Faux Pas From Every Angle

by admin on January 15, 2014

I have a friend we will call her Rose for this story. Rose is a single mother with a 17 year old daughter Alexandra. Our mutual friend Lorelei had invited Rose and I to her 50s themed birthday party including Alexandra, Rose’s daughter. This is just one story about Alexandra and her rude behavior towards her mother and others but the one that stands out the most. I am married but we are unable to have children biologically.

I was very much looking forward to the birthday party for months and even had a custom designed poodle skirt made for the occasion. About 3 days before the party Rose telephoned me to suggest that we attend the party together and stay overnight at her home. Rose lives about an hour and a half drive from my home and as the party venue was much closer to Rose’s home I agreed to stay and we arranged I would get ready at home and be at Rose’s by 6:30 pm as the party was at 7:30 pm and only a 45 min drive from Rose’s.

Well, the night arrived and as scheduled I was at Rose’s home at the arranged time with my overnight bag. On arrival Alexandra, Rose’s daughter, was also getting ready for the party but stated she would not be getting dressed up. Rose and I got dressed in our poodle skirts and finally we were all ready to leave. I suggested that I drive, but Rose insisted we take her car. I attempted to chat to Alexandra on the way but she gave one word answers. I can recall we were nearing the party location and looking for a parking space, I distinctly recall looking at the clock in the car which read 7:17 pm. We park and finally arrive at the party. On arrival we greet our friend Lorelei and give our friend her gift. Rose and I look around and do not recognize anyone else and then decide to buy a drink (yes, another time for the drink story but you had to pay for drinks!).  I asked Alexandra if she would like a drink.  In a rather surly tone she says, “No I don’t”, and proceeds to play with her iPhone. Rose expresses her concern for Alexandra’s well being! I want to say,  “Uh, who is the parent here?”, but say nothing… Lorelei comes over and takes photos, Alexandra protests quite rudely and states, “Don’t take my photo”, Rose asks her if she wants her to drive Alexandra to meet up with her friends? Again Alexandra states loudly and rudely, “No I don’t want to be driven anywhere”.  I feel like a bit of a fool at this point as I don’t know anyone and my friend Rose continues to become more and more concerned Alexandra is not having a good time and there is limited conversation between Rose and I.

After a while Rose goes up to our friend Lorelei and tells her that we are leaving….. I am just flabbergasted as she did not say anything to me, I don’t know what to say and I am very mindful not to create a scene and not sure what to do. Rose’s house is a good 45 minutes drive from the party and my car is back at her place. Rose tells our friend Lorelei that we are leaving but does not ask what I want and quite frankly I was still in shock. We leave, not a word is said about the surly Alexandra, not an apology or what would you like to do. We return to the car and I note the time is 8:39pm. Not much is said and I am waiting for the apology. Rose decides we should get takeaway pizza and have sodas. I spy the local liquor store and tell Rose I want to buy a nice bottle of wine to have with the pizza, we pull in and make our separate purchases. Surly Alexandra sits pouting in the car, we finally get to the pizza shop and Rose makes sure she orders Alexandra ‘s favorite. Rose does pay for the pizzas and refuses my contribution. We arrive back at Rose’s house and proceed to change and eat pizza and have our drinks. We watch the local government election and make small chatter, Alexandra is a happy girl now…. I wonder why…because her mother gave in and brought her home because Alexandra wasn’t enjoying herself! In hindsight I should not have had a drink because now I cannot drive and I should have just packed up and driven home even if it was 9 pm and a long drive and made my excuses.

The next morning I wake early, I am tired and I really want to go home but Rose and I planned to go out for brunch and I don’t want to be rude. Eventually Rose wakes up and we have breakfast, not a word about Alexandra. Alexandra wakes and grunts at us and goes off to get ready for her weekend job. We go off to brunch but not before we have to drop off Alexandra at her weekend job.  Alexandra says not a word in the car nor goodbye then she gets out.

