Oh wow! THANK YOU ALL! It is so nice of you to share your thoughts, advice & experience. I really appreciate it & it has really helped. I don’t feel as alone & it has helped me to think about things and try to be more aware and a stronger person. I know it is hard to give advice without knowing both sides. Thus I tried to be as objective as possible (which my head has gone round & round logically about this for so long) and yet express my emotional – that this hurts. Ouch.
I am so sorry if you had to go through similar experiences as well. 🙁
To answer some questions…
I call/text/email friends because I think of them and care about them. I want to know how their day/week was, bad or good. And if we don’t talk for a period of time, it doesn’t bother me as I know we all have very busy moments in life. When I see silly things that remind me of friends, or remember they were searching for something, I either buy that object or let them know ASAP where I saw it. And I check in on friends for birthdays and also if they had a baby or an important doctors appointment, etc. My friends seem to like my cooking, so I try to bring them some food, especially during tough times. It just feels normal to do. I care about them! And I like doing something cause I care, I don’t want have to stop doing things because of wondering if someone is taking advantage or not – it feels like I’m lying to myself, and not being “me.”
There is 1 friend whom I watch her cats, house & dog, on a regular basis and store her bikes/motorcycles in my garage during the winter. So now, once a year I find out what dates aren’t going to be bsuy for her & that she will be intown, and I plan a trip. She very nicely stops in every few days to check in on my cats (of course- I am the “crazy” cat lady :P). But that is the only time I ask for help. The rest of the time I call her to ask how she is, and email her freelance design contacts/jobs, and silly things or things she has talked about. But it hurts when she asks me to watch her dog, to then find out she went camping to out to dinner with some mutual friends. Clearly I am the boring friend! But I love camping!
And a great question – have I ever asked for help?
RARELY. But yes, when I was housebound I thought to myself, “Would I like it if my friend didn’t contact me because he/she was afraid of bothering me?”. So I did attempt to reach out, even just to ask if someone wanted to come hang out. And it made me sick and feel utterly worthless the response I got. Another friend, bless her heart, facebooked me saying to come to her house for pie. hahaha! 🙂 Even though I was wheelchair bound! It made me laugh, that she didn’t get the concept of me being stuck in the house, in a wheelchair, in winter. But also sad as I continued to take care of her cat for the 2nd year in a row while she was supposed to be finding a home for him (I finally found a good home for him). BUT, I did try, I guess it was bad timing and everyone was busy those months.
Finally, it is true. I really did let it get this way!
I suppose I really shouldn’t complain then … I don’t mean to complain. It just hurts and I am at a loss at what to do. So I suppose all my life I have failed to recognize when someone may be taking advantage. I am just the way I am. I had forgotten the number of times people still owe me rent money, CD’s, clothes, or neighbors using my garage and damanging my car… etc. And after trying 1 time to ask for things back and people saying “yeah, yeah I will get it to you”, I am afraid to nother them again. In fact, I lent someone (a friend of a friend) a portable garden gazebo and when I asked nicely if there was a time that worked for me to pick it up, she told me “I don’t know where your f*&*% gazebo is, I moved. Not my problem.” I would never DREAM of 1.losing someone’s elses property 2.speak to someone like that, let alone after losing someone else’s property <<sigh>>
It wasn’t until the housebound incident that I realized the imbalance with friends and had hoped it was just a phase in all our busy lives. But I am a bit like a “labrador dog” (for lack of a better analogy), if someone asks for something, I am always so excited to help or parttake. I don’t slow down and think it over or say “no”. I just trust that everyone has good intentions. Even now I feel so guilty and awful asking for advice. I have never liked drama, or when people do one thing but then say another. I have always felt like you should just be who you are and assume the best in everyone… yet now, after assuming the best in everyone I feel quite alone.
Anyways, I guess I just need to somehow find the balance of just being myself, but being myself around “better” people.
I am terrified to start planning my wedding – what if no one wants to come? I’m afraid even my father can’t be bothered to show up. 🙁 Or what if I pick a date that doesn’t work well for others – like I experienced with my mom’s funeral?
My fiancee, lovely man, is just as easy going as I am. We are bit like the 2 lovebirds in “Amelie” – both shy, quiet only-children, picked on as kids or didn’t have many friends. Am grateful we found each other!!! 🙂 I hope we can be a little bit stronger.
Anyways, I am babbling. Annoying habit I have when I write & drink coffee! Sorry! Thank you again. I hope I can be of some help, or offer some sound advice someday.
Wishing everyone all the best! xox