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Getting needs met in friendships

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 months ago.

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  • #127261

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Good morning

    I sound much calmer and rational than I feel right now – I’m in the middle of an emotional meltdown because a situation has occurred this weekend which is the straw that has broken my camel’s back. I am working hard on working through this but definitely could use some help. My problem is that in relationships generally, I am not great at getting my own needs met. It has culminated in my few close friends, basically not bothering to make more than minimal effort in our friendships – nothwithstanding that two of the three friends (women) are quite dominant personalities.

    I get a lot of pleasure in knowing my friends, knowing how they think, what they feel and what they would enjoy. However, as an example, for my recent birthday the only present I received was a book, three weeks after the event. It was a thoughtful gift but it arrived on my desk at work with a post it note attached. If that were me, I’d have at least made the effort to see the friend the gift was for and hand it to her in person.

    So my question is, when you need something in a friendship, i.e. you have needs which are not being met, how do you address it?
    Because I have got to address this to stop falling into the same pattern which as blighted my friendships my whole life. I have no clue. It’s a learning path for me.

    BB

    #127262

    omni1
    Participant

    With a friendship circle you are thinking in a very small paradigm of jst a handful of people. I’ve had a similar experience and a similar feeling (wouldn’t say meltdown as such) but the answer was that it was just up to me to go out and find new friends, keep my boundaries firm. It seems harsh but sometimes cutting ties with people is the right choice.

    #127264

    anita
    Participant

    Dear BB:

    I hope you are calmer, or soon will be- take deep, slow breaths… take a brisk walk out if you need to.

    I am trying to understand the situation: three weeks was your birthday. You have three close friends, women. But neither one gave you a birthday gift except this book that arrived at your desk three weeks after?

    Did you see any of the three on your birthday or since? If you did, was your birthday acknowledges, celebrated in some way, for example, did they take you out to a restaurant?

    anita

    #127275

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Bakedbean,

    Usually when we (especially women) make noises about our needs not being met, there is residual resentment and hard feelings in the other person. I don’t know why, and maybe it’s just what I noticed. So I wouldn’t say anything directly.

    For the book, I might give it back and simply say, “Thanks for thinking of me, but I couldn’t get into it.”

    Then NEXT year, invite those friends, family, and OTHER people to get together at a restaurant or for drinks. I guarantee that some people will give you wrapped presents or gift bags. The empty handed friends will feel like heels. Bonus if you can get a sister or cousin or someone to ask them pointedly, “What did YOU get Bakedbean?”

    We teach people how to treat us. Meaning, no unwrapped book gifts three weeks late with post-it notes.

    Blessings,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Inky.
    #127471

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Thank you for the responses, all quite different – all have given me food for thought.

    Omni1 – My answer in the past has been to cut ties in friendships where I feel ‘friends’ are neglectful of my feelings. However, this is not a pattern I want to follow. Friends are not easy to replace, especially as you age, people have their established friendship groups and I find it is harder to make close friendships. I would prefer to try and resolve the problem – but in a way that does not push people away but they hopefully realise something is amiss and want to rectify this. I do not feel ready to cut ties in this situation, but what you say about finding new friends, I think is something I will put effort into.

    Anita – thank you 🙂 I am calmer. I went for a walk and worked through my negative emotions on paper. The three women are not close friends, they are just friends. They do not rely on me for their emotional needs, that is not to say we don’t share feelings about situations in our lives, but they have established friendships/partners/family who meet their emotional needs.

    Friend J I saw before my birthday, I suggested we go out to a country tea room for a walk and tea and cake. She let me drive, she said she had not got me a present, she let me pay for my own cake and tea. When we got back, she put her photos on social media with no mention of me, it read as if she had done something completely separate to me. I felt wounded. My friend L lives 2 hours away. She came up this weekend to stay with her daughter and invited me to join her with her daughter, doing what her daughter wants. I politely declined. Her daughter then texted me to say that my friend L wanted to treat me for my birthday! What she meant was pay for my cake at a place they had chosen to suit themselves.

    My friend D works in the same office – she was the one who left the (wrapped) book on my desk. She was ill over my birthday.

    I had texts and FB messages on my birthday. Friend J rang me, but she had (annoyingly) forgotten (from when we were together the day before) that I was driving up to Surrey for the day.

    Inky – Are you saying that you think my friends will feel resentful if I let them know that I feel hurt because they did (and do generally) not consider my feelings in our friendships? I hear what you say and I am pondering on it. I think if I gave the book back, friend D who gave it to me would not understand why and would feel incredibly hurt – which is not my aim.

    I think you are right, we teach people how to treat us. What I need to figure out is how to do this . I don’t feel that my friends have been mean to me deliberately, just completely ignorant of my feelings. Thank you for your response, it has helped to clarify things a great deal 🙂 Blessings to you too!

