Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

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)

bellablot Sun 26-May-13 23:28:24

On the face of it his behaviour seems a little on the strange end of the spectrum.

Does he fancy you maybe and his wife knows it so she doesn't want you both to hang out???

Nout as queer as folk! shock

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 23:30:42

No reason DD and X shouldn't spend lots of time together. They have the sort of friendship you'd hope your child would find at this age. Sometimes they get a bit grumpy/moody with each other, but there has never been any serious unpleasantness or a falling out. They are both 'geeks' - love to read, work hard in school, have vivid imaginations, etc. They are interested in many of the same things, and very content in each others' company.

bellablot Sun 26-May-13 23:33:22

Oops, should have read the last few posts, sorry!!!! Def sounds like he has an agenda, maybe you aren't in tune with it?

seeker Sun 26-May-13 23:34:38

I think he's worried your dd and his are too close. The not liking them holding hands thing would be a warning flag to me. He sound like a loon.

I would just carry on inviting your dd's friend to spend time with her, and let him get on with his social engineering.

Slambang Sun 26-May-13 23:37:11

Hmm - does he think he (and his family) are rather too good for you? Is he using you as a step ladder in his social climbing, only useful as a first step in but not really quite fit for his aspirations for his dd. His behaviour seems more like he thinks you are not quite in his social bracket and that your dd is not quite the right sort of friend for his dd. (Let me guess - the other skiing and barbequing family are slightly grander than you, drive a flashy car and have a lovely big house, right?)

IAmNotAMindReader Sun 26-May-13 23:40:06

I would be wary of him.

His interest in you could be as a stepping stone to get entrenched into this circle of friends, once he feels he is in far enough you may unfortunately find the whole family drop you and your DD at his behest as you will have then out lived you usefulness.

Depending on how single minded a social climber he is you may also then become a threat to his newly found status and there may be attempts to ostracise you and/or your DD from various social events and friendships.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 23:44:15

He and his wife have a definite life path mapped out for their children, and already talk about universities and careers for their dc (not as odd as it sounds as his wife is in recruitment so constantly interviews/assesses CVs).

He is someone who played semi-professional sports in his prime, so I've wondered if his extremely competitive nature is now transferred on to aspirations for their daughters - especially X who is extremely bright, perhaps even 'gifted'.

Simply writing all of this down makes me think he is very calculated about most everything. I think he is happy for X to spend time with dd when it suits him, but he is grooming X for 'big things'. I never stood back to wonder about his motivation - until now.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 23:53:19

IAmNotAMindreader and slambang - I think you may have hit on something. The skiing family are lovely, and 'highly desirable' - both are doctors in private practise and they have the high flying lifestyle afforded by that sort of income. I introduced the two families, and now they often get together without including us (which is fine).

Once we were all together and X's parents commented on how wonderful it would be if X and the doctors' son eventually married (you're right, that does sound loony). Sometimes the oddest things, when said in a reasonable tone, sound almost reasonable!

springymater Sun 26-May-13 23:57:02

A 'dear friend who went on many holidays with them'?? hmm

This all sounds rather jolly hockey sticks/Miss Marple/1930s. Things just aren't like that now. Your innocence, and possibly his wife's innocence too seems absurd tbh. What era are you living in in your head/s?

There's all this head-scratching, finding his behaviour odd and bizarre and unfathomable. You insist, like a school ma'am, that he doesn't fancy you or have any designs on you. But unless he's braindead he will have noticed that you are a woman.

Don't be a fool - just because you insist on being asexual, it doesn't mean he is. We live in a deeply sexualised culture - ignoring or disdaining it doesn't make it go away.

snice Mon 27-May-13 00:04:27

I would guess he is trying to engineer friendships for his daughter with more affluent children-sadly not uncommon in my experience

suburbophobe Mon 27-May-13 00:27:28

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.

"Never make someone a priority for whom you are only an option"

The fibbing and controlling behaviour would put me right off too.

Donnadoon Mon 27-May-13 00:30:07

OP He sounds odd! Perhaps his wife is bisexual? You mentioned another singleton they used to holiday with.

