I am so confused.
I’ve pissed off my best friend and I don’t even have much clarification on how I did. Oddly, I don’t have any emotions about it. Should I?
She doesn’t like smoking. She grew up around smokers and was forced to deal with it so she hates it. Apparently, she informed me of this while I was deployed to Qatar. I vaguely recall the conversation. It’s her personal opinion. Well, I smoke. It’s a personal choice. I understand and accept the risks. I know the inconvenience it can cause to others. I do my best to mitigate the effect on others. However, I personally don’t care what your opinion is on the matter.
She doesn’t want me smoking at her house because cigarettes smell. She also doesn’t want the smoke around her kids or accidentally wafting into her house. (I don’t actually smoke around her kids, or in any house/car.) Fair enough, I respect that. Cool beans yo.
What she failed to do and why I’m irritated is because she didn’t communicate her feelings about me smoking on the back yard porch or me putting cigarette butts in the grill. She says she’s always had a problem with it. She says that I knew she didn’t like smoking. There was also a slight jab at the fact that I smoke anyways. Now that I think about it, I am mostly irritated with how she decided to finally communicate. It wasn’t an effective two-way communication. It was one-sided and I felt attacked.
I suspect that she’s also mad that I am not filling in the gaps in her childcare anymore. I feel taken advantage of. I’ve watched the kids for her a lot (for free) because they didn’t have a babysitter and money is tight. I honestly haven’t had an issue with it except for one time. I did not like feeling
forced pressured to watch her two kids during my R & R. I had just returned home from a deployment in Guam,. Also,Matt was leaving in about a month for his retraining. I didn’t want to spend what little time we had left, babysitting children. We had to cancel our plans to go help her out. It was highly inconvenient but I understood.
Now her husband has a job that requires he work a swing shift schedule. (Swing shift is 3pm to 11pm) On Wedneday’s and Thursday’s she has college classes until about 3pm and then goes to work until about 7:30 pm. The kid’s daycare closes at 5. So, since I am currently day shift, I go pick them up from daycare by 5pm and watch them until Liz gets home. Since the dead guinea pig day (see post Sundays are for pondering), this arrangement went smoothly. Since that fateful day, she decided to finally speak out about my smoking and she doesn’t want me smoking at her house.When she told me this, I remained calm by reminding myself that it is her house, her rules.
Lately, ALS obligations have been increasing. Due to the childcare arrangement, I wasn’t receiving enough study time. I wasn’t getting home until 8-8:30pm. I still needed to eat dinner, study and get enough sleep. When I failed a pop-quiz, I realized that I needed to increase my study time and that this childcare arrangement was now affecting my personal life. I don’t mind helping a friend but when my life is getting negatively impacted from it, I have to make it cease. In hindsight, I should have just sat her down and had a conversation about this. I failed to prevent this problem from getting bigger.
The arrangement affected ALS on a Thursday when we had a mandatory attendance volleyball game later in the afternoon. I had to get released early from the game. As I left to go get her kids, I was told to tell her “A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”. I eventually worked up the courage and told her this arrangement wasn’t working out and she needs to find someone else to babysit for the following week and each one thereafter.
Almost a week goes by and I get a text unexpected text from her saying that her husband has the car seats. When I texted her back, I realized that she misunderstood my texts. I thought I made myself clear, but somehow the message got misconstrued. She did not bother to find alternative care and she was still expecting me to watch her kids. I was furious but I went and got her kids anyways.
We proceeded to have a fight that day. She said that she feels like I make my problems more important than hers. I’m so confused about her thought logic on that. Doesn’t everyone make sure their obligations are met first before donating time? I thought this was common sense. I felt baited and attacked. I chose not to engage my thoughts into the fight. I ensured that she understood I was no longer going to babysit for those two days a week.
Last week was “hell week” in ALS. There were multiple exams and I needed the extra time to study and to complete assignments. She informed me on Tuesday that she needed an emergency sitter for Thursday. I knew I was going to be unavailable. I had already agreed to take partake-in the group study sessions since the big exam was on Friday.
