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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:
Ketomeato · 22/11/2019 23:50

If you wanted to see her, you would have. But you didn’t.

DontMakeMeShushYou · 22/11/2019 23:51

Oh InnisandGunn, what really comes across from your post is just how much you are struggling with everything at the moment. You sound utterly overwhelmed. Please go and speak to your GP about how you feel. Your mental health is important, and if everything in your life is overwhelming and out of kilter for too long it can lead to stress or depression.

(For every poster who has questioned why she feels her life is so hectic when you don't think it sounds like it should be, take note: People who aren't coping with their normal everyday life often sound like this. Criticising them for not being able to cope isn't helpful.)

As for your friend, I would reply by saying you understand how she feels, how sorry you are that you haven't been able to dedicate enough time to nurture your friendship with her because you have been struggling to maintain a balance in your life, and that you'll miss her and wish her every happiness.

I'm sorry this has happened to you but it may be for the best.

And please do go and talk to somebody about your mental health.

Teachermaths · 22/11/2019 23:52

OP I don't understand how you are so busy. You work part time and have a toddler. You have a DSS who isn't around much.

How much is your dp working? It sounds like his tiredness is an excuse for you to make plans and cancel. You've put seeing your friends at the bottom of your priority list.

I'm not surprised your friend messaged you. I hope you can see how hurtful your behaviour is.

housebuyer101 · 22/11/2019 23:53

I think if you want to salvage this in anyway, go find a way to see her and do not bail. Like a romcom ending but friendship wise.
Otherwise this is it!

I'm on her side and if it was your friend posting on here then we'd all encourage her to send the message but less nicely

InnisandGunn · 22/11/2019 23:53

@ReanimatedSGB you seems to have gleaned a lot about our relationship from a few comments. Obviously, you are completely off the mark.

As I have said in my update, I have apologised, and wished her well.

OP posts:
FineWordsForAPorcupine · 22/11/2019 23:57

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

By credit, I mean that you want people to judge you on your intentions, rather than your actions. So your intentions are good - "I want to see my friend" - but your actions are hurtful, ie: repeatedly cancelling on her at the last minute.

Rather than accepting the results of your actions, you are insisting that you are in the right, because you didn't intend to make your friend feel bad. You are just someone who is only guilty of trying to squeeze too much in, trying to make everyone happy, trying to put your family first, etc.

But the hurtful results of your actions are a) predictable and b) repeated, so you can't really excuse yourself by insisting your motives were good. That is what I mean by "credit".

AllyBamma · 22/11/2019 23:57

I’m afraid you’ve shown your true colours here OP. We’re all busy, we’re all tired but most still manage the decency to not continuously bail on plans with close friends for weak reasons and most manage to not lash out at strangers that you’ve approached for advice.

Your friends message to you was amazingly mature and assertive considering it must have been very awkward to write. I would have done the exact same thing in her situation

saraclara · 22/11/2019 23:57

Your DSS is primarily your DH's responsibility. Your friend was yours.

You seem to prefer to ride into the rescue for others rather than stick to your commitments. You might need to think that through and ask yourself why.

InnisandGunn · 23/11/2019 00:01

@DontMakeMeShushYou you've had me in tears there. I have been to see my GP a few times. It's this police investigation that seems to be throwing everything out of sorts. I'm not right. I've recently just quit my job as it was too much on top of everything else. I don't think I'm depressed again, but I'm anxious, and I don't think it'd take much right now to push me over the edge.

For PP, DP can work anywhere from 8-5 5 days a week, to working 16 hour days or more on occasions (i.e the last three days) every day a week, or more with travel. It's a lot, and so weekends tend to be really geared up to family time and trying to recuperate (especially when DS was up all the time at night and I was working, it was just a case of tag teaming by the time we got to the weekend).

@housebuyer101 I've considered this but I don't think she'd go for ir. She's an intelligent woman, she's made her mind up. I've kept the door open and said to get in touch if she reconsiders, but she's undoubtedly done.

OP posts:
ELM8 · 23/11/2019 00:01

There's a big difference between being too busy to meet up / make plans with someone, and making plans and then cancelling (with a reason that could have been foreseen).

It seems like it's always the latter which must be incredibly frustrating for her. Her message was quite reasonable in the circumstances.

Babybel90 · 23/11/2019 00:03

You need to appreciate that your problems are not her problem, it’s really shit being dropped at the last minute, especially when it’s something you should have considered before making the plans so I think you need to accept the friendship is over and learn a lesson for next time.

