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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Petty and Selfish Friend- It’s Me. I’m the Friend!

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Petty and Selfish Friend- It’s Me. I’m the Friend!

  • This topic has 56 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by KAM.
Viewing 12 posts - 37 through 48 (of 57 total)
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  • #1092300 Reply
    Alea
    Guest

    Wait, this is going off topic, but I genuinely want to know…would I be a bad friend for “coddling” friends with financial difficulties? It seems like that’s the opposite of the concept of friendship. Isn’t it the point to help out? I’m not saying I would give Morgan and Lane money, but if you had a good friend who needed help financially, you wouldn’t be there for them?

    #1092303 Reply
    ele4phant
    Guest

    Perhaps if we were talking in person, I’d hear you describing yourself and it would be clear that it’s tongue in check. But, that’s not coming throuhg here. It doesn’t seem like you like yourself. “Being honest and hubmle” doesn’t mean being hypercritical of yourself. We all have our faults, but boring is pretty negative way to describe “Introverted homebody”. ANd it’s not believable that you claim you are overly self-involved given the premise of this letter and all the hand wringing you have about approaching your friends with what are very reasonable boundaries on your aprt. And your desire to “help” them with their own self-made problem. Wondering why they’d even want to be friends with you makes me wonder if you don’t know what good things you bring to the table. You surely have faults, as we all do, but also we all have something to bring to our relationships. Do you not know your strengths? Do you not think you have any?

    Not showing up all the time is normal! It’s what people do! Not everyone has FOMO and you don’t have to show up every time or even often to still be worth being a good friend. I mean sure, sometimes I do what my friends want to do just to spend time with them, but also if the activity doesn’t appeal to me, I often decline, and we look to spend time together doing things we both want to do. And they do the same to me, when I want to do something they’re not into. That’s normal, that’s not “always” dictating what the group does.

    This isn’t hard, just tell your friends “Love you, love the dog, but this is turning into a weekly thing, and I’d really rather not make an hour and a half drive and give up a full day dog sitting every weekend. Cycle me to the bottom of your call list; I can help once in a while if you’re really in a pinch, but I can’t do it all the time.” That’s neither self-centered or mean. It’s a reasonable boundary for you to set for yourself.

    If they are reasonable, nice friends, they won’t take offense to this. If they do, well *they* are the selfish, arrogant friends. I kind of don’t think they will though, I think this is 100% pressure and expectations you are putting on yourself.

    #1092304 Reply
    ele4phant
    Guest

    It’s a bad thing to do because it’s not helpful to them.

    If you are there to help pick up the pieces when they make dumb choices, they’re not going to stop making dumb choices. They will know they have you to cleanup after them.

    #1092305 Reply
    ele4phant
    Guest

    And no, the concept of friendship is not to “help one another” out. I mean, it can include that. But it’s about, sharing time and experiences with people we care about.

    Absolutely I will make meals for my friends when they are going through a hard time. I will show up when they need support. I will be a shoulder to cry on.

    I will NOT just show up on demand when I know they have other options or are responsible for getting themselves into a mess.

    Also, what do these friends do *for you*? Friendship is a two-way street, seems like you’re the one doing all the giving.

    #1092306 Reply
    ele4phant
    Guest

    Also yes, I read your letter. If someone wrote this:

    “We enjoy spending time and hanging out with our friend Alea, but she has made it clear that she wants to see us less than we want to see her, and only for activities that she enjoys. She doesn’t like going out and doing things, so she prefers to come to our house or for us to go to her place. So she essentially gets to decide how often we meet and what we do. Once, we made plans to meet up at our house and hang out, then go out for dinner. We were running errands and realised we were in the same area as the restaurant, so we asked her if she would come join us at the restaurant and we could eat a late lunch instead, and then we would go back to our house and hang out. She declined.”

    I wouldn’t say ugh! What a boring person. Ditch her! I might suggest that the sorts of activities they are proposing do not seem mutually interesting, so they may want to ask other friends to do those sorts of things, and ask you along to stuff they know you’d fine more enjoyable.

    We all have different types of friends. We all have the chill hang-out friends – they may be more inclined to just watch the latest netflix murder documentary and aren’t interested in going out, so we also have our friends to go out on the town with. These are the friends that are super extroverted and always the life of the party. But they’re hard to nail down for quite moments, so we also friends we can go to for the really deep conversations.

    You’re a quite, chill friend. That’s fine! They probably know that and even like that. No one can be everything to other people.

