View Full Version : On Friendship

12-21-2011, 07:28 PM
I'm not sure how to discuss this so please bear with me or just skip this post. I don't mind either way. It's dealing with what friendship means and how other people perceive me.

Last night I was talking to my best and only friend and he told me that another of his friends thinks I use him. According to him she thinks that because I only have one friend I rely too much on him. This most likely is true - I do rely too much on him. I have called him in the wee hours of the morning when I felt suicidal or panicked. I have done this several times lately and he has always told me he wanted me to call and felt honored that I chose to call him and share this with him.

This friend is a very kind and compassionate man and would never purposely hurt anyone. When he told me this I was totally crushed and could barely contain myself. I cried for the first time in years - the AD I'm on will not allow me to cry so this was actually somewhat of a release but still. . .

The thing is that even if I had several friends I think I would still have one friend that I shared everything with and was closest to - the others would just be fun to do things with. I don't trust just anyone, in fact I don't completely trust anyone. My friend is someone I trust more than anyone else in my life. Is this wrong?

If this is a misuse of friendship then what do I do? My only option is to stop sharing things with anyone because I have no one else to turn to.

Turning to a therapist just does not fill the need to have someone in my life who cares. A therapist does not care, she just listens because it is her job.

Any thoughts are welcome. :sad :cry

Take care,

12-21-2011, 08:03 PM
My opinion on what friends are there for... in emergency, when there is no other thing I can think to do, calling a very good friend seems ok, even in the wee hours. I haven't done something like that in a long time though, because I learned there were more appropriate places to turn for help, ways to get my needs filled without leaning too hard on my friend(s). When I get panicked or suicidal, I call a hot line, or go to the ER, depending on how bad/dangerous things are. It is true, these professionals are paid, but they do care. Well, the good ones care.

A friend is not a therapist, and a therapist is not a friend. They are two different things. Friends are good to have, good to talk to, good to share with, good to be open and trusting with. But they cannot replace professional help. It is not a choice between one or the other. Depending on a therapist to help you learn to cope with unmanageable feelings and uncover the roots of these feelings does not mean you cannot confide in your caring friend. No therapist will ever replace the wonderful bond between caring friends. But no friend can really do what a therapist is trained to do either.

I personally would be unhappy if a friend repeatedly called me in the middle of the night, and did not follow up with a plan on how to better cope so that middle of the night calls would not be necessary. I would also feel overwhelmed, probably, and eventually I might feel resentful.

I would definitely NOT say you were using your friend, or that you did anything wrong in calling him. But I think figuring out some other plan on coping, for the future, would be a really really good idea.

12-21-2011, 09:00 PM
Do you also give and do the same for this friend? Has he expressed that you are asking too much or has he told you that he cannot give as much as you need? I do believe you cannot have one friend, as it's good to have a handful of close friends to draw from. When I am in need, my best friend might be unavailable so I have other resources. What are you going to do when he finds a girlfriend and she is his first priority? A friend isn't a replacement for a therapist. A friend is someone who laughs AND cries with you, a friend isn't just someone to call in the middle of the night.

If you are calling him because you are feeling suicidal or severely depressed then you truly need a therapist, he cannot help you on his own and that isn't fair to ask him. It's not 'using' him but perhaps it is scaring him and the burden of trying to help someone is sometimes too much to bear alone.

12-21-2011, 09:03 PM
The other person's perception does not matter. What matters is how you and your friend view the relationship. Your friendship is uniquely yours and while the third person might not want a close friendship, it only matters what you and your friend want.

How did your friend bring up this person's remark? Did he seem to agree with it or was he puzzled by it? I think the best thing to do is to ask your friend how he feels about it.

12-21-2011, 10:04 PM
I have called him in the wee hours of the morning when I felt suicidal or panicked. I have done this several times lately and he has always told me he wanted me to call and felt honored that I chose to call him and share this with him.

I am going to come the perspective of one that has been on the other end of the suicidal calls in the middle of the night. It gets wearing, even when in the beginning you are open to it and the last thing you want to tell a suicidal person is to stop calling in the middle of the night, it gets wearing. Especially if you are having to tell the person the same thing over and over again, give them suggestions on how to cope better, have a better quality of life, etc., and they do nothing to change. I am not saying this is your situation, I can only speak of the one I was in.

I finally had to tell my friend I was not equiped to offer support during her suicidal bouts in the middle of the night and if she called again in that condition I would be forced to call nine-one-one. It would have been different if it had only happend once or twice but there were periods over the years when I was actually sleep deprived and not feeling well because I was talking to her instead of getting much needed sleep.

