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Friends that depress you!

(230 Posts)
Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 11:16:25

I have a friend whom I like very much - she has no gc and is not a member of Gransnet, so I can safely tell you about her. She is very pessimistic and her messages are always full of the awful things that are happening in her life. Every time I suggest something she could do to improve matters, she tells me some reason why it won't work.
I told her my good news about my grandson getting into the Royal Navy yesterday, and her only comment was 'You must be worried, it sounds a very dangerous job'. Actually, I am not worried because I know the RN will train him very well, and he will be doing something he loves and making lots of friends.
I manage to keep very cheerful most days, in spite of my own family problems, and I could do without her continually telling me how rotten life is!
I think some of you might have partners like this - Eeyores - so have you any advice as to the best way to deal with her? She wants to come on a short holiday with me but I am afraid it would not be joyous, like my jaunts with Juragran!

whenim64 Thu 04-Oct-12 11:28:31

Yes Greatnan shake her off as soon as you can! Who needs friends that try to drag us down?

Grannyeggs Thu 04-Oct-12 11:30:41

Greatnan. I have a friend the same, a drain instead of a radiator. Yet I too like her, she can be great fun despite the gloom and doom side. She has hinted she would like to go on holiday with me and I have just ignored it, and will keep doing so as I know it would be a disaster. You could try saying that you never go on holiday with friends as you don't want to spoil the friendship, but she probably knows you do that with others. I would just try and avoid the subject coming up again. Is she at all sympathetic to any problems you have?

Anne58 Thu 04-Oct-12 11:30:49

Anne58 Thu 04-Oct-12 11:31:22

You can skip the advert.

Grannyeggs Thu 04-Oct-12 11:41:39

I've always loved thatphoenix . Perhaps Greatnan you could send this clip to your friend to let her know how you feel about her constant pessimism.

Ella46 Thu 04-Oct-12 11:43:05

Greatnan I've got/had a friend like that. She droned on and on about her problems but wouldn't do anything about them, and then started on her neighbours' problems too! There were three of us, until by chance, the other friend and I discovered we were both sick of her, and we gently(ish) dropped her!
We are still friendly but we keep her at arms length now and it's much better.

Life's too too short!

AcornFairy Thu 04-Oct-12 11:48:07

I think I know where you're coming from! Does your friend have any inkling of what a negative outlook she transmits? If she doesn't it's probably time she does. If she does already, and hasn't been caring enough towards you to try and deal with it, I should forget the holiday with her. Take a break with someone more appreciative and then tell her how great it was. That might be the kick she wants to get her issues sorted. Good luck! (It's not easy when it's someone you care about, is it.)

absentgrana Thu 04-Oct-12 11:55:06

I think a friend whose glass is verging on the permanently empty is almost as much hard work as one is who is terribly needy. You don't stop liking them, but do sometimes dread having to spend time with them.

merlotgran Thu 04-Oct-12 11:56:14

I used to work with someone like that, Greatnan. She had so many conditions/illnesses it's a wonder she was alive. Her family were always falling out, her mother in law was a monster, she wasn't getting paid enough, if you offered her some food a lunchtime she was allergic to it, if you tried to discuss a telly programme she'd announce (loudly) she couldn't follow it and it wasn't her cup of tea. angry The list of moans was endless and then at my retirement party, she burst into tears and said she'd miss me. grin

gracesmum Thu 04-Oct-12 12:02:13

OK I'm in argumentative mood here [steel knickers on ] emoticon.
I agree that some people are totally draining because they are such Eeyores. I agree that some people drone on and on and do anything to help themselves.
I agree with just about all you have said , but if a person has no-one else to turn to , what are friends for?
I try very very hard, even when DH is going through one of his periods of ill-health, to smile and keep things light (before all my friends run and hide when they see me coming) but sometimes your frieds are the only people you can open up to as family may be too close. Some people are natural worriers and/or pessimists, they may not want to tempt fate by saying that all is well. Other people are natural Pollyannas, nothing ever seems to go wrong in their lives and they can drive me bonkers!!
OK I wouldn't go on holiday with this friend, but maybe a film or something to cheer her up? Without knowing the circumstances I can't say whether her misery is justified or not but I am aware that I have some friends whom I see only occasionally and when they ask how DH is - I often don't like to say in case things were bad the last time they asked!