    Or you’re the girl who won’t say no to them that they can foist all their self-made problems on without complaint. That’s less fine

    #1092307 Reply
    FYI
    Guest

    With every post, LW, you correct the previous one to say that you gave us the wrong impression.

    I’ll call out what no one else is commenting on: the obsession with food. It’s mentioned in almost every post. Honestly, it would never occur to me that a friend should “pay” me with food. Also, I’ll just say it, I think it sucks that they invited you out (gee, as THANKS maybe?!?!), and you refused. You say it’s because you could only eat two dishes on the menu, so WTF didn’t you eat one of those two dishes?

    I dunno, something is way off here. The disconnect between all the apologies and “no really I’m an asshole,” the STUBBORN and absolute refusal to concede that they might be wrong, the way you paint the whole picture. Something’s off.

    #1092308 Reply
    Bittergaymark
    Guest

    Agreed, FYI. I give up.

    #1092319 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    I missed this earlier but you mention you don’t even like dogs.

    This is really easy- stop dog sitting. Their life problems are not your problem or responsibility and you really need to stop trying to “help” them. They don’t actually need your help.

    Stop over complicating it and beating yourself up for pages for comments. If you don’t enjoy it and it’s not gratifying to you, just stop.

    #1092320 Reply
    So long and thanks for all the fish
    Guest

    Hi, Alea!
    I’m not a big poster, but reading through this thread, a lot of things have jumped out at me and I’d like to jump in here to double down on what ele4phant has been saying, esp revisiting your interpretation of scenarios. This is prob going to be a two-parter, so please bear with me.

    Based off how you’ve described yourself, you sound like one of my best friends. She’s knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like; she’s ride-or-die for her friends, but suffers no fools; a good hangout is making dinner at home together and just shooting the breeze; she has no problems saying no to plans so she can stay home and read her book; she believes life is too short to use fake butter; she struggles to balance showing up for her friends and family with showing up for herself.

    All of that is to say, you *can* be overly accommodating and caring about your friends to the point it can be detrimental, and an “opinionated,” “too confident”, “asshole” homebody at the same time. It’s normal to have so many sides to our personalities.

    One thing that I’ve had to point out repeatedly to my friend is that phrases like “too opinionated,” “too confident, and “asshole” (etc., insert whatever other negative descriptor/insult you can think of) are coded misogynistic terms used as a weapon against women. Even more insidious, this sort of phrasing is learned behavior embedded in society, to the point where you are using these putdowns against yourself. (Additional caveat: being opinionated or confident are not bad things, but it seems they’ve become negative terminology for you.)

    Consider this (or at least humor me are try for a few days to start): try rephrasing negative terms whenever you find yourself thinking or saying them.
    “Too confident, too opinionated, asshole, homebody, etc.” = Self-assured
    Secure
    Self-sufficient
    Certain
    Independent
    Can-do
    Decided
    Decisive
    Purposeful
    Resilient
    Home-loving
    Introverted

    If you need more or different words to help you expand and adjust your self-vocabulary, that’s okay! (Seriously, go to powerthesaurus.org… it will change your life. My favorite find when looking up a couple additions was “home bird;” it just makes me smile.)

    This isn’t the sort of transformation that happens immediately. I myself still struggle replacing my jerk reaction to say “sorry” with “thank you.”

    I’d wager your friends would characterize you closer to how I did my best friend; after all, good friends would *never* describe you the way you’re depicting yourself.

    #1092323 Reply
    ele4phant
    Guest

    WAIT…

    You don’t even like dogs? I missed that too. My brain is melting off at this whole situation.

    OP – are you someone that maybe struggles socially? Do you have a hard time interpreting social cues? I feel like that might explain how you both get the feedback you bulldoze people at work, but also here you are handwringing how to get yourself out of a social obligation, something that should be pretty simple and straightforward but seems really perplexing and fraught to you? Could also explain why you are so confused about what friendship is and what it should look like, seems like you almost view it in transactional terms and for you to be worthy of someone being your friend, you feel you have to do something for them.

    I mean, maybe I should hold my tongue, I’m not at all involved in mental health/psychology anything like that so maybe I shouldn’t even try to armchair diagnose.

    But, I just continued to be baffled at your perceptions and why this is even a thing.

    It’s easy – just, “Sorry this turned out to be more work than I realized. Can’t do it anymore. Let’s hangout soon though!”