Rose and I continue onto brunch, the conversation is about everything but the party. Rose does confide in me about her daughter’s treatment of her and how she is upset by Alexandra. We head back to Rose’s house and Lorelei telephones, I speak to her briefly, wanting to discuss our abrupt departure but resist with Rose beside me. Rose speaks to Lorelei and the conversation from Rose is,  “Absolutely you should unfriend Alexandra on Facebook because of her rude behavior. Thank you for your support and for saying I don’t owe you an apology, Alexandra does.”  At this moment I walk away, I realize what a fool I have been and I wonder is it me, was I too sensitive… Expecting an apology from my friend Rose for her rude daughter’s behavior.  I leave and make my way home but not before I thank Rose for having me overnight and for dinner. Four months later and I have not had contact from my friend Rose, she has , in fact, unfriended me recently on Facebook, which I am quite relieved about.

Over the past few months I have thought what if, I should have not gone to Rose’s home, I should’ve driven home as soon as we got back to Rose’s, I wonder to this day and I am provably wasting my time, but I wonder why Rose never acknowledged my feelings or gave me an apology. I will give this up now as there is no point dwelling but I will try to speak up in future. hindsight is a great thing. 0112-14

I’m wondering why a 17-year old girl went to a party she clearly had no desire to be at?   Couldn’t she have been left at home to stew in her own anti-social juices that night?  And it doesn’t sound like anyone of your group was enjoying the party due to not knowing any other guests.  It looks to me like Rose conveniently exploited Alexandra’s poor behavior as the reason to bail from a party that turned out to be much less fun than either you or Rose had anticipated.

I find it quite ironic that Lorelei is offended at Alexandra’s rude behavior when the reality may be that Alexandra was texting a submission to Ehell about how she was at a birthday party hosted by the birthday girl and how ungracious it was that the poor suckers (ooops, we mean”guests”) were forced to buy their own drinks.   What kind of cheapskate hostess and greedy pig does that?

I don’t see where you had much choice in how this all played out since you were the guest of Rose and basically at her mercy.

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Nunya January 16, 2014 at 2:27 am

I feel more sympathy with Alexandra than the LW. If someone is sending out clear signals that they do not want to engage with you, then the persistent attempts at engagement become increasingly irritating.

You’re not her friend, you’re her mother’s friend. And she isn’t an extension of her mother. She does not owe you her attention, a conversation or any other type of engagement. You call her surly but it seems to me that you are the one encroaching on her personal bubble and demanding her attention.

Did Alexandra make plans with you? I’d not, then she has no obligation to act in a manner that’s acceptable to you. Calling her “surly” sounds like a sign of your immaturity.

And why were you offering to buy a seventeen year old alcohol?

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I am OP February 14, 2014 at 4:18 am

I was not offering to buy a 17 yo alcohol the mother did. 18 is the legal age

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Kate January 16, 2014 at 3:55 am

Of course she was rude. She’s a 17 year old girl, at a party of women her mother’s age, themed for a decade she probably knows nothing about. If I’d been put in that position at age 17 I probably would have had a sulk too. I don’t understand why her mother couldn’t have allowed her to stay over at a friend’s or stay home alone – 17 is old enough to do that.

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admin January 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm

You and other commenters are justifying rude behavior on the basis of age. Seventeen is old enough to not act like a baby and sulk in such a fashion as to be noticeable to everyone in eyesight. It’s a passive aggressive tantrum of the likes I’d expect from a pre-schooler, not a person on the verge of being old enough to go to war, drink beer,and vote.

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MichelleP January 18, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Thanks admin. I am taken aback at the posters here justifying Alexandra’s behavior. My mother forced me to socialize with her friends and their kids, and I didn’t like it, but would still be paying for surgery if I acted like that.

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Jojo January 16, 2014 at 6:31 am

There does seem to be more to this story than OP is saying.
I know a particularly huffy and bratty teen who is generally surly because her mum is making her do things the teen really doesn’t want to do – like attend adult parties with no other kids there.
She’s perfectly lovely when she’s on her own, doing something she wants to do.
I reckon the conversation with Rose and Alexandra went something like: ” Look, come to the party, we’ll only stay a couple of hours and I’ll buy you pizza on the way home as a treat”.
OP then arrives, who instantly has an attitude with the daughter.
They all set off for the party, Rose is trying to make everyone happy at a party that no one seems to be enjoying while OP is making no effort to mingle but sitting in the corner complaining about how she knows no one, that they have to pay for drinks and how Rose isn’t giving her full attention.
Rose has enough and decides to call it a day and head home, receiving more passive-agressive attitude from OP. And to top it off, OP is probably giving off negative vibes over brunch the next day too.
If I was Rose, I’d be unfriending a ‘friend’ who couldn’t wait to get away from me to bitch about me to Lorelei the next day too.