He does sound very manipulative. I think it's probably best just to ignore him as much as possible without being rude; don't waste energy second-guessing him and cut back on socialising with the whole family. You say the DDs are in Year 6 so they are 10/11 - they are getting to the age where they want to be with their friends without mummies and daddies tagging along anyway.

ravenAK Mon 27-May-13 00:51:08

I'm afraid I think you & dd are the 'not ideal, but at least we can take them for granted' fallback friends in this scenario tbh.

The reason he's shifty about parties & holidays with other friends is that he imagines you'll want to muscle in somehow; he's probably merrily bitching about you to them, too, because he sees you as a 'tag-along'. In his eyes, you aren't half of the sort of aspirational couple he wants to link up with - but you are a dependable mate who will do stuff like having their girls over in a childcare emergency.

He's obviously a total prat.

I'd be putting some distance between myself & him, whilst still encouraging dd & X to be friends at school.

FairPhyllis Mon 27-May-13 02:00:27

My guess is that he is using you as a way in to a social circle he thinks is 'desirable', but that you yourself aren't sufficiently grand enough in his opinion for his daughter. So he keeps his options open as you said with the lunch - you'll do in the event there are no other plans. Charming.

Don't know about the fibbing though - maybe he thinks you'll suss out his pushiness if it's obvious they are getting very close with the other families? Maybe he thinks he's competing with you for friendships with the other couples? And trying to push you out?

Personally I would continue to provide opportunities for the girls if they are still good friends but cool off things with him and his wife. And also help your daughter with other opportunities for friendships.

I don't think you being single has anything to do with it, I think he's a user. He calls you and gets info and keeps his plans open only wanting to meet up when nothing better comes along.
He is not your friend I doubt he really likes anyone as his friend, he only hangs with people for what they can do, or give, in the form of social climbing, or in your case, company when things fall through.
He wants his Dd to befriend others he chooses as they have families he can use.
I'd stop the chats, stop the lunches, and just stick to letting the girls be friends and seeing each other.
Next time you catch him in a lie, be really calm and call him on it, whie keeping a smile on your face, then walk off or change the subject, not giving him a chance to try and turn it around onto you, which he will try to do.
He doesn't sound like a very nice person at all.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 27-May-13 06:40:06

Yeah, he doesnt sound very nice and I dont think there's any evidence at all that he fancies the OP. In fact, my reading would be that he is actively trying to distance her and avoid including her in their social engagements, except when it's convenient for him. My read would be that the wife is much keener to be friends with the OP than the husband, and the H considers his family a cut above.

I also dont necessarily think the single people hanging out with couples thing is that odd. DH and I have gone on weekends away/ out for dinner with single friends of both sexes. Is there some law that couples can only hang out with other couples and singles with singles?

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 07:28:57

Hmm, i think it is possible there are more benevolent explanations here, without (i hope) being too naive! The 'not letting on' about various things could well be a misguided attempt not to hurt your feelings. He does invite dd back to x's house sometimes - i agree it would be bad if he never did - but also wants her to have other friends as well. And as you say he does do some favours like dropping dd off.

More controversially, although i know other posters think he is weird for objecting to handholding, i am interested in his reasons why. I know it's very natural to do it, but i suppose he may feel it's sending, totally unintentionally, an excluding message to other dcs - we are so close, we don't want to play with any of you? (i know that's not what x and dd mean, but he may think it comes across as a bit unopen to others. I'm not saying dcs should never hold hands! but just that he may be concerned that x and your dd could be cutting themselves off from others - probably quite unjustifiably concerned, as you've said they're in a group).

So my view would be - yes do definitely encourage your dd to have other friends as well, some out of school activities that x isn't involved with, and so on - in fact that would probably be sensible even if he weren't so vocal about wanting x to branch out herself. As he is, it is even more to be desired! But x sounds a lovely friend to have, your dd is lucky to have found a soulmate!

chipmonkey Mon 27-May-13 08:16:10

I think he sounds weird, the way he reacted to your daughters coming out holding hands and that it was odd of him to tell you he was unhappy with it. He sounds like the sort of guy who uses people for his own ends, rather than actually making friends.

