From the BlogSubscribe Now

Are You Offended by Free Stuff?

free-stuff

A few weeks ago my son finally decided to join the rest of the household (AKA me) and switch to Mac. He replaced his ancient cheapo PC with another cheapo PC last summer, but it was already showing telltale signs of Windows bloat and I’m beyond tired of working on it. Five minutes of playing Minecraft on my Macbook (because his computer was running too slowly to load the game) and he was ready to part with some of the money he’s been hoarding.

So the Mac mini arrived and all was well in the Whitmer house, except I now had two crappy PCs sitting around and no good way to get rid of them. Kind of like the cardboard mountain in my basement, which may or may not still be there. *ahem*

Anyway, the older PC is worthless. I do need to get some old photos off the hard drive, but even after I format it, I can’t think of a good place for it other than maybe a shrine to outdated technology. The newer one will be semi-usable, though, and while it’s still not really worth anything, I decided to try to find it a new home. More specifically, I wanted to give it to someone who wouldn’t be able to afford a computer otherwise.

An Opportunity

Over the weekend I got a call from one of my childhood BFFs. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she had finally gotten internet access at her house. (She lives in the middle of nowhere and it wasn’t an option until recently.) However, her husband just lost his job and she has to keep the money she had set aside for a computer to go toward bills. Meanwhile, she signed a 2-year contract on the internet service, so now she’s paying for something she can’t even use.

gru_lightbulb

This friend’s situation was exactly the kind I had in mind. She has four kids, one of whom has a terminal illness. She told me how excited the kids had been about getting online and how convenient it would have been for her oldest to be able to work on school assignments at home. Not to mention what a nice distraction it would be for my friend, who had to quit her job due to her youngest child’s medical issues and doesn’t have much time for contact with other adults.

I wasn’t even listening to her anymore at that point – I was just waiting for her to stop talking. Finally I interrupted her.

“I can help you! I have a computer sitting here that we aren’t even using!” I explained that Jayden got a new computer and I really didn’t have any room for the old one. We picked a day and time this week for me to bring it over and get it set up, and I was thrilled to have one less computer taking up space in my house.

I’m Sorry, What?

Now this is the part I don’t get. Like at all. Late last night, my friend called me back.

“You know, we aren’t poor,” she said.

“Um… I know that,” I responded.

“Then why are you suddenly trying to give us a computer like we can’t afford to get our own?”

“Maybe because [husband] lost his job and you SAID you couldn’t afford one right now? And because I have one sitting right here?”

“Well, I just think it’s kind of shitty that you try to swoop in here like Super Girl and save the day. We’re perfectly able to take care of ourselves!”

Then she hung up on me. SHE. HUNG. UP. ON. ME. I spent about ten minutes just staring at the phone in disbelief. What the hell just happened?

The more I think about it, the more it bothers me. I know she’s upset and worried, but I honestly thought it would make her feel better to get a free computer for her kids. It’s not like I mentioned the fact that I had planned to give it to someone in need – I just told her I had one we weren’t using.

I don’t quite understand how she went from “Oh, I can’t wait! The kids will be so surprised,” to “You’re ruining my life, you jerk!” overnight. Did I miss out on an etiquette lesson somewhere? Is it now a bad thing to give something to a friend? I can’t figure this out. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt her feelings, but I never dreamed she’d have that kind of delayed reaction. Even as I write this, I’m hoping she was just in a bad mood and will call to say it’s okay to give her the computer.

So I’m asking you guys: Did I violate some kind of “friend rule” here? Is there something I should have done differently? How would you react if you needed a computer and someone offered to give you one for free?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web designer and single mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!

Comments

  1. what the heck……..someone at the house must have said something to her after the first converstation. I'm as confused as you are, if friends can't help you out, who can?

  2. My guess is that she talked to her husband and he was offended by the offering. It's just one of those things that are beyond your control.

