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AIBU

Friendship

(45 Posts)
Gingergirl Thu 20-Jun-19 11:06:34

AIBU is questioning this friendship? I’ve known this lady over thirty years. We live in the same town. Going back some years, we saw each other regularly, usually on days off, at each other’s house, or out for coffee, or days out. We were quite close and I often felt she ‘bent my ear’ but thought that’s what friends are for.That contact has tailed off over the years. our circumstances are similar now, in that we both work very part time from home and have a fair amount of free time. We are very different personality wise but that seemed to almost compliment the friendship. In the past, I’ve helped her out in dramas and crises and feel I've supported her when times were hard. I was very ill some years back and to my surprise, she didn’t visit, call, or make any contact or attempt to help in even the tiniest way, even though she knew how ill I was, and yet other friends and acquaintances spontaneously bent over backwards. She did call me six months later and we met up again....and since then, she disappears off the scene-then pops up with an email or phone call, always lamenting the fact that she hasn’t seen me for so long and yet when I suggest dates to meet up, or have contacted her, she is apparently hardly ever free...She never acknowledges my birthday now, even though we always have .I know this can sound petty but I really wonder if she’s just using me. There is a ten year age gap between us and I keep thinking she just wants me around should she be in need in her old age...and doesn’t really want a friendship as such. In which case, I’m not sure how I feel about things. 😕 It seems a shame to not keep in contact when we go back so far, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. She is in her 70s now...and I’ve noticed, can be forgetful, and have also wondered if its just getting old.. Sorry for such a long, muddled up post....ranting on...and happy for any thoughts, thank you.

newnanny Thu 20-Jun-19 11:12:09

Could your friend just be forgetful or finding she gets tired more easily and not get out as much? I think I would give her a phone call once a month and chat to her that way. Could she be getting dementia? Don't get upset by it and focus on making new friends who do want to go out for a day or meet for a coffee. I made several new friends at NT. We go on trips and have lunch together whilst on trip. We meet up for a breakfast or a coffee sometimes too.

EllanVannin Thu 20-Jun-19 11:52:23

I feel so blessed to have had such a dear friend that I had for 57 years until I lost her in December 2017. There was 20 years difference in our ages but it didn't ever make a scrap of difference, even at turned 90 she was fiercely independent until blindness took over and it was then that she began to go downhill as she couldn't handle being in such a position. Falling and breaking her hip at 98 was the final death-knell.

We had some fantastic times and never cast each other aside at any time during our lives. Phone-calls, meet-ups, holidays, we were always together. She had more energy than me at times and played " mother " when we were on holiday. I never once looked upon her as old and decrepit because as it happened, she wasn't and even at 80 she'd have put a lot of youngsters to shame with her energy and zest for life.

I've never found her match and I'm never likely to, so kind and so loyal a friend that I'm quite happy to now live like a hermit with the fond memories that I have of her.

Gingergirl Thu 20-Jun-19 12:00:43

How lovely, Ellan, and I did think our friendship would continue for ever. I have a number of other friends but a thirty year old friendship isn’t easily discarded. I just don’t get her attitude over the past few years. She seems so selfish, unfriendly and almost arrogant. There’s no getting close to her...and if you dared to ask how she is, she becomes very defensive. I should just stick around, shouldn’t I.....

Gingergirl Thu 20-Jun-19 12:03:55

newnanny, thank you for your comments. I do get in touch with her every four-six weeks. But often, she’s very offish and says she’s so busy she can’t talk...and if I suggest some dates to get together, (surprise, surprise) she can’t make any of them...and she’ll get back to me. Its a little hurtful....and especially when she pops up six weeks later and says, how come so much time has gone by without her seeing me! I don’t know what to make of it all.

silverlining48 Thu 20-Jun-19 13:11:29

Like new nanny i am wondering if your friend might possibly have dementia. Does she have family? If you iniw tyem you might be able to ask in a roundabout way. Otherwise try to keep in touch as you are doing.

silverlining48 Thu 20-Jun-19 13:12:18

If you know them.... Typo!

Tedber Thu 20-Jun-19 18:19:58

Oh Hon...give it up Gingergirl. Your friend is not a 'friend' at all...just somebody you know! Every one of us 'knows' people but would not class them as 'friends'.

My advice is ...do nothing. Don't contact her. Don't ponder on why she is being like she is. Be civil if you meet but expect no more.

