Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: LadyL on November 03, 2012, 04:00:36 PM

Title: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LadyL on November 03, 2012, 04:00:36 PM
I will try to keep this short. I live in an area that took a direct hit from Sandy. Thankfully we live on the third floor, and are out of the flood zone by literally about 4 blocks, so we didn't have any damage to our building or car. Those nearby were not so lucky and those in basement/1st floor apartments lost everything including our landlord's kids who lost 3 cars and everything on their first floor. We did go 4 days without power but in the scheme of things we are very lucky. What made the situation hard was right before the storm I had a medical situation come to a head - I started having a negative reaction to my migraine medication - sleep disturbances, some weird perceptual effects, and severe anxiety (these are all known but not super common side effects of the med I take). I have been in the process of slowly and safely tapering off the meds but in the mean time, my anxiety levels have been unpredictable and disruptive. I am normally a bit on the anxious side, but between the meds and the storm related stress it has amped it up to where there are times I can barely function, and LordL has been a saint about helping me keep my head together. Either way it's been a rough several weeks. end BG

Now that we have power we have offered that if any of our friends need help, like a place to charge their phones, brew a pot of coffee, or take a hot shower they are welcome to come by our place. Most of our friends live in our city, walking distance from us, so it was more of a "swing by for a bit if you need something" kind of offer. One of our friends lives about an hour away, but works 15 minutes from us. He doesn't have power where he lives with his family but they do have a generator. He called and asked if he could possibly crash at our place so that it would be easier to get to work, since he has such a far drive and there are gas shortages and he doesn't have power where he lives (and they don't expect it to be restored for another 5-7 days). The thing is, we live in a 2 bedroom apartment where we have 1 bedroom set up as an office, so the only crash space is our couch in the living room. The office is also my dressing room and I have to cross through the living room to get there, and the living room is generally not that private (we have a modified railroad style apartment; the bedroom and living room are connected via double doors, and there is a hallway the runs from the kitchen, past the bedroom, to the living room with no door in between; point is the living room is central to the apartment and not very private). Our layout works fine for having people crash for one night but he is talking about possibly several nights.

To be fair, we had said in the past that in the case of an emergency he could crash for a night at our place (we were thinking if there was a blizzard and it wasn't safe for him to drive home but this also counts obviously). But given what is going on with my medical situation and the arrangement we have for guests I am concerned about how it will work. Part of my normal anxiety triggers are social situations and when we have guests I feel like I have to "play host." Our friend is also very chatty and so usually when we hang out I find that after about 3, maybe 4 hours I am all "talked out" - imagining him staying over for several days stresses me out just thinking about it. There is also a city wide curfew of 7 PM because power is still out in places and there is opportunistic crime, so it's not like LordL can take him out somewhere so that I'll have a few hours to myself while he stays here either. But I also feel really bad because we are trying to help whoever and however we can - we have donated supplies, spent today flyering neighborhoods about the red cross shelter that just opened, etc. and it feels really cold to possibly tell him no, or that he can only stay for one night when he needs to be at work all 5 days next week. On the other hand, I spend a good portion of every day addressing my anxiety when it gets too high, and sometimes crying or freaking out a bit when it gets to be too much and I'm not sure that staying with a couple dealing with a medical/personal crisis is a great situation to invite someone into, not to mention the possibility that just him being there will escalate my anxiety as well.

I definitely can't deal with a full 4 nights of having a house guest right now, so what is a reasonable compromise here (if there is one)? He is a good enough friend that we can level with him about the medication/anxiety issue (I already mentioned briefly that I'd been having those sorts of problems the last time we hung out before the storm, but not the full extent of it). But I can't really think of a way to say "having you here for too long will probably stress me out" without it sounding bad, like he is just a source of stress instead of our friend (when in reality it's not personal, having *anyone* here or really any major change to my environment would be disruptive - I am also still coping with stress about how the storm is going to affect my school and work obligations, not to mention my overall concern for all those still affected who we are trying to help by volunteering).

I know this was rambly, thanks for reading :).



Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Amara on November 03, 2012, 04:35:11 PM
Could you handle two nights, OP, even if they were separated by a night or two? If so, I'd offer that and be honest as to why. (Thank goodness you can.) Or can he sleep in his office but come by for a shower and breakfast in the morning and a dinner at night? I apologize if any of these suggestions seem weird but I am somewhat inexperienced in this area.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Octavia on November 03, 2012, 04:39:29 PM
LadyL - I'm glad that your physical property was spared the worst of the storm. It really did come down to luck for sure.

I don't believe that etiquette requires you to subject yourself to a situation that would cause you great discomfort in order to help someone else. Others may of course disagree. But I think you and I are on the same page. So I recommend that you continue to share your living quarters on a limited basis with your neighbors as you already have, as that seems reasonable to do. But tell your friend that he cannot crash at your place. Not for several days, or even one night.

You mentioned that you are close enough to this friend to be able to level with him on what's going on with you medically. But I'm not sure it's the best approach to give him all of those details as the reason he cannot stay. He is probably feeling stressed and desperate (and I'm not saying that to guilt you) and might try very hard to convince you that his staying at your place won't be any trouble at all. He could have an answer to each of your concerns, leaving you to feel that you cannot say no. So in this case it might be best to tell him that you are dealing with some heavy medical issues. And although the timing is very bad, this is simply not a good time for you to host in any way. Then wish him the best and keep in touch with more warm wishes while things get back to normal.

Take care of yourself  :)
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: JaneJensen on November 03, 2012, 04:45:32 PM
I think you should use a little white lie. Maybe say that you're so sorry you already promised your couch to someone else, ( even if it's just yourself)  but if he would like to pop on over for a hot shower, hot meal and to charge his phone and such you would love to have him over for a couple hours after he gets off work.

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Surianne on November 03, 2012, 04:48:08 PM
So in this case it might be best to tell him that you are dealing with some heavy medical issues. And although the timing is very bad, this is simply not a good time for you to host in any way. Then wish him the best and keep in touch with more warm wishes while things get back to normal.

Take care of yourself  :)

I agree.  You mean well, but you're overwhelmed and need to take care of yourself.  Let him know you're dealing with medical issues (no details, just the general explanation -- since not everyone understands anxiety, and he may not get why it's serious for you) and can't have him crash this time.  Apologize and tell him the offer would normally stand, but you just can't manage it now. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 03, 2012, 05:07:52 PM
There are a lot of ways to give to those who need in these times.  And the beauty of that is we can all give, but each only give what we are comfortable with.  You are comfortable with your home being a friendly "drop-in" center.  That is a great thing to do.  And its enough.  Its not wrong or mean or anything to say you can't have it be a "crash pad" - there are other people who aren't even offering people to come by, but are doing other things like running community or charity websites, or shuttling donations, or giving donations, or just going to work to get things running again. We each only need to give in ways we can manage.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: FoxPaws on November 03, 2012, 05:11:28 PM
Accommodations for a week is a HUGE favor to ask, no matter what the circumstances and your friend probably realizes that. Offer what you can reasonably tolerate - Tuesday and Thursday night; two nights of his choice; whatever - and let him take it (or leave it) from there.

Stop feeling guilty. This is a sucky situation and everybody is going to have to pinch hit, suck it up, make do, etc. for awhile - welcome to the wonderful world of natural disaster aftermath. You are doing your best to help those in need and looking after your own health is part of that; you will be of no use to anyone if you're a basket case.

Very glad to know that you made it through with minimal damage. Hang in there.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Surianne on November 03, 2012, 05:11:47 PM
Very wise words, WillyNilly.

(It can be hard when we want to give something specific, but can't do it *right now*.  I've had to stop looking at the adoption pages for Hurricane Sandy dogs for that reason...know I don't have the resources for it, but it still breaks my heart.)
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: ladiedeathe on November 03, 2012, 05:26:54 PM
You have the right to say no to any request. You can simply say it isn't possible right now. That isn't rude.

For your own sake, though, in the future, do not offer help that is not really available or please revoke the offer when the help becomes unavailable. You don't have to feel guilty about not being able to help.

 It is absolutely not rude to not be able to help someone, but if you know you have "anxiety triggers", can't have someone crash without "playing host", and "cry and freak out" at intervals, and are just physically not set up for even one night's hosting without massive discomfort, you don't need to offer the ability to stay there "in an emergency".

Given that you never revoked the offer, and that this is fairly big on the "emergency scale", please realize that when you say no the guy may decide that he no longer wants to be friends.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: greencat on November 03, 2012, 06:05:39 PM
"I'm sorry friend, but I'm having a medical crisis right now, and due to the lack of privacy in the apartment, we can't provide you with a place to stay overnight this week.  You're welcome to (whatever help you are comfortable providing)."
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: gollymolly2 on November 03, 2012, 06:23:14 PM
I think that the rules of friendship are different than the rules of etiquette. Under "etiquette" you could just say "sorry, I'm afraid that won't be possible." For a friend in an emergency situation, I think you either need to do your best to help him or be open and honest with him about why you're not going to help him.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LadyL on November 03, 2012, 06:52:24 PM
You have the right to say no to any request. You can simply say it isn't possible right now. That isn't rude.

For your own sake, though, in the future, do not offer help that is not really available or please revoke the offer when the help becomes unavailable. You don't have to feel guilty about not being able to help.

