“Making an effort”

Oh, sometimes that phrase fills me with an element of joy and I really appreciate it. At other times I want to scream, tear my hair out, and ask the person why s/he thinks that it makes them a better person.

Last week I got accused of being a ‘scrounger’ if I sought help from the benefits agency fund that I pay into monthly (and have done for almost 17 years) due to the fact that I currently can’t find a job (this is bearing in mind I have only been out of work for 3 days!). Anyway, I felt rather hurt by this accusation – which went along the lines of “If you go on benefits you are a scrounger”. This was followed with further insult to my intelligence and situation when she kept on telling me how to go about finding a job as though I was a simpleton and/or a child.

Well, three days later, no apology forthcoming, I get a text from her inviting me to the cinema this weekend – this is after being called a scrounger and being virtually ignored apart from that (including no ‘Happy Birthday’ the week before last) for three months. Feeling a little bit more than just slighted, I ignore the text message, thinking that I will give myself time to calm down and think things through. And then today I get another message from her saying “I gather that from your silence you are choosing to ignore me. You could at least have said no. I am at least trying to make an effort.” If it takes an effort is it f*cking worth it? Normal people (at least in the respect of what I define as normal) would actually ask how someone was rather than going on about how worthless they are because they are going through a hard time. And if I am a scrounger why would she actually want to hang around with me as I will essentially be spending said ‘scrounger’ money to go out with her (well, I won’t really I do have a tiny bit of redundancy pay coming my way)?

Of course, feeling guilty I have lied a little bit and used the fact that my network has been a little bit picky with sending and receiving messages over the last few weeks to say that I didn’t receive the previous message and apologising for that (also asking what she asked)…I don’t really expect a response from her, but right now I can’t see that as being any serious loss, and while I cared enough to abate any decided bitterness she may have towards my laxness in responding (she could have actually picked up a phone, or sent an email of course – but she didn’t), I don’t much care if I hear anything more regarding her recommendations for my getting a job.

Needless to say this entire situation has left a bitter taste in my mouth. Until I found out I was going to be made redundant, and had no idea exactly what I was going to do, we were pseudo friends who saw each other a few times a year outside of work (we worked together for 4 years), I disagreed with a lot of her opinions, and she disagreed with a lot of mine, but this second time of being called a scrounger (the first being when I got my college course help because my salary was too low to afford the course otherwise) really made me feel sick, and hurt. Am I blowing this out of all proportion, or am I justified in feeling a bit betrayed by someone who should have at least kept their mouth shut when it came to what they truly thought. If this is what she thinks of me am I better off cutting my ties of friendship with her?

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