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Asking your opinions again,,,,,,,

10 years ago

Not sure how to handle this. I talking to my cousin, having a general conversation about her stepdaughter. To make a long story short it involved an issue where my cousin felt that the stepdaughter should have paid for lunch of visiting guests.
I started to say that yes when you come to me.... She stopped me and said but you didn't pay for me!
She was talking about when she came to my home after I had my surgery. We went to lunch in town and we split the bill. Personally at the time i felt that she should have treated me as this was not a usual social visit.
Then it all came to a head. She said how hard it was to travel to my home on public transportation (she never learned to drive) and that she didn't come empty handed, (she brought to CD, a book, and a magazine, which honestly I had no interest in any of them, but I think it was certainly nice of her) and how much everything cost her!
If she invited someone to her home and they go out she pays. Which is true and I have for her too.
But, I did not technically invite her. She offered to come see me as anyone would do for a sick relative or friend. She said I should have had lunch for her!
My question to all of you is: Was I wrong to think that a recuperation visit is different than a regular social visit and that I should have been treated to lunch to feel "taken care of"?
Background on this cousin. She is retired, in her 70's but very active. Loves to travel to Europe and goes a few times a year. Goes into the city to see plays, shows, museums. She is involved at a local college where she teaches a class.
Why I like being around her is also why I am starting to not like being around her. She thinks very highly of herself. Nice to with someone who has such self confidence. on the other hand, she is never wrong! I think she is shocked that i really had no interest in what she gave me because basically she gave what SHE liked, or what she thinks I should like.
I am upset that she felt slighted and that i should have treated her to lunch, and I felt the opposite.
Interested to hear what my GW friends have to say.

Comments (32)

  • 10 years ago

    When you say visiting guests, do you mean people who came and stayed with her daughter? Because I've always felt that if I am visiting someone and staying with them, I should take them to dinner! But in regards to your question about her visit with you, yes, a recuperation visit is different from a social visit! I recently visited a friend who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer and stopped and picked up a bunch of food for her and her family at an Italian deli - lasagna, meatballs, sausage, salad, etc. so she wouldn't have to cook for her family for a couple of nights. I think you are absolutely right and she is a little bit off.

  • 10 years ago

    I think almost any time two people go out for a meal, they should split the bill, unless it is determined in advance that the meal is to mark a certain occasion -- birthday, retirement, recuperation, graduation, whatever. I think who will pay should be decided in advance.

    Nice of her to bring you gifts, but splitting the bill was appropriate unless one of you said "i want to take you to lunch". And it was really out of line to bring it up after the fact!

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  • 10 years ago

    How sad it is that, after major surgery, people are being such self-centered pib's. I really don't like to be around people who are calculating such things .. like how much it cost her to come see you when you were sick? I don't think it's unreasonable that you liked to think maybe she would treat you to a lunch out, but splitting is the norm with a lot of people so shouldn't be an issue with her. Maybe she's really struggling financially? Even so, I think it's really odd that she thought you would be hosting her while you were on the mend and having visitors.

    I think you need to relax and take good care of yourself, forgetting some of these rude people. It's just the way they are and they won't be changing. Easier said than done, lol.

    Take care, Ellendi! It's stressful enough. I hope you are feeling pretty good otherwise. You are living a miracle, so enjoy!

  • 10 years ago

    Well, I never heard of such a thing. How did THAT conversation end?

    Considering her attitude and what she said to you, I'd be tempted to pack up the gifts and include a check for her transportation and lunch and mail it to her with a note that says

    "Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind." William Shakespeare - Hamlet
    Our phone conversation was certainly enlightening.
    What was I thinking? I must have lost some gray cells when they exposed my brain. I thought you were coming just to be nice.
    Fill in the blanks.

    She owes you an apology.

  • 10 years ago

    Well she sounds like a very out spoken person and she probably speaks out to anyone, not just you. I'd ignore the whole thing. You did nothing wrong. There was no obligation. Shake it off and forget about it. Life is too beautiful to worry about a passing remark. You were in the right.

  • 10 years ago

    I don't think recuperating from an illness should be an excuse not to pay for lunch. She took time out of her day to visit you, buy you presents and I guess keep you company. You got dressed and went out to lunch. I would have paid for the meal as a "Thank you" to her for being so kind and thinking of you.

  • 10 years ago

    Ellen didn't do anything wrong. She didn't invite (being the operative word) the cousin to her home nor did she invite her to lunch.

    The cousin could have offered to pay for lunch as a get well gesture. Ellen could have offered to treat as a thank you for the visit. Both gestures would have been gracious but neither were necessary.

