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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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My best friend of 40 years just texted me and we were having

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My best friend of 40 years just texted me and we were having a nice chat for a while. She invited me to her daughter's 13th birthday party. She lives out of town, said that her ex husband would give me a ride there which is aXXXXX I am so exhausted from working and taking care of my young child so I told her that I would have loved to come but I want to make up some extra hours at work and that is why I cannot attend. She abruptly stopped texting me, so I think that she is upset that I am not coming.

Last year, she made the trip to my child's birthday party. But, I also travelled to see her daughter's dance recital last year. Do you think that I am being selfish for not coming?

jenhelant : Hi,
jenhelant : I understand where you are coming from.
jenhelant : I don't think you need to say yes all the time.
jenhelant : It seems like up until now the friendship was both ways.
jenhelant : If you are unable to go this time that is understandable. Yes your friend may be upset and hurt by this, but I would try to just continue doing your part as a friend to show her that even though you are unable to attend this does not mean your relationship has changed.
jenhelant : relationships need to be a two way street, but it is impossible to say yes all the time. No one can do that and you are not being stressful if you need to say no sometimes. Sometimes we need to say no in order to be a good friend. Otherwise we may get over stressed and it will not be good for the people around up. Therefore we do need to take care of ourselves in order to be good to others as well.
jenhelant : a true friend will be there for you and understand even when you don't say yes all the time.

I believe that a good friend would understand.

jenhelant : yes you are right. A good friend will understand.

I believe that a good friend would understand. The thing that bothers me is that in my past relationships, men have accused me of being selfish and I hope that I am not. She would be the one to mostly text first. I would like to change and for it to become more of a two way street. She can be bossy like telling me how I should dress and what type of men I should be attracted to. That is the reason why I sometimes don't want to hang around her--especially when I am already stressed out.

jenhelant : I do understand. She should not be bossing you around and that could be why you are not the first one to text her. I would analyze if you feel you are selfish in anyway since men have said that. No matter what it is good for everyone to once in a while take a step back to check. If you feel you are being selfish in anyway you can analyze why and if there was a reason. Maybe you weren't or had a good reason. That way you will not need to worry and if you feel you were being selfish you will have insight and could take steps to change. The first step is realizing then from there we can make change if necessary and if that is what we want to do.
jenhelant : However, as I said with your friend you may not be all that happy in the relationship and this could be part of why you are not texting her first or quick to change your work schedule for the birthday party.
jenhelant : this is all understandable because people also need to be good to us in order for us to contribute back as well. Not only does the relationship need to be a two way street, but also needs to be healthy.

So true. I will examine if I was selfish. I know that my son's father and I broke up because he constantly wanted me to pay his rent. He would always say, "But that is what people in relationships do for each other. They help each other out. But his rent was over $700 a month and with a baby on the way. I just couldn't afford it. I have a lot of problems with interpersonal relationships and not knowing who I should be nice to and who I shouldn't be nice to.

jenhelant : Yes, that is scary because people can be manipulative to make you think you are being selfish in order to get what they want.
jenhelant : Unless there is something behind it I do not see why you should have been obligated to pay his rent.
jenhelant : That was his responsibility and you have your own bills especially with a baby on the way. That was not being selfish at all. It is good to analyze who is truly good to you and who you feel comfortable with. Who keeps good company with you and is respectful. People who don't just take but give as well not just with money, but in general. Those are the people who you need to be good to and not the ones that just take or want things their way.
jenhelant : Not that you need to be mean to them, but maybe just maintain a distance.

Very true. Well, I am definitely going to scrutinize my relationships more carefully and respect my boundaries. I will also continue to examine any area where I may be selfish and just continue to behave as if my relationship with my best friend will continue as usual. Thank you so much for your answer!

jenhelant : that is a wonderful plan. It is my pleasure to help. Anytime at all!
jenhelant : all the best to you!
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