A question answered about "friends"

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've been posting here and there asking questions about how to meet people, friends who come and go, etc. I had wondered why on earth some women my age who supposedly are just trying to meet friends like me would pull a disappearing act after emailing and acting so good natured and congenial, then reappear acting like they've been a good friend all along. I had that question somewhat answered last night.

    I was sitting here watching TV after difficult child called and I get a call from one lady I met a couple of weeks ago. This is another one who seems to live her life like a yo-yo. She tells me she's been out and doesn't feel like going home and could use someone to talk to and asks if I'd meet her for a drink. I said ok because I don't have much of a chance to socialize in person with people right now but as I was about to leave the house, she calls again crying. She tells me "never mind, she's not good company for anyone, she's a loser" etc. Not knowing her well enough to determine if she's having some sort of break down or if she's just whacky or drank too much, I told her "no, it's ok, I'll be right there, we can talk when I get there".

    So, I get there, she seems a little depressed but otherwise ok. I mentioned something about people needing friends to talk to sometimes and she tells me that everyone wants to go out and meet new people to have fun with, too, but I'm a person people are going to call when they need someone because I'm such a sympathetic soul. :laugh:

    Now I don't mind a friend calling me when she needs someone to talk to- that's what friends are there for. I don't expect or want my friends to only have me as a friend or not go out and do other things without me around. But it seems so juvenile to me for women in their late 40's to mid 50's to be there sometimes, then not sometimes, then just think of me when they need a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. :whiteflag: :peaceful:

    Is there an adult way for me to handle this in the future so I don't end up feeling used? I'm remembering when I was Duckie's age (after reading TM's thread) and I could quit talking to this "friend" altogether, just let this continue, or say something about it, which would probably come across as a jealous friend, and none of those seem like good answers to me. If it was only this one friend I don't think it would bother me but I'm noticing that several people I've met lately are being this way with me so there must be some truth in that my personality is such that the only times people are thinking about asking to get together with me are when they feel down and need someone to sympathize with them. (I figure I must have improved that skill by being a member of this board.) :tongue:
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I have had several "friends" like that over the years. One in particular I've known since high school. When things are going well in her life I rarely hear from her but if things go bad or her kids are in trouble, I'm the first person she calls. It's pretty darn annoying.

    Keep looking. There are so many wonderful women out there who understand and appreciate the give and take of true friendship.


  3. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I have a very dear friend here ~ I was her supervisor at MPR & we loved working together even though I'm old enough to be her mother.

    Saying that, of late, my psychiatrist & therapist have both encouraged me to get out & "meet" people. Like interests is a good place to start. Let's see that would be you guys;) & a few other things.

    I have had friends like this over the years; I called them soul suckers. Nothing was ever enough & then bam they left my life as a new man would enter or some other positive took over. I told one lady that friendship is give & take. AND there can be fun things even at the worst of times (though I'm struggling to find them now I will even out).
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'm not one to give advice on this because I'm a self-inflicted hermit. But in this one particular case with this one particular lady with this one particular phone call ... it sounds to me like she may have just had too much to drink at the time and was getting over emotional and weepy. I wouldn't make any more of it than that. You could drive yourself nuts trying to analyze everything that someone said while they were drinking.
  5. ML

    ML Guest

    In another post it was recommended to follow your interests and I think that's the way to go.

    Some of us have been so busy taking care of others for so long that we forgot what those interests were. Start a love affair with yourself and a being a journey of self discovery. That book I used to talk about, the pink one (the name is alluding me, I'll get it) talks about this. Just take time every day to get to know yourself. Go window shopping to discover what resonates in your spirit in terms of clothes, home decorations, etc. Create a zen area (like TL's garden) in your home that enables you to find inner balance. I'm excited for you to find out these things. You finally have the time to take care of you for a little while and I highly encourage you to do so.

    The friends will follow. Your evolving spirit will attract them. I KNOW you are a cool person and if we lived closer we'd definitely be friends in real life.

    Love and hugs, ML
    Lasted edited by : Aug 2, 2009
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    OOooohhh ... I can REALLY relate.
    I have found it difficult to make real friends. Not so hard to find acquiantances or on/off friends. But I too grow tired of the large gaps of time without contact, and contact is ONLY when the person needs what they consider my sage advice or my listening ear. It drives me stupid, I swear. It hurts me beyond belief as well.
    I don't know what has happened to interpersonal relationships. I don't remember it being this way for me always. But the older I get, the more I notice that many "friends" are this way. I'm a self declared hermit too, and it is definitly because i find it hard to relate to people who only turn up for free talk therapy sessions. I end up feeling used too.
    I have sadly taken to ignoring a few women in my life for just this reason. I've tried to talk to one or two who have this pattern and then I stopped. I won't bother in the future. It doesnt' seem to change a thing. And they get offended when I'm too busy to sit about listening to another depressing story.
    I'm happily there to listen to my friends and be a listening ear. But not when its the only time they surface in my life. Even more frustrating, none are ever available when things are going wrong in MY life. Proof, I was in critical care unit and even after release, was stone deaf and in major pain for over a month afterwards, unsure if I would hear again and not ONE of them reached out to even have a quick cup of tea or short visit.
    I have no advice sadly, other than that for me, these people over time become toxic to me as I burn with hurt when they "reach out" to me, for their own selfish purposes. I think that some people just don't get it. Not necesarrily bad people. Just clueless perhaps??
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Relate? I am you..lol. I am the person that people call or IM or email when their lives hoover but they never even remember my name when things are going well.

