Author Topic: Having problems with my BFF - long.  (Read 2633 times)

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Brisvegasgal

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Having problems with my BFF - long.
« on: September 29, 2013, 10:12:12 PM »
I need to get some help from you all so i can address some problems I'm having with my BFF. Let me start by saying that I do not want to give her the cut direct.

Background - Amy and I have been friends since we were very young and and had periods where our friendship wasn't so close. We generally have been like close cousins (we called each others parents Aunt & Uncle) and Amy now thinks of my parents as substitute grandparents for her son (her parents are both dead). Nearly 3 & a half years ago Amy and her hubby had a miracle baby, John.

Amy is a stay at home mum and everything she does revolves John. Now I was fine with having plans cancelled, them turning up late, rearranging my family's  life (hubby and two sons aged 9 & 13) to suit them when John was a baby. But recently I've felt very unappreciated by Amy and this has come to a head I the last 2 months or so...and this is where I need your help.

Problem one - I will call Amy but she never answers her phone (home or mobile) so I leave a message telling her where I am.  But instead of calling me back at work or on my mobile, she will call my home number when she knows I'm not at home. Then the phone tag starts all over again.

How can I tell her that this annoys me without being rude?

Problem two - Amy sees my Mum about once a week (not odd so please don't focus on this) but recently has been complaining that I never see her or call her anymore. She also complained that she hasn't been invited to our home is ages (true and there are lots of reasonable reasons for this one being that our home is not friendly fora small child).

Can you give me some phrases to tell her to address any issues with me rather than my Mum. Amy does not deal well with confrontation and is hyper sensitive to things she which she then perceives as slights so some gentle words would be much appreciated.

Problem three - The biggest and most delicate problem. I feel like I've lost my best friend because Amy  doesn't let his father (her husband) look after John so she can go out with me. Now I'm not asking to go away - just our for a couple of hours for lunch or even a coffee. We haven't had a conversation without John being there since his birth. Don't forget that John is now 3 & a half and quite rambunctious. I tried addressing this with her before but it didn't help. I'd like to get her to have a girls lunch but don't quite know how to get the message through that John is not invited.

Can you help with the words for this invite too?

Thanks very much!

BarensMom

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 11:12:05 PM »
Amy has the "I'm so busy, because I'm a MOTHER, therefore everything must bow before me and my beloved child" syndrome.  If you try to talk to her about it, she'll get defensive.

Personally, I'd back way, way off and let her call you.

*inviteseller

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2013, 11:26:46 PM »
Her world now revolves around her son and that is all that matters.  She does seem to also have a wicked PA streak..calling your home phone when she knows you are not there (she can say she returned your calls, but she does it in a way so she doesn't have to talk to you) and the kvetching to your mom is just wrong (what is your mom's reaction ?).  I would quit calling her, quit trying to make plans with her, just back off.  It is hard to lose a life long friend, but until she figures out how to cut that umbilical cord, you will have no place in her life unless you are rearranging your life to suit her needs (and it sounds like that is what you have been doing). 
My BFF and her DH tried for years until she had her child and when that boy came out, everything changed..rainbows and unicorns flew out the child's bum and she also did not let her DH watch him because he might cry (I could go on and on about how he rules her life even now at the age of 13).  We no longer have a friendship.  Yes, my DD's will come first as I am a single parent, but I do my best to make some time for the people in my life.  It hurt, especially as she was not real empathetic to my single parent status and I made adult time for us, but I realized I could either keep trying and getting no where or I could let it go.  We still talk occasionally, and I still think the world of her, but our friendship?  Lost.

katycoo

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 11:35:04 PM »
If you're prepared to back right off from the friendship if things don't change, then i'd at least give her the opportunity.

ASK her why she returns your calls at home when she knows you're not there.  TELL her you find it hurtful.  That you feel like she's avoiding talking to you.

TELL her that you're planning a no-children ladies lunch and invite her to come.  Allow her to decline if she simply cannot leave john.  This one has to be up to her to miss out on things.  You possible could try pointing out that she's stopping her husband and John from forming a special bond by doing things together just the two of them.

Foureyesonemouth

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 11:41:26 PM »
Amy does not deal well with confrontation and is hyper sensitive to things she which she then perceives as slights so some gentle words would be much appreciated...The biggest and most delicate problem. I feel like I've lost my best friend
Thanks very much!

