I have a deaf-blind friend, and she is very sweet. Because she is deaf and blind, there are many restrictions on what she can and can't do, and she has a mitochondrial condition that causes her balance to be off, so she not only can't see where she's going and can't walk without some assistance.
The only issue I have with her is that she is very demanding. A recent text conversation about her coming to a deaf social and her needing help with transportation to get there:
Me: The place is at the corner of X and Y street, you can easily get there by bus, because the bus stop is next to it.
Friend: I can't take the bus myself yet because my boyfriend was there last time to help me, and now he's not visiting for another X weeks because of work.
M: Look into having an assistant go with you to ride the bus with you, to make sure you know what's going on and that you can ride the bus independently. I had that experience when I was just starting to ride the bus.
F: maybe. How come you couldn't ride the bus out here to her home and then ride back with me?
M: The bus company sent someone to help me, the person was paid to help me, I couldn't possibly do that. I am not a professional paid by the bus company.
F: But you're a friend and you know how to take the bus... I couldn't use a person from the bus company that doesn't know sign language.
M: You also understand that I can't miss church to take the bus to you, get you, bring you to lunch and then bring you back. You'd be taking the bus twice, I'd be taking it four times, and about an hour each trip, that's four hours. That's quite a long time.
She has made demanding statements before, and I've had to tread carefully to not be abrasive but also express to her that I'm not going to drop what I'm doing and help her every time.
- Driving to her from the lunch place would take a good 20 minutes one way.
- The deaf social occurs once a month, and I am a well known attendant. She understandably wants to socialize, because her life is generally lonely.
- The deaf-blind friend's family and mine are very, very close. Her late father was my sister's God-father and his wife (still living) is her God-mother. They are close friends. The mom is very aware of her daughter's demanding personality.
How do I approach and turn down her demands, while preserving my kindness and not putting a strain on the family-friend relationship?