I think it's rude, my friend doesn't - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm torn here. I think it's sort of rude for parents to ask you if you'll watch their kids (for free), unless there's a big reason.

My friend apparently does not think it's rude. She does this occasionally to me. The most recent time, she asked me to watch her kids while she went grocery shopping. My grandma was visiting from out of town, and I mentioned to my friend that we (including ds) were about to have lunch. She said that her kids weren't hungry so would just play in ds's room while we ate. I gave up and said I'd watch them.

 

So here's the thing- I've never asked her to watch ds, even though there have been times that it would have come in handy (but definitely not necessary). I'm sure she wouldn't mind my asking, but if I do it, I'll be doing the same rude thing she does to me. It would be like condoning it even more.

But if she's not going to stop, doesn't seem to know it's rude, and it would make my life easier, maybe I should just go with the flow.

 

Her kids do come over and play quite often. I used to be annoyed that she'd call and ask if her kids could come play here, but now that ds is older, he and her son have their own system for which house they play at (each prefers his own house, so they take turns). I don't mind when they come and play as long as she's home and I can send them home when I want to.


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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I do think that's rude.  But you have to start saying no. 

 

I could be way off, but I'd never ask someone to watch my kids over something like that, especially when they had guests.  But my mom and mil are about the only people who watch our kids and that's not very often.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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I think it's rude if it's frequent and the person continues to ask even when the offer hasn't been reciprocated. Plus, I only ask friends when I have something to do where I can't take children (doctor's appt. and such). If it was just to grocery shop, I think that's silly. Also, my friends and I swap kids for playdates frequently, but there's usually a set start and end time (for, say, a 2 hour playdate).  In your situation, I would be annoyed because it seems like your friend is making this a very one-sided arrangement. Also, to insist even after you said your grandma was going to be over was BEYOND obnoxious.  


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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Asking another parent to watch your kids so you can run errands, go to the doctor, etc. is not rude at all.  It is common among my group of friends and neighbors.  We all help each other out whenever we can.  It takes a village and all that stuff, you know?  All moms need a break, even if that break is grocery shopping.  As long as you have friends you trust, that are willing and that encourage reciprocation, I see no problem at all.

 

Now that being said, I would not ask a friend to watch my kids if I knew they had company or visitors.

 

If you don't want to babysit, why don't you just say no?

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I don't think it's rude at all, but if you don't want to watch them why not tell her no?

 

And if there are times when her watching them would be handy, why not ask her to?


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I don't think it's rude to ask. We've never lived near family, so if I never asked, I wouldn't have seen a dentist or had a well woman check for YEARS. 

 

But, you gotta just say no if you don't want to. No body can read your mind. "I'm sorry, but this isn't a good time" is a very reasonable response.


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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This has happened to me before.  It's a really uncomfortable place to be in.  

 

What bugs me is that if I were the one asking my friend to watch my ds time after time after time with no intention of reciprocating, I would start offering to pay.  

 

I have been asked over and over again to watch a woman's son while she is at work.  I initially agreed when she first started asking, but as the years have gone on I realize I am being taken advantage of.  This person has never watched either of my children, so there is no intention of a swap.  

 

It's not easy to watch her son- he is a huge handful.  She barely says "thank you" when she picks him up.  That irks me too.  Once again if it were me on the other side, if I couldn't afford to pay something I would bring something- a coffee, some fruit, some herbs, cookies.  I would want the person to know how much I appreciate them watching my children for free.  


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Old 11-11-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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I don't think it's rude, but only because I've had to ask friends before. I have no family in state and dh's family mostly lives 45 minutes away. But I will say it's only been for things like having an appointment and not able to find anyone else or having another (paid) babysitter cancel last minute. This has only been with one friend and she has never asked me to babysit her dd, but she does have LOADS of family members who watch her dd for her regularly and eagerly. 

I would say just start saying no. Your friend wouldn't know it was bothering you unless you've said before that you think it's rude. I am one who has a hard time saying no to people, but I always tell myself that if I don't voice my feelings then I can't really be upset with someone for hurting them. Not that you should do this, but just letting you know what I do, lol.


