I can't say anything, so I'm letting off steam here sorry!

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merryone

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My lovely, but set in her ways friend, the one who does the dreadful xmas party, has as usual arranged her birthday bash. She's been doing the same thing since her 21st, this one's gonna be her 48th! It involves a fairly bothersome and pricey train journey that involves a change, and a lengthy walk to the lake that she likes us to sit beside and have a picnic. The first year or so, it was quite fun, as everybody used to live close to one another, so we'd all meet at the station and go as group. She always has it on the Saturday nearest to her birthday, so as I work every other Saturday there's been quite a few occasions where I can't go. I don't enjoy it any more and I'm always pretty relieved when I can't make it. Not even torrential rain will stop her changing this arrangement, a couple of years ago, one friend suggested doing something a bit nearer home when the forecast was bad, but she'd have none of it! Last year she fell out spectacularly with this friend as she made a jokey comment along the lines of " well you do insist on dragging us out here every year". Anyway, she is livid with another of her friends who's cried off because she's been invited to a wedding reception so she can't go now. She was saying I invited her months ago, so she should stick with her arrangements. I kept shtum but obviously though, yes, wedding reception, picnic...mmmm let me decide! Yes had it been a big birthday for my mate, then different. She put an invite on FB a while back, and she's only had 2 takers, well three if you include the one who's now going to a wedding reception! There are reams of excuses. Anyway, you couldn't even make this up, her partner with whom she lives with came home from work yesterday with an invite to a wedding reception for them but it was on the day of the picnic, and he suggested perhaps to put the picnic on hold this year, or maybe give it a miss. She said she categorically won't go to the wedding reception as it's " her day", so her hubby has said he'll go on his own. She moaned and he backed down. I listen but I don't comment. I think she is on the spectrum, as she can't deal with change and lacks perspective. I'm unable to go this year, so happy about that. I also think that unless it's a biggie, is it necessary to have a birthday do every year? Each to their own I guess, thanks for listening. I love this lady and I couldn't tell her what I really thought as she wouldn't have the capacity to understand sadly!
 
That is not a friend, that is a control freak.
I guess that's what she would sound like, it's a weird one but I think she's afraid of not being in control of herself. I have known her for years and I really have come to the conclusion that it's some kind of spectrum related disorder...just the little things she comes out with, eg, in May, might ask" what are you doing on August 12th?" 'cause I'm thinking of going to the local park with a picnic. I find that odd as to me this is the sort of thing you might arrange casually no more that a week in advance. It would be something like a concert that would require such forward planning. She uses the 24hr clock, so she'd say I'll see you at 14.00, there's never a 2 ish or 3 ish. Good job she's really good company, and you really don't have to be on your best behaviour when she's around, but this constant planning of stuff that doesn't require planning is indeed difficult!
 
I think a lot of the problems are with me being a "pleaser", and I quite often don't say what I'm really thinking to avoid hurting someone's feelings. If invited to something I don't fancy, rather than just saying "thanks for asking but no thanks" I'd sooner concoct as reason as to why I cannot go. I am pretty lazy and these days I like nothing more than a easy night in, watching my favourite telly, maybe a glass or two of wine and it's loungewear all the way! When it comes to going out, then I consider myself quite difficult to entertain as I get bored very easily. I don't mind going out for a meal, going to see a show, concerts, these days I prefer classical, as you can just sit back, listen and relax. When it comes to pop music now I'm too old to pogo up and down or rush to the front, I'd rather not sit in an uncomfortable seat and see a dot on the stage, if I want to listen to their music I press play on my I phone. I'm fairly partial to seeing a tribute act in a pub or outdoor venue, where you're free to roam so to speak.
If I'm honest, It's good to get invites from people as it shows that they care about you and that means a lot and I'd hate for that to stop. I'm not able to go to my friend's annual picnic, but I just wished that she'd actually realise that it's a rather inconvenient and impractical arrangement and lighten up on it a bit. It really isn't worth falling out with people over. Of course when people are there and the weather's playing ball, they'll enjoy themselves, however I'm pretty damned sure that if asked nobody would vote for an hour long train journey, and mile long hike to the spot loaded down with a picnic and bags of booze and to make sure that you've got a load of 20 coins for the toilet, or it's the bushes lol! There are so many lovely picnic spots she could choose a lot closer to home and I'm sure she'd have a lot more takers if she suggested trying one of them out instead!
 
It is a shame she can't let go of something from the past, that was once achievable but now seems much less fun for the rest of her friends and acquaintances. It's good she has other qualities though!
 
