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Never invited to friends house.Is it me ?

(46 Posts)
Washerwoman Sat 09-Sep-17 17:19:31

I have a friend whom I first met when she became a customer 13 years ago.At the time,and for the next 10 years I ran a business from home and we hit it off pretty immediately,and as she was new to the area,after years of working abroad,and knew very few people outside her work DH and my family made her very welcome.Over the years she would often stay on for a coffee and chat ,a piece of cake fresh from the oven and the odd meal when the weather was bad or she'd had a tough day.She worked very close to our home and I would often be starting to prepare dinner,and she would still be sat at the kitchen table chatting,never in a rush to go home.At the time my DCs were still at home /uni and around a lot.And she was genuinely very helpful to them,getting one some work experience and offering another lots of help whilst studying for the same profession she was in.And very generous with gifts at Xmas and birthdays to the point it was almost embarrassing how much she spent on us,till I put my foot down and said let's limit presents to small things.In many ways she's been a very valued friend,who has helped me through tough times too,and I have told her so.
After 10 years I reorganised my business so I no longer worked from home as it became too intrusive,plus we never felt 'off duty'.At about the same time my friend,went through a very bad patch at work and decided to take early retirement, helped by her union securing a severance package for her ,but felt she wanted to and needed to still work and earn in some capacity.She announced she was going to start up an identical business to mine,and as we live on opposite sides of town I was happy to pass on contacts,customers and DH also gave lots of help and advise on the accounting and equipment side of things.
We've continued to be friends,but as she used to work very close to our home and is now busy further away naturally don't get together as often.But regularly talk on the phone /text about our businesses and TV progs, books etc like we always did. Plus meeting up for dog walks and coffees about once or twice a month.
However I've come to realise that despite countless hours sat in our kitchen,the offer to use our bathroom when hers was being redone and when her boiler packed in etc I never,ever get an invite back to hers.I can count on one hand the times I've been there,and that was picking her up to go on somewhere else.I did several times feed her cats when asked whilst she was on holiday,but that was several years ago.
I've noticed that if I ever suggest calling in there is always some excuse,and she will come to our house as she is 'up that way anyway '.She broke her ankle badly recently at home and rang us, and as I'd just set off somewhere for the day,DH went straight to her and took her to A +E and sat with her for hours till she was seen.However since then I have offered to call in with books,cake and company but have been rebuffed yet again.She has recently befriended another couple who live nearby and it seems they are calling in daily to drop off shopping and take her dog out.
I think I know the crux of the matter is we have very different attitudes to our homes.She loves knick knacks and 'stuff ' and I know after her parents died,another time DH and I happily provided support,she cleared out their house and then couldn't bring herself to get rid of a lot of it,and had boxes of it piled up.I think she did eventually sort it out.I knew as an only child she found it painful to sort through it,in fact she told me so and at the time I offered to help,saying she knew I liked nothing better than a good clear out .She declined the offer,and I understood it was very personal to her .I like a homely home with dogs and a cat,but generally like a minimalist decor and like to clean and tidy.That's just me.But as long as I can perch on a chair with a mug of coffee in someone else's house I really don't care,and I would just like to feel welcome.I think her recent accident has really highlighted this and tbh I feel rather hurt.My DD has said for a while she thinks possibly my tidiness and her tendency to hoard (she's used that word herself)is the reason but it annoys me to think she thinks I'm that judgemental.I actually love the cosy clutter of a lot of other people's homes.And although tidy I know my home is not sterile,with cushions, throws candles and dog beds etc.
I'm resigned to the fact I will not got invited over,but when I offered to drop in this morning after a trip to a lovely bakery and walk nearby,even though she's unable to drive and sat there with her leg in pot I actually thought 'oh stuff it '!Is it me ?

lemongrove Sat 09-Sep-17 17:24:44

No, it's her.She has become a hoarder and is embarrassed about the state of her house.You will no doubt be happier staying out of it, it may be pretty awful?
You could ask her outright about it and see what she says, but sounds as if it may be a problem for her.

grandma60 Sat 09-Sep-17 17:45:33

Yes, I have a friend who moved house nearly 2 years ago and still has most of her boxes left unpacked. The reason being that a lot of them contain things that belonged to her mother. She doesn't want to see them but cannot bring herself to get rid of them. Friends and family including her sister have offered to come and help but she will not let them. It is such a shame as after a difficult time in her life, this flat was meant to be a fresh start but no one else has ever been in it.

Washerwoman Sat 09-Sep-17 18:01:31

Thanks for reading such a long post ! Yes that's what I'm coming to realise,and trying not to take it personally. She does seem happy for these new friends to call in though,and from what I can gather now spends a lot of time sat in their kitchen eating soup, cakes and asking for help.That makes me sound needy and jealous doesn't it ?! Really I'm not.I have lived in the same area all my life and have family and friends aplenty nearby.And I'm happy she has put roots down and made other friends.I think she was very lonely initially.She is single,and has no children.
I think it's annoyed me more recently. We moved house and had lots of work done and she's quick to say ooh I must come and see your new kitchen/bathroom /alterations to the garden etc.and up sbe comes to see it and spend a few hours.Yet she likewise has had an extension/new bathroom in the last few years all kept closely under wraps.And I think today I just really felt like a one to one chat,DH is away and had some problems with my elderly mum and she knows this.And yet it's the 'I'm not receiving visitors' brush off yet again.

