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Old 09-06-2011, 11:31 AM
 
20 posts, read 38,117 times
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This is a general rant and I don't mean to anger anyone, but I am really struggling with this issue and I'm hoping to get a discussion going. I apologize in advance for the long length of this post.

Background: I am a middle-age woman who was raised to be a communicative person who makes and sticks to plans, doesn't 'flake' out on people, tries to be helpful, and is interested in maintaining friendships.

Issue: Maybe it's just me, but it seems like people (and by people I mean the few female friends I've attempted to make and keep) are increasingly selfish or flaky or noncommittal or even just kind of crazy in general. Believe me, I am not perfect and I don't think I am, nor am I claiming anything like that, but I am just not understanding people or my interactions with people anymore.

Here are 3 specific situations that recently arose:

1. One newer female friend --almost every time we make plans she cancels on me when it comes to the day of the event. Today we were supposed to have lunch--plans that SHE initiated last week. I knew she would cancel....and sure enough, she sent an email this morning saying the weather was crappy and they 'all' have colds. This is not the first time--it's just the latest. Two weeks before that she promised to followup on something for me and then never did...and she never mentioned it again. She made that promise twice and flaked out both times. Last week I'm pretty sure I caught her in a lie, but I didn't say anything (because really, what good comes from confronting someone?). Today after the latest cancellation I decided: I give up.

2. Another female friend is so secretive that it's been impossible to continue any kind of friendship with her. She isn't flaky per se, but she has huge walls up and other than talking about surface things like the weather or her job, it's like dealing with Fort Knox. I've shared things about my life and she will share something personal once in awhile, but then clam up if I follow up and ask her later how that personal thing is going or how things turned out. She'll refuse to answer and the wall goes back up and then we don't talk for a few weeks. I never disclose anything anyone tells me and I keep people's business (as well as my own). Her behavior has been this way since I've known her over the last 3 years. I give up.

3. I am unemployed and a friend who has offered to help me meet people in her network just lectured me via email about how I "never paid attention to her severe financial woes when I was happily employed, and that her financial problems are far worse than I could ever imagine." She went on to tell me that I never "put HER problems on the front burner." She sent that email after I wrote her an email, updating her on not having much success so far connecting with a couple of her contacts (i.e. networking) and trying to figure out better ways to get a response back from people. I never mentioned anything about money or finances or anything other than my frustration at not getting responses back and not sure the best way to achieve that. She is projecting all kinds of stuff onto me about my attitudes, expectations, and feelings. I simply answered her back that I haven't been 'happily' employed...was merely employed for the last 5 years, and I care about my friends whether I'm employed or not. I knew that saying anything else would only escalate the situation, so I kept my response brief and tried to stay factual and positive. We haven't seen each other in person in at least a few months, and she rarely contacts me. I've attempted to get together with her but she's been either occupied or has a work deadline. After I got that email 'lecture,' I thought: Did I really deserve that?


I don't confront people anymore...haven't done that for many years. I've learned that people don't change and people either mesh well or they don't. I take responsibility for my own actions and don't dump on my friends. I figure if my needs aren't being met or a friendship is not working or I don't like how I'm being treated, then I need to float away and let it go, without having some big scene or showdown.

But still. I'm feeling ever more isolated and would like to discuss and get others' thoughts on this topic.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:09 PM
 
2,447 posts, read 2,669,438 times
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I would just let those people be acquaintances. There's a reason why we only have a few real friends, and a bunch of acquaintances. Finding real friends is like finding a real partner.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:14 PM
 
20 posts, read 38,117 times
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Yes, by definition I guess they are just now 'acquaintances.' Two of the 3 I had considered friends (not so much the newest gal), but that's what it is.

I now have only acquaintances and zero real friends. :-(
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:18 PM
 
Location: in your dreams
10,892 posts, read 13,499,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aganusn View Post
I would just let those people be acquaintances. There's a reason why we only have a few real friends, and a bunch of acquaintances. Finding real friends is like finding a real partner.

I do agree.

To the OP, I can both relate to your point of view, and to the point of views of your "friends".

It sounds as though none of these women were ever close enough to be considered good or close friends, so it's kind of pointless to expect much in return - no matter how much you think you are putting out there.


It would seem to me that each of you has a completely different perception of the acquaintance in itself.

And that sucks. :/
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Way up high
14,115 posts, read 20,816,661 times
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I would drop all 3 in a heartbeat..Sounds like way too much effort just be friends
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: California
4,536 posts, read 5,440,760 times
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We must know the same people:

#1. I know her well. She will call and ask if I would like to see a non-violent movie with her or go to a particular restaurant but on the agreed day, she will call and attempt to change the plans. Now, I only call her when no one else is available for my last minute plans. It feels to me like once she gets me to commit to a time, then she can change the agenda to how she likes it.

#2. I also knew someone like that. We had lunch with her attorney one day and later he informed that sometimes people with mental issues are difficult to communicate with. Could it have been her he was talking about?

