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7 Bumps

Drained by friend

I have a friend who is divorcing her husband. She is a mom to a boy about the same age as my youngest, and she hovers - and I don't mean like just a little over protective, I mean she follows this 7 yr old boy around the yard and picks him up if he trips and stands under him when he's on the jungle gym.

I know she is going through a lot with this divorce. The thing is, she comes to me for everything - wanting me to tell her how to fill out her divorce papers (and I am NOT a lawyer), wanting to vent about anything and everything going on with her divorce, whenever she doesn't know how to do something with her computer or anything else.

I want to be a supportive friend. But I work from home, have 2 kids of my own, a home to take care of and trying to work things out with my ex, possibly. She is constantly emailing me, messaging me on Facebook, calling me, etc. It's gotten to the point where I ignore her emails and stuff and pretend I was away from the computer or something.

How can I be a supportive friend while still maintaining some distance and keeping my own life? I've tried talking to her about it, but she just doesn't get it. And I'm afraid if I try to talk to her again, with as frustrated as I'm feeling at this point, that I'm likely to say it all wrong and really hurt her feelings, which I don't want to do if I don't have to.

She's really very nice, but she doesn't seem to have any friends other than me, but I just can't keep doing this. I don't mind giving her a shoulder to cry on now and then, or doing a little tech support when I know what the issue is and how to fix it, but it's the constant, neverending barrage that is just...exhausting.

Any advice?

Answer Question

Asked by wendythewriter at 10:04 AM on Jul. 8, 2011 in Relationships

Level 33 (61,976 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Eh, send her a message or email saying how you feel. That way you'll be able to edit it for rudeness. Tell her that you don't mind being there for her, but the constant talk of divorce and helping her out, is putting a more stress on your life.. and you'd prefer if you could do something else when she comes over. You could have a game night... something positive instead of constantly having to hear the negatives in her life.

    Answer by Flippindadaisie at 10:09 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • BUMP

    Answer by dedicatedmama2 at 10:12 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • I don't know if there is a library by your courthouse, but we have one by ours, and there are people there that help others to fill out court-paperwork such as divorces. I would tell her to look into something like that because they will be able to help her. Since she is already going through rough times, I would tell her when you are doing something, that you are doing whatever, and you will be busy. If she calls, emails, etc during this time, don't answer. She will get the picture of being busy means you are unavailable. When you do get together, try and take charge. Is there something that you can do together like a craft or sewing? I say that because the constant motion of crafting will help calm her down (at least it does for me!).

    Answer by techgirl3 at 10:22 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • I'd just explain to her that you'd always be there when she needs a Friend, but you don't have all the Answers about her Divorce since all Divorces are different.. As for her Son she has to let him Fall sometimes & make Mistakes like all of us.. Hope this Helps alittle.. Take care..

    Answer by angienalivia at 10:24 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • I think you are going to have to talk to her and let her know that you understand she is having a rough time right now, and you want to be supportive and there for her, BUT your time is limited (due to kids, work, your own life things) and you really don't have the time to respond to every message/email.
    I am a WAHM and one thing I do to avoid being bothered during my work time is tell friends/family that with my work schedule and kids, the best time to reach me is the morning between X and X time. I also tell them that If they call after that time, they get the answering machine, and I return calls the next day during my morning 'downtime'. Same for emails, texts, messages...

    Answer by MizLee at 10:31 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Time for another talk.

    Answer by pookiekins34 at 10:41 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Start establishing some boundaries. When she asks you for ssomething, tell her you'll be happy to help her when you have the time, and let her know approximately when that time will be, but stand firm on doing things for her on YOUR schedule, not hers. And give her tasks to complete, such as filling out something herself, and tell her you'll check it out , again, when you have the time. You can be a friend and not allow anyone to walk all over you. If she objects to your new boundaries verbally, you'll have an opportunity to explain that you want to be a good friend and help her, but it's the constant barrage of neediness that's causing a problem.

    Answer by Fistandantalus at 10:41 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • The problem is that the work I do requires me to be on the internet, and I have to use my email for it. I ignore her emails, but it's just...just seeing them in there is enough. Plus, what I do doesn't have set hours. I work when I want, which varies from day to day, depending on what I'm doing with the kids and stuff. Might work in the morning one day, and the evening the next, and I might work on a Saturday but not the next one. I've tried posting things like on Facebook saying that I'm working or whatever, and then she'll just email me every time she has a thought it seems like, and so I end up with 10 emails from her.

    I've even thought about changing my email address and switch all my other friends/family and my work to the new one, but I feel like if I'm going to do something that drastic, it'd be better to end the friendship.

    Comment by wendythewriter (original poster) at 10:47 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Fistandantalus, that's a good idea. I've been trying to do like the status updates to everyone so she wouldn't feel singled out, but maybe I do need to tell her directly when I can/will help her.

    Comment by wendythewriter (original poster) at 10:51 AM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Set up a filter that puts her emails in a separate folder. Deal with those emails once a day. Only once a day. She'll get the hint that you really are busy that way. Encourage her to find more support, divorcecare, go to church, playdates with other moms, start a hobby, find work. She needs to get out of the house. Sounds like she's been a little too housebound. But stand firm on your boundaries.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 1:23 PM on Jul. 8, 2011

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