    #1092332 Reply
    So long and thanks for all the fish
    Guest

    (Omg, so many typos in my last post… oops!)

    Part two! Sit back, this is gonna be a “fun” one.

    Continuing along the lines of “maybe it’s time to reexamine how we’re phrasing things to reflect how things *actually are* and not how we’re telling ourselves they are,” we’re going to go for a hefty dose of line item reading. And, over-achiever that I am, we’re going to start with your initial post and work our way all the way to your last response. 😉

    Why so much? Because once you start to cut and paste it all together, you can really start to see the underlying themes and thought processes going on.

    So, without further ado, I challenge you to reconsider these:

    First post:
    1. “I also lead the most boring life imaginable and almost never go out on weekends, which my friends of 10+ years know.” =
    – “I’m more of an introvert and prefer to use my free time at home (recuperating from the week, doing things I like to do, not being out in public, or what have you.). My friends understand and respect this about me, which is why we’ve been able to maintain our friendship for over a decade.”

    2. “I know this makes me super petty, but I’m starting to resent Morgan and Lane.” =
    – “The expectations for dog sitting have changed from our original loose arrangement, and now I need to renegotiate so our friendship doesn’t get damaged.” (Note, there is nothing about pettiness or self-judgment in my rephrasing.)

    3.”(again, it’s me being petty here…the round trip is only 40 minutes)…having to spend a full day with the puppy.”
    – Along with the petty, omit the “only.” Forty minutes is a fair amount of a drive; it’s more than a half hr podcast, for goodness sakes!
    – As a multiple pet owner, dogs (esp. puppies) take a lot of energy and attention; it’s reasonable not to want to spend your recharging-from-the-week time using up what energy you have left on a cute, furry bundle of perpetual toddler.

    4. “I totally understand that from their point of view, I would simply be sitting at home reading and eating my own food anyway, so why don’t I just go do the same thing at their house?”
    – How you spend your time is not theirs to judge (or for you to decide how they might judge you). On top of that, they *know* you value your alone time. That’s a fixed factor in your friendship. Going to someone else’s house to hang out instead of staying home is just as relaxing as staying in a motel instead of sleeping in your own bed (i.e. it’s not the same, and generally not as restful).

    5. “And as a bonus, I get to play with an adorable puppy.”
    – See #3: puppies are perpetual toddlers.
    – Also, see your future statements: you’re not a huge pet fan.

    6. “I’m feeling a lot of resentment, and a bit of guilt (about both the resentment and my unreasonable expectations)”
    – This one is going to sound odd, but let yourself feel these feelings for a little bit without judging yourself for having them. After all, regardless of how you got here, you’re in a situation that you’re uncomfortable with. Trying to suppress these feelings is only going to make you feel worse. Once you can objectively step back and say, “Yep, that’s how I’ve been feeling,” you can go talk to your friends without feeling overwhelmed.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.“I think maybe I presented myself in a better light than reality, and made my friends seem worse”
    -If you look at the responses, I don’t think there was an inherently better/worse dynamic. Up until this point in the convo, I think just about everyone in this thread agrees that because your friends don’t know there is a problem, there is a problem. Your friends sound like reasonable, fallible people who just need to be clued in to the full picture. In regards to “taking advantage,” this type of taking advantage is along the lines of winning a free movie ticket (vs. maliciously stealing a ticket from someone’s pocket).

    2.”The reason I say I’m petty is that the gas cost is really only $2 (or less) per round trip, so it seems awful to ask them to cover that”
    -$2 adds up over time. If it had just been one or two weekends pet sitting, I’d be right there with you; asking for $2 would sound ridiculous. But once they started asking you to come over every weekend, it’s absolutely valid to rethink what the actual cost traveling is. After all, it’s not just gas. It’s also the gradual wear and tear on your car, not to mention the value of your *time.*

    3.”Their jobs do pay really well, but they have mortgages (they have to help out their parents on both sides and cover their own mortgage) and they often lose track of their day-to-day spending (eating out, going to movies, etc.) so they hit the end of the month and things are tight until payday.”
    -This is a tricky one, and I’m actually only going to address this subject once because it’s so difficult. First and foremost, it’s not your job (or your place) to know your friends’ finances. The choices your friends make with their money are theirs to make, and whether they tell you what their situation is or not (or how they feel about it), it’s not your place to decide *how* they are doing or *what* they should be doing with their money. I’d even go so far as to argue that, going forward, you should shut down any conversations about money (or at least change the subject), because you seem to be internalizing their comments as A Problem You Must Help Them With. Couple that with some of their mixed spending messages—eating out rather than keeping food at home, going to movies, buying(!) a puppy from a breeder instead of adopting from a shelter—and regardless of how well or not you think they’re doing at the end of the month, you need to *NOPE* yourself out of their bank account.
    Once you do that (and stop assuming what they can and cannot do financially), you’ll feel a lot better and regain a ton of your personal autonomy.