I can totally understand how you are confused but ...believe me...accept she is NOT a friend, never will be and get on with your own life without another thought of her!

sodapop Thu 20-Jun-19 19:16:05

I agree with tedber this lady is not a friend at all. The one sided situation has gone on for some time it seems. Get on with your life and meet other people who will value your friendship.

Washerwoman Thu 20-Jun-19 21:27:18

I haven't contacted a friend for several months now because after almost 15 years I have come to the conclusion she is not a true friend,like the others that I can truly say embody what friendship should be.
She was originally a customer but we started going for coffees,walks ,cinema etc.Despite being very different in many ways we saw a lot of each other.In the main because she spent an awful lot of time at our home.As years went by I realised I was never ,ever invited back to hers.Retrospectively I realise she was very tight with money,often conveniently bagging the seat in the coffee shop whist I was left to pay.I have a family,and she doesn't -in her own words by choice -and where I have travelled very little she has literally been around the world.Our differences were never seemed a problem.
Recently though she had become like your friend,not in touch for ages and then when I did phone or arrange anything turning it around on me as if I am the one who is difficult to pin down or make arrangements with.It sounds awful but I came to the conclusion she plays games,has become rather jealous person -and I've genuinely always kept very low key about my family and one of the things I loved about our friendship was the chance to escape talking about DCs exams,jobs ,dramas etc as can happen.
I tried to be patient and understanding but her increasing negativity was getting me down.After much soul searching, and me the last to make contact on her birthday and then hearing nothing ,but knowing if I do bump into her it will be implied yet again that as I have family I must be' so busy'.Absolute tosh.I have many faults,but I know I am very loyal as a friend.As you sound to have been OP.Sadly some friendships just run their course,and ending them is rarely easy it seems.Try not to dwell on it.Move on and appreciate the true friends you have.I feel a huge sense of relief after letting go .Hopefully you will too.

Washerwoman Thu 20-Jun-19 21:29:14

Ps.sorry OP for hijacking with my rant.I think I needed to get that off my chest!All the best.

lemongrove Thu 20-Jun-19 21:40:55

I think the problem arises because we all have different versions in our heads of what friends should do ( to be called a friend.)
Some people are very empathetic and make us feel better when talking, some don’t say much but do help in a practical way now and then, others blow in and out of our lives and are amusing company.
If you don’t get anything out of contact with your friend, then let things gradually slide away.

SisterAct Thu 20-Jun-19 22:18:43

I have been in your position and personally would let it go. I thought my friend and I were close but realised it was predominantly one way. We did send birthday cards but that stopped and last year Xmas cards stopped as well.

It took me time to stop thinking about it but frankly now it is a relief.

Gingergirl Fri 21-Jun-19 08:10:53

Washerwoman, you have described my friend ...and the situation....exactly! Thank you everyone for your replies. They do differ in comment and advice-but the best thing is that now I feel that whatever I do, and whatever the outcome, I won’t feel guilty about it!

BradfordLass72 Fri 21-Jun-19 08:27:49

There is a thread somewhere about the way people become more selfish as they get older. Sounds like a case in point smile

Daisymae Fri 21-Jun-19 09:51:21

Sounds like this friendship has run its course. It really has to be a two way street after all. I would just let it be.

jaylucy Fri 21-Jun-19 10:01:57

Like Daisymae, I think the friendship really has run its course.
It must have been very hurtful that she didn't bother to contact you when you were ill . I know some people aren't very good with sickness, but to not even phone you or send a card or anything is really beyond what I would call friendship and that over the years, she has used you just because you listened to her moaning !
Sorry, but it sounds as if it is time to call time and suggest that next time she calls and supposedly says that she doesn't understand how time goes by without the two of you being in contact, just be as non committal as she is, be polite and say that it is always lovely to hear from her, but don't try to make any arrangements to meet up. You will either not hear from her or she'll be turning up on your doorstep!

CarlyD7 Fri 21-Jun-19 10:06:36

I was ill for 5 years and it was both upsetting and enlightening to see so-called close friends so absent from my life, whilst others, which I had thought of as acquaintances really helped. It's made me re-assess all my friendships. If you can't rely on a friend when you need them, what kind of friend is that? it sounds to me as though the pattern in your relationship was that she poured out her problems and you listened; so that when YOU needed help with your problems that didn't fit the "unspoken contract" that exists in all relationships. You also say that you're very different. As Daisymae has said - this friendship has run its course - they do, and you need to face up to that. No, I wouldn't stick with it, I would let her go (with blessings, not bitterness) and make space for a better friendship. (PS you might find, as I did, initially, that some friends increased contact when I tried to withdraw - to put things back where they were - but I gently and kindly resisted, and they soon stopped; a powerful lesson for me!)

kircubbin2000 Fri 21-Jun-19 10:10:40

I feel relieved now when my friend can't make a date. After all these years she dwells on school friends and has not got new interests. She also expects me to drive 20 miles to meet her but if I suggest a closer venue she declines as the traffic might be busy.

