Sunday, November 20, 2011

Being Unkind

Being mean to someone is more work than you would think.
It's not something I normally do, so maybe I'm just out of practice.
Here's the story, this summer, Spencer and some of his friends got in trouble. His friend Danny didn't have any consequences for the actions and the mother told me she had encouraged Danny to be a better influence on Spencer, which made me crazy, because he was doing the same things that Spencer was, but he lied to his mom about it.
So this summer, when the mom came up to me and put her arm around me, I said that I couldn't talk to her then. I was still mad that she fell for Danny's BS.
What I discovered through the summer and fall, was that it is kind of nice to not be talking to this mother. She has ADD and talks incessantly. She gossips about all the kids in the high school and she doesn't understand limits. I'm constantly having to say, "You're in my space" when she moves in too close, or "We were in the middle of a conversation" when she walks up and starts talking. So that can get kind of tiring.
The mother of another boy and I had planned to ride to a basketball game together Friday night. I got a message from Danny's mom saying "Can I ride with you to the game?"
We were leaving in about 20 minutes and I had looked forward to spending time with the other mother. I simply ignored the text.
Well, about half an hour into the game, Danny's mom arrived and sat by us.
The other mother isn't as good about setting limits. She had even complained that Danny's mom had ridden with her to most of the soccer games and she tried to leave town early to avoid her, but she couldn't bring herself to say no.
At one point, the other mother and I were talking about her brother who is going to New York for Thanksgiving when Danny's mom jumped in: "Now who was this? What was happening?" Aaargh. See how annoying that is?
So I left without having made eye contact or talking to Danny's mom.
I don't think I can keep it up through the whole basketball season though.
So what should I do? Simply accept the fact that she's going to glom onto us throughout the season and put up with it.
Lay out some boundaries, like "you can ride with us to every other away game but not every time."
Point out that she is very annoying the way she talks constantly and interrupts people?
My running friends said I was being too harsh, but she really doesn't get boundaries unless they are clearly stated.


judi said...

Ugh. I had a "friend" like that in my younger years.
In my opinion, you're not being too harsh. I think you are amazingly good at being honest and frank, without being unkind.
Set your boundaries. Be consistent. Don't take care of her feelings.
(am I being bossy?)

Paulita said...

Oh, no, Judi. I'm afraid that friend might have been me!

Linda said...

I never have the nerve to confront people being the original chicken heart. I usually just go to extremes trying to avoid people. Wish I had some advice. I have a feeling that even confronting this lady wouldn't do any good.

Just Me said...

I admire your ability to state what you want or will or will not do. I don't think that's unkind at all. My queasiness came what felt like going to far into describing her behaviors to her in such a critical sort of name calling way. Who knows where to draw that line on that...I actually think you know best.

Sheila said...

I feel like you have bad feeling towards this person which may be amplifying her bad traits. You could continue trying with extreme honesty and let her know when she is coming into your space and interrupting conversations. But it could be that you're just annoyed with her so it seems worse to you than it really is.

As for the gossiping that's not nice so you could just stop her and say you're not comfortable gossiping about people.

Maybe you could tell her what really happened last summer and let her know that you really resent the fact that she thinks Spence needs her kid to be a good influence on him when in reality she just doesn't have all the info.

As for the driving I think it seems mean and petty to say you can ride with us every other time. I don't really know how to tactfully handle that situation besides making up silly excuses that could get you caught in a lie.

good luck!

Carriescarats said...

As you head to France on your newest adventure I just wanted to say a long-overdue thank you for this blog post. I reread it occasionally when I need a reminder to think about acceptable social boundaries and behaviours with my (unfortunately unmedicated) ADD - which can admittedly still be pretty difficult at times - and how hard it can be for friends and family on the receiving end. This helps me to step back and do a self-check every once in a while as I continue to wade through this journey that is life, family and more. My only regret is that we didn't ever talk frankly about the issues you harbored that year as I had thought we were "actual" friends. I hope your choice in breaking off our relationship resolved some of the stress I felt from you in this post. I've lived and learned since then as well, although, I'll admit, it took a REALLY long time to get over "that day" at the pool! I have always tried to remember telling you I wanted "Danny" to be a "good influence" ...maybe my intentions had been phrased indelicately as I tried to cover up the misadventures our teenage boys asked me not to share...but bygones are bygones - they are both grown up now and I'm sure you are as proud of Spence as I am of "Danny"! I wish you and Earl all the best and hope you find success and happiness in your pursuit of le rêve français! Sincerely, "Danny's" Mom

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