I'm sorry this is happening to you. It hurts when long-time friends (even ones that have been lukewarm at times) start growing apart. I pulled the words out above because they jumped out at me.

I think you have lost your best friend. When someone gives 98% to anything, the 2% left over is going to get pretty squished. Unfortunately from what I read in your description, your friendship is in the 2%.

I think with the phone thing, you just need to tell her which number she prefer she call. It may be that she only uses the first number on her phone's address book for you and doesn't take the time to figure it out if it is your cell or home. Or she might have them switched and thinks she is calling your cell phone.

How does your mom feel about all this? Is she sympathetic or is this drama beginning to grate on her? If the visiting with your mom is preplanned, I think I'd drop by and try to see your friend in person. Maybe your mom can watch John while the two of you have a heart to heart.

I've experienced this with a couple of my friends but it's not always because they had children. Sometimes it's over just a change in personality or priorities. I don't want to be anyone's absolute top priority all the time but I do prefer respect and that translates to "Please don't flake on me and then complain and make it sound like my fault."

With me it has come down do I feel that this person adds something to my life that is positive besides a warm history and can I contribute something to theirs?

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2013, 11:58:58 PM »
She is busy with her small child. You are busy with your children too, right? I remember the activities with my children when they were in school took lots of time, and either dh or I had to be chauffeur.
”Amy, I would love to get together, just us no kids, next month. When do you think would be good time for you? If you don't want to leave child, I understand, just let me know when you think you could go out without him.”
Don't justify, argue, defend, debate, or explain. it probably would not go over well. Just repeat you want to get together no kids, if she does not want to do that, then ok, let you know when she can. Whether that is two months our two years is kind of up to her.

Pen^2

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 02:00:05 AM »
If you're prepared to back right off from the friendship if things don't change, then i'd at least give her the opportunity.

ASK her why she returns your calls at home when she knows you're not there.  TELL her you find it hurtful.  That you feel like she's avoiding talking to you.

TELL her that you're planning a no-children ladies lunch and invite her to come.  Allow her to decline if she simply cannot leave john.  This one has to be up to her to miss out on things.  You possible could try pointing out that she's stopping her husband and John from forming a special bond by doing things together just the two of them.

Honestly, it sounds like she has chosen to put her son over her relationships with others. Some people do that, and that's fine. But what's wrong here is that she is now criticising you for the lessening friendship, despite it being due to her making it less and less possible. I think it would be good to at least stop this unfair (and rather passive aggressive) criticism. That alone might solve a few things.

I like this idea: invite her to lots and lots of things, but make it clear that they aren't something she can drag a toddler along to, and then it is her who is declining spending time with you. Make this clear when you speak to/contact her. "Oh, you don't want to come? Aw, that's too bad. We'll miss you. Never mind though, I'm sure you'll want to come along next time." And yes, it is her not wanting to socialise with you. In her mind, she wants to be with her son more than she wants to socialise with you. Don't be nasty, but find neutral ways to make this very clear.

I also like the bolded above. Stop playing phone tag, because it's silly and clearly she is trying to do something here that's quite immature. I'd stop texting her with your location, since that doesn't seem to work--just say outright, "I'm not at home and won't be for ages, so if you'd like to chat please call my mobile." Don't make it a big scary confrontation, but ask her casually when you next get the chance if there's something wrong with her phone that makes her unable to call home phones. When she says "No", then look puzzled and ask why she keeps calling your home phone when you've told her that you aren't home. Do it in a, "Can you help me work this strange puzzle out?" kind of way so she's working with you rather than against you.

When your mother mentions her gripes, respond with, "I wonder why she tells this to you? She won't contact me even when I ask her to call me! She won't go out with me no matter what I invite her to! And she's complaining to you instead of talking to me! I just don't know what's wrong. Anyway, bean dip?" Either your mother will stop passing these things on and stop listening to them because she realises they are groundless, or the message will seep through to your friend.