    What is very rude, IMO, is calculating the expense of being thoughtful and telling the recipient about the expense.

    This post was edited by deee on Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 7:32

  • 10 years ago

    Whether you liked the gifts or not is irrelevant. She did go out of her way to visit you and she did bring you presents. That was very kind of her and should be appreciated and not be referred to as part of the "who buys lunch" issue.

    And the fact that she travels or teaches or thinks highly of herself has nothing to do with the issue. She came to see you, you went out to lunch. It would've been nice if you picked up the tab, but you didn't. I suspect she brought up the other story as a way of telling you she was miffed that you didn't buy lunch. It was petty for her to bring it up. If you feel badly about it now, then don't be searching for justifications to try to not feel as bad...instead do something that will make you feel better about it. Send her a surprise present, send her flowers. Call her and tell her how much you appreciated her visit...or go to visit her and buy her lunch this time.

    Regardless, I'm more concerned with the larger issue here. First there was the "measuring" of friendship with the gal who didn't visit you, now there's the "measuring" of the value of lunch vs. unappreciated gifts. Let it go. At the root of this, I suspect there is that universal fear that we all have that we are unloved and unlovable. Ellendi, you are loved. You are lovable. Love is not measured in whether someone makes it to your house or not. Love is not measured in the value of a lunch or a CD. Love cannot be measured. Love is in the thoughts and kindnesses and time and attentions you give to others as well as what they give to you. Appreciate and be grateful for every act and gift of love you receive, and focus on how you can express your love to those who most need it.

    I was on the phone with a GF who was miffed and not speaking to her husband at the time over something dumb. Mind you, this is only a year since they both suffered coincident cancers which were serious and required major surgery and follow up treatments. I told her about Deepak Chopra's 21 day meditation challenges and how one of them had the simple mantra, "I choose love." And I suggested she consider choosing love over this small issue. That he is the most important person in her life and that life is just too freakin' short to not choose love at every chance.

    I have lost so many people that I loved in this life and I can't go back and fix all the many stupid and foolish and selfish and inconsiderate and hurtful things I've done in the past. I can't even go back and express to them all the ways in which I appreciated them, the impact they had on my life and the ways in which I appreciated and admired their best qualities. But I can do that going forward. I can let the people in my life now know how much they are loved and appreciated. I can choose love over the small and petty things or the accidental ways in which others may say and do hurtful things to me, as I have done to so many. I love them and and appreciate their love a whole lot more...

  • 10 years ago

    You are both guilty of being far to critical of one another.

    What's done is done now the question is which one of you is going to step up, leave your ego behind, and mend the fence?

  • 10 years ago

    First, as people get older they feel more entitled. I have run into this phenomenon many times with relatives and friends--- the older they are, the more they assume YOU should pay. Second, when you pay a sick call to someone, there are a different set of social expectations in play. She was expressing concern for you, yes, but that doesn't mean you were obligated to pay for her lunch or, in your recuperative state, prepare one for her. When people pay sick calls THEY are supposed to be looking after YOUl, not the other way round.

    Finally, this is a classic example of the underlying economic dynamic of all social interaction, and so-called "feelings." Most people are incapable of altruism. They want to be paid back--- in time, in money, in lunch tabs, and in recognition. They need validation of their own worth, even in situations where they----paying a sick call--- should be the validators.

    Don't give this a second thought. Your cousin is a crotchety old lady whose ideas are set in the concrete of age and habit. Humor sometimes helps in these situations, but not often.. People who are the center of their own universe usually cannot appreciate jokes that illuminate their own actions / motives, regardless of how apt and funny.

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks gail, dedtired and yaya and snookums for your support.
    Chickadee, we ended the conversation with my cousin saying that the call should stop at that point. And thanks for the humor.
    Deee, I was surprised that she started telling me how much everything cost.
    Annie, I have to disagree about sending her flowers. Also, I use the conversation side to sort out my feelings. In the case of my friend not visiting, I really felt that one poster's take on this really hit the mark. And that is my purpose for coming here. But, maybe I am over stepping and should think about going to a therapist instead?
    Kellyeng, I was not critical of my cousin other than saying that I would never do what she was doing to me, adding up the cost of the visit.
    What she did not understand was that even two weeks out of surgery, I really wasn't back to myself. I still feel she should have handled her dismay with me differently under these circumstances.

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks Kswl, looks like you were posting when I was.

  • 10 years ago

    I am nothing if not an expert on crotchety relatives :-)

  • 10 years ago

    My question to all of you is: Was I wrong to think that a recuperation visit is different than a regular social visit and that I should have been treated to lunch to feel "taken care of"?

