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How do I deal with a difficult friend?

(96 Posts)
mauraB Mon 24-Apr-17 13:28:58

I am in my eighties and I have a friend who is a few years older. Once a week we go out for a meal, I drive and we need to park near to any access because she is finding great difficulty in walking.
However she will not apply for a blue badge saying she knows she will not get one. She prefers to hang onto my arm during a sometimes lenghty walk, nearly dragging me down. I have recently finished two year's treatment for cancer and I am not as tough as I was! I have asked her to visit the doctor about her pain, or to inform him of the disabling effect next time she sees him but she says "Oh he knows". We used to take turns in paying the bill (our financial situations are the same) Now she just leaves it to me, she insists on carrying a large, heavy bag which I usually end up with, because she says it contains her purse (which never sees the light of day). Last time I reminded her that it was her turn to pay she made such a fuss and earned such sympathy from the staff, plus reproachful looks for me, that I was very embarrassed.
I would be sorry to end our friendship because I enjoy our chats and laughter. However I feel cross about the situation and I know this makes me crabby at times, my smiles and lighthearted remarks are rather forced!
Any brilliant ideas, anyone on how I can deal with this?

Luckygirl Mon 24-Apr-17 13:34:30

You must simply tell her that you cannot afford to pay for her too and make sure she has sufficient money for her share before you set out. If she hasn't then you need to send her back in to her house to fetch it before you drive off! No ifs, no buts!

She is probably right about the blue badge though - you have got to be very very immobile before it is granted now. So - you need to tell her that you are unable to carry her bag as it is too heavy for you - maybe have this discussion in the car before you venture out. If she insists on bringing it, then you need to refuse to carry it.

Time to put your foot down with a firm hand!!

Jane10 Mon 24-Apr-17 13:34:38

Gosh that's a difficult one. Its kind of you to persevere MauraB. Could you have some sort of heart to heart discussion of what you could call your problems eg with walking or carrying heavy weights? How about just visiting her at home or inviting her to your place instead of going out. Or only go to places with easy parking. You could even 'forget' your purse one day!

Oldcroc17 Mon 24-Apr-17 13:38:29

Oh dear mauraB. Can't understand why you've had no response to this. Only just seen it myself. I can totally sympathise with you. I think your friend is very lucky to have you. You drive her around and pay for the meal! I wonder why she has stopped paying? Maybe she's got into money difficulties and too afraid to say. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt here. As for the walking, have you said you find it difficult now yourself so wondered if she could get a Zimmer frame maybe. One of those with somewhere to put your bag would be good for her. Yes, it would be a shame to lose her friendship and hope it doesn't come to that.

kittylester Mon 24-Apr-17 13:38:52

Or try to find places where the parking is very close - eg a country pub rather than a town centre venue. And, if she isn't driving then she should definitely pay at least her share if not a bit more.

Christinefrance Mon 24-Apr-17 13:50:46

You are a good friend MauraB but its time to be honest with your friend. Can you say you are finding driving a bit difficult now and suggest a taxi. Think you need to get to the bottom of her not paying her share of the meal though, if finances are a problem then maybe she could visit you for a cup of tea and a cake. If all else fails then perhaps it's time to call a halt to the outings as its clearly causing you some unhappiness.

Smileless2012 Mon 24-Apr-17 14:20:22

Even if you don't actually need one have you thought of getting a walking stick. You wouldn't be able to hold your own bag and her's if you had a stick in one hand and it might make her see that you're not as fit as you used to be.

I think Christinefrance's idea of having her round for tea and cake is a good one then footing the bill wouldn't be an issue. It would be a shame for the friendship to come to an end. I hope you can find a way of sorting things out.

rosesarered Mon 24-Apr-17 14:23:54

Agree with all the others.....what she did in public also ( trying to shame you) was not the action of a true friend.
Speak to her about money before you have another lunch, be blunt and say you cannot afford to pay for the both of you.

MawBroon Mon 24-Apr-17 14:59:59

The easy bit - drop her at the restaurant and then go and park.
The hard bit - reminding her you agreed to take it in turns. Hmm
You could suggest meeting at each other's houses and say you find it a bit pricey ALWAYS to be the one who pays. Or blithely remind her that it is her turn when you next arrange to meet.
I have a friend who doesn't drive and our "deal" (her idea) is that as I am paying the petrol, she pays for the parking.
These little things can easily build up into resentment can't they? You do need to speak up sooner than later though.
Every sympathy

Jalima1108 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:12:29

Oh dear MauraB, you need to tread carefully but you do need to let her know that you cannot afford to pay for you both, perhaps find out gently if she has financial problems then perhaps suggest just meeting for coffee instead of lunch.

