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Complications with lifelong family friends...

  • 22-10-2021 2:06pm
    Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭

    So, this is a long story,.. will try make it short..

    My family home is no longer but I still go home to where I am from, from time to time and for the last 6 yrs I have been staying with my neighbours/friends (they are a brother and sister). Before Covid this would have been about 4 times/year.. 1 or 2 nights at a time.

    During the restrictions we talked on the phone all the time.. always messaging/calling each other..

    But in the last 4 months I have stayed with them on 4 diff occasions.. 1-2 nights at a time.

    I always bring them something.. sweets, biscuits, wine, vouchers for supermarket or buy them Chinese, thank you cards, candles etc.. various things over the years. I always bring my own food.. and wash our dishes etc,..

    Our families have been friends for generations.. grandparents, parents, (helped one another out with farm work etc) siblings who grew up together - have always felt like we wer all more like sisters and brothers as oppose to just neighbour friends..

    Its not just a place to stay - I love MOD EDIT - REMOVED REAL NAME like a sister.. missed them terribly during the restrictions...

    Last time I stayed with them was about 2 weeks ago for 1 night..

    I asked if I could stay again in a few weeks time and long story short she said no.. that she feels I have taken them for granted... I was flabbergasted by this and told her how much I appreciate and love them.. and how I always brought things and gave them cards and continually told them how much I appreciated them having me stay etc.. then I asked "should I have given you money?" she said "well, it would not have gone astray!"..

    I was totally gobsmacked by this.. it would never have dawned on me to give them money... I use to think I went overboard with my thanking them.. but it seems it was not enough... money talks I guess.. I am hurt that they think I took them for granted... cos I really love them..

    I feel a great loss now - and its not about having a place to stay.. I feel I have lost a great friend.. a dear family friend.. a connection to my home place/generations of family - now broken (and I do not have a lot of connections to home anymore {a lot of family gone or moved on})..

    Should I have been giving them money? Was this naive of me? It would never have dawned on me to give them money.. like I know we are not family but friends thru generations... to me it was about seeing them too - not just a place to stay - I guess they don't love me as much as I love them?.. I guess I was an inconvenience?..


    PS they have a lot of stress in their lives at the minute..

    Thanks for reading

    Post edited by Hannibal_Smith on



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,022 ✭✭✭Baybay

    OP, in all friendships things can get a little strained at times so I don’t think your friendship is over. I’d say that is your call. But it is also your friend’s call to say enough. For now or forever may have to be determined.

    I enjoy having visitors, for coffee, for dinner, for the weekend but I don’t want them to see them every day or even every weekend & I’m always just as happy to see them go as I was to see them arrive.

    You feel hurt & that’s ok. Your friend has clearly felt something akin to hurt with the frequency of your visits or the taking for granted or whatever. All of that is ok.

    I think it’d be a pity to throw away all that history over this, whether or not I understand it or whether or not it’d be for me. It’s important to you so arrange a visit, don’t stay over & chat about the expectation on both sides.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,204 ✭✭✭partyguinness

    OP...the next move is up to you. Personally if had acted in a tone deaf manner (TBF you didnt do it on purpose or maliciously), I would make light of it very quick to get over it. You mentioned that you see them a few times a year. Rather than letting this simmer for the next few months I would make a special effort to back home, stay in a B&B/hotel whatever it takes. Severe danger that if you let things the way they are for a few months you might do some terminal damage to the friendship.

    Take them out for drinks whatever- laugh it off, make light of it while empahasising you have taken the hint but at least you get to go back to separate houses that night.

    Of course you have taken it personally but you need to step back and probably accept in the cold light of day that perhaps you have gone a tad too far. Accept it and make amends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭penovine

    hi thanks for all the replies and some food for thought there for sure.. however...

    I did not know that they wer under stress... she only told me at the time of said conversation..

    @dialhead why wer the gifts too much? We are life long family friends - have been giving one another gifts since ever,..

    @tara73 no I don't see them as parent's - i am younger than the brother for starters.. but I do see them as v close family friends which they are.. but perhaps I see them as being more important than they see me which I am realising now..

    @JimmyVik with regards to the money.. I basically verbalised what she was getting at.. like I said.. had never dawned on me..

    @partyguinness I actually took them out for dinner in Sept and bought them take out in Aug..

    The fact that I have stayed with them 4 times in the last 4 mths is due to unforeseen circumstances.. out of the norm..

    But at the end of the day, I overstayed my welcome - and the fact that they are stressed at the mo is obv a factor - I did not know about this..

    I wish she hadda said to me months ago.. listen, now is not a good time.. we have a lot going on.. I wudda totally understood..

    But its the money thing that has throw me off - if I had given them money, would that have been ok? Should I have given them money?

    I have NO problem staying in a B&B - I didn't think it a prob to stay with them - thought the friendship was mutual.. like I said - we talked on the phone all the time during the restrictions..

