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am i being too hard on my friend? (long)

I have been friends with this girl, A, since middle school.  When we were seniors in high school, A was driving to school, and another kid from our class side swiped her and scratched her car a little bit.  No one was hurt, but A hasn't driven since. 

This wasn't too bad when we were in college (we went to the same college).  Our college was very campus based, and many county buses ran though campus, college students were allowed to ride for free. 

After college, we both moved back home, she started working, I started law school.  Every time I wanted to see her, I would pick her up, we'd hang out, and I'd drop her home.  It wasn't a huge burden, but it was starting to get annoying that I had to be designated driver every time we hung out.

Then, I graduated law school.  While I was busy in law school, my time was structured so that I could take care of errands and stuff during the week. Once I started working, I didn't really have time to take care of errands during the week, so I had to do them on the weekends.  I also started driving a lot for work.  Picking A up became more of a hassle...sometimes I would be out doing errands and it would have just been easier if she could meet me by where I was, but instead i'd have to go get her.  Due to the fact that I just couldn't do as much of the dropping off and picking up, and other unrelated reasons that I won't get into, we drifted apart. 

I should add that I was not the only one that would go pick her up and drop her off.  Whenever she needed to do some kind of errand, she'd say "Mom, can you drive me to go get a haircut?" or "Dad, can you drive me to CVS?"  I can't imagine they were thrilled to do that for their 25 year old daughter, but they did.  Other friends had to chauffer her around as well.  She lived a few blocks from a bus route that runs down the main drag in our town all the way up to the county's biggest mall, however, she never did this.  Local cab companies charge $6 to take you within town or to the railroad station (which takes you all over long island) which isn't cheap, but it pales in comparison with the cost of owning a car and paying insurance.  Still, she never made any effort to take care of her own transportation issues, and no one else really made her. 

After I moved from LI to Queens, she swore she would come visit (she could take the train, she said), but never did.  I even offered to meet her in Manhattan, which I thought might be more in her comfort zone, since she works there, but unless we were meeting up with a group, she would cancel out or make excuses unless I came to her parents house to pick her up.

We are now 28 years old, and she just recently moved out of her parents house and into a friend's sublet in manhattan.  It is a half hour subway ride from my apt to her apt, the ride is no easier for me than it is for her.  She emailed me about hanging out, and I suggested that because she has Fri and Sat instead of Sat and Sun off, that she come to my neighborhood and meet me after I get done with work on Fri.  On Sats, i'm usually busy doing stuff with DH.  I suggested one Fri and she said tentatively yes.  I thought WTF does "tentatively yes" mean, but let it go.  She wound up cancelling, claiming she was sick, which is what she usually does when she is asked to do something she does not want to do.

I really feel that after all these years of being chauferred around by her friends and family, she should make the effort to come out to where I live instead of cancelling plans until I agree to come to where she lives.  It's not that i'm against going to Manhattan (I usually jump at the opportunity) but I just don't feel like going out of my way anymore.  Now that she lives someplace where she doesn't have to drive, she has absolutely no excuse for not doing for her friends what they did for her all those years. 

What would you do if you had a friend like this? 

Re: am i being too hard on my friend? (long)

  • Friendship is a relationship like any other.  How would you feel if a boyfriend treated you like this?  A one-sided "friendship" like that wouldn't be worth it to me.
  • TL;DR

    No, but I did read the first tw or three paragraphs and basically made up my mind from there.

    What would I do if this was my friend?

    I'd tell her that her inability to grow up was hindering my relationship with her.

    Yeah accidents can be traumatic, but from what you've posted her original incident was minor.

    Is there any other possibility that she might have mental problems that are affecting her driving? Asked in all serious with no offense.

    I mean, there has to more to the story than just her having this accident and that stopping her from driving ever again.

    image
  • pedantic--i've always thought that as well, but as far as i know, it's just that original accident and the fact that her parents were pissed off after that made her stop driving. 
  • Call me a crappy friend if you'd like, but there is no way I'd drive an adult friend around like this when there is no need for it (and you said you don't think there is a mental issue, so it sounds like it's a laziness issue since she doesn't want to use public transporation either - no thanks.)

  • I would stop going out of my way for her. Still ask her to do stuff as you normally would, but you already know what to expect...so do your best to not be offended when she cancels or declines.

    If she ever makes a comment to you about not hanging out - just let her know that she's the one that always cancels on you. She'll make it out your way if she really wants to...but you've been driving her around and accommodating her for way too long, of course she's going to try the easy way.

    One-sided friendship is hurtful and no fun. Don't go out of your way any more...might be time to let this one loose.

  • Have you ever suggested she work with a therapist to overcome her fear of driving?

