Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

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gwmac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by gwmac »

I will try and be as complete as possible but will happily answer any further questions to get some good advice from a disinterested party with no dog in the race. Basically, I feel I have been taken advantage of my best friend for a while but I am not sure if my feelings are with or without any merit.

We are both the same age, early 40's and both gay men if that matters. No sexual relationship history, just strictly platonic best pals for around 7 years now. We both live in the deep south but in towns about 50 miles apart so we talk on the phone quite a lot and don't really get to hang out in person that much.

My friend is what you could say technically challenged. And when I say challenged I mean a complete beginner that tech support guys have nightmares about. I am a tech geek and spent years learning and researching to gain that level of knowledge and expertise. Prior to me moving back to my hometown I lived in Japan for 13 years. While there I taught but also did part-time tech support. I charged 10,000 yen an hour which back then was about $100 an hour and now is about $125. That was actually a normal rate for the level of expertise I brought and that was for phone support. For actual in house reapirs I would look at the problems and give them an estimate. For friends I never charged for occasional advice, but after a while some friends started abusing that privilege so I created a friend's discount rate of $35 an hour. I thought that was generous and it solved the problem.

Long story short my friend has been asking me for a whole range of technical support questions for years now. It is not nearly as bad as it used to be when he first got his new iMac, but that is also largely because of all the lessons I gave him over the years. I explained that my friend rate was $35 an hour and I only told him that after I had already probably given him at least 15 or 20 hours of free tech support and it got to the point where I felt I was being victimized since the most I ever got was a thanks. Maybe he thought I was joking or not serious about that $35 an hour friend discount but I gave him easily an additional 75 hours or more since then but also reminded him often. Everything from setting up email, using Turbotax, to you name it which can be extremely frustrating if you have ever tried to help someone not tech savvy over the phone. He is a very honest guy and makes good money and so I never thought I would have to keep a tab and he would at least pay me back in kind with gifts or in some other form.

He works full time but also has a second job teaching tennis and charges about $35 an hour 6 days a week. I mention that because if I wanted to take tennis lessons from him that would be a good trade, but I don't and he lives too far away. Like me he spent years learning tennis to be able to charge to teach lessons. In Japan I helped a Japanese sushi chef with tech stuff and he paid me with free sushi which was wonderful. I don't want you all to think this is about money, it isn't. Paying a friend for a favor is always a tricky area and I really don't like to do it until it came to the point where I felt he had crossed the line from favor to his own free tech support guy.

I had already explained all my feelings to him about feeling a little victimized or abusing our friendship. I tried to be as diplomatic as I could. I also explained that since he is very good handy man maybe that might be a good way to show some appreciation for the several thousands in free tech support he had received over the years. For example, he built a nice paved stone patio at his house and I asked him about it but he completely missed the point.

This really all came to a head recently. He spent about $600 on a Christmas yard decoration for his mother which was a wonderful and thoughtful present. It took him about two weeks to build it for her. He also bought all his tennis students some calendars that he printed online and has bought nice gifts for every year since I met him. And these personalized calendars are pricey as well. I also need to mention this young sociopathic guy that sponges off my friend. I have listened to him ***** about this guy taking advantage of him and being selfish and only wanting his money for about a year now. I realize all these characters is getting confusing but if you read this far hopefully you will stick with me just a tad longer. All these characters are important and the reason why I am here in this forum.

About a week or two before Christmas he asked for my mailing address so I thought, wow he finally got the message and wants to show some appreciation for all the support I had given him. He had just been given a $250 debit card from work so I figured that is what he planned to send. Well about a week later I got a Christmas card. It was a photo of the gift he had given his mother of the large yard decoration with the word JOY. The next day I get a call from him asking if I received the card and I said yes, thanks. He then proceeded to tell me how he was tired of being taken advantage by that young sociopath I mentioned before. He then switched topics and said he had a problem with those calendars he printed because he used "their" instead or "they're" and asking me what he should do to resolve that problem. I was stunned. I know his Christmas card was not meant to rub my face in all the time and money he spent on his mother's gift, but I couldn't help but feel anything but JOY when I opened up the envelope. Then he talked about being tired of being victimized by a sociopathic twink he has probably given $1,000 or more to over a year while asking me for more free tech support about calendar gifts meant for his tennis students in the same phone call.