Bonsoir Mon 27-May-13 08:25:02

The father sounds excessively calculating and lacking in social graces. Try to step away - there is nothing to understand other than he only cares about himself.

MummaBubba123 Mon 27-May-13 08:40:46

He sounds odd. Step back and improve on your boundaries (don't respond to texts sent after your invitation has been refused).
Step back just far enough NOT to affect your DD's friendship with X.
You and she deserve more respect fur the information (keeping in the loop) and friendship that you offer.

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 09:03:11

Well, he must have good points, as earlybird likes the family's friendship - maybe as others have said he is lacking in social graces, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is a horrible person.... But i think see his good points (earlybird has mentioned some!) and do as one poster has suggested - enjoy the occasional get together (initiated by them!) and don't expect too much. Definitely put your dd's interests first.
(not sure why i'm feeling the need to leap to his defence, but he does seem to be getting 'morphed' here into something he may not be! Ps i am not him!)

Kione Mon 27-May-13 11:01:13

can the girls decide if they want to spend time together? ie x inviting your DD directly without going through his dad?
He does sound he is using you for contacts...

Earlybird Mon 27-May-13 14:36:03

This thread has given me what I needed - perspective. it has got me thinking how most of the invitations issued by this family are last minute - which either points to the appeal of a spontaneous meet up, or using us as a backup plan if other things fail to materialise. Or a bit of both.

It has also got me thinking about how this Dad words things. For example: instead of asking if I will do him a favour and have X for a few hours, he'll say ' would your dd like to see X this afternoon?' That sort of wording makes it seem as if he is doing us a favour by making X available.

This thread also made me remember about his academic ambitions and competitiveness for X. X and dd are part of a small group of advanced Math students. The Dad arranged last fall for X and another girl (Tiger Mum x 2) to have special extended Math lessons during the school day - excluding dd and 2 or 3 others who arguably should have been included. The Dad never said anything about it to me or the other parents - and we have had extensive conversations about the need for this. When the parents found out the lessons were finally being offered - but only to 2 children - there were complaints. The school backtracked (and admitted mis-handling the situation), and made the lessons available to a group of 5 children.

I had tended to view these various incidents as isolated, and brushed them off. But stepping back and viewing them as a whole, it is clear that i have been naive by not recognising this pattern earlier.

HabbaDabba Mon 27-May-13 15:00:17

The OP being single is, as she has said herself, a red herring. We, through our children, are quite friendly with a divorced dad and a single parent. It's not that big a deal unusual.

As for the comments about the dad, if it was a SAHM would people be making the same observations?

When mine were in primary school I too made an effort to encourage a wider circle of friends. When DD was in Year R she and another did everything together to the exclusion of all other kids. Then one day they had a falling out. It only lasted a week but for that one week DD was in tears because she had no other friends. I was determined thereafter to ensure that DD's happiness didn't rise or fall based on one child. I suspect that this is what the dad is trying to achieve as well.

As for the fibbing, each scenario can be interpreted as him trying to spare your feelings. Given your trying to see something more sinister into why he wants his DD to have a wider circle of friends, do you blame him?

ComtessedeFrouFrou Mon 27-May-13 15:14:17

I think that this guy is an Alpha Mum, only with a Y chromosome. It's interesting that you say that he was a semi professional sports player and is now a SAHD.

We've all met them - formerly busy, high flying mums who now plough all of their energy (and own ambition) into their children or their husband's career. It's just that this Alpha Mum is an Alpha Dad.

Weird and controlling. His poor DD is a pawn in the whole thing. I would support your DD as you suggest and distance yourselves. Perhaps prepare yourself for the fallout when your DD inevitably gets hurt along the way.

Ilikecandy Mon 27-May-13 15:29:31

Am in a similar situation OP.
And although quite naive myself, non flirty etc. it was still quite obvious to me that ds best friend since primary school (when i was a single parent) was always encouraged to mingle with posher families, or at least families who all thought they were posher!
Am now remarried but darn it! We are still not invited to their grand house, or holidays etc... Funny though, although both boys have widened their social circles, are now 15, they are still best friends.
If X isn't as shallow as her dad, their friendship will continue.