    I think the only thing that might have helped the situations was to added a "return clause". It might have been better to say something like, "Hey, I have a computer just sitting here getting no use. Would you guys like to borrow it until you are able to redirect your savings to buy a new one? I hate to see you waste that money on the internet."

    Something as simple as that might help. You are not insinuating that they are poor, just in a weird predicament.

  3. I was on the other side of this a few years ago. Our locks and door knobs were sticky on our front door and the door to our garage……and it was getting worse. A good set for the two doors would cost around $60 (or a little more I think) and we always seemed to have something better to spend our money on. A friend of ours disappeared during a Sunday afternoon Football gathering, and returned with a new set of locks – which then installed for us. He knew that we were struggling to pay off a mountain of debt. For a hot second (ok, maybe longer) I felt embarrassed that he went and bought something that cost that much (he doesn't do anything cheap, so I'm sure he purchased knobs and locks on the higher end) for us – that we weren't able to (or just didn't) do it ourselves. After a few days though, that embarrassment turned into appreciation for what he had done. Hopefully that will happen to your friend too, and she'll call you back. :)

  4. Sounds like someone's just bitter. Seriously – I don't even know…

    Free electronics, man. Who turns that down? Is that a thing? If a computer showed up from nowhere when my hard drive went haywire just a few months ago I would have been more than happy to take an old computer off someone's hands.

    I'd chalk it up to a stressed out friend and call it a day as it's not your problem to deal with, it's hers.

  5. I definitely think your friend overreacted and I don't think you did anything wrong. I can see how she is probably stressed though and probably is already mad at herself for how she reacted.

  6. You have to let it go. This has happened a few times with a neighbor. I usually take her to the food pantry. Got a call saying she didn't want to be in the car with me, like I had done something wrong, so I took someone else…..did she think I was going to beg her to rethink. her loss!!! She spreads god awful rumors around about me……..but I'll still give her a call next month on food pantry day…….Remember, Live your life in a way, that if people hear rumors about you, they won't believe them.

  7. She probably talked to her husband after your first conversation and then she got it in her head that this was charity and they don’t need charity! when really its a friend helping a friend. I give stuff to my family and friends I dont need or want anymore regardless if they can afford to buy their own stuff or not. If no one I know wants my stuff it goes to good will or the garbage. I bet your friend is just having a hard time now that money is really tight and they aren’t used to being broke.

    Edited by Andrea to remove random spammy URL – People can visit your blog by clicking your name; there’s no need to put it in the body of your comment.

  8. I wonder if her husband said something to her? He's probably now feeling too good right now after losing his job. That could have caused the change of heart. I've given away a lot of stuff and I haven't ever had that reaction.

  9. I don't think you were wrong in offering, but your friend may be thinking that you only offered it because she was going on about not having the money to afford one. Think about when you were at your lowest point, financially. How would you have reacted to someone offering you something so expensive?

    Have you checked out sites like Gazelle for selling the computer? I sold my old iPhone that way and I (vaguely) remember that they also take computers. It would be a good way to get them out of the house and add a little extra cash to your bottom line.

    Sorry, was that out of line of me to suggest that? :)

  10. HS @ Our Debt Blog says:

    Hey, send me that laptop, I'll take it :)

    HS

  11. Your friend is being an idiot and a bitch. Seriously. Turning around and attacking you for offering to help her out is just unacceptable in my book. Personally if it were me, I'd email her and say that her phone call to you was unacceptable, the offer of the computer to borrow or keep has been rescinded and that you won't be talking to her again. I don't tolerate people treating me like that and I won't keep them in my life, personally.

    • Frances says:

      Yeah. What kind of mindset or culture could support talking like that and hanging up on a friend after they offer you a gift? There is a hint of instability there.

      I could understand a person deciding not to accept a gift, on reflection and after consultation with family.

      BUT simply refuse it politely.

      The whole rude and vicious content of the dialogue, as spelled out, leaves one speechless. What can of friend is that?