    But other than that, I would continue to suggest ways you both sharing the transporation (i.e. meet via public transportation) but if she doesn't make the effort, I wouldn't waste much more time on it.

    I drive, but do not own a car and I always offer to meet up in different places. I don't expect to be chauffered door to door.

  • and no one else really made her

    This is the key.  Everyone went along w/ her and gave her rides, picked her up, etc.  no one "had" to do this. Everyone CHOSE to do this.  So- it's what she's become used to.

    I have to wonder if even just one person said to her "You  know- I think after all these years, you've gotten used to people coming to you.  But I have to say - it might be time to start returning the favor.....".   I have to wonder if one person saying this might just be enough to make her realize how she's been all tehse years.

    And to answer your question - after 10+ years of this, I'd be tired of it too.  Friendship is a 2 way street and if she's never willing to make the effort, I wouldn't be too keen on making all the effort.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    and no one else really made her

    This is the key.  Everyone went along w/ her and gave her rides, picked her up, etc.  no one "had" to do this. Everyone CHOSE to do this.  So- it's what she's become used to.

    I have to wonder if even just one person said to her "You  know- I think after all these years, you've gotten used to people coming to you.  But I have to say - it might be time to start returning the favor.....".   I have to wonder if one person saying this might just be enough to make her realize how she's been all tehse years.

    Ditto.  I do think a lot of this is that she seems to have gotten comfortable with the dynamic of "other people come to me"- and unless someone says something, if everyone just keeps accommodating her, she may have convinced herself long ago that no one minds and that's just the way she is and so forth.  

    We actually do know someone like this- relatively similar circumstances.  Eventually what happened was that more and more people got sick of it and the number of people willing to go get her dwindled.  After she missed a few parties because no one had the time/ extra gas money/ desire to go get her and drop her off, she did eventually start driving herself.   But when she had people who were willing to do all the driving for her, the motivation to do it herself just wasn't there.  

    And I don't blame you for being sick of it either-  feeling like a friendship is one-sided and being canceled on frequently are both things that will make you tired of making the effort.  It would be nice if she chose to be more mutual about the friendship, but if not, I wouldn't blame you for wanting to refocus your attention on people who return it.

  • I wouldn't have a friend like this. She clearly has bigger issues than just not wanting to drive. Life is hard enough without trying to do everyday things for another adult.
  • I'm sure she'll find new friends to cater to her whims.  People like this always do.  You did.  Not that you've stopped, she doesn't have much use for you, does she?
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I am just not understanding why you are upset... is it because you drove her around or is it because she is now blowing you off as a friend?

    You need to seperate the two things. Plenty of people in this world do not drive, either because of medical reasons or personal choice... that doesn't make them a bad friend. Constantly cancelling on you and blowing you off does. What is really bothering you about this friend?

    White Knot
  • I know someone very similar, also on LI.  She failed the driving test too many times and never got her license.  She isn't afraid, she is lazy and babied.  She lost many friends because of this.  The saddest part is that she doesn't even realize we don't talk to her anymore.

    I don't blame you for wanting to end it.  A friendship can only last so long like that before one side gets tired of it.  If she isn't willing to put in the effort, it isn't worth it.

  • image Simply Fated:

    I am just not understanding why you are upset... is it because you drove her around or is it because she is now blowing you off as a friend?

    You need to seperate the two things. Plenty of people in this world do not drive, either because of medical reasons or personal choice... that doesn't make them a bad friend. Constantly cancelling on you and blowing you off does. What is really bothering you about this friend?

    It's the fact that she's lazy.  I had another friend who did not drive because his father was killed in a tragic car accident.  Yet, if he needed to go somewhere, he would try to get there himself, either by bus or by taking a cab.  If he was offered a ride, he was truly, sincerely grateful for it, as opposed to acting like he was entitled to it. 

    I guess what bothers me is that she will lament that we haven't hung out, when really, she will only hang out if it's on her terms, and i'm just not as willing to play by her rules as much as I was when I was in my early 20s and didn't have as many other responsibilities.  It bothers me that she really thinks it's ok for someone her age to be driven around by her parents when there isn't some kind of medical issue there, and public transportation is readily available. 

    I got an email from her this morning basically making excuses why she can't come to queens, but she is perfectly available to hang out if i come to her, or to her parents house when she's visiting them.  Part of me just wants to make similar excuses why I can't come to her, and part of me just wants to be like "look, I really thought that once you moved out, we'd be able to start meeting in mutually convenient places rather than me always coming to you," but i'm not even sure it's worth the effort. 

  • image holtzerjonas:
    image Simply Fated:

    I am just not understanding why you are upset... is it because you drove her around or is it because she is now blowing you off as a friend?

