Are We Friends or What?
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I live in an community that has an HOA. Over the last 10 years my husband and I have become friends with the manager of the HOA and her husband. Well, at least I think we are friends with them. We do dinners and movies together and have taken a few trips together.
But I feel that she and her husband are just friends with us because my husband is on the HOA board. This couple only seems to be friends with HOA board members. They also seem to get friendlier when they need something. If we need to talk about approving a contract or repairs that her husband can do, they are like, "let's hangout." If a contract gets turned down or there are not pending contracts, then they are too busy to get together. I am getting tired of the yoyo friendship. Any suggestions on a way to make it a better friendship? Thanks!
Dear Friend Indeed,
Well, this is a real pickle. Because according to my working definition of friendship, it doesn't involve people using each other for financial gain. It also doesn't involve rewarding people with the pleasure of your company if and only if, they have been beneficial to you business-wise. That's not friendship, that's ...the opposite of friendship.
And frankly, I don't understand why you and your husband would want to spend time with people like that. On the one hand, I get it. It's harder to make friends when we get older. Especially couple friends. Seriously, how is it possible for two people (a couple) to both like another two people? It seems mathematically improbable, although it's amazing the calculations that computers can do these days. So maybe you find these people nice, interesting and fun.
On the other hand, I don't get it. Because these people sound like users in the first degree. They want you for the contacts, for the work, and for their own economic advancement. And they're not even good at disguising it. So my advice would be cut your losses and stop trying. Look elsewhere for the friendship that you deserve and stop pouring your energy into a parasitic relationship.
But before you do (or maybe simultaneously, depending on how well you multi-task) talk to this woman or her husband. Let them know that you enjoy their company and value the time that you spend together. And tell them how hurtful the pattern you've noticed has been for you. Perhaps there is a simple explanation? An uncanny coincidence? If that is the case, shining the light on the problem will certainly help your relationship along. Otherwise, you're not really losing friends. You wouldn't want your kid to be friends with someone who only liked her on days she had candy. Mmmm....candy...