    4.”But I do so knowing that I’m boring as heck and don’t need a lot of money since I don’t do anything”
    -This is the counterpart to #3. What you do with your money and how you value your time (and I can say from personal experience, being boring is *incredibly* valuable!), is none of their business. Whatever thoughts or opinions they might have about your money/time are irrelevant, and if they bring up either of those things, you should nope your way right out of those conversations, too. As an overall philosophy, friendships should not be value judgements/competitions. Shut those conversations down when they happen, from either direction.

    5.”I think I have just created this unreasonable expectation over the years that people I babysit for will feed me, because everyone did it naturally on their own, so I was disappointed that they don’t offer to do that or suggest another way to “thank” me.“
    -I know other people have said this already (but maybe this will have more weight coming from a cultural food anthropologist), it’s reasonable to expect there be some type of sustenance when spending all day at someone else’s home doing a favor for them. Across societies, this is a normal (generally unspoken) transaction. Of course, maybe they didn’t grow up with that sort of culture or it’s just not something they tend to think about. It’s absolutely reasonable to ask them to make accommodations for you when you’re visiting their home. After all, you’re still a visitor in their home, even if you are a close friend, even though you are there frequently, even though you are watching their toddler-pup.

    6.”I just feel so bad speaking up because I was the one (dumb enough) to offer in the first place…But it seems so rude to offer and then take back the offer, or add conditions to it.”
    -Consider this: Instead of picking on yourself (seriously, stop calling yourself dumb), what if you reframe your original offer as having stood for one or two times (as you implied). Now that you’ve gone beyond those initial pet sittings, it’s time to negotiate a new contract.

    7. “I was thinking of saying to Morgan and Lane that to make things easier for my planning and scheduling, we should agree on two set days a month that I would dog-sit for sure, and they could let me know if they don’t need me. Any days outside that, they can ask, but I would likely have something planned already. (Though I feel a bit guilty, because that’s obviously a lie, hahaha.)”
    -This sounds like a good start to that new contract, but I just want to refer you back to my very first comment on your initial post. Doing nothing *is doing something*. It’s not a lie. How you spend your time is valuable to you. You don’t need to justify it. Allot yourself the same time and respect you give your friends.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.Your response to ele4phant:
    a. “A new restaurant opened in town and they wanted to go, and then thought it would be a good idea to invite me. I checked the menu and could only eat two dishes, neither of which appealed to me, so I declined. They were disappointed enough that they then suggested various other restaurants in hopes I would join them. I had to say, “That’s ridiculous. The whole point was you guys wanted to try out that new restaurant. Just go without me!” But they were a bit hurt. They did end up going alone and loved the food, but later told me how much they wished I could’ve joined them and how they would’ve liked it better if I had gone with them.”
    -This is a miscommunication story; your friends’ invite was about spending time together, but it was a phrased in a way you thought it was about the restaurant. Maybe, in the future, it would help to brainstorm restaurants/activities you would *all* be happy with and just ask them to save the ones that don’t interest you for date nights. (Additional note, as someone who got married right before the pandemic, I can understand the real fear they might have of losing touch/time with their friends. It sucks when it feels like there’s a growing divide between your married and unmarried friends, and sometimes trying to overcompensate can lead to misunderstandings.)

    b. “So I would hurt them a lot if I told them the truth or said I don’t want to dog-sit at all anymore. I think in their minds, they ARE appreciating me by saying (or texting) “Thank you!” every time I dog-sit. And to be fair, I have always viewed my babysitting of humans, dogs, cats, reptiles, and rodents as something I do for someone in need, rather than as a service for payment. And I feel like they are in need, with everything going on in their lives.”
    -Let’s take the question of appreciation out of the mix here. Re, as sitting for friends as a favor for friends in need: it’s absolutely fine to want to help friends out! After all, friendships are about supporting and caring for one another. But a balanced friendship is understanding that different friends have different needs. It’s also important to realize that (like money) you need to let your friends decide what is a need and what is a want instead of trying to interpret for them. Good friends will respect your wants and needs in return, so instead of guessing and comparing (and devaluing your own wants/needs), just ask. Or don’t ask. But give yourself a break from trying to play both sides of the conversation in your own head.