    You need to seperate the two things. Plenty of people in this world do not drive, either because of medical reasons or personal choice... that doesn't make them a bad friend. Constantly cancelling on you and blowing you off does. What is really bothering you about this friend?

     Part of me just wants to make similar excuses why I can't come to her, and part of me just wants to be like "look, I really thought that once you moved out, we'd be able to start meeting in mutually convenient places rather than me always coming to you," but i'm not even sure it's worth the effort. 

    Don't make excuses - say this.

  • image holtzerjonas:
    image Simply Fated:

    I am just not understanding why you are upset... is it because you drove her around or is it because she is now blowing you off as a friend?

    You need to seperate the two things. Plenty of people in this world do not drive, either because of medical reasons or personal choice... that doesn't make them a bad friend. Constantly cancelling on you and blowing you off does. What is really bothering you about this friend?

     Part of me just wants to make similar excuses why I can't come to her, and part of me just wants to be like "look, I really thought that once you moved out, we'd be able to start meeting in mutually convenient places rather than me always coming to you," but i'm not even sure it's worth the effort. 

    Don't make excuses - say this.

  • I used to be like your friend however I was very grateful for every ride and helped out with gas.  But the reason I didn't drive was because of anxiety.  Looking back I realize I had anxiety problems and I just didn't want to face it.  Actually driving was more of a phobia.  When I was 16 I would practice driving and my dad would constantly yell at me and tell me how many times I would fail the driving test.  For so long I just convinced myself that I was stupid and was safer as the passenger than as the driver.  After a few years, I finally got the nerve to drive around town again and you know what happened.  Yep I got in an accident while driving in the rain.  That set me back again.  Finally after I moved out of my college dorm I realized I just had to drive, I didn't have choice.  I lived in St. Louis not New York City and unless I always lived within walking distance of my work or carpooled I had to make myself drive.  Besides what was I going to do when I got older.  Never see a boyfriend,  not let my kids go to soccer practice?  I knew I just had to face my fears because I had no choice.  So I did it slowly and knew I was just going to have to do it scared.  Thr first time driving to school by myself I was scared but I did it.  You know what every day it got easier.  Eventually I got up the nerve to drive other places then just my usual routine.  Once I did it I really enjoyed the freedom I had and not being tied to my home. 

    I would suggest being honest with her and tell her that she might have some anxiety issues.  Really the harder you make it for her the more  motivation she will get to drive on her own.  Trust me I didn't drive until I had no other choice.  It was drive or not graduate college. 

  • image Jennyinheaven:
    image holtzerjonas:
    image Simply Fated:

    I am just not understanding why you are upset... is it because you drove her around or is it because she is now blowing you off as a friend?

    You need to seperate the two things. Plenty of people in this world do not drive, either because of medical reasons or personal choice... that doesn't make them a bad friend. Constantly cancelling on you and blowing you off does. What is really bothering you about this friend?

     Part of me just wants to make similar excuses why I can't come to her, and part of me just wants to be like "look, I really thought that once you moved out, we'd be able to start meeting in mutually convenient places rather than me always coming to you," but i'm not even sure it's worth the effort. 

    Don't make excuses - say this.

    Ditto.  I've already said that I have to wonder if someone speaking up will make her realize what she's doing.  Add on to the sentence above "unless you can start meeting me 1/2 way, I'm not going to be able to meet you anymore.".

    I really believe that many friendships go awry simply because people won't speak up to one another when something is wrong. Instead they ignore it, make decisions on their own, and then things all go to crap and teh friendship is over. 

    I really think that if people made a small effort to be more honest at the right times, more friendships might be saved.  It's very very very easy to fall into a hole of seeing the world through your eyes only.  Everyone does it - and it's a challenge to force yourself to take a step outside of yourself and look at the world through someone elses eyes.  But many people are able to do this, and therefore can respect and work WITH their friends instead of sinking into total selfishness.  Which is where I think your friend is now.

    And sometimes giving a person a little shove might be enough to make them open their eyes!  Which perhaps saying something to her might be the shove that she needs.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I'm not sure -- other than just the sheer longevity of your relationship -- what is keeping you emotionally tied to this person.

    My sense is that she's just not that into you.  She sounds incredibly spoiled, selfish, and wacky!  I suspect you will soon part ways.  Before you launch into some lengthy speech that's designed to make her "see the error of her ways" I think you want to decide whether you even want this friendship to continue.

  • I just responded to her most recent email about hanging out i her neighborhood by saying I think it would be nicer if we could meet someplace mutually convenient and she sent me a whole long email making all these excuses about why she can't travel beyond her neighborhood for all of november, but that she would love to come out by me in December.  I'm sure in December she'll have a similar excuse. 
  • I'll bet that she has an anxiety disorder; this could be why she does things like this.  Maybe talk it out with her and help her get some therapy.
    image
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