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Author Topic: Friendship troubles - am I being unreasonable?  (Read 312 times)

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Offline bluecanary

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Friendship troubles - am I being unreasonable?
« on: March 26, 2014, 06:35:09 PM »
I've got a friend that I met while working in Florida about six years ago. She and I got along great - we had a lot of things in common, the best of which was that we had a way of being silly together that kept us giggling like idiots constantly. We'd often get together for lunch on Sundays, or late night trips for ice cream to de-stress about work, family, or dating issues. For the past several months to a year that I was living in Florida, I was having a harder time trying to make plans with her. I could call her early in the week asking if we could get together that weekend, and she was always busy with her other friends. Yet I could be in the middle of cleaning my house on a Saturday afternoon, and she'd call me wanting me to drop everything to meet her for lunch in twenty minutes.

Despite the fact that I was a bit frustrated with this, I still felt she was a good friend, so I made every effort to meet up with her if I was available, and when I moved to Los Angeles and got engaged, I asked her to be in my wedding. I did so by visiting her in Florida and making her a personalized gift that I thought she'd love and be excited about. She kept me waiting for a few hours before she showed up at my mother's house where we'd agreed to meet, and her acceptance was a little more blase than I'd hoped. She agreed to be in my wedding party, but it was barely a few weeks later when she started telling me that she wasn't sure if she could be in the wedding due to financial concerns (my wedding was going to be in Rhode Island, so the cost involved would include airfare, hotel, and taking time off from work in addition to a dress). I told her not to worry about it right away, that there was still plenty of time, and that I'd help her out financially in any way that I could. Finally, a few months ago, she told me that she definitely would not be able to be in the wedding due to having to take time off from work and being financially strapped from trying to buy a house, but she still wanted to attend as a guest. i was disappointed, but I wasn't angry with her - I can certainly understand financial troubles, and even if I'd helped her pay for the airfare, dress, and accommodations, I wouldn't be able to do anything about her time off from work.

Finally, a few weeks ago, she called to tell me that she couldn't come to the wedding at all, because her parents had decided to plan a cruise for her whole family that was going to be taking place during the same week. I was angry and hurt, but I didn't say anything at the time. Still, I was somewhat distant and brief in my communications with her. I was wrestling with whether or not to tell her how I felt, since I'm horrible with confrontations, and she's got a pretty strong personality, so I felt as though she would get on the defensive and attack me, and I didn't want that. Finally, yesterday, she asked me if I was upset with her, so I told the truth. I told her how I felt. She got on the defensive, which I guess I can't blame her for, but she also told me that the reason she wanted to go on this trip was because she only gets to see her nephews about once per year. I can definitely sympathize, because I only see my niece and nephew once or twice per year, but at the same time, I'm only going to get married once in my lifetime. She claimed that I wouldn't be able to spend time with her at the wedding anyway, so that it would be more "special" if she could arrange a visit here to see us in L.A. afterward. I asked her why, if she could plan a visit out here to see me, she couldn't plan a visit to see her nephews? If this were something like my birthday or a holiday that I wanted her to be here for, I wouldn't be so hurt. But again, this is the most important day of my life, and to be fair, her family takes at least two or three vacations per year. She told me that she was sorry that I was hurt. I asked her if she was sorry that she was the one who hurt me, because saying that she was sorry I was hurt isn't exactly the same thing. Her response was, "That would be saying I'm sorry for choosing my family, and I'm not." Instead of an apology, she only told me that she would never intentionally hurt me. The analogy that I wish I'd thought of at the time was that I never set out to step on someone's foot, but if I do, I acknowledge that what I did hurt someone, and I apologize. She asked if our friendship was contingent on her attending my wedding, and I said that while it wasn't contingent, it would certainly change things. That was basically how we left it.

I've been thinking about letting this friendship die out for some time, because I've felt hurt by her actions a number of times in the recent past. We don't even live in the same state anymore, so it's not as though we'll be getting together very frequently. But with social networking and texting and emails and such, people tend to stay in touch even when they live far apart. She has done other thoughtful things, such as knitting me two scarves for Christmas - I know that had to have taken her quite some time, and it shows a lot of effort. But the fact that she refuses to even acknowledge or apologize for the fact that she hurt my feelings is really upsetting to me. I'm not asking her to choose me over her family in general, but I didn't think that one day was too much to ask, especially when she knew about my wedding long before her parents decided to schedule this trip (she even told them about my wedding before they planned it, and they still planned it for that week anyway). I'm struggling with whether I'm being unreasonable, whether I should keep a friendship that hurts me because I've got good memories associated with it, or if I should just let it go for my own peace of mind. Any thoughts?
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Friendship troubles - am I being unreasonable?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 02:08:13 PM »
She sounds like one of those friends who only likes to do things when they are on her terms. She has to make all the plans. Arrange everything. Anybody else makes plans that don't fit in well with her, she won't think twice about not turning up. She won't think she is doing anything wrong either. That is the sad side of things. People like this do exist. At best, you know now exactly what she is like. Now you make your mind up if this is the type of friend you really want in your life. A scarf knitted here and there does not make up for wrong doings. She has let you down a good few times over the years. I won't sit here and make excuses for her. There are none. It looks like that is just the type of person she is. So now you have a choice to make. Granted the friendship is different now. Different States. Social media and the likes. Test the waters some day for a bit of fun. Make out like you will be heading to Florida for a few weeks and ask how she feels about meeting up. You can always say it had to be put on hold for now due to family reasons. Be worth it just to see her reaction. But don't expect her ever to say sorry. It will never happen. She is not that type of person. In her mind she done nothing wrong. Few choices for you to think over.
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Offline loverinthecold

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Re: Friendship troubles - am I being unreasonable?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 02:44:55 PM »
I'm sorry you're struggling with this.

Just thought I'd throw my objective two cents in:

It's easy to see how this would hurt you. But it's equally easy to see this from your friend's point of view and why your expectations may have hurt her.

The one thing you have to remember is that while your wedding might be the most important day in your life, it's not going to be that for your friend. Being part of a wedding party is often very cost prohibitive, something that often gets overlooked by the person getting married. Now, I know you offered to help, which is very generous and kind of you, but it doesn't change everything that goes into the decision. We're not even talking about a local wedding here. Which frankly compounds the decision greatly. Your friend would have to travel cross country only to then pay greatly for the luxury of being your bridesmaid. Travel + Accommodations + Dress + Food/Expenses + Gift + Time off Work. All for you.

To me, that's BFF or immediate family territory, and even then I wouldn't expect or require it. It's one thing if you both lived in the same small town and she didn't show. This is clearly a different situation, and I think you owe her some leeway on that front.

That's not me saying that you're doing anything wrong. I personally don't think the "family vacation" thing is anything more than another excuse not to attend for the reasons stated above.

Now, I don't know either of you, or every little detail of your relationship, but to me, her offer to visit you and your future husband, one on one, at a later date is more than reasonable. A wedding's just a day. Mine was a very happy day. But 10 years down the road, I can look back and say it was just another day. I value some of the great, unique times I've had with my wife and friends over the years far more than the cake and chicken dance.

This doesn't sound like anything to lose a friendship over. The initial hurt will subside on both ends. You're both realizing (due to distance and other factors) that friendships and relationships evolve. I've heard nothing here to suggest a parting of ways is in order. Your friendship is just evolving. Let it take its natural course.
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