  12. moneybeagle says:

    It might have been a talk with her husband that switched things like that. Chances are if he just lost his job, he's probably pretty down on himself and he may not have shared her enthusiasm, and might have planted a seed that grew to the phone call you received.

  13. Anne - Unique Gifter says:

    It could be related to a feeling of failure and new sensitivity to their situation. Also – HOW DO THEY SURVIVE?! With no internet, that is. I couldn't. Not possible. Haha.

    Anyhoo – I am very, very much not above free stuff :-) I still get free clothes from my friends and at clothing swaps, for example.
    I don't think you violated anything, your friend just has to emotionally work through the situation she's in.

  14. I agree that she heard something from someone after your conversation. I don't think you did anything wrong or offensive. I would, in my head, refuse to accept her issues and wouldn't let it affect me.

  15. I'd be thrilled if someone were not only willing to give me a free computer but was also going to set it up for me AND that someone knew computers backwards and forwards. Let me also mention that I'm ALL about free stuff. So, no, you didn't do anything wrong. I just think your friend is going through a terribly difficult time and is taking it out on you. Try to roll with the punches, so to speak. I don't know how close your relationship is now compared to earlier in your lives, maybe you should dial back the contact with her, if it's going to result in episodes like this?

  16. Hory sheet!

    I would have been blindsided follow-up phone call too!

    My first thought is along the lines of moneybeagle's … she probably shared her excitement with her husband and his stress made him all, "WE DON'T NEED CHARITY!" and made her call you back. Maybe he was even listening.

    I think the problem is all on her side. She's terrified and probably a little humiliated at the situation she's in. If she calls back, tell her you didn't mean to put her in a tough spot but the computer is still her if she wants it.

  17. Christian L. says:

    Andrea,
    It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. Your friend is likely embarrassed by her circumstances and feels ashamed that she's getting a "handout." I'd also say humans have reached a point where being nice or doing the right thing catches us off guard (it bothers me when people ask why I'm smiling or laughing, as if there's something wrong with that).

    I've been fortunate enough to buy new laptops through the company my father owns. I get them at a discount, but I've never hesitated to ask my pa when I was looking for a new computer.

    People struggle to accept help. It makes sense but it's also annoying when you're the one trying to help. You can diffuse the situation. I'd let her cool off for a day or two and then reach out to her again. Explain that you're not being nice to pity her, but because it's a mutually beneficial situation. She'll come around.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  18. All I can think of is "WTF?!" I agree with the other posters that maybe she is still sensitive to their situation and is in the "I don't need help!" state of mind. Hopefully she calls at some point to apologize? But that is so weird!

  19. I love free stuff and my friends and I give each other stuff all of the time with no reactions like this. Either she, her husband, or both of them are just feeling super insecure and taking it out on you. I hope she gets over herself soon. But if she doesn't, it's not like you need her kind of drama anyway. In this situation, just remember that it is definitely NOT YOU. She's just being weird and will either get over it or not. Sorry people are weird.

  20. MutantSupermodel says:

    My gut says the husband got pissed.

  21. deenadollars says:

    You made a very generous gesture; if she found herself too proud to accept the computer, she should have either (1) talked to you like an adult about how it made her feel guilty for accepting it, and you could have had a vulnerable conversation with her, or (2) at the very least, she could have made up an excuse about why she didn't need/couldn't accept your computer and not taken it out on you. You didn't do anything wrong, and she is showing a lack of self awareness by making it your problem.

    Part of me can understand her (or her husband's, as moneybeagle pointed out) pride reaction, but that is illogical. In addition, it sounds like the computer would be a huge win for her AND her kids. It seems selfish to me not to swallow her/their pride and take the computer from you so that her kids could use it for their damn reports (I remember you saying something once about kids' assignments these days having things to do with glueing toothpicks together and printing out 1,000 pages from wikipedia, ha!).