RightYesButNo · 23/11/2019 00:04

I think there are about three points people have brought up here that just need straight answers before I could say if YABU:

  1. Did you at one point cancel on her when she was supposed to stay with you, as she says she needed to find somewhere to stay. That’s a bit bigger than missing drinks.
  2. Do you always have to pick her up every time you see her? Yes or no? As you make it sound like she never comes to you and that’s the main impediment, so a lot of posters are making that assumption (that she needs to learn to drive, that she’s never made the effort, etc). If so, yes, that’s selfish of her, and a mistake on her part.
  3. Does she refuse to ever reschedule like AutumnRose1 asked? Because she’s saying she was there for two weeks after you canceled, and you’re saying she’s inflexible, so which is it?

As it is, I can’t say if YABU. You also mention you’re dealing with a sexual assault investigation and family problems. I don’t know how long ago the sexual assault was, but for me personally, I was surprised by how quickly some of my friends thought the trauma would “pass” and I would be over it (a year after the assault, for example). They didn’t mean any harm; it’s just like grief, where people don’t really have a clear idea for how long trauma will affect you and may make assumptions. As for your family problems, I think it may also hurt her that a few times you do seem to draw this line between family and her - the friends I’ve had for 10+ years really are part of my family. But only you know whether this would affect her.

I think it’s correct that you’re both just on different tracks, and what’s done is done. I wouldn’t be angry. It sounds like you’ve made some mistakes (and when this isn’t so new, it will be easier to accept them), and maybe she has as well, and as a result your friendship didn’t get “fed.” She wished you the best, so I would wish her the same, and just move on.
PurpleFrames · 23/11/2019 00:05

All respect to her, a very mature balanced and fair message without any snipeyness or blame gameplaying.

If you do have a lot going on atm I'm sorry to hear that genuinely but the pure fact you posted this for sympathy seems like you like drama.

nzeire · 23/11/2019 00:06

I would go to bed, get a good nights sleep (partner has to cope with child). Get up in the morning, call her and make plans to see her. Say, you feel awful, it’s feels unresolved and you want to make it right. Get in the car, have flowers at the ready, and authentically and honestly apologise for being this friend. DO NOT make it about you. This is her telling you how you have made her feel. You need to be sorry for that. Ask for forgiveness, ask if there is a chance to move on from this, ask her to reconsider.

If that’s what you want of course.

And such an important lesson in all of this

InnisandGunn · 23/11/2019 00:10

@RightYesButNo in answer to your questions. No she was never meant to be staying here. There's no way I'd leave her with nowhere to stay! Yes I do always have to pick her up/drop her off/go to meet her. And 3, this is a point of contention because she said she was house sitting for a few days and if I recall, we were away for the days she said she was there. Then it transpires she'd been there for two weeks. We spoke about it and I said I was gutted because I had no idea she'd been there all this time. She said it was no problem because she's been really busy anyway and I apologised repeatedly for not realising she'd been there for two weeks. I can't recall her telling me that, but then I'm so forgetful at the moment I could have quite easily forgotten she'd said that. If that helps you come to your conclusion?!

With the sexual assault, they happened 6 and five years ago, but I only found out about the one 5 years ago last year. My frined saw it happen and only told me then. I have since reported it and it's been a nightmare. I'm so sorry you've been through the same. Cake

OP posts:
Teachermaths · 23/11/2019 00:10

8-5 plus travel is pretty much normal full time hours. If some of his weeks are like that, there is no reason why he can't step up at home.

16 your days are brutal but not out of the ordinary for a lot of jobs. If this is regular then you need to make sure dp is sleeping during the week. You have 26 hours per week of work so can catch up at weekends when he is around.

Dp needs to sort out DSS no matter how tired he is. You have repeatedly binned off your friend because he's "tired". Welcome to the real world, people don't like being treated like crap.

Eckhart · 23/11/2019 00:17

Frankly, I think the two of you are in agreement. You genuinely don't feel you have time for the friendship. You know it, she knows it.

RightYesButNo · 23/11/2019 00:31

Then I really do agree with @DontMakeMeShushYou. Maybe YABU and YANBU. I know you said you’ve been to see your GP a few times, but investigations are SO rough. So rough. Whether they’re immediate or 10 years later, they can make the trauma “fresh” and sometimes worsen it by making you question things you didn’t before (self-blame, etc). I think getting some support so you don’t have to get through every day with that “drowning” feeling needs to be your first priority. You shouldn’t have to feel like that. No one should. Maybe once you feel a bit better, things can be fixed with your friend; don’t put a time limit on yourself.