MissAdventure Sat 09-Sep-17 18:32:05

I have a friend who lives over the road from me, but I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been let in her flat. She has always been very touchy about what people might say about her home. I have no idea why!! My own isn't always the neatest, and its furnished with bits and bobs picked up over the years. I've always considered hers much the same.

Nezumi65 Sat 09-Sep-17 18:41:58

She's embarrassed - and I don't think that means she thinks you're judgemental. I'm embarrassed by my home - and no matter how many times people say it doesn't matter I am still slightly mortified. My home isn't ready for a hoarders programme yet but it doesn't look like I would like it to look - so I remain embarrassed!

suzied Sat 09-Sep-17 18:44:39

Agree it's not you. maybe next time you phone and suggest popping over , if she brushes you off confront it head on. Ask her -"is there a reason you don't want me to visit you? you never want me to visit your home. Is there a problem?" She won't admit it, but at least she will be aware you have noticed and maybe that will start an open discussion.

BlueBelle Sat 09-Sep-17 18:52:49

I can almost understand I have some friends with hat I consider 'show houses' really minimalist and tidy and well painted mine is very lived in not a hoarder or untidy but not pristine needs a good paint everywhere and for a long time I was really hesitant about asking anyone in, never feeling it was good enough, my best friend would come but I never went out my way to invite others, (like I used to when I was younger and used to always have people over) I ve recently got a brand new sofa and chair (first ever new) and a new large rug and my main room looks a lot more welcoming and I don't mind now

personally I would say she has some worries about it not being good enough perhaps the other neighbours are a bit untidy and she feels safer
Don't be hurt and don't judge her on this she obviously been a good friend in the past as you have to her don't lose it over house visits

Washerwoman Sat 09-Sep-17 18:54:05

I have considered when I see her in person next bringing up the subject in a casual,jokey way 'do you realise I haven't been yours for years.beginning to think I'm not welcome !It has made it all the more obvious that DH had to collect her with her broken ankle -she fell down the stairs - from the doorstep.She obviously is embarrased in some way.I guess I will just have to accept the friendship on these terms,and not invest too much more time thinking about it.It just grates when after a walk and she comes back for a cup of tea she makes some comment like 'it's a while since I saw your garden.'etc!And it does feel a bit one sided,especially as we have a very open,hospitable house.It takes all sorts. And I really think she has some big issues going on.Anyway out for the evening.But your input is very welcome.

Bluegal Mon 18-Sep-17 23:17:52

Hi Washerwoman,

Whether right, wrong or justified, it sounds like your friend feels inferior to you regarding her house. As she loves coming to your house, maybe she is slightly envious? Perhaps she feels, hers doesn't match up? No idea really but as you say - it takes all sorts. If you enjoy her company in other ways I would just accept that this is the way its going to be.

If it irks you to the point you want answers, it might be better for you if you distance yourself? OR just arrange to meet for coffee/lunch outside both your houses (might start her wondering why you don't invite HER back any more)

Whatever the reason is, it doesn't sound like she doesn't enjoy your company. She obviously has a problem of some sort regarding her house and it sounds like she loves yours!

morethan2 Tue 19-Sep-17 06:26:25

My house is clean but messy. I have no artistic flair at all. It's always full of children's bits n bobs, books, newspapers. The cushions are in disarray and there are little handprints on walls and windows. I often feel a little embarrassed next to some of my friends who have beautifully presented houses. Like the OP most of my friends say "oh no I'll come to you" making me run round like a whirling mad women trying to clear up the mess. Ive never asked why but one day out of the blue a friend said "oh I wish I was like you, my children love coming here your so relaxed about letting them play" just before my MiL died she told me " I always liked coming to stay with you best. I always felt warm and wanted" I wished I'd known that decades before because I've always felt like the 'poor relation' and a bit ashamed that I wasn't the perfect host.

NanKate Tue 19-Sep-17 06:58:20

My friend's daughter has not allowed her mother in her house for the last 10 years even though she visits her mum two or three times a week to have a meal or use the washing machine as her's is broken. My friend has offered to pay for repairs but her daughter won't let in the repair man.

The daughter had been in an abusive relationship some years back and it is understandable she won't let a man in.

Her father is let in very occasionally to sort out a problem and the house is supposed to be a real mess where in the past the daughter was tidy.

I realise it is a mental health problem and is unlikely to go away without therapy.

Another friend's daughter would only allow her mother in the hall not in the other rooms of the flat. She was a hoarder. So yet again I think these people do not want anyone to see the chaos.

