When friends dont reciprocate


#1

I'm in a venting mood today.

Does anyone else out there have friends who always come running for your gracious hospitality but very rarely reciprocate. I have a friend from church whom has 3 kids , the same age as my first 3. I have had her and her family over for BBQ's and my husband and I have even taken them to a baseball game when we had tickets to a sold out game. She just put in a beautiful pool in the start of this summer. She has not yet invited us over for a swim. I called her one day just to say hi (we havn't seen them over the summer yet) I left her a voice mail. She still hasn't called me back. but i know they have had people over, another church friend has been over to her house for swim in there new pool.

And my other friend, the one whose son I take home from school during the school year 1 to 2 times a week and watch for hours so the mom who works at home can get some work done has only had my son over 2 times this summer for a swim in her pool. and 1 of those times was for her sons birthday party.

I am so tired of always being the one with the one that hosts everyone all winter long and then get forgotton over the summer. I have several really young children and one on the way, so I don't feel comfortable putting a pool in our yard. (my 2 1/2 year old and 4 year old are climbers so even a fence does not make me feel safe).
We do have lots of friends with pools who have had us over for a dip on hot days, but my point is that people who you are generous too over the winter should be generous over the summer if they have the outdoor atmosphere. I don't want to invite myself over as that is rude and tacky. How would you handle these 1 way friendships? Should I just stop inviting them over in the fall and winter. their kids are friend with my kids so they see each other at school and activities.


#2

Sometimes friendships cool between the time one family hosts and when the other family reciprocates. If it bothers you that you have hosted on several occasions and they haven’t chosen to reciprocate, then don’t invite them again. That is about all you can do.

They may take you to a ballgame instead of having you over to the pool, though. That is the way the ball bounces. Except for mentioning how your kids have loved places with swimming pools when the topic of vacations comes up, I think you’re right that you can’t really drop direct hints.

If you are a meticulous housekeeper or gardener, the family may also hesitate to have you see their less-than-meticulous home. If you pull out all the stops on the food and refreshments, they may feel they could not do even remotely as well as you do. Frankly, it is embarrassing to admit how far you fall short of someone whose home you admire. It is like the prospect of hosting Martha Stewart. They don’t think about how Martha feels about having done all that work and never being the target of someone else’s hospitality. They are too bound up in performance anxiety. This is particularly true if a family is several invitations behind on the reciprocation. They feel like they need to really do it up, to make up for it. They can’t “just have you over”, not after the way you hosted them. They have to do something special. It is not unusual for families to entertain away from home, then, except when the people they are hosting are known to have similar (or worse) housekeeping habits, or else to procrastinate and procrastinate over how to host the very people who hosted them best.

Ironically, then, if you work too hard or succeed too well as a host, you may get fewer invitations to the homes of others, not more! :o

Maybe that is why the Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you worry about many things…” :smiley:


#3

To the OP,

Consider yourself lucky. We CHOOSE to have people over to our house instead of sometimes go to theirs. I keep a clean house (maybe a little "dusty" at times) but it's clean. Anyway we had (past tense they hate us now long story-you'll have to read my conversion thread) friends that invited us over for bbqs and to even spend the night because we had plans the next day and we live a distance from the said plans-anyway the people's house was a MESS big time! Dirty stacked dishes, (the "clean" ones weren't even clean) filthy kitchen/fridge/floor, dirty front room floor (food q-tips etc.) bathroom dirty and nasty smelled like an uncleaned public men's room (I know the smell since I was taken in them as a child-you never forget that smell). The kids were always dirty, didn't wear clean clothes and the yard was trashed too. There car was something you never wanted to ride in trust me. (bottom of a dumpster) :eek:

I'm not just "venting because we aren't friends with them anymore. We'd make comments to the husband all the time to clean house since his wife worked full time. They'd bring laundry to our house since she hated their laundry room at hers.

Anyway be happy and thankful that you have clean friends (not dirty ones that expect you to come over all the time) and just wait for them to invite you over.


#4

Oh, that hurts. Must be hard on the kids not being invited over especially when they know they have a pool. And it will be hard on you because the kids are all friends.

However, I would not be inviting the parents to anything special to your home. Keep play dates for the kids' sakes. And work on finding new friends.

It happens to all of us at one time or another. It isn't you, it's them. ;)


#5

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


#6

I'm a little confused. Have these friends not thanked you or reciprocated at all when you helped them during the winter months? Or are you just upset that these friends haven't invited you over to their house so your kids can swim in their pools? So they have a pool and haven't invited you over, big deal. Are they good friends otherwise? Isn't that more important? If they are not that great of friends over all, find new ones. But if they have reciprocated in other ways over the whole year and you like them otherwise, I think getting upset that they haven't invited your kids over for a swim is a little bit much.