    Even if she can afford a computer if push came to shove, WHY NOT TAKE A FREE ONE and spend the money on something else?! I would take a free computer if I did not have one and it wasn't inconveniencing my friend who offered it, even if it just meant I'd waste the money on $400 worth of candy.

    This reminds me of me offering my size 10 wardrobe that I had spent hundreds of dollars on that no longer fit me because I changed a medication and started exercising. I have a gorgeous friend who I KNOW IS A SIZE 10 because we traded clothes sometimes. She was totally offended that I offered her my clothes, many of which she had complimented. I have a feeling that she wouldn't have felt offended if the reason I had offered was because I had grown to a size 14 instead of shrunk to a 4 — but what is the damn difference?! TAKE THE CLOTHES!

    Ugh, people.

  22. I am with Money Beagle. This smells of the husband not being able to handle the situation. He probably saw it as a handout and doesn't want to be a part if it. Sorry to hear about the reaction though.

  23. Agree with what most have said. Then again better off not giving them the aggravation of a windows machine, put it out of its misery

  24. I think she started talking to someone else and they made her feel bad about it. I wouldn't take it the wrong way. Maybe send her an email explaining that you didn't mean to offend her and if she was, your intention was taken the wrong way. I would re-iterate that if she does not want the computer, that is fine, but you will end up just giving it to goodwill anyway since your son has a new computer already.
    I'm not saying it was your fault, but I think she is honestly in a rough spot, and friends are supposed to help each out, so rather than react in a negative way to her false accusations, you can try and be the bigger person. she also must have some pride thing going on, because i know when we were poor, I would take anything free that people gave me, and I did not care, I knew we needed it.

  25. psychsarah says:

    I would be as shocked as you were-like others have said, it sounds like something else happened after you two got off the phone (e.g., husband's reaction) but that's no excuse. Interestingly, reading this post made me recall something I hadn't thought of in years. I was in undergrad, and a good friend of mine was professing the need for a set of electric beaters to bake with. I had two sets (long story) and I rarely used either one, so I offered a set to her. She responded that she was not poor and didn't need me to give her anything. She wasn't angry or particularly rude about it, but I was a bit taken aback as that wasn't what I was implying at all, just that I had something she needed. I think for some people, this kind of generosity pushes buttons that we aren't aware of (in retrospect, just now, I recall that my friend grew up without a lot of money, something I didn't know way back then-we had just met when this happened), but that doesn't mean we're responsible for their reactions. Sorry that you have had this happen to you when you were just trying to be helpful. I hope your friend comes to her senses and apologizes, and that you can find someone who will appreciate the computer!

  26. I think a lot of people who've commented have overlooked the fact that your friend is under tremendous stress. You mentioned she had to quit her job because one of her four children has a terminal illness. Her husband just lost his job, and probably their medical coverage. I absolutely agree that he probably said something to her after she got off the phone with you, but cut them some slack. We have no idea what's going on in their home, and the whole family could use a little compassion. Should she have given you an earful over a generous offer? No, but when I read your paragraph describing their situation I can't help but bad for them. Hopefully I never have to walk a mile in her shoes. Just let it go and if you see or talk to her again, please don't let it colour your feellings towards her.

    • Thank you, Ann, for being the voice of reason here.

      Many people we think we know have certain sensitivities or insecurities related to their circumstances or going back to their childhood. And extreme situations like a sudden loss of income can create a great deal of stress.

      I have also been blindsided by a completely unexpected response when having a conversation with a friend years ago; because I made the mistake of speaking in somewhat negative terms about her and her husband's choice of vacation destination, I lost a friendship. No kidding. Even though I apologized several times, she was having none of it.

      My friend got very offended when I questioned why they'd want to go to Las Vegas. I should have kept my mouth shut as everyone has difference preferences for what they'd like to do, but I didn't think simply offering my opinion was going to have such an extreme impact. If someone had questioned my choice of vacation, I would have argued the point or simply shrugged it off, but for some reason, she considered it a major affront.