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 12:08:56

Thank you all. She does have some health problems and she had to leave France, where she had lived very happily for many years, because of the daft inheritance rules. She has two sons and one has mental health problems which means she does not want him to inherit a lump sum on her death. She has had to go back to England, (fortunately, she had kept a house there, she is not short of money) so that she can set up a trust fund to give this son a monthly allowance. She bought another house in France and spends as much time there a she is allowed as a non-resident. I don't think it is her circumstances that depress her, though, I think it is just her personality. You can tell by looking at us how different we are! I am fair, still quite chunky in spite of losing two stones, and usually smiling. She is very dark, very petite and very intense. I don't think her son's problems are as great as my daughter's - his life is not at risk and she is on good terms with both her sons.
She is immensely kind and I would hate to hurt her feelings, but I have a far more limited budget and I don't want to waste a holiday on cheering her up - I don't think it would work , anyway. She cannot walk very far and wants to visit many museums- I like to pootle around a town and I don't want to visit more than one museum in a day. I suppose I could drive her down and suggest we split up and meet for lunch and dinner.
I don't think she has many friends and I do feel sorry for her - I wonder if the robust approach would work? I mean just telling her that I don't want to keep talking about our problems with our children (I am all talked-out anyway) and I want a happy holiday. It would only be for a few days as she has to get back to England on a fixed date.
Now I feel that I am being mean and I should grit my teeth and take her with me. After all, I have had over 50 years of taking my sister on holiday (at my expense) and putting up with her moaning! I finally snapped with her and she has been better ever since but I am not on such familiar terms with my friend.

vampirequeen Thu 04-Oct-12 12:26:03

Oh dear I think I have a foot in each camp. Depending on my mood I can be a total eeyore or flip into Peter Pan mode. I like Peter Pan is a wonderful adventure and I'm high as a kite.... but other people find it very tiring and although they don't like me having an eeyore period it does give them a rest lol.

I wouldn't go on holiday with her because she sounds like my aunt. She's never happier on holiday than when she can find fault with the hotel, the food, the weather, the hills or lack of them, the local people, anything really. It ruins it for everyone else.

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 12:28:25

A few of you posted while I was making a cup of tea! My friend's home in France is about 350 miles from me, so no possibility of short visits. The plan was for her to join me at a house-swap I am doing, about 70 miles from her home, about 420 from mine. I had mentioned that I planned to take the opportunity to visit Barcelona, which is about 3 hours from the gite. She said she had always wanted to go and suggested she come with me. Then she told me about her mobility problems and her desire to see about six museums in Barcelona and Figueres. I would be doing the driving and she has left it to me to work out parking arrangements and an hotel. I hate having to make arrangements for other people - I was always on pins with my sister because she found fault with everything. I am finding it quite difficult to find a hotel with vacancies at a price I can afford.
We have not met each other for over two years, as I had to spend 17 months in England caring for my daughter, and her home in England is about 300 miles away from my daughter's house.
She does have friends where she lives in France as she has lived in the same area for 15 years and she is another (like Juragran) who is always doing things for other people.

I have now suggested to her that she comes and stays a few days with me at the gite but we put off Barcelona until the Spring, when the weather will be better for sight-seeing. I have invited her to come and stay with me at my flat when she has the time, where I could drive her round the best scenery.

vampirequeen Thu 04-Oct-12 12:30:20

Does she want a holiday companion or a driver? Seems very unfair to leave all the logistics to you.

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 12:34:16

She will have to drive down to the gite, but I think she is nervous about driving along the motorway towards Figueres, where we would probably leave the car and take the train. Parking or driving in Barcelona would be a nightmare. I suppose I do so much travelling that she just assumes I would find it easy to arrange everything.