    I had a friend who I believed was my long lost sister. We were so close it wasnt funny. We would finish each others sentences. I met her in 2001 I think. She lived in Texas and I actually went out to see her 4 times I think. She kept promising to come see me. I actually kept her son at my house when she had a problem with him. After she took her son back, I didnt hear from her for a year or so. Not one word. No thanks for keeping him. No how are you doing because in that time I was going thru having both knees operated on and a hysterectomy. Nothing. Then she pops up again wanting something from me. Oh she is so sorry. Her bad. Yeah right. I was leary. She wanted me to build her a website. I did but I was on guard. It didnt work out. She went away again and it was all my fault. Another year or two went by and she pops up again. She is getting divorced. She needs me...Im the only one who understands her. She is in pain. I understand her. Blah blah blah. I let her ramble. By this time I realize she only calls me when she is needy. I cant get a word in edgewise about my problems. Then Tony has the small stroke. Then her husband has a major stroke. She leaves her husband and during the hurricane in last year told me she hoped he and his dtrs died in it. I hung up on her and deleted all her contact info. I will never have any more contact with her again. Sad really. I loved her kids. Cory was best friends with her kids.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's easy to find yourself invested in only one friend - been there done that. I think that it's important to find things to involve ourselves in so that we aren't always the "caring" friend, or the "needy" friend. I'm sure your "friend" will call again. Next time she comes up with "I'm such a disaster, no one could ever possibly love me, so I won't bother to spend time with you" assure her that you are certain that's not so, and that you will be happy to see her when she is feeling more up to having company.

    No one wants to be someone else's emotional trash can.
  9. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I spent years raising children. Over the years, as difficult child's behavior deteriorated, I began to isolate myself. I didn't take time to cultivate friendships. I lost touch with a lot of people. Only recently have I become social again. I started a facebook page, and suddenly I am socially active. I have reconnected with a lot of people.

    I am entertaining at home now because difficult child is not here to cause embarrassment. I had some high school friends over for a pool party, I had a birthday party for pcson, and last night Rusty and I had a party for our anniversary. Next weekend I am having a shower for one of husband's relatives. People are now just stopping by to visit.

    I am going to lunch. At least once a week I have a lunch date with someone. It puts me out and I run into lots of people who then suggest lunch or another occasion.

    I have been to 2 concerts since May---on with pcdaughter and one with pcson and daughter in law. I had not seen a concert in 28 years.

    husband and I recently joined our local historical society. I have met a lot of interesting people through their social events.

    Now, that being said, I have very few "friends." There are only a few that I talk to about anything besides very superficial topics. But I am having fun. And it shows in my attitude, my appearance. I feel like I look happier. I have a positive attitude. I like who I am. And that attracts positive, happy people into my life.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I saw an interview a few years ago with Aussie actress Kerry Armstrong. Here is a link to a transcript of anoter interview when she mentioned a concept shedeveloped and then published. It could be a worthwhile exercise for you to try.


    We really only ever have less than a handful of good friends. I mean the people you can really rely on, the ones you would get on a plane for if they rang at any time of the day or night (because you know they would do the same for you). Somtimes it's only one person in your life. Sometimes less, but usually you will have one or two.
    The more 'friends' you have, the harder it can be to find the one true friend hidden in all the dross. And depending on where you source your friends, you could find yourself overloaded with shallow 'fair weather' friends (as I think you were referring to, Linda. I do feel you on that one, been there done that in spades).

    I was talking to one of my GOOD friends (I would say I have two, neither of them quite at the "get on a plane for" status but almost) and she said, "We have to remember that we are only bit players in other people's lives. And yet for us, they are all bit players, our life is our main focus."

    I've mentioned before the case of someone I used to have lunch with on a regular basis. Most days, then once a week on Tuesdays, we would meet for lunch. In winter she would come to the lunchroom in our department which we often had to ourselves, it was luxurious wirth its own kitchen. I would cook a quick stir-fry of fresh vegetables I had bought on the way to work that morning. On other days we would go shopping in the city. We would arrange ahead of time. Then a bloke came into her life - fair enough. But if it had been me, I would have known that I had four lunches out of the five in each week in which to go have lunch with him, Or I would have brought him along for a stir-fry and maybe gone for a walk with just him afterwards.
    I would at least have telephoned withenough notice before lunch to say I wasn't coming for lunch. She didn't. It got so I took to leaving for my lunch break five minutes late, waiting for her phone call, so I wouldn't be cooking twice as much as I could eat.

    I was very angry with her - I knew what was happening. He would turn up at her office door as she was heading out for lunch and take her arm and whisk her off somewhere. Very romantic. It's what happens.

