I feel so uuuussseeedddd!
January 25, 2011 8:31 PM Subscribe
I feel like a lot of my friendships are a one way street. I'd like to add another lane.
posted by geegollygosh to Human Relations (21 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm the kind of person that people call when they want help doing some kind of monotonous task or when they need a shoulder to cry on. I am happy to be that person, but only if I am also the first person they call when they have something fun and positive going on, and a lot of the time I'm not. I feel like I put in a lot more to some of my relationships than I get out. I don't want to be the crisis friend unless I'm also a friend during the good times.
So my question is-- what is it about me that makes people think that I am that person? And I know that the obvious answer is: "because you are willing to be that person," and I think that's part of it, but not all.
I don't really think my problem is not being able to say "no." I can say no, I do say no... But I feel like I am approached for favors more than other people, which puts me in a position of saying no all the time or being a doormat. I don't want to be an unhelpful person, I don't want to be a person who won't do people favors. But I also don't want to give casual friends the impression that I am the person (out of a pool of closer friends) they should call if they need someone to help them de-louse their head on a friday night. (true story!) How do I find the middle ground?
But on the topic of saying no-- how do you say no when someone a few levels up from acquaintance is asking you to spend your night combing them for knits? A lot of what people ask me to do would be totally legitimate if I felt like they would do the same for me. I'm fine with telling people no in many situations, but it's really difficult to tell someone calling in tears "I'm sorry you're getting divorced, but you didn't even invite me to your wedding, so I don't know why I should spend the next hour listening to you cry about it." Why would that person feel like it was appropriate to call me in the first place? Is that normal, or is it some kind of vibe that I'm giving out?
oh, and I've seen the 'ask vs. guess' culture response on metafilter to preempt people from linking to it, but I think this is a different situation... because I wouldn't have trouble telling someone 'no, you can't stay with me' or 'no, I can't lend you $50 right now.' But I feel like the situations I outlined above are a little different... Maybe not. Let me know what you think.