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Old 11-11-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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I don't think it's rude.  I'd rather have a reciprocal agreement with a friend rather than have to find the $ in a tight budget for a sitter.  That said, it's usually family that watches our kids so there's no expectation of payment.  We've moved away from family for work and haven't had a date w/o kids in a year.  It sucks.  We're just now making the kinds of friends who will watch the kids.

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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But if she's not going to stop, doesn't seem to know it's rude, and it would make my life easier, maybe I should just go with the flow.

 

I say go with the flow!!  In 4 cities and 2 countries and about 50 friends...in the 9 years since I've had DC every parent I have ever known asks other parents to watch their kids.  

 

That said, it should be reciprocal or otherwise an OK relationship with both parents AND the "asking" parent should totally take even the smallest hint, which it sounds like your friend isn't doing.  


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Old 11-11-2010, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Ravensong13 View Post

I would say just start saying no. Your friend wouldn't know it was bothering you unless you've said before that you think it's rude. I am one who has a hard time saying no to people, but I always tell myself that if I don't voice my feelings then I can't really be upset with someone for hurting them. Not that you should do this, but just letting you know what I do, lol.


Very true smile.gif I know that it's also my "fault" for saying yes, so I try to keep that in mind. I will say, though, that I'm getting slightly better at saying no, and this friend is giving me lots of practice at being more assertive!


 

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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

 

That said, it should be reciprocal or otherwise an OK relationship with both parents AND the "asking" parent should totally take even the smallest hint, which it sounds like your friend isn't doing.  

That's probably a big part of my problem. But I think you're right- I need to just go with the flow, and ask her to watch ds1 sometimes.

 


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Old 11-11-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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to me it seems there's more to this relationship. i would go as far as to say no way is this mother your 'friend'. with friends this kind of thing would not appear rude at all.

 

i have both kinds of friends. some like you never ask. some like your 'friend' who asks all the time. i dont mind. even when i have visitors because our visitors stay for long and i enjoy that my visitor can watch the interaction my dd has with her friends.

 

there does exist some form of give and take. with one of my friends there is all taking on my part with very little chance to give. i dont get many chances to contribute. but my dd loves playing with her son and vice versa. and i sometimes say how bad i feel because i contribute sooo little. but she says we are family and the emotional support i provide them and their son is very appreciated.

 

as a single mom i helped out another single mom regularly but never really looked for any kind of compensation.

 

as others have pointed out you will have to be firm. and state when its NOT convenient for you.


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Old 11-11-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

I don't think it's rude at all, but if you don't want to watch them why not tell her no?

 

And if there are times when her watching them would be handy, why not ask her to?




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Old 11-11-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I'm in the minority I guess, but I DO think it's rude to ask a friend to do any kind of major favor for you (something taking longer than a few minutes) without offering some kind of compensation. That could be reciprocation of childcare, could be payment (whether money or goods), could be offering some kind of service in exchange (help with deep cleaning or a meal or something). But then I was raised in a family culture where you simply don't ask for freebies of any kind and I'd never, ever ask someone to watch my kids without offering something of value in return.

 

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Old 11-11-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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That's not something I'd be comfortable doing myself, but I don't think it's inherently rude, as long as the asker graciously accepts either a "yes" or a "no" answer. 

 

One thing I've started doing is not giving excuses, reasons, justifications, etc. when I don't want to do something -- tenacious people will "problem solve" their way around any obstacle (like your friend did -- "Oh, they can just play in your son's room while you guys eat lunch!"). So I just say, "Sorry, now isn't a good time" and repeat until they get that my answer won't change. 


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Old 11-11-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamatoablessing View Post

Asking another parent to watch your kids so you can run errands, go to the doctor, etc. is not rude at all.  It is common among my group of friends and neighbors.  We all help each other out whenever we can.  It takes a village and all that stuff, you know?  All moms need a break, even if that break is grocery shopping.  As long as you have friends you trust, that are willing and that encourage reciprocation, I see no problem at all.

