Roll Off Your Back Like Water On A Duck

by admin on September 11, 2013

I have been friends with a woman for many years. Our birthdays are two months apart, and I am the oldest. Whenever birthday time comes around, she invariably makes a comment like “I’m younger than you are ha ha ha.” I do not interpret this as gentle ribbing, it is said with a kind of one-upmanship glee. I have, in the past, said things like “Yes, I’m aware of that” and “oh, here we go again.”

Today we talked and as her birthday approaches she said “How old are you again?” (in the context of trying to “remember” how old she was going to be–I should mention we are both approaching senior status). I told her and she said, “So you reached (that big number) before me!” and I said “Yes, I did it first and better.” I must say, she was kind of taken aback. Was I wrong? Sometimes I hold things back until some borderline thing just pops out of my mouth. I’m not sure I want to be that kind of person.

The whole thing is kind of ridiculous because at our age two months is, of course, nothing. So why is it so important to her to bring it up? 0910-13

Why is it so important to you to respond to something you realize is petty?

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal September 12, 2013 at 8:55 am

I had a friend about three weeks older, and she was always doing the depressive about the birthday thing… I sailed through most of mine without an issue; at least we looked close in age so not much to tease or be commented about (the two of us were sometimes mistaken for sisters, and the age guesses on who was older was pretty random). Then a younger friend (9 months) ended up in my spare bedroom (for a few years, it was SUPPOSED to be about 3 months), and life and health wasn’t being kind to her; and she was always mistaken for a serious older sister and I was the afterthought … she didn’t take that well. I did learn to speak up quickly, graciously, and point out that no we’re just very good friends, and she’s ‘the baby’ of the two of us. THEN beandip~!

OP, I think you did well; I can’t fault you for your reply, heck it makes me smile. The big thing and time will tell, will it bury the comments… I hope it does.

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acr September 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

I don’t think your comment was out of line. But to me your aggravation seems sort of OTT. It’s a joke. Yes, it’s been beaten to death, but it’s a joke. I wonder if your friend was “taken aback” b/c you had an angry tone?

My cousin and I joke like this all the time. She’s almost exactly 9 months younger than me. So she jokes about me being sooo much older and I respond with, “Yes, the night I was born, your parents were DOING IT!”

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that_girl September 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Just to get even more nitpicky, “pearls before swine” is about the pigs not appreciating the value of the pearls — the “before” gets people tripped up, I think. A more contemporary phrasing would be “like giving pearls to swine” or “like giving diamonds to monkeys” or whatever you prefer.

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Dana September 13, 2013 at 7:35 am

A girl at work who has lost way too much weight was complaining that her weight was at a standstill and she couldn’t seem to lose anymore. Before thinking, I blurted out, “That’s because you don’t have any more fat to lose!” Rude? Perhaps. But it shut her up.

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Enna September 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

I think that was a great come back if she was bugging you so much.

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Candace September 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm

It is extremely difficult to ignore something like this. I had a friend who made a similar hostile “joke” again and again. Hundreds of times. I became more and more exasperated and directly told her that it was no longer funny and requested that she stop that joking. That did nothing except delight her that I was annoyed. If I had to do it all over again, I would say something like, “Yes, you’ve pointed that out before. Is there something else you’d like to talk about?” And perhaps just keep repeating that forever. But I found it wasn’t worth remaining friends with such a person.

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Allie September 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

I don’t think you said anything wrong. I would just come out and tell her you are tired of this running “joke” and would she please cut it out. She might not, but this hardly seems like the kind of issue to end a friendship over. People always say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. But I don’t think you can choose your friends either. The universe sends people into your life for a reason. Maybe she was sent to you to teach you patience.

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