Friend or Freeloader?
The three of us girls have been friends for 40 years.
Though we love Patty, over the past 10 years, we have been there
for her in amazing ways which she has neither acknowledged or even
seems to appreciate.
When my husband had cancer, was in hospice and subsequently passed
away - she was an absent friend. When Lori's mother had open heart
surgery and she had to care for her - Patty was an absent friend.
To compound matters Lori and I work full-time for corporations, while
Patty has the summer off since she's a teacher. We have never asked
anything of our friends, while Patty freely and constantly asks for
Today she sent me an email. Am I being a bad friend by being offended
by this latest demand? We all have problems and challenges (I've had
both breasts removed and have cervical cancer) so it's not as if we
have totally charmed lives... What say you?
There's actually several possibilities;
1. You've all drifted apart; you think of each other as 'friends'
- but that's not really been true for years. You just share some history.
Be honest, but gentle. These things happen, it's no-one's fault.
2. Patty - who you say you love - has moved on, and really has no
time for you and your problems. Without an open argument, she 'isn't
there for you', and simply isn't a friend. Why not drop the pretence
and be honest?
3. You and Patty are very different people; you are proudly independenet;
when you need help, you drop hints, but 'don't like to bother people'.
Patty is a bit rough and ready; she wouldn't see a hint if it broke
her nose (but would be mortified that she'd not realised you needed
help). As she'd say "If I need help, I'd ask - surely you know
I'm always there for you?"
I'm sure there's other possibiliites, too - and it may be a mixture
of more than one. There's no law says a friend is for life. It's nice
if they can be - but if someone (you or her) chooses not to be a friend,
then the contract is broken. Forever.
Friends don't come cheap - and once trust and respect have gone,
you'll never get them back. So think before you act; and above all,
be honest. At least she deserves that.