Author Topic: Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10  (Read 5701 times)

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Raintree

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Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10
« on: October 27, 2012, 11:54:33 PM »
BG: A friend of mine Jill moved to another city for a great new job, but she has been coming back here to her Hometown on occasion to tie up loose ends here. It is also important to note that Jill is widely known for being a drama queen.  I'm happy to spend time with her but also kind of glad about the distance (she used to consider me a very close friend, but even before she moved, we were down to occasional contact. It's not just me; lots of people like her but also keep her at arm's length.[end BG]

So the current issue: On Facebook, a mutual friend Anne and I both posted under someone's photo that we should visit this place soon. (we meant not in the next few days, but sometime!). Jill appeared and posted, "I'm in town! I'd love to get together this week!" Anne replied, "Oh, too short notice!! Next time!" (I knew that Anne was leaving for a trip in 3 days, and works a second job two nights a week in addition to her very busy regular job).

I replied too: "I'm booked solid till Saturday, but if you are still around then...?"

We then took it off Facebook. Jill sent me a text to which I replied, "Sorry, I'm occupied at the moment so I will have to chat later." It was true; another household member was demanding my attention and something was cooking on the stove.

Next text from Jill:  "I am just tired of everyone saying they are too busy or it's too short notice. It makes me feel so unimportant."

This annoyed me. I was recovering from a minor day surgery, still somewhat sedated, and was trying to rest. The very next day, I was taking my elderly dad to a medical appointment we'd been waiting months for, and then I had to work, and then I had a class in the evening. The next day, I was going out of town for work and wouldn't be back till late. The next day, another appointment for my dad at a hospital, and then my other job, which is new and requires my focus. Etc etc. There was literally no gap until Saturday, even if I had been dying to see her.

So although I was occupied with more immediate concerns, I texted back (this is where I want to know if I was rude): "While sometimes people are available on short notice, you have to accept that often they are not" and I went on to describe my schedule for the next 4 days. And I finished with, "I'm free on Saturday if you are still around."

She said she didn't know if she'd still be around by then, and then berated me for "telling her off" saying she didn't need that, and that she hadn't been referring to me specifically. And again stated that she feels like people don't care. (If this were a true friend in crisis, I'd have taken the time to listen, but this is the way she's been for the 10 years I've known her).

At that point I really did need to stop standing there and texting and attend to what was going on in the house, so I just ignored.  I meant to write her later,  but then I never did. I was just tired of drama, ya know? It's been two weeks and we haven't made contact in any form, even though after that one busy week I had, I could have seen her and would have if she'd just laid off the guilt trip.  Today I saw her update on Facebook saying how much "she appreciates all the amazing friends who took time out of their very busy schedules to help and support her while she was in town."  I can't help but feel this was directed at me.

Two questions: 1) was my response to her first text rude? 2) Was it rude of me not to reply at all after that? I had debated sending her an explanatory message but I figured e-hell would have advised me to ignore.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 03:32:57 PM by Raintree »

CakeEater

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 12:25:11 AM »
You know what? It sounds to me like you aren't really keen to keep this friendship close, and it might be a candidate to let fade away. When I have weeks like yours, the last thing I want to do is schedule a social catch up with a not-so-close friend on my one first day to breathe, anyway.

In light of that, and the PA dig on FB, I'd be letting this one cool.

However, it probably did sound like you were telling her off via text. Probably just your schedule and your offer to catch up on Saturday might have been better. But I get your frustration: her first move was to tell you she was tired of your actions, over which you have no control (being busy) and I'm guessing you'd prefer that to be different as well. Hearing her whine about it must have been extremely annoying.

LEMon

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 02:14:01 AM »
Based on your description of her, any response except "yes, let's get together.  I'll make time for you.  You are that important." was going to go over like the proverbial lead balloon.  She was fixated on her need, no one elses need apply for entry.

To compare it to how my thought process went when I read your schedule, which was, "wow, you have alot of serious stuff on your plate.  How can I help you or encourage you?"

Just let her go.  You will be happier.

Shopaholic

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 02:24:27 AM »
Personally, I wouldn't even have bothered sending her the first text.
Texts do not require an immediate reply. My aunt told me this once and I keep reminding myself: unless someone is standing right in front of you have no obligation to reply.
You also did not need to give her a full explanation of your busy schedule.
Busy is busy, and you owe her no explanation whether you're taking care of an elderly relative or watching a Dr Phil marathon.

