Politeness/ Different expectations question about a friend

meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevationNovember 19, 2006

My apologies in advance if I have to go MIA any before thanking folks for any input. I might not be on for a few days, or just long enough to click Print but I appreciate any thoughts!

OK, I have a pet peeve about my best friend's style of making plans, and I know she's brooding over how I handled it this past week.

I know folks have different styles so I thought y'all can say how to explain mine to her, change mine some, whatever.

I asked her to remeber me next time she fixed a dish I love of hers. This, she liked and thought was flattering and said 'next week'. Definitely going great so far, lol.

Well, because of my back pain issue and the fact that we are neighbors, we don't talk on the phone much or make the strictest plans - we just pop over when we aren't busy [or 'sick']. That does make plan-making strange. Half the time, she's busy with the kids or my back is too bad but it was just a thought we'll do later or we go on without the other for shopping, restaurants, etc.

The way I like to work plans that need to be more definite is to plan them in advance. Then I can rest/watch my back the days before.

She likes "when you feel like it" for much more, apparently.

What ended up happening is me having a full enough day [that could have waited till the next day] that my back had me unable to go anywhere that night. Ring, ring..."Dinner's almost ready. Do you still wanna come over?".

My back was so bad I had to not take calls, so clearly I'd miss my favorite dish :(

Now, I was irked that I didnt hear when she was doing it till the last second. It happens a lot with her, but this was 'for me' so I know she wanted us definitely together for it. Most likely... her husband isn't big on the dish, lol.

I can predict that she's mad that I didn't call to ask when it would be another time [after asking that once already]... but she rarely knows when and won't give an answer usually.

Mostly, etiquette-wise I feel like I'm being pushy if I ask any more times! How can someone tactfully blow me off if I keep inviting myself, lol?

But I've seen her mad at other friends for 'standing her up' on plans to come to her house often enough that I'm beginning to suspect that those folks were expecting a details-call/ solid invite from her in reality. She thinks they are rude to not call and say they aren't coming, and they are probably thinking "Saturday or Sunday maybe" is not a real invitation.

So, should I have kept asking when it would be, or was it OK for me to think she'd call and let me know that it was on and for when. [I'm thinking by the night before, or that morning latest if she really hoped I could do it that night, btw] Maybe she found impolite what I thought would have been too pushy. ??

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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Hi Meredith,
Why don't you ask for the recipe, and then share it with her -- on the spur of the moment hee hee hee.

I would say that my brain and calendar do not handle casual well.

My life is so different from yours, that my advice isn't any good. You two have set up a casual sort of neighboring that I never had. I am not friends with my neighbors, and never have been . We visit, and sometimes stand and talk for too long, but we have other friends. Our lives are intertwined, and I adore them, but we never visit inside - just outside in the yards.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 6:43AM
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Wow, deja vu. Sounds like my neighbor, but I'm the one that usually cooks.

If her hubby lends a hand to my hubby and we take him away from her & the 4 kids, I always went next door and helped her with the kids. Most times she had no car, so if I went out, I'd ask if she needed anything. If she said no & I knew otherwise, I would pick it up. If I cooked, say a ham steak, her hubby's favorite - I would let them know I was cooking it - if she cooked, I put it on a plate so they could enjoy it another time, no big deal.

I like planning. My calendar is always full. I can't live with possibly Saturday or Sunday, let's make a date. With my back, I'm always honest, they know plans can be broken due to my pain.

She should have let you know what day she was cooking, and if she left it up in the air, she can't expect you to just pop over with your back problems. She should feel good inside knowing she made the dish, then put it on a plate for you to enjoy another night.

I'll tell you Mere, I stopped dealing with people. My neighbor, not sure if you read about my steam iron? Well, not only did she break that without offering to replace it (I would have said don't worry about it) she also broke 2 cell phones without offering to replace. When she broke my iron, she'd had her mother pick her up to bring her to walmart to buy her own, never asking if I needed anything. Here I was pretty much off meds due to have a discography.