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I am OP February 14, 2014 at 4:17 am

Jo Jo I am the other person. I actually received a telephone call from Lorelei the next day and I couldn’t speak freely because I was with Rose. To this day apart from my husband (he doesn’t know the ladies) I have never told anyone nor spoken to either Rose or Lorelei since the day after and I have not ever addressed the issue with either of them. And honestly I never will. I am better off without friends like them.

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Ergala January 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

“Absolutely you should unfriend Alexandra on Facebook because of her rude behavior. Thank you for your support and for saying I don’t owe you an apology, Alexandra does.”
Seriously, what kind of a mother says this about her own teen-aged daughter?”

My mother. When I was a teenager I was absolutely held accountable for my actions and behavior. If I put a toe out of line I was expected to atone for it which included a face to face apology to the injured party. If that wasn’t possible I had to call them and apologize. And it wasn’t a generic apology, it was sincere. It didn’t just start when I was a teenager either, my whole childhood I was raised to aware of how I treated others and of my behavior and how it projected out.

One time I fell off my bike and my bike bumped into a random person’s car that was parked in front of their house. We were on a family bike ride. I didn’t know the person and I wasn’t injured. I was about 6 or 7 years old. My mom and dad made me go up and ring their doorbell and explain what happened and apologize for possibly damaging their car. The lady was very very nice, gave me a hug, checked the car for damage and told my mom she was doing a good job. I remember my heart was pounding, I was sweating and I thought I was going to vomit. I fully expected to get yelled at by a strange woman, instead I was shown compassion for an accident.

I expect my children to behave and show respect, and when they are teenagers I especially will have that standard. At 17 years old that young woman is almost an adult and will possibly be going to college soon. She already has a weekend job, what does she do if they have staff meetings she doesn’t want to attend? Does she become burly at those? In life there are going to be events you absolutely do not want to attend that you have to. It’s just a few hours. Put on a smile, grin and bear it. It’s not the end of the world. I’ve done it many times and honestly sometimes in the end I’ve had a blast, and others I’ve learned a few things by the end of the event. Like never ever eat this food with that drink, or don’t put salt in that dish….bleck. Life is full of lessons, learn them.

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Mer January 20, 2014 at 9:44 am

I do think you talk about different matter. Mother raising her children to take responsibility of her/his actions and do the necessary amends to correct situation/apologize is fully different than mother encouraging her adult friend participate in passive aggressive schemes straight from Mean Girls. Adjusting your story to be more equivalent would create a case where your mother would go to the stranger’s door and ask her to yell to you because you bumped the car.

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Ergala January 21, 2014 at 9:30 am

I don’t find it passive aggressive at all. I find it to be a consequence for a behavior. The daughter is going to find that her behavior will alienate people from her. Why on earth she hasn’t learned it before the age of 17 I don’t know and kind of blows my mind. Alexandra may have had to go to the party due to being in trouble and unable to stay home alone as well. She may have broken her mother’s trust by sneaking out, or sneaking someone in, perhaps was caught drinking or smoking….we don’t know the back story. I went to many adult parties with my parents growing up and I absolutely wouldn’t have dreamed of behaving like this. Even when I was 11 or 12 years old. When I was 17 I behaved like a young lady because I wanted to be viewed as an adult, not like a little kid. I’m almost 32, not a huge age gap here, but maybe it’s because I was raised in a military family or because my grandparents were very involved in my upbringing, I don’t know. But I do know that I have the same expectations of my children, they are allowed to be children and we don’t bring them anywhere that we know they won’t be able to handle. But if it’s something that they will enjoy and there will be other kids their age (they are 4 and 8) and it will be somewhat fun we take them so they can practice. By the age of 17 I fully expect them to be able to handle themselves.

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Yet Another Laura January 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

Poor Alexandra. I am with all the previous posters pointing out that Alexandra might not have had the option to stay home. I have been that seventeen-year-old forced to attend boring adult parties when I’d rather do anything else.

