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Friends are telling me it's bad...is it?

Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed VigiloConfidoRegistered User regular
edited October 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
There is a lot of history in this situation, but if I told you the whole story, it would take me a month to type this post. So I'll just describe where things stand now and if some additional information becomes necessary, I can present it at that time.

I have a friend, we'll call her Penny.

1. When we lived in apartments about 30 ft from each other, we would often spend late nights chatting over coffee or sometimes just studying at a table together so we'd have someone else in the room breathing. This was initiated by her just as often as it was by me.

2. Not once in the 4 years we've been friends has Penny remembered my birthday; I'm not even talking about a present or anything, just that she never even acknowledges the day itself. I have always remembered hers and given her something...a book, or a CD, something small. When she was abroad, I had a cheesecake delivered to her dorm room so she would have some Western sweets. She seemed to appreciate these things.

3. Penny takes offense when I send multiple small e-mails instead of one big one because as you know, thoughts don't always come together all at once. She uses GMail, so all the e-mails enter her inbox as one item anyway -- it's not like the multiple e-mails are filling up her space. (This happened once. I avoided letting it happen afterward.)

4. Penny often ignores things I say, not answering texts or e-mails as simple as, "Hey we're playing a boardgame Friday, want in?" She expresses annoyance at even these single messages.

Now, the question:

My friends are telling me this is a terrible friendship, that Penny is "a taker", and that I should stop putting effort into that friendship. Are they right?

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Gandalf_the_Crazed on

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    HK5HK5 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    She sounds a little self absorbed. Do you feel taken advantage of or are there aspects of your friendship with Penny that make up for these small conflicts? Nothing you've stated seems that bad it just sounds like a typical casual friendship that hasn't deepened because you're not that compatible as friends. Terrible definitely sounds like an overstatement.

    HK5 on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Unless there's something you haven't mentioned: she killed your cat, stole money from you, or punched you in the face, I would have a very hard time describing the friendship as "terrible." It does sound a little one-sided; either you like her more than she likes you, or (more likely, imo) you're just a nicer person. If it's bothering you than you can always drop the friendship. She's probably not going to change, but you always get to choose your friends.

    If it's not bothering you, than why do you care what your friends think?

    admanb on
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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neither of you seem to be putting much time/money/effort into the friendship, per the OP. I fail to see what she is "taking." She is just someone you know who is annoyed by some things. Maybe a little inconsiderate that she doesn't respond with even a "yes/no" to invitations.

    Do you have reason to believe anyone thinks you are attracted to her?

    starmanbrand on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2010
    Um, if you enjoy the friendship as it is and these things don't bother you, I guess it's not a big deal. I mean, as long as you can see that you won't get any more out of it than you are now.

    If it were me, I would probably continue to be what sounds like acquaintances more than friends, only I'd actually treat her as I would an acquaintance. Her birthday would get a 'happy birthday' and nothing more, and I probably wouldn't bother going out of my way to email her or anything.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    rabidrabbitsrabidrabbits Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    How much effort are you putting into this friendship and what expectations do you have of it? I haven't heard enough about Penny to say one way or the other, but it seems to me like she's got a casual, low-expectation friendship with you, and you want more out of it. For example, she may not expect gifts on her birthday. I certainly don't expect any gifts from anyone on my birthday (and I'd probably get sad if I don't get *any*), but all the ones I get are very appreciated.

    Also, the inbox thing is weird, I'll grant you that. But that just brings up the question of why you two don't text instead of small emails?

    rabidrabbits on
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    Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Do you have reason to believe anyone thinks you are attracted to her?

    Yes. Was and am (it is weirdly persistent), but we accepted that fact a long time ago and decided to be friends anyway, and I've continued to look around for other people I'm attracted to. Nothing's worked out yet, but you know, I'm on the lookout -- as opposed to just mooning around waiting on her.

    Gandalf_the_Crazed on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2010
    Okay in that case you should almost certainly not spend money on her.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah, this is why your friends have a problem with the situation. This is one of those situations where she is indifferent to your friendship and your constant attempts to "think of her" or "be nice" are probably taken in a creepy way.

    starmanbrand on
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    IMO, the info you presented is not enough to make the girl "a taker" or a bad friend. Perhaps just not vigilant about reading and responding to e-mails.