    2.Your response to CanadaGoose =
    a. “Funnily enough, on days that I can’t dog-sit, they have to bring the puppy to either Morgan’s parents or Lane’s parents, and both sets live in the same direction as their work. But they told me they would prefer not doing that and would rather I look after the puppy. (From what they’ve told me, I’ve come to the conclusion that both sets of parents aren’t very attentive to the puppy. They have found poop or chewed up items in their houses days later…) I, on the other hand, live in completely the opposite direction! I also drive faster than they do, so my 40 minute round trip is 45 minutes for them. They would have to add an hour and a half of driving (to drop off and then come back and pick up) the puppy if they brought the fuzzball to me.“
    -Fun stories: I have a dog, a cat, and six birds (tiny finches… they’re super cute). Part of being a pet owner (or a parent, but I can’t speak from that pov) is knowing that no matter what happens during the day, I am responsible for their care. When I go out of town, I need to figure out how that care will be provided. If a friend or family member provides it, I am thank-you-on-my-knees-here-is-a-bottle-o’-bubbly grateful. If no one is available, okay. It’s still on me. My relationships don’t suffer if I need to find a sitter or schedule for my birds to stay with my vet for a couple of days. Sometimes I need to find other solutions, like switching to a dog friendly hotel. One holiday, we scheduled a kennel stay at a highly rated kennel, only to come back and find he had been practically ignored for the weekend. If I find my pet is getting subpar care, it’s still on me to find a better solution (and write a scathing review, of course). I will drive my pets two hours out of my way for them or buy train tickets for a good sitter. Point is, they’re my fur- and feather-balls, so I need to find the solution, not depend on someone else to take the lead.
    -I’m also going to refer you back to my #3 response to your initial post, re the drive, valuing your time and energy.

    b. “They ARE caring people and would feel terrible if I implied that they are taking advantage of me, because it isn’t their intention! But my doing that would really hurt them, which makes me feel awful and guilty. And I love your suggestions, but asking them to provide food makes me feel rude.”
    -I don’t think you’re going to be comfortable with my response to this one, and I respect that; it’s a difficult ask. What if it’s *okay* for them to feel terrible? If they’re truly caring people who want feedback so they can learn and adapt, as you describe them, *not* telling them is even more of a disservice. I would even go so far as to say that not telling them might be even worse than telling them. Bottling something up until it erupts always causes more damage to relationships than just calling out a behavior in the moment.
    -Couple my previous answer with #5 from your previous response; consider that devaluing your own needs so much might be “ruder” than just letting your friends know you’re a human being who needs food to survive! Good friends don’t let friends starve.

    ******
    Next response:
    About this point in the thread, we’re getting to the point where we can mostly just call out themes I’ve already mentioned. (I’m guessing that’s probably a bit of a relief! I did warn you I wasn’t going to be brief!)

    1.”To be fair, they do say something like, “No worries, we know it’s short notice.” Because unfortunately, they only know they both have to work a day or two beforehand. It’s not so much their reaction when I say I can’t go, it’s more my worries about their feelings if I try to stop the arrangement completely…But being in my current position and knowing what they’re going through is what’s making me want to avoid taking action.”
    – Here, again, we can see your friends being perfectly capable of adapting their plans, but by not addressing the fact that you need their go-to plans to change, they’re being put in the position where they’re consistently scrambling. Also again, you only know so much about their situation, and it’s not your job to manage it. If you let them know how you’re feeling, you’ll not only be taking the pressure off yourself, but you’ll empower them.