    #127505

    anita
    Participant

    Dear BB:

    Glad you took a walk and used writing to get relief. Different people view friendship differently- for some it is a mutually caring involvement and for others it is a casual, often distant involvement.

    Friend J, if she was a caring friend, would have paid for your cake and tea, and then she would have posted on social media, that day or the next: Happy Birthday BB!

    Friend L, if she was a caring friend, would have suggested herself (not her daughter texting you) to meet you, just you and her, for your birthday, asking you how you would like to spend that time and follow through.

    Friend D, if she was a caring friend, would have presented the book gift to you in person sooner than three weeks after your birthday.

    anita

    #127523

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    I have a slight different angle on this, so here it is..

    Friend J – I’m not sure of your age but yes generally if you would like to do something for your birthday I would take it that you plan/arrange or put something past someone – depending on how good friends you are – and how old you are – some people, as they get older, don’t like to celebrate their birthdays, for various reasons. I do think it would’ve been a nice gesture for her to have paid for your tea and cake though – however, she may be struggling money wise and didn’t want to say – so came to be a kind friend, but could only afford to pay for herself? In regards to the social media, I’m not sure I agree with that, however, did she take any photos of you, or both of you? Or your joint tea and cake? I must admit, I would’ve thought she would’ve include your name at least to say “Birthday Tea & Cake with Bakedbean” – however, what is her social posting like? Does she normally include people, does she normally post?
    I’m just wondering if you’ve taken a negative look on this?

    Friend L – she came two hours away to see her daughter, she invited you to join her – she didn’t have too? Maybe she hadn’t seen her daughter in a while either and if it was planned last minute then understandable why nothing else was put in place. If it was planned in advance maybe you could’ve taken the opportunity to put forward a plan of what YOU wanted to do. Her daughter then text (which yes your friend should have text, not her daughter) to treat you for your birthday – maybe they felt bad that you declined, realising that actually it was your birthday. You said “what she meant was pay for cake at a place they had chosen to suit themselves” did they actually say they would take you for cake at ‘so and so place’? At which point you could’ve said – lovely and gone .. they are paying for you to have cake and tea after all?! Unless you have had a bad experience and this particular place, then why would you not want to go? Or at this point assert yourself and say “oh what a lovely idea, but would you mind if we went to …….. instead? It’s just I (either don’t like that place/ can’t eat anything there/ have an allergy – insert as appropriate)

    Friend D – she was ill over your birthday. Ok, I guess it depends over what period because you could say she could have handed it to you first, before your birthday, but if she was planning on being in work (not ill) on your birthday, then she wouldn’t give it to you beforehand anyway? You got a present out of it at the end of it, so, actually, is she ok? Was it just a cold, she could be ill from something serious?

    In my opinion, it seems to me that your expectations from your friends may be a little high. You need to remember as human beings we all work in different ways and you wanting to be taken to a certain place, on a certain day and paid for, may not be someone else’s idea of a nice birthday – they might just like a card and no fuss. So, if you want something, ask for it – or plan a get together and invite them all. It seems that you look at the negative on things instead of the positive and that you need to assert yourself more.
    Your friend invited you out and declined on the fact you couldn’t go where you wanted, so rather than discuss other options etc with her you decline, say no, resent her and what’s just happened and feel like you don’t have good friendships – just as an example.

    Let me hear what you think of this look on it?
    Poppy

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Poppyxo.
    #127527

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    the last bit didn’t read right…

    Your friend invited you out and you declined on the fact that you couldn’t go where you wanted, so rather than discuss other options etc with her you decline and resent her and the situation and you feel like you don’t have good friendships from it – but actually it’s not about saying “you don’t treat me as a good friend” actually.. I don’t treat myself as I would like to be treated, so I don’t assert what I want, I just hear what you(the other person) wants, then go in on myself and never discuss it with the other person and then I go back onto the resentment circle – just as an example.

    Let me hear what you think of this look on it?
    Poppy

    #128175

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Hi Poppy

    I took a while to get back to you because I was feeling pretty low, I felt quite defensive and I wanted time to digest what you were saying.

    Friend J – to answer your questions -is in my view unlikely to be struggling for money as a friend of hers who I met at New Year has invited us out with him tonight for an expensive meal and she is going. I think she would have said if she was short of cash, but I do plan to explore this with her as our friendship has reached a point where I need to express how I am feeling. Regarding social media, no photos of me or her – she often posts stuff she is doing socially with other people and says what a great time she is having with them.