Sorry it is late and I was angry and tired when I wrote this so I hope it is not too disjointed or confusing. I honestly don't think he has meant to take advantage of me and he has been a good and loyal friend in every other aspect. When my Dad passed away earlier this year he came to the visitation which meant a lot to me. I don't expect him to send me a check for the $3,500 or more in tech support I have given him over the years, but am I wrong in at least hoping he would have sent me that $250 debit card he received for free from work? Or offered other ways to return all the help in some other ways like gifts or really anything to show me all the help I had given him was valued. I referred him to a new credit card about a month back and he got $50 and so did I for referring him. He has mentioned that several times so I think it is safe to assume he feels that $50 credit was my gift. Forgetting the fact he also got $50 credit and finally has a cashback credit card unlike his last one.

I seriously doubt if I had taken 150 hours of his time to give me private tennis lessons he wouldn't have expected something more than "Thanks!" Maybe I am just over reacting but he has been a good friend except for this and the tech support calls has gone way down compared to before, but I still can't help but feel a huge imbalance or debt that is unpaid. Then all that pent up anger came to the surface with his latest tech support call to help sort out gifts for his students and the Christmas card photo of the $600 and two weeks of labor he spent for his Mom. If you read all of this thanks, just putting it out in words to vent makes me feel better. So am I just being unreasonable or do I have good reasons to feel the way I do? I can't help but think he treats my tech support as worthless since that is exactly what he has given me for all my effort. He doesn't see all the thousands of hours of hard work over the decades I put in to being able to solve all the myriad of problems like some magician. I wonder if lawyers, CPA's, financial advisors also have the same problem of friends using their expertise for hundreds of hours of free advice to the point where it crosses the line.

I don't want to end my friendship with him but I would like some advice. I guess I first need to know if I even have a legitimate gripe or not. He called twice tonight but I ignored his calls. I knew if I answered and heard him talk about how much his students, and family (which he isn't even close to at all) loved their gifts from him I would probably lose my temper and end our friendship so I decided to not take any calls until I calm down a bit. I really want to just forgive him and get over this but it is so easy in theory but so very hard to do in practice. Should I just forgive him, move on and just accept that the only payment I will ever get is a Thanks and just tell him not to ask me any more tech question ever again. I don't want to feel this way but I can't help but feel the same way as if he had borrowed $3,500 or so in cash and not repaid the loan, then keeps borrowing while spending freely on anything he wants for himself and others.

I know what Dr. Phil and others say about not wanting to invest more in a relationship than you are willing to lose. And I also understand if A gives 50% and B gives 50% in a friendship that does not equal 100%. They are all absolutely right and it all makes sense until it is no longer theory. I almost feel guilty by posting this long letter because I think I should just accept that friendship is not a zero sum game and forgive him and let it go but I am afraid it is like a cancer that will eventually eat away at our friendship. Any and all advice welcome and thanks in advance.
fuzzywuzzy
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

What's an iMAC? :)

You've vented. Feel better now? We all do it ...Now you just have to look at what you wrote....figure out if the friendship is worth continuing with :)

You're not really asking us, you're asking yourself .
Clodhopper
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Clodhopper »

Think Fuzzy is correct. You will probably have a better idea of how to proceed after rereading and thinking a bit now you are cooler (you said you were very angry when you wrote at least some of it).

I think saying you feel the way he does about the one you describe as a sociopath might be a possible way ahead? But all courses of action can go wrong and you must decide.

All the best.
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Lone voice: "I'm not."
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jones jones
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by jones jones »

You say this guy is your best friend and also that you would like to remain friends. I'm assuming that your technical assistance is restricted to a sharing of knowledge and that strictly speaking you are not really losing any money.

