M.H. asks from Madison, WI on August 26, 2010
Thought Person Was a Best Friend?
My question is inspired by the previous 'do you have a best friend' question.
I became friends with a person locally. I knew her parents first and then she moved to the area and our kids are also the same age and they were just starting school together. She and I started to get to know each other. She invited me to go a few places with her and we had a good time. Then she invited us (our family) to one of her family's holiday celebrations. I thought this was very generous of her and it seemed that our friendship was growing. In hind sight, I realized this was around the same time she found out her spouse would be away for an extended period. She included us in many of her family's celebrations during that time her husband was away.
While her husband was away, she relied on me heavily to pick up her kids and babysit her kids. I didn't mind at all, I felt like we were very good friends and I'm the type that would do anything for a friend. It seemed to me that we were very good friends. She would offer to help me and would call to see how I was doing during the time I was helping her with her kids. I was touched by her caring nature. However, as time went on, I realized that she didn't treat me the same way she treated friends she had grown up with. She stopped making plans with me to do stuff and anytime I suggested her and I go do something, she wasn't interested at all. It seemed that we were just good friends when she needed help and during that time period when her husband was away. Unfortunately, the closer the time got for her husband to return, things started changing even more. No more inquiries to see how I was doing. No more invites to family celebrations or anything for that matter. Meanwhile, I was still babysitting her kids for her and was there for her whenever she needed me. She knew she could rely on me for anything and she would call on me. Once her hubby returned, I pretty much never heard from her.
It took hindsight for me to realize that I was just basically used as a resource. I have to say it really hurt. I would change my plans and schedule to help her out thinking she was a true friend. I think this 'friendship' even put a strain on my marriage. And unfortunately that strain is still something were working through now. I feel bad that I put myself out there and then got used.
I think I would've felt better if we hadn't started any friendship and she would've just been up front and said she needed a babysitter and could she call me as a babysitter. It would've been clear that she only needed me as a resource to babysit her kids.
I guess this was more of a vent than anything. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this? And is this how most friendships work these days?
My true best friend never expected anything from me - we are truly best friends - so this other type of friendship is new to me.
A.B. answers from New York on August 26, 2010
I've commented about this before. Theses are friends of convenience. If they need something they get it from you then you are tossed away. I'm sorry to say it seems more usual then it was years ago. I hope you are not baby sitting for her anymore and if you are I think you should say you are unavailable. You have to write this "friendship" off and learn from it, when you pick a new friend. It sucks but like one poster said she's just a USER.
B.A. answers from Saginaw on August 26, 2010
I'm maybe not the right person to answer this question...but honestly after having my own family I've come to realize that friends come and go. I don't really believe in a true best friend. I did when I was in high school, but not now. (And don't get me wrong I still see a few of my so-called best friends from high school maybe once every few months) But I learned that our lives are constantly changing. I was super good friends with my brothers ex-wife, then they got divorced and things changed. Then I became really great friends with a wife to one of my husbands friends...then a lot went down and they are divorced. (Although I still really like her a lot...things are different now, we can't hang as couples. When I see her drama usually comes up still from their divorce.) In between all that, I became really great friends with my SIL, whom I still do a lot with and talk to regularly. However, at one time there was a chance she was going to move away, she didn't thank goodness but almost did. I knew at this point, I would again not really have anybody close to me. But then....along came a family into our lives again. (My daughters friend from school, her parents) I now see them regularly and enjoy hanging out with them as a family and with her mom on my own or with our daughters.
I've realized that you just can't put all your eggs in one basket because your apt to be let down. So while this person has came into your life and abruptly left...just take it for what its worth a friendship that was nice at the time but has grew apart for some reason or another and move on. And maybe if anything just learn not to be taken advantage of. Of course its wonderful that you offered your babysitting services, but to cancel plans to do so....maybe was not the right thing to do.
1 mom found this helpful
K.F. answers from New York on August 26, 2010
I understand that feeling of betrayl and of being used. I went through something along those lines but different.
Friends you get to pick, family you don't. As we age we learn even more valuable lessons. You learned that you are very giving and loving to the point you can be naive about manipulation of your time. The question is how are you going to navigate new friendships.
I have learned that I need to take the time to look at and analyze the little things in new friendships. For in my situation I never would have allowed this particular friend to be that much in my personal business as to sabotage me and my family's financial standing by making a decision which negatively impacted me and mine by the tune of $6,500 of unearned income. I work on commission at times and she at the last minute decided to use another agent in the business. With all that said my financial situation is better due to the grace of God and time being on my side but I'm just grateful she revealed her true colors before she could really do some damage.
We still communicate but she isn't as close as she once was and that is totally justified. I still do nice things for her but I just don't let her in my personal business ever. As far as she will ever know again, I will always be doing very well.
While that friendship change was very hard for me, I am looking forward to making new friends throughout the rest of my life. I will take the valuable lessons with me as I develop great friendships even with people who don't share a like mind with me. That's just what I choose to do.
R.J. answers from Seattle on August 26, 2010
Yup. Some people are just users. ALWAYS takes awhile to figure that your if you usually have REAL friends.
J.J. answers from Omaha on August 27, 2010
Maybe you should just move on. I know you're hurt and I can't blame you, but why would you want to be around someone who doesn't value you as much as you value them.