 It is absolutely not rude to not be able to help someone, but if you know you have "anxiety triggers", can't have someone crash without "playing host", and "cry and freak out" at intervals, and are just physically not set up for even one night's hosting without massive discomfort, you don't need to offer the ability to stay there "in an emergency".

Given that you never revoked the offer, and that this is fairly big on the "emergency scale", please realize that when you say no the guy may decide that he no longer wants to be friends.

When we originally offered I wasn't having the medication issues so providing a night's crash space wasn't a big deal (the  inconvenience of our apartment layout was sort of cancelled out by the opportunity to spend time with friends, which I usually enjoy - typically I *like* hosting rather than finding it to be a huge stress). I wouldn't have thought to preemptively call people we'd offered crash space to to revoke open ended crash space offers especially since I was/am hoping the med situation to be temporary. I guess I am trying to figure out how to politely revoke or at least modify this particular offer now since circumstances have changed.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: StarFaerie on November 03, 2012, 07:08:16 PM
I think that the rules of friendship are different than the rules of etiquette. Under "etiquette" you could just say "sorry, I'm afraid that won't be possible." For a friend in an emergency situation, I think you either need to do your best to help him or be open and honest with him about why you're not going to help him.

^This. Friends are owed a lot more than strangers are in my opinion and to me giving to a stranger or helping generally does not satisfy the obligation to friends when they need help.

Nearly 10 years ago I was in much the same situation. We were having serious bushfires and many areas were evacuated. We were on alert, I had a young child and was not well. Plus the stress of wondering whether we'd be next was massive. The TV was showing whole areas of our city burning and people had died. Some friends rang to say they were being evacuated and could they come and stay until they could return home. They had 3 children and my house is tiny. I said "Yes, come on over. We will make room for you." and opened my house to them as I think that's what friends do in an emergency situation. I also arranged for their most precious items to be put in my in-laws house as our house was still in some danger.

If your situation is serious enough such that you cannot help your friend, you need to be completely open with him and as a friend he will understand that your situation precludes you entirely from helping him in that way. No phrases will help with this though, I feel, as it has to come from the heart, friend to friend.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: JoyinVirginia on November 03, 2012, 07:12:45 PM
Just be honest. Tell friend he can stay one night, and one night only, but stop by whenever. Also tell friend you do not want to chat because of anxiety, medication issues, so when he comes over you would appreciate it if he can NOT talk to you very much.
Hope you feel better soon, and hope your neighborhood gets back to semi normal soon!
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Aeris on November 03, 2012, 07:25:33 PM
Honestly, you need to be prepared for possibly serious potential friendship consequences here.

In my opinion, this is something you do for friends in emergency situations - and there's no way this is anything other than an emergency. Etiquette allows you to refuse to help your friend, but if I were in a dire situation and needed some temporary help, and a friend who had previously told me I could rely on her in an emergency suddenly refused because having me in her home would just be too stressful -- I would pull way, way back on the friendship.

Perhaps that's not a fair assessment of your situation. But it may well be how your friend sees it.

If you're asking if etiquette absolves you - technically, it does. If you're asking how to be a decent friend, I'd have to recommend that you be straightforward with him about your concerns, including your need for quiet time, then do what you need to do to minimize your anxiety while you help him. Escape to the bedroom, take a bath, let LordL be social with him without you, etc.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Sharnita on November 03, 2012, 07:29:05 PM
Honestly, you need to be prepared for possibly serious potential friendship consequences here.

In my opinion, this is something you do for friends in emergency situations - and there's no way this is anything other than an emergency. Etiquette allows you to refuse to help your friend, but if I were in a dire situation and needed some temporary help, and a friend who had previously told me I could rely on her in an emergency suddenly refused because having me in her home would just be too stressful -- I would pull way, way back on the friendship.

Perhaps that's not a fair assessment of your situation. But it may well be how your friend sees it.

If you're asking if etiquette absolves you - technically, it does. If you're asking how to be a decent friend, I'd have to recommend that you be straightforward with him about your concerns, including your need for quiet time, then do what you need to do to minimize your anxiety while you help him. Escape to the bedroom, take a bath, let LordL be social with him without you, etc.

That would be my take too.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: ladiedeathe on November 03, 2012, 07:47:32 PM
LadyL- I do understand that things have changed for you and that you are having med side effects. Gently said, you have to understand that all around you people's lives are decimated, and people are struggling just to make life work. While etiquette says you are perfectly polite in saying you just can't help, there really isn't a polite way to revoke offers of "help in an emergency" after a terrible emergency has hit.

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: buvezdevin on November 03, 2012, 08:12:07 PM
Going with the title of your thread, it doesn't have to be completely an either/or matter.

While you need to look after your well being, and need extra consideration from LordL and anyone else who would be in your home more than briefly right at the present, you could discuss what special considerations or restrictions would be needed from your friend in order to minimize the anxiety and discomfort you have which are currently exacerbated as you work through the best medical path.

Your friend, by staying with you, would be able to conserve whatever is available gas for his family's generator rather than using it for his commute to and from work for a week.

If you can be clear and direct with your friend about what you need now (quiet, privacy, etc) and ask if that is acceptable to him for his stay, your friend's emergency needs may be mitigated by staying with you, impacts on you could be mitigated by being direct about your own needs.  It may or may not be that your friend then decides to pursue a different option than staying with you, or stays only a night or two, or does indeed have a need to stay closer to his work which is great enough that he would happily, quietly couch surf for a week as unobtrusively as possible.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 03, 2012, 08:15:22 PM
If having a guest would create medical hardship versus just an imposition then I think you are fine with letting him know you can't accommodate his request.  But could you offer for him to stay every other night?
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LadyL on November 03, 2012, 08:19:37 PM
Thanks buvezdevin for that perspective, that is really helpful. I am trying to figure out how we can offer maybe 2 night's crash space with clear explanations of the situation over here so that we can help our friend out with minimal disruption to my situation.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: mindicherry on November 03, 2012, 08:29:09 PM
Honestly, you need to be prepared for possibly serious potential friendship consequences here.

In my opinion, this is something you do for friends in emergency situations - and there's no way this is anything other than an emergency. Etiquette allows you to refuse to help your friend, but if I were in a dire situation and needed some temporary help, and a friend who had previously told me I could rely on her in an emergency suddenly refused because having me in her home would just be too stressful -- I would pull way, way back on the friendship.

Perhaps that's not a fair assessment of your situation. But it may well be how your friend sees it.


If you're asking if etiquette absolves you - technically, it does. If you're asking how to be a decent friend, I'd have to recommend that you be straightforward with him about your concerns, including your need for quiet time, then do what you need to do to minimize your anxiety while you help him. Escape to the bedroom, take a bath, let LordL be social with him without you, etc.
This.  Especially the bolded....and especially if you or he live in one of the 12 counties in New Jersey that are now on gas rations.

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: sourwolf on November 03, 2012, 08:31:48 PM
Honestly, you need to be prepared for possibly serious potential friendship consequences here.

In my opinion, this is something you do for friends in emergency situations - and there's no way this is anything other than an emergency. Etiquette allows you to refuse to help your friend, but if I were in a dire situation and needed some temporary help, and a friend who had previously told me I could rely on her in an emergency suddenly refused because having me in her home would just be too stressful -- I would pull way, way back on the friendship.

Perhaps that's not a fair assessment of your situation. But it may well be how your friend sees it.

If you're asking if etiquette absolves you - technically, it does. If you're asking how to be a decent friend, I'd have to recommend that you be straightforward with him about your concerns, including your need for quiet time, then do what you need to do to minimize your anxiety while you help him. Escape to the bedroom, take a bath, let LordL be social with him without you, etc.

That would be my take too.

I hav to strongly agree with both these posts. Frankly with the pictures and reports coming out of NYC I'm sure he's not expecting 4star accomadations and would be more than willing to accept whatever limitations you put on his staying there (you can't talk to him, etc.)

Not trying to make you feel badly but if I was the friend in this situation I would really not feel like I could take you at your word anymore (please do not take the PPs suggestion of lying) and would be extremely disappointed.  I mean if this isn't the exact definition of someone's hour of need, what is?
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Sharnita on November 03, 2012, 08:35:21 PM
I think maybe you can approach it less as hosting it and more as co-surviving in your home. It gives a more realistic idea of what you can/should be doing for him.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 03, 2012, 08:36:33 PM
As a nice aside, its looking like there will be a lot more gas soon, 10's of millions of gallons by Wednesday (some arriving Tuesday), so saying 2 nights is actually a pretty good offer. (This based on you being in NY - you are in NY, right?)
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Oh Joy on November 03, 2012, 09:18:41 PM
I think you're fine.  You offer what you can, and that might be a night or two, or a place to shower and shave on his way in each morning, or something else.

I'm sympathetic to his situation, but I don't see it as an emergency enough to obligate you to more. His home is adequate for the rest of his family, and he can safely survive with whatever he ends up doing for work (carpooling, staying elsewhere in town, working from home, or even an unexcused absence...though I certainly understand the limitations and drawbacks).

The phrasing will depend on your dynamics, but 'It's not a good time to put you up for that long, but we CAN...' may be a good start.

Best wishes.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: camlan on November 03, 2012, 09:59:41 PM
If you can let him stay for one or two nights, it would be a kindness.

