I have a certain friend with whom I’ve grown very close over a relatively short period of time (a little over a year). She is an outgoing person by nature and we spend a lot of time together (we have children the same age).
I have two issues: One, is that she wants to get together too often for my comfort. Sometimes I just want to do my own thing and spend time with my children alone! More and more, I’m making up excuses and thinking up lies to get out of things so I don’t hurt her feelings.
The second issue, and this one really starting to make me resentful, is that she constantly asks me to bring her children to school in the morning. I am perfectly willing to take them once in a while, but not every other day. I rarely ask for anything unless I really need the favor. It’s just who I am, which is why I think this situation is so troubling. Sorry to ramble on! I am wondering how I can deal with this friend?
When a young mom finds a friend to whom she feels close, particularly one with children the same age, it can be a satisfying and mutually rewarding relationship. Although you mention two different issues, both are related. They both require that you set boundaries in this relationship and that you communicate them to your friend.
It is perfectly understandable that her needs and yours wouldn’t mesh perfectly because you’re two different people. When you both feel relaxed, let her know how much you treasure this friendship but that you need and want more alone time with your kids, too. Explain that you hope your relationship is close enough that she’ll feel comfortable if you need turn her down at times and vice versa.
In the next breath, explain you’re happy to take her kids to school when there’s a problem and you know she would do the same for you, but whether it’s walking with them or driving them, you love that special time when you can be alone with your children. That feeling really resonates with me, by the way. Now that my own son is grown, I remember that the time we were seat-belted on the way to school or a sporting event was when we had some of our most meaningful conversations.
This may be difficult for you since you have a hard time asking for things but keep in mind, your friend may be completely oblivious to the fact that she’s making you uncomfortable, or that your needs are different from hers. Please let her know before you build up so much resentment that it seethes out and poisons the relationship. You owe it to yourself, your children, and your friend.
Hope this helps.
My best, Irene
Prior posts on The Friendship Blog about honesty between friends:
Have a friendship question or dilemma? Ask The Friendship Doctor.