On Friday, she texted me during my drill assessment about making sure that if I have mail come to her house that I ensure that it has my name on it instead of hers. It annoys her and makes her fearful that her daughter ordered something. I didn’t realize that Amazon was still putting her name on it. (While I was deployed, I had to put her name on the mail because the mailman wasn’t delivering my mail to her house. I thought I corrected this on Amazon since the mailman now delivers mail with my name on it.) I feel like it is a valid thing to ask but I feel like she had the intentions of being petty.
Then later that evening, she texted me about not putting cigarette butts in the grill. I informed her that she was the originator of idea of our butts going in there. Matt or myself planned on cleaning it out the moment she asked. She states that she doesn’t remember telling Matt and I to do that. Whatever, it isn’t worth the argument. The conversation was dropped, or so I thought. I grabbed my mail from her house and proceeded home.
As I was getting ready to go out with other friends that night, she texted me again. She was heated that her husband had to clean the grill so they could use it. I was annoyed that she was taking out her anger on me. She knew I was stopping by her house to pick up my mail. She easily could have told me to clean the grill (since it was my mess) while I was there. She failed communicate once again. I don’t feel I deserved to get bitched at for it. She also went off about the “smoking thing” again and how she feels like I am just avoiding her. She said asked how I would feel if she did something in my house that she didn’t agree with. (She does do things that I don’t agree with, but I don’t judge her for it and I don’t let it bother me. I think we differ in this.) She used the example of weed as her defending argument. She was trying to defend her new rule of no smoking at her house. I felt like her argument was illogical and that she was trying to compare apples to oranges. Weed and cigarettes are not the same. I decided to engage in her argument. I replied that weed is illegal so your point is moot. Her defensive was reply that it’s legal in some places. So I was a smart-ass in my response. I said something along the lines “I know you wouldn’t do that but if you decide to start, we will re-evaluate when the time comes“.
I get that it is her house, her rules. I don’t have to agree with them but I have to respect them while I am there. She’s misunderstanding the reason for my absence at her house. I’ve been busy with ALS and hanging out with some other friends. I don’t like the absolute last minute planning and feeling like she’s angry when I turn her down. I feel like every time she invites me for bonfires, dinner, or movie plans, it’s a hastily made plan. I am a planner, not a procrastinator. I make weekend plans usually a week prior. Honestly, every time she has asked, it’s when I’m already out and drinking. I don’t want to have to cancel my ride home or leave the group I’m with.
I’m confused why I tolerate (I don’t know if that is a good word to use there, I’ve had a few glasses of wine.) behaviors from her that I wouldn’t tolerate from my husband. I think I am afraid to give her my full opinion but I don’t know why. I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I don’t want to lose the friendship. I don’t want to be the babysitter anymore because I am leaving for Nellis AFB soon. Ideally, I’d like her to child care plans sorted out before I leave. I don’t want to be a participant in these plans. I feel like she needs to prepare for my upcoming and permanent absence. I need to start focusing on my move. I want to enjoy the upcoming reunion with my husband doing various activities that don’t involve co-babysitting her kids.
I feel like a shitty person. I know they need the assistance. Why does it feel like providing assistance to them is a constant, expected thing. Why don’t they have other friends that can help them and lighten the stifling impact on me? I’m tired of being the only one. It feels like she’s directing awkward passive aggressive anger towards me. I get the impression that she’s doing it because she isn’t getting her way.
I feel like I created this monster by being so willing to help. I used to always be available. I am not anymore. I shouldn’t have to supply ample justification when I say no. I don’t deserve the attitude I receive when I do say no. I feel being available to babysit is expected and I don’t like this feeling at all.
I just don’t know anymore. I’ve had too much wine to keep rambling on about this. I just don’t want to lose a friend. I just don’t want this much responsibility being thrust on me and I don’t want to be at her house, suffering from nicotine withdrawals. I want her to be prepared for my absence so when I move, our conversations can be about what’s new with me and not centered around a childcare disaster.
Maybe, I’m just a narcissistic asshole who is whining. At this point, I don’t care anymore.
Just plan further ahead and more effectively and don’t make me the only person you rely on. I have a life to. I can’t give you the shirt off my back if I require it too.