Is this still a friendship?

cube1067April 2, 2003

Last week I arranged with my coworker/ friend to pick me up from my mechanic this Wednesday; IÂd call him from the mechanic and tell him where to meet me. On Monday he asked if I was still doing the mechanic thing on Wednesday; I said yes. Today, Wednesday, I call to tell him where to meet me and heÂs not at his desk. I call 4 more times in 45 minutes  no answer. I take a taxi to work (arriving 40 minutes late). Ten minutes after I get in, here comes coworker saying he forgot about our arrangement, he left home late because he was debating on whether to go to an old school friendÂs funeral  it was an friend he hadnÂt seen since elementary school and heÂd seen an announcement in the Sunday paperÂhe got my messages but he didnÂt know where to meet me (I left messages saying IÂd call him again: I knew he needed directions from me but after the last call IÂd opted for a taxi).

We all have our demons. Coworker turned 41 two weeks ago and I heard from his wife that he seems depressed about it. So a peers death may have thrown him. But one of my demons is that I canÂt seem to find reliable friends  friends who eagerly do stuff for ME. I am the supportive cheerleader for my friends and I cannot seem to get that in return and I WANT that.

I donÂt think I have a real friendship here. I donÂt think a friend forgets about doing a favor for you. Someone told me ÂthatÂs just the way men areÂ. Another woman said her husband told her sheÂd better put it (whatever it is heÂs Âspose to remember) in front of his face every day or he will forget to do it. I wonder what kind of mate is that?! ItÂs the little rememberances that make coupledom special, isnÂt it? I canÂt imagine feeling warm and fuzzy about a man who nonchalantly forgets to pick me up from someplace. Especially if IÂm cooking his meals, washing his clothes, cleaning his house, and taking care of his kids!

Thing is, having friends *forget* about me has happened before and each time, because of the way I feel, the friendship fades to nothing. I feel very cold toward coworker now.

Is it still a friendship when someone disappoints you like this? Do you see this as a minor infraction? Have I been single so long that I've lost understanding of the nuances of relationships between people?

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We all need someone who will be there for us as required, but unfortunately it's not all that common. This man obviously had a number of things on his mind, and he can't be blamed for prioritising them. I do wonder whether perhaps you might have stretched the friendship by asking for several or many such small favours in the past. Perhaps you've never had to rely on only yourself before. Perhaps you've done many favours for him, too, but maybe he has the impression that there might be strings attached. Rightly or wrongly, we can't know. A lot of people try to buy friendship by making themselves available, and then expecting and demanding returns. I don't say you're like that, but that is often how kind and giving people are perceived by those who are a little different. I say, shrug it off, don't make too big a deal of it. The man's age has nothing to do with anything - I'd say his grief was definitely a contributing factor. In a similar situation, I wouldn't have rung more than twice to remind him. I would have immediately begun to make alternate arrangements, assuming (since he was at work) that other matters kept him from keeping his promise. I think possibly you have very high demands/expectations from your friends, and that you are easily disappointed when they can't reach those exalted heights.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 4:39AM
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I think that's a very fair assessment. I do "buy" friendship with kindness (and in the past, money) and I am very disappointed when my kindness is not eagerly returned. So far as asking for favors - I NEVER ask; I take self-reliance to the Nth degree. An acquaintance once said to me "You just hate to ask for help, don't you". My original plan was to schedule a taxi, but then I thought of those words, and decided to ask this coworker for a favor; I've been more than kind to him, so let's see if he'll be kind to me. The car dealer is close to work, not a major inconvenience, but not walk-able. I was internally thrilled when the coworker said OK. Someone actually agreed to do me a favor! I really have a friend!

So when I saw this plan going bust it just confirmed my worst belief that no one really wants to be kind to me if there's no payoff for them. But your assessment about my "buying" friendship - I think it's on the mark. BTW, I did leave only two messages; I hung up all the other times that I called. And I knew there was something else going on with me: I mean, if my original plan was to take a taxi, why am I so bent out of shape that I ended up having to take a taxi? You cleared it up: I have secret expectations (hopes?) that my friendship is so "valued". But it isn't, because it was never really cultivated by the other person.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 9:04PM
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I'm so glad you weren't offended at my comments. But I think perhaps you misunderstood my statement, which you interpreted as having your friendship 'valued'. I suggest it probably is valued, but that your expectations of other people are unrealistic, and therefore people can't meet them. Do you see the difference? I once had the same problem, but once I got real, things began to change - for the better. One of the hardest things we have to do is to admit a fault in ourselves, and do something about it! Don't let this disappointment change the way you treat this man. Have some understanding for his predicament, forgive, and start again as if nothing had happened. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 10:52PM
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Cube I dont know you. My thinking is based on my own age and experience as a single woman. the coworker/friend is married. The man may have felt awkward taking an office relationship with a woman "out" of the office. If it was uncomfortable for him at all and he didnt want to deal with it, he just conveniently "forgets" his promise to you and has a backup of a sad situation (dead classmate) to bail him out. and no, I would not want to be his wife.
At least now you know the limits of his friendship.

Dont beat yourself up for being disappointed.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2003 at 11:54PM
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cube, i think jessiecarole hit the nail right on the head.

lesson to be learned? don't ask favors of married men...any married men. they all run just a little bit scared of their wives, and are unreliable for favors to single ladies.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2003 at 5:57PM
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