#3. Yes, I also know her. People do tend to get upset when you don't meet their expectations. Many people won't be your friend once you go through a divorce or lose a job or family member. I think they are afraid to "catch it". In my area there are professional job matching and job networking groups so do yourself a favor and find one in your location. Don't expect anything from her.

I have a plaque on the wall with a sad looking puppy on which says "Blessed are those expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed". You can also always trust people totally....to behave as they have in the past so don't be hurt when they are doing what works for them. They really don't spend much time thinking about you.

I also feel more isolated than in years past and find my cat or even knitting to be more rewarding than putting myself out there again. Today, if I can help someone, I do, and don't expect even a thank you but just know that I helped someone along their own path.

In my area, I have met more than a few who really don't want to talk to you, or know you, if you don't have the money in your hand to buy from them or aren't in a high enough income bracket. Exactly why I avoid commissioned sales people who only sell their time.

Having worked some hunger projects I was also saddened by how much of the donated food and clothes never make it to intended purpose as it is often taken by the "volunteers" for resale or personal use. Just can't be around that anymore. The seniors or homeless get tossed the stale bread and moldy food.

People have disappointed me, so my husband will tell me that I have high expectations and he is probably right. Today, I do keep most people at a distance so I don't get hurt.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:35 PM
 
3,046 posts, read 2,732,769 times
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1. Why are you venting about this person instead of calling her on her bs

2. Why are you venting on the Internet about this instead of bringing this up with her

3. Why are you communicating about things like this via email.

Perhaps it isn't the so-called friends who have an issue. Perhaps you're unable to be direct and forward with people.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:40 PM
 
20 posts, read 38,117 times
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Wow Heidi, I completely understand.

I think perhaps my experiences are not so uncommon afterall. What you've described is very familiar.

Admittedly I've always been sensitive when it comes to flakiness--it is one of my pet peeves, along with people who are chronically late. I pride myself on being reliable and usually punctual and respectful. I don't ask people for favors very often (actually very rarely). If I need something done, I pay someone to do it. I don't believe in burdening other people--and I guess I'm also afraid they will let me down anyway, so I just don't test it.

I also think about reciprocating...for instance I make sure and treat a friend (or I guess 'acquaintance') every now and then. I always am thankful for people's kindness and I don't take it for granted. Because I don't cook much or entertain, my forms of reciprocity are usually treating someone to a meal out or doing something for them they need/want.

But I do have boundaries. The one friend who 'lectured' me in that email asked me last year to get up before 5am to take her to the airport for a 6:30am flight! I had offered to take her to the airport as long as she didn't have an early flight. Then she told me the time of her flight and I said "sorry, but no." I gave her a couple other options for cheap transportation or parking at the airport, but the thought of having to pay was beyond her comprehension, so she found another friend who agreed to take her. I ended up picking her up on her return back (which was after 10pm). I would NEVER ask someone to get up at o'darkthirty and drive me to the airport. I don't even ask anyone for a ride to the airport at normal times!

Recently I have made the observation that people (and yes, this is a big generalization) seem to value others more when they have to work much harder for their friendship. The more accommodating one is, the more solicitous and caring one is, it appears the less one is respected and appreciated. Has anyone else noticed this?
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:47 PM
 
20 posts, read 38,117 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexcuseforignorance View Post
1. Why are you venting about this person instead of calling her on her bs

2. Why are you venting on the Internet about this instead of bringing this up with her

3. Why are you communicating about things like this via email.

Perhaps it isn't the so-called friends who have an issue. Perhaps you're unable to be direct and forward with people.

Communicating about what things?

I emailed my friend to give her an update about a couple contacts she had sent me (via email, btw). Then when I said I was having trouble getting folks to respond, she emailed back and lectured me and then accused me of not caring about her problems. She is someone I happen to know has some emotional issues, and I know she has been battling depression, her ex-hub and other things, and confronting her on her email wouldn't change her perception. So my choices were to: ignore her altogether, or respond back but nicely and without escalating, or confront her. I chose to respond back nicely, didn't escalate, and am backing away. I recognized she was projecting stuff onto me and I also recognized that confronting her would only create more anger and resentment.

As for discussing things with people on the Internet...well...what are YOU doing on this thread? This is a chat forum...where <gasp> people connect about topics they are interested in and discuss via the written word.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:58 PM
 
9,415 posts, read 11,680,151 times
Reputation: 20214
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexcuseforignorance View Post
1. Why are you venting about this person instead of calling her on her bs

2. Why are you venting on the Internet about this instead of bringing this up with her

3. Why are you communicating about things like this via email.

Perhaps it isn't the so-called friends who have an issue. Perhaps you're unable to be direct and forward with people.
One could also ask, "Why are you berating someone for asking perfectly valid questions and venting a little online?".

OP, drop them. Life is too short to deal with people who don't want to make an effort to maintain your friendship.
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