Off The Hook

I have had trouble in my adult life being able to 'say no'. That has been true of answering the phone. When someone calls, I don't want to disappoint them, I have this irrational voice in the back of my mind saying 'they'll know you're home.' I've answered the phone when I'm busy cooking dinner, when I'm about to run out the door to get to an appointment, when I'm on the way to the bathroom, or doing something with family/friends or company who happen to be here visiting.

I've become a bit wiser, as I've had my time monopolized by people who only cared about their own needs, while I was worried about hurting their feelings by telling them I had to go.

I have one woman who calls me from NY on a regular basis. I tried to establish some boundaries, telling her my husband gets home around 9 at night, my son is in bed by 9 at night, so please don't call after 8 p.m. She completely disregarded my request.

Another friend calls throughout the day, sometimes mulitple times during the day. I explained to her that I get dinner around 4 in the afternoon, my husband gets home around 3:45, so if she could wait until around 5 to call that would be great, in fact, any time from 5-8. She still calls me during meal times, calls me after 9 and when I ask her why she can't call earlier, or tell her I can't talk then, she gets upset and says it's when she can call.

I have a friend who calls when she's out with her husband running errands. She's a person with a disability, so she tends to ride along with him, but waits for him in the car. She calls me while he's shopping, but as soon as he comes back to the car, she hangs up.

I have friends who call and just unload. My Godson was here one evening when a friend called, we were watching movies together. I knew she'd been going through something with her health, so I just didn't have the heart to not answer. He looked at me and his eyes got big, he said, "Are you still on the phone? I thought you hung up a while ago, I haven't heard you say a word in almost an hour."

After trying to establish boundaries, trying to be understanding and patient with friends who simply can't respect me or my boundaries, I decided I just didn't have to, didn't want to, answer the phone anymore.

These people didn't seem to think I had a life to live, a family to tend to, anything to do with my time, other than be here for them when they called.

When I tell someone I have to go, I can't talk, inevitably, they get upset, sound hurt, one woman even said 'oh sure, you have to go'. That was it... now I don't answer the phone if I don't want to. I have caller ID and an answering machine, so I know who called and when, whether I answer or not. I figure if it's something important they will leave a message and if they choose not to, then it wasn't something we needed to discuss anyway.

It was insane of me to be running through the house, risking falling, hurting myself, to answer the phone, particularly to talk to people who seemed to not show me any respect or care by disregarding my boundaries.
rollingwithhusky rollingwithhusky
46-50, F
2 Responses Aug 8, 2010

Thanks for the support!! <br />
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The woman from NY calls to tell me about the problems of her friend who has cancer. I don't know her friend, I know she just needs to share because she's worried and scared about her friend, but I lost my father to cancer. It was very difficult. When she's talking about the treatment and side effects, it really takes me right back to my father's suffering, it's terribly difficult. I told her I just can't listen to it anymore. I've even cried when she's telling me about it, but nothing seems to dissuade her from sharing. <br />
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I had to stop answering the phone when I see it's a call from NY. I first felt guilty about it, but now I know I'm protecting myself and that's what I should be doing. <br />
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Sorry you've experienced this nonsense too. At least we've resolved it. Good for you too!!

Wonderfully written i understand fully i have had to let 2 friends go that like to pretty much call or text whenever just to talk about there problems and I can literally not get 2 words in edgewise I feel better, I also know now that they don't pay the phone bill and have no say in how I answer it one even called after a week ans talked to my granny sayingis she doing ok I haven't heard from her lol like he was o so concerned please lol. You go girl!!!!!!