    It's typical of a desperate female, unfortunately. Because for a wself-confident woman, surely a bloke worth his salt will value a woman who considers her obligations and arrangements? And if he turns up to take her out and she says, "Sorry, I'm booked already," he will be MORE likely to put in more effort and plan ahead with her? At least respect her for her sense of duty. Especially if she says, "You can come too if you like."

    Then there is the bloke in the case who is possessive and controlling, who deliberately encourages the women in his life to cut off contact with girlfriends. I'm not certain that happened in this case back then, but it has happened since.

    I know all this sounds like sour grapes, because whenever this bloke was on leave or away on assignment, my friend was there for lunch without fail (and actually turned up a couple of times when I hadn't prepared anything, not expecting her to be there).

    The thing is, I knew her and was resigned to the fact that she unfortunately behaved like this - a sort of mutual understanding between females that OF COURSE when a bloke crooks his finger, you drop your girlfriends (who OF COURSE must understand, they're all desperate females, aren't they?) and go off with the guy because who knows when/if you will ever get another chance?

    Tragic. Utterly tragic.

    The big key to all this - become self-sufficient in your own head. Surround yourself with interesting people and in doing so, become interesting yourself. Do not NEED anyone nor associate too closely with people who do. Find yourself an interesting hobby which occasionally brings you into conatact with like-mindedpeople. Your friendship may only ever intersect on that hobby level, but that's OK. You never know - there could be someone there who has other interests which also overlap your own. But if not - it doens't matter.

    And NEVER drop everything, hobbies, interests, friends or whatever - for a man. Or any other person. I've seen women do this with other women also. My best friend (the one I mentioned before) used to hang around with another female frined (nothing lesbian in it) and tihs other women did everything she could to sabotage any other friendships. I could see it happening by my friend couldn't. Instead she felt sorry for the woman andtried to help. Which of course only made that other woman more resentful of her and more determined to do her harm. That other woman became my first internet stalker, purely to antagonise me and try to destroy the friendship. And because I was friends with her 'friend', I had to be destroyed also.

    But the same as for my lunch friend - whenever I was visiting my friend (or had arranged to) and her 'friend' rang up with plans, anyting organsied with me was gone out the window. it is tihs tendency in my best friend which limits my wilkingness to get on a plane and go anywhere if she asked - I know in the past she has let me down, even though she was burned by this and realised she was investing in a friendship which was toxic.

    And that's the thing - how do you ever know if a relationship is toxic?

    I think the woman who rang you is potentially toxic.
    My best friend collects 'lame ducks' and almost be definition, a lot of them risk being toxic. Why is a person a lame duck in the first place? What makes a person, an adult, so needy? Sometimes crud happens, of course. People get sick, they get injured, so we bake them a casserole. But when a person is ALWAYS breaking something or always getting sick, you start to question. Sometimes the answer is, "this person has had a bad run," and you keep helping. But osmetimes you realise - this person is engineering to be needy. In which case - walk away from the relationship, it is all take and no give.

    You probably have toxic people in your life already. I think we all do. And peoplewho are professionally needy. Their survival depends on getting sympathy from others which in turn enables them to continue to be needy. I do get very impatient with such people - in the stream of life we must swim our best, not tread water and grab at swimmers going past.

    Look at your 'friend'. How does she dress? How does she do her hair and make-up? How does she talk? If you see anachronisms reminiscent of a bygone time (and I mean a time she lived through - easy child 2/difficult child 2 dresses as if it's te Victorian era but that is different) then chances are, that person is somewhere in her life 'stuck' at that era.
    Example - a woman I know wears frilly pink dresses and bows in her hair. Flat shoes with short socks folded down. She is over 50. She even has a little girl lisp sometimes. I often wonder - what happened in her life when she was 8 years old, to have her locked away inside as she is? She does wear make-up - 50s style cats eye eliner, but not in a heavy way. definitely inexpertly applied.
    I know her father was a violent, abusive man. I know she is particularly empathic to women who report having been sexually abused in childhood. But the way she seems locked in to childhood as she is, if abuse happened she has not fully dleat with it.
    And emotioanlly needy? Good grief, she's a shocker. Mood swings, self-blame, "I'm an awful person" then the sun comes out and everything is brittle-happy. Not bipolar because the highs are not major, they're clearly an artificial layer she puts on like an old pear-buttoned twinset.
    She's not a friend, but neither is she an enemy. I will listen to her sometimes but she rarely REALLY talks (which is whiy I tihnk she's so locked in to her past). Very needy. Very. Life hasn't been kind Occupational Therapist (OT) her - but it hasn't been as tragic as she seems to see it either (at least, the life of hers as I have observed it). She doesn't travel well, I guess I'm trying to say. And if it's because she's loaded down with baggage from her past - that could explain it. Until she sheds that baggage she can't move forward and grow.

    Very sad, but I can't help her until she cna see it for herself. And I think now it's too painful for her to see it. So she lutches form crisis Occupational Therapist (OT) crisis, leaning on whoever will be there to pat her on the shoulder and validate her struggle (which aloows her to continue to not deal with things).

    Sometimes you have to walk away. It isn't cruel to do so, it's not wrong. it just is.

    You're not alone in this.