I think a lot of the problems are with me being a "pleaser", and I quite often don't say what I'm really thinking to avoid hurting someone's feelings. If invited to something I don't fancy, rather than just saying "thanks for asking but no thanks" I'd sooner concoct as reason as to why I cannot go. I am pretty lazy and these days I like nothing more than a easy night in, watching my favourite telly, maybe a glass or two of wine and it's loungewear all the way! When it comes to going out, then I consider myself quite difficult to entertain as I get bored very easily. I don't mind going out for a meal, going to see a show, concerts, these days I prefer classical, as you can just sit back, listen and relax. When it comes to pop music now I'm too old to pogo up and down or rush to the front, I'd rather not sit in an uncomfortable seat and see a dot on the stage, if I want to listen to their music I press play on my I phone. I'm fairly partial to seeing a tribute act in a pub or outdoor venue, where you're free to roam so to speak.
If I'm honest, It's good to get invites from people as it shows that they care about you and that means a lot and I'd hate for that to stop. I'm not able to go to my friend's annual picnic, but I just wished that she'd actually realise that it's a rather inconvenient and impractical arrangement and lighten up on it a bit. It really isn't worth falling out with people over. Of course when people are there and the weather's playing ball, they'll enjoy themselves, however I'm pretty damned sure that if asked nobody would vote for an hour long train journey, and mile long hike to the spot loaded down with a picnic and bags of booze and to make sure that you've got a load of 20 coins for the toilet, or it's the bushes lol! There are so many lovely picnic spots she could choose a lot closer to home and I'm sure she'd have a lot more takers if she suggested trying one of them out instead!
Please yourself you dont owe anyone anything. Why go if you dont fancy it...sod it. Say no and you will be soooo happy
 
Please yourself you dont owe anyone anything. Why go if you dont fancy it...sod it. Say no and you will be soooo happy
I agree. I am going to try to please myself a bit more in the future. This case is a bit different as I know if I said "I don't fancy it" after so many years it would cut deep, especially since I'm one of the "originals" in that I went to her 21st birthday in the same venue. I have managed not to go on quite a few occasions because of work and this year I'm not going. It was last year she had a major bust up with a really good friend of hers because she actually said what probably a lot of us were feeling about this arrangement. I realise that I'm making her sound like a power freak, and she really isn't. She's a wonderful friend but has a lot of issues that other people can probably see better than she can - She is for the want of a better term "On the spectrum"
I will try and take your good advice Boffy, I promise!
All else I can say, is thank God for this place, I might not be able to sort everything out to my liking but I get to let off steam and get some blinking good advice. Thanks everybody!
 
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Like you Merry I find it very difficult to say no.

I think you have to weigh up the friendship against the once or twice a year rubbish event and decide which means more to you in the long term.
if she is slightly on the spectrum you know that it probably is going to be one or the other and if otherwise she is a good friend maybe it’s a case of trying to change your work Saturdays so that you only have to go every third year or grit your teeth .
Hard I know as I’ve been there and the T-shirt is in the wash!
 
I got an update on my friends annual trip, she did manage to get a small group of people together and considering only 2 or 3 people had responded to her FB call I thought she did pretty well. Under the pics she posted much smaller group this year, I won't keep trying! She messaged me this morning about something completely unrelated and I said so that was your last one then! Glad you got a few people but I guess there's only so much stress you can take. I guess something a bit closer to home will be a lot easier, don't blame you. Got a confused response "What are you talking about"? I said the comment you put under the pictures...."I won't keep trying" She replied I thought I'd put "I won't stop trying!" Oh dear lol!
 
I got an update on my friends annual trip, she did manage to get a small group of people together and considering only 2 or 3 people had responded to her FB call I thought she did pretty well. Under the pics she posted much smaller group this year, I won't keep trying! She messaged me this morning about something completely unrelated and I said so that was your last one then! Glad you got a few people but I guess there's only so much stress you can take. I guess something a bit closer to home will be a lot easier, don't blame you. Got a confused response "What are you talking about"? I said the comment you put under the pictures...."I won't keep trying" She replied I thought I'd put "I won't stop trying!" Oh dear lol!
I think this is one where you have to deal with absolutes. The question she needs to think about: is it more important to keep going back to the same place OR is it more important to get together with all your friends?
 
I think this is one where you have to deal with absolutes. The question she needs to think about: is it more important to keep going back to the same place OR is it more important to get together with all your friends?
I totally agree, but knowing the way her mind works she wouldn't be able to think like that and I think she'll always put her own wishes first and accuse the friends with disloyalty. From what I can see, nobody wants to be the one to be frank and say "Look, we love enjoying your birthday with you, but this arrangement is becoming more and more impractical as the years go by, would you not consider choosing a venue that's a bit more accessible! It's a lot easier to make up an excuse and not go to avoid the fall out knowing how much it would hurt her. When I saw her last she was upset that one of her oldest friends can't come because her husband's working that day and her mother can't have the kids - my friend said I know Sally, if she really wants to do something, she'll find a way, so she clearly isn't bothered - and she hardly ever contacts me these days, it's always me doing all the running - yes dear, she's married with kids these days and her time isn't her own! At least it's another year before I have to find a suitable excuse or hopefully find that I'm on shift at work that day!
I still can't believe that for one moment I thought she'd announced she'd put a stop to it - It could have only have been a misprint!

