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What to do about a needy friend?

I have a friend who I have known for almost 30 years. We've been friends since we both started High School or junior high what ever you call it in the States. She was bridesmaid at my wedding also, so there is a lot of history.

Because we both work pretty much full time, it seems the only time we get to catch up is on the weekends. A year or so ago, she started coming around on Saturday afternoons just after lunch and would stay for a few hours and then go home as she said to look after her elderly parents. Since then, she is now coming for lunch, staying for dinner and usually not leaving before 1am.

She is also on a special vegetarian with gluten & lactose free diet, which means I have to prepare two meals plus any snacks that are suitable for her to eat. She doesn't provide anything, nor help with the creation of the meals or the clean up. She might set the table if I hand her the cutlery. She doesn't cook, and doesn't know how to cook as her mother in her 80's does everything for her, but the mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

My friend is struggling to come to terms with this, and thinks that her mother is going to get better, that it is just a phase or can be cured with a pill. I have been trying to use these Saturday afternoon sessions to try and teach my friend how to cook, but it shouldn't be up to me and I feel frustrated and angry that she just doesn't bother to help herself.

What can I say to her to try and make her realise that she needs to get off her butt and help? Not just me when she comes over in the preparation of the meals if she is going to stay that long, but at home with her parents who are terrified of what is going to happen to her when they die?

 
Twisties34

Asked by Twisties34 at 11:04 PM on Apr. 2, 2011 in Relationships

Level 4 (33 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • It sounds like your friend is having trouble coming to terms with her aging parents, & is using you as an excuse to escape from the inevitable. If she's always had her folks do everything for her like you say, then she's having you act as her 'mother' while she tries to come to grips with their situation. I would suggest having lunch over at her place some time, that way you won't have to worry about doing all the work, and you can finally get her to talk to her parents & confront her fears instead of running away to your house.
    EdwinsMommy

    Answer by EdwinsMommy at 11:10 PM on Apr. 2, 2011

  • be honest. tell her how you feel
    my4boys310

    Answer by my4boys310 at 11:15 PM on Apr. 2, 2011

  • take her to a support group.
    pinkdragon36

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 11:14 PM on Apr. 2, 2011

  • Have you talked with her about her mother's recent diagnosis? I do believe she is in denial and it's not going to help her any by avoiding it. My mother has it and it will get worse in time. A pill isn't going to cure the problem. There is no cure. It wouldn't hurt her to join a support group with other people that deal with this as well. She's got a lot to learn, she's going to have to take care of them and herself. She may be afraid of the truth, but she's going to have to deal with it and she can't get out of it. I wish you luck on getting her to realize that.
    amessageofhope

    Answer by amessageofhope at 1:01 AM on Apr. 3, 2011

  • I agree with the previous answers. You need to tell her how you feel first and foremost. Then, as a friend, find and provide her with the name(s) of a therapist, psychologist, agency where she can address her feellings. Explain to her that you love her and want to help her, but it has reached a point that you feel professional help is in order. Offer to help her in this endeavor. She might be offended or hurt at first, but keep in mind that she is probably scared, confused, and more needy than she is revealing. Give her space to digest what you say to her; ask her or suggest to her that she reassess what she is dealing with and focus on one thing at a time at home and by herself. In other words, once you've done your part as a friend, leave "the ball in her court." Let her know that you will be there to listen or help her with the next step.
    rosiemendo

    Answer by rosiemendo at 9:05 AM on Apr. 3, 2011

  • You need to tell her all this.

    A hospice organization can help in many ways. There are non-profit hospices; you can google to see if one is in your area.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 10:58 AM on Apr. 3, 2011

  • Thanks girls, yes I am sure she is in denial about it all and I have spoken to her parents - without her present about the prognosis. Her parents are worried about what Donna is going to do as the illness takes over further. Her father is in his 80's also and is trying to pick up the slack but he is angry and frustrated that his daughter will not do anything to help either themselves or herself. She won't listen to the doctors, will not attend any seminars or support groups. I've tried to find information about local support groups for her, but she's not interested and keeps insisting that mum is going to get better - they just have to wait.
    Twisties34

    Comment by Twisties34 (original poster) at 5:48 PM on Apr. 3, 2011