      Initially, I was incredulous and shocked that she was apparently willing to sacrifice a friendship that went back to high school. Over the months that followed, that shock turned into anger that she was acting like such an idiot. There must have been something that happened to her years ago that made her react so strongly.

      So despite a few early overtures by me, I heard nothing from this person for FIVE YEARS. Then, a few weeks before this past Christmas, I got a surprise message from her on my phone message machine. It was a bright and cheery hello from my old friend saying she'd been trimming the Xmas tree and thought of me and was wondering how I was doing, to tell me that she'd moved to Florida and here's my number.

      Well, you'd think I'd be glad to hear from her…I was, but I thought it was totally weird that she didn't say a thing about the long five-year time span when she wasn't talking to me. And I couldn't bring myself to call her. Could we at least talk about it? I don't need an apology, but I would like some acknowledgement of what happened. I never got that closure. I'm not a perfect person, and I thought what she did to me was far more hurtful that my comments about there being nothing to do in Las Vegas. But I do miss the friendship.

    • I second Ann. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with all the crap hitting the fan at the same time with her family. I think you should pretend she never exploded on you, because it sounds like she very much needs some compassion and a friend. It must be so isolating to be out there by herself (and with no internet!!!). I'd call her and see if you can go visit when the kids are in school. Don't mention the computer, but put it in your trunk when you go. If it comes up, you can tell her she's doing you a favor by taking it, because you're getting rid of it either way. If it doesn't come up, don't mention it. Her husband was probably the source of the problem, and you don't want to cause more stress in her life by causing a fight between them. Either way, let her know she has you as a friend to lean on.

  27. You did nothing wrong. I would have done the same, and a normal friend would have been grateful. Now because that person is too stubborn to take something for free from a friend her kids won't be able to play on a computer. Ridiculous!

  28. This reminds me of many years ago when I was 22 years of age and chronically broke. I was in a coffee shop queue one day and an older gent offered to buy my coffee for me. He wasn't flirting (he was way too old) he was just being kind. It was probably obvious I had very little money at that time. Instead of being gracious and accepting, my pride took a massive blow and I snapped at him "I can pay for my own, thank you!' and when it came time for me to pay I put a series of coins on the counter to pay. The turth was I actually couldn't afford coffee shop coffee, but I needed it because I was under a lot of stress (being broke is stressful) and I needed a small treat.

    I was entirely at fault – it was my wounded ego talking. The gent was being a kind and good person but I was too immature to see it in that moment.

  29. Thats all thats happening now with your friend, Andrea. Realise she's feeling terribly afraid right now, she's living in uncertain times and probably the only thing she feels like she had was her pride. she'll come around eventually, and be very grateful to your kindness. Her ego is not the real her, and she (and her hubby) are being horribly immature, but she won't stay immature and she will be very grateful for your kindness in time. Don't let her wounded pride colour your feelings toward her.

  30. Not at all! You did an amazing thing, and you are a great friend. I think her emotions are all out of whack right now given the immense stress she's under. I think she'll come around but even if she doesn't, I think this is more a product of a shitty situation and less about anyone's actions, especially yours.

  31. I think there's shame that comes with a bad financial situation — especially if it's a recent change. It probably just built up in her or, as other have suggested, hubby's pride was too much and he turned her around to his way of thinking. I would try not to take it too personally. Yes, she overreacted, but pride's a bitch. If it comes up again, you can apologize for how you came across (no, you did nothing wrong but you're a good friend/person so… sometimes it sucks) and explain that it's sitting around. If she wants it or knows anyone you can give it to, you need to get it out of the house where it's clutter and unused… That might allow her to take it without some of the ego-bruising.

    Frankly, I can't empathize with her much. I was raised that free is good, and that people only offer what they can spare. If you had actually needed the computer, you wouldn't have offered it. Personally, I'm always MORE than happy to take stuff off my friend's hands. And if I find out a friend needs an item that I have sitting around, I'll offer.