I'm finding it hard to find considerate people any more. Even though we don't hang out any more, and she never initiates a conversation with me (why she is the one mad at me is beyond me) yesterday I took my daughter shopping & found her Christmas stockings, she'd had another baby 2 years ago & didn't have a stocking for her. My daughter called her and asked which one she needed. Would she do the same for me? Doubt it. I've looked for these stockings since last year, they are hard to find.

Sorry to ramble...

If I was you, explain to her that at least a phone call or email the night before a "dinner" would really work better for you. Some days you just can't run over for dinner, or if she really doesn't mind, make a plate for you.

People have no clue what it is like to have chronic pain unless they've walked in those shoes. People can't begin to imagine what it's like to get a headache from pain, then to start vomiting due to pain. People don't understand that by a certain time of the day, meds just don't work any more. That sometimes we can't put a smile on our face and be around people.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 8:06AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Can I get an amen on that from Sue! Her husband still teases me about being 'a recluse'and the neighbors ask questions, but the pain thing means I'm usually not out and about nearly as often as I would be sans pain. I'm not explaining that more than 6 times or so anymore to people who know I have a back problem, lol ;]

If I could roll myself around hanging from hooks or fully reclined, I'd go out more, bwaha!

People can be inconsiderate, for sure. She's got her quirks - runs a bit hot and cold. We both love that part in Billy?Bobby Mcguire where Cuba says "you think we're arguing and I think we're finally talking" so neither of us holds a grudge... a little brooding, sure!

Sammy, I love your idea but she's too spontaneous to care, lol. SO not me. I do spontaneous often, when I feel like it [and am able], but MAN some things need planning in my take on life and how to live it.

I find so many neighbors a different relationship, but thankfully she and I have so many similarities and have a ball! Her quirks I take as just small things but she does the same with me, lol.

I admit that I don't let the boys farther than the screenporch usually; I had neighborhood kids giving me no peace in college when I let them knock and come over all the time [squirtgunning the windows for attention during exam-cramming!] Won't make that mistake twice, lol.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 8:47AM
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AMEN! lol

Well, hopefully the relationship will continue & not be scarred by this or something else. I also can do spontanious sometimes, more often not though. I always say I'd like to but don't hold me to it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 9:22AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Okay, I tried your e-mail. Do I need the spaces, I guess I do cause it got returned to me. ha


    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 10:18AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

I know how everyone will wonder what is she going to rant about now. IMHO, I think friendships need to be a thing to enjoy without all the problems, as much as possible. I don't have time to fuss with people and don't need the extra stress. Lay it on the line nicely if you can. And if people can't/won't understand your dilema, well then you know what I say about that. Life is truly too short for pettiness. In your situation, you definitely don't need more hassles. I mean isn't it enough of a challenge to live daily with physical problems?


    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 10:23AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Actually, that is why she and I can get along: she will huff and then clear the slate. Life is too short to keep score! If the irks got too big then it'd have to be plan B.

Did you try cafeaulait@juno.com? My sister's from 2 days ago just came today, so maybe I'll get it shortly. I really should cancel juno and start fully over but I'd lose the ISP price that I locked in eons ago :( This new profile hasn't lost any that I'm aware of, just forgets the date so far.

[Actually, it's better than my snail-Mail, which recently didn't deliver an utterly critical Oxford letter to me. I believe I have an astrological deficit with Mercury, who rules mail, because it's been everywhere I lived.... caused one identity theft that went on for years and now a scary 'dismissal' from Oxford, etc. Overhead lights in cars always irreversibly break for me, and spoons and keys bend too so apprently they are Mercury-ruled as well ;];] I swear there's just no telling sometimes!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 1:40AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

PS- anyone who knows my first name and official last name [hi Trish and Paul and Carol and maybe the actress from Coach then which is so cool ;] that 'secret' is cauzof the aforementioned identity theft along with wine-aisle-schizoman and lawnmowerman stalkers and their ilk, just btw.

If y'all don't remember mylawnmowerman or Coach don't worry I'm just babbling because I do feel like it :> :>

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 1:56AM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

I do not understand why you couldn't call her back later that evening or the next day when your back was feeling a little better and said something like, "I'm sorry I missed your dinner last night. I was in a lot of pain & couldn't get up. If I had known you were planning on cooking for me that night, I'd have called you earlier in the day to let you know it wasn't going to work for me."