Be clear about what you can provide for him.

You can also arrange things to make life easier for you. Ask him to bring a sleeping bag so he can sleep on the floor of the office, if that extra bit of privacy would help you. Then bring your clothes into your bedroom with you the night before. It's also fair to ask him to delay arriving at your apartment until 6:30 or so at night, to give you a little down time before he arrives. You can retreat to your bedroom or the office to get out of having to talk to him, and let LordL deal with the hosting duties.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: peaches on November 03, 2012, 10:03:34 PM
I am trying to figure out how we can offer maybe 2 night's crash space with clear explanations of the situation over here so that we can help our friend out with minimal disruption to my situation.

I think this is a good approach. Two nights should be bearable, particularly if you make clear ahead of time that you're experiencing a lot of stress already (which anyone should understand right now).

I find live-in company stressful, mainly because of the inescapable 24 hour-ness of it. The good news is - he's going to be going to work every day. This will give you a break and some time for yourself. 

I hope this works out better than you're expecting. It's worth making the effort IMO. Good friendships are worth preserving.

Good luck! I hope the situation continues to improve for you and all of the others struggling with the aftermath of Sandy.


Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: FauxFoodist on November 03, 2012, 11:25:20 PM
If you can let him stay for one or two nights, it would be a kindness.

Be clear about what you can provide for him.

You can also arrange things to make life easier for you. Ask him to bring a sleeping bag so he can sleep on the floor of the office, if that extra bit of privacy would help you. Then bring your clothes into your bedroom with you the night before. It's also fair to ask him to delay arriving at your apartment until 6:30 or so at night, to give you a little down time before he arrives. You can retreat to your bedroom or the office to get out of having to talk to him, and let LordL deal with the hosting duties.

Pod.  Be honest with him that your medical needs come first but you will do what you can to help him out in this emergency situation.  LordL can help back you up on this when (perhaps you can have some signal set up beforehand to indicate you are getting too stressed out to deal).  And, frankly, sometimes no matter how much you tell a Chatty Cathy (Chatty Charlie?) in advance that you need peace and quiet, you just have to be blunt about it because the Chatty Cathy just doesn't get it (DF is super SUPER chatty, and I've learned that I will just have to interrupt him mid-sentence and tell him what I need to do because he just won't freakin' stop talking -- I love him but OH.MY.GOODNESS -- can't he exist ever without having to talk to anyone and everyone about everything under the sun all the time???).  Anyway, if your friend is like this, then you or you and LordL will just have to be really forceful about it if you let him stay with you (and, yeah, sadly, I would be with you on really not wanting to deal with the social anxiety of having someone with you during this time, but I'd feel the obligation of helping a friend in need...and then I would probably spend my time hiding in my bedroom so I could get my peace and quiet somehow).
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Redsoil on November 04, 2012, 05:07:21 AM
I'd tend to say something like "We actually have several friends popping in for showers and use of facilities at present, so things are a bit disrupted.  We're happy for you to come by and shower, and if you need to stay for a night that's fine, but a full week probably won't work with all the other obligations at present.  Let me know what night works best for you so I can organise our schedule."
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: cicero on November 04, 2012, 05:45:01 AM
there is a reason that airline safety rules tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. there is an insticnt in us to help our loved ones in an emergency - but we have to also take care of ourselves.

i think it is an amazing thing that you are doing/trying to do to help this and other friends. but it wouldn't make sense, for example, to give a stranded friend *all* your gas because your friend in is an emergency situation, and leave yourself without any gas. or give someone the last of you water if there is no more water available. and if you *can't* give your friend a bed for 5 nights in a row -then you don't . I don't see his situation as emergency at this point - yes, gas may be rationed or difficult to find, and it may be *more convenient* for him to stay by you then go home every night, but it's not impossible for him to go home every night. maybe he could carpool with someone or use a bus, or stay in a red cross shelter if he *really* can't get home.

Please stop feeling guilty - you are already doing so much for people in need.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: TamJamB on November 04, 2012, 10:28:26 AM
Personally I don't think this qualifies for an exemption under the take-care-of-yourself-first rule. This is, for your friend, the very definition of an emergency. And, while having a guest in a small house for a week is certainly an imposition, it's not like you're giving him one of your kidneys either.

To me, this favor falls clearly under the stuff-good-friends-do-for-each-other. You can back out if you want to, but I wouldn't blame the guy for taking that to mean that you are not to be counted on in a pinch. Because you can't.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: SPuck on November 04, 2012, 10:51:07 AM
I think there is a difference between letting a friend say one night during an emergency versus several days for an unknown period of time. Your the one who is not changing the deal if your emergency boundaries your friend friend is asking you to change them. That and your also dealing with a medical predicament, and at the time you also have what sounds like an open door policy for other friends in need so it is not like your boarding yourself away from the misery that surrounds you. If he can't say over he can't say over. Your not doing anything wrong. If you could would a night or two at the beginning of the work week? That will give more time for more gas stations to open and more electricity to come on.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: FauxFoodist on November 04, 2012, 10:53:57 AM
I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation (he has a home to go to, rather than having to stay in a shelter, for example).  I used to be part of a DAT (Disaster Action Team) for the Red Cross.  Friend's situation definitely isn't considered an emergency (I don't know if he would be permitted to stay in a shelter when so many others need to stay in one and he has a home to which he can return).  Side note -- we once had a family who wanted vouchers to buy new clothes because they considered themselves to be in need and in an emergency situation due to their clothes smelling like smoke (I think either their or a neighbor's residence had a fire but not a bad enough fire they couldn't return to their residence).  Anyway, they were turned down after it was assessed that the clothing just needed to be washed in order to eliminate the smoke, not replaced.  They still kept asking for vouchers (turned down again); they didn't want to wash their clothes.

Anyway, looking at it this way, his tougher situation doesn't supersede LadyL's health issues.  I think LadyL and LordL should be able to state her medical reasons for not being able to have him stay a week.  This would not be rescinding their offer of helping out during an emergency.  Again, he's not in an emergency if he still has his home and has a back-up provider for power (this from someone who lived in a house with no gas and no electricity for days, not because of a environmental issues but because my parents didn't pay the bills -- also no fridge and no phone in the pre-cell phone days -- but we still had our house; lack of these things made life tougher but didn't make the situation an emergency for the six of us living there).  Friend may feel he's in a true emergency situation for him, but LadyL is, equally, in a true medical crisis for her.  With those in mind, LadyL needs to be able to take care of her health.  Still, if they want to help Friend saves on gasoline usage, I'd be inclined to say Friend could stay the first night of the week and the last night of the week OR the first two nights of the week or the last two nights of the week (to give LadyL a block of time to continue to recover instead of the time being broken up).
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: SPuck on November 04, 2012, 11:01:26 AM
Also if you feel like you have to explain yourself when it comes to go into detail about your medication problems. All you really have to say is "I'm having medication and migraine issues so I cannot have a guest over for longer then x days/hours." Will also work.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on November 04, 2012, 11:06:21 AM
Personally I don't think this qualifies for an exemption under the take-care-of-yourself-first rule. This is, for your friend, the very definition of an emergency. And, while having a guest in a small house for a week is certainly an imposition, it's not like you're giving him one of your kidneys either.

To me, this favor falls clearly under the stuff-good-friends-do-for-each-other. You can back out if you want to, but I wouldn't blame the guy for taking that to mean that you are not to be counted on in a pinch. Because you can't.

POD the bolded. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Cattitude on November 04, 2012, 11:19:56 AM
I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation

I just wanted to address this part of your post.  We also took a hit here in coastal NY and had no power for 4 days so it was not fun but certainly tolerable.  However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage. 

Anyway, as for the OP, I also have anxiety and this week has ramped it up so much.  But I would still let a good friend crash here if need be.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: FauxFoodist on November 04, 2012, 11:38:37 AM
However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage.

Well, that part DOES change the situation a little where he's concerned, but how is public transportation?  Is that a viable option?  Sorry, when I saw gas shortage, I think of being in line a few hours, not overnight, so I could see that making it an emergency for him when he wouldn't know if he could even make it back.  With that in mind then, again, Friend would need a serious talking to of expectations of him as a guest in order to accommodate LadyL's medical issues (and he would need to know that he would have to find lodging elsewhere if he couldn't compromise so she could focus on getting better).
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Minmom3 on November 04, 2012, 11:50:12 AM
Going with the title of your thread, it doesn't have to be completely an either/or matter.

While you need to look after your well being, and need extra consideration from LordL and anyone else who would be in your home more than briefly right at the present, you could discuss what special considerations or restrictions would be needed from your friend in order to minimize the anxiety and discomfort you have which are currently exacerbated as you work through the best medical path.

Your friend, by staying with you, would be able to conserve whatever is available gas for his family's generator rather than using it for his commute to and from work for a week.

If you can be clear and direct with your friend about what you need now (quiet, privacy, etc) and ask if that is acceptable to him for his stay, your friend's emergency needs may be mitigated by staying with you, impacts on you could be mitigated by being direct about your own needs.  It may or may not be that your friend then decides to pursue a different option than staying with you, or stays only a night or two, or does indeed have a need to stay closer to his work which is great enough that he would happily, quietly couch surf for a week as unobtrusively as possible.

