Friends in need

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Friends in need

Postby bbrown116 » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:19 pm

Right, so maybe I just need to have a bit of a rant to someone but recently I've been feeling a little taken for granted. It isn't all my friends, not by a long way, but a significantly sized group seem to be having a bit of a laugh. Here's how things are:

I've always been a bit of an agony aunt for my friends, a shoulder to cry on when things get tough or whatever. I can live with that. Recently, though, some of my friends are turning to me to solve every problem they have; relationship trouble, sexual health advice, diets and name it, they ask it. It wouldn't be so bad, but they only ever want to see me when something bothers them and vanish completely whenever they're okay. If I need their help, I get a string of unreasonable and improbable excuses. I would happily cut them out of my life if they weren't so established in all my friendship circles that I can't avoid them. I either see them or become a reclusive cat-lady.

I mean, over the weekend we had a party. I didn't invite them, but they came with friends or my flatmates asked them to come. Either way they were there, some of them hours before the party. Within about twelve hours, I had to deal with a selection of complaints and problems you wouldn't believe. These included, amongst others:

*A female friend who bleached her hair and ended up with 12 different colours so came over so I could fix it, even though I don't dye my hair.
*A friend who hurt his knee by running who wanted to know how much a knee replacement would cost for his "degenerative disease".
*A girl who wanted to know if she could get pregnant from anal sex.
*Another girl who wanted me to find her a fiance
*A friend who wasn't sure if she should be with her partner and took two hours to tell me so.
*Her partner, who asked to talk to me and then wouldn't speak for almost an hour.
*A male friend who wanted to know the calorie value of every drink at the party.
*A female friend who came to our party wearing only a bikini (god knows why) then complained at me that she was cold. As she stood outside smoking. In the rain.

And so on. I've tried giving bad advice, giving no advice, telling them to leave me alone (politely and not so politely...) but nothing works. One look at my face and they're off. I confided in one friend at the party that I'd spent almost three quarters of it comforting people and he started to tell me how lonely he was.

So there's my problem; extremely needy friends who never stop complaining. Until I fix everything, that is, and they leave. Any suggestions?[/list]
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Postby sunshine girl » Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:06 pm

I understand how you feel, I used to feel a bit like this with my friends, constantly expected to drop everything to listen to the latest 'problem' in their lives then provide advice (which they would then ignore). This worked for me and might be worth a bash!

Firstly I started to extend my circle of friends away from the core group, I still saw them but less frequently and I made a concerted effort to spend time with other people who didn't behave like that. Do you have a different group you can hang out with more? Even if they come to a party uninvited you could say a brief hello and then try and talk to other people for the rest of the evening.

Secondly I started telling everyone who asked for my advice that I didn't know what they should do or that I didn't have any answers to that problem. I left it at that and said nothing more, not being overly sympathetic. For example your friend who messed up her hair, I might have tried saying something like "I wouldn't have a clue how to even start putting that right, why don't you try .... she's really good with hair, hope you get it sorted" if they persist in trying to come round I tell them I'm going out and if necessary go for a walk so that I am out. Literally stop them from being able to winge to you.

I know this might sound harsh and obviously you need to be there for your friends when they need you but if you've been the one that everyone comes to for a long time you can start to feel taken for granted, especially when you feel that they aren't prepared to be there for you in the same way. If you withdraw a bit they might realise how much you do for them and appreciate you more. It happened in my case, when I suddenly wasn't around so readilly to listen and be sympathetic people started making much more of an effort!
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Postby LalaSkellington » Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:27 pm

Hi, :D

You sound like the friend of Axe_88! :o
It seems to me that these friends are using you. You say you've tried giving bad advice and no advice? Have you done what they usually do to you when you ask them for help? Make up bizarre excuses etc? Try that and if they don't like it then tell them neither do you.

It's time they started treating you as a friend again. If they still don't respond then even though you'll always see these people about, it's maybe worth falling out with them and see if they can cope without your help. Just be civil with them, if you still have to see them, polite hello's & goodbye's etc.
If they do manage to solve their problems without you then confront them and ask why did they always go to you when it's obvious they can solve problems themself. If they carry on pestering you even after you've ended the relationship then tell them to start treating you with a bit of respect as a friend otherwise they'll get no help.

Some of these problems can be easily solved by yourself to the point they're ridiculous!

I hope things work out

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Postby HappyGoLucky » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:45 am

Oh dear. They see you as someone that they can rely on for every little thing and expect you to give advice to them without thinking of how you feel.

sunshine girl wrote:Firstly I started to extend my circle of friends away from the core group, I still saw them but less frequently and I made a concerted effort to spend time with other people who didn't behave like that. Do you have a different group you can hang out with more? Even if they come to a party uninvited you could say a brief hello and then try and talk to other people for the rest of the evening.

I think sunshine girl has a point here. Spend more time with another group of friends and less with them. If they continue to pester you about some silly problem they can solve themself, be honest with them and tell them how you feel about it.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Friends in need

Postby retrochav » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:54 am

I bet a high proportion of us PP's have this problem, and far from feeling flattered we often feel pidgeon-holed into "agony aunt" catagory as though we had little else to offer in frienships.

Sunshine girls advice about mixing with new friends is very useful, but ensure you dont repeat the pattern with them too! Because i have spent years in advice work i felt my work day was bleeding into my personal life. So now i signpost people to this website and suggest they gain insight from the wealth of advice and support people offer here.

If you are a good listener, people will be drawn to that. However, you can allocate time. You wouldnt go shopping in a bikini, so why should you be dispensing advice at a party! Maybe try telling people they can call you tommorrow because tonight is for fun sort of thing. Showing other dimensions to your personality gives another point of reference to your relationships.
whatever your problem someone else has been there and bears the scars.
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Postby gatekeeper » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:23 pm

You sound like a good listener and nice person, which is why people come to you with their problems.

People never come to me with these silly little things 'cos I like ranting A LOT. I'm usually the one who complains of being too fat, ugly, hungry etc...

They usually bother me with the big problems which I cannot solve. I end up tired from trying to help and sometimes, I've got to tell them I cannot handle it.

Try ranting a bit, like me. Hang out with other people. If you don't know what to do, like the friend who asked you to fixed her hair, say so. If they mind or dump you, they were not really a friend to start with.
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So I wait for the day and the courage to say how much I love you
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