    Friend L – my issue with this is that she only ever comes up to see her daughter. I find that totally reasonable, however she also only ever asks me to join them, she never makes time for us. I get tagged onto whatever she is doing. In fact throughout our friendship, whilst she has been kind to me, its always in the company of others and when things have been planned for us to spend time together, she has flaked off. In this recent situation, I put forward several suggestions of what we could do (which is actually out of character for me) and expressed my joy at seeing her, her response was – verbatim – ‘that is not something we would do’ (when I know it has been in the past). She then went on to say what they were doing and would I like to join them, without mention of my birthday (which was some weeks previous so I did not expect that). To answer your questions, they did not say anything about taking me for cake and paying. The reason I did not try to negotiate the venue at that point was because I had put forward several options already and knowing that this friend – by her own admission – is ‘all about me’. One further thing to mention was that she texted me at midnight with her response ‘that is not something we would do’, having already said she would call me the next day. I felt like she had no consideration of me at all. Having known me for years, she knows I am not a late night person.

    Friend D was quite ill, I did not expect a present as she was ill. However I texted her to see if she wanted company as she lives alone and had been at home for 10 days and drop off some magazines and she did not respond. She did respond to my texts asking how she was. I was chuffed to bits to get the book, but I felt how hard would it be for her to come and give it to me personally? Is that a high expectation? She rarely texts me, 90% of the times we get together are my suggestion, the extent of her effort in our friendship is mainly the odd magazine she has read being left on my desk at work. I know she is a good person and not deliberately like this but I don’t feel like she ever thinks about me or considers my feelings.

    I do have a tendency to be negative and I work hard on this normally. This has been an opportunity for me to take a hard look at myself and these friendships as I am repeating patterns of not asserting myself. I often don’t assert what I want – this is something I now need to be more aware of – I think your last paragraph is very accurate and I have got to learn how to put that into practice.

    BB

    #128177

    Nina Sakura
    Participant

    Dear BB,

    These 3 women are friends of yours. Not close friends though and sometimes you feel like they are plain inconsiderate.

    Then the other question is your own set of expectations and assertiveness.

    Look at the situation a bit more objectively.

    You all do have some connection but aren’t actually that close. There were people who wished you on your birthday.

    Each person is different and your equation with them is different.

    You can have images in your mind about what you want, not quite express it and then feel worse that it never happened.

    Why bother with people who aren’t so bothered? Keep them in your life but don’t expect too much. An occasional meet, an occasional laugh, a social gathering we all need once in a while but dont get too caught up in what could have been done. If they are actually that close, you can tell them freely. Otherwise what’s the point?

    Simply let it be and focus on other aspects of your life that you like.

    Regards
    Nina

    #128227

    anita
    Participant

    Dear BB:

    Your post before last was on Feb 13. Following that, I responded to you and another member responded twice. Your last post focused entirely on the other member’s posts to you. I learned something from this last post of yours that may help you:

    My last post to you was positively supportive of you. But you responded only to the two posts that were negatively critical of you. I am thinking that you may very well be focusing in your life, outside this website, on people who are negatively critical of you, being drawn to relationships with those who are not supportive of you, and you might not be drawn to people who are supportive of you.

    It may be that repetition- compulsion, that is, you trying to change non-supportive and/or rejecting people into loving people, seeing in them the rejecting parent in your childhood, the one (or both) that you are hoping to win over.

    Can this be so?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  anita.
    #128335

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I responded to Poppy’s post because she asked me to – she also went into some detail in responding to my request, asked many questions and offered suggestions and advice.

    Your last post to me was supportive in the first sentence, thereafter you posted a view that my friends actions were not caring -if I’ve interpreted you correctly? I genuinely did not realise that you would have liked me to respond and I’m sorry if I’ve caused you offence.

    Over time I have noticed that often, when you post to people you invite a response, I assumed that you did not ask for one because you did not want/need one. However I was glad to see you posted again

    I think your final paragraph may be quite true and a pattern I need to address.

    #128337

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Dear Nina

    Thank you – on reflection maybe I view my friends being closer than they view me – if that makes sense. I hear what you are saying – its a tough one for me put in practice, but I will be trying.

    BB

    #128341

    anita
    Participant

    Dear BB:

    You misunderstood my last post to you. I wasn’t at all complaining about you not responding to my previous post and I wasn’t complaining about you responding to any other member.

    You are a very responsive member, gracious in replying to everyone and I appreciate it. I don’t expect perfection from myself, from you, or from anyone, so not responding to any one member is fine. It is also your right.

    The point I tried to make was very different. If you would like, you can re-read my last post to you. Or not. Really, either choice is okay with me.

    anita

    #128345

    Bakedbean
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I think I understood the point you were making – that I’m drawn to people who are not supportive? I acknowledged this in my final sentence. I agree with you, something to explore.

    BB

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