.

You've probably had a wake up call, and could maybe patch it up, but it will take lots of effort and time. Only you know if you can do that.

morriseysquif · 22/11/2019 23:23

You cancel on her because you take her for granted.

No wonder she is pissed off. You should have moved heaven and earth to make sure you didn't cancel a third time.

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:24

@BumbleBeee69, yes he does when he can, but he works a lot, which is unfortunately really needed at the moment. I get plenty of time our, it's just spur of the moment, or its mid week so friend can't make it, or she doesn't want to hang out with my other friends.

OP posts:
MatildaTheCat · 22/11/2019 23:25

I’ve not read every post but one thing strikes me, have you actually talked to her? Text messages only work so far. There is bad feeling here on both sides but it’s possible that if you simptried to have a proper chat you cold fix this.

Try it?

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:27

@MatildaTheCat I've been in tears all evening so wouldn't be able to have a coherent conversation. But totally agree phonecalls would be better than messages right now. I may let the dust settle a few days and give her a call.

OP posts:
SandAndSea · 22/11/2019 23:29

OP, I read your friend's message and was impressed at how well written it was; kind and clear. I imagine that she's felt quite hurt and let down at times. I can also understand why you're feeling upset.

I just wanted to write a bit about the driving thing... I drive (and am often the designated driver so I do get that) but, I often go by public transport when I go 'home' which takes around 4/5 hours. I go there only so that I can see friends and family - I'm guessing that this is much like your friend. The fact is, whenever I meet up with people there, I've already invested a lot of time to see them, even if they come to where I'm staying. You mention that you have a difficulty driving up to half an hour to see your friend but, in my world, this is very little. What I'm saying is that I think it might help you long-term to re-think your ideas about how much effort you're prepared to put in to see your loved ones.

I'd just text back and say you're really sorry and sad to see the friendship end and that you also wish her happiness and hope to reconnect at some point in the futur when your life is less crazy.

^^ I like this from Bluntness.


DisplayPurposesOnly · 22/11/2019 23:30

That's a good response, OP.

When you've cooled down a bit, take some time to reflect on your friendship. Whilst I do think you've not held up your end, I really do think she's not a shining star either. I think you might find it had become a friendship out of habit, that you've moved in different directions and (for different reasons) you can't bridge that gap.

saraclara · 22/11/2019 23:31

You've just put her on your "only if I can be arsed" list and she knows it.

Yep. She might not have kids, but she clearly has her own commitments, people and events to balance or jigsaw into her limited time as well the plans you both had. And each time you cancelled you threw her plans out and all her efforts were wasted.

Other people have busy lives too. You seem to think that you're the only one.
Your husband was tired, not unavailable. You did something you didn't really need to do because you think you're indispensible. And put your friend second again.

SlightlyBonkersQFA · 22/11/2019 23:32

Does your fiance know how upsetting this is? Does he realise that is tiredness has cost you an important friendship?

I'd want to murder him tbh. You have no babysitter. He must have known (if you chat) that this would be, if you let her down again, the third time in a row. And he was tired!?

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:32

@DisplayPurposesOnly thank you. I fear you're right, and part of me has wondered this for a while, especially whilst I've been so sleep deprived for the last 18 months. But I fear you're right. It's just all so bloody sad.

OP posts:
AutumnRose1 · 22/11/2019 23:34

I found your post very long - sorry, I’m tired and my brain is being rubbish - but this struck me

“ Friend comes up regularly but is quite often busy with family stuff and fairy inflexible in times she can meet. Not a problem, if we can't meet we can't meet. Life's crazy for everyone.”

So are you saying that she never ever compromises?

I do think it’s worth a proper chat. Also do you ever schedule in phone calls? That’s a better idea when the trekking about gets too much.

Alrighteo · 22/11/2019 23:36

I've ditched two friends (friends of 15 years) for flaking on me once. I was travelling over for Christmas from a different country and wanted to meet them both. I was so excited to catch up. I knew what dress I was going to wear, what shoes I was going to wear etc. At the last minute, the day of the meet-up (which had been arranged a month in advance and both were consulted as to what day they might be free), they both cancelled as they had family plans.
Fuck that. Off with ye!
You're not a good friend and I'd get your mental health sorted by starting with a GP if working part time with a toddler and a partner to support you is too much for you.

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:36

@AutumnRose1 if she's busy, then no she's busy. But I'm awful for knowing I'm busy but thinking oh I'll be able to fit it all in then not. I hate letting people down. Especially friends. We do have phonecalls yes, I'm just not up to one right now.

OP posts:
sprouts21 · 22/11/2019 23:36

I feel it's a bad idea to call her. She's been very clear that the friendship is over and I think it's wise to leave it here on civil terms.

The facts of the matter are that you cancelled on her because your partner was tired. An adult man should be able to cope with being tired and it's not a good enough reason to cancel.