It's definitely not you WW

Christinefrance Tue 19-Sep-17 08:41:29

Yes don't feel hurt by this WW the lady is obviously concerned that you will not be comfortable with the state of her house. Once this idea is entrenched its hard to shift, the other people allowed in are probably untidy too. Don't lose the friendship because of this, we all have our idiosyncrasies.
We have some friends who visit and always say " I wish we had a small house like yours, ours is far too big" grrr

Smithy Tue 19-Sep-17 09:18:37

I have a friend who does not have anyone to her house EVER, unless its her son to fix her laptop or such. I was friends with her sister first and even she does not get asked over. Years ago I used to occasionally invite them for a meal or drinks but although her sister reciprocated the invitation, she never did. I think I've been twice for short visits but many years ago. I've also picked her up/ dropped her off but been kept at the door. Once she said she'd start walking and could I pick her up on the road, rather than me go to her house. I know its not personal though so stopped wondering why and just accept it now.

Nelliemoser Tue 19-Sep-17 09:26:37

morethan2 That sounds very much like my home , I am not good at designing decor or such. I don't follow design trends.
My living room is full of objects, books, a pile of knitting stuff ready to pick up whenI have time.
Odd pieces of plants rooting in pots on the front window ledge. It is essentially hygenic.
There is no way I could live in one of these mininalist designer homes you see in magazines.

allule Tue 19-Sep-17 09:57:12

I'm a clutterer, and hopeless at housework. I dread the thought of people coming in, but once they are inside, i know the important thing is to relax and try to make them feel welcome.
I console myself with the theory that houseproud people only worry about their own houses, not other people's.
Anyway, they must go away from here feeling really good about themselves!

SunnySusie Tue 19-Sep-17 10:01:25

I can see that this is puzzling and upsetting behaviour towards you, but I am sure its not because you are unappreciated as a friend. We have been friends with four couples for 40 years and all visit each others houses in turn all over the country, but my husband and I have never been invited to visit A & her hubbie. Everyone else has been but not us. We have no idea why, but I really value the company of A& her other half, so I have over the years decided to shrug my shoulders and think there is nowt so queer as folk. Maybe one day we will find out the reason, or even - shock horror - get an invite! In the meanwhile we still get to see them at our place and the houses of the other couples and we all get on really well.

radicalnan Tue 19-Sep-17 10:02:19

She has been a friend to you in every way possible, generous to a fault, helped your kids with their careers etc, does it really matter is she doesn't invite you round?

I am such a terrible cook I hate having people for meals here. Maybe she lives in clutter, or can't cook or just has a phobia about people coming in but everything else she sounds pretty good at.

It isn't about you it seems to be about her, let it go, she sounds like a good friend to have.

devongirl Tue 19-Sep-17 10:26:14

Some people are just like this. When my DD was at school, her bezzie frequently came to ours, including for sleepovers, but DD was never invited to hers.

W11girl Tue 19-Sep-17 10:34:53

A few years ago....I used to go walking every saturday morning with a group of friends and acquaintances. Whilst out walking my husband would bake 12 scones and have them ready for us at the end of the walk, with all the trimmings, to the point where my husbands scones were the talk of the village. Looking back, I was never ever invited to any of their homes, at the time it didn't bother me, but strangely it does now. "Victims of our own success", I suppose. Won't do it again!

HthrEdmndsn Tue 19-Sep-17 10:45:05

I'm fairly minimilist, and keep a reasonably clean house. Not ashamed of it, not embarrassed if people do visit. However, I don't particularly enjoy having visitors, it's my private space and I don't like having it encroached.

Kim19 Tue 19-Sep-17 10:47:02

Washerwoman, don't quite understand your problem. Why is it so important to be 'invited round'? You seem to have a lovely friendship there so treasure it. I tend not to invite people to my home because we can have each other's undivided attention in a 'commercial' place. If they should arrive unexpectedly then 'come on in' but I much prefer to meet elsewhere and do so regularly. This seems to be niggling you disproportionately so.....maybe a breathing space from each other? Good luck.

amt101 Tue 19-Sep-17 11:06:28

I have two friends who I've never been invited to although they've both been to my house. I think they are both really untidy and hoarders. I'm not very tidy but over the years have managed to cut the clutter. I usually meet them at some pre-arranged point.
I've often wanted to see inside their homes.

HappyAmI Tue 19-Sep-17 11:10:22

WW I can see this from the other side. I had a breakdown a few years ago and ever since I haven't been able to get our house straight. It looks like something from a tv hoarders programme. Added to that the fact that also as a result of my breakdown we have severe financial problems and therefore our house is very rundown looking I am embarrassed to invite people to our house.

I don't ever see a way out of this. Maybe your friend has issues that you are unaware of?

I would say that you need to overlook this if you value the friendship, don't take it personally.

Rosina Tue 19-Sep-17 11:13:01

I've had the same situation with a work colleague who became a good friend, and as we are both now retired we try to get together a couple of times a year. She has come to my house more times than I can count when we were working and since retiring for lunch; I was invited to hers once, and that only because our house was in uproar with plasterers. I thought her house was lovely, and said so, and there was no awkwardness of any sort but I have NEVER been invited back in probably twenty years. I find it very odd!