    But, having been in a situation where all of your friends are doing well and you're struggling… Nope, still don't get it. But I suppose i'm just lucky enough to be opportunistic!

  32. teinegurl says:

    Sad to hear that ! but you would think with kids in the house who could probably use the computer for assignments , both of the parents would push their pride to the side and accept the computer. With time she probably will regret but andrea dont let one incident affect you giving things to people who you feel can use them.

  33. I don't think you did anything. My guess is the husband's ego was bruised, he took it out on her and she in turn took it out on you. It certainly wasn't okay so I'm wondering why she did that, especially if you are friends and friends look out for each other and help one another. Hopefully this turns around friend!

  34. :( I'm sorry your friend became so upset about your kindness. She might have spoken to her husband and maybe he was offended? People can become very sensitive when they feel they are unable to contribute to their families, even though we live in a world where everyone contributes to the family in different ways. He could have been upset about loosing his job and took it out on your kindness? Or maybe your girl friend is really upset with the whole situation and needed to yell at someone about something? I hope you can work this out and your friend apologizes to you, because you acted out of kindness.

    I have a similar story, with vastly different results. A friend I work with is always having monetary problems. There's the separation issue with his wife, the mortgage refinance issue, the car maintenance issue and the "everything I own is breaking issues" – he told me about these issues when he answered a phone call from one of his creditors when I was in his office and I didn't want him to feel embarrassed so I let him vent. Anyway – I just bought a new, beautiful computer and was planning on donating my older computer since it was only a few years old and still ran great. I decided to give it to him since almost everything else seems to be falling apart in his life, and he reluctantly accepted it and has been so thankful since. I think he was just at the point where he no longer associated someone helping out with being ashamed.

  35. Some people are very… independent. I understand both of your view. I personally HATE handouts, and every time a friend buys me lunch or something, I feel bad. I don't want someone else to have to do something for me.

    But, I also see that you have something that you no longer want, and want to give away. In this situation, I'd take the computer, after making you swear you would never use it or need it.

  36. Hell to the no! I think others are probably right in saying that she probably feels bad in retrospect at overreacting (and that maybe her husband had something to do with it). Try not to take it too personally :S

  37. That's unfortunate.

    I don't think you did anything wrong at all. Offering is a nice gesture. She and/or her husband may be feeling awful about their situation, and many folks don't like to feel worse off than others. Kindness can be a blow to the ego for such people, which isn't necessarily a wrong emotion on their part. I just think that she should have handled it more maturely, and separated her feeling of pride from your act of generosity.

  38. studentdebtsurvivor says:

    I'm definitely not offended by free stuff, in fact if someone offered me a free computer (esp. if I'd be wanting one) I'd be thrilled. I could only guess that the stress of being in her situation caused a reaction that even she will probably be embarrassed about in a few days.

  39. People are people – unpredictable, yet we still love them :-) Just tell her to pay it forward. That if they don't see a need for this computer, they can then give it to charity or to another family in need. You can also drop hints of things that she could do that you cannot – maybe a craft idea, etc…
    This reminds me that sometimes people just want to vent and reveal everything but don't necessarily want the problem solved. But where I always suck is knowing when is what at that moment.

  40. alwayshungry4 says:

    Sounds like a 'no good deed goes unpunished' moment… I agree with the others that the husband probably played a role in the 180. Hope your friendship with her doesn't have a fall out because of it.

  41. Nick @ AYoungPro.com says:

    I don't think you did anything wrong at all. It sounds like she is just being prideful to me. I believe in "paying it forward", meaning I will accept help from others and I will pay it forward when I have the chance.

  42. I love free stuff, but I admit sometimes my pride gets the best of me and I have a hard time saying yes, or I end up trying to convince the friend to let me pay for it. I've gotten better recently, though, and my new standard response is "You really don't have to do that, but I'm not going to say no. Thank you." Seems to go over well and makes me feel better that I at least offered to pay!