    Please don't take this the wrong way because the only reason I'm going to address the elephant in the room (which is what I see) is because I see some of me in you.

    I only bring it up because of your other friend who didn't come see you when you were in the hospital. I think you're expecting too much. After a major surgery I looked forward to being bedridden and waited on hand and foot. Uh, I learned that life doesn't work that way unless you're a kid. lol.

    I feel like you're expecting a lot of attention during this time, which I find normal. But there's only so much people can do.

    Your cousin expecting food on the table when she arrived is wrong of her. But the minute you walked out the door to go to a restaurant is when it became a "social" visit.

    I think you're expecting the world to stop until you're back on you're feet, and in the meantime you will be losing friends and family because they'll see you as a drama queen. As I am. Hey, I have a Queen Bee charm I'm wearing now! :)

    If you do want to keep the friendship, sending small bouquet or even one Rose would be nice. You would be the bigger person in doing so.

  • 10 years ago

    I think you are reading too much into these happenings. As mentioned, this is the second one you've brought up. That's fine, but maybe just try to enjoy/appreciate your friends as they are and not analyze the situation so much. I do agree with Kelly that perhaps you and your cousin were both too critical of each other. You stated you weren't being critical - and perhaps that is not the best word - but you felt she didn't understand your situation. Perhaps she felt you didn't understand hers?

  • 10 years ago

    I can only speak about what I would do in this situation. I visited a friend last week who had had surgery just two days before. I came at lunch time and I brought lunch for both of us -- I would never have dreamed that she would have lunch prepared for me, as she was recuperating -- as well as dinner for her and her kids for that night. If I'm visiting someone because they're having any kind of medical issue, I'd never expect that person to provide any kind of "standard hospitality" for my visit. The house can be a mess, the person can sleep while I'm there for all I care. I don't think your cousin should have had any expectations in that way. Maybe the situation was slightly different in that you were obviously well enough to go out to lunch but if I were in her shoes, I don't think I would have expected you to pay.

    I also agree with much of what AnnieD says above. If you're lucky enough to have people visit you when you're down, clear the air if you can and just move on.

  • 10 years ago

    I think sometimes things happen in our lives that give us pause and I see people using this forum as a place to do a reality check. Sometimes it's hard to know if our feelings are reasonable, if we should adjust our attitude, or maybe just to vent. It's nice to have strangers to ask, people who don't really matter what they think of us, etc.

    It seems you feel disappointed by some of your friends/relatives responses when you could really have used some support during your illness (I don't really know what your health issue is). It's really hard enough to deal with our feelings and fears about our health, let alone the disappointing behavior of those we hoped would step up to the plate. It's very hard to live alone and have health issues and we have to count on others to help us, whether physically or emotionally.

    I'd just let this incident go, but adjust your expectations about this relative and know she doesn't hold the same values as you about this type of thing.

    I think it's unfortunate that some people here who don't even know you are judging your responses and reasons for posting here. It's nice to just be able to vent someplace with no risk.

    If we want to start psychoanalyzing people here.....

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks Sueb,I appreciate your thoughts. In the case of my friend, she has absolutely no idea that I was upset with her. I took to heart advise that I received and have moved on.
    The situation with my cousin was very odd to me. Instead of quietly discussing how she felt, she instead attacked me in anger.
    The rest of my friends and relatives have been great.
    Tina, yes there are always two sides, but I am disturbed how opposite my feelings are about this than hers.
    Oakley, I had absolutely no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. DH was always there for me and I did whatever I could, albeit very slowly!
    So, to expect a life long friend to visit once at a time of her choosing or to feel that my cousin should have been nurturing to me, in my opinion was not too much to ask.

  • 10 years ago

    Olychick, yes that is exactly how I feel. Thanks for your comments.

  • 10 years ago

    I am not sure that people even realize what they are saying, or how self--oriented they are being.

    My sister (among other people in my family) were in a severe car accident and my sister was intubated and essentially comatose. At the point where is was pretty likely she would at least survive, Her boss brought a basket containing some gifts but then spent several minutes carefully instructing my niece that she wanted this basket back , nothing was to happen to this basket under any circumstances and she would be very upset if she didn't get the basket back.

    My niece dumped the contents out into a drawer and said "You had better just take it back immediately, then" The boss acted mortally offended.

    The boss, after my sister eventually recovered, would never fail to make comments about how "difficult" my niece was whenever she got the chance.

    I don't think it was my niece that had the problem.

    Not everything one does for someone else should be subject to pats on the back or reciprocation in kind. You should do things for others with absolutely no expectations in return. If it gets tiresome to do things for a particular person who never reciprocates. don't do things like that for them anymore. But you don't need to begrudge them either.