Personally, if we had a pool, or any entertainment feature that people were wanting invites to come and participate, I would feel a bit used at some point.


#7

[quote="PatriceA, post:6, topic:207950"]
Personally, if we had a pool, or any entertainment feature that people were wanting invites to come and participate, I would feel a bit used at some point.

[/quote]

It's definitely something to consider before installing one. Kind of like owning a pick-up or having a vacation home when none of your friends have one. If you don't want to be steward of it for everybody who doesn't have one, maybe it's a good idea to just go without.

Still, with regards to the OP, it is not as if the hospitality didn't pre-date the swimming pool. She didn't entertain in the winter with the idea of scooping an invitation to the pool. I'm thinking that if her guests had reciprocated her own hospitality before summer rolled around, the idea wouldn't have occurred to her.


#8

unfortunatly it seems some of you who have responded have missed the point of the post.

I am not an over the top "Martha Stewart type" entertainer. nor do these 2 friends have homes that they are embarressed to show off. (these 2 friends live in upscale high end homes).

what I am annoyed about is how all winter long I have invited both the adults and the children to my home. cooked great meals and created great entertainment for the kids. babysat, etc, etc.(i never did any of that for an invitation to their home, it was just to be a good friend) all alongthe parents always leaving our home with the same response " well have you over in the summer since we have the pool". I would always respond with a sounds great give me a call.

now, let me be clear. we have many other friends and relatives with pools. My kids can swim pretty much when ever they want. What I am annoyed about is even once the summer came I was still the host, memorial day we had 1 family over, then I have babysat for the other family.etc, etc.
and the other day my hubby asked me to invite theses 2 familys over for a bbq and thats when I realized how thoughtless is was that I keep hosting and they have not bothered to call us and have us over on a hot day for a dip. Oh, but I did hear about how nice the water felt when we had a heat wave.


#9

For many years we have thrown an annual party. I spend a lot of time planning, decorating, cooking and okay yes, cleaning. :smiley: People tell me what a nice time they have. People are hoping to be invited back. I get nice thank you notes, but that’s it.

But like you, hardly anyone reciprocates. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it is.

At some point, you need to ask yourself if your entertaining is about how it makes you feel while you are doing it or is there more to it. Are you expecting some kind of payback? It doesn’t always come. It isn’t “fair” but if you are looking for fair, then don’t help out anymore. Don’t invite anyone over for a bbq.

I decided long ago that my party was my way of showing my friends how much I treasure them. No strings attached. Some of them, I do not see all year, just at the party. And I wouldn’t dream of leaving them off the guest list. :blush:

“If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it.” :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="Luvs2Learn, post:1, topic:207950"]
. She just put in a beautiful pool in the start of this summer. She has not yet invited us over for a swim. I called her one day just to say hi (we havn't seen them over the summer yet) I left her a voice mail. She still hasn't called me back. but i know they have had people over, another church friend has been over to her house for swim in there new pool.

[/quote]

Sometimes people only fully realize the liabilities of having a pool and their own personal limitations as lifeguards the very first time they invite someone over to swim in their new pool, which may provide a truly nerve-shattering experience they may be extremely reluctant to repeat.... ever.
It happens. It takes one a split second with your back turned for kids to go from having fun to being in serious trouble in a pool. If you're pregnant, and with a 1 year old, you've got your hands awfully full to be an effective lifeguard for your own kids, and your friends may not feel sufficiently competent to lifeguard your kids for you. A lot of people get very nervous about their own lifeguard skills when it comes to having that responsibility with kids around, particularly other people's kids, as they have a hard enough time just keeping tabs on just their own.


#11

To the OP, I think you and me have VERY different definitions of firendhip. To me a friend is someone I CAN communicate with. It appears you do not want to approach the subject with them. Perhaps it is because you are scared that they won’t take you seriously. And you need to figure out if you have good reason to think that way (ie they didn’t talke you seriously in the past) or you need to improve on your assertiveness skills.

Personally, I would call these people and say something like ‘I really enjoy your company but I have notice lately the only time we see each other is when I have you over. I really appreciate your visits and hope they will continue. However, I am staring to feel the friendship is too one sided and I was wondering if perhaps you could have me over sometime. If that is not a possibility could you please tell me why’

If they give you the brush off, then they are not friends. If they are friends worth having, they will be honest (and Lord knows what they will say). You need to be ready to listen to whatever it is they say. And it could be something totally unexpected.

