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My best friend seems to want to end our friendship

Tagged as: Big Questions, Friends, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (7 January 2018) 10 Answers - (Newest, 10 January 2018)
A male United Kingdom age 51-59, *yonsdown writes:

I've been friendly with my pal David for over 30 years.

He drives a taxi for private hire for a living.I provide computer fixing services.

A month ago, for the first time ever, he referred a customer of his to me who had a computer problem.

The lady in question is 90 years old, although I'm not sure that's really important.

I fixed her computer, and ended up doing 6 hours of labour to fix it.But I only charged her for 2.5 hours.

When I returned the computer she was very pleased, and paid me.

She then phoned me the following day, expecting me to go back to do something she could have done herself.I agreed, only because it was my friend's referral.

Again, I asked her if she was happy with everything and she said she was.I didn't charge her for this callout.

The following day she called me again, and again asked me to come back to do something very minor.

Clearly this lady was going to keep asking me to come back at her beck and call.So I sent her a polite email saying if she wanted me again she'd be charged for the callout.I never heard back.

Today my "friend" texted me to say he couldn't see me again until I'd "resolved the situation with (name of customer)".

So he thinks I'm to be a slave to her as he seems to value her paying him $10 for a taxi ride 3 times a year, over our 30 year friendship.

He hasn't called me to ask what happened with the customer.In any case, I've done my duty to the lady over and above what was required, and substantially undercharged her for the original job.

Surely he's in the wrong- the job has little to do with him, and certainly shouldn't mean he will end our friendship if I don't keep going back free of charge at the lady's beck and call?

Do I respond to his text, if so in what words? Or do I let the friendship wither?

View related questions: best friend, hasn't called, text

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (10 January 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntIf this was me then I would call David and tell him exactly what you have told us, if he wants to let your friendship be effected then it is his losee.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (9 January 2018):

Ciar agony auntI want to add something here.

This 90 year old woman is a garden variety con artist who uses her 'little old lady' routine to widdle freebies and favours out of others and clearly David has been taken in by her.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that she did not outright bad mouth you, but instead either arranged a chance encounter or used another excuse to call David and, naturally, when he followed up to see how things went, she omitted the part about how you fixed the problem but instead focussed on the two other calls she made to you with the newest problem not yet resolved. This would have been worded 'innocently' so as to give her deniability and in such a way as to spark David's outrage so that he would be moved to intervene on her behalf.

In any event, it doesn't change anything I said earlier.

Even if I tried to overlook this, I couldn't. It would forever colour my view of my friend and it would only be a matter of time before I decided I couldn't pretend any longer.

I suspect David has, in the past 3 decades, given you glimpses of his real self before this. They may have been small potatoes and easier to overlook at the time, but the clues were there.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (9 January 2018):

Ciar agony auntI would absolutely NOT call him, for two reasons.

One, you should not be chasing this man or anyone to be your friend and calling would be doing just that.

Second, sending an email is better because you can't be interrupted with questions or accusations. You can say your piece and your 'friend' can read it, reflect on it, re-read it and gather his thought before responding. You might also want to CC the woman, so keep the letter professional. Then do not initiate any further contact. There is nothing more to say.

Three decades of friendship and this man has shown you who he really is. He didn't ask you what had happened and he didn't give you the benefit of the doubt. He took drastic action made on rash assumptions. This is not someone I would consider a 'friend'.

Even if you don't sever ties with him, I think he should be demoted to 'acquaintance'. Someone you can exchange pleasantries with if you happen to cross paths, but nothing more. I would not make any announcements about this, but remain polite but formal with him and allow him to figure it out for himself over time.

Your friendship was likely based on mutual interests during the good times. It's how people behave during the hard times that tells us who they are.

This man is NOT a friend.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (8 January 2018):

Call him and explain the situation. If he understands then fine. If not you know the friendship was not as close as you thought.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 January 2018):

Just put your foot down. Tell him what you've done so far; and that's it. If he refuses to listen. Stay silent.

She doesn't really need you to do anything; she just likes the company, and being fussed over. He thinks he's being the good Samaritan by helping an old-lady. Doesn't hurt to be kind to a lonely old-lady.

Next time she calls, ask her to give him a call for a ride to bring it in.

Explain to her you can't personally respond to non-emergency visits. Have someone drop it off, or bring it in. You'll give her a discount for the cost of repairs.

If it has now come-down to canceling friendship over this; you should leave that on him. I'd say he's bluffing.

You're both too old to kill a friendship over something so stupid! You'll just have to sit-tight. Don't give-in to emotional-blackmail.

How many other friendships does he have that have lasted so long? He may be stubborn, but he's no fool!

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A male reader, TylerSage United States +, writes (8 January 2018):

TylerSage agony auntFriendship is a strong word, with a strong meaning. It's not something you just toss aside because of some ridiculous hiccup in your relationship especially one that has lasted more than 3 decades.

To make things worse this is all due to some random stranger who couldn't care less what the hell should become of the two of you due to her pettiness. I'm pretty sure she only cares about herself in this matter.

It was poor on your friend's part to just send a mere text for such a serious ultimatum but you need to stop being children, you're grown men. Talk to him and explain the situation and don't simply end it all if he insists on being stubborn.

A good friend is soooo incredibly hard to find and it's something worth fighting for. Don't do something you'll regret simply because you're in an emotional bind.

Call your friend up, have a drink and get this over with.

All the best.

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A female reader, mystiquek United States + , writes (8 January 2018):

mystiquek agony auntIts really a shame to let a 30 year friendship end over what is more than likely just a simple misunderstanding. Reach out to him and explain things just like you did on here. Maybe for some reason he got the impression that you didn't finish the work and feels you aren't being fair to the lady? EXPLAIN IT. Thats all you can do. You went above and beyond what was needed and I would tell him that as well.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (8 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI too would reach out and have a chat.

He might feel a bond with this old lady or just have soft spot for her - doesn't mean you are now at her beck and call, you have a business to run.

So talk to him. If he can't see your point of view than maybe there isn't such a good friendship to lose.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (8 January 2018):

Tisha-1 agony auntWhy don't you just call him and tell him what you've done for her? He's obviously making assumptions based on information that doesn't line up with your experience?

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (8 January 2018):

Aunty BimBim agony auntI'd reach out once more to your friend, ask him what it is he requires you to do to resolve this, as when he initially approached you on the lady's behalf he hadn't mentioned you were expected to attend her house for several hours on a daily basis at no charge.

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