Alrighteo · 22/11/2019 23:37

It just says to me 'I don't care about you'. Well ladies, if I mean so little to you, it's ta-ra from me!

finn1020 · 22/11/2019 23:38

OP, I’m with your friend and her approach was very mature and kind.

The thing that strikes me from your posts is that you seem to think that only you have the monopoly on a busy, time-poor, crazy life, and that no one can be as busy and stressed and tired and poor as you. Sometimes when we’re in the middle of a period like that, we can’t see anyone else’s POV simply because we ARE so busy, time poor and stressed out about everything. This is what you’ve done with your friendship, you’ve made it all about you.

Maybe it has run its course as you don’t seem to have time for her now. And it would have been hurtful for her to be blown-off by you three times.

But perhaps the friendship can grow again one day, if she means a lot to you then prioritise her but explain that maybe for now you can’t be as good a friend as you want to be.

Good luck, you seem to care about her and be quite bothered by this so perhaps it is salvageable.

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:39

@sprouts21 he's physically and mentally exhausted. He's not just tired. He's not going to be safe to drive this tired. He's got toothache and generally under the weather. And it's not.him that's said he's too tired for this. I've said no, because I can see he's exhausted and he needs some respite.

OP posts:
AutumnRose1 · 22/11/2019 23:39

“ But I'm awful for knowing I'm busy but thinking oh I'll be able to fit it all in then not”

Ooh, I hate that,I wonder if she didn’t want to mention it?

If you are not up to a phone call then I think you need a big rest and review before chatting to her.

Ketomeato · 22/11/2019 23:47

“ But I'm awful for knowing I'm busy but thinking oh I'll be able to fit it all in then not”


FineWordsForAPorcupine · 22/11/2019 23:47

But I'm awful for knowing I'm busy but thinking oh I'll be able to fit it all in then not

Yeah, this struck me - I know people who are like this, and don't seem to get how frustrating it is to be on the receiving end.

Basically, you are someone who wants credit for their intentions ("I really want to fit everyone in") rather than their actions ("I let people down at the last moment").

sprouts21 · 22/11/2019 23:48

Op you're doing the exaggerated busy/ tired thing again. Because that doesn't work when you then describe your plans for a fun filled weekend.

Is that reasonable, do you think? Either he is absolutely exhausted and ill or he is available for a fun filled weekend.

Squirrelplay · 22/11/2019 23:48

You do sound flakey OP and full of excuses. The thing is I've been like that when my first child was born so I do see it from your side too. Becoming a mother can be very overwhelming. It's such an intense time that sometimes you don't feel you have the room for much else.

I have a best friend who also doesn't drive/ lives far away/ has no DC and seeing her means lots of effort on my behalf. Sometimes I really find it too much. Because of this I don't see her half as much as I used to. I know she's sad about this but I would be gutted if she ditched me because of it. The way I see it is it's just short term while my DC are tiny and things will ease up in a few years - my friend seems to understand this too so hopefully the friendship will last.

I think though the difference is the repeated cancelling, that's really not good and I think you have to take responsibility for it. Your excuses simply aren't good enough reasons to cancel. If I were you I would have not agreed to meet in the first place and would have explained to your friend and told her you'd arrange to meet when things settled down for you.

Flowers for you OP as I can imagine how upsetting it must have been to receive that message. I'd apologize if I were you - it's the only way the friendship might be salvaged in the future.


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Howlovely · 22/11/2019 23:48

Genuine question- what do you imagine she's been getting from your friendship?
Your OP is very long and I'm not sure if you're trying to convince us or yourself that you are justified in what you did but I imagine if you send texts like this to your friend, cancelling at the last minute, it comes across as actually ungenuine and a bit self-pitying .
I find your comments about her not having children so she couldn't possibly understand how busy your life is ridiculous. Child-free people are busy too you know!
Did you ever stop to consider that you have not only cancelled on her and let her down three times but that this will have embarrassed her in front of her family?

Friend: I'm meeting up with Innis later, I can't wait, I haven't seen her for ages
Friend's mum: Oh lovely, let's hope she doesn't cancel like last time.
Friend, an hour later: Yep, she's done it again.

At least she's given you the courtesy of giving you some notice regarding your wedding and not cancelled on you at the last minute because her husband was tired and his son deserved a fun filled weekend.

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:49

@FineWordsForAPorcupine it's not about credit. Why would I want credit for bailing on a friend. I want to see my friend?

OP posts:
ReanimatedSGB · 22/11/2019 23:49

I think the trouble is that you are repeatedly blowing her out at the last minute because boohoo, your life is so hard (and your useless poor struggling DP can't possibly cope without you to wipe his arse.) It's repeated last minute cancellations that make people decide they can't be bothered with you any more as you clearly, can't be bothered with them.
As PP have said, her email was honest but not aggressive: wish her well and let her go.
It's not entirely clear whether your DP has always expected you to pick up the slack when he's got a poorly fingernail, or whether it suits you in some way to be his indispensable nursemaid, but you clearly prioritize him above anyone else.

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