I need help dealing with a situation I have with a very good friend. It’s kind of awkward, and I’m not sure if it is just me being a jerk, or if other people find this behavior annoying… and I really need help with how I should handle this. Beth is the nicest person; she is kind, friendly, thoughtful and overall just a nice sensitive person. Like everyone, she is not superhuman, she has her moods, but she really cares about other people and worries about their feelings. She has this thing she does that makes me really uncomfortable and I just don’t know how to deal with it.
Today we went shopping and to lunch. While shopping, she was her normal chatty self, smiling and engaging all of the salespeople in the stores (and I mean all of them – she is hilariously over-the-top friendly, which is one thing we seemed to have in common – we will talk to anyone anywhere) and now and then I would tell her I was moving on to the next store while she continued her conversation. She’s fun, but a little more chatty than I am, so I am happy to let her go to town and she is cool with me leaving her.
So now we go to lunch and she does this really annoying thing. Every time someone walks by with a kid she has to turn, look, and say something (“Oh, isn’t he cute!” “Look at that adorable hair”, “Look at the widdle baby” – in a baby voice no less). It’s a constant distraction. And she always tries to get the kids or the parents to talk to her. She did want children of her own and was not successful conceiving, so I feel kind of bad about getting so peeved…but it really, really annoys the heck out of me. I just don’t appreciate her turning away when we are in mid-conversation to tell me the kid at the next table is a cutie-pie. I am around enough kids that they are not novel to me at all – I really like playing with little kids (and I have the sense of humor of a six-year-old), but I kind of keep the kid love focused on my nieces and my close friends’ kids. I feel weird in public pestering parents and kids with uninitiated conversations, and I don’t understand why people think if you are pushing a baby stroller you are just dying to talk to everyone who passes about wonderful your child is. I just think back to when my friend Maddy’s kids were born how she would get annoyed when strangers would start fawning all over them when she was running to the store on a quick errand. She used to joke around a bit that she would steer her cart away from older women in supermarkets because grandparents were, in her opinion, the absolute worst to try to disengage from. (So sorry if you find this offensive, I am just trying to show where I am coming from and what I’ve heard from relatives and friends.)
So should I approach her and tell her she is a pain in the ass to me and to many, many others; or do I just let her go? Am I completely wrong; most people actually like it when strangers start talking to their kids in a restaurant, and most people love to discuss every child they see? Would it be rude if I asked her that she not to bother alerting me to the presence of every said child? Am I awful for losing my patience over this?
I don’t have kids. I think my friends and family with kids may be a little more jaded than Beth, so I am looking for an outside general consensus. I really need some opinions here. I’m leaning towards making a joke about it next time it happens, but I don’t know if I could pull that off without hurting her feelings.
Thanks for the help. 0605-13