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What do you think about this friendship between two girls (year 6), and our families?

(72 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 19:44:25

I'd like a bit of perspective on this friendship please.

A bit of background: DD's best friend at school is X. The girls are very similar, are part of the same group of friends at school, and enjoy many of the same interests. They have been best friends for about 4 years.

I have become close friends with X's parents, who moved to this city for work a few years back. The Mum is the breadwinner, and the Dad is the stay-at-home parent.

The Dad is very clear that he does not want X to have a single best friend (thinks it is much better to be part of a group), and very actively pursues contact for X with other girls. He constantly makes social arrangements for X - sometimes with my dd, but more often with other girls (possibly because I usually initiate social time between DD and X, so presumably he makes an effort with other girls to ensure a balance). Because of this, X's family do not often reciprocate our invitations, but it becomes tricky to explain to dd why A/B/C are seen leaving school with X, when dd is seldom invited to X's home. This has been especially noticeable for the last few months - after X's father saw dd and X walking out to the playground holding hands. He told me he disapproved, and intended to speak to X about it.

Part 2 of the quandary: X's parents and I have socialised together a reasonable amount. They also have been good to me, and I am good to them. We help each other out with logistics and arrangements. The Dad will sometimes drop dd at home if I am stuck in a meeting, etc. I have also had their girls over to our house if they need help with coverage.

We often chat about our lives - what we've done, what is going on at school, weekend plans, etc. But X's father is often not quite truthful. Examples:
1. We were invited to the same party recently. I arrived right on time, and X's family were already there. I said something like ' I'm glad to see I'm not the first to arrive. Have you been here long?' He mumbled something about having just arrived, but it emerged later (from X to dd) that they had actually been at the host's home for several hours. Why would it matter, and why in the world would he fib?

2. We have other mutual (casual) friends that we both see infrequently. We were chatting a few days ago, and their name came up. I asked if he had seen or spoken to them. He said he hadn't. DD got in the car and said X told her the other family went to X's for a BBQ last week. Again, why would it matter and why would he fib? Why wouldn't he just say so?

There are lots of similar examples. Sometimes they act like fabulous close friends, and other times I am tripped up by these completely unnecessary fibs.

What do you think? <sorry for the long post>

DiscoDonkey Sun 26-May-13 19:49:01

IMO opinion I would adopt the same strategies with them as they do you (apart from telling fibs obviously!). Stay friendly, enjoy the occasional get together but perhaps cut back on how much you invite their dd over and help your dd explore other friendships.

ZZZenagain Sun 26-May-13 19:49:17

could you speak to the mum?

Ruprekt Sun 26-May-13 19:50:27

I think he didn't want to hurt your feelings with the fibs so

A). He said he had just arrived but had been invited to go earlier. You were not asked to go earlier so he didn't want to hurt your feelings

B) you weren't invited to the bbq and maybe he didnt want to hurt your feelings about it.

Also, wrt your dd and her friend, I agree in having a wide circle of friends and between you both, I think you have a good balance. Shame about your dd not going to her friend's house, but I am not sure what you can do.

People are strange. Continue to be friendly but accept that for whatever reason he doesnt want to be so close

LadyVJJ Sun 26-May-13 19:51:12

Hi Earlybird, will the girls be going to the same school next year? You may find that your DD will have other friends and you may have less contact with the family?

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 26-May-13 19:52:29

The dad sounds very strange and controlling. It natural for kids to have best friends.

I don't think you can trust this family to be close friends of yours. They are obviously invested in having friendships with others, which is fine and clearly fine with you - but for some reason want to minimise this fact to you confused Bizarre.

Arms length. Allow your dd her time with her friend but maintain a bit of distance otherwise I reckon.

moleavenger Sun 26-May-13 19:59:31

It sounds to me like X's family are competitive, and X is the victim of this competition. I saw a similar situation at the school gate. Two DDs, best friends since Year 1 at (comprehensive) primary school. One of the DD's parents were more aspirational (and wealthier) and wanted to send their child to a private school. DD told other DD she was leaving school and going to a different school but still wanted to be best friends. Other DD went home and told her parents. Her parents told her the other DD thought she was better than her and that she should make other friends - basically set up OTHER friendships for this girl, leaving the original DD alone in the playground, excluded from groups etc.

At the route of this is parental competition, social climbing etc... Agree with the above poster, you need to pursue the same strategy as the other family and protect your daughter in the process

SgtTJCalhoun Sun 26-May-13 20:02:08

Sounds like Dad needs a job or at least an outside interest that removes him from being the obsessive Puppet Master of his 10/11 year old dd's friendships!

What a weirdo. I'd cool off the friendship I think, that kind of thing, leaving your dd out would really piss me off. In fact I may well feel driven to arrange play dates where WE all pranced out of school together leaving him and his dd behind.

springymater Sun 26-May-13 20:03:07

Are you single OP?

Mumsyblouse Sun 26-May-13 20:03:16

I agree with Lemon- arms length. He sounds odd and if that family are actively not encouraging the friendship, then perhaps best that you also keep it as friends, but one of many. All of his 'lies' are just social lies which may have perfectly good intentions but you don't really need to be good friends with people who you just don't gel with- his actions over them holding hands is just bizarre.

One family at my dd's school (dd1) don't really like me, I don't know why, and have actively discouraged our dd's from being friends, inviting lots of other children over, even though my dd and theirs have always got on well. I think they are now regretting it- we have got to know each other over the years and it would have been nice for them to hang out- but slightly defensive people who overmanage their children's friendships are best avoided.

sjuperyoni Sun 26-May-13 20:07:50

At that age most girls really need/want one close friend it's very strange and a bit sad he's discouraging this sad he's not nor has never been a pre teen girl he really ought to back off and let his dd control who she is friends with.

