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Never invited to friends house.Is it me ?

(47 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 ?

Jaycee5 Tue 19-Sep-17 11:16:17

I don't think that it is something that you should take personally. Hoarding is an anxiety disorder and the fact that you suggested helping her clear it out would be enough for her to have a surge of anxiety which would make her want to keep you at bay.
She obviously enjoys your company and probably enjoys being someone free of clutter for a while. I would probably find it a bit of an oppressive relationship with the expensive present buying and copying your business idea and so on but you have both benefitted from it and so it is not as one side as many relationships are.
If you want to keep her as a friend, you really have no choice but to accept that she cannot cope with having people in her house who, even if done in a mild friendly way, she feels wants to interfere with her hoard.

EmilyHarburn Tue 19-Sep-17 11:16:49

Your friends home is cluttered in comparison to yours. I do not think she will want you to come in. If you want a one to one why not find a cafe nearby where you can meet up and say you will be passing and does she have time to join you.

Bambam Tue 19-Sep-17 11:52:25

Your friend does sound as though she has a problem with some people coming to her house. I really don't think that it is a slight to you. She may be a bit bothered regarding how her house appears in comparison to yours. But also some people are more inviting and relaxed about people calling round, she might not be a very good host and it makes her anxious. She obviously loves coming to yours and feels relaxed and happy so it's obviously not you, is it?
If it bothers you so much and youre not happy with this friendship, then I would let it go. If not, accept the friendship for what it is.

GoldenAge Tue 19-Sep-17 12:09:01

I agree with lemongrove, your friend knows she is a hoarder and is embarrassed. However, she is also ashamed. It's not a question of whether she thinks you will judge her - the issue is that whether or not you are likely to judge her she nonetheless feels shame and that is painful to her, so where she has the opportunity to avoid a situation that causes her pain (i.e. where she knows you are intending to drop round), she can close down that chance by bringing up one excuse after the other. The best way you can help is by keeping her as your friend but doing so out of her house and then when you get the chance, start a discussion about whether she has managed to get on with the job of re-homing some of her parents' stuff and see if you can get an inroad into a more serious discussion. Offer to go with her to the charity shop. Also, point out (if she has a dog) that too much clutter can become dangerous for the dog as it is bound to attract moths, mice, etc., and the dog may chase them and crash into objects, or even become infected - not to mention the fire hazard.

icanhandthemback Tue 19-Sep-17 12:49:30

Nezumi65, I'm glad I'm not alone! I am exactly the same. My DH says that people should accept us as we are but I think he's got a lack of pride.

Victoria08 Tue 19-Sep-17 13:04:02

If I were you, I would give her a wide berth for a bit.

If any further rebuffs are forthcoming, then you really must confront her and have it out.

I think you have been a little bit too helpful over the years.
If she can't reciprocate, then leave well alone.

goldengirl Tue 19-Sep-17 13:05:09

Oh dear, I think I'm like the friend. Our home is scruffy and not as I would like it with mucky [in my view] carpets that DH cleans from time to time. I'm not very mobile at present and feel embarrassed to invite people though I do with one or two friends who say it's me they've come to see not my home. Our garden is a mess too. Well, the grass is OK but there's a lot of junk - and I mean junk - around the sides but the mention of a skip brings on apoplexy. The GC love it here so I suppose that's what's important but it does get me down from time to time. I'd asked for the bedroom to be decorated as a birthday present and got [very nice] perfume instead!!!

Evertheoptimist Tue 19-Sep-17 13:19:57

I have had a friend for the past 25 years. I consider us to be very close. My husband and hers are also friends.
However, in those 25 years, we have NEVER been invited to their house and have called in when passing, only 3 times. Whilst we live in town, they live in a village about 10 miles away. They always say it's easier to come to ours!
She tells me about the party nights and BBQs etc that they host (usually with people from their village) and doesn't seem to think that it bothers me.
I've never said anything but every so often I get really cross about it! I just can't figure it out!

Evertheoptimist Tue 19-Sep-17 13:21:21

By the way, my friend has a very nice home and isn't a hoarder.

Daisydoo2 Tue 19-Sep-17 14:47:49

Must admit I am guilty of not letting people in my house. Mine is extremely clean and tidy, I cannot live with mess at all and I know it puts people off, so i try not to invite anyone. My friend however has a very full and untidy house which I love. I can relax in her house and really feel comfortable. It is all very odd, bit like myself I suppose.

lemongrove Tue 19-Sep-17 14:52:08

evertheoptimist the way your supposed friend behaves is disgraceful.
Call time on it.
Other than that, don't invite them to yours, and if they say anything, you say ' let's us come to you for a change.'

fluttERBY123 Tue 19-Sep-17 14:57:51

I think most friendships are in some ways one-sided. One of the two is usually the one to initiate a meeting, it's always at the house of x and not y - lots of reasons.