Put the onus on her. She is deciding not to socialise. She is deciding not to call you to talk. But she's doing things in a very circuitous, passive aggressive way and blaming her choices on you. I suspect that either she secretly wants to socialise more but knows her choices make this not very possible so is doing this to make an excuse for herself, or, maybe there's a bit of a nasty streak in her and she enjoys manipulating you. Either way, make it clear that she is deciding these things. Start asking her why she doesn't want to chat or socialise. When she uses excuses like that she called you and you didn't answer (i.e. she's making it your fault now), respond, "No, you called my house when you knew I wouldn't be at home. So why don't you want to chat? I really miss you etc."

She is depriving her husband and child's father of forming a bond with him, quite possibly, yes. But I wouldn't say anything about this, as it ventures into the unwarranted advice that pregnant women and parents get all the time. They're her parenting decisions and it's rude to challenge them. Accept them or walk away, don't try to change the way she brings up her child, even if it doesn't seem like a particularly great way. If she doesn't want to have anyone else watch her son for an hour, that's her choice. But she shouldn't be blaming the results of her choice on the OP. That's unkind and rude.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 02:53:58 AM »
When leaving messages on her phone, could you tell her "It's 10am now. I'll won't be home until 2pm. So if you call me back before 2pm, do so on my mobile. If you call after 2pm, you can call my home phone."

And if she still calls your home phone before 2pm, you ask her "Friend, what gives? I told you I wouldn't be home until 2pm. So why did you call my home phone?"

As for the issue of her never going out without her son, I fear there's nothing you can do about that. It's like how some people never want to socialise without their SO. If you've tried gently telling her how you feel, but she still refuses to make any changes, there's probably little more you can do.

That said, could you socialise at her house, while her husband minds John in a different room (or in the backyard, etc?) Or does she insist on having her son within arm's length at all times?

bopper

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 09:16:20 AM »
If you want to maintain the relationship, I would not tell her that calling when you are not home hurts you.

What I would do is to coach your mom to either 1) Say "Why are you telling me this? Talk to OP" or 2) Say "That's funny, OP mentioned how she is reaching out to you but can't get you on the phone." or 3) "That's funny, OP mentioned to me how she misses spending time with you.  Why don't you have DH take junior for the night and you guys do something fun? That would jumpstart your friendshiP!'

GreenBird

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 12:27:44 PM »
I discovered that I can set up "call forwarding", and forward my home phone to my mobile phone automatically, so any calls to my home ring on my mobile phone instead.  I can turn it on when I leave, and turn it off when I get home.  For me, it's a free service from the phone company (I'm in the U.S.), and my mobile phone thinks it's just like any other phone call - even caller ID info still shows up.  It's very easy and doesn't cost me anything.  If this is available to you, I'd try it and see how she reacts when you answer the phone when you're not supposed to be home.  If she really just can't seem to dial the right number, she'll be pleasantly surprised to have reached you.  If she's only wanting to leave a message so it's your turn in phone tag, she'll be a little flustered and confused at getting you in person.  It might help to sort out what's going on with her, particularly if her calling pattern changes.

Without call forwarding, you could also pick a time slot and tell her you'll be gone when you know you'll be home and see how she reacts when you answer your home phone.  This is less convenient if she doesn't happen to call during that time slot, and it's not like you can do it all the time, but if it worked once, her reaction might give you some good information. 

Lynn2000

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Re: Having problems with my BFF - long.
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 02:09:58 PM »
Lots of good advice. I especially liked Pen^2's post. I think there is no easy solution to this problem, because Amy is the one putting up barriers to your friendship. It should not be up to you to bend over backwards to accommodate her, to always be the one compromising to meet her requirements.

I think you might be able to try telling her some things without being too confrontational, and see what happens. Keep the tone straightforward, matter-of-fact, breezy, light. Maybe use email or leave a voicemail instead of a real-time interaction. Focus on what you like about her. "Hey Amy, I miss having our girltalk! How about we leave the kids at home and get together at Restaurant sometime? When would be good for you?" If she says she wants to bring her son, be like, "No, let's have a kid-free evening! That will be so much fun. I'm really looking forward to talking with you about XYZ. So when do you think you can make it?" 

I mean, there are times when it's just not possible to get together like you used to. It sounds like Amy could if she wanted to, but obviously I don't know. The thing is, someone who is committed to working at your friendship will put some visible effort into it. It shouldn't always be you saying, "Hey, let's do X," and then she makes excuses until you either drop it or change the event to what she wants.
~Lynn2000