I agree with PPs, let this friendship cool.

sweetonsno

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 04:15:01 AM »
In response to your first question: I agree with Shopaholic. I think it would have been best to ignore the first text if you were busy. I can see why she may have thought you were blowing her off with your response. If you wanted to respond right away, I think it would have been better to give a slightly more definite time frame than "later." (For instance, "Cooking dinner, will text you at 7" or something similar.)

In response to your second question: I probably would have ignored at that point, too. Not the most polite thing to do, but you can't argue with a brick wall.

That said, without the history that tells me that this is a pattern for Jill, I don't think she was misbehaving up until the end. Saying that she was in town and wanted to see you? Fine. When both you and Anne said that you weren't available, she was disappointed. Also fine. If her text was word for word what you posted here, it sounds assertive (not aggressive or passive aggressive). She explained her feelings (disappointed and hurt) and the actions that caused them (having her friends tell her that they can't see her). I don't think that's rude, even though it can be tough to hear (I've been on the receiving end). Your response probably came across as dismissive. Understanding your situation, I can definitely see why you were irked. I would be, too. However, because Jill didn't know the whole story, I don't think she's necessarily rude for saying that her feelings were hurt. She was, however, rude for piling on the guilt after you told her about everything going on in your life.

If you decide to give her a second shot, it probably wouldn't hurt to remind her that you need more than a day or two notice if she wants to make plans with you.

cicero

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 06:48:57 AM »
i agree with shopaholic.

you know- when you say *to a friend* that you are busy, a *friend* will understand. Jill is no friend  - at least in this story she is coming across as needy, drama-lama, and self centered.

If *my* friend would send me a text that says - what a week i've had: surgery, father's doctor appointment, two jobs, etc - the first words out of my mouth would have been "you poor thing! you sound so stressed! anything i can do to help? i'm in town till saturday - can i do a coffee run for you while you're waiting for the doctor? can i bring over a pot of chicken soup tonight?"

the thing is - when you say ot someone "i can't talk now" and then they manipulate /guilt you so you send a long explanation text, you are basically teaching them that if they whine long/loud enough, you will break down. like with a toddler - toddler wants something, parent says no, toddler whines, parent says no, toddler cries, parent ignores, toddler screams for 10 minutes, parent breaks down. toddler says to self: not bad, 13 minutes this time. let's see what happens next time. that is what jill is doing.


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Allyson

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 12:58:01 PM »
What everyone else said. It's also annoyingly passive-aggressive for Jill to complain about how 'people' don't have time for her right after you've told her you're too busy. Then when you explain yourself, to pull the 'oh, it wasn't about YOU!'

LeveeWoman

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 01:08:46 PM »
She texted you. Whom else could it have been about?

kudeebee

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 06:59:58 PM »
I dont think you were rude. She pushed the issue by stating  "I am just tired of everyone saying they are too busy or it's too short notice. It makes me feel so unimportant."   However, instead of telling her that she needed to accept what people told her, I would have kept it simple--like Anne did--and forgot about it.  Something like  "Sorry, can't meet with  you this week as there is something going on every day.  I am free on Saturday if that works for you."

I am sure the FB post was aimed at you due to what you told her.  I would just ignore it.  As you said, your friendship has cooled--even before she moved--and it looks like this is a friendship that will die on its own.

Raintree

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 11:50:57 PM »
Thanks everyone. I guess I probably shouldn't have sent that "you have to accept when people aren't available" text. It was an instant reaction to my irritation at what I perceived as an accusation (sounded a lot like, "You're lying, you could make time if you really cared") but I should have just not responded for a few hours and then just "sorry, I have a, b, and c going on and there really is not time till Saturday."

My reaction was also kind of a "that's it, I'm sick of it" gut response, as the "poor me, everyone's so mean, I've got soooo many problems and stress" tirade has been an ongoing thing with her for years and up till now I've always mollycoddled it. I just wasn't in the mood. Also, I wasn't in the mood for a text conversation or any other kind of conversation at that point.

But in retrospect it would have been better to wait a day or so and then reply.

Raintree

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy!
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 03:31:47 PM »
Update

I haven't talked with her since, but according to a close friend of mine (CF) who also knows her** she has been complaining that "Raintree has sent me some really nasty texts" and that I'm self-absorbed, and all these years she has misjudged my character. (For years I have simply listened and nodded and sympathized while she complained about everyone and everything).