That way she gets the picture that she should let you know a little in advance. The fact that you haven't even told her why you never answered the phone or showed up when you asked her to let her know when the next time she cooked your favorite meal is just as rude as her spontaneous plans IMO. You know how she is & what your limitations are, yet you still hint for invitations.

I know I sound harsh, but I would *love* for someone to offer to cook a meal for me. I might be disappointed if the invitation was that bungled, but I'd still be extremely grateful that someone's intentions were so kind.

I think you need to explain yourself to her.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 11:41AM
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Sidestepping the issues of who's good, who's bad, who's right, and who's wrong, I'd suggest either getting better friends or trashier friends.

Life is too short for tentative friends.

Because you are lukewarm... (for the spiritually minded)

I mean really, if God doesn't want tentative friends--why should you?


    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 6:10AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Mehearty, yes it was of course rude to not call the next day, absolutely. It may sound strange to say that she and I use that as a bit of a heads-up - she is utterly confounded by 'deep' talk without any prior warning, I've found.

That may sound like a cop-out but I swear I'm fine with much more open talk. YES it was incredibly sweet of her to make it! I'm just sensing a sabotage instinct that she has admitted to with girlfriends that is a bit odd. There are unwritten rules she tacks on and doesn't like to discuss, really. It is usually more subtle, but there for a long, long time - well before my meeting her.

MAT, yes I appreciate your input very much. Trashier friends, lol ;] So true too!

Lukewarm may be a blessing in disguise, too, given some of our differences. ?? I can't quite decide.

I have definitely decided that we do better on-the-fly and, for various reasons, I'll stop pushing her into the more planned outings that seem to fall into place better with other friends.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 11:24AM
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I have a strict policy of not being friends with my next door neighbors. They live too close for comfort should that loving feeling wither on vine. I'm polite and greet them when seen but that is the extint of my relationship.

Unfortunately a few neighbors haven't gotten the hint. For example, the lady from across the street asked me to watch her house while she is away on holiday. It has been two weeks. I work long hours and haven't "watched" her house a single iotta. For all I know thieves could have emptied the place. Hopefully she'll learn that lesson when she returns.

Don't hate me because I'm wicked.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 8:19AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Lol, Patrick! Wicked suits you ;]

I'm not often outright wicked, but I do enjoy Sweet and Sour in life, I admit... born that way, I swear.

An Irish thing? Well, it doesn't shock them usually at least, in my experience and family fables.

Hey, did I mention I'm seeing the Lippizaner Stallions tomorrow night with a different coupla friends? Yeah, I told her weeks ago that I'd treat her and we'd go but she just hasn't mentioned it again.

Bummer... well the date is in the commercial, so she's still got more plan-ability than she always gives me.

She shouldn't mind, though 'cos that's what she likes. Maybe she'll show 5 minutes before... Will-call'll have a seat still I guess.

Wicked? Demonstrative at any rate... after a certain point, ya know?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 7:07PM
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Hi, Meredith!! This is my first post in ages. I know you're honored (LOL!!!).

Here's my take: although everyone has their own unique idiosyncracies (ie: spontaneous vs. need to plan ahead) and every friendship has unique circumstances (best friend lives next door vs. across town), my personal rule of thumb is that friendships work best with less "requirements" instead of more.

So, respecting the differences between you means tolerating different styles, otherwise it's just too much work. The key to a great friendship is immediate and automatic forgiveness and acceptance of the little stuff.

She made a special dish for you as you asked (how nice!) but forgot about your special needs and didn't give you warning a day in advance to save your energy/back for dinner (oops!!). You are both miffed....NO PROBLEM!! Why? because there is nothing wrong with your feelings. You shouldn't even be debating whether yours or hers are any less or more valid. There's no right or wrong here. It's really all about how much you tolerate and ultimately forgive your friend. And vice versa.

The way I'd handle it is: you call and tell her how sorry you are that you missed your favorite meal, especially since she went to so much trouble for you (any leftovers?). You love and appreciate everything she did. Your back sometimes interferes with your ability to be spontaneous (isn't it a bummer?) But if you get a day's notice, you can often rest your back enough to do what you want. Thank her profusely for going to all that trouble just for you (which she did, unquestionably).