It is a difficult situation and as an experienced Appraiser of Antiques & Fine Art, I often find myself in the same position. When people ask me on the telephone to give them an "off the cuff” valuation of say an oil painting, my response is: "I am really flattered that you are asking my opinion, but you will have to bring the painting to my office for a valuation. The Valuation fee will be so much yada yada."

When they get irritated by this I ask them a simple question: "Can you telephone a doctor and ask him to examine you over the phone or ask an attorney for telephonic legal advice? I am just as much a professional as they are and the knowledge I possess has cost me a great deal of time and money to acquire.”

You say this guy is your best friend and also that you would like to remain friends. I'm assuming that your technical assistance is restricted to a sharing of knowledge and that you are not really losing any money.

Personally I do not charge friends and family anything if they ask me for a valuation. You say you have been best pals for seven years and that he has been asking you technical questions for years. In your estimation you have given him 150 hours of technical advice.

So maybe this might put things in perspective. Maths has never been my best subject but I figure that if your buddy had paid you the $35.00 friends fee you charge, being best friends with him has cost you like maybe $2.00 a day since you been friends.

Guess only you can figure out if his friendship has been worth it.

Take care now and have an awesome day!
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Snooz
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Snooz »

I'd cut him out of my life but that's just me. It sounds like you're getting more aggravation and annoyance at his stubborn refusal to acknowledge your grievances than you are feelings of love and goodwill. You don't need that in your life.
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Betty Boop
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Betty Boop »

If you don't cut them out as Snooze suggests I would guess that at some point they'll cut you out anyway. People who take take take tend to move on of their own accord at some point.
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YZGI
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by YZGI »

I am in the auto repair business. My friends constantly ask for advice and diagnoses from me. Now days when they ask I just pull out my gum (we all have guns in the US) and shoot them. Can't have them pesky friends asking for free advice.

Seriously, I am glad to give them advice about their vehicles, hell they are my friends. If actual work needs to be done to their cars I give them about half off what I would charge a stranger and am happy to do it.

I seem to have a lot of friends with car problems lately.:wah:

I edited to add..

I didn't read the entire short story but figured I got the gist of it.
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Snooz
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Post by Snooz »

How about if you had a friend that had constant car problems and expected you to sit on the phone with them while you walked them through the repair?
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YZGI
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by YZGI »

SnoozeAgain;1414338 wrote: How about if you had a friend that had constant car problems and expected you to sit on the phone with them while you walked them through the repair?


I tell them that I can't repair a car over the phone, bring it to the shop. If they don't like that, they weren't a friend. Eff em.
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flopstock
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by flopstock »

I must be the odd man out here. My friends all know that it will pmo royally if I ever find out they paid for an estimate or repairs at one of the local shops without letting me look at it first... same thing with co-workers.



I can't tell you how many virus clean ups and general drive cleanups (it's running really slow diane and I haven't added hardly any new software since last time you cleaned it..:wah:) I perform in a year. And all of our old equipment is stripped down and the parts set aside for anyone in need.



Would I ask their hubbies or themselves to repair my car? Nope

But that didn't stop me from asking littleones dad what he thought I needed to get to fix the constant drip in the kitchen sink... something about o-rings... (no don't just buy a new faucet diane, he'll bring stuff when he brings her back home..:wah:)



I don't help strangers on the internet, except for fellow geeks on geek forums. I save my time for real life friends in need.



Here's my bottom line - If you have to think about it, just don't do it. But what goes around, comes around. Friends help friends, without expectations of returns.
I expressly forbid the use of any of my posts anywhere outside of FG (with the exception of the incredibly witty 'get a room already' )posted recently.

Folks who'd like to copy my intellectual work should expect to pay me for it.:-6

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YZGI
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by YZGI »

flopstock;1414349 wrote: I must be the odd man out here. My friends all know that it will pmo royally if I ever find out they paid for an estimate or repairs at one of the local shops without letting me look at it first... same thing with co-workers.