  43. My guess would be that there was something bad that happened and she took it on you. You were an innocent bystander, in my opinion. I guess forgive and forget. Hopefully she will apologize, because I don't think she meant to do that. Stress is a mean beast that can do all sorts of bad things on people. I for one rarely turn down free stuff. If I can't use it, I'm pretty good at finding it a house, donating it or trashing it.

  44. It sounds to me like she spoke with her husband, and he didn't see things the way you guys did. That's the only explanation that I can see for the sudden 180.
    I can't imagine thinking that, I'm always thrilled to receive gifts and hand me downs from friends and family, and as the poorest of a large family – I definitely receive them often!

  45. It's not you, it's her and her situation. She needs to get over it and get her priorities straight. She has no job, her husband has no job. She has four children, one of whom has medical issues. If she doesn't want to take a free computer from a friend so that her children can get online and do their homework better, how is she going to deal with it when she has to apply for a Link card to feed her kids and Medicaid so that she can continue to get them medical care?

  46. 30kto30million says:

    Hmmm I think can safely say she was ok with getting a free computer, otherwise she would have freaked straight away.. So she most likely mentioned it to hubby or maybe even the kids and didn't get a positive response back either hubby not wanting to feel like need a hand out or kids not wanting a used computer when maybe had sights set on a new/specific computer..

    I don't know her household situation but it is no excuse to lash out like that at someone else… Immature to say the least.. So many better ways of graciously declining the computer gift..

    In the end can only control yourself, and i don't see how you could have done anything differently.. It seemed like it was meant to be you have a free computer and your friend was in need of one bingo bango..

    Thing i keep in mind is everyone is a model person when things are going good..
    Her loss, in more than just a computer..

  47. Her reaction is all on her. There is nothing you did incorrectly. My friend needed a computer but was too proud to accept one for free. I "loaned" her our oldest, knowing I would be fine never seeing it again. Should your friend contact you again, you could offer to let her "borrow" the computer until she gets hers, then if she never quite gets around to returning it, it won't be an issue for you.

  48. Dollars says:

    For a slightly different opinion, perhaps you did swoop in a little early.

    I have someone in my life who tries to be very helpful, however I rarely want this help that this person offers. This person also is the kind of person that is very hard to say no to. I have got to the point where I say very little about my life to this person, because they are straight to solution mode, and trying to pay my way out or give me something or researching my medical illness or wanting to drive me to singles nights – the list goes on and on.

    I really appreciate that this person is trying to help me and only wants the best for me. The problem is that I am trying to solve them myself, and I am prioritising my finances and choices for the outcomes I want. Your friend is probably doing the same thing.

    This may be the only time you have offered money, an object or advice, I don't know the dynamics of your friendship. I do
    Know what it is like to have a 'helpful person' in your life. For me the key line in this post was 'I wasn't even listening anymore…..I just interrupted her'. You are clearly very compassionate to her struggles, that is very very clear, but in that moment you were no longer just letting her do what she clearly wanted which appears to be vent and get a cheerleader on her side and instead solved her issue for her.

    I think in the future a better strategy in dealing with this person is simply just letting her know that you are there for her, and sure there is an old computer for her if she needs it, or a $20 gift card to the grocery store or whatever she needs , if she wants it, but hey no biggie, only if she asks for it.

    My blowup with my person was the singles night thing. Final straw. She now never hears a thing about my life.

  49. I agree with everyone else. Sounds like man-ego to me. She probably talked to hubby and he got offended and convinced her to be offended, too.

    Next time you have a free laptop, I'll send you my address. I promise not to hang up on you. I'll even send a thank you card. :p

  50. doordebt says:

    That's crazy! I definitely think the husband was feeling bad and blew up and your friend overreacted. I love free stuff, no matter what. I work as an events marketer from time to time and you'd be amazed how hard it can be to give away free stuff, even when there is no catch!