I understand your need to come on the forum and get some opinions before doing something about this. But unfotunately, all we can do is support. If you want changes, you need to do the work

CM


#12

You asked for opinions, so I’m giving mine :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s quite possible that she doesn’t have her stuff together like you always seem to. I kinda get the impression are you supermom. In fact, a few of you give me the impression that you are supermoms…

I’ve struggled to get my act together while in school and taking care of my mom and neglected to return calls, and I’ve been very grateful when people have finally reached me. I sometimes have difficulty returning voicemails :o In fact, if you call the house phone and leave a message, it’s possible the message will not even be received for months, no exaggeration. (it’s not totally my fault, because I always tell people to call on my cell, and not the house phone). Have you tried texting her? Sometimes those are easier to work with when you’re busy. (heh, and I don’t even have kids – do dogs count? :D)

I’m always happy when people just drop by, and sometimes we get a lot of traffic :stuck_out_tongue:
With my mom being disabled, and us living out in the middle of nowhere, our doors are always open. (I don’t like answering the door, so if you want me, just come right in :p) I may not be the best return-caller, but I sure do like it when friends open the door and announce they are here. And for a while there, it was like a revolving door. And it was NICE too!

Why not just invite yourself over or pop on by and play it by ear? She might be a big scattered right now, especially with summer. Try it and see what happens :slight_smile: I bet she’ll be so happy to see you. How can she not if you guys do so much together during the winter? I’d be really surprised if she isn’t very welcoming.


#13

You know, sometimes you just have to let people be who they are. People do not live up to our expectations. Period. Lower your expectations of how much you are entitled to from the friendship and you will find peace. I spent yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaars being the sounding board for a friend and it wasn't until I moved away that I saw the friendship for what it was--all about her. She was a great hostess and great at shopping, but was very narcissistic. She still is, but I hide her status on Facebook so I only look at her updates now and then. :D


#14

Actually, I often wondering if I get "friends" confused with "acquaintance" Or rather, is there just a term for somewhere in between???

I find that I make a lot of effort towards friendships. I call my friends. To see how they are doing. To share stories, etc. And then one day, I realized that a handful of girlfriends never called me.I was actually quite sad over this. I might invite them out to go to a show or dinner. And if they were free they would go. But I hardly ever get called for anything.

I know I'm a good person. I know that everyone has a good time when we're together. But what I've come to realize is that we're not really good FRIENDS... which is fine. I have a handful of friends that are SOLID! They make the same sort of effort towards our relationship that I do. And that doesn't mean that every effort is exactly reciprocated. It's that they MAKE effort. Even if it's an e-mail that says "got your call... I'm going nutz will call soon!" We know each others lives are crazy busy. Some are dealing with sadness and drama... we watch each others backs.

So, with a certain group of female friends. Who are friend enough to be on my facebook page for example... I just pretty much quit calling... And you know what? They don't call me either. EVER! We have not parted ways mad. When we see each other we can sit and laugh. But they are not my call in the middle of the night friends. They are somewhere between friend and acquaintance.... perhaps we socialize because we are in similar circumstances... but wouldn't otherwise.

I'm not saying dump your "friends"... but maybe realize that some of them aren't exactly "friends" in the way we define them. So, for example, if my best friends lived right next to me... the morning call would be, your house or mine? Or can I watch the kids so you guys can go on a date. Or please save me, I'm going insane! I wish they lived right next to me. I'd be more entertained... and feel a less lonely. The other people that I can comfortably hang with... well, not exactly friends... more than an acquaintance... but we just don't have that kind of relationship.

Hope that doesn't seem too rambly... Bottom line... I suspect that these "friends" are really in that undefinable area I'm talking of.


#15

Irishmom2


At some point, you need to ask yourself if your entertaining is about how it makes you feel while you are doing it .

I offer my home and hospitality to entertain friends because I enjoy it. But when I start to feel forgotton by friends I go out of my way for I begin to rethink if I am actually this persons friend or just a great cook.

SeekingWisdom


You know, sometimes you just have to let people be who they are. People do not live up to our expectations. Period.

this is true.

Rence
Why not just invite yourself over or pop on by and play it by ear? She might be a big scattered right now, especially with summer

I don’t like to pop over on people, they might be in the pajamas. lol

Faithfully
Actually, I often wondering if I get “friends” confused with “acquaintance” Or rather, is there just a term for somewhere in between???

this may be the problem. :shrug:


#16

I also think that alot of people are quick to accept invitations but then realize that they aren't spending enough time as a family. Especially if it's just the mom and the kids who come over and when they're home they get to see dad. I know of a couple of people who this is relevant for. They accept all sorts of invitations but rarely have people over because that is their family time.


#17

[quote="Irishmom2, post:9, topic:207950"]
For many years we have thrown an annual party. I spend a lot of time planning, decorating, cooking and okay yes, cleaning. :D People tell me what a nice time they have. People are hoping to be invited back. I get nice thank you notes, but that's it.

But like you, hardly anyone reciprocates. I don't know why, but that's the way it is.