The party sounds like a disappointment, even if you take Rose and Alexandra out of the picture completely. Yikes.

To prevent this from happening in the future, make sure you have what my mother calls “mad money”. In other words, if you end up going somewhere in someone else’s vehicle, always have enough cash on you to buy a cab ride home.

I really hate it when people declare that “we” are doing something and fail to inform me, as Rose did when she declared to Lorelei that the two of you were leaving without talking to you about it first. (I’m wondering if she does this to Alexandra frequently. I had a roommate who was notorious for this. Most memorable example: Roommate invited a friend over and didn’t tell me and then left for an all-day company picnic. I was home alone and had no idea anyone was coming over until the doorbell rang.) If you weren’t ready to leave just then, next time wish her a good night and get a cab back to your car.

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Library Diva January 16, 2014 at 10:30 am

Also wanted to say, regarding carpooling: if you’re the driver, it’s my opinion that you’re not promoted to the Grand Supreme Dictator of How the Night’s Going to Go. You should take your passenger’s desires into account, especially in a situation like this, when you made the offer to drive. That’s not to say that you should let your passenger treat you like a taxi driver, but you don’t get to treat them as if they were your four-year-old child, either. Rose could have alleviated all of this nonsense by simply saying to OP, “Look, Alexandra’s being a pill, and this party is pretty dull. How do you feel about leaving?” She could have even set a deadline: “Between Alexandra and the awkwardness of knowing none of these people, I can’t take much more. Can we stick it out for another half-hour and then go?” But to just say “We’re leaving, get your stuff” should be reserved only for situations where something really dire has happened. If Lorelei gravely insulted Rose, or made an announcement that everyone had to put their keys in the bowl that was going around to see who they’d be hooking up with tonight, or brought out trays of cocaine, sure, that immediate departure is warranted. Barring something like that, she should take her passenger’s desires into account.

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Susan January 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Since you HAD to leave with Rose, I would have gone home. But when I got there, gotten in my car and driven back to the party. Or taken a cab home when you were finished.

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Dust Bunny January 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

There are several people here who are rude and/or total doormats, but I have to kind of wonder why the LW is so invested in Alexandra’s behavior. So she’s playing with her iPhone? Let her play with her iPhone. Go do something else and quit examining everything she does. I have this weird feeling that the LW is gloating over what a lame parent her “friend” is.

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Kat January 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I feel like there’s no acknowledgement by anyone in this story that Alexandra is an entire generation younger. Is she supposed to be interacting with everyone as if they’re her peers?

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MichelleP January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Agree with other posters that there was bad behavior all around. My mom forced me to socialize with her friends’ kids at that age, and I couldn’t stand it. At the same time, being rude to adults wasn’t an option at that age; my mouth would have been slapped.

@gellchom, I see your point, but respectfully disagree that the OP had any obligation to speak to Alexandra, especially in the kind, asking for permission tone and words you used. A teenager has no right to act like that regardless of the reason, and I would never ask my child or anyone else’s permission to stay anywhere.

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gellchom January 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

When did I say *any* of that? I never said that “the OP had any obligation to speak to Alexandra” nor did I say anyone needed to ask her “permission” for anything. Please reread my post. I said that Rose might have been wishing that the OP would stick up for her with Alexandra. I’ve felt that way when my daughter was mouthy with me in front of people — but I absolutely never felt that that placed any “obligation” on my friends to do so.

I will agree that IF the OP were to CHOOSE to say anything to Alexandra, there’s no constructive reason not to use a kind and polite tone. There rarely is.

It does sound to me like the OP made a point of not simply saying she wanted to stay at the party (if she even did want to stay at all) so that she could feel like a victim. It fits in with her complaining that Rose didn’t stick with her at the party — well, if they were in the car together all that time, why would they continue to talk with each other, instead of the other guests whom they came so far to see in the first place? If the OP had been having a marvelous time, would she still complain about Rose not staying with her? Would she have felt the obligation to stick with Rose — and anyway, what stopped her from doing that? I assume Rose wasn’t hiding someplace; if the OP wanted to talk with Rose, why didn’t she just walk around with her? If she didn’t like the type of pizza Rose bought, why didn’t she simply say something like “I’m not crazy about anchovies; can we get half mushroom?”