<within reason obviously not inviting smoking motor bike riding teens in wink >

Callofthefishwife Sun 26-May-13 20:12:10

Are they moving to high school in September or are they in middle school and have another couple of years there??

I wonder if the Dad is increasing the distance in order to prepare his DD for the move to high school and prepare her for the shift in friendship groups that will inevitably happen.

He does sound odd and controlling though.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 20:18:29

Thanks for feedback.

I think you are right that he doesn't want to hurt my feelings, but when I find out about the fibs it makes an issue where there didn't need to be one! I honestly don't mind, but what i mind is the fact that he isn't truthful.

He does this sort of thing regularly - with the most blatant being the vague non-commital answer when we chatted about winter half term plans. Turns out his family went skiing with good mutual friends. Did he think I wouldn't hear about it? It was a ridiculous fib, and completely unnecessary.

I like his wife very much, and the two of us have periodically gone out for a meal. But he is definitely in charge of their social calendar. I'm not sure she would be much help.

i agree with LemonPeculiarJones (great name!) that he is very controlling, and think part of why he stays close (if i'm honest) is that I am a good source of information and contacts for him (I introduced him to the party/bbq families used in my examples above).

He always complains about being 'out of the loop' wrt school/social events, and often calls me to chat about what is going on. I think he enjoys our company, but is pumping for information.

One last example: the girls had a half day of school about a week ago. I asked a few days in advance if he wanted to meet us for lunch that day. He declined saying he wanted time alone with X. Dd and I went on to lunch on our own. He texted me 3 times during lunch asking what we were doing, where we were, etc. Then an hour later, wanted to know if we could get together. I got the distinct impression that he wanted to keep his options open (his 'wider circle for X strategy), and then when he couldn't make alternative arrangements, wanted to spend time with us.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 20:25:23

callofthefishwife - the girls have a few more years together at school, so no change is imminent.

springymater - yes, i'm a single parent. Why do you ask? And before you think that is an issue, his wife and I are friends and she certainly is not threatened by me. For a start, I am the world's most un-flirty single person. Also, she sometimes will call and invite us to join them for a meal (New Year's Eve, for instance). That doesn't figure into it at all.

butterflymeadow Sun 26-May-13 20:27:17

Sorry, only just scanned this, but you were out for lunch with your dd, he knew this, and he texted you three times? Is it just me or is this overstepping social boundaries? I would find that intrusive.

butterflymeadow Sun 26-May-13 20:29:02

In fact, I would be distinctly uncomfortable with his behaviour full stop.

GW297 Sun 26-May-13 20:38:32

There is no reason why he couldn't invite your daughter to their house as well as the other girls. This would help your daughter widen her social circle too and they could all form a close friendship group together which is preferable for both girls. I would remain friends with the wife but avoid contacting the dad as much as you have been. He doesn't sound like a good friend to you.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 21:03:43

You all may be right that it is time to take a step back - support dd's friendship with X but cool off the family friendship. But it is a shame as i enjoy this family (when they're not being weird), and the girls adore each other, and are happy in each others' company.

As nice as he/they can be, there are many other examples of feeling unsettled by the mixed messages - sometimes fun/thoughtful/inclusive, and other times calculating, controlling, and evasive. I think he is a man with an AGENDA, rather than a friend.

springymater Sun 26-May-13 22:54:50

He definitely has an agenda, and not just a social agenda. I'm wondering if you are being naive about having a close friendship with a married couple. ime of being single for a few thousand years, it is extremely rare for a couple to want a lone woman socialising with them; and it is also usual for a lot of the husbands to either not understand the point of me, a single woman; or to have designs on me - along the lines of, she must be gagging for a shag <too tiresome to even think of an appropriate emoticon>. Being single is a projection minefield ime.

You don't have to be flirty for someone to fancy you; or to not get the point of you; or to wonder if you must be hanging around, inviting him for coffee etc, because you fancy him and he's wondering whether he's flattered or horrified or would actually like to somehow sneak in the shag you might be hoping for from him.

springymater Sun 26-May-13 23:00:43

(those are the more tame ideas btw)

lougle Sun 26-May-13 23:09:06

I think you sound over invested in this friendship, for your own sake. Who wants to be second fiddle to anyone else who comes along?

Primrose123 Sun 26-May-13 23:09:31

Is there any reason that you know of that he might not want your DD to be too close to his? Have they fallen out at all? Does he think that your DD might not be nice to his? (I'm not saying this is true, just that he may think it.)

ImperialBlether Sun 26-May-13 23:17:27

I think this man has too much time on his hands and needs a full time job with adult company where he just doesn't have the time to wonder who his daughter's friends are and what his daughter's friend's mother is doing when she's out.

Could you talk to his wife about it?

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 23:23:26

Hmm - I am trying to be open minded and consider all suggestions, but he is not interested in me at all (and I am not interested in him). He has a very nice life, is committed to his wife/family, and would be idiotic to jeopardise their family bond. I have never had one iota of an indication in that direction from him - even when wine is being consumed - and neither have I sent one iota of encouragement.

His wife often refers to a dear, single, female friend in their old hometown who spent many holidays with them so i don't think it is unusual for them to have a single female in their lives.

The fact that I am single is a red herring in this situation, imo, and not relevant.

Fwiw <on a tangent>, wives often seem to trust their husbands with me - either I subconsciously transmit integrity and trustworthiness, or they don't see me as someone to be wary of (should i be insulted? wink)

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