General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always

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Iris:
My question is basically; At what point do offers of help become too pushy? What are Ehellions personal preferences on this?

The situation is: I have a friend who is really struggling at the moment. I haven't seen her as much as usual recently because we were both busy (I thought). However a few weeks ago I invited her to an activity I know she enjoys and she said she maybe couldn't make it, but would try to get there, and added that she was feeling really down at the moment. From the words she used I suspect she has been diagnosed with depression. She didn't make the activity in the end and although she told me that afternoon that she was still going to try and make it didn't text or anything when she didn't. No problem etiquette wise, she knew it was a group thing so I wouldn't be on my own or anything, but it isn't like her.

After a few days I texted her to say "Missed you the other night, want to catch up for coffee or something?". She then messaged me on fb letting me know the whole situation - basically they are flat broke, she's struggling with depression and a big part of that is that she is finding it so difficult to leave the house with no money and lots of kids, and mentioned that any catch up would have to be free and suit taking the kids. I messaged her back and provided a number of suggestions a few actually free, but I also suggested other things (dinner, the activity we both enjoy) and told her it would be my honour to pay for her and let me know what would be best for her.

Anyway, I know she read the message about 3 days ago but I haven't heard anything back. Now I am worried I've offended her, but I'm also worried that she's just too down to make the effort to reply. We have a very strict 'girl code' so contacting her husband to organise a night out is out of the question. DH suggested that I just ring her and say "Right. I'm taking you out. I'll pick you up at X o'clock" or something, but that seems rude and pushy to me.

So I'd love to hear from ehellions, particularly those of you who have gone through similar rough times. I really think that she needs to get out of the house - in fact she said so. But should she be left to do it at her own pace? Am I ignoring a cry for help or taking a hint? Argh! I'm dreadful in these situations unfortunately, so please help  :-\

Allyson:
She might feel very stressed by the idea of responding to everything in your email. I know when I get down and overwhelmed, the idea of answering *everything* is just too much, and I feel like if I just answer one thing, that will be rude. So I will let things sit way longer than I should. I think you were totally fine to send the email--she might just not be capable of properly responding right now.

Maybe you could email, call, or text her with something short, just a simple, "Hey, I've been thinking of you! If you have any free time I would love to get together--do any of these days/times work for you?" And then suggest some specific times. If all she has to say is 'Tuesday, 4 PM' that might take a lot of the pressure off.

I wouldn't recommend this as a normal relationship situation, but for someone struggling with her issues, it might help.

lovepickles:
I struggle with this all the time. Depression, lack of funds, etc. It is really hard to get out of the house once you start feeling  crappy. Also I'm afraid that if people are used to me being in a good mood part of the time I'm afraid I'll damage my decent relationships when I'm feeling ok again.

As someone who has some I vote that you keep at it and risk being overly persistent. Don't preach or anything but I'd love it if I had a friend who called and asked if I wanted to do something the same day and if I said no then say something like "Ok well I'll call you in a few days or so and see if you feel like doing something else. If in the meantime you feel like hanging out give me a call."  And then totally backing off. Sometimes just knowing someone wants to hang out leads to someone coming out of their shell.

I wouldn't offer to pay for anything because that changes the dynamic and it is too much of a challenge. Find some free things to do and suggest them. Parks, museum free days, outdoor festivals are all good suggestions. Exercise is also a GREAT idea. Walk and talk. Or if you are feeling EXTRA cheesy go volunteer for something together. Think environmental stuff, animal shelter, etc. Another possiblity is to give her an awesome book to escape with in her downtime. Something fiction-y, you know? :) Or bring a movie over and watch it with her while her kids are napping. There are a million things to do that don't involve $$$. Board games, mud masks and nails ... somebody stop me!

<3

katycoo:
Another option is to go to her.  Take some nice coffee to her place, and sit and chat.  No stress of going out, no cost, nice catch up.

pierrotlunaire0:
Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression most of my life, I would welcome the friend who showed up, made a pot of coffee, and said, "I wanted to see you because I like talking to you."

For me, one of the worst things about depression was feeling cut off and as if no one cared.  A friend who would reach out like that is a god send.

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