• Resolving Problems

Our friends became cold after we introduced them to our community

Published: January 21, 2017 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
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A woman searches for explanations for another couple’s cold behavior.

QUESTION

Hi,

I’m so happy I found this blog. Here is my concern. My husband and I recently built a second home and what I thought were good friends were curious and asked if they could join us the next time we went to visit to see how things were shaping up. We were happy to oblige.

They very much liked our choice and asked if we would mind if they purchased a home nearby. I thought it a bit nervy but we didn’t know how best to respond and obviously they don’t need our permission to buy the home they like.

We found out not long after that they bought a lot four doors down from us and built the same home we did. My reasoning was that okay, someone is going to buy that lot and pretty much all the homes are the same so no big deal. Further, it’s good that we now know someone who might keep an eye on things for us.

Here is a bit of background … our husbands worked together. Her two boys are in prison for murder and we know this. I would NEVER in a million years tell anyone because I wouldn’t want to hurt her. I truly believe that bad things happen to good people. That’s what I thought happened to them.

They have since moved in full-time to the development where we have our second home. We are still there part- time right now. Two weeks ago we met as neighbors and they were cool and distant – not the people I thought I knew. Along with that, the woman seems to have sunk her teeth into most of the other women – excluding me. She bragged about having made two best friends two days after moving in. I have to wonder if her best friends know what I do. She belongs to a group of women who walk every morning and never has as much as extended an invitation to me; it’s the same with her group of women who go to yoga together.

I’m sure this couple is being distant because they are afraid we would “out” them, which we would never in a million years do. I think maybe it’s up to them to have that discussion if they are concerned but treating us like outcasts when we introduced them to this new community isn’t right. I am truly hurt and disappointed.

This couple has been to our full time home many times. We have showed them around, and introduced them to our friends who have introduced them to their friends. I sort of expected they would do the same and/or at least be gracious. I never in a million years expected them to be so cold and unfriendly and not sure what to do.

I know I am using the word they a lot but this applies to the husband too … my husband also said he was a bit “off.”

Signed, Meryl

ANSWER

Hi Meryl,

What a rotten situation. I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you. It’s tough to be estranged from friends, especially ones who live only a few doors down from you. Like you, I have a hard time understanding this couple’s motivations or sudden change in behavior.

If the sons’ imprisonment were the problem, it seems like the couple would have greater cause to worry you would spill their secrets now than if you had remained friends. I’m glad that you would never consider “outing” them, whatever the circumstances.

Living in this community full-time does give your friend a decided edge in making new friends. It’s unfortunate she hasn’t chosen to include you in group outings, etc. or even apologized for not doing so. You haven’t mentioned whether she has made any efforts to engage with you or with you and your husband without other neighbors.

If you want to resurrect a friendship either with the woman or the couple, my suggestion would be to reach out to her and ask her if you’ve done anything to offend her. If she isn’t willing to open up, you have no choice but to back off, be cordial and treat her as a distant acquaintance rather than a friend. When people are dealing with a family tragedy, they may behave differently and back off from close friendships. This doesn’t excuse ungracious behavior but may suggest one explanation.

Hope this is helpful.

Best, Irene


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Category: RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (12)

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  1. Meryl says:

    I neglected to mention that when we met for the first time as neighbors that she pulled me aside & said something to the effect that being around democrats isn’t good for her energy; you see she knew that I was a strong Hillary supporter and she and her husband strong Trump supporters. Perhaps they are using that as an excuse to be distant? I don’t know. I don’t choose my friend based on their political affiliation.

    • Sandra says:

      Ahhhh. Suddenly, this is making more sense, Meryl. Alas, I am slightly ashamed to admit that — as a Hillary supporter — I have distanced myself from Republican friends. Even a while before the election, I realized that my values, my lifestyle, and everything I believe in are painfully out of sync with the majority of Conservatives. Unless we have a work life in common, or I have to work with Trump supporters, I am simply avoiding them. This helps my peace of mind. I simply don’t feel comfortable with them, nor do I feel that I can speak freely about my politics and values without feeling “judged” by them — and many have outright bashed me on Facebook. Who wants to hang with people like that?

      In the past, I never got this upset over politics — but this election was different. Long and short: Friendship should be a joy, with shared interest and values, in my view.

      Sadly, your friends are coming from the opposite view — but the divide is the same. This is happening all over the country. Our new president is not doing much to “unify” for us, and is, in fact, fanning the flames of separation. So very sad.

  2. Meryl says:

    I forgot to mention that when we did meet with them for the first time as “neighbors” she pulled me to the side and said “my energy is not good around democrats”. She knew I voted for Hillary & I know they were big Trump supporters – maybe they are using this as a pathetic excuse to be distant? I don’t know? I am at a loss…..; I don’t pick my friends based on their political views.

    • Lee says:

      I will be honest, I voted for Hilary and if someone told me they voted for Trump, I probably would question their judgement and character. Trump is someone who I oppose in every way. It goes beyond politics, I consider it a human rights issue.

      That being said, in my 45 years on the planet, I am seeing that most people have issues. Even though it is painful to experience, things can change for the better. All you can do in this world is live by your own code of values. Being kind, not gossiping, not lying, etc.