That was really well said!
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: camlan on November 04, 2012, 12:18:55 PM
I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation

I just wanted to address this part of your post.  We also took a hit here in coastal NY and had no power for 4 days so it was not fun but certainly tolerable.  However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage. 



Yes, that was my understanding about the gas shortage. A combination of stations not having electricity and therefore not being able to pump gas, gas tankers not being able to get to some of the stations, and tanker ships not being able to dock at the ports for several days. The government has called in the Department of Defense to move gas supplies into the affected areas quickly, and released stores from emergency supplies that have never had to be used before.

And if there's no gas, buses can't run. No electricity and trolleys and subways can't run.

Friends of mine lost power for three days. We don't have a gas shortage here, but running their generator just enough to power the refrigerator, the stove and the pump for the well cost them over $150 in gas.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bonyk on November 04, 2012, 12:46:38 PM
"Friend, my migraines are seriously acting up, and I really, really needs some down time.  Instead of the whole week, why don't you plan to stay on Tuesday and Thursday night?  I think that will work out best for both of us."

Where I am (about an hour out from the city), the gas lines are significantly shorter today than they were yesterday.  I'm hopeful that by the end of the week the gas situation will be normal again.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bbgirl on November 04, 2012, 12:59:10 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.  You offered a place for emergencies and an  offer like that does not usually include "but only if it's convenient for me." An emergency by it's very nature is inconveniencing.  You have it very lucky that you aren't suffering the effects of the storm and have not lost your life or home.  So it really comes down to what you value more.  Your friend has asked for help so of course, it's your choice to either follow through on your previous offer of helping during an emergency or not but you will need to weigh very heavily the effect that this might have on your relationship and on how others in your community look at your reliability.

If you have two rooms and need your down time, then just explain that in plain terms to your friend and retreat to a private room. If you need him less chatty, then just say that to him. An emergency situation I think changes the status of the hosting element. He will temporarily be a part of the household, not so much a guest. So lay out the terms of the house and go about your normal (as normal as can be anyway in this situation) daily routines. If he's a true friend, he'll understand.

And turn the tables in your thought process.  How would you feel if you had to ask someone for help but they then told you no even when they had previously offered? Would you be able to maintain that friendship with them knowing they weren't willing to follow through for you?

It's not easy, it probably won't be fun or comfortable..but it's what people (friends and strangers) do for each other when times get tough. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Two Ravens on November 04, 2012, 01:03:35 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.  You offered a place for emergencies and an  offer like that does not usually include "but only if it's convenient for me." An emergency by it's very nature is inconveniencing.   You have it very lucky that you aren't suffering the effects of the storm and have not lost your life or home.  So it really comes down to what you value more.  Your friend has asked for help so of course, it's your choice to either follow through on your previous offer of helping during an emergency or not but you will need to weigh very heavily the effect that this might have on your relationship and on how others in your community look at your reliability.

If you have two rooms and need your down time, then just explain that in plain terms to your friend and retreat to a private room. If you need him less chatty, then just say that to him. An emergency situation I think changes the status of the hosting element. He will temporarily be a part of the household, not so much a guest. So lay out the terms of the house and go about your normal (as normal as can be anyway in this situation) daily routines. If he's a true friend, he'll understand.

And turn the tables in your thought process.  How would you feel if you had to ask someone for help but they then told you no even when they had previously offered? Would you be able to maintain that friendship with them knowing they weren't willing to follow through for you?

It's not easy, it probably won't be fun or comfortable..but it's what people (friends and strangers) do for each other when times get tough.

I can't say how much I agree with this post. Especially the bolded.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: SPuck on November 04, 2012, 01:14:24 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LadyL on November 04, 2012, 01:22:57 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Two Ravens on November 04, 2012, 01:35:20 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

Look, you have to do what you have to do, but turning away a friend in a time of need by talking about your "stress levels" isn't going to make him feel very valued, or that you were being genuine in your original offer. There is really no good way to do it. You are at great risk of over-explaining, and making it sound like you are just making excuses.

Just offer what you can offer (are you going to offer anything?) or just say you can't. Be brief and then just be prepared to deal with the fall out.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bonyk on November 04, 2012, 01:38:19 PM
Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

I agree with you.  Maybe tell friend how you're feeling, and let him know that you'd greatly appreciate him making an attempt to get gas, but you'll put him up if he can't manage it.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Aeris on November 04, 2012, 01:40:51 PM
<snip>

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

While I understand that you are struggling with some serious issues, in my world this all still falls under 'things friends do for each other'. Especially since you offered your help in emergency situations.

There are ways to minimize the impact and inconvenience to yourself while still being there for your friend in wake of the hurricane's substantial* effects.


*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing. The combination of the loss of heat and power, the extraordinary gas shortages, and the gridlock some areas are experiencing (as a result of public transport systems being severely compromised) make a 1 hour commute a nightmare scenario.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: buvezdevin on November 04, 2012, 01:43:23 PM
LadyL,  I neglected to say in my previous post that I hope you are doing and feeling much better soon, in all respects.

The only other thought I wanted to add is that it sounds unlikely that your friend knows the extent of your personal situation, and it isn't clear (to me) the exact nature of your friend's need, meaning - is he asking to stay at your place to save gas for his family's use of the generator and/or significant wait time for getting gas - or is his request due to some other matter, or less or more urgency. 

If you or LordL will be speaking with friend today, can you/LordL share some detail of your medical matters/considerations, and explain to friend that you definitely do want to help him in a time of need, and you are also in a time of need, so want to explain needed considerations for your situation and that you are working to balance both?  That may allow your friend to either re-evaluate his request, or explain the reason he is asking to stay so his need is clearer and easier to fully understand.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bonyk on November 04, 2012, 01:48:42 PM
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing. The combination of the loss of heat and power, the extraordinary gas shortages, and the gridlock some areas are experiencing (as a result of public transport systems being severely compromised) make a 1 hour commute a nightmare scenario.

But it's not like that everywhere that was effected.  My normal hour commute into the city was actually shorter, and there is more gas available here everyday.  What's wrong with the OP letting her friend know how she's feeling, and see if he is good with staying half the time? 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: FoxPaws on November 04, 2012, 02:02:54 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Quote
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing.
There is also quite a bit of downplaying the severity of the medical problem in question. Migraines are not "just headaches" and tapering off powerful drugs doesn't just leave a person "stressed". According to the latest update, we are talking about symptoms that leave the OP incapacitated and unable to function.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Octavia on November 04, 2012, 02:11:55 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Quote
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing.
There is also quite a bit of downplaying the severity of the medical problem in question. Migraines are not "just headaches" and tapering off powerful drugs doesn't just leave a person "stressed". According to the latest update, we are talking about symptoms that leave the OP incapacitated and unable to function.
I'm parking my POD right here. Her health, her home, her rules. None of us have any business telling LadyL to suck it up when she is suffering from debilitating anxiety and other serious symptoms. That would be no different than telling a depressed person to just smile and things will get better.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Aeris on November 04, 2012, 02:12:26 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Yes, actually. If I were recovering from major surgery, for instance, I would explain my situation to my friend, explain that I would being doing nothing more than opening the door for him - that I would not be 'hosting', I would not be cooking, I would not be chatty, and I would not be in any way 'entertaining'. Opening your home in an emergency situation really just means giving access. It's not remotely the same as 'hosting'.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Sharnita on November 04, 2012, 02:20:25 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Quote
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing.
There is also quite a bit of downplaying the severity of the medical problem in question. Migraines are not "just headaches" and tapering off powerful drugs doesn't just leave a person "stressed". According to the latest update, we are talking about symptoms that leave the OP incapacitated and unable to function.
I have migraines so I comprehend how they can impact a person.  I have been unable to function at times too.  That being said, I do believe that OP should follow through on the offer she made.  That doesn't mean hosting in the traditional sense.  It means offering space to survive in.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on November 04, 2012, 02:29:30 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Quote
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing.
There is also quite a bit of downplaying the severity of the medical problem in question. Migraines are not "just headaches" and tapering off powerful drugs doesn't just leave a person "stressed". According to the latest update, we are talking about symptoms that leave the OP incapacitated and unable to function.

Here's the thing though...if you know you're unable to help people out because of medical issues that you've been having for a few weeks then don't say you can help people out and rescind that offer when someone asks for help. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: TamJamB on November 04, 2012, 02:37:32 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy.
. Emphatically, yes. This isn't a guest-host thing, it's an emergency-crash thing. And she has a bedroom to go to if she needs some privacy.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: June24 on November 04, 2012, 02:43:21 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy?

Quote
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing.
There is also quite a bit of downplaying the severity of the medical problem in question. Migraines are not "just headaches" and tapering off powerful drugs doesn't just leave a person "stressed". According to the latest update, we are talking about symptoms that leave the OP incapacitated and unable to function.

Here's the thing though...if you know you're unable to help people out because of medical issues that you've been having for a few weeks then don't say you can help people out and rescind that offer when someone asks for help.