Kerenhappuch Fri 21-Jun-19 10:17:57

I empathise with you, Gingergirl. I had a similar thing happen to me, and I was so upset about it that I spent several sessions of therapy (where I was going because of depression) on it! I just couldn't understand why a friend of such long standing suddenly seemed to be blowing hot and cold. The particular bugbear was changing long standing arrangements that she had initiated because 'something' had come up - it seemed my time was not valued at all, and any other activity was a better option than seeing me. This wasn't great for my self esteem.

Over time, I started to see that she was possibly someone who liked to have a very wide circle of friends to make her feel secure, and although to me she was a very special friend, to her I was just one of many. And she would spend a bit of time on the friendship every so often to maintain it to the level she enjoyed, but it was rarely a priority to her. I found this quite hurtful and hard to deal with, but once I'd got used to the idea, I wound down my own levels of commitment, and if she changed an arrangement to fit round other people, I would say I didn't want to come if it didn't suit me.

We are still friends, but I think I'm more realistic now, and have come to terms with the fact that this is just how she is.

Apricity Fri 21-Jun-19 10:42:58

Real friendship is always a two way street. This sounds like a one way street. Why do you keep bothering with this person? Guilt? Some feeling obligation or responsibility? Only you can answer that question. You do not appear to gain much, if anything, from continuing this so called "friendship". She is someone you have known for a long time, not a friend.

Perhaps see her occasionally when, and if, it suits you or not at all. Life is too short to spend so much time and thought on someone who offers you so very little in return.

luluaugust Fri 21-Jun-19 10:48:18

I can see why you are confusedGingergirl it does sound as if she may have a memory problem. I do think some friendships are like this, I have friends I meet nearly every week and others who I phone when I can for a chat. We are at a stage where we are still pretty busy and sometimes we are searching around in our diaries for a free day. I would either let it go completely or just take it for what it is an on and off arrangement to catch up when you can.

Tillybelle Fri 21-Jun-19 11:34:17

Gingergirl. I'm sorry you are having this dilemma. I am answering without reading everyone's responses this time because I have a migraine and can't see the screen very well. Also I would like to say what I think and not be influenced.

I have had one or two slightly weird friendships over the years. I suppose during one's life one does meet people who are a bit "different". My feeling about this lady is that you should put yourself first. Even if she is experiencing some dementia, she has always used you and not been there when you were ill. She is only interested in having you around when it suits her and over the years has not paid attention to your needs. I would cool off and just let her be. I imagine you have other good friends? Just keep in touch with them and do the things you enjoy.

Twice, at different times, I spent a lot of time worrying about two people who made friends with me and fussed a lot for me to visit them and do things for them. I did all they asked. I listened to their woes about their family and so on. Then suddenly they just stopped contacting me. I phoned and wrote and they did not answer. I am sure I did nothing to annoy them, I was very good to them! But it taught me not to get sucked in by some people who just want you when it suits them only and are not true friends. There are so many different kinds of people in this world and as we go through life we are sure to meet some strange ones. I would not put yourself out for the friend. When you were ill and she was younger, she ignored you. So just leave things and concentrate on the real friends that you have.

deanswaydolly Fri 21-Jun-19 11:35:28

Oh my goodness...That's EXACTLY my old friend....wonder if it is the same one hahaha

Viviness Fri 21-Jun-19 11:41:46

Years ago I had a friend, we worked together, went out together, she stayed at my house overnight and discussed everything as friends do, but when I met my current partner, she moved on to another friend of mine, did the same with her and then she moved on again. It appears she has many 'friends' but none ever lasted long. We no longer contact each other and I met someone by pure chance the other day who when we were talking about our work knew this woman and the same thing had happened to her. I do think that some people are just like this, Im not sure it is intentional but the way they are. Probably quite selfish. I do not worry about it now but at the time it was quite hurtful. Gingergirl I would try not to worry too much, it may be that your friend isnt well mentally and may be suffering memory issues. I agree with Luluaugust and either let it go or accept it for what it is.