≡ Menu

Dueling Parents

I wonder if you and your readers could bring some fresh outside advice to this awkward and somewhat charged situation.

My husband & I have been married 4 years (together 9), our parents were introduced to each other in Year 1. They’ve never been overly close but have been polite (My in-laws are definitely the more friendly of the sets). My parents have their own issues; recent divorce, lifestyle choices (dating & over indulging) and poor parenting decisions of my younger siblings.

My in-laws have their own issues too; easily stressed & controlling to each other & us. There’s never been any incidents between the two sets of parents but they are clearly ‘different people’ with different views on family & relationships.

Since my son has been born the negative feelings my parents have towards my in-laws have come to boiling point. My stepmom now refuses to attend any but the most formal (Birthdays, Christenings) get-togethers and makes constant snide remarks about how unpopular they are with the rest of the family. My father also avoids our house if they are visiting and will often decline joining us if they’re also coming (though won’t be blunt and say it’s because they’re here). I have caught them gossiping about us (and our preference for my in laws) behind our backs and some very hurtful comments about me in particular. I’m starting to get very tired of this and aggravated that my parents are acting like children.

My parents often say they “never see their grandson” but are awkward when trying to arrange dates and rarely initiate planning (except at the last minute). Which means often I am already booked or my in-laws have invited us to an event/come to visit us. My in-laws are also very eager & hands on with my son and always offer to help out, whether it’s coming to babysit so I can catch up with cleaning or when we stay over they’ll take over a night feed/let us have a lie in. My parents like seeing their grandson but are quick to hand him back when he requires ‘work’, I don’t mind this but again it’s the source of nasty comments about my in-laws being ‘overbearing’. I’ve tried talking to them but they’re both stubborn & ignore anything I say.

I feel so awkward, I’ve now taken to actively trying to conceal when we meet up with my in-laws to avoid the remarks & gossiping my parents do behind our backs. Am I right in just carrying on in inviting all parents to events, then arranging separate catch ups when we’re available? I feel like going out of my way again & again to facilitate my parents (over what I do for my in-laws) is just enabling this behaviour. What can I say when the snide remarks start? And when my parents are pointedly turning down meet ups? Just to be clear, I love both sets of parents and they are a part of our son’s life. I just need help dealing with the drama my parents keep creating. 0203-19


How Not to Care When People Don’t Like You

Once again I wake up on a Sunday morning to discover that *all* of my friends from a particular social group has been having a great time at a party on Saturday night that I have been left out of. Now, I know that I can’t expect to be invited to every party. I don’t invite everyone to everything I ever put on. HOWEVER if I am organising something big I will ensure that I am inviting the whole social group. I would hate to have anyone feel as left out as I was feeling last weekend. So I don’t expect an invite, and it would be rude for me to ask why I was excluded, but was the host also rude to exclude me? How does the etiquette balance itself here? It was a big party, and from the photos that I could see it included people who are in the social group but are slightly on the outside of it, those who are friends but not always invited to things. My non-invitation felt like a very deliberate snub. I was always taught that if I couldn’t invite everyone from a social group then I should either change plans to fit a larger group or invite fewer people. It’s pretty tempting to retaliate with my own snub, but I will be following my policy of “be the bigger person”. I will, however, be reevaluating this particular friendship. I realise that as an adult I should have moved away from these feelings of being left out by now – it all feels so very high school. For now though I have deleted my social media. At least if it happens again I won’t know about it. 0109-19

I recently read an interesting article on the subject of being rejected by friends. To summarize:

1.Certain persons simply will not like you not matter what you do, and no matter how likable you think you are, you’re not going to win over every person you meet.

2. Keep in mind that it’s not just normal to be occasionally disliked, but in fact, it’s healthy. Rejection is a way to suss out who’s compatible with whom, and just as getting romantically dumped by someone leaves you open to finding a better suited partner, getting axed from a social group gives you space to find folks that are a little more your speed.

3. It’s empowering not to fear being disliked . Yes! Preach it!

4. For the most part, being disliked is a measure of mutual compatibility. So, it’s not really that it’s not you but them, so much as it’s both you and them.

5. Sometimes, you just don’t offer them enough social capital to be worth their time.

6. While you shouldn’t always blame yourself if someone doesn’t like you, if you’re finding this is a pattern, you may want to take an unbiased look at your own behavior.

7. Tell the haters to suck it. At least, tell them in your head. Grover says that when all else fails, it’s best to embrace having the occasional enemy. “Delight in it. Really, just enjoy it,” he says. After all, as Grover says, sometimes it’s actually better to be formidable.

I suggest reading the whole article…good reading.


Pajamas And Low Rise Jeans

Allow me to vent…
    This past holiday weekend I had the pleasure to stay at a family resort, and the amount of people wearing pajamas in public places was mortifying . The hotel lobby is not your living room. The coffee shop is not your bedroom. It literally takes two seconds to put on pants and shoes and take off that robe.
Rant over…. 1124-18

I’d rather see people in pajamas than wearing their bluejeans so low on the hips that nothing is left to the imagination.


Meddling Busybodies In End Of Friendship

I’ve been unsure about whether to submit this or not, but it has become clear that this is a recurring problem and I would appreciate some advice about how to firmly and politely put a stop to it.

A year ago I moved back home. Prior to that I shared a flat with my best friend for two years. It did not end well. In fact, our relationship disintegrated to the point that I was barely in the apartment for the last six months of the lease and I haven’t really spoken to her since. I don’t want to go into too much detail but there was a lot of bullying and emotional manipulation involved and a long list of very petty grievances that built up to the point that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve really only told two friends details about what has been going on, and mainly because we were chatting when everything was happening and I trust them. When people have asked I have been vague on the details. God knows what my room mate has been telling people but I decided early on not to feed the friend groups appetite for gossip.

Our mutual friends don’t really understand what’s going on and one in particular keeps asking me when I’m going to talk to roomie again and last week, at a party and in front of a few people, said “I figured once all the dust settled you’d go back to being friends”. I understand that she comes from a good place and means well but I’d love some advice on how to shut this down. I find it super awkward and keep fumbling for an answer. It was a close friendship, I’m sad it ended, perhaps in the future we could be friends again but right now that won’t be happening. I thought answering my friend the first time would be the end of it, but I keep being ambushed. How do I get her to stop without having to detail why I’m not interested in a friendship with my former roomie right now? 1124-18

As I’ve gotten older, my tolerance for busybodies has waned. I’m more likely to tell people who should know better that they need to mind their own business. When people will not accept polite deflections of their nosy, rude and presumptuous comments, it’s time to get firm and you do that by stating one of several options:

“This issue is between and ‘ex-friend’, it is none of your business and I would appreciate it if you would stop asking me.”

“That’s an interesting assumption…”, followed with silence.

I’m sure readers can devise even more options. The key is to deliver such statements with a cool calmness. No crying, no drama, no shrieking, no twinge of nastiness to your tone of voice. Just a dead calm poker face that means business.