At some point, you need to ask yourself if your entertaining is about how it makes you feel while you are doing it or is there more to it. Are you expecting some kind of payback? It doesn't always come. It isn't "fair" but if you are looking for fair, then don't help out anymore. Don't invite anyone over for a bbq.

I decided long ago that my party was my way of showing my friends how much I treasure them. No strings attached. Some of them, I do not see all year, just at the party. And I wouldn't dream of leaving them off the guest list. :blush:

"If you can't change something, change the way you think about it." :)

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Well put, Irishmom.

I also love to host at my own house, just for the sake of getting to be with my friends and show them hospitality. We have awesome friends. Doesn't really matter to me if they want to have me over, long as I get to see them. Some houses just seem to take on the role as the "hub" of activity for a group of friends. Ours is one of those. Yes, we have dishes piled by the sink and toys under the couch (hat tip to "defenderoftruth," who wouldn't find this environment suitable), but my friends also understand we have two small children and one with disabilities. They just seem to love us for who we are. :rolleyes:

Also, our friendships are close enough that we can jokingly say, "SO, Melanie and Jeff, your place next time?" and wink and laugh about it. None of this high tension business. So maybe the real problem is that these are not close friendships?


#18

[quote="Luvs2Learn, post:8, topic:207950"]
unfortunatly it seems some of you who have responded have missed the point of the post.

I am not an over the top "Martha Stewart type" entertainer. nor do these 2 friends have homes that they are embarressed to show off. (these 2 friends live in upscale high end homes).

what I am annoyed about is how all winter long I have invited both the adults and the children to my home. cooked great meals and created great entertainment for the kids. babysat, etc, etc.(i never did any of that for an invitation to their home, it was just to be a good friend) all alongthe parents always leaving our home with the same response " well have you over in the summer since we have the pool". I would always respond with a sounds great give me a call.

now, let me be clear. we have many other friends and relatives with pools. My kids can swim pretty much when ever they want. What I am annoyed about is even once the summer came I was still the host, memorial day we had 1 family over, then I have babysat for the other family.etc, etc.
and the other day my hubby asked me to invite theses 2 familys over for a bbq and thats when I realized how thoughtless is was that I keep hosting and they have not bothered to call us and have us over on a hot day for a dip. Oh, but I did hear about how nice the water felt when we had a heat wave.

[/quote]

The point was not to find some way to blame you, but maybe to find a reason for such inexplicable behavior. To your credit, the behavior is even worse than you had originally described.

If someone told you how great their pool was during a heat wave, a pool that they had told you over the winter that they would invite you to share, but never did, and you didn't respond with "yes, that sounds great, but I wouldn't know", you have remarkable self-restraint. Not remarking on their thoughtlessness is the most gracious response, but wow.

You might tell your hubby that it would be better to keep the opportunity open for the families to invite you for a BBQ, instead. If he is itching to host somebody, you probably have some other friends you haven't seen so much of that could be tapped. You might also ask him, since he knows these friends, whether you are being too indirect. Are these people who come out and ask you when they want something? Maybe they fully expect that you'll ask them when you want something of them, too. If they do that to you, it is hardly likely that they find it tacky. They may simply prefer to be able to come out and ask and also to be able to honestly decline when a request doesn't work. There are families whose friendships operate that way, particularly when they are close friends.

If it just isn't you to be more direct, though, then consider their "emotional bank account" tapped with you for the time being. When they ask for future favors that you can't extend without being irked, then politely decline. There is no sin in that. Having said that, you know it will be better for you to let go of the resentment. You can enjoy that you did some nice things for them and had some nice times, even as you recognize that the point of "enough" has been reached. In the world where no one asks for anything directly, people have to learn to pick up these little indirect cues. That is the way the game works.


#19

No one can take advantage of you unless you allow it. So, if this all gets under your skin so much…stop being the “go-to” Mom the rest of the year. Just say NO.

Only you can decide if these relationships are important enough for you to tolerate the one-sidedness; sounds as if they aren’t.


#20

Dear Luvs2Learn,

You appear to be a very nice, polite and considerate person and of course you would like to have people reciprocate. Having lived all over the country and made many temporary and true friends I can tell you that everyone goes through that from time to time. I have to agree that you need to down grade these people to acquaintence status ASAP. That means that you should NOT complain to them about their lack of hospitality since it will back fire and make you look pathetic. By all means be kind polite and happy when you see them especially for the sake of the kids. I know you will be sad for a little while but it is probably a blessing in disquise and you will have more time for other potential new friends. It is sometimes dicey to make friends with the parents of your kid’s friends because those kid friendships often change from year to year.
Now that you don’t have to waste time trying to be friends with them, you can use this time to pamper your family, do hobbies and volunteering. My father use to say that if you go through life and have 1 or 2 true friends that you are very lucky indeed! Enjoy the other people in your life and remember to be confident and gracious with these folks but don’t issue any more invitations.


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