A friend of mine recently had surgery. An old friend offered to come to town to stay and help her recuperate, an offer my friend greatly appreciated. However, it felt like she was the one having to take care of her friend.
Many arrangements had to be made for the friend’s visit. The night before her surgery, my friend intended to get a good night’s sleep, but her friend stayed up watching films and being loud. She also kept knocking on my friend’s door to ask about borrowing items, or using the wifi, etc.
In the morning, they got off to a late start because the friend took so long to get ready. At the hospital, the friend was the one who needed looking after. One minute she needed to borrow a phone charger because she hadn’t brought hers; the next she was rooting through my friend’s purse for change for the vending machine. My friend was already stressed because of the procedure and found it difficult to relax.
The surgery went well, but my friend found her companion to be of little help aside from driving her home. She found it impossible to relax and recuperate, and her friend kept suggesting activities and day trips that she couldn’t physically take on.
My friend remains grateful, but ultimately felt like her friend’s presence was more of a burden than a help. She suspected she wanted to be nice, but didn’t actually consider how to best be of use. I’ve seen people react the same way when someone dies; people want to help, but can sometimes be so overbearing that it backfires.