General Question

lisaj89's avatar

At what point is a friendship taken advantage of?

Asked by lisaj89 (720points) June 6th, 2009

I have a friend, actually, the friend I just mentioned in my last question, who just got out of a divorce and has two kids. I watch her kids every once in a while just to be nice. I do a lot of babysitting, but do not charge her, just because we’re friends. I just received a text from her asking if I can stay with her kids tomorrow night. It wouldn’t be a big deal except that it’s my b-day weekend and already took off work Monday, which she knows. Am I just being selfish or is she taking advantage of me. I’m new to having friends with kids, so has anybody else encountered this problem in a friendship?

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17 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

If you have made plans, no matter how trivial, just say “Sorry, I’ve made plans.”

What’s she done to say “Thank you” recently? Friendships are two-sided, remember?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s your birthday. Don’t sacrifice too much of yourself lest you enable people to take advantage of you.

Likeradar's avatar

It’s being taken advantage of when the give/take balance is skewed over a long period of time.

Say no about the birthday weekend, unless you want to stay with her kids. You are not her on-call babysitter, just a friend who is generous with your time.

Judi's avatar

When you say no you will find out. If she gets pissy about it it means she’s taking you for granted.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You are not accountable to tell her why you cannot watch her children, either. She and their father are responsible for them, not you.

AnnieOakley's avatar

It sounds like she is taking advantage. She knows it’s your birthday weekend and obviously isn’t being thoughtful enough to consider you might want to be doing something special. Don’t take it personally, just gently remind her of some boundaries by saying “No”. We teach people how to treat us and what to expect.

Jeruba's avatar

“No, sorry, I can’t do that. It’s my birthday, and I have plans already.”

Darwin's avatar

And if, after you say no, she gets mad, then she was taking advantage of you.

However, if she says “Oh, yeah, I forgot! Happy Birthday. What about next weekend” she may be taking advantage of you a little bit but she still sees you as a friend and not a babysitter.

loser's avatar

When you say it is.

swtsally's avatar

honestly yes. she as the mother of her children has the responsibility of watching over her own children. not getting one of her friends to do it. in my opinion, she might be using you just a little bit. she’s recently divorced and probably wants to let loose and have fun. but if it’s your bday weekend and she knew that? then tell her sorry but no. you have plans. get someone else to watch them.

Judi's avatar

When my kids were little I had a friend (a new friend) that really hurt my feelings when she said., “Will you babysit while I go out with the girls?” I was hurt because I thought I was one of the girls but I was never invited.

lisaj89's avatar

Judi, the same thing happened with this friend mentioned in the question. We went out with some old friends from work the other night for dinner (we also work together) and the kids just tagged along. Well, after dinner they decided to go downtown…while yours truly babysat. It wasn’t too much of a slap in the face b/c they know that I don’t really like going to clubs, it’s just the fact that they got to have fun while I am stuck watching Spongebob with a 4 year old.

Judi's avatar

Don’t remember who said it but “No one can take advantage of you without your permission.”

Darwin's avatar

@lisaj89 Next time watch Friday the 13th with the four-year-old instead of Sponge Bob. That’ll make her stop asking you to babysit.

As my son said when he was four and had come home early from a sleep-over because he couldn’t, “Mommy, why did the guy with the white face keep poking the lady with a knife on the TV at Joe’s house?

No more sleep-overs at that place!

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, I think that’s a recurring response from Dear Abby. A very wise one, too.

Darwin's avatar

@Jeruba I suspect Ann Landers said it a time or two, also. It must run in the family.

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