Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Am I a Bad Friend? Or Am I Normal in Feeling Like This?

Do y'all mind a bit of a rant?

I have this friend, she's definitely a phone junkie. And she's driving me crazy. She phones at least a couple of times a day and it's difficult to get her off the phone in less than 1/2 hour. She calls at work, and she calls at home.

Friday, she called at least 6 times in the space of 2 hours. I was trying to have a quiet evening at home, and after the final call, I finally answered, thinking it might be something important. It wasn't. Jeez!!! I'm afraid I let my irritation show, but really. Friday evening--wouldn't you begin to consider that someone might want to have some recovery from the week.

Then there's tonight. 4 calls, after I'd explicitly stated that the debate was on tonight and that I'd be watching. Ummm, live TV? I haven't picked up, but once again, I'm annoyed. Leave. Me. Alone.

True, said friend has "issues." Once again she's unemployed. IMO, it's due to a severe lapse of judgement, but still...I have to have some empathy at her situation. She's estranged from her son, who's acting like a spoiled child, ugh, want to smack him. And there are other family members who are also amazing in their lack of support and sensitivity. But regardless, I'm feeling that boundaries aren't being respected and it's pissing me off. I've been through similar circumstances and I've had to deal with them basically alone (and yes, she and I knew each other during those periods of time, where was she?). But in spite of that, I'm still feeling a lot of resentment at how needy she is, and what a time-sink she can be.

So, am I being a massive B? Or is my response a reasonable one? I guess I'm just more of a self-reliant type. It's hard for me to have to shoulder this.

Again, sorry to vent. But it's my blog and where else can I?


julia said...

Not a bad friend - your concern shows in your question and in your comments about her son, going through a rough spot, etc. I think that the folks who seem so insensitive and needy sometimes are, just not very sensitive. (duh!) Since she's already driving you crazy, can you try to be very straight-forward, almost blunt about it with her. You'll risk pushing her away (like she's pushing you away) but you might find that in simply not being very sensitive, she's kind of blundered herself, wrapped in your friendship, into be a pest. If she talks that much, she probably doesn't listen much to whatever inner voice she might have telling her to hush. Imagine the peace you'll give her if you can convince to be still for a few moments. That's a gift. I hope this turns out to give you some peace, too.

Beryl said...

You're normal. Even if it turns out that you are literally saving her life, it is unfair that everyone leaves it to you. She needs a new distraction. A puppy or some volunteer work where she is really needed, maybe. It goes without saying that a good shrink could do wonders for her. It took me years to get my "phone friend" to see someone. That was 20 years ago. Today, she could have just gotten a simple prescription.

Christina said...

You are totally justified feeling the way you do, she is really pushing her boundaries. I mean, to call you when she specifically knew you would be busy (watching the debate)?? And when you're at work??

I'm sorry I don't have good advice to offer. Maybe you just need to be straight up with her and tell her you want to support her, but the phone conversations need to be limited to 30 minutes per day (or whatever you could handle).

Dana said...

I've known people like that. A family at my kids' school was a good fit for a "family friend" - the kids were the right ages, the husbands got along and she and I had similar interests right down to sewing! But she wanted to talk on the phone 6 or 7 times a day! She wanted to discuss which can of corn to get for dinner! I eventually had to be kind of rude... just couldn't take it. It's too bad, I really enjoyed a little of her.


materfamilias said...

Oh dear! I just couldn't do it, and I can't imagine keeping a friend who would need it. Sorry. I'd be using call display or relying on voicemail. I'm afraid I think that someone who's this needy will not have her problems solved by your being constantly available -- it might be time for some counselling.
I love Julia's perspective above -- give her the chance to hear, from inside, what she needs to know.

Melody said...

You're not a bad friend but one of you definitely is. I had a situation like this and I told my friend very gingerly that maybe she need to see a therapist, she said to me, "I don't need a therapist, that's what I have you for". Can you believe that. We're no longer friends. Nothing wrong with you setting boundaries. Hugs to you in this annoying and difficult situation.

Carole said...

It's telling that everyone here supports you, as do I. This friend of yours may have caused many of her own problems by being so obviously needy. I don't have a quick and easy solution; I think it depends on how badly you want to keep this "friend". If it were me, I would return her calls once every couple of days, then every 3rd or 4th day. She would probably find someone else to call.

Kim said...

If you want to be friends with her, I think you should just accept (and ignore) the calls when you're busy doing other things. I suggest that you try to plan when you will meet/talk with her, and keep the phone calls to a minimum in between. She should get the message that you are just not available all of the time. I think that's a good message to send, in general. You aren't a bad friend, you just have a life. But, there's also nothing wrong with deciding that you just don't really want to be friends with her. Personally, I find that my best friends are the ones I don't talk to as often...when we do talk, we have stuff to talk about!

JuliaB said...

Hello ... i sympathise with you .. i have a "best" friend who is being anything but .. when my child was small I always made time for her... now that she has small children, the only time she has for me is when she wants to complain about her inlaws .. i have had lots of problems over the last few years, but she hasn't been there ... After a while, well .. you know ... I just remember the good times we had and the reason we made friends, and hope that this is just a blip. x