I am not sayng this to make you feel bad but even the best of friendships have their limits and boundaries. When you call him in the middle of the night do you take any suggestions he might give? Are you actively working on changing your thoughts process so you do not have these suicidal bouts?

What this person's friend said may have been at a time when he was obviously lacking rest from this middle of the night calls and had nothing to do with you personally but only the effects these calls were having on your friend.

I would also question why a "friend" would need to repeat what was said. I have never understood why people feel the need to pass along comments when it is obvious it could be hurtful. But perhaps his intention in repeating this was a passive-aggessive way of saying something he wanted to say but putting the blame a third party.

12-21-2011, 10:40 PM

The only thing will add to the others is that just because a t is paid does not mean that they do not genuinly care. If they dont then they are not a good t.
But yes they are not a friend. As Sunshinepoppy said the two are different.

Sharing with a freind should also not feel like dumping it on the person. I dont know how to explain that but there is a difference between sharing and dumping. Maybe it lies in putting the other person in charge of our feelings or still owning them,

12-22-2011, 06:32 PM
Thanks to all for the wonderful, insightful replies. :gimmehug

:hugon sunshinepoppy :hugoff
Perhaps rather than using him I am just relying on him unfairly. It is not as though I call and tell him that I'm going to "off" myself, I just feel that way and I do say that I "wish I were dead" but I've never been at the stage of acting on my feelings. When we talk it is not about that or even to discuss what I should do but more so I can get emotions out or just have someone to let me know I am cared about. But I guess that is unfair to him.
I like your suggestion of agreeing on an alternate plan.

:hugon sflatlander :hugoff
I don't really expect him to be a replacement for a therapist and he has told me to feel free to call. I'm not completely certain he really means it though.
Yes, I am there for him when he needs a friend. He went through and continues to go thru a lot of emotional turmoil in dealing with the death of his parents, settling their estate and having an estranged sister due to all the turmoil of the estate. I have spent time helping him clean out things and getting advice from my lawyer father and just listening while he discussed his pain. I also include him in my family Christmas and other family events. I have helped him thru the death of his **** pets and the strife of caring deeply about a woman who in the end did not return his dedication. And many more issues.
I guess I feel like I have been there for him as much as he for me. I even let him use my home and appliances as a retreat or when his are broken.
I have really tried to reciprocate as much as possible due to the guilt I have around needing anyone.

:hugon axi :hugoff
Actually my friend brought this up when we were discussing his old relationship and how I had not wanted him to continue in it because I was afraid the woman was using him for monetary gain and hurting him deeply. We were discussing how people cannot fully understand one another but can still have empathy and feel their pain. I was reading a book by the Dahli Lama and it spread to a somewhat opinionated discussion. We were both relating this concept to our own lives and when I said I thought she was using him in that relationship he told me that his other friend thought I was using him. I secretly wonder if she ever said this but that it was really what he thought. That's why I am concerned. It would not be the first time he bent the truth to me in order to make himself look correct. That really doesn't matter though, what matters is that I think he is feeling I am using him.

:hugon nc :hugoff
Bless you nc. Honestly I cringe a bit when I read your replies to me - not because I don't want them but rather because I NEED them. I often feel kicked in the gut when I read your opinions because they make me realize how much harder I need to work and how beligerant I am. You are correct in that I need to stop refusing to change. My friend really does not give suggestions as to how to change my attitude but I am still not making enough effort to change. It is actually during the times I am trying to change that I get panicked and depressed. Change panics me.
I've really only recently called him a few times. It started because I saw his light on one time when it happened so I thought he was already awake. It turned out he had just happened to wake for nature calling and then it became too easy to do again. I need to stop NOW.
:hugon dermaline :hugoff
I don't really think I just dump on him - we discuss philosophy and religion and issues in each of our lives. It is more of an exchange. I probably listen more than I talk usually, it's only been the last month two that I've been really stressed.
As for the T I've had a T in the past who let me feel like we were friends. This ended up hurting me badly when it all ended and I've been scared to really share too much with a T ever since. None that I've had since would have allowed me to call in a crisis either.

Thanks to all the thoughts. I have really gotten a lot of great suggestions and ideas from all of you. I think it is time my friend and I talk more about what is going on between us and what alternative plans I can come up with for my panic and depression.

I know I need to change and I am trying to force myself to be more forceful with myself. I also know that I have low self opinions and am quite negative about myself and my life. This wears on him as my friend. I need to keep these things to myself.

Sorry this is so long.
Any other suggestions are more than welcome.