Great when meetings are always in a pub or cafe or for going on an outing somewhere - no need to tidy up, no need to cook, no comparisons can be made and it gets you out of the house. Fantastic.

Kim19 Tue 19-Sep-17 16:05:50

fluttERBY123, you hit the nail on the head. Bravo and ditto from me.

Evertheoptimist Tue 19-Sep-17 16:27:53

lemongrove I know you're right! But we do have good times - just always in our house!!

JanaNana Tue 19-Sep-17 17:44:30

It sounds like your friend feels very happy and relaxed in your home, while she knows she has a problem within her own home: her hoarding and inability to do something positive about it. I think it is a credit to you and your family that you have helped her and welcomed her and in turn she has shown herself to be a good friend regardless of not reciprocating the invites back to hers. As she has no family or children of her own I think you have probably been like a surrogate family to her and made her feel like she is part of yours. I would continue this friendship the best way you can as apart from her not asking you to hers you have no real reason not to. I am guessing the catalyst to the change began when you stopped working at home and your friend retired. As she worked near to you before it was inevitable due to these circumstances that the pattern of the friendship would change. Her new friends probably offer that same "comfort" that she felt with you and yours. I think it's best to just accept her as she is and don,t take it personally. You sound like a good friend.

Imperfect27 Tue 19-Sep-17 18:54:13

Washerwoman I apologise in advance if I have missed something or am simply repeating what others have said - I have skipped through reading other's posts . To answer your OP, you seem to have sustained a very good friendship over the years. I think your instinct that she is uncomfortable / possibly ashamed of her own home compared to yours is probably right. However, you have choices before you. Of course you are not unreasonable to feel saddened and hurt at being 'rebuffed' / kept at a distance. But you have identified why. You can choose to nurse a grievance and the friendship will flounder, or you can accept this - without liking it - but in the interests of preserving what is good / worthwhile. You said she has been kind and generous and gone out of her way to be helpful in the past so she has clearly valued you. Seems she does not value herself. You could reinforce that by distancing , or try to pave the way forward. I know it is tricky, but I hope you can find words that will set her more at ease.

SussexGirl60 Tue 19-Sep-17 20:10:27

Hmm I have a friend of over thirty years and always thought the same as you-that it was just to do with her home. But then, I became unwell and despite helping her out so much over the years, she really didn't want to reciprocate when I was in need. If it's just about the house, it's not important. If it runs deeper, I'd make sure I had some other friends as well. I still see my friend but I know I can't rely on her in the way I would've hoped.

Washerwoman Tue 19-Sep-17 21:41:48

Wow.Just seen all the responses and varied opinions . thank you so much everyone.
JanaNana I think you have best summed up how I know feel about the shifting dynamics of our friendship.I do feel she has found her new 'comfort zone 'round at her new friends. And Jaycee is right that the expensive present buying did feel rather uncomfortable in the past.I do appreciate that with changing circumstances ,friendships do wax and wane.And I do still value her as a friend.And I'm feeling far less frustrated than when I posted originally.That day I did feel somewhat peeved at the thought that for several years DH and I have been kept very much away from her home,then suddenly summoned when there's an emergency,then back to a no go area again.Just seemed a bit 'meh', especially given that DH spent hours up at the hospital with her that day.
But it's her home, and I accept that's just the way she wants it.As I said I have plenty of other very hospitable friends.The suggestions that we meet up in cafés, and other neutral places is pretty much what has been happening lately. And of course if she calls in at our home whilst passing through she will be more than welcome.I've never just dropped in on her,sensing it's not something she's comfortable with - and I'm not about to start now.
I will just enjoy the elements of our friendship as it is now,and not expect too much.I know that if I were ever to call and say I have an emergency ,or really need to talk she would be there for me, and that counts for a lot.Just not a friend to expect a meal,or a cuppa at the kitchen table from!

ooonana Thu 21-Sep-17 20:08:23

There's none so queer as folk! I don't think this is a tit for tat game, sometimes it's just the way it falls. She sounds a nice friendly person and there's always people who prefer going to others houses!

BRESAW1 Sun 24-Sep-17 19:32:03

Wow. Are you really bored or what??

Tegan2 Sun 24-Sep-17 20:28:40

I'm wondering if the problem isn't just about her home being cluttered but about her being an only child with no family? I seem to have very confused feelings about having people visit, compounded by the fact that I'm also a hoarder. I'm quite sociable up to a point, but probably feel more comfortable visiting a friend rather than having them visit me, and it is nothing to do with not enjoying their company. It's very strange, being an only child; not only that but my parents hardly mixed with anyone, so it was rare for us to have visitors. Maybe your friend is the same?