Author Topic: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.  (Read 13199 times)

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Sharnita

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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.

ladiedeathe

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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.

"Here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Have chalice, will travel."

buvezdevin

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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.
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Hmmmmm

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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?

LadyL

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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.

mindicherry

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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.


sourwolf

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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?

Sharnita

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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.

WillyNilly

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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?)

Oh Joy

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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.

camlan

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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.
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peaches

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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.



SoCalVal

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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).



Redsoil

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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."
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cicero

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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.

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