Is she a good mom but a lousy friend?

July 23, 2009 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading

QUESTION

I am glad so that I found this blog! Anyway, here is the deal: I have this friend. We completely hit it off when we first met (she worked with my husband). She got laid off from my husband’s company but we both put effort into our friendship. She got pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl.

Then we met up with a bunch of people at Tahoe for a little getaway. I forgot some stuff (totally my fault) and she brought it back for me. Then I couldn’t get hold of her for two months. I finally got my belongings back and we still hang out (albeit a little less). She and her husband are struggling financially. He quit his good paying job because he hated it (which is understandable) but ever since this has happened, she has put little or no effort into our friendship.

There are so many things one can do with her daughter that are cheap/free. The last few times we hung out to do errands she became abrasive when the subject of money was brought up. Even getting pissy if I don’t take her financial advice.

Over the last few months she has canceled everything I have suggested to do and has not extended an olive branch to me to hang out. She did, however, invite me to her daughter’s first birthday. I really don’t get how she is behaving. It’s like if it isn’t a big event having to do with her kid she isn’t interested. Thoughts anyone?

Signed,
Jacuzzi Girl

ANSWER

Dear Jacuzzi Girl

It sounds like your friend is going through a rough patch financially—and probably emotionally, too. The two often go hand in hand. Put yourself in her shoes: She has a young child, no job, and an unemployed husband. She might really be struggling just to stay afloat.

Give her some slack. Try to understand that she has every reason to be edgy, self-involved, and depressed over her situation. Inviting you to her daughter’s birthday was her way of reciprocating and telling you that you are a friend. But she doesn’t have the energy to socialize and get outside of her situation. If you are thinking about another weeking in Tahoe, you may need to look to someone else as a playmate.

Step back, give her some time, and try again. See if there are concrete ways you can help her (perhaps, with job leads for her husband or babysitting to give the couple a break). When you are together, don’t talk about money unless she brings up the subject.

I don’t know whether she is a good or lousy friend but she is certainly in a lousy situation.

Best,

Irene

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey, there. I just happened to come across your letter, and I couldn’t help but comment because I went through something very similar. It’s a good sign that she invited you to her daughter’s birthday party because it shows that she still thinks of you as a friend. However, if she’s constantly canceling out on you, you may just want to leave her alone for a bit. If she’s a true friend, she’ll realize the good friend she has lost in you and will call you when things get better. If things don’t get better for her and she still won’t hang out with you, hang out with some other Moms. It’s hard losing a friend who’s in the dumps, but there is only so much you can do to try and change her outlook. You shouldn’t always be the one to have to call and arrange things. Good friendships should work both ways. I agree with Irene, though. Her situation sounds lousy. Good luck to you on this!

  2. Colette Verdun says:

    This morning at church I again saw, as I do every Sunday, a grandmother continually fussing with her grandson in his stroller during Mass. I am thinking to myself: how much attention does this child actually want? Is he thinking to himself, “Enough! Give me a moment to myself! Or maybe I’d like to snooze!” Does Grandma never want to rest, or have a moment to herself?

  3. Jacuzzi Girl says:

    Irene,

    Thanks for your insight. I often struggle with the line of giving someone a break vs. not allowing myself to become a doormat. Soooo tricky.

    To be completely honest I just don’t think she sees how she acts outside of her own “bubble.”

    Her husband did get a new job (albeit less money) but since she is home with her daughter (no day care fees) she told me she comes out pretty even (working=paying for daycare).

    Maybe she feels embarassed or something. I just figured as her friend she would need her friends more as she is struggling versus pushing me (and other friends) away. There is one mutual friend who didn’t get invited to the bday party which I am quite baffled by.

    So at what point does one say “okay, that’s enough. You are officially being a jerk and need to re-adjust your behavior?”

    I had to break off a friendship previously as this person thought because she was going through a hard time that it was okay to become her human punching bag.

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