    As it stands, we are friends.. she said they are under pressure - and I said I am sorry they felt I took them for granted.. sorry if I have been an inconvenience etc..

    But I would love clarification on the money thing but not gonna ask obv..


    In any event, I am thinking of sending them a voucher for the supermarket they use.. (though I always brought my own food - but just to show my appreciation,.. I would not be comfortable to give them money.. ).. but I am unsure what to do at this stage - dunno how they will feel about that.. not sure what to think.. i wish they hadda said something before now.. its the money thing that bothers me.. i would hate to think that they thought me sponging off them... like I said, it wasn't just a place to stay.. I love them like family.. but guess they do not see me that way.. realising that now...

    Still not clear on the relevance of € though..

  • Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭penovine

    oh I just remembered another thing she said.. @Hannibal_Smith @bucketybuck @dialhead .. seems € is v relevant.. when I said "but I always brought bickies, sweets, wine etc".. she said "what, a €6 box of bickies, big deal".. then I said about the Chinese,... oh and her brother was ill when I was there last (hurt his leg) and I gave him a get well card and a book... (just remembering other bits now).. so can you see how I am so confused by the mention of money?? She said I took them for granted.. but I didn't... always brought stuff to show my appreciation etc..

    Granted, I realise now I over stayed my welcome but I was not to know... (as kids I went up to their house after school as my folks wer not always home for personal reasons).. I wish she hadda said something before it got to this but I am still addled about the money thing.. and yes it seems to be an issue for her

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,797 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    She could have been afraid to bring it up, until now when she's had enough.

    A €6 box of chocolates/sweets/biccies and a Chinese is not the same as putting a roof over someone's head as and when they want. Also, buying her brother a get well card and a book is a nice gesture and if you're life long friends, it's something you might do regardless?

    It sounds as if things got quite heated between you. And it would be a terrible shame to end a friendship like this when it can be easily fixed. I can't see how you can be anything but the one who should apologise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭Tork

    I think you'd have ended up with much the same argument, no matter what presents you gave them. Though maybe it's worth mentioning that in my family, we mostly don't give each other boxes of biscuits and sweets at Christmas any more. Back in normal times, our office canteen would be awash with sweets and biscuits in January because colleagues wanted to get rid of them from their houses. They're not a present many people value, especially nowadays when you can buy them for a few euros at any time of the year. Anyway, that's just a side note. The greater point here is that you outstayed your welcome and it has blown up in this unfortunate way.

    I agree that if you had offered money they'd have refused it and handed it back to you. Maybe a voucher might've worked better but I think they'd still have come to resent you staying so often. I get the impression that this may be a somewhat lopsided friendship and that you're more dependent on them because of your family circumstances. It might explain why you're talking so much about how you love them and various family members are like siblings to you. That's a lot closer than how most people would describe lifelong friends.

    It would be a shame if you all fell out and I think it is something to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. From now on, it would be better if you didn't stay with them but booked into a hotel or B&B locally. You'll be a lot more welcome if you just pop around to visit for a few hours and go again or meet them for a meal. There is no easy way to tell somebody that they've worn out their welcome and your friend may now have regrets about how this has turned out. If this friendship is repairable, she'll be all too eager to put this behind her once you apologise.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭iffandonlyif

    I haven’t read all the responses but most are taking the line that four stays in four months is excessive. While it may often be, I don’t think it’s necessarily so. From what OP says, she/he is very close with both and is a clean and considerate houseguest, staying for only a night or two. It seems more equivalent to a sister/brother staying over. And given they hadn’t seen each other during the lockdown, perhaps that frequency is understandable.

    Now, evidently, it was felt to be excessive. But expecting money as compensation seems bizarre to me.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Okay, it was an honest mistake on your part. You didn't realise you were pushing boundaries.

    So how do you mend it? Well, if I was in your shoes I'd apologise for any overstep and invite them out to a meal in a nice hotel/restaurant to say thank you for all the times they've hosted you.

    There are probably airbnb's in the area you can look into for future stays.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭Tork

    This is one of those threads where the thoughts of the OP's friend would make for interesting reading. Everybody has their own definition of what "too much" is, along with their own boundaries. This all boils down to being a genuine misunderstanding and something that can hopefully be fixed. I think the money thing just became a lightning rod for the resentment that had built up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,932 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    We always stay in a nearby b and b or hotel if we visit someone, best all round. and we'd often go for a meal together rather than expect to be fed.

    Never under a compliment then

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,522 ✭✭✭Deeec

    OP it's alot of work having someone coming to stay. Getting bed and room ready, cooking meals etc. In all honesty you should only be staying with them no more than twice a year. My guess is they would be very happy to see you then - it would make the visits more special. Also you should return the favour and invite them to stay with you. Also help out in the house when you visit - don't expect them to be your butler and maid for the stay.

    Do you have any other family members. Do you look as these people as your family? Is there a specific reason why you have to visit the area so often.

    Also do you mind me asking what age you all are?

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