Like the OP said in an earlier post, she wasn't having the medical issues when she offered help. After she started having the issues, she hoped that they would be temporary, so she didn't feel the need to go around and tell people that her offer to let them stay at her place was temporarily on hold.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bbgirl on November 04, 2012, 02:45:25 PM
Serious answer here: Yes Foxpaws I would.  I have a  very strong sense of duty when it comes to the promises I make and my loyalty is very strong towards my family and friends.  If I've offered something, I will always follow through and I have been in the situation where I didn't want to in the moment. But I did it anyway, because in the end my word is more important. You can strip me of my cash and my home and my valuables...and all that is left is my word. I will always be where I say I will and I will always follow through. 

An emergency is a different situation than hosting for a visit.  If I were a chemo patient I would open my home to friends who are facing significant difficulties.  But the OP's situation is not comparable to someone on their gravely ill, perhaps even death bed and to compare the two is to ascribe a quality to the situation that is not authentic.

Ladyl, you're obviously free to do what you wish but I would not be surprised by any fallout from your friend. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: MariaE on November 04, 2012, 02:48:37 PM
Serious question: Would those of you who think LadyL should set aside her health issues to accommodate her friend feel the same way if she were recovering from chemotherapy, or recuperating from major surgery, or in the throes of a high risk pregnancy.
. Emphatically, yes. This isn't a guest-host thing, it's an emergency-crash thing. And she has a bedroom to go to if she needs some privacy.

Exactly. Aeris put it best, there's a huge difference between hosting and opening your door to somebody in need. I've had people stay the night where I literally didn't do anything other than making sure they had a key to get in (I wasn't even home when they arrived) and clean sheets for the bed.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: citadelle on November 04, 2012, 02:49:55 PM
I will add my voice to those asking LadyL to consider helping her friend. It is strongly likely that he will understand your limitations and simply be grateful that you were able to be there for him in his time of need.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Bijou on November 04, 2012, 04:32:55 PM
I am not you so I can't really know what it would mean to have someone in the house at this time.
Is it possible he has other options and that you are the first one on his list?  I would want to know this and also, whether or not he has vacation time he could be using so he would not have to drive to work. (That would be my first thought if I were your friend.  I used all my vacation time helping to care for caring for a  member of my husband's and my family, and I was thankful to have the time available to do it.  Maybe it just has not occurred to him).
Is it possible that he could contribute in some way to make it easier for you during your hard time?  Maybe take over some of the household duties which could relieve you, so that his being there is more a blessing than a problem.  Maybe discussing what could be done to make it a liveable situation among the three of you could come up with some kind of workable plan.
I'm sorry you have to make this kind of decision at this time.  Can lordL help with the decision?
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: The703 on November 04, 2012, 05:33:07 PM
I agree with Aeris. I think that since you offered that you should follow through. I've had migraines and been on medication for them and I would still follow through with what I have offered. You don't need to entertain him. He's asking for a place to stay that is close to his office that has electricity and heat. He's not asking for a home cooked meal. I think you need to explain the situation and let him  know that he has a place but you need space. I think you should also consider finding a therapist for your anxiety issues if they leave you incapacitated.


Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: baglady on November 04, 2012, 08:11:20 PM
I don't know your friend, but if I were in his situation, and you told me the truth:

"Hey, Friend, you're welcome to crash here as long as you need to, but I'm afraid all we can offer is the living room couch -- which isn't very private -- or some floor space in the office. And I'm dealing with some medical issues -- nothing contagious, but they have me down for the count -- so I won't be very good company. In fact, I probably won't be any company at all. Is that OK with you?"

As soon as I heard the part about your medical issues, I'd probably be rifling my mental Rolodex for alternative arrangements. If I couldn't find any, I'd be bending over backwards to be as unobtrusive as possible. I might even offer to bring earplugs or a sleep mask to help you get through the migraines, or a silly movie for you to watch (alone) to take your mind off the anxiety.

My suggestion is to brainstorm a way you *can* accommodate your friend without doing any permanent damage to your own health or sanity. For starters, I suggest being honest about your space and health situations (see above). Then brainstorm the logistical solutions to any problems that may arise from the arrangement: Have tomorrow's clothes ready for dressing in the bedroom instead of the dressing room, as a PP suggested.

I sympathize with you -- I've got anxiety issues of my own and have done my share of bailing on stressful situations at the last minute -- but things like this are never as awful as we make them out to be ahead of time. And you will feel better about it when it's over if you *do* let him stay.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: kareng57 on November 04, 2012, 09:57:21 PM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

Look, you have to do what you have to do, but turning away a friend in a time of need by talking about your "stress levels" isn't going to make him feel very valued, or that you were being genuine in your original offer. There is really no good way to do it. You are at great risk of over-explaining, and making it sound like you are just making excuses.

Just offer what you can offer (are you going to offer anything?) or just say you can't. Be brief and then just be prepared to deal with the fall out.


I too have to agree with this.

No one here is unsympathetic to your situation, and no one has said that it would be rude to turn down your friend's request.  But - decisions have consequences.  Your friend might be thinking  that he would be minimally invasive (even if he's normally a boisterous converser he might be intending on turning that down), not expecting cooking/cleaning etc. - and if he hears "it would just be too stressful to have you here" after a previous offer of "we're always here in an emergency"  - well, if it was me, that would be my cue to dial-down the friendship.

No one is saying that it's an easy decision, of course it's not.  But re a PP - yes, if I was undergoing chemotherapy, a difficult pregnancy or any other reason that was making me feel horrible 24/7 - yes, I would still keep my home open to anyone coping with an emergency.  They would probably get no more hospitality than my opening the door when they first arrived, but they would still get their spot-on-the-floor.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Redsoil on November 05, 2012, 05:43:51 AM
For me, if I were suffering migraines (and yes, I have in the past, to the point of hospitalisation, major drugs, and several days to begin recovering), there is no way I'd be having guests.  Friendship and understanding goes both ways.

The way I'm reading this is that it would be "easier" and more "convenient" for the friend to be able to impose on LadyL, and feels he can do so because of an offer made some time previously along the lines of "if you ever get stuck, you can crash here" (such as a blizzard etc.)  So, to my way of thinking, this isn't a true emergency where there are no other options, merely a situation tha the friend feels would be easier for him to stay in town.  Thereby making it harder on LadyL.

So, think of it from the other point of view - whose "comfort" trumps all?  Should LadyL suffer needlessly to make someone else more comfortable when other options truly are available, after reading all the avalable info.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Redsoil on November 05, 2012, 05:47:02 AM
For that matter, if I were the friend asking the favour, I'd be absolutely mortified if I realised I'd been accommodated at a time when the host was feeling so ill.  I'd rather be told about the situation, so I could then thank them for thinking of me, but politely decline.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Fleur on November 05, 2012, 06:24:13 AM
For me, if I were suffering migraines (and yes, I have in the past, to the point of hospitalisation, major drugs, and several days to begin recovering), there is no way I'd be having guests.  Friendship and understanding goes both ways.

The way I'm reading this is that it would be "easier" and more "convenient" for the friend to be able to impose on LadyL, and feels he can do so because of an offer made some time previously along the lines of "if you ever get stuck, you can crash here" (such as a blizzard etc.)  So, to my way of thinking, this isn't a true emergency where there are no other options, merely a situation tha the friend feels would be easier for him to stay in town.  Thereby making it harder on LadyL.

So, think of it from the other point of view - whose "comfort" trumps all?  Should LadyL suffer needlessly to make someone else more comfortable when other options truly are available, after reading all the avalable info.


Perfectly put, I totally agree.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: wallaby on November 05, 2012, 07:00:25 AM
OP you have my sympathies. I don't think potentially triggering a situation where you would have to medicate yourself to cope with having a house guest is fair to you or the guest. With that in mind, I think whatever you decide is right for you is ok. However I also know when people are unwell, things can get a bit out of perspective and we can tend to focus on all the potential problems and reasons something won't work. Try to remember that during the day, guest will be at work. That's like 8-10-12(?) hours a day, meaning that you will probably only see him for a few hours in the evenings. This is very different to the idea of someone essentially 'vacationing' at your home and spending all day, every day with you. Best wishes to you all in this difficult situation.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 05, 2012, 09:33:55 AM
*There seems to be some downplaying of the hurricane's effects in this thread, which I find disturbing. The combination of the loss of heat and power, the extraordinary gas shortages, and the gridlock some areas are experiencing (as a result of public transport systems being severely compromised) make a 1 hour commute a nightmare scenario.

I don't know... I think there is some serious assumptions about apocalypse too.  Yes some areas - like LadyL's! - took a major hit.  People lost everything. Truly those people are in emergency situations.

Other areas in the same cities, sometimes even just 1 mile from devastation only lost a few trees. I live in Queens, which has had some of the worse devastation of any area such as Breezy Point and the Rockaways, and which still in NY has the most power outages.  But my neighborhood?  Not one single reported personal injury, loss of power or anything.  A few people lost cars to falling trees, some windows were broken and some streets were blocked.  My personal biggest hassles have been my commute and figuring out exactly what was most needed as far as donations and what I could afford to give. I'm not even affected by the gas shortage as DH and I filled up by chance right before the storm and we hardly drive - that tank, like every other tank, we expect to last us at least a month.

I'm guessing from the very vague descriptions here LadyL is in the 5 boro's and her friend is from north, like Westchester.  The gas situation on the islands (Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island (which geographically includes Queens & Brooklyn)) is a LOT worse then the gas situation on the mainland USA.  Are there lines up in the Boogiedown?  Yes.  Are people camping out in 12 hour lines up there like they are on an island?  No.