Movedalot Thu 04-Oct-12 12:44:31

Perhaps Barcelona is a good place to go with her? If they still have the 2 day tourist tickets you can both buy them and do your own thing. They are hop on hop off and go round all the sights so she could see as much Gaudi as she likes and you could see as little. If you explain it to her as you have to us, that she likes museums far more than you do so you could do your own thing in the day and meet late for dinner. It would have to be very late, its Barcelona!

I don't have any friends like this but I do have friends with genuine problems and I try to be as kind and helpful as I can. I do know how difficult it must be for them as many people are not interested in other's problems/troubles. I let my friends use me as a sounding board and they know they can do that whenever they need to. I try not to advise unless it is something I am expert in because it is very difficult to walk in someone else's shoes so I may not understand why they cannot take my advice.

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 12:50:38

I hope I also try to be kind and helpful to people. I gave her a lot of advice about the legal and financial aspects of moving back to England, but she does not really have any more decisions to make. It is not listening to her problems that is wearing, it is her constant misery and her way of telling me how awful my life is. I am dealing with my very real family problem as best as I can and I really don't need anyone telling me how miserable I must be.

Movedalot Thu 04-Oct-12 12:58:25

That sounds to me as if you have now made up your mind. Perhaps getting it out in the open like this has been a help to you.

Elegran Thu 04-Oct-12 13:16:38

I have two older neighbours - sisters - like that. Whenever I meet them along the street they tell me all that their immediate neighbours have been doing to annoy them, all that is wrong with the country and how awful everyone of another nationality is. They have had their health problems, and neither has ever been married (or had any romantic attachment, as far as I know) They condemn women who depend on their husbands, and also the woman who is working abroad for weeks at a time because that is where her speciality found her work, which is needed as her husband has taken medical retirement and they have two children at university. "That is not a good marriage", they think. They are at odds with all the younger neighbours, and most of the more mature ones.

I have a bit of sympathy for them, as they were brought up very strictly and have had to look after each other all their lives, and fight their own battles, but it is wearing to hear no good words about anyone. They are always pleasant to me (I am no longer young, which is the cardinal sin) but I wonder what they say about me to other people?

I would like to turn their prejudices around, but I suspect that pointing them out would just mean that I would join the list of enemies.

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 13:54:59

My friend is not like that, thank goodness. She is very kind about everybody - too kind, I think, as she has been taken advantage of several times by neighbours. She is just so gloomy!

gillybob Thu 04-Oct-12 13:57:30

Oh dear I think I maybe that depressing friend.

Friends and family keep telling me I have changed, I suspect not for the best.

I find it extremely hard to be happy at the minute and can't honestly find anything to be happy about. I cry myself to sleep most nights feeling totally hopeless and terribly sad.

I know I have three gorgeous grandchildren who do cheer me up no end but then its back into the depths of despair. sad

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 14:06:43

I do sympathise , gillybob, as I have spent many months fighting the depths myself, ever since my daughter accused me of every crime in the book, and made her three children cut off all contact with me. Even though I know she is suffering paranoid delusions, as she has in the past, it is still very hurtful.
However, my natural outlook is cheerful and I have tried to accept that I may never see her again and get on with my life. I did pour it all out to my friends and family, and on here, and it did help a little.
I am very grateful to my friends for putting up with my grief, but now I want to stay up-beat and stop obsessing about it, and the last thing I need is to be with someone who always looks on the worst side of any situation.

Daman Thu 04-Oct-12 14:07:22

gillybob It would be useful if you could put a handle on each of your sad things and then sit with each for a few minutes until they clarify. And, you are at an age where I am told some women go emotionally bonkers for a while anyway

Greatnan Thu 04-Oct-12 14:13:01

If I were you, Daman, I would take cover - women of our age don't generally like patronising gits! You have no idea what gillybob's problems are.