This is the same person, if anyone remembers, that complained about me for not leaping at the chance to help paint her place on 5 minutes' notice at 9 PM on a weeknight.

(**I know e-hellions would say that CF should not be repeating this stuff to me, but CF and I don't really keep anything from each other, so it seemed a natural thing to share).

Okay, so my first reply (from my OP) to her might have been blunt and perhaps unnecessary, as some of the PP's have said, but I don't think it qualifies as "Raintree has sent me some really nasty texts." Makes it sound as though out of the blue, I have randomly sent texts that are abusive. Luckily, I really don't think anyone who knows me would believe her if she started spreading this around.

SamiHami

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 05:17:44 PM »
I doubt if anyone who knows both of you would take her complaints about you seriously. They know what she's like.

This "friend" sounds suspiciously like an energy vampire. They are an insidious lot. They always seem to start as great, wonderful friends, but devolve into someone always in crisis, always in need and make you feel like a complete jerk if you don't drop everything for them at a moment's notice. They often have a bizarre way of making you feel guilty-and even apologizing to them-for having issues or problems of your own to deal with. There is no reasoning with an EV. The only thing you can do is detach yourself. Trust me. I had the queen of EV's in my life for quite a few years and I'm still recovering from it!

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Adelaide

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 07:16:46 PM »
I think this spat is a symptom of a larger disease. This is exactly how my friendship with one girl (Alice, who whom? I've posted about before) ended, and via text as well. She exploded over a minor issue, going to other friends and saying that I was just sooo mean to her. Like our issues, it sounds like yours have been brewing for a long time-you used to be friends but now you're starting to irk each other and barely maintaining contact. I'd think long and hard if maintaining even the vestiges of a friendship is worth it or not. (I know that as unsolicited but it just seemed so similar that I had to mention it.)

In response to your first question, I think that it would have been more polite to omit the generalities and the "command" that "While sometimes people are available on short notice, you have to accept that often they are not". You would have been fine just detailing why you personally were busy but you shouldn't feel compelled to give what could appear to be a lecture speaking for everyone in general.

If you really care about this friendship you might want to keep texting her, but if you're ready to let it go (that's the way I was) then I wouldn't say anything.

Also, I don't know if the Facebook message was directed at you personally but it may be a PA statement in general to those who wouldn't drop what they were doing to come see her. Try not to let it bother you or it will have done its job.

Raintree

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 09:01:48 PM »
In response to your first question, I think that it would have been more polite to omit the generalities and the "command" that "While sometimes people are available on short notice, you have to accept that often they are not". You would have been fine just detailing why you personally were busy but you shouldn't feel compelled to give what could appear to be a lecture speaking for everyone in general.

You're right, and I guess I felt I finally needed to say something after sugar-coating things for her the first 978 (I'm guessing!) times she complained about other people's perfectly normal behaviour. Who comes into town without telling anyone in advance and then gets upset when they aren't available immediately, mid-week? It felt like I was being called a liar. Anyway, if I wanted to play nice and keep the peace, I should really have omitted that statement, but something in me finally said, "She needs to be told the reality and to e-hell with the consequences."

Adelaide

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Re: Sometimes people really ARE busy! Update post #10
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 09:16:55 PM »
In response to your first question, I think that it would have been more polite to omit the generalities and the "command" that "While sometimes people are available on short notice, you have to accept that often they are not". You would have been fine just detailing why you personally were busy but you shouldn't feel compelled to give what could appear to be a lecture speaking for everyone in general.

You're right, and I guess I felt I finally needed to say something after sugar-coating things for her the first 978 (I'm guessing!) times she complained about other people's perfectly normal behaviour. Who comes into town without telling anyone in advance and then gets upset when they aren't available immediately, mid-week? It felt like I was being called a liar. Anyway, if I wanted to play nice and keep the peace, I should really have omitted that statement, but something in me finally said, "She needs to be told the reality and to e-hell with the consequences."

I understand completely; I've been in your shoes. But the problem is that people like her are never going to respond well to that. I think that for some, the "You need to accept how society does X and stop being like this" comment can really give them a wake-up call. For people like your "friend" it makes them feel like they are being backed into a corner. Of course, that defensive/catty response can be supremely irritating to those who have dealt with the person's behavior during issue X so many times in the past. (And tbh, some people won't respond to personalized advice or those general, sweeping statements...at which point I suppose you start to evaluate whether the friendship is worth it or not.)