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Old 01-13-2021, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default Tired of needy acquaintences.

I have a friend who is somewhat like me. We each live alone. We each are home a lot by ourselves, due to COVID. I'm fairly content being home by myself. I'm not particularly lonely. I've always enjoyed my own company, and I don't have much trouble keeping myself amused. I'm seldom bored. My friend has been calling me a lot - like almost every day. I get the feeling that she's bored and lonely. She calls up and doesn't have much to talk about. I feel like she calls wanting me to entertain her in some fashion. I'm getting weary of these calls. I don't want to be mean, but I'm thinking of just not always answering the phone when she calls. Can anyone relate?

I have two questions. First: Isn't it kind of needy for her to be calling me a lot when she hasn't much to talk about? Last night, she called me at 10:15 p.m. I don't go to bed till about 12, but I still think that's kind of an impolite time to call. Plus, the call was about nothing. Something on a local TV news program caught her attention, and she wanted to know if I'ld seen it. It wasn't anything of great importance. (Somebody vandalized a store in our neighborhood.) I really didn't care, but I acted mildly interested just to be nice. She wanted to discuss it, asking me why someone would do a thing like that. I don't know. I don't much care. I made some small talk. Then I told her I was tired and was ready to go to bed. I just said that to get off the phone.

My 2nd question is how to be less available for these boring phone calls, without seeming mean and unfriendly.

I have a similar issue with my neighbor. She keeps telling me to stop by for coffee. She also seems lonely and bored. When I stop by her apartment, she basically whines about stuff. I listen patiently, but there's a limit to how much I can tolerate hearing her complaints that just go round in repetitive circles.

I guess COVID is leading to people who live alone feeling isolated, bored and lonely. They don't have some of their usual outlets to engage in. I'm in the same boat, but I manage to pass the time in ways I find meaningful - cooking, reading, watching TV, tending to my bird feeders, caring for my plants, cleaning and organizing. I'm kind of flattered to be getting the calls and invitations to stop over. But I'm tired of catering to needy people. And I'm starting to resent feeling used. I wonder if I'm being too antisocial.
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

I think if you donít want calls at night you will need to let this friend know that you are only available to talk on certain days at certain times because you have other things you need to get done.

I donít think you are being antisocial as much as you donít want to become someone elseís caregiver. Itís actually great that you are once again learning you do enjoy your own company and are free to do things for yourself again.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

Thanks, O.E. I'm kind of surprised. I thought I would hate being alone. For 3 months, after my bf died, I did feel horribly alone. Then the grief eased. I learned that the awful pain of fresh grief is temporary. Now I'm able to enjoy my memories. I always did have a lot of interests. For years, caregiving pushed everything else aside.

I'm grateful for people who want to keep in touch with me. But they do tend to put me back in the role of caregiving. I guess it's true that "you teach people how to treat you." Not that I want to be alone all the time. I just want to avoid people looking to me to fill up some emptiness in their lives. I see now why they are so bored. They haven't cultivated interests. They never got into longterm relationships, as I did. When I was in fresh grief, they didn't encourage me to talk about it. They were just glad that now I was available to them. They didn't show much empathy for my sorrow, but now they prey on my sympathy.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

i think this covid has a lot of people more .. "clingy" ..."needy" .. not sure what term to use .. just they find someone willing to communicate with them and suddenly they cant stop reaching out to you ..
its awfully thoughtful of you to have :"taken her on" .. but yes .. let her know after ? pm to please not call you .. .
i know its a pain to stop what youre up to to chat about nothing with her but .. just try to not cut her off per say but let her chat, you pitch in some goofy ditty and kinda .. say hey it was great chatting ... thanks for checking in.. we will keep in touch.. il give you a call later this week or so .. and kinda treat it like YOU had called her and now YOU are done with why you had called her and end the call...
or .. answer and say something along lines that you do not have time right now to talk .. vauge is fine no reason to lie or blab your beeswax to her why you cant talk right now .. few quick yes no ok well hey gotta go but we will talk another time when im not busy ..
or .. you call her ... just say hi ... quick ditti something shes into .. then well just wanted to say hi while i had a minute ..
i know its a royal pain to deal with this sort of ordeal but if you have it in you to just try to hang in there ... i kinda believe she just NEEDS to have contact with a live person now and then... yep .. tag .. youre it but by being there she might not need to constantly keep reassuring herself that she has someone to call if she needs to....
she doesnt talk about anything because she isnt calling to talk about anything.. she calls for comfort of human contact ..
i dont know if this what is really happening in your situation but .. if you give her a yell now and then .. even during ur break at work or just a quick hey thougt of you thought id call ... try and have some silly tidbit specific to her to tell her during a call.. or a joke or did you see or i read ..no need to bring up any topic which would turn into some long drawn on discussion about it .. just some short blub to add interest to her day .. a: that you had thought of HER to know it would interest her & b: .. give her more variety to liven up her day..
plus you do not have to answer each time she calls you either ... thats fine too ..
but if at all possible just you casually and gently take charge of the lenght of time you want to spend on the phone with her. tell her tid bits about what you have been doing, what you are doing, ... share some of your life with her and perhaps she might decide to find some ways she can occupy her time too... maybe
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

Hey @Rose76: I'm wondering if you friend assumes you are still emotionally devasted by your loss to the point where they think you are lonely? Do you think that is the case? Or do you think the motivation from your friend is purely "selfish"(I dont mean that in a mean way) and she just wants to ease her feelings of loneliness? Do you feel that she attempts to lean on you a lot? What I mean is, is she someone you would say is a best friend? The kind of best friend that you feel held you up when you were first going through the early days of your bf's death? Or is she just a friend? Another thing that popped into my head was if she's just a basic friend and expects a ton from you then I dont know how fair that is to you considering what you have been through. But these are just speculations.