InnisandGunn · 23/11/2019 00:38

@RightYesButNo I can't even tell you how it makes me feel seeing you say how rough they are. It's consuming me, and I'm trying so hard to pretend it's not. But it has been for the past year. It's looking like he's going to get away with it too, which I've only recently found out so still coming to terms with that. Thing is, I just can't go back on antidepressants. They make me so flat. I don't have suicidal thoughts, I'm doing what I need to do, well clearly not, otherwise I wouldn't have written this post. But you know what I mean. I'm excited about getting married etc etc but I'm just a bit detached, and I'm finding myself constantly analysing things and worrying about them. Like worrying about not eating healthily enough, or not having enough proper one on one time with DS, or doing enough with DSS at weekends, and finances just everything. Maybe it is time to consider some medication. And some counselling. I'm tempted to just drop the whole investigation tbh. At this point it may as well come from me than be a case of he won when it came down to it. As for my friend, I think I've thoroughly fucked it up and whilst she may not be perfect it's me that's caused it. Thanks for the understanding and kind words. It's really appreciated.

OP posts:
Mamboitaliano · 23/11/2019 00:48

Oh OP. I feel for you both.

I feel for your friend because I have been that friend. And it really fucking hurts. I kept trying and trying with my friend, and after all the cancellations, and making time for other things but not for me, and not taking opportunities to see me, I started to feel really pathetic. I felt like a puppy begging for the crumbs of her time and friendship. It hurt me dreadfully that I wasn't important to her anymore. Eventually I had to withdraw. In fact, I think your friend has handled it extremely maturely and kindly. I should have sent an email like that.

On the other hand, you've had such a hard time and feel anxious and depressed. I've struggled with anxiety most of my life and do cancel a lot of plans. It's that relief when you've cancelled, isn't it? One less thing to have to do! Focus on you and on getting well and strong as much as you can. Self care and kindness towards yourself is the way forward from this.

RowenaMud · 23/11/2019 01:00

I think what your friend did was brave and right. You had put her so far down your list of priorities that she must have felt like rubbish.

I let a long friendship go last year for similar reasons. My (old) friend could never prioritise me. In our situation, I was the one with small kids, no babysitter, no family around etc and (unlike you) I still continued to make a big effort to prioritise her and our friendship. I knew her before I even knew DH and she meant a lot to me.

She was single and made minimal effort and often bailed. The last straw was when I was due to meet her after she had a work event and I was due to meet her after it. Because I rarely go out in the city, I bought new clothes, dressed up, got my hair and nails done and arrived into the city at 10pm as prearranged to find she had already gone on somewhere else and had stood me up. Again.

I sent her a brief message and decided that anybody was worth more than being treated like that.

Your friend was right. You did not make any effort to meet her on more than one occasion. I admire her for not allowing herself to be treated like that.

Derbee · 23/11/2019 01:06

@InnisandGunn If she’s really one of your best friends, is it worth telling her about everything you’re going through, and trying to juggle at the moment? Everyone would be pissed off with a flakey and unreliable friend, but 99% of them would be sympathetic and understanding to an old friend who is struggling with legal issues/sexual assault trauma/mental health issues.


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Derbee · 23/11/2019 01:07

Although if she doesn’t know all this, are you sure that you’re best friends?

RightYesButNo · 23/11/2019 01:08

You are NOT the only person who is so hesitant to want to go back on antidepressants because they’ve experienced the “flatness.” But I do know that’s more common with certain types, whereas some actually can be helpful with fatigue and make you feel more “up.” My understanding (and your GP or even other MN users may be more help) is that SSRIs like fluoxetine can often cause that “flat” feeling, whereas many SNRIs are sometimes better, which is why they’re prescribed for not just depression but also fatigue at times, so duloxetine or venlafaxine. And there are two more types of antidepressants if you’ve tried those (tri-cyclic and MAOIs). So please don’t feel like it’s “flat” or nothing. And that’s if you need antidepressants. It sounds like you’re struggling a lot with worry, which is completely understandable when anyone is forced to face one of the worst times of their life again (and again and again, because when an investigation is happening or, if it’s not going well as it sounds like yours isn’t, you think about it more than just the once), it may be more appropriate to consider something short term for anxiety. Only a doctor can know. And maybe counseling would be the most helpful of all. Or a mixture. But I think it’s like... akin to getting in a vehicle accident and expecting to not be injured. Going through a sexual assault investigation is like your emotions have gone through that car crash, so it is absolutely logical that they would need some medical help as a result. It’s definitely not just you.

JenniferM1989 · 23/11/2019 01:10

Imagine saying to a mother that works 26 hours a week with a little one and a DP that often works away 'why is your life so hectic? Am I missing something?' As if to say it couldn't possibly be. Shitty on the highest level. We have no idea what goes on in people's lives and to assume the OP must be sitting on her arse twiddling her thumbs because she ONLY works 26 hours a week and ONLY has one child is such a massive assumption and stupid to point out

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