Social Question

marinelife's avatar

Am I overreacting to be disappointed in my friend?

Asked by marinelife (58012 points ) September 13th, 2012

My friend is currently living in Mexico. She has been talking to me off and on for months about my husband and I meeting her and her husband for a vacation in February at several beach resorts in the Yucatan. Every time she brought it up, I responded enthusiastically that yes we would love to meet them.

Tonight, I was telling her my vacation plan for the coming week, because we are working on a project together. She then said, “Oh that reminds me. Ours are set for February. We will be gone Feb.2–13 on vacation with the Doohickeys in Acumel and Playa del Carmen (the very places we had talked about going).

After a stunned pause, I said, “I thought that Andy & I were meeting you in February for that trip.”

Another stunned pause on her side, and then a lot of backpedaling. “The Yucatan is so expensive.” “We’re just going to be hanging around. You could join us for part of the trip.” etc. ad nauseum until I ended the call.

Would you ever do that to someone? Is this as hurtful as I think it is? What was she thinking?

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34 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d be pissed and hurt. You don’t lead someone on for months and then drop a bomb on them. She was definately wrong. On the other hand, you won’t be in Mexico, so you’ll be a little safer, not that those areas are bad.

creative1's avatar

Heck yes I would be disappointed and a little upset at my friend. That is some way to break to the news to you pretty awful if you ask me.

janbb's avatar

That sounds like an awful thing to have happened. I would be upset and I think I would need to find a way to talk to her about it.

chyna's avatar

No, I’d be pissed. It wasn’t one of those “we should meet for lunch” type of conversations, it was “let’s meet in a resort for a vacation” conversation. I’m not sure how I would interact with her after this.

nikipedia's avatar

I’d be disappointed too. If it makes you feel any better, I had a similar experience. I mentioned to my best friend that I’d like to make a big trip after I finish my degree, and that I’d like to go somewhere really novel, like Africa. She got very excited and said it sounded like a great plan. I promised to spend the next two years, until my estimated graduation date, saving up carefully for the trip.

One year passed, and she asked if there was any way I’d be able to go that summer instead of the following one when we had planned to go. I said it would be impossible, as I didn’t have all the money saved up and had a number of responsibilities over the summer.

She went without me.

I haven’t told her yet how much it bothered me because it felt petty at the time. But I know exactly how you feel. It is not a good feeling.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I’d be pissed, particularly with the “The Yucatan is so expensive/You could join us for part of the trip” BS. I(we)‘ve backed out of shared trips before but never even considered planning a shared trip then booking it ourselves without them… and never would without talking to them first (say if we had to go during a specific time and they were locked into a different time); that all sounds like a load of horse shit if ya ask me.

In her defense, all I’ve got is maybe she didn’t think you were serious or maybe got the wrong impression of when/if you wanted to go/go with them; possibly they couldn’t get a shared booking – but this far in advance and for a group of 4 that’s very unlikely. And all the backpedaling doesn’t lead me to think those likely. Maybe they wanted to go particularly high end and didn’t think you could afford it (that sounds insulting, I don’t mean it to be, it’s none of my business whether you can or not; regardless they still should have asked you) or maybe they were embarrassed about not being able to afford what you had discussed in terms of resorts or something (I’ve had that discussion before where shared trips were concerned, but they speak up and don’t just plan a separate “identical” trip without us). Now that I think about it, if it was me and I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt I’d start with that last one, that’s just because of personal experiences I’m thinking of.

augustlan's avatar

I’d be hurt, for sure.

Maybe she’s just one of those people who isn’t very serious, and doesn’t expect what she says to be taken seriously?

Trillian's avatar

I’ve erased people completely out of my life for less than this. It’s not worth even trying to explain to her what she did wrong. If I want unreliable, I can shop at the Dollar Store. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don’t have time or patience for people who can’t do the same.

Tachys's avatar

Is it possible it was a misunderstanding? If you are sure it was not, the I’m with @Trillian.

Sunny2's avatar

Yes. I’d be upset. Not hurt, but angry. It would definitely cool any friendship I’d had with her. It was thoughtless, at best.

filmfann's avatar

She may have waited for a commitment, and having not received one, found someone else.
Cut her a break.

wundayatta's avatar

I just saw this on TV. “Girls,” oh HBO. She makes plans with her boyfriend to move into her apartment, only she doesn’t really think he’s serious about it. He’s just saying he’ll move in to help her out, but doesn’t want to.

So she finds someone else to move in, and she announces it to her boyfriend like it’s great news. He doesn’t have to move in now. And he’s all disappointed and upset and how can she do this.

I think the point is that there are different sets of assumptions going on, and your friends thought you were just talking, but they didn’t imagine you could be serious. So when some people came along who they knew were serious, they made plans, never thinking that you would really come.

Now, of course, the miscalculation is very clear.