    2.”I feel obligated to help them because I feel sorry for them. Obviously, their current situation is their own fault. They made certain choices and now have to live with them. But I don’t want to be the kind of friend who is only there for them when their lives are going well, so I think I’m overdoing it with the “being there while their lives are NOT going well” instead…”
    -Two points here. First, rather than reinforcing friendships, feeling obligated to do something will more likely destroy them. Second, there are many different ways to show up for friends during all the lows and highs. Maybe you can’t offer dog sitting anymore, but you can offer time to unwind together. (And Zoom has helped us all learn how to watch movies and have coffee together without even having to put on pants!) Just talking and listening to friends is showing up.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”I’m a cold, unfeeling person, so I didn’t realize…it’s because they wanted to spend time with me and I made it clear that they weren’t important enough for me to want to spend time with them!”
    -See previous response about restaurant. Also, rephrase that “cold, unfeeling person” and “they weren’t important enough.” When you’re an introverted home bird who doesn’t feel like getting dressed to go somewhere they’re not interested in (<ahem> raises hand), that doesn’t make you a morally bad person. Likewise, saying no to an outing you don’t want to go to doesn’t cheapen your friendship.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”In real life, I’m a borderline asshole and my self confidence borders on arrogance…I have to keep myself in check! What seemed like “putting myself down” was me trying to be honest, because it’s hard to show my real self on the internet.”
    -See my original post!!

    2.“We enjoy spending time and hanging out with our friend Alea, but she has made it clear that she wants to see us less than we want to see her, and only for activities that she enjoys. She doesn’t like going out and doing things, so she prefers to come to our house or for us to go to her place. So she essentially gets to decide how often we meet and what we do. Once, we made plans to meet up at our house and hang out, then go out for dinner. We were running errands and realized we were in the same area as the restaurant, so we asked her if she would come join us at the restaurant and we could eat a late lunch instead, and then we would go back to our house and hang out. She declined.” =
    “We enjoy spending time with Alea, and like to keep an open invitation for her to join us. We understand she’s an introvert, though, so not every activity is for her. She prefers less pressured situations that are planned out in advance, so one-on-one home hang outs work best. Last minute changes to plans don’t work for her.”

    3.”For 10+ years, I’ve said no to them and they’ve had to accommodate me. (In my defense, I say no because they make sudden changes to plans, and I don’t like the new changes as much as our original plans. I know it’s selfish and rigid of me, but I don’t want to do have to do something I didn’t agree to in the first place. I have made plans to go out with them to do things or eat at restaurants, but not nearly as often as they would like.)” =
    “For 10+ years, they’ve accommodated me. I say no because last minute plan changes are not my cup o’ hot chocolate. While my friends like to eat out a lot, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Even though we have different styles, we are still good friends.”

    4.”I have no problem saying no when Morgan and Lane ask for something, but I dug myself into a hole by offering first…(I want to say “Sorry!” here, but am forcefully refraining.)” =
    “I have no problems saying no to asks, but have difficulty changing plans later.”

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”I think they are too embarrassed to tell me that they can’t afford to feed me! I eat more in a day than the two of them TOGETHER, and one of them is quite a bit taller and heavier (muscular) than I am. They struggle with their current grocery budget/bill, so to feed me for a day would probably cost them too much. I do eat too much for my size and structure (my doctors and dietician have run tests and said there’s nothing wrong with me, by the way) so I can’t fault them for not wanting to cover the cost of essentially feeding two people. But I think they couldn’t afford to feed one anyway.”
    -See comments about finances, needs/wants, and hoping your way out of their decisions. Also see, rethinking rudeness and omissions as disservice.

    2.”Morgan and Lane unfortunately don’t have friends like these, so if I can be this kind of friend to them, shouldn’t I try? I guess that’s the part of me that feels bad. Whether it’s karma or just being a good person, I should try to pay it forward?”
    -There’s nothing wrong with wanting to pay kindness forward! That said, there’s more than one way to do that. See alternative ways to support friends.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”I’m definitely a huge part of the problem in that I 1. Offered to dog-sit to begin with, and 2. Keep doing it even though I want to dog-sit less than I currently do.”
    -See previous comment about not putting yourself down and approaching the situation as a renegotiation.

    2.”My friends might be taking advantage of me, but they are not doing so intentionally. I have said no to them frequently as part of our friendship, so I do want to say yes in this scenario because I offered and because they really need the help right now.”
    -See omissions as a disservice, and needs/wants=nooooopppppiiiiinnnnnnggggggg.

    3.”I admit, I was hoping they would catch on themselves and realize I don’t want to babysit every weekend. But I suspect they either didn’t get the message, or they did but are pretending to misunderstand.”
    -See empowering your friends by not doing the disservice of not letting them make real, practical plans in advance.

    4.”The reason is that when I was probing to find out what they do on days where they have to work and I’m not available to dog-sit, they’ve told me that they have to bring the puppy to one set of parents, and they don’t want to do that. They would rather I come over…Essentially, I’m their best and easiest choice.”
    -See my tail (see what I did there?? 😉 ) of fur- and feather-ball caregiving.