I think it would be good practice to do a few things. When she calls, maybe answer and say "hey can I call you back later on in the week, I am in the middle of______ (or something) right now and cant talk". I think this may help sort of...."train" her to know that sometimes when you answer you cant talk. Another thing would be to let some calls go to voicemail and skip a day before returning them unless its a dire situation. This may also help "train" her to know that you aren't jumping to call her back asap. Maybe sometimes answer, talk for 5 minutes and then "oh! I have to call you back, so-and- so is calling me on the other line" or "someone is at the door". I think little things like this could help her respect your boundaries better without you having to have some sort of conversation that could end up in hurt feelings. And if you choose to be direct and tell her when its too late to call or that you need space that wouldnt make you a mean person. It makes you a person trying to take care of herself, set boundaries, and learn to live post-grief. Just my thoughts.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

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I'm kind of surprised. I thought I would hate being alone. For 3 months, after my bf died, I did feel horribly alone. Then the grief eased. I learned that the awful pain of fresh grief is temporary. Now I'm able to enjoy my memories. I always did have a lot of interests. For years, caregiving pushed everything else aside.
Given all you went through with your partner, it was very understandable that you were overcome emotionally and hense you were often emotionally exhausted. It's actually normal to feel horribly alone as grief is such a personal experience and is often lonely because of that. When another person literally fills your life, it doesn't matter if you knew that the loss was immenent because that genuinely doesn't prepare you for what that loss is going to mean in terms of how much you lived your life around that person. You spent literally years of living a certain lifestyle and if that stops it's actually more of a shock then we realize. And unless another person has experienced this challenge, they won't understand it and give it the value it deserves.

In all honesty, I had a similar experience where I had lost both my parents and my MIL and my dog close together and there were a couple individuals that inserted themselves and their problems into my life and it was more of a "oh poor you, now me, me, me". It was the same thing where my boundaries were invaded and I did not deserve that. It's not a bad thing that you are noticing how this individual is starting to invade your space like this. It's actually showing a stage in your healing that means you are making progress in reclaiming your life and sense of self again. I respect the fact that you are being bothered but you don't want to be mean to this person but want to set better boundaries for yourself. That is actually something that impressed me about you in that you have the fortitude to think before you react.

At least this friend looked for something to talk about when she called you to talk about the news. What is a bother is how she began to take over when it came to thinking it was ok to call you at her whim and it's become more frequent and is beginning to bother you. Sometimes though, it's an annoyance like this can do us a favor because it shows us how much we are gaining ourselves back again. What I appreciate about this problem is how you shared about the things you are beginning to enjoy again. You have not talked about any of this for a long time. It's exciting and heart warming for me to see the progress you are making ((Rose)). What you shared are no longer things you have to do, but instead things you want to do and are beginning to appreciate again. Welcome home to Rose again!!

Perhaps one way to tackle this is to explain to this friend that you would like to set certain times for your conversations with her to help yourself regain a sense of control of your life again because for a long time you set your own needs aside to tend to your partners needs and now you need to take back more control over your life. I think given you know her better than me, you can do this tastefully.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

Thanks, que sera. I like your approacsuggestions and think I'll take that approach. COVID does seem to be a factor in making people not know what to do with themselves. I've always been kind of a loner, so COVID hasn't changed my life quite as much as it has other's. My friend got laid off, which abruptly severed her from her usual contact with people. She always told me she loved her job. Her relatives don't call her much, whereas I hear from my sisters several times each week. (Both our families live at a distance from us.) I'm beginning to think that a lot of people rely on work to structure their lives. I'm happy to be retired. I love being home. She seems not to.

I should appreciate efforts she did make to be nice. During the summer, she would call and offer to bring me some lunch from a take-out place. That's when my kitchen was a mess from repair work my landlady did. It was nice of her. I don't want to be hurtful. She never used to be "clingy" in the past, but that does sort of describe her now. Yet I think she would get reassurance from short exchanges on the phone. I always am the one to wind up the conversation, but she accepts when I say I have to move on to other things. You're quite right that her checking in with me seems to be a security thing for her. A brief chat about nothing or anything seems to basically satisfy her. I think I'll make it a policy to just not answer her calls after, say, 9:30 p.m. Sometimes I think she just tests limits. I've known her to do so with others. I can set boundaries without having to announce what they are. She'll catch on, as she is very perceptive.
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

i agree with the other wise, wonderful posters. Perhaps simply being honest and telling them that you don't feel like talking, or at least asking them to call you or go out for coffee when you feel to may be the best option. Hopefully they will understand! Sending many Safe, warm hugs to BOTH you, @Rose76, your Family, your Friends and ALL of your Loved Ones! Keep fighting and keep rocking NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, OK?!
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

I just wrote another post, but it vanished.

Thanks, O.E., for your encouraging words. I have to disagree with one thing. My grief, when it was severe, was not due to me missing a role I played that filled up my life. I was very in love with my bf, and I missed him. I wanted him back because he had loved me.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tired of needy acquaintences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose76 View Post
I just wrote another post, but it vanished.

Thanks, O.E., for your encouraging words. I have to disagree with one thing. My grief, when it was severe, was not due to me missing a role I played that filled up my life. I was very in love with my bf, and I missed him. I wanted him back because he had loved me.
YES ((Rose)) and that is most definitely the most personal and most challenging loss to learn how to accept. You have made some progress in that respect which is something that you did not think you ever could. That is a very personal journey and very deeply challenging.
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