All this stuff, in conjunction with the unbelievable Facebook coda and the gratuitous information about her own non-parent status, makes this sound to me like the OP is just kind of in the mood to feel sorry for herself and come down on Rose and Lorelei. To me, she sounds like she was as much of a sulky adolescent as Alexandra that night. We all feel that way sometimes, and she isn’t doing anything terrible, and I probably wouldn’t like Alexandra much, either. But I still don’t see anything in this story that justifies completely dumping Rose.

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Erin January 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Seventeen is young enough to genuinely not realize that you’re being rude, because teenagers are not just adults with fewer years. And we only have the OP’s word on this. The OP made it extremely clear in the first paragraph that this girl can do no right in her eyes. We have no way of knowing what really happened.

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Dear! January 31, 2014 at 11:25 am

I respectfully disagree. I lived on my own, in another country, at 17. I knew the difference between polite and rude a long time before that. There may be more to this story, but 17 is grown. She knew better, and chose to be rude, and if she didn’t it is because of her parents didn’t teach her how to act.

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Hollanda January 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Rude is rude. Come on. I’m teaching my 2 year old that shouting at people to make them do what he wants is rude. I’m teaching him to say please and thank you appropriately because it’s polite. Just as my mother did for me when I was a child. As he gets older, more and more rude vs polite will be taught, with an emphasis on “if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.” Had I acted that way at any age, I’d have expected to be read the riot act by my parents. Were they perfect parents all the time? Heck no, but they did their best to bring up considerate kids who at least thought about how to behave appropriately, even if we didn’t always do it!! Are we perfect now? Heck no, and we know our kids won’t be, but we do know that teaching a child what polite is and polite does makes all the difference between a well adjusted and well liked adult, and a whiny gimme pig who feels entitled to everything for nothing in return. The 17 year old behaved abominably, but none of the characters in this drama came out smelling of roses IMO.

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elmwych January 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm

It seems like many things went wrong that night from all sides. I am not sure why Rose invited her daughter to a party that had people she wouldn’t know and that were older. Granted, unless Alexandra is use to socializing with a older crowd, she could have stayed at home. Her rude sulking behavior has no excuse. 17 is plenty old enough to be polite to other and not sulk around to the point that Rose decided it was time to go. Of course we are not sure how much this was. She also shouldn’t have rewarded bad behavior with her favorite pizza. OP should have just left that night or at least spoke up to her friend either before leaving the party or when they got back to the house. Rose should have spoken to OP before deciding it was time to leave.
When Rose spoke to the host of the party, she should have had Alexandra apologize to her by phone if the host could clearly see it. Not this simple unfriending.
We have this double standard that the teen is old enough to do what they want, but apparently not old enough to be held accountable for there behavior. Also, Alexandra should know to be courteous to a guest of her Mother. You don’t need to have deep conversation, but a little goes along way.

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GG January 25, 2014 at 10:49 pm

I don’t think Alexandra giving one word answers to the OP was necessarily rude. When I was a teenager I hated being subjected to my parent’s friend’s often intrusive questions. Often, adults think that they are entitled to conversations with their friend’s children. You did not make plans with Alexandra, you made plans with her mother. While she should still be polite, she does not owe you her time or conversation.

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Dear! January 31, 2014 at 11:22 am

There are a lot of people saying they sympathize with the daughter. Really?

When I was a teen, what my parents told me to do, I did. If I had to go to an outing that I did not want to, but my mother wanted me to, I went, and was certainly not rude to her friends. Alexandrea and her mother’s friends were not company. She was still expected to be polite. She is a child – a rude one. And I sense she got it from her mother.

Granted, as a teen, I often wanted to escape into my phone, but there are more polite ways to do it.

Im only 26, but I think teenagers get too much slack. Geez.

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Allegra April 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

OMG I am on the OP side. Wow Rose should never have invited the OP to stay over. I so disagree with all the posters feeling sorry for the daughter Alexandra who sounds like she is over indulged rude and surly spoilt brat. Parents such as Rose think their child is an angel and pander to their every whim. I think it would be difficult for the OP and awkward to leave, I can see she wanted to keep the peace. OP you are better off not being friends with any of them. oh PS OP has responded and explained she has never spoken to the others. Rose and Lorelei again. silence is golden!

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