    LadyM on
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    lsukalellsukalel Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I have a few questions

    1. Deep down do you hope that she will come around and be with you?

    2. Does any attraction you have to her, cause you to do this stuff for her?

    3. What do you mean by you recognized it and agreed to remain friends?

    Here is my read of the situation, based on the very little information provided. Since you have stated you are still into this girl and she knows you are into her at least on some level it is very likely that you are doing and taking these actions in an attempt to get her to come around. She can recognize this and it probably makes her uncomfortable , but she doesn't know how to address it.

    Advice:

    1. Politely cut off contact with her for a while. You have to get her out of your system
    2. Do something to keep your mind occupied.
    3. REALLY look for other women, instead of being "friends" with this girl. It is holding you back. I am not saying you can't be friends one day but right now it could be hurting you.


    Example

    I was in the same boat, cut off contact radio silence, met ex gf, 3 years later me and the girl are actual friends with no remote feelings. We laugh about it.

    lsukalel on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    2. Does any attraction you have to her, cause you to do this stuff for her?

    I think that question answers itself.

    Zombiemambo on
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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    2. Does any attraction you have to her, cause you to do this stuff for her?

    I think that question answers itself.

    Agreed. lsukalel nailed it with their bulleted list. To me it sounded like you're attracted to her, and she's trying to ignore it/hoping you back off.

    Multiple emails is something you do with people you like, ditto with buying gifts unless it's common with all friends.

    MichaelLC on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I don't know, maybe Penny can't afford to buy you things for your birthday and feels bad about it. That may be why she doesn't acknowledge the day at all. Then again, gifts are gifts, you shouldn't expect reciprocation from anyone. (And she may even be a Jehovah's witness and they don't celebrate birthdays)

    I don't see anything being a huge glaring problem. Have you tried talking to her about it and see why rather than take what a friend says at face value? I often get annoyed at getting 4-5 emails about small things, I'd rather get talked to face-to-face about stuff like that, or, if it is a habit of someone, write it down and send them all at the end of the day or something. As for single one line texts, maybe she doesn't like texts, maybe she prefers phone calls?

    Just seems more like a "you differ from my friends and I and they think you're terrible." sort of situations rather than anything being really wrong about it. If we account for the birthday thing as a "I feel bad, but I'm broke sorry, and I think you'd be offended by just a card" then there is pretty much nothing wrong other than a personality difference there.

    That's my not so humble opinion, anyways.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Being friends with women is always a little one sided. Honestly she doesn't sound all that bad. Then again, I've been friends with true soul leechers.

    lsukalel advice is some grade A stuff, I would take it to heart.

    Casually Hardcore on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Stop spending money on her, stop emailing her, basically, take it down a notch. You'll find out how much she thinks of you then. When girls have a guy (or vice versa i'd imagine) doting on them that isn't their boyfriend, they can take it for granted. When you stop, she'll either come after you, or you'll be in the same boat you're in now with more money in your pocket and fewer girls being irritated at you.

    It doesn't sound like she's a "bad person" but she definitely doesn't seem as invested in the friendship as you seem to be.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    You're just doing something that nerdy guys often do before they wise up. You can certainly be friends with her, but stop hoping that if you spoil her and adore her with little gifts and kindnesses that she will eventually discover the deep love you share. She's just a friend, and a slightly selfish one at that. Selfish friends are good friends too, as long as you realize they're selfish and make sure to maintain the give/take balance.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah, this is why your friends have a problem with the situation. This is one of those situations where she is indifferent to your friendship and your constant attempts to "think of her" or "be nice" are probably taken in a creepy way.

    This. She isn't your bff or your girlfriend or even a close friend. She's a neighbor you have coffee with and that's it.


    2: Have you ever told her this upsets you? Yea it sucks to have a friend not acknowledge your birthday but you sound more like neighbors/acquaintances than good buddies and it sounds like you're going overboard on her birthdays. After the first year she didn't get you something why are you still buying her gifts? Just tell her Happy Birthday from now on and move on.


