Thought Person Was a Best Friend?

Updated on August 27, 2010
M.H. asks from Madison, WI
16 answers

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.

What can I do next?

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answers from New York on

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.

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answers from Saginaw on

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.

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answers from New York on

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.



answers from Minneapolis on

I had a similar situation like this and I am glad to report she no longer is a friend. It was my decision and I do not regret it. I thought she was a true friend as well and when it was time for us to catch up and meet up, things would always come up and we would have to cancel, reschedule and only to cancel again. It took me a year for me to realize this and accept that she's just one of those people that will never meet me half way in the friendship. She was a very high maintenance friend, and I eventually decided, friendships should not be that hard and why do I feel crummy interacting with her. Then I gave myself closure by no longer communicating with her and to no suprise, she didn't bother to communicate with me. That was closure. She was not a good friend and did not have intentions to become one. Walk away and give yourself closure. It sucks because you think you have all these great memories with her.



answers from Redding on

I just went through something the other day and I'm still stinging from it.
I have good "besties", a married couple. Our kids have grown up together. I've helped them, they've helped me.
The wife offered to help me clean and organize my garage. We've talked about it for months. I wasn't in any hurry and neither was she so the time came we were going to do it. It was a huge project, I won't lie, that's part of the reason we dreaded it, not to mention being busy with other things.
To make a long story short, her husband got pissed, he came over and got in the middle of it. I bit my tongue when I found wedding and baby pictures in the garbage, I bit my tongue when he threw a fit about me getting them back out. I bit my tongue when I called my mom on her birthday and that got turned into me doing nothing and leaving it all on someone else.
I bit my tongue when my son stopped helping for a minute to eat the rest of a leftover sandwich and got yelled at for not doing anything.
I even bit my tongue when her husband came over here and started yelling at me about how I'm the most selfish person he's ever known, how I don't think about anyone but myself, how I've never done anything for anyone and he was sick of me......said it all, (actually much worse) in front of my son.
I just told him to get the hell out of my house. GET THE HELL OUT!

For one thing, I have helped them a million times. My son has helped them.
We've been there to help with yard sales or cleaning their garage and we wouldn't have thought of throwing obviously important things away.
I don't know if it was my friend who was bitching to her husband or the husband was bitching because he wanted her to be doing something else, but dammit, I do not have to be talked to like that. I'm not his wife, I'm not his girlfriend, I'm not one of his kids. I've known them for 12 years and every single time they've called and asked a favor, I've been there to do it without hesitation. She's been sick and I've gone over and washed her dishes and put laundry in so she could rest. I took her to the hospital and brought her home after a surgery and stayed days to take care of her because her husband was out of town.
But, I got yelled at and called the biggest bleeping selfish bleep bleepity bleeper in the world because she offered to help me with my garage.
I haven't called them and I don't give a flying one if they never call me.
On one hand I'm completely hurt because I don't attack people that way and I certainly wouldn't do it in front of a child.
On the other hand, I don't care if I never speak to them again.
I'm pretty bluntly honest about things and I don't exactly have tender sensibilites, but how did someone offering to help me get turned into me being selfish? How about the fact that boxes were gone through and some of my prized possessions ended up in the trash? I think calling ME inconsiderate of others was a little uncalled for in that instance.
Like I said, other than saying get the hell out, I bit my tongue. I am not going to fight with someone. It's ridiculous.
Friendships are like lightbulbs. They burn out sometimes.
I've got friends I've had for 30 years.
I've had people I thought were friends for much shorter periods of time.

I think it's best to just know where you stand. I don't care what was said to me the other day. I happen to know that I am a very thoughtful, caring and loving person. I'm always there to help anyone in any way I can and if one person says different about me, I'm not going to sweat it the rest of my life.
I believe that we should do what we would do for people regardless of what we may or may not get back in return because that just makes us better people. A gift with strings is not a gift. Don't offer to help someone if you are keeping score. Never lend money to anyone if you expect to get it back.
God loves a cheerful giver so even if you feel taken advantage of, you didn't do anything wrong. You don't need to make yourself a doormat, but doing what you felt good about at the time when you had the time to do it wasn't a bad thing.
We learn from all of this and move on.

That's what I try to do.

Best wishes.



answers from Las Vegas on

Your "friend" sounds a lot like a former friend of mine so I completely understand where you are coming from. Not all people are like that but I have found that the "friends" that want to bond to you really quick or get overly involved in your life and somehow make you more involved in their life than you normally would be given your brief relationship, are the ones that tend to burn out fast. Most of my really good, long-standing friendships require little if any help from me. They are just there to share information and to celebrate each others lives. I like those types of friendships the best.

Sorry you got burned like this. I know it is hard, but try not to focus on the one friend who wasn't that great and think about all the real friends that you do have and the ones out there that you still have yet to meet.



answers from Cleveland on

Oh honey I had almost the EXACT same situation.
I felt totally "in" with this woman and the group of women she was friends with. We all had kids around the same age. We hung out with and without our husbands, seemed that I actually found a great group of friends in the new area I was living in. Oh my hubby used to work with this ladies husband.

Anywho, same kinda thing. I offered to help baby sit her kids while she went back to school. It turned into me being the ONLY person she relied on for a babysitter. Now I NEVER have a problem helping a friend. I never once got a thank you. I finally decided to start cutting back on babysitting because I felt used and her children were teaching My lil son to hit.
So I told her I could still help her once in a while, but I couldn't be her ONLY babysitter.

Ya know what...that was over a year ago..Haven't heard from her since. Now every time I run into one of the women from that group all I get is dirty looks.

I know it hurts at first, but ya know what...You are better off without people like that in your life. :)



answers from San Francisco on


I have been in the same position--very recently. It doesn't feel good at all- and really, you feel very used-even betrayed. To have a friendship or so called friendship turn out to be something its not is really hard to deal with. I don't have any words of wisdom other than in the future, don't change your plans to acomodate your friends. If it happens to work out with your schedule and you are comfortable doing it, then fine. But don't change your life around someone who wont reciprocate. Sorry to hear you were used this way. I completely understand! Hang in there- it will get better. Have you considered having a one-on-one conversation with her? To confront her and tell her how she made you feel? Maybe she has no idea how selfish and unkind she has been- maybe she does. Its worth it for you though to get some validation and closure about this-even if she doesn't respond favorably. You are at least getting your voice heard and she will know that she hurt you.

Take care,




answers from Rapid City on

Don't beat yourself up over this. Know you were a friend, a true friend and don't let this make you question new friendships.

I have many friends and some we don't talk with for months but when we do talk it is like we never have been apart. She could be busy, wrapped up in her husband and family and while you may have been a subsitute for her husband while he was gone, it doesn't mean she didn't value your friendship. She may have used you or she may have relied on you.. two different things, you need to decide on which it is if you want to let her back into your life at some point. Until then move on and don't let it bog you down.



answers from Madison on

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.


answers from Kalamazoo on

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".


answers from Dallas on

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



answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry this happened to you. Some people are just users. I know as I am a giver:) I am too nice/generous and have been hurt/used in the same way. Hang in there.



answers from Seattle on

Yup. Some people are just users. ALWAYS takes awhile to figure that your if you usually have REAL friends.



answers from Phoenix on

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!



answers from Omaha on

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. :)

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