I can't tell you how many virus clean ups and general drive cleanups (it's running really slow diane and I haven't added hardly any new software since last time you cleaned it..:wah:) I perform in a year. And all of our old equipment is stripped down and the parts set aside for anyone in need.



Would I ask their hubbies or themselves to repair my car? Nope

But that didn't stop me from asking littleones dad what he thought I needed to get to fix the constant drip in the kitchen sink... something about o-rings... (no don't just buy a new faucet diane, he'll bring stuff when he brings her back home..:wah:)



I don't help strangers on the internet, except for fellow geeks on geek forums. I save my time for real life friends in need.



Here's my bottom line - If you have to think about it, just don't do it. But what goes around, comes around. Friends help friends, without expectations of returns.


Damn. I was gonna fix your car for a little comp advice. I reckon I'll ask Spot er Tyr er FG.
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LarsMac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by LarsMac »

Yeah, Like Flop, I help friends all the time with stuff, just because they're friends.

When they bring their friends around, then I say, I can help, for a discount over what they would have to pay the Geek Squad.

It works very well.

But, once you started keeping track, your friendship was doomed, IMHO.

Either tell the guy to piss off next time he calls, or keep being the "techie" friend.
Control is an illusion. The Chaos is all part of the fun.
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LarsMac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by LarsMac »

BTW, YZGI, I got this problem with my car. Can we talk?
Control is an illusion. The Chaos is all part of the fun.
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YZGI
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by YZGI »

LarsMac;1414353 wrote: BTW, YZGI, I got this problem with my car. Can we talk?


LOL. Of course.
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Snooz
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Post by Snooz »

I had a co-worker that always asked me to take care of her four cats when she went on vacation twice a year. I liked her cats and I really don't mind cleaning kitty litter but she lived a fairly long distance from me (a 40 minute drive one way seems lengthy to me) and she always vacationed during the crappy weather months so the drive was that much worse. I got to the point where I felt she was taking advantage of me... a couple times she didn't even freakin' THANK me, so she and I don't even talk anymore. I've got no problem trimming users out of my life.

If you all enjoy being in one sided relationships such as the one described in the OP, then good on ya. It's not my preference.
gwmac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by gwmac »

Thanks for all the great replies. I do feel a bit better just for venting and getting it out of my system. I also was just concerned if my reaction was normal and justified. I honestly don't know how many hours of tech support I have given, 150 is probably a low ball estimate. This also seems to have expanded to cell phone tech support, apple TV, iPad, and several more areas.

I don't want to make him sound like a bad person because he isn't. I just think in his mind that is what friends do for each other and I agree to an extent since I never considered charging him until I had already given him around 15 or 20 hours of phone support. If he lived closer and could bring over the computer I could sort his problems out in a few minutes vs. an hour or two trying to walk him through it over the phone.

I had already pretty much cut him off a year ago and told him Google is my friend, why isn't he yours every time he asked me a question. Recently he has started back a bit and the presents to the students, buying a motorcycle for himself he never uses, redecorating his home, installing an outdoor sprinkler system and several more things just finally sent me to the ledge. Then the Christmas card of a photo of a gift sent me off the cliff. All the money he spent on himself and others while dismissing all the assistance I gave him over the years which would have cost him God only knows what if he had paid from a company. :-5

My new year's resolution is to flat out say to him no more free tech support. I can be his friend but it has to be more balanced and equal. It is hard to let go of all that pent up anger though and I don't know if I really ever can or not. But I have to take partial blame for letting it go on as long as I did. I could have early on asked him to sign an agreement and honor it but I trusted him as a friend to do the right thing and got disappointed that he didn't. Expensive but valuable life lesson.

One last question, should I send him a link to this thread and let him read it? Hell, it would be nice for him to reply as well if he chose. I am just glad to hear I am not alone and am not crazy or greedy for feeling this way. Hope to be a member here a long time and maybe help some other people out.
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Snooz
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Post by Snooz »

I doubt he'd appreciate my rather harsh comments but I certainly don't mind if he sees them. Seeing your concerns spelled out like this might knock some sense into his head.
Patsy Warnick
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Patsy Warnick »

gwmac

Your friends right ?

you have allowed this right.?