Not to mention trains are running.  As are buses - the buses are NOT suffering for the gas shortage - trust and believe they are getting priority for gas.

And the friend isn't asking for emergency accommodations.  He's asking for convenience accommodations.  He can get by without crashing with LadyL, its just easier for him to stay with her.  In her area that is a mere 4 blocks from devastation.

Through the aftermath of this storm I have seen some heartwarming and amazing examples of humanity.  It took me 3 hours to give red blood cells yesterday because the donation site was so PACKED.  The piles of donations I have seen and the coordination efforts are incredible. The outpouring of help being offered officially and socially are beautiful.

But you know what?  I've seen and read and heard some of the most selfish things too.  People complaining they are bored without power. People grousing that they haven't gotten mail promptly. People lambasting MTA workers as lazy and incompetent. People horrified at the very suggestion they should use services like public laundromats. 

If LadyL's friend had lost his home, or even just lost his furniture, or if he was stranded, if he was in a true emergency, absolutely that's a situation for a friend to step up and suffer a bit for survival.  But if he merely is asking for a favor of convenience, that's really a different story and not one LadyL should be guilted into accommodating.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: O'Dell on November 05, 2012, 09:55:43 AM
I have anxiety issues and times when I've had problems with my meds. I'd still suck it up for a friend and let them stay. I'd also be upfront and tell him I wouldn't be entertaining him and why. That he'd be on his own for entertainment.

LadyL, as someone with anxiety and depression, I think you really should be working on your issues around hosting people. My life is much better now that I've let go of my concerns about having people in my home. It actually makes me a better hostess now that I'm not nervous and hovering. IMO, part of being a good hostess is knowing when to leave a guest to their own devices and trusting that they can deal with it. You can do that with this friend.

(Oh and honestly, I'd have him stay on the condition that he help keep the place clean with all the others going in and out. Yes. I really would hand him the Barkeeper's Friend and a cloth and have him scrub out the tub.)
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: RebeccainGA on November 05, 2012, 10:03:31 AM
You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

LadyL, I've seen my DP have panic attacks from stress that have, literally, almost caused her to be coded in the hospital (O2 sats in the 40s, heartrate in the 130s+). Stress can kill. I've also had, and seen in my mother, migraines that send you into a cocoon of darkness, cool and quiet, where even a dim light or a faint whisper can make your head agony. These things are REAL dangers, as much as any that the storm has made you face.

Offering to let friends come by and charge phones/shower/eat something hot is kindness. If there was still flooding at your friends home and he couldn't get home, or if there was no way for him to get to work otherwise, that might be an emergency (like the blizzard). This is NOT an emergency. This is an inconvenience. This is annoying, possibly expensive (if he decided to stay in a hotel instead of at home), and way above your previous offers of a hot shower and an outlet to charge up a phone. If you can, and feel comfortable doing so, saying you can have him for two non-consecutive nights (so you can see how your medical situation and the environment changes up there) would be a very kind thing. However, if you feel so pressured to let him stay that you end up in the hospital because of your own real medical condition, and he can't stay because no one is home, how is that better for anyone??

I agree with the PPs that say put your own oxygen on first - after two years of caregiving for my DP, I've learned that if you don't take care of you, first, that you can't take care of anyone else either. Be kind to yourself.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: rashea on November 05, 2012, 10:11:05 AM
LadyL, I'm torn, as I suspect you are. You want to help, but don't know how to handle having him stay. Here's my thoughts. I'd tell him that he can stay, but on a night to night basis. Have you or LordL tell him that you're dealing with crippling anxiety. Use that word, people understand "crippling". Tell him that you need him to basically come in, take care of himself, and leave you alone unless you seek him out. Move enough of your things into your bedroom if possible that you don't have to use the office as a changing room for a day or so. Maybe even have him bunk in there, so you can go out into the living room without issues. You need to decide if you can handle this level of accommodation. This is about assessing your spoons, and none of us can do that for you. If you're at risk of needing to be hospitalized because him being there is adding too much stress for you, then say that. Because it's no use you becoming another victim the system has to deal with.

Now, in the future, I think you need to be more honest with yourself that you can handle being a drop-in center, but nothing more. That further help needs to be requested, and you'll decide each time. Because you can't be counted on in an emergency. And that's okay. That's where you personally are. For me, if it's an emergency where someone needs someone to cook, I can do that. If you need someone to get on a ladder and work, count me out. It's not that I don't want to help, but that's outside what I can do (my knee issues mean that ladders scare me and leave me hurting).

Foxpaws and others, I think the better question is: if you or someone in your house is immuno-compromised, would you still host someone who had a cold. Because what I see missing from the chemo analogy is that his presence might actually make things worse for LadyL.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Mikayla on November 05, 2012, 12:56:45 PM
((snip))

If LadyL's friend had lost his home, or even just lost his furniture, or if he was stranded, if he was in a true emergency, absolutely that's a situation for a friend to step up and suffer a bit for survival.  But if he merely is asking for a favor of convenience, that's really a different story and not one LadyL should be guilted into accommodating.

I agree with this, even if it's a minority opinion.  But in addition to the above, I don't see LadyL rescinding any prior promises.  She had indicated that in an emergency he could stay over, but this contained unspoken assumptions -- that she'd be healthy and well, and that others weren't relying on her for assistance at the same time.  So it was a vague offer subject to interpretation.  If I was the friend and got an explanation of what was going on, it wouldn't even occur to me to end the friendship. 

One other thing:  I didn't see where LadyL stated how close this friend is.  I have 3 longtime best friends that I'd let in 24/7/52 regardless of anything else.  This is because I know they'd do the same for me (and have!).  Others are in a different category.  I assume he's more a second tier friend.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: stargazer on November 05, 2012, 02:42:40 PM
For anyone that thinks the gas shortage isn't that bad, once you click on this link go to the drop down on the left and click All Stations.  http://gasbuddy.com/Sandy/.  Even some of the green ones are out if you click on the comments and obviously the red outweigh the green.  It sounds like the friend has a two hour commute every day (an hour there and back) and obviously getting gas is a major issue especially if he's trying to converse some for his generator for his family.   You don't need to "host" in the traditional sense - move some of your clothes to your bedroom so he can crash in your office, tell him you're not up to chatting, and have LordL deal with him if you can't. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Girly on November 05, 2012, 03:15:43 PM
I'm sorry, but I certainly do think this is an 'emergency' for the friend.

Now, LadyL of course doesn't have to let him stay with her, for whatever reason (medical, convenience, etc), however just say no. That in itself isn't rude. Coming up with all these excuses after the fact makes it sound just like that... excuses, and while it may or may not be rude, it certainly would make me think differently about my 'friend'.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: ladiedeathe on November 05, 2012, 03:56:02 PM
I have to agree with Girly.

My church sent 2 buses of volunteers to the area LAdyL is talking about, this week. Because it's, you know, an emergency.

I'm not sure I understand why folks are downplaying one of the largest storm events to hit the area in decades. Yes, guys, the current situation there is an emergency. It falls under "massive act of God" and is pretty much a text book example of the definition of emergency.

We all have moments where we volunteer to help, and realize later we didn't really mean it and regret offering for whatever reason. But that doesn't mean the other person doesn't have an emergency- it means we offered something we weren't willing or able to do. A friend of mine once offered another, pregnant, friend a vague offer of "I'd be happy to help when the baby comes! Call me for anything!", expecting to get asked to go over and make dinner or something. The baby had problems at birth, and ended up severly damaged- and my friend got a call a few weeks later to please come over and help with a complex medical treatment once a week. She had to sheepishly admit she had no ability to give that kind of help, and had not meant that level of involvement.

No one is saying LadyL is wrong- she can certainly, politely, let her friend know it isn't happening for any reason or no reason, good or bad.

She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".

This is a real emergency, the kind most people would specifically think of when a friend says "If an emergency happens you can stay here." The friend was in no way wrong to ask because he was told it was ok. It's a shame it just got awkward.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 05, 2012, 04:15:47 PM
OK I don't anyone thinks the overall Sandy situation isn't an emergency, of course it is!  I think people (myself included) think this guy's request to have an easier commute isn't an emergency.

It took me 4 hours to get to work on Wednesday, and 3 hours on Thursday. I waited almost an hour for a subway going home Thursday before giving up and taking a bus because the trains were so crowded.  It never once occurred to me to ask friends who liver closer to mid-town where I work if I could crash with them.  My commute is not an emergency. 

LadyL went days without power.  Resources in her neighborhood are very limited at the moment no doubt - she might have her power back but I'm sure things aren't back to totally normal in her life now regardless of her medical situation.  The overall situation is an emergency for sure.  An easier commute is not.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Bijou on November 05, 2012, 04:18:29 PM
I have to agree with Girly.

My church sent 2 buses of volunteers to the area LAdyL is talking about, this week. Because it's, you know, an emergency.

I'm not sure I understand why folks are downplaying one of the largest storm events to hit the area in decades. Yes, guys, the current situation there is an emergency. It falls under "massive act of God" and is pretty much a text book example of the definition of emergency.