I've been hurt by friends who acted like we were the best of friends and then just dumped me. I had one friend who started to blow me off and I was getting my feelings hurt and then a few months later she called me up and told me that she was struggling with the "whole weight loss thing". I had been losing a ton of weight. Being around me made her feel guilty and bad about herself, even though I never did anything to make her feel that way. She apoologized to me later for being that way.
I learned to hold that friendship at an arms length away. We are still friends and sometimes we catch up and talk a ton, but we don't get together often like we once did.
I'm sorry for you loss in this. It is painful, but it sounds like you're an awesome person and a great friend for anyone to have. I would move on and find better friends! You're worth it. :)
T.K. answers from Dallas on August 26, 2010
It's more about her than about how she feels about you. Some women can't do anything when they have a man in thier life. They are totally consumed by thier man and shut off to the rest of the world. We've all had friends that couldn't get a good balance on that one. Heck, we've probably all blown off friends off for a man at one point or another. When he was gone, she was lonely. She missed the sense of family and adult conversation. She missed having a partner to share duties with. So, you my frined - were her surrogate. When her husband came back she went back to being wife and she didn't need a surrogate anymore. I'm sure she genuinely likes you and cares for you or wouldn't want you around her kids. She's just "One of those Women" One step away from a Stepford wife
A.W. answers from Kalamazoo on August 26, 2010
She doesn't sound like a very nice person.....That being said, you allowed yourself to be treated this way. As a married woman with a family of your own, you should never allow ANY other relationship to put a strain between you and your husband. You should not put yourself in a position where ANYONE is relying heavily on you. It is great that you are a person who likes to help friends, but no one should be "the type that would do ANYTHING for a friend".
A.C. answers from Madison on August 27, 2010
I met a lady at work a few years ago. I used to go down to the break room with another lady I worked with, and she would be there at lunch time. One day I was there by myself, and she said something to the effect of, "it's hard to meet people these days." Since I'd just moved to a new state, I agreed and we got to talked and formed a friendship. We went through getting married and starting families together. Our girls played together when they were younger. About a year ago, maybe two, she just suddenly stopped contacting me. I thought it was weird, but let it go. My daughter wanted to get together and play with her kids. I would call her to try to set something up, but there was always some reason as to why they couldn't play.
I've come to realize--belatedly--that this friend was a friend of convenience--when it was convenient for her and furthered whatever "goal" she was looking for. We would get invited over for her daughter's birthday parties--they have a fairly large family and lots of family friends, who all live near them. We didn't necessarily always invite them to our daughter's birthday parties--because many times, we didn't have one. We moved here from out of state and rarely ever had big birthday parties, primarily because we didn't have enough people to invite to throw a big shinding. I realize now we were invited because that way, her kids got more toys/gifts.
I also realized the more I thought about it that I was always the one who called her, who e-mailed her, who initiated get togethers or play dates for the girls, etc. When I got sick--and she knew I was sick--I didn't get any phone calls or e-mails or any indications at all from her as to how am I doing, could she help, would it make life easier if she watched my daughter for me? I came to realize that she is a user. She used me to get what she wanted--whether it was to inflate her ego as to what big birthday parties she could throw for the girls, or to show off the bigger house she had than mine, etc. Um, you know, I really don't care. She tries very hard to fit into the yuppy crowd; I really could care less what the yuppies are doing. I have enough to keep up with our household; I don't need to try to keep up with the Joneses.
I had a lot of friends back in the state I lived in before I moved to where we currently live. I have never found it so difficult to make and keep friends as I do here. Either I'm finding the wrong type of friends, or people have really, really changed in the last few years, because it seems like I'm always running after people, trying to maintain a friendship. Whatever happened to the fact that a friendship needs to go both ways? People always seem to genuinely like to hear from me, but it's like everyone's so busy running around in their own little worlds and doing family stuff that no one's interested or has time to get together and do something. I'm not so sure when it became so hard to get together for a cup of tea.
I used to live by the Twin Cities, and I never had a problem or an issue making and keeping friends--in fact, I still have those friends, and I've lived in a different state now for 13 years--but man, come to a university town and I can't hardly make friends worth squat. People keep telling me it's because it's a university/transient town. I just say, so is the Twin Cities.
I hear you loud and clear. I just chalk it up to the fact that people have very hectic lives right now and not many of them are looking for friendships. I'm assuming once their kids are grown and they're all alone they'll perhaps be looking, but apparently, many people don't see the need for friends these days. I'd like more friends. Haven't quite figured out yet how to go about finding them, though. I belong to church, a writers group, a gluten-free support group, and I know the people in my husband's Civil War Reenactment group. But finding friends...well, that isn't an easy endeavor.
Just chalk your experience up to a person who was looking for someone she could use and had no expectations it was an actual friendship. It was nothing to do with you, and everything to do with her. She's the one who one day will end up with no one. You, on the other hand, know what a friend is. You'll be richly blessed.
K.V. answers from Phoenix on August 26, 2010
I have had it happen to me as well (on a couple of occasions). You give all that you feel you can and have to help "friends" out and in the end feel used. Its a very hard thing to have happen and sometimes you dont notice you are being taki=en advantage of till its too late. True friends should not expect anything from you but love and kindness and I find hose who dotn ask for favors all the time are more my friends then the ones who always want something from me. Its one of the drawbacks of being a very giving person. In the end it is her loss, she lost a great person and friend in you that would do anythign for her and she will miss that the next time she needs anything. Stay strong and hang on to those true friends you do have, and please dotn let this deterr you from being the kind and generous person you are. ((HUGS)) and Love......stupid people suck!