Should you be disappointed? Well, you are what you are. I can’t tell you one way or the other. All I can say is I understand why you are disappointed. Makes sense to me.

Are you overreacting? No. Your feelings are your feelings. That’s not the issue.

The issue is how do you move forward? How can trust your friend in the future? Do you want to trust her?

Another issue is what do you do with the hurt from the disappointment? Well, as you know, time will heal you. The pain will fade as time goes by. Your trust will recover.

It might help to have a talk and try to understand what she was really thinking. Maybe if you understand her thinking, it will make more sense to you. But it is risky, because it could also make you feel worse and less understood. But in the end, if you really want to understand, you’ll have to talk it through with her. Hopefully you’ll be able to laugh about it, some day.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, yeah, disappointed for sure.

But don’t throw away the friendship over this. I expect that it was a misunderstanding, though it has pretty serious consequences to your winter vacation plans, I guess. Give it a few days and then talk to her again to figure out where your mutual plans went off the rails.

serenade's avatar

Time to move her onto a different list. That’s a bit of crazymaking.

Coloma's avatar

Clearly she is not a woman of her word. Read: Low integrity.
Be impeccable with your word is a mantra of mine. If I am unsure of being impeccable I do not open my mouth, or, I clearly state that while my head wants to do something I will need to be sure I am able and will make a definitive commitment as soon as I am sure or not.

Flakey and insincere just about cover it with this person IMO.
I have never understood how people can talk their talk and yet not expect to walk the walk. Pffft…go away, you are the weakest link! lol

JLeslie's avatar

Is it possible she never thought you were serious about going? I understand why you feel dissappointed or even put off by what happened. It’s possible she told several friends where she wanted to go and hoped some friends would join in, but now that she has actually firmed up some plans with one set of friends, it will be difficult or awkward for her to juggle all of you. If by chance you don’t all speak English or Spanish she might worry about that dynamic. I’m not making an excuse for her, just wondering aloud if maybe that is what happened. I am assuming you don’t have your tickets and reservations yet.

If it were me, and nothing had been set in stone yet, it had just been talk, I would do one of two things. Either just bow out and do my own vacation. Or, if she seemed to genuinely want you to spend some time with them and you really liked the idea of that vacation, I would plan the trip and plan dinner or a day with your friends during the trip. But, most likely I would do the first choice.

I wouldn’t be angry, I would just probably not plan a trip with them in the future. Or, be willing to plan a trip, but not depend on them showing up or being central to the vacation. It wouldn’t ruin the friendship for me probably.

Kardamom's avatar

This sounds like a case of someone “Getting a Better Offer” and that totally sucks. I had one ex-friend do something similar to me. That’s why she’s an ex-friend.

Bellatrix's avatar

I too would be disappointed but wonder if she could possibly have misinterpreted the situation. Did she think your conversations were just musings or real plans? I can understand how let down you feel. I wouldn’t dump the friendship if this is out of character though. If it is something she has done before, I would certainly be re-evaluating my relationship and faith in her.

Jeruba's avatar

If something like that happened to me, I know it would permanently change my relationship with the person. It might even sound the death knell for our friendship.

Assuming that we can take your version of the story as the objective facts of the case, I’d offer this hypothesis. My guess would be that she made her offer to you without having come to an agreement with her husband. And for some reason he wanted to make other plans—or already had. This put her on the spot and she lacked the courage to handle it gracefully with you.

Or maybe she’d been foolish enough to make the same suggestion to more than one friend, not expecting them all to say yes.

I think she painted herself into a corner and somehow expected you to be gracious enough to let her off.

Even if this is a wrong interpretation, I don’t see any alternative to the idea that she strung you along and then let you down in a particularly callous manner. Whatever her reasons might have been, it does not sound as if she even took the trouble to apologize for disappointing you.

No, I’m afraid nothing would keep the frost out of the air the next time I saw this former friend.

cookieman's avatar

I’d certainly be hurt – as she handled that poorly. At the same time, I’d feel bad they have to hang with folks named “Doohickey”.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I wonder in your example how you think she should have handled it so it would have been graceful?

marinelife's avatar

@filmfann I said yes. Repeatedly. I was waiting for a cue from her to start making arrangements (although six months seems a little early to be doing that).

marinelife's avatar

@Jeruba It is somewhat complicated as I am currently involved in a work project with this person.

@cprevite Thanks for the smile!

janbb's avatar

@marinelife Is/was she a close enough friend that you can bring it up with her? If not, I would just get through the work project and quietly drop her. But if it were me, I would probably need to say something.