  • 10 years ago

    I occasionally wish the posts on this forum had "like" buttons.

  • 10 years ago

    I agree with Oly. And I don't see your expectations/disappointments as one of wanting people to wait on you. Your feelings are very normal, both threads.

  • 10 years ago

    I am agreeing with the original poster although when I read my post it sounds like I might not be. Her visit should have been one of support and because she wanted to, not because she had expectations of what she was supposed to get out of it.

  • 10 years ago

    Hmm, if I visit a friend or relative and suggest going to lunch I certainly wouldn't expect them to pay for me! Especially when they are recuperating. I find the cousin's expectations to be very odd.

  • 10 years ago

    Oly, no one is judging, we're merely giving our opinion for which the OP asked for.

    Ellendi, you said you wanted your cousin to "nurture" you on her visit. She did! I'm not understanding how she became non-nurturing by not picking up the tab. It's sooo petty. But her bringing it up on the phone was not only petty, but tacky also.

    Whose idea was it to go out and eat? IMO, the one who suggested it should have picked up the tab.

  • 10 years ago

    "no one is judging, we're merely giving our opinion"

    To form an opinion, you need to make judgments. Saying things like she's (essentially) needy, or petty (etc.) is being judgmental. Those are very personal assessments that I can't see how they are not being judgmental.

    I don't think it's really about the tab.

  • 10 years ago

    Was I wrong to think that a recuperation visit is different than a regular social visit and that I should have been treated to lunch to feel "taken care of"?

    It would've been nice if she would've paid and fine that you paid separate. No matter who suggested it, I've always went to lunch with friends or family expecting to pay myself, pay for everyone, but never to have mine paid for. I thought this was common.

    "She said how hard it was to travel to my home on public transportation (she never learned to drive) and that she didn't come empty handed"
    I think it's a shame she went there. Strings shouldn't be attached. If you can't do something for someone without them...don't.

  • 10 years ago

    I don't know how what I said was so misinterpreted.

    I was not suggesting specifically that you send her flowers...I was suggesting that you do whatever you think appropriate to assuage your feelings that you hadn't chosen correctly by not picking up the bill for lunch. If you have no ill feelings about not picking up the tab, then I was suggesting that, in favor of the relationship, you skip the "who was right" and focus on the best end result for your relationship with your cousin.

    I was not suggesting that you get a therapist... I understand your wanting to gain insight from the collective wisdom of others regarding this situation. I was thinking that, from my POV, there was an underlying commonality between the 2 situations that hadn't been explored and doing so may be worthwhile.

    If you don't find my suggestions helpful, you are free to ignore.

  • 10 years ago

    This thread makes me cherish my friends and family all the more.

    Ellendi, you should sleep well and continue to focus on healing. You had a big scare and your body takes time to heal-- even when you are feeling better and more yourself. Don't bring the toxicity of others into your world. I am not saying to cut others out-- but be careful how much of their energy you hold on to.

  • 10 years ago

    Funky,very true.An emotional roller coaster to say the least.
    Annie, thank you for your response. You are always insightful. It's true, the written word is not the same as words spoken in person.
    In conclusion of this thread: Thank you all for your comments and responses. I appreciate the ability to come here 24/7 and be part of an amazing community.
    I do take to heart all the responses.
    That said, I will be mindful of how I post. I do not want to be known as the poster who always brings personal issues to the table.
    Again, many thanks :)

  • 10 years ago

    ellendi, please don't feel that way! You only make the rest of us feel we are "normal"-LOL

  • 10 years ago

    Ellen; I agree; having a sounding board is helpful. I love reading everyone's input on the original post & thoughts that follow. Too bad that the one thing we do not have when reading; is the person's voice /emotion; we can only read with the emotion we bring to the post that day. I've read feedback on my own post elsewhere one way; only to go back another day in a different mood & realize that it may not have been written as it was originally read. The best advice I can give you is that none of us are living your life; you alone know what each relationship means to you. We have various people in our life; one person not calling to check up on one of us when sick or injured can hurt more then another friend not doing so.

    I can see a lot of "sides" with the lunch. On one hand; she should have treated you because you were "down"; I can add to that if you normally work; you're missing income from missing work. Others have said that when we visit someone that's recovering; we don't expect to be fed or we bring food to make it easier on the person.

    On another; I don't know her financial situation or how much traveling cost. I also think that each paying your own works.

    Come back in a few days to reread the post; use whatever you can to try to mend the relationship if that's what you decide to do. The way the conversation was brought up could have been better; but at least she said something. A lot of people do not & just move on.