We all have moments where we volunteer to help, and realize later we didn't really mean it and regret offering for whatever reason. But that doesn't mean the other person doesn't have an emergency- it means we offered something we weren't willing or able to do. A friend of mine once offered another, pregnant, friend a vague offer of "I'd be happy to help when the baby comes! Call me for anything!", expecting to get asked to go over and make dinner or something. The baby had problems at birth, and ended up severly damaged- and my friend got a call a few weeks later to please come over and help with a complex medical treatment once a week. She had to sheepishly admit she had no ability to give that kind of help, and had not meant that level of involvement.

No one is saying LadyL is wrong- she can certainly, politely, let her friend know it isn't happening for any reason or no reason, good or bad.

She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".

This is a real emergency, the kind most people would specifically think of when a friend says "If an emergency happens you can stay here." The friend was in no way wrong to ask because he was told it was ok. It's a shame it just got awkward.
Please tell me that I am misreading the bold and underlined statement above.  LadyL is suffering from a debilitating condition right now.  She has made quite clear that this is the cause for her feelings of hesitation.  It has nothing to do with her thinking no one would ever take her up on her offer of help.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Shoo on November 05, 2012, 04:27:31 PM
I have to agree with Girly.

My church sent 2 buses of volunteers to the area LAdyL is talking about, this week. Because it's, you know, an emergency.

I'm not sure I understand why folks are downplaying one of the largest storm events to hit the area in decades. Yes, guys, the current situation there is an emergency. It falls under "massive act of God" and is pretty much a text book example of the definition of emergency.

We all have moments where we volunteer to help, and realize later we didn't really mean it and regret offering for whatever reason. But that doesn't mean the other person doesn't have an emergency- it means we offered something we weren't willing or able to do. A friend of mine once offered another, pregnant, friend a vague offer of "I'd be happy to help when the baby comes! Call me for anything!", expecting to get asked to go over and make dinner or something. The baby had problems at birth, and ended up severly damaged- and my friend got a call a few weeks later to please come over and help with a complex medical treatment once a week. She had to sheepishly admit she had no ability to give that kind of help, and had not meant that level of involvement.

No one is saying LadyL is wrong- she can certainly, politely, let her friend know it isn't happening for any reason or no reason, good or bad.

She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".

This is a real emergency, the kind most people would specifically think of when a friend says "If an emergency happens you can stay here." The friend was in no way wrong to ask because he was told it was ok. It's a shame it just got awkward.
Please tell me that I am misreading the bold and underlined statement above.  LadyL is suffering from a debilitating condition right now.  She has made quite clear that this is the cause for her feelings of hesitation.  It has nothing to do with her thinking no one would ever take her up on her offer of help.

I agree.  That's putting the worst possible spin on her situation.  She would obviously prefer to be healthy and have her friend stay as long as he needs to.  She doesn't choose to be ill.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Mikayla on November 05, 2012, 04:28:10 PM


She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".


I think this is unfair to LadyL.  There's no evidence at all she said it just to "sound good". 


And I also think it's unfair to assume those of us not agreeing with you are undervaluing the emergency.  I can only speak for myself, but I fully get an emergency.  I've been in several, including 9/11.  My difference with you is in how each of us interprets LadyL's original offer.

ETA:  Yikes.  I agree with the last 4 posts.

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: bonyk on November 05, 2012, 04:32:42 PM
My church sent 2 buses of volunteers to the area LAdyL is talking about, this week. Because it's, you know, an emergency.

This is coming off pretty snarky to me, too. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Moray on November 05, 2012, 04:34:32 PM


She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".


I think this is unfair to LadyL.  There's no evidence at all she said it just to "sound good". 


And I also think it's unfair to assume those of us not agreeing with you are undervaluing the emergency.  I can only speak for myself, but I fully get an emergency.  I've been in several, including 9/11.  My difference with you is in how each of us interprets LadyL's original offer.

ETA:  Yikes.  I agree with the last 4 posts.

I suppose we read things differently; I read ladiedeathe's post as a caution that the friend might interpret it that way.

And well; they might. That doesn't mean that's how LadyL meant it, but the friend might very well get that idea.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Paper Roses on November 05, 2012, 04:42:17 PM
Honestly, I doubt the friend is looking at this like "Cool!  Free vacation!  Yippee!!"  I'd be willing to bet he'd much rather be at home, himself, and it was probably very difficult for him to ask for this favor.  I'd say he'll probably be pretty stressed and would be making every effort to be as minimally disruptive as possible.

Sure, LadyL has the right to say no.  But if I were in his place, I don't think I would consider her a friend any longer. 

I might feel differently if she hadn't offered.  But she did.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 05, 2012, 04:51:27 PM
...To be fair, we had said in the past that in the case of an emergency he could crash for a night at our place (we were thinking if there was a blizzard and it wasn't safe for him to drive home but this also counts obviously)...

Well since many are harping the idea that LadyL did offer, its important to remember she previously had offered "a night", this guy is asking for a week.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 05, 2012, 04:55:26 PM
...To be fair, we had said in the past that in the case of an emergency he could crash for a night at our place (we were thinking if there was a blizzard and it wasn't safe for him to drive home but this also counts obviously)...

Well since many are harping the idea that LadyL did offer, its important to remember she previously had offered "a night", this guy is asking for a week.

Yep. Right in her first post: To be fair, we had said in the past that in the case of an emergency he could crash for a night at our place
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Mikayla on November 05, 2012, 05:02:14 PM


She has the right to say no, absolutely and totally, but her friend has the right to hear "I was just offering to sound good, and didn't really think you would ever need to do it".


I think this is unfair to LadyL.  There's no evidence at all she said it just to "sound good". 


And I also think it's unfair to assume those of us not agreeing with you are undervaluing the emergency.  I can only speak for myself, but I fully get an emergency.  I've been in several, including 9/11.  My difference with you is in how each of us interprets LadyL's original offer.

ETA:  Yikes.  I agree with the last 4 posts.

I suppose we read things differently; I read ladiedeathe's post as a caution that the friend might interpret it that way.

And well; they might. That doesn't mean that's how LadyL meant it, but the friend might very well get that idea.

Aah, I agree that could be it, too.  But if so, that's a pretty uncharitable interpretation of how the friend would see it.  Like I said in my first post, I would never end a friendship over something like this, nor would I assume a friend of mine enjoyed making empty promises just to look good. 
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: rigs32 on November 05, 2012, 05:24:57 PM
Maybe I'm wrong, but I would classify a commute that increased to 7 hours an emergency.  Having to commute for hours plus wait in line for hours to get gas leaves almost no time to sleep.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: O'Dell on November 05, 2012, 05:31:40 PM
I wouldn't end a friendship over something like this, but I would reevaluate how close we were.

But the thing that sticks out for me, maybe because I have a similar problem, is the anxiety about hosting people. I get that part of this is due to a problem with your medicine. But part of this is always there for you, right? Feeling that you have to host people if they are in your home and that bringing on anxiety. So you should be careful about giving people blanket invitations to stay at your place. I say this because while I've gotten much better about my issues with hosting people, I know what my limits are and I don't make promises beyond them. I think once you stabilize your meds, you should reevaluate things for yourself. Maybe you and your fiance need to stop making that offer and field any requests that you get as they come.

As far as offering a "night", some emergencies, even blizzards, cause problems for more than one night. That should be taken into account as well.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: sourwolf on November 05, 2012, 05:44:43 PM
OK I don't anyone thinks the overall Sandy situation isn't an emergency, of course it is!  I think people (myself included) think this guy's request to have an easier commute isn't an emergency.

It took me 4 hours to get to work on Wednesday, and 3 hours on Thursday. I waited almost an hour for a subway going home Thursday before giving up and taking a bus because the trains were so crowded.  It never once occurred to me to ask friends who liver closer to mid-town where I work if I could crash with them. My commute is not an emergency. 

LadyL went days without power.  Resources in her neighborhood are very limited at the moment no doubt - she might have her power back but I'm sure things aren't back to totally normal in her life now regardless of her medical situation.  The overall situation is an emergency for sure. An easier commute is not.

Apples and oranges.  As long as the bus and train are running you *can* get to work even if it takes much longer than usual.  Looking at the link the previous poster listed it seems like it is almost impossible to get *any* gas at the moment, let alone enough for the friend's commute.  So while I agree with you that *your* commute isn't an emergency, I disagree that the same can be said for the friend.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: WillyNilly on November 05, 2012, 05:55:37 PM
In some areas yes, gas is hard to get (with relief promised tomorrow & Wednesday - the tankers can be seen off the coast as I type). In post 43 LadyL tells us this guy is in a 'hard to get' area, not an 'impossible to get' gas area. My friend waited for gas in the Bronx this morning for 30 minutes - no fun by any means but certainly do-able. The gas shortage is real, but its not universal; various areas do have gas.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Two Ravens on November 05, 2012, 06:02:01 PM
I think quibbling over our own personal definitions of what an 'emergency' is is probably not helpful to the discussion. The OP's friend apparently thought it was enough of an emergency to ask to stay. It wouldn't be the right course to imply to him "Sorry, that isn't a big enough deal to qualifiy for our original offer."
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: SPuck on November 05, 2012, 06:56:55 PM
I think were arguing over semantics at this point. The fact is LadyL has a crippling medical emergency and her friend has a disaster emergency. LadyL has opened her house for other friends, and to this friend she has offered him a night to stay over in the past. They are both being equally effected in the aftermath of the storm. LadyL is not in the wrong or is not even a bad friend for not allowing this friend to stay with her for several nights. It is her house. They both have major problems going on in the moment, and some times no matter how much you want to help you just can't accommodate people.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: penelope2017 on November 05, 2012, 08:13:20 PM
My family members are waiting for hours for gas in a borough of NYC. They get it but in some cases they are parking in wee hours of morning and doing shifts. They get it, though. Is that a 'hard to get' or 'impossible ' to get area? I wait 30 min in Connecticut because people are filling tanks for generators. To me 30 min waits aren't even a blip on the current gas problem radar. If people need to wait hours for gas I consider that an emergency. It's great that some people can last a month on a tank of gas but the reality is many of us can't.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Style_and_Grace on November 05, 2012, 09:07:44 PM
It really seems as if you are acting like a selfish child.  You offered something (I can't decide if the offer was even genuine) and when your friend, in a very real emergency situation, tried to take you up on the offer you are posting to an etiquette site to see if you can refuse to help out because you're having some, in the grand scheme of things, smaller issues. 