I would really like to thank you and the others who respond to my helpless rants, it helps so much to get it off my chest. I would love to talk to one of her other friends but her friend group is so ecclectic and none of her friends are friends with each other if that makes sense, so we can't really have any kind of conflab in order to try and make her see sense in the nicest possible way.
 
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Heard from her today as we usually have an early morning chat before she starts work (she works from home lucky thing) and if I'm on a day off. She mentioned that she asked her brother why he didn't turn up, and he said that he had only said he'll try to make it, but on the day it was so blinking hot that he and his wife didn't feel up to a 20 mile journey (40 if you include the return trip) so they just popped down to beach instead - "Charming" she said, so I just said I guess if you're not feeling up to it, then I guess it would seem quite a daunting prospect and that there's also a lot of walking involved too - I started typing "perhaps it's time to..but then I chickened out and said, never mind, at least you had a great time! She said well I'm seeing my brother on my birthday, well that's if he can be bothered!
 
Narcissism at a high level …
...and the bottom line is that she's not happy with her lot. Like most people, when young had hopes and dreams for her future, none of which have worked out the way she planned. She's got to the stage now where she realises that these dreams are no longer a possibility, therefore is clinging onto the past for dear life. Having never needed to prioritise having a family to care for, career commitments, buying her own home etc, the sole focus is on distractions such as days out like this. I see this as her way of avoiding depression, and I guess by shifting the blame onto others, she doesn't have to look inside herself and dwell upon the things that aren't right in her life. I spill on here because it helps me greatly and again folks, thanks so much for listening!
 
Well she's at it again! Xmas party - A couple of weeks ago she messaged me to say that she was really cheesed off as she'd discovered that the day of her party (Dec 17th) that's she's had planned since September that there's going to be strikes/disruption on the railway. Her suggestion rather than cancel or choose an alternative day was that we caught a bus to hers. Meet in pub for a couple round about lunchtime, then go to hers for a few hours and last bus back is 6pm (but better than nothing). To be honest, that plan would suit me much better anyway. She keeps updating people about the trains saying they're not striking but there's a lot of disruptions and possible cancellations - I just said look I'll stick with the bus option, rather than chance not being able to get home later. I again suggested that she changed the date, but she said it's organised now so I can't change it (even though at this stage, she'd have been giving people a month's notice) Anyway, message today, she's had a brilliant idea, that everybody comes by train or bus and then to get home that people share a taxi home and pay the £35 fare between us! That depends obviously upon how many people from my neck of the woods actually turn up and we'd all have to agree upon a time when we all leave. A regular cab will take up to 4 passengers, so that would cost more than £8 each, take into account the £6 train or bus fare to get there, and of course if there's only 2 or 3 people going back in a cab, that's even more money. I don't mean to sound tight fisted, but that's a lot of money to spend just to go to something I'm not over fussed about. Like I said, I'm happy to get a bus there and back, but I don't want to feel under pressure to hang around until late to save other people cab fare!
As always, I know she looks forward to these get togethers (or parties as she likes to call them) but I think what I would've done is inform everybody I've invited that have to use public transport to get there that there are problems and either put forward the suggestion that the date be changed and if no one could agree on a suitable alternative then just say I'll do open house from Midday, buffet, mulled wine, mince pies etc. I just couldn't suggest that people shell out for expensive cab fares!
 
I would be fairly blunt and tell her.

And if the other cab-sharers didn't turn up (eg illness) you'd be lumbered with the £35 cab fare.
Exactly! I think I'd have to phone oh and beg him to come and collect me, but knowing my luck he'd say sorry but I've had a couple of beers so no can do! so I'll definitely be getting the bus there and back. To be honest, it's not really up to her to suggest that anyone should get an expensive taxi home, it just adds pressure. If a couple of guests come up with the idea themselves on the day fair enough. I just wish she'd be a bit more casual about her planning, arrange a meeting time that everybody can make using public transport and then leave it up to her guests when they leave and how they choose to get home. I dunno, cancel, or not cancel? tbh I very much doubt if anyone would be that upset if she cancelled. I just think she'd be better off just saying, party might be a bit different this year due to problems with public transport, so I'm gonna have open house from midday, let me know if you're coming, stay as long as you possibly can travel permitting, bring drink if you want, but I'll be providing a buffet, mulled wine and mince pies - That sounds really inviting. She's got enough people who live locally so I doubt that it would be a damp squib if she put it that way
 
I suspect that that £35 will not be £35 during the weeks running up to Christmas.
I agree. And Ubers, if that's available, will be affected by surge pricing no doubt.
Merryone, I think your friend who only does tramlines will have to accept that even without a strike, cost of living considerations will mean some people crying off as they set their budgets and priorities for the festive period.
Far better if she can accept that she cannot expect anyone to factor in taxis that close to Christmas and go with your idea... and stick with the buses.
If it was me, I would be driving and definitely not drinking anyway... but if the main event is having some booze I think I'd have bowed out years ago, tbh.
I admire your kindness and loyalty that you are still focused on giving your friend some great options that should keep most happy, and your friend's party viable on her planned date.
 

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