General Etiquette > general

Friend standing me up regularly. UPDATE post#58

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Pumpkin Spice:
:) Hi.

First time poster here.  I really would like advice on a situation with a childhood friend of mine.  I'm kinda expecting to be told that I'm the one with bad etiquette in this but still, I'll take my medicine if need be.  Etiquette has become a new obsession with me as I'm pretty socially awkward, as well as impulsive, and goofy (in general). I often regret things in hindsight. 

BG: Known "Jackie" ever since the age of 5/6.  We grew apart as teens/early adults but I found her again on Myspace 4 yrs ago and we speak on the phone several times a week ever since.  DH, our 3 children, and I were living in a very cramped place for 10 yrs and were desperate to buy a real house in the country.  Finally 2 yrs ago, it did happened and we are happy here.  Before moving, I lived a mere 20 mins from Jackie and now I live an hour away.

This is the issue: She STILL has not ever come out here to visit the home we've been wanting for so long.  It's been 2 yrs.  I have invited her so many times in that span of time.  I have been out to her place about 6 times since we've moved.  Any time I bring it up, it's always "You live too far".  Yet she's taken several roadtrips during that time.

Some more BG: She has Lupus.  A very terrible affliction.  I do not underestimate how much of an ordeal that is.  Any time I've tried to set a Sat or Sun for her to come by (she works Mon-Fri), she says "It depends on how I feel that day".  Of course, I'm understanding of this. 

About 2/3 months ago we had discussed her coming by that Saturday.  I'd cleaned my home and everything. She said she'd call in the morning to let me know. She also knew that if she wasn't coming over, I had backup plans with my mom so I needed to know.  She didn't call that morning by a reasonable time, so I finally called HER bc my mom was wondering what was going on.
Me: "Are you coming over?"
Jackie: "No, we're at the mall about to watch a movie with my mom and step-dad and my daughter."
Me: Shocked "ok" and I just let it go.. like a doormat.

My mom was appalled and thought it was so rude of Jackie.  But,  I was so used to this breaking of plans w/o even letting me know. I decided I would no longer invite her over anymore and let it be her idea.  I also wanted to pull away from her some bc I was very hurt by all of this.

Didn't last long. I brought it up again and jokingly (not so jokingly) said: "I won't be coming to your place until you come to mine." This is where I think I may have committed my f aux pas and become very pushy.  Kinda reverted back to childhood: "By whhhhy won't you come over?"  She kinda blew that off until early June she had her daughter's bday pool party and wanted us to come.  She was rushing to come over here the previous weekend so that I would come to her party (I would have come anyways bc of my kids being excited for it) but something happened.  Oh yea, my youngest was sick to her stomach and I wasn't sure why so I didn't want to expose Jackie who has Lupus to that.  Turns out it was something that only affected youngest and not a virus so we went to the party the following weekend after all.

As we were leaving the party I jokingly said, "Alright Jackie, next weekend bring your daughter to my house".  She said she would really try and seemed to feel some guilt. 

Something came up again (I guess, she never really said what other than she was sleeping and going to movies with her husband) .. and again repetitively over the next few weekends. Two weeks ago I said, "Alright Jackie, Saturday or Sunday (meaning this weekend that just passed) you're coming over right?" Jackie: "yes, if I'm feeling up to it."  Of course, she never brings it up in that time so finally Wednesday rolls around.. "Jackie, you think you're coming over Saturday?" **Just so you know, I'm not calling her up about this and harassing her.  She'll call me for normal day to day chatter and I bring it up**  Again she says, she will see.  Friday morning I call.  She's having a stomach episode and I could tell she was feeling pretty bad. She asks if she can call me back, I say sure and haven't heard from her since.  Today, I got a bit worried that she could be in the hospital so I called to check on her.  Doesn't answer her phone. A few mins following I see she's been on FB diddling around.  Yea,  I knew she was sick, but no call to confirm she's not coming over say Friday night/Saturday morning.  I mean, I can deduce that's she's not coming bc she's sick, but isn't that rude?

Now, I'm just feeling like I've been taken for granted.  She makes time for all other things like gambling trips and other trips and hosting parties at her home.  Otherwise, I'd be more likely to put it all off on the Lupus and be more understanding.

My new (old) thought is to not bring it up again and to pull away again and really stick to it this time.  She calls me several times a week but maybe it's out of boredom. Maybe I care a lot more that her.  I'm more inclined to stick it out with her bc of our long history.  How many people are still pals with a friend from age 5?  Not that I'm considering ending the friendship but, some people in my place would, I feel. 