    3: It happened once, get over it. Seriously. People have pet peeves, you now know this is one of hers and you haven't done it again. Why is this an issue?


    4: And get over her not getting back to you. She doesn't like getting random 'Let's hang out' texts and you know it but you send them anyway and get annoyed when she doesn't respond? If you really want to hang out with her call her, but stop doing something you know bothers her.

    VisionOfClarity on
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    jedikuonjijedikuonji Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I'm also in the "not really seeing anything bad" camp. Some people aren't good with birthdays. Some people don't want half a dozen pointless emails. Some people don't answer every text message. Rather than get upset over it, accept that she isn't the friend you should be sending email thoughts. On the text issue, rather than assuming you're being ignored or taking offense that she didn't respond, do what I do, assume that silence = not interested and get on with the day.

    jedikuonji on
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    DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Usually, when a guy feels a friendship with a girl is one-sided, its because he is looking for more then a friendship. The fact that youve admitted that you're attracted to her pretty much solidifies this.

    This is the type of situation where if you actually want to / could be friends, it probably wont really happen until after you've moved on. You need to stop focusing on her. The fact that you're even worked up enough about the situation to ask for advice tells me shes on your mind too much. You probably need to drastically reduce if not completely eliminate your contact with her for a few months or so.

    Really, until you dont care about how shes reacting to your efforts, she probably wont react the way youd like. Your attraction to her is skewing this thing both ways. She doesnt want to be the object of your desire and as long as she is, shes not going to really open up to letting you in as a friend much.

    Disrupter on
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    NartwakNartwak Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    My friends are telling me this is a terrible friendship, that Penny is "a taker", and that I should stop putting effort into that friendship. Are they right?
    They're somewhat mistaken. You should stop putting effort into the terrible friendship because you're being "a creeper".

    Nartwak on
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    KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Stop spending money on her, stop emailing her, basically, take it down a notch. You'll find out how much she thinks of you then. When girls have a guy (or vice versa i'd imagine) doting on them that isn't their boyfriend, they can take it for granted. When you stop, she'll either come after you, or you'll be in the same boat you're in now with more money in your pocket and fewer girls being irritated at you.

    It doesn't sound like she's a "bad person" but she definitely doesn't seem as invested in the friendship as you seem to be.

    Pretty much this.

    Kyougu on
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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    It's my feeling that friends shouldn't be expected to remember each others birthdays.

    Also a non-response to an invitation to a group event is generally a no.

    How many messages do you send her? I can see reason to be annoyed at a lot of little messages when one larger one would do.

    oldsak on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Nartwak wrote: »
    My friends are telling me this is a terrible friendship, that Penny is "a taker", and that I should stop putting effort into that friendship. Are they right?
    They're somewhat mistaken. You should stop putting effort into the terrible friendship because you're being "a creeper".

    Short. To the point.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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    Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    For the record, people are jumping the gun when they think I'm upset by her not remembering my birthday and things like that. These are reasons my other friends were giving me...obviously if I personally found these things glaringly problematic, I wouldn't be here asking for opinions.

    Also, this:
    2. Does any attraction you have to her, cause you to do this stuff for her?
    I think that question answers itself.

    ...is wonderfully cynical.

    Regardless, I think I see the general consensus and know what I think now. Thanks guys. :)

    Gandalf_the_Crazed on
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    kyleh613kyleh613 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    How was it not incredibly obvious from the start that she put you in the friend zone? I mean, everything you did made it seem like you were completely oblivious to this fact and you did act pretty inappropriate to her considering your status as just a friend. Like others have said, take it down a notch, like a ton. Or better yet, just find a new friend, it's not that big of a deal.

    kyleh613 on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Please, for the love of all that is not Debate and Discourse, don't use the term "friend zone."

    admanb on
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    kyleh613kyleh613 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    admanb wrote: »
    Please, for the love of all that is not Debate and Discourse, don't use the term "friend zone."

    Sorry! It's just easy because lots of people use it. Although I will admit, I hate the term myself and here I am using it.

    kyleh613 on
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    Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah, as soon as I saw those two words I was like, "...uh, whatever, bro."

    Gandalf_the_Crazed on
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