 

Now that being said, I would not ask a friend to watch my kids if I knew they had company or visitors.

 

If you don't want to babysit, why don't you just say no?



We are the same here.  OP, It sounds like you two have a different idea of norms for friendship and you need to either tell her your true feelings or attempt to stop feeling bad about asking her for help with child watching when you could use it also. 

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Old 11-11-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I think in this instance it sounds a little rude, in that it's a pretty common thing, she doesn't make sure it's an okay time, and she isn't offering to watch your kid in return. That said, for her it's probably too good a situation not to take advantage of it, the only way it's going to change is if you start saying no and ask for reciprocation. if it was a once in a while thing, or a standing arrangement with trading happening, then it would be fine. 


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Old 11-11-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I don't think it's inherently rude to ask. However, I think pushing the request once you said your grandma would be over was rude. IME, most of the people who would ask in the first place would also be totally willing to do the same if I needed it (eg. I drove a neighbour's son to and from preschool all last year, because ds2 was in the same class and the other mom doesn't drive...but his mom took ds2 by bus on Friday mornings, because she knew it was a bigger hassle for me to get my baby out the door early than for her to get just her preschooler ready).

 

I wouldn't mind someone asking me to watch their child(ren). I would mind - and find it rude - if they were taking it for granted that I could/would, and if they were invalidating reasons why I might not want to (as in your OP, when you had company), or if it was happening on a regular basis, with no evidence of willingness to reciprocate. However, there is nothing wrong with just saying "no" or "this isn't a good time".


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Old 11-11-2010, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mamatoablessing View Post

Asking another parent to watch your kids so you can run errands, go to the doctor, etc. is not rude at all.  It is common among my group of friends and neighbors.  We all help each other out whenever we can.  It takes a village and all that stuff, you know?  All moms need a break, even if that break is grocery shopping.  As long as you have friends you trust, that are willing and that encourage reciprocation, I see no problem at all.

 

Now that being said, I would not ask a friend to watch my kids if I knew they had company or visitors.

 

If you don't want to babysit, why don't you just say no?


 

All of that. That being said, I rarely asked someone to watch my kids just so I could run errands. Doctor appointments etc., sure! I also reciprocated.

 

However, we were a military family when my kids were small, and more often than not, we lived on a military installation. Everyone was in the same boat with having no support system and no family nearby to help out, so it was definitely not seen as rude to swap childcare.

 

If someone had company, I wouldn't ask. Visitors? Maybe. Depends on the family and the type of visitors. My in-laws used to come stay for two weeks or more. It was not a big deal for me to watch a couple of more kids while my kids' grandparents were there, and other parents I knew felt the same. Having kids over meant someone else for my kids to play with, which everyone enjoyed.

 

That being said, I have no problem saying "no" if I do not want to do something. I was a bit of a people-pleaser when I was younger, but that has gotten me into some lousy situations in my life. I no longer allow people to guilt me into saying "yes."

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Old 11-11-2010, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If I think about it objectively, I don't really have a problem with a friend asking another friend for help. After all, how would I know she needed help if she didn't tell me she needed it? I like helping people.

For the people that mentioned it, you are right that there is more to it than just asking for babysitting. I just realized that I have another friend who, if she asked me to babysit, I would not find rude at all. But she would totally take the littlest hint that it wouldn't work, and would ask in a way that gave me an "out." And it's just a different relationship- I can't totally put my finger on it. The friend in my op- there's been little things happen constantly through our friendship that just rub me the wrong way (as in, she doesn't take no for an answer very well, she does things that many people would consider rude, etc.) My family thinks she takes advantage of me, but I think she's just clueless. I don't think there's any ill intent there.

 

I need to learn to just say no! Not give hints that it won't work, but straight up say "It won't work out." I swear, I'll become assertive one of these days!

 

But in the meantime, I'll try to push aside my own fears of being rude, and ask her to watch ds1 when it would be helpful.