      If someone starts being distant (it has happened to me so many times), I would say you triggered something in the other person. I am hesitant to ever ask if something is wrong mostly because if someone is being that distant, they have made it clear they don’t want to be friends. It takes an emotionally healthy person to discuss something that is bothering them. Most people are childish and emotionally stunted. They have no point of reference to become mature adults.

      If you find friends who are authentic and accepting- that is rare and amazing! Honestly, majority of people are insecure and have issues, it is not you. It’s them.

    • Lola says:

      I think blaming the situation on political views is convenient but it might not be the reason they are avoiding you. I would simply ask. What do you have to lose?

  3. Lola says:

    Is it just me or does it seem like people are just rotten these days? With all the competition, bullying and cattiness, I can barely stand to read these posts. After reading this, all I can say is why? Why move to this place and then exclude the people that brought you here? I’d love to see the “good side” of people but none of these situations even make sense. I’m not sure counselors can even come up with good solutions since there is no “normal” that applies these days. Sorry for the rant.

  4. Lisa says:

    Meryl, I am sorry you are being treated this way. I would ask this supposed friend if you have done anything to upset her. I would also make it a point to wave and say hi to the neighbors as you see them, this will show them you are a welcoming person. It sounds like this so-called friend has bad mouthed you to the neighbors so they will not approach you because you know her dark secret about her sons. This is one way she can be sure you won’t tell her secret to others. Sad how people can change so quickly. Don’t let this destroy your happiness. Best to you.

  5. Laura says:

    These situations are always uncomfortable for sure. Irene offers some great suggestions. If she’s an important friend to you (and think about that-is she?) and you want to engage in a friendship with her and feel it’s worth talking to her to get some input as to why she’s become distant-I would definitely talk to her.
    I find the idea that she’s not including you bc of her sons’ past ridiculous: she knows you know and if it really bothered her, why would she move there in the first place?
    I think you should talk to her to “feel her out”; maybe she sees you as very accomplished and confident and this is her (unfortunate) way of showing you how capable she is. Underlying this behaviour to me is her insecurity. Talk to her, so she knows that you have feelings too, and see how she reacts; it will be very telling what her response will be. After the conversation, you’ll know better which direction to go.
    The next time you’re at this house, as another suggestion, maybe have an “open house” and invite the ladies and their hubbys over. If the invites aren’t reciprocated over time, well, maybe then you focus on the friends you have at your regular house, and invite them up for the weekend.
    Insecure people tend to alienate, not unite-you sound like a person who’ll take the higher ground-do what’s right for you, and stand by your own personal beliefs and well-being! Do you really need bad karma in your life? Good luck and God Bless.

  6. Sandy says:

    I felt my blood pressure rise as I read this. What an awful, unfair situation, and I can’t blame you for feeling hurt and angry and confused by this couple’s insensitive/weird behavior. It seems to unfair, and so cruel, in fact, that it really makes me wonder what kind of folks they really are at the core. They must have been fooling you all along — because good, kind folks don’t treat their friends this way.

    All I can guess is that there are several things going on here. Deep down, they have to realize that YOU introduced them to this place to begin with, and they initially followed you there. Perhaps that bothers them, or embarrasses them, along with the fact that they are hiding family secrets and are afraid you will “out” them.

    To put a nicer spin on it, it’s possible they were looking for a fresh start in this new community. That said, if that is what they wanted, they should have chosen a totally different new community — and not the one where you purchased a home.

    Irene has some good suggestions, of course, on getting to the bottom of this problem — if you really want to resume this friendship. If it were me, I would do a lot of soul-searching to find out if I still wanted to keep insensitive friends like THAT in my life. Your friends have a lot of explaining to do, in my view, and even then, too much damage has been done.

    If they really had wanted to distance themselves from you and your husband all along, why in the world would they have made this move to your part-time community? Weird.

    • Meryl says:

      HA!! So yesterday I sent her and our neighbors a picture of the snow; she texted back that she was going kayaking with our neighbors and then to lunch and added “What a life”! I cannot figure this chick out.

  7. Irene (the other one) says:

    We were in a similar situation with some friends of ours, who moved to our holiday village some years before we retired – we’ve now moved to the same place permanently. In this case nobody was in prison, but one of their daughters suffered very badly with mental problems (delusional at times), and spent some years in a mental hospital. A granddaughter also went down with a psychotic mental disorder. They felt responsible for taking the time helping these two since the rest of the family were in full time work.

    Naturally, this put a great strain on their emotional capacity, and although we did say – please let us know if we can help – we kept out of their way, so to speak, by not putting any demands on their free time.

    However, all these problems are now resolved, but while we see a lot of the husband, the wife does not want to socialise with us. I think possibly because she feels she has little to contribute to a conversation that often focuses on things like world politics, financial and governmental legislations and other high jinks!. All she can speak about is child care (nothing wrong with that) and being at home Mom.

    To me that limiteds the conversation a bit, but I try to show an interest. The problem is actually us – or me. She can’t get her head round the things that interest us, so instead of widening her horizon she prefers not to meet with us. I think also she felt rather embarrassed about her own family’s mental problems. We were sympathetic (at least I think we were), but I think there’s still some stigma attached to it, like it is towards people who’s family end up in prison.

    Meryl – your friends may be afraid the conversation will be entirely around their boys when they meet with you, thereby reminding them again and again of a great pain occupying their lives. They may want to be around people who know nothing about them, giving their hearts and minds a rest, in order to cope with the pain.

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