Could you suggest that she gets one of those 'half-bicycle' walkers, sometimes you can find them 2nd hand. There is room for the bag in a basket on the front and it will keep her steady as she walks. What Smileless said about having a walking stick yourself is quite a good idea even if you don't need one. You could say that you think everyone needs something to steady them as they get a bit older.

Good luck.

Cold Mon 24-Apr-17 15:34:02

It sounds like she could do with a 4-wheel walker/rollator - the type with a seat and basket/bag - then she could use it for support and keep her bag in the basket

Madgran77 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:54:46

I agree wholeheartedly with LuckyLegs. Straight talking is needed, hints wont work. This does not have to be confrontational just factual!

SparklyGrandma Mon 24-Apr-17 17:29:43

mauraB has she maybe lost the knack to get cash out and needs you to consider stopping at a cash point on your way to lunch?

Jalima1108 Mon 24-Apr-17 18:03:47

Something like one of these, three or four wheeler:

Other retailers are available.

PamelaJ1 Mon 24-Apr-17 18:17:54

does this woman have a son or daughter that you could contact? Perhaps they could arrange for a taxi to deliver their mother to the venue. the taxi driver could help her into the restaurant. Her children maybe able to help her get a blue badge.
You shouldn't have to take this responsibility or the risk that she could cause you to fall and break something. Not what you need at any age!

TerriBull Mon 24-Apr-17 18:32:09

Regarding the meal out, could you not split the bill 50/50 rather than paying alternately, easy to lose track especially if her memory is not as good as it was.

I hope you sort it all out. Good luck.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Apr-17 18:59:43

Terri I'll agree with that, it's very easy to forget whose turn it is when I go out with all sorts of various friend either meals, coffee, cinema or whatever we all pay for ourselves never been any other way
I think a heart to heart is needed tell her you can't carry her heavy bag as you ve got problems yourself or as someone else suggested drop her off first then she can keep her dreaded bag with her definitely need to be a weenie but assertive in the nicest way
Sometimes when people get very old they get a sort of feeling of entitlement she might see you as a youngster you have to remind her your health and age make it just as difficult for you
Good luck

petra Mon 24-Apr-17 19:10:39

You could be talking about an ex friend of mine. I knew that money wasn't an issue, she openly told me that she had inherited £150,000 and she was still working and her property was paid for.
It came to a head over £5. My Daughter told me: you either confront her or I will. I must admit I did it by text.

aggie Mon 24-Apr-17 22:13:25

My sister takes me out for lunch weekly , she is doing the fasting that day , I pay .......... she only has coffee . One day I found I had forgotten to put my purse back after sending the GC a message , she has never let me forget it !! It has got beyond a joke , I really would rather cancel the lunch !

Christinefrance Tue 25-Apr-17 07:31:15

Aggie why does your sister not eat on the day you go out to lunch? It seems a strange thing to do. I would stop the lunch and just meet her for coffee in the afternoon, it will be more relaxed for you.

MawBroon Tue 25-Apr-17 07:34:13

Then cancel the lunch aggie, how can she be "taking you out to lunch" if you are paying?
Meet for coffee, less pressure.

Iam64 Tue 25-Apr-17 07:58:13

I wonder if the publicity surrounding cuts/difficulties getting benefits for disability is putting folks off applying for blue badges. One of my friends was much like yours aggie, refusing to apply for a badge because she was certain she'd be refused. It does put pressure on everyone else and recently, she applied and got her badge with support of the practice nurse and her GP.

Look after yourself aggie.

Riverwalk Tue 25-Apr-17 08:03:00

You don't have to be too immobile to get a blue badge - my friends 90-year father has one, applied for when he had a knee-replacement last year. As far as I know, he takes slow strolls around the park and the short distance to the local shop, etc.

foxie Tue 25-Apr-17 09:13:57

Kick her into touch, now today, immediately and tell her in no uncertain terms why you will no longer tolerate her selfish ways. That way you'll live longer with this unnecessary burden which at your time of life you don't need or want. Be brave DO IT

foxie Tue 25-Apr-17 09:14:55

correction: without this unnecessary burden