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Old 11-11-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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I think it's hard to say no, it can feel rude or mean and we don't want to be that way, so we say yes and hope it's just an emergency type of thing.  But if the friend doesn't think it's rude to ask in the first place, not getting your gentle no when you explain that your grandmother is visiting and you are about to have lunch, then I would start saying no outright.  She should be fine with that.

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Old 11-11-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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I'm with you OP.  Mini vent here:  I have a good friend who I love, but she keeps asking me to babysit for her early morning appts.  She's soooo nice about it that I can't seem to say no.  First time, her babysitter canceled last minute and I was happy to step in.  Second time she asked me because her DD wanted to play with my DD (she's 2 and DD is 1, they don't play together) and I said ok, but made it clear that I'm having to get up 2 hours earlier than usual and DD gets woken up 3 hours early by her 2yo.  I mean, if you're going to ask me then get a later appt since you know we sleep in.  Third time I agreed to again but she calls to tell me her DD is sick.  I said I'd rather she not come unless she has no other option, and of course she came.  She seems to feel that I enjoy having her DD here to play with mine, but like I said they are not in the same league as far as playing, and her DD needs a lot more attention than my very independant child.  Her DD is in MDO, I don't know why she doesn't do it then, and she has babysitters that she could use.  She's never offered to take DD or even made a comment for me to call if I need a sitter, but honestly she's kind of strict (ezzo user) so I'm not sure I'd leave her anyway. 

 

I think a better way to go about it is post on FB or send a mass email asking for a sitter, or arrange for a plan to trade babysitting.  If you call someone it's really hard for them to just say flat out no.  I needed someone a while back and posted on my meetup board and worked it out to trade a couple days of babysitting.


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Old 11-11-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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Being military overseas (so no real family support system, moving every couple of years etc) this happens a lot. But I'm good at saying "hey right now isn't a good time" and its rarely a last minute thing. I wouldn't have asked for help with watching DD1 going grocery shopping when it was just her though but I appreciated my friend offering to watch both girls while DH was away. I didn't take her up on the offer but I appreciate the thought since grocery shopping with two young children can give anyone a headache smile.gif.

 

I don't consider it rude if the person offers or if its reciprocal (like one of my friends spouse is deployed so Ill watch her girls while she has appointments and then when my DH is gone she watches mine for appointments). I don't even find last minute requests rude if there is a reason (like an ER trip or a baby coming). I would find it rude though if someone expected me to do it because if I have plans it probably won't include bringing another child with me.


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Old 11-11-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I don't think it's rude. I would gladly watch a friend's children if she needed to run an errand. If I had to ask a friend to watch mine, I'd be sure to let her know that I would happily return the favor for her in the future.


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Old 11-11-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DevaMajka View Post
 The most recent time, she asked me to watch her kids while she went grocery shopping. My grandma was visiting from out of town, and I mentioned to my friend that we (including ds) were about to have lunch. She said that her kids weren't hungry so would just play in ds's room while we ate. I gave up and said I'd watch them.

 

You need to learn the art of the vague refusal. "I'm really sorry, that's not going to work today. Maybe another day." "Oh but my kids won't be any trouble ." "I'm sorry it's just not going to work today." Do NOT give specifics as to why it can't work, because then she'll come up with solutions to the specifics and you'll feel bamboozled into watching her kids. Just keep repeating.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevaMajka
So here's the thing- I've never asked her to watch ds, even though there have been times that it would have come in handy (but definitely not necessary). I'm sure she wouldn't mind my asking, but if I do it, I'll be doing the same rude thing she does to me. It would be like condoning it even more.

 

In my world, this sort of reciprocol caretaking would be just fine. So if it would come in handy, then ask! If she always refuses, but continues to ask you, THEN you can get upset.