JLeslie's avatar

Is it possible you were not firming up plans fast enough for her? You mentioned 6 months in advance seemed far in advance to you. Since you weren’t buying tickets now, maybe she just felt you weren’t actually very serious. People vary widely on how they plan vacations. I book much further in advance than my husband’s family, and our closest friends who we travel with. We travel to various cities with his racing, and usually 4–10 other racers from our group go to the same tracks and I used to try and coordinate where we stayed, but they just don’t plan it in advance enough for me. Now, I make my plans, and tell them where I will be. If they wind up at the same place fine, if they don’t, their problem (although this last time it also turned into my problem, because I had to drive out of my way to pick up one of the wives). But, I have a history with them. I have other vacation planning stories, but I don’t want to clutter your Q with them, unless you are interested.

It isn’t that you were not booking fast enough in general, I am not saying everyone else in the world would say 6 months is normal, only saying that how you each plan vacations might be very different. She may not have been comfortable waiting more time to firm up her plans, combined with some of the things mentioned above, like maybe she told more than one set of friends, or her husband plays a part, etc.

I do sometimes make plans last minute, but if I know a vacation I want to go on, I start firming it up when I have decided I definitely want to go, whether it be a week ahead or 6 months, even a year sometimes for track events.

Either way I think she handled it very poorly. She should have at minimum told you she was booking her plans, and also mentioned she had told other friends about the trip and they might come along as well. She was not completely open with you, failed to communicate well, and so feelings got hurt.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, taking “she” to be @marinelife in your question, I don’t know that there was a way. It might have taken superhuman grace. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have managed it. Instead I might have heard myself saying something like “I guess that means we’re excused from having to take that trip with you, then.”

My comment about expecting you to be gracious enough to let her off was not a criticism of @marinelife. It was intended to say that the friend might have been putting the whole burden of graceful response on @marinelife—expecting her to be too polite to call attention to the flagrant withdrawal of invitation when it was she, the friend, who ought to have behaved better. I’ve noticed many times in life that someone who is out of line relies on other people’s forbearance not to make an issue of their behavior—even if it’s something outrageous. And often enough, they’re right: many people will swallow insults and indignities rather than stir up trouble. Those who do go for the confrontation often end up taking the flak themselves, even if they did nothing to instigate the disturbance.

I think @marinelife was absolutely right to call her on it. And I think she owes @marinelife a major apology.

marinelife's avatar

Update for those interested:

I got a lengthy email from her today in which she said four times “We would love to have you join us”. She then offered the option of the four of us planning a different trip at a later date.

I replied with three sentences:

“Thanks, but we don’t want to horn in on your trip with the Doohickeys.

As to doing it another time, why don’t we wait and see how long you are going to be in Mexico?

Got the message from Projectdirector’sname. I guess it is good news/bad news, but better than a flat no, right?”

My hope was that she could read between the lines that I was pissed, but that by mentioning the project, I indicated that I still planned to work together.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I actually meant the friend.

@marinelife I think she already knew she screwed up and handled it poorly by what she wrote to you.

Edit: if I were her I would have agonized all night over it and tortured my husband with my regret. If that makes you feel any better.

cookieman's avatar

That certainly sounds better than Doing it with the Horndickeys.

ok, I’ll stop.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh—how might the friend have handled it gracefully? meaning the withdrawal of the invitation?

I don’t think it’s possible to offend someone gracefully. Direct, sincere apology might have been the only way: “I’m afraid I have bad news. We’ve gone ahead with our February plans with another couple. I know you and I talked about it, but Jack and I just felt that when it comes to travel we have more in common with the Doohickeys. We’ve vacationed with them before. I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you, and I hope you’ll forgive my thoughtlessness in discussing plans with you and then changing our minds. I really didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

I would certainly accept such an apology. But, just speaking for myself, I know it would cast a chill over our association, and there’s no way I’d be drawn into making plans a second time.

marinelife's avatar

@Jeruba I would have accepted such an apology too had it been proffered. Sadly, it wasn’t, and with this particular friend, it won’t be. There is a distinct chill in the air.

Trillian's avatar

@marinelife Good for you! You were much nicer about it than I would have been.
May I set my soda on your desk? It seems to be a bit warm!

Kardamom's avatar

^^ I think she needs a cocktail set on her desk : P

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba That is kind of where my mind was at when I thought originally you meant the friend could have handled it more gracefully, there is no good way to do it at that point. It’s like the deed is done and every way out sucks. Basically there is no graceful way out. Kind of like no matter how you break up with your boyfriend everyone will think you did something tacky or awful during the break up no matter what.

I think the email the friend sent is her way of trying to apologize. Probably the best she can do. My inlaws are kind of like that, they NEVER apologize. Well, never is strong of course (especially in capital letters) but it is on a very very rare occasion. They have to feel really really wrong. So a thoughtless miscommunication in their mind would not warrant an apology. And, God forbid you apologize to them, they rarely accept the apology, they just walk away saying, “see, she was wrong.” It’s almost never a clearing of the air. Drives me crazy. I have lowered my expectations now about these things, not only with them, but with others too.

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