What other communication do you have with this "friend" ?

Not sure if there's much to be pissed off about

more of feeling sorry for yourself & venting as Fuzzy calls it - it's healthy.

Friends usually form a repor - I may not be able to fix your car but here's dinner.?

You've allowed nothing in return.

Patsy
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Patsy Warnick »

P.S.

What can your friend do for you? Help you decorate? what's his talent ? Talents?

Are you expecting too much?

Patsy
gwmac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by gwmac »

Patsy Warnick;1414366 wrote: gwmac

Your friends right ?

you have allowed this right.?

What other communication do you have with this "friend" ?

Not sure if there's much to be pissed off about

more of feeling sorry for yourself & venting as Fuzzy calls it - it's healthy.

Friends usually form a repor - I may not be able to fix your car but here's dinner.?

You've allowed nothing in return.

Patsy


As you can imagine, there is a lot more to the story than I typed here. It would take a few books to fill in all the details. But in my last post above I did take partial blame for allowing it to happen. But in my defense I did explain to him the friend rate of $35 an hour long ago and he understood and agreed to that. He is not a clear communicator and shies from confrontation and has trouble saying the word "No", so it is possible if unlikely that he did not understand I was being dead serious and not joking when I told him I expected renumeration. For that reason I continued helping him out with the expectation that I would be compensated either monetarily, by some gifts of appreciation, or as I explained before through some home improvement type projects since he is good at that type of thing. Shouldn't we give good friends the benefit of the doubt and run a tab so to speak with the expectation they will pay their bill? He is a very honest and decent person except for this one area and I had no reason to believe it would go on as long as it did. I had in fact largely put it to rest since his tech support calls are far less frequent. He is proud of himself at being able to solve problems now but seems unable to make the leap to understand that is only possible thanks to my tutelage. It was just a confluence of several Christmas events that led to this perfect storm and brought back a lot of rage I thought I had put behind me.

No one including me expect any friendship to be completely 50/50 when it comes to doing favors or helping out and never be prepared to put into a relationship more than you are willing to lose. But it is nice to feel all the help you have given could be validated with some form of appreciation. If he were flat broke this wouldn't even be an issue, but he spends lavishly on himself and others and I guess I just finally needed to get it off my chest. All my other friends said I was in the right for feeling this way, but their opinions might be prejudiced since they are my friends. That is why disinterested parties here are valuable since your opinions will not be jaded and completely honest.
Patsy Warnick
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Post by Patsy Warnick »

Glad to hear you've put it to rest.

You've heard of Money up Front.?

Your story sounds as if he took advantage of you & probably did.

Some times there's a price to pay to make a friendship work - it shouldn't be work.

Take care of yourself

Patsy
gwmac
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Post by gwmac »

The ironic part is that he often calls to complain about the young sociopath taking advantage of him and feeling victimized. I don't mind offering that kind of support because that is pretty much the job duties of a friend to be a shoulder or an ear for relationship type issues and I also told him my own problems in the past. But what is ironic to me is that he seems completely blind and insensitive to the fact that all the bad behavior he hates and the hurt feelings from being victimized is pretty similar to what he has done to me. On one of his recent calls when he was complaining about him and said he wasn't going to take it anymore I responded by saying "yeah, it never feels good to feel victimized or taken advantage of by someone does it". I am not sure if he caught the drift or not. If he did he pretended not to.
Patsy Warnick
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Post by Patsy Warnick »

So, your saying you've come to terms with this petty situation and

your still friends..?

Do you consider your friend to be stupid.?

Patsy
gwmac
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Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by gwmac »

Patsy Warnick;1414382 wrote: So, your saying you've come to terms with this petty situation and

your still friends..?

Do you consider your friend to be stupid.?