While yes, you seem to be having health issues you have power, a dry space that is in livable condition, no need to wait in the long gas lines, and technically space for a friend to crash.

If I was your friend and you refused to help out in any way I would be thinking long and hard about our friendship and if you are a friend who can be counted on in a true emergency or if you are just a fluffy little friend who can be counted on when the "emergency" is a broken nail and the need for a cocktail.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: TootsNYC on November 05, 2012, 09:16:50 PM
That's sort of harsh!

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: AngelicGamer on November 05, 2012, 09:22:36 PM
That's sort of harsh!

Fixed that for you, TootsNYC. 

OP, I hope that you haven't run away far enough to give us some kind of an update?  I know that we open opinions to everyone when we post something online but this thread takes the cake for me for people being harsh to the OP.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: sourwolf on November 05, 2012, 09:25:27 PM
That's sort of harsh!

Fixed that for you, TootsNYC. 

OP, I hope that you haven't run away far enough to give us some kind of an update?  I know that we open opinions to everyone when we post something online but this thread takes the cake for me for people being harsh to the OP.

Aside from that last post, I'm not sure what you are talking about.    If there has been hyperbole it has most definitely been on both sides of the issue. The majority of posters seem to be bending over backwards to give the OP the benefit of the doubt.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: thedudeabides on November 05, 2012, 09:27:48 PM
If you're going to say no, just say no.  But let's face it, you're probably going to get blowback -- it doesn't get much closer to an emergency situation than what he's facing right now.  As long as you're willing to accept that graciously, just say no.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 05, 2012, 09:28:47 PM
She offered a night. He wants a whole week.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: kareng57 on November 05, 2012, 09:36:03 PM
She offered a night. He wants a whole week.


Yes, but the original scenario was for something like a blizzard, where the streets presumably would be cleared the next day.  No one was envisioning the worst hurricane that the East Coast got since 1938 or so.

I don't think that he was wrong in asking regarding a week, and I think it's kind of hair-splitting for PPs to assert that it was really not an emergency for him.  Just because "I got to work okay, it took a bit longer, that was all" does not mean that this was universal for every other person working in the area.

A week is a lot to ask, I think we all understand that here.  And OP is not rude for saying no.  But it would naive to figure that there would be no consequences for saying no.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: sourwolf on November 05, 2012, 09:38:37 PM
If we want to get very technical, he asked for 4 nights, which is just over half a week.  However since it's  Monday night and we haven't heard back from the OP I'm assuming it's now a moot point.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: Firecat on November 05, 2012, 09:46:58 PM
She offered a night. He wants a whole week.


Yes, but the original scenario was for something like a blizzard, where the streets presumably would be cleared the next day.  No one was envisioning the worst hurricane that the East Coast got since 1938 or so.

I don't think that he was wrong in asking regarding a week, and I think it's kind of hair-splitting for PPs to assert that it was really not an emergency for him.  Just because "I got to work okay, it took a bit longer, that was all" does not mean that this was universal for every other person working in the area.

A week is a lot to ask, I think we all understand that here.  And OP is not rude for saying no.  But it would naive to figure that there would be no consequences for saying no.

We don't know that there will be consequences, either. I have a close friend who suffers from some serious mental and emotional conditions. And there have been times (although not in circumstances this severe) when she's been unable to do something she promised, or forgotten something important, or something along those lines. And when she realizes, she apologizes, we work around it as best we can, and we go on from there. Yes, sometimes I get frustrated or upset, but mostly, I'm upset with her illness, not with her. I know she's doing the best she can, and she's very open with me about when things are especially bad and she needs a little extra understanding.

It sounds like the OP's friend is aware of her illness, and of how it affects her during a rough patch. OP, I think, if you can, you should talk candidly with your friend and tell him that a week just isn't going to work for you, and you're really sorry. If a night or two could be made to work, then offer that, or see what other options might be workable. 

I do think that there is a bit of "snap out of it" in this thread, and that's never helpful. Mental illness is as real and devastating as any other serious, chronic illness.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: kareng57 on November 05, 2012, 09:54:24 PM
She offered a night. He wants a whole week.


Yes, but the original scenario was for something like a blizzard, where the streets presumably would be cleared the next day.  No one was envisioning the worst hurricane that the East Coast got since 1938 or so.

I don't think that he was wrong in asking regarding a week, and I think it's kind of hair-splitting for PPs to assert that it was really not an emergency for him.  Just because "I got to work okay, it took a bit longer, that was all" does not mean that this was universal for every other person working in the area.

A week is a lot to ask, I think we all understand that here.  And OP is not rude for saying no.  But it would naive to figure that there would be no consequences for saying no.

We don't know that there will be consequences, either. I have a close friend who suffers from some serious mental and emotional conditions. And there have been times (although not in circumstances this severe) when she's been unable to do something she promised, or forgotten something important, or something along those lines. And when she realizes, she apologizes, we work around it as best we can, and we go on from there. Yes, sometimes I get frustrated or upset, but mostly, I'm upset with her illness, not with her. I know she's doing the best she can, and she's very open with me about when things are especially bad and she needs a little extra understanding.

It sounds like the OP's friend is aware of her illness, and of how it affects her during a rough patch. OP, I think, if you can, you should talk candidly with your friend and tell him that a week just isn't going to work for you, and you're really sorry. If a night or two could be made to work, then offer that, or see what other options might be workable. 

I do think that there is a bit of "snap out of it" in this thread, and that's never helpful. Mental illness is as real and devastating as any other serious, chronic illness.


I think you are misreading my post.  I did not say that there would be consequences - perhaps there won't be.  I simply said that that no one should figure that there would not be consequences.

I am very familiar (more than I would like to be) with mental health issues, and I don't think that anyone here has had a snap-out-of-it mentality.  I think it's more the sometimes-it's best-to-cope-with-it mentality.  If OP decides that she simply can't, then that's the end of it.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: SPuck on November 05, 2012, 10:14:39 PM
I wouldn't even call it a mental issue. It is a detox/chemical issue a the moment. Each person is affected by migraines differently. You can compare pain, but when it comes to handling the problem itself and drug intake each person is different.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: citadelle on November 05, 2012, 10:36:10 PM
Quote
say "having you here for too long will probably stress me out" without it sounding bad, like he is just a source of stress instead of our friend (when in reality it's not personal, having *anyone* here or really any major change to my environment would be disruptive - I am also still coping with stress about how the storm is going to affect my school and work obligations, not to mention my overall concern for all those still affected who we are trying to help by volunteering

This is what the OP said. That having the guest would probably stress her out. It seems as though we are characterizing her situation as crippling, when that is not how she herself described it.

As for the stress of concern for others mentioned in the OP, this favor might be one way of feeling like she is able to so something.
Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 05, 2012, 10:45:36 PM
Quote
say "having you here for too long will probably stress me out" without it sounding bad, like he is just a source of stress instead of our friend (when in reality it's not personal, having *anyone* here or really any major change to my environment would be disruptive - I am also still coping with stress about how the storm is going to affect my school and work obligations, not to mention my overall concern for all those still affected who we are trying to help by volunteering

This is what the OP said. That having the guest would probably stress her out. It seems as though we are characterizing her situation as crippling, when that is not how she herself described it.

As for the stress of concern for others mentioned in the OP, this favor might be one way of feeling like she is able to so something.

She's already stressed. From LadyL's first post:

What made the situation hard was right before the storm I had a medical situation come to a head - I started having a negative reaction to my migraine medication - sleep disturbances, some weird perceptual effects, and severe anxiety (these are all known but not super common side effects of the med I take). I have been in the process of slowly and safely tapering off the meds but in the mean time, my anxiety levels have been unpredictable and disruptive. I am normally a bit on the anxious side, but between the meds and the storm related stress it has amped it up to where there are times I can barely function,

Title: Re: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.
Post by: cass2591 on November 06, 2012, 01:51:28 AM
This thread is going around in circles with hyperbolic comments. Amping up how serious Lady L's migraines/anxiety/tapering meds to callling it a medical emergency is over the top. If it were a medical emergency she would be hospitalized. The extent of the need for the friend to be closer to work is not my call since I'm not there but I find it odd that he would want to crash at someone else's place and not be with his family and comforts of his home unless he felt the need.

Thread locked.