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Old 11-11-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Reading this thread made me think of the ask culture vs. guess culture discussion I read a while back and found really enlightening. It sounds to me like you are a guess-culture person so you expect her to get your hints, and you agonize over having to come out and say no. She is an ask-culture person, and if you just say straight out no, she will probably say "oh, OK" and be about her business. smile.gif

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Old 11-11-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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You need to learn the art of the vague refusal. "I'm really sorry, that's not going to work today. Maybe another day." "Oh but my kids won't be any trouble ." "I'm sorry it's just not going to work today." Do NOT give specifics as to why it can't work, because then she'll come up with solutions to the specifics and you'll feel bamboozled into watching her kids. Just keep repeating.

 

 

In my world, this sort of reciprocol caretaking would be just fine. So if it would come in handy, then ask! If she always refuses, but continues to ask you, THEN you can get upset.


This is it completely!! Giving an excuse opens the door a crack further and makes it harder to say no if they push it. 

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Old 11-11-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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Personally I would limit contact with this person. They seem quite toxic in their behavior. I agree with the PP that said if this was a true friend it certainly wouldn't seem rude at all to ask for a favor, and a true friend wouldn't mind you saying no. 

At this point I would only be doing playdates at each others house when you are both home, and swap kids that way. This doesn't mean you need to end a friendship, just limit playtimes and take care of your own needs, don't be taken advantage of.

 

I've done kid swaps a ton with friends and have always been uber aware of making sure everything is fair. To this day I feel like I owe one of my good friends for two days from two years ago. Luckly she's going to have a baby soon, so I can watch her son and give back what I owe her.


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Old 11-11-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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When I was single I had a friend who was married with children. She asked me to watch her children a lot, but I was over there a lot. We were like sisters, her children called me "Aunt" and everything. But things started going sour when I began dating my now DH. She didn't really approve of the relationship and he has a son. So I thought, well she asked me for help, I can ask her. I did. One time... And I felt horrible for it. She was a SAHM while I was a student and I had one time I needed her... and I dunno... I felt horrible about it. Needless to say miscommunication and the fact that we are both passionate people led to us not being friends anymore. I do miss her children but I don't miss the drama and the feeling of being used.

 

Since we moved away and I have new friends with children, I have some close friends that I have asked to watch DSS. I have had no problem with it. But I sure don't ask when I know they are going to see family or have family over. I only ask when I have to work and since my DH's schedule is erratic, sometimes he or other family members can't watch DH the entire day.... But then again I also pay my friend for watching DS....

 

I say remove yourself from the friend a little. My experience with this sort of thing was terrible and I am skittish of anyone who is demanding and pushy like that to begin with. And like others have said, start saying "no." Or just don't answer your phone. You have your own family and child and you are allowed to not pick up every call.

 


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Old 11-12-2010, 02:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevaMajka View Post

If I think about it objectively, I don't really have a problem with a friend asking another friend for help. After all, how would I know she needed help if she didn't tell me she needed it? I like helping people.

For the people that mentioned it, you are right that there is more to it than just asking for babysitting. I just realized that I have another friend who, if she asked me to babysit, I would not find rude at all. But she would totally take the littlest hint that it wouldn't work, and would ask in a way that gave me an "out." And it's just a different relationship- I can't totally put my finger on it. The friend in my op- there's been little things happen constantly through our friendship that just rub me the wrong way (as in, she doesn't take no for an answer very well, she does things that many people would consider rude, etc.) My family thinks she takes advantage of me, but I think she's just clueless. I don't think there's any ill intent there.

 

I need to learn to just say no! Not give hints that it won't work, but straight up say "It won't work out." I swear, I'll become assertive one of these days!

 

But in the meantime, I'll try to push aside my own fears of being rude, and ask her to watch ds1 when it would be helpful.


I have a friend just like this - she is very blunt, extroverted and will manipulate the situation to her way whenever she can. There is no evil intent behind it she just can't understand how people cant' think the same way - she doesn't think about how other people would feel, she expects you to be blunt and say how you feel.

I am an introvert and find her pushy and rude as i over think how things would make people feel. 

It has taken time but i am beginning to appreciate her for her strengths and not to be offended, although it does take me a while to process her actions and work out her intentions.

 


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