End of story. Don't tell her what to do in the future (save that for some other time when there's nothing in the air between you), or expect her to say anything like "I'm sorry". That would be imposing a requirement on her in order to soothe your feelings. If she does it, great!! But if you love this friend, and you are willing to tolerate the differences in your respective styles, it shouldn't matter that she occasionally forgets about your style.

Yes, my suggestion sounds like a one way apology...and in some ways, it is. However, you are really acknowledging the special effort she made for you, her friend. That acknowledgement is important, because people need to feel appreciated. She did something for you, but blew it in the execution. Like any other gift, it's the thought that counts. My guess is that with acknowledgement, the whole thing will quickly defuse.

And if I know you, you've already had that conversation anyway. So don't do anything more. Keep your feelings to yourself. Someone really wise once told me that in every relationship, including marriage, the parties decide every day, subconsciously, whether they still want to be there. This is part of it.

Anyway, that's my take on friendship. It comes from knowing, in my heart of hearts, that I am very imperfect, yet my friends still love me and want to be my friend. I try to...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 12:02PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Debra, I AM honored:) It is always so good to hear from you!

"Anyway, that's my take on friendship. It comes from knowing, in my heart of hearts, that I am very imperfect, yet my friends still love me and want to be my friend. I try to learn from that type of loyalty."

That's my favorite part, and what I do strive for.

Things are fine now, but she's holding a little grudge for sure. I knew she could be what I term 'immature' at times going in tho, and it's not personal to me... so I can live with it;) Honestly, she had a background that certainly fostered mistrust, etc. and that needs to be remembered, if that makes sense.

I think it bugged me cos we have discussed it before and I thought saw eye to eye, but changing someone is permanently scratched off my list of remedies for years now! Seriously, I'll just avoid that position with her like politics with my dad or religion with my sister, etc. Nothing terribly wrong with having a few aggravating areas because, as you say, I surely have mine too!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:25PM
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sigh... shall I wade in? Most of ya'll know about my chronic pain issues as well, so I guess I will sit on the chronic pain couch club with ya'll. I have found that the friends who do not understand my need for spontaneity are the ones I have to work hardest with. It ends up that it is up to me to decide how much I want the person to be a part of my life, and how much effort I am willing to make. And I am sure they have the same sorts of feelings - I am a high-maintenance/low-reliability type person.

Oh well, my dog loves me.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:18AM
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My next door neighbors are the greatest friends anyone could have. I live in an Irish community and on both sides are elderly retired people. We care for them like family and they watch our house and we theirs.

And they are utterly direct. If they want something, they ask directly. If they don't want something, they say so directly. No hedging.

That makes life much easier. Especially if one is in pain, all one need do is say as much. People really don't want to be offensive if they are asking you over for dinner.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 4:59PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Pagan, believe me, I understand! Fortunately my pain is managable for chunks of time IF I watch every move I make that day or 2 beforehand. I'm really happy to have that 'out' and get frustrated if its never used with some people... but most folks are very obliging with that if they want to see me somewhere. But pain can wreck a social life, no question.

rosesinny, I much prefer direct people too and hate having to play eggshell games. I've also made a new rule not to explain the same d*mned thing about my pain more than 50 times to the same people ;] If they want to remember after that, they will.

You'd be surprised what people do if they are neurotically hung up on being martyred on at least a biweekly basis! Believe me, you'll know them when you deal with them, you know? Harsh, but there it is in the end.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:11PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

PS - By way of example:

We did run into her at the Lippizaner show intermission and the folks I was with were taken aback that all she could do after hearing that we were enjoying it was complain because "all of her horses can do all of that" and say how lucky her husband was that he didn't have to go.

Perhaps I am the lucky one that she can never quite come to shows and nice dinners, etc, truly. Things have ways of working out sometimes, lol.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:37PM
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rosesinny, I've found that having older neighbor's is a little easier on me. I have a great neighbor across from me, he's 83; we watch out for him and he comes over and checks up on me when he's home. He & his lady friend both recently sufferred some back problems; we compared pains, they couldn't believe I live like that every day. People that have never sufferred have no clue.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 7:32AM
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