How would you handle this?  I know this has turned into more of a friend issue than etiquette but at this point I want to know from a 3rd party.  Do I confront or drop the subject entirely.  When I think of it, I wonder if there is some reason she doesn't want to come over and doesn't want to say what that reason is.

And yea, I realize I'm coming off totally needy. Only child here.  Friends are my siblings.  I project high expectations/ideals onto them bc they are my family. 

So, I'm very insecure and confused about this.  And sad, of course.

Jackie sounds a lot like an old friend of mine.
I've been in your shoes. Ironically, my friend would complain to me about other friends of hers who never came to visit her.
I brought it up with her a number of times, nothing changed...
I think you should just let the friendship fizzle. Don't invite her over, don't jump to her every beck and call. It's even OK not to take every one of her phone calls.

I currently see my friend about 2-3 times a year. I invite her, but don't expect her to come over. My mom has a similar relationship with her sister: she invites her but isn't surprised when she declines. Or rather, lets the day of the event go by without a word.

Focus on your other friends...

Hi Pumpkin Spice and Welcome to the Board!

Here's how you've presented the situation. Your friend has a disease that can sometimes effect whether or not she'll be able to do certain activities, and she won't always know until that very day how she feels. Understandable. Many people have friends or relatives in similar situations. The thing is that polite people with a disabling disease or illness do call to let people know when plans have changed due to their situation, and they actually keep their plans when they are able to.

You also live an hour away from your friend. That's a two hour road trip, as I'm sure you know since you've traveled it. And it may not always be a priority to travel an hour one way and an hour back in a car to visit someone.

The point is that you have been willing to travel to see her, and it seems that she has not been quite as willing to travel to see you. This is not an uncommon situation. So, it's understandable to be a little put off by it.

The first situation you described about her being at the movies with family would have been unacceptable to me. She told you that she'd have to call you to let you know. She not only didn't call.. but then she informs you that she actually chose other plans over hanging out with you. That's pretty hurtful, and rude.

Then there was your youngest getting sick, and the party.

The other situation in which she cancelled it appears that you saw her on FB, but that she, again, never told you that plans were cancelled. And, again, I have to say that's rude.

Here's what it looks like. Your friend doesn't really want to drive up to see you. She likes you. She likes talking with you. She likes getting your families together. But, she doesn't like to travel to do it. In two years, she hasn't made one trip. And, the few times it seems like you got her to commit to coming, she backed out at the last minute without explicitly stating, "I won't be able to make it." So, to me, that's a clear sign that she doesn't really want to travel. And, yeah, after being willing to travel to see someone... that can be a little disappointing, and would make me a bit sad about it.

You have to decide what this means for you. Do you enjoy this friendship enough that you're willing to do the traveling? Only you can answer that. If you feel you're traveling too much, then dial it back to whatever is comfortable for you. Or maybe you can compromise, and choose spots half an hour away from the both of you in order to meet.

You have already brought up the situation to your friend. Many times. In two years, nothing has changed. I would stop issuing invitations for the time being.

If at some future point you wish to offer an invitation, then you get to put the boundaries on it. "I'd love to have you for cake on Saturday at 2:00. If you aren't coming, let me know by 10:00 AM. If I don't hear from you, I'll be doing something else."

I can't say that I'd completely write off the entire friendship, but I sure would dial it back to "mostly phone friends" and go looking elsewhere for actual hangout buddies.

I think here you have to decide if Jackie's friendship is worth the cost and how much leeway she gets because of her disease.

Could you speak to her one last time and say: "Jackie, you're one of my best friends and I love spending time with you but I'm beginning to feel really hurt that you never come and visit me and when we make plans you cancel at short notice to do other activities. I *absolutely* understand that you have a chronic condition to manage and I'd understand if you had to cancel because you were sick. But you've cancelled for lots of reasons. I have to ask: is there a problem with my house? Is there some reason you always cancel? I really would like to know because I'm starting to have doubts about this friendship and whether it's a two way street."

I think your friend Jackie wants to see you only if she does not have to expend the effort in order to do it.  Basically, she is fine with hanging out if you present yourself ready-to-go at her place, but hanging out with you is not worth the affirmative action on her part of traveling to you.  I think TheVapors laid it out the best really and POD her advice.


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