Patsy


If it were so petty I would not have bothered to register on this site then write a rather long post to share the story seeking others thoughts and opinions. Fortunately some other people took the time to read and reply less judgmentally which I assumed was a goal of this forum. It may appear petty to you, and if that is the case please feel free to ignore this thread. Your posts have not been particularly insightful in any case. Have a great day
Patsy Warnick
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Post by Patsy Warnick »

gwmac

I did read your thread - the story is made to be your a victim

A friend took advantage of you.?

I stated you allowed this to happen & now you continue to be friends.?

If you feel your due compensation for your Tec time send the guy a BILL.

Not sure why your still friends.? Not sure why you want to continue to be a victim.?

Speak up for yourself - he's not getting your Hints - let your friend see the total in writing..

Good Luck

Patsy
gwmac
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Post by gwmac »

I agree. There was a lot more meat in your latest post than the previous ones so I appreciate your candor. I have already decided the free tech support will cease completely. In fact I already have a catch phrase in mind in case he asks a tech question: "That sounds like a perplexing problem, good luck with finding a solution"

I don' plan on ending the friendship, just modifying the parameters and rules a bit and also letting him know just how much his behavior irked me. Honest and loyal friends are hard to come by so I see no reason to dump the baby out with the bathwater and I am confident that he is my friend for far more reasons than seeking tech support. We discuss a myriad of issues and have much in common. We enjoy our phone talks by and large and all friends hit bumps in the road. True friendship should be able to weather storms once in a while and just need some recalibrating and tune-ups on occasion.
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Snooz
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Post by Snooz »

Good luck, I hope you two can work this out. Sounds like you've calmed yourself a great deal since you started this thread.
gwmac
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Post by gwmac »

Thanks. yes I have calmed down but my friend doesn't even know there is a problem but I have decided to send him a link and read for himself. Perhaps when the tech support spigot is closed for good then he will realize just how valuable it was to him.
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Lady J
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Post by Lady J »

gwmac;1414399 wrote: Thanks. yes I have calmed down but my friend doesn't even know there is a problem but I have decided to send him a link and read for himself. Perhaps when the tech support spigot is closed for good then he will realize just how valuable it was to him.


I would think if you were his friend you would talk to him DIRECTLY about it; tell him how you feel. That you feel as you have been slighted by his actions and they have hurt your feelings of giving freely. I don't mean telling him of the charge $35/hour but frankly saying what you have vented here.

I personally don't think sending him this link is the right approach....it is as if you have gone behind his back to gain support and I would take that as an insult.

Perhaps when the tech support spigot is closed for good then he will realize just how valuable it was to him.
this last sentence sounds like you are vindictive....You feel used but don't let that weaken your self esteem. Approach your fiend with upfront honesty and if anything it should build your friendship and if it doesn't then you can move on knowing you have done everything you could; Do not beat around the bush.



Like Snooze, I often pet sit for my neighbors at "no cost" but I do expect something in return for my time and efforts. I state up front that I can pet sit and will save them hundreds of dollars in kennel care but I DO hope they will reciprocate me.

If they do not or I feel it is too little for the hours I have spent I approach them face to face..... after all if they really are my friends then they will understand. If they don't understand then they most likely are using me and I will move on.

Best of luck and friendship to you gwmac

Lady J
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flopstock
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Post by flopstock »

The more I come back to this, the more I feel I've seen it before...:thinking:
I expressly forbid the use of any of my posts anywhere outside of FG (with the exception of the incredibly witty 'get a room already' )posted recently.

Folks who'd like to copy my intellectual work should expect to pay me for it.:-6

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Snooz
Posts: 4799
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:05 am

Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by Snooz »

I wonder what happened to this person... was it just a troll?
gwmac
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:58 pm

Am I being unreasonable for feeling this way?

Post by gwmac »

SnoozeAgain;1415415 wrote: I wonder what happened to this person... was it just a troll?


Me? No I wasn't trolling and this was a factual and true story. I confronted my friend with my concerns but unfortunately I haven't heard from him since which was over a week ago. I am sure he would have a very different take than me, but I am not sure if we will be able to work this out or not. I hope we do and this adversity will strengthen our friendship, but at the end of the day you can't keep things bottled up.

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