    5.”I am not at a stage where I can break the dog-sitting arrangement completely. I just really feel it’s too selfish of me, considering how I’m leading a comfortable and happy life and they’re really struggling. I think the right thing to do is to help them while they’re down.”
    -See obligations ruining friendships; valuing your own time and needs; not deciding wants/needs for others (and removing yourself from their relationship/life choices); finding other ways to be a supportive friend.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”Yes, they’re making a lot of money but just breaking even. I’m not saying my friends made/are making wise decisions with their money, but they are in a difficult position where they have to help support their parents on top of their possibly unwise spending habits (which they learned from their parents!) so they struggle even though they make good money”
    -See removing yourself from your friends’ financial decisions.

    2.”While I agree with you in theory, I would be a hypocrite if I just left them to it and thought, “Your problem!” All my friends make way more money than I do, and everyone outside Morgan and Lane are extremely generous with me, and none of them have ever indicated that it’s my own problem for being “poor” since I chose a career that pays less.”
    -See removing yourself from your friends’ financial decisions and finding other ways to be a supportive friend.

    3.”There’s that dark side of me that does get annoyed with Morgan and Lane, and I’ll think, “Stop making stupid financial decisions!” But it’s easy for me to judge when I’m not in their shoes.”
    -See removing yourself from you friends’ financial decisions.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”I think there’s a misunderstanding that I’m a people pleaser and so I have a tough time saying no. It’s actually the reverse…I almost never please people, I easily say no, and this is one scenario where I actually feel guilt about saying no! I’m not a nice person normally, and here’s a chance for me to do some good for once. I don’t go around trying to be mean. It’s just that I’ve always cared about myself more than anything else, so I end up being a bit thoughtless, which isn’t a good thing.” =
    -“I value my time and interests, so I make choices that reflect that. I made a decision to try to help some friends, but it’s turned into an obligation. I’m an introverted person who doesn’t always interpret situations the same as others.”
    -See my very first post about reframing how you speak about yourself.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”When I say I’m boring, I don’t see it as putting myself down. I’m being honest and trying to be humble. Obviously, I personally don’t think I’m boring. I look at myself and think, “You’re the most fascinating person I know!” Now that’s narcissism at it’s best, hahaha. I had a childhood friend who joked that I’ve never met anyone I liked as much as I like myself. But I don’t expect other people to see me the same way I see myself. I’m happy with my life, but I think that to people who like to do things, my life seems boring.” =
    “I like my own company and I’m perfectly happy spending time on my own.”
    -See my very first post about reframing how you speak about yourself.

    2.”Did you read the fake letter I wrote on their behalf? I think that presents a more realistic picture of me. I essentially dictate how our social gatherings go, and I don’t show up if it’s not what I want to do and where I want to go and when I want to do it. From their perspective, they probably think I’m the jerk treating them like a doormat!” =
    -“Morgan and Lane are respectful of my introverted needs (and likely have other friends who are able to participate in more extroverted activities).”
    -Read again my reinterpretation of their letter! 😉

    3.”I actually had a manager who told me I was steamrolling people in meetings and I made it difficult for people to disagree with me. Obviously, that’s something I took away and am working on! But I told my manager that it’s also their responsibility to speak up and they can’t be afraid to disagree with me. It’s just that I can forget that I’m not the centre of the universe, so I need to consciously remind myself to have a care for other people’s feelings.”
    -See my very first post about misogyny and the ways in which women are labeled when they don’t conform to male expectations.

    ******
    Next response:
    1.”Would I be a bad friend for “coddling” friends with financial difficulties? It seems like that’s the opposite of the concept of friendship. Isn’t it the point to help out? I’m not saying I would give Morgan and Lane money, but if you had a good friend who needed help financially, you wouldn’t be there for them?”
    -See removing yourself from your friends’ financial decisions.

    #1092333 Reply
    So long and thanks for all the fish
    Guest

    So, if you survived Part Two, congrats! That was a deeper dive than even I was expecting. (Sorry, not sorry.)

    I guess the last thing I want to say, Alea, is that what everyone (and most my epic Part Two novel) has been trying to do is recommend you take another look at how you treat yourself.

    If anything, I challenge you to read all your words from Part Two out loud to yourself (in a mirror, if it helps) and imagine if you heard a friend say all of that about themselves/their friendships.

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Reply To: Petty and Selfish Friend- It’s Me. I’m the Friend!
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