  51. I think it must be the stress of everything that they are going through. They probably talked about it and they allowed their situation to cloud their judgment.

    I am hoping that this won't ruin your friendship and this will get cleared up (and you'll be able to forgive her).

  52. It's probably not your actions. It probably is just that she and her husband hate to be in the situation where they can't afford a computer on their own and are taking out that frustration on you. I'm sure after things get back to normal for them she'll realize that you were just trying to help a friend.

  53. Hopefully by now you and your friend have resolved this. But just in case. This was a 2 way tango! Yes, you innocently played a part. Let me be clear, I am not siding with your friend, but I’m seeing this thru her eyes. I won’t call her a cold, ungrateful bitch, because I don’t know her. What I do know is that she’s stressed, overwhelmed, afraid, fiercely independent and angry . Angry at the world for the load she is having to bear. She’s very sensitive right now. Her emotions are on edge!! Everything HURTS. She could probably benefit from a shoulder or an ear. But it is a very delicate subject. It’s hard asking for or receiving help under these circumstances. I know!

    When I lost my job, car was abt to be re-po’d, barely had food, lights were off, the last thing I wanted to hear was my sister talk about her NEW this or NEW that. Although she was not bragging. What she FAILED to realize was it was not what I needed or wanted to hear, AT THAT TIME. Unlike your friend, I internalized my anger and held a grudge.

    You were trying to help, I get that. The devil was in the details. People who have financial woes, don’t want to hear how great things are going for you.

    Now pretend for a moment that the stuff in brackets is what went thru your friends mind.
    YOU SAID: “ I” can help you!
    [Oh you got it like that…Super Girl to the rescue]
    YOU SAID: I have a computer sitting here that we AREN’T EVEN USING!!
    [gee lucky you]
    YOU SAID: JAYDEN got a NEW computer!
    [I can’t afford one, cause I got medical bills, a sick child and my hubby lost his job, but you HAD to tell me your CHILD, got a new one, thanks for throwing that up]
    YOU SAID: I really didn’t have any room for the OLD one
    [It’s not NEW and in the way, so dump it on me, why don’t ya]

    Unbeknownst to you, you hurt her feelings, so she had to hurt yours by hanging up on you. We hurt the ones we love!! Sad but true.

    There’s the catch to being that shoulder, that ear that help that your BFF needs. Keep the offer/help simple. Take yourself [“I”] out of the equation. Ask her if she wants it. “WE have one here you can have, if you want it” or like Adam suggested “if you want to borrow it”. Or just take it to her like @DebtChronicles neighbor did.

    Don’t take it too personal! Your intentions were stellar!

  54. A lot of times when people offer me stuff, it’s because I’ve expressed myself badly, or they quit hearing what I was saying. We can take care of ourselves, and we are capable of getting what we need, and often what is being offered is lesser quality than I will eventually go and provide for myself. that sounds snobby, and maybe it is, but I do appreciate whatever is behind the offers, and I will go and get what I need. Recently, my curling iron quit working, and it made an amusing anecdote. Immediately several ladies offered me spares that they have. I’m picky about my curling iron, and I made a joke about being picky about my curling iron, and said I’d go the next day and get one. since I work on computers, nobody would ever offer me a computer, but I have had the same thing happen with my clothes iron that I had with the curling iron, and the same friends offering me irons.

    So what is the focus–is it the fact that you didn’t know how to deal with what she did, or is it to try to get that friendship back? If the latter, show up at her door with a thermos of coffee and a plate of brownies and say, “I’ve missed you, and I thought we could have a cup of coffee and catch up.” Be prepared to apologize for offending her and misreading what she was saying, and tell her you know that she and her family are strong and that they will get through this just like they always do, and when they do you’ll be there with a thermos of coffee and a plate of brownies to help celebrate.

Join the Discussion!

*