A1980 Mon 27-May-13 15:43:59

Weird. I would just let it work itself out. By the time the children hit teens they will not be taken to play dates or told who to be friends with.

terrierist Mon 27-May-13 16:00:43

Next time he asks if your dd would like to see X say 'That's kind of you, I'm sure she'd love to. What time shall I bring her round?'

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Mon 27-May-13 16:16:02

He sounds barking and a right royal pain in the arse. I agree with whoever said he needs a full time job and to let his children have their own lives. Poor kids.

I'd step right away from them as a family and leave the girls to maintain their own friendship. As much as you might have felt they were good company or nice people, I think you are totally being used by them.

If your DD gets (understandably) upset about the invites he extends to other children but not her, I'd just be fairly honest with her and say that he wants his DD to have lots of other friends as well so he chooses who she spends her time with, but that you are happy for her to choose for herself and that she shouldn't let it spoil the friendship she has with x, but to understand that it might be wise to have other friends as well, because x certainly will.

pickledsiblings Mon 27-May-13 19:48:34

OP, I think the reason he 'plays down' his interactions with other parents is because he wants to maintain those friendships exclusively and doesn't want you 'butting in' on them.

He probably feels like he is doing you a favour every time he talks to you. If you like his wife then keep up the friendship with her but distance yourself from him and don't be too subtle about doing so.

I'd be inclined to let him know that you are on to him and that you are no longer willing to be used- but this I would be subtle about. We have this saying in Ireland, 'a joke with a jag' - it's where you say something 'funny' that is an unpalatable truth e.g. 'oh, so we'll be seeing you at lunch Bob, unless you get a better offer before then eh, ha ha ha.' Drop a few of those in and he'll soon realise that he has pushed you too far.

You sound really nice btw and I'm sure that your DD and X can continue to be good friends in spite of his social interfering engineering.

Springdiva Mon 27-May-13 21:00:24

We were chatting a few days ago, and their name came up. I asked if he had seen or spoken to them
Why would you ask if they had seen or spoken to them? It sounds like you are getting a bit paranoid about his less than friendly behaviour.
I would take a step back and perhaps suggest to DD that she widens her friends circle as she will be going to secondary soon and mixing with lots of new people.

chipmonkey Mon 27-May-13 23:51:51

HabbaDabba, if this was a SAHM or a WOHM we were talking about, I'd say exactly the same thing. We have had similar to this with one of ds1's friend's Mums. who is a WOHM. In the end, I was relieved when her ds stopped hanging out with ds1 because she made a point of inviting a group of boys on a day out and excluding ds1 because she though the other boys were more academically suitable for her ds1. And then she would breezily say to ds1, "Oh the next time the boys are going bowling/paintballing etc, invite yourself along" knowing full well that ds1 was quite shy and wouldn't invite himself anywhere! But ds1 has made better friends now, thankfully!

HabbaDabba Tue 28-May-13 00:01:52

But this isn't 'exactly the same thing' chip. The dad and his wife socialises with the OP so there is no indication of snobbery being involved.

chipmonkey Tue 28-May-13 00:08:22

Yes, but the socialising seems to be a bit selective!

HabbaDabba Tue 28-May-13 00:25:08

The dad wanted his DC to have a wider circle of friends as opposed to wanting his DC to mix with the 'right sort'.

The dad was invited to things that the OP wasn't but there is nothing in the posts to suggest that the OP was excluded because she wasn't the 'right sort' either.

chipmonkey Tue 28-May-13 00:55:19

But, if you want them to have a wider circle of friends.. ( Actually that is odd to me as I like my children's friendships to evolve naturally) then surely you would include ALL the children.
If my boys have a get-together, I invite my son's best friend AND his other friends, not the other friends instead of the best friend. I can't see any reason to leave a child out.
And it does seem that he's using the OP to make contacts, and then once he's made them, he'll only bother with OP if it suits him.
And objecting to two little girls holding hands is strange.

HabbaDabba Tue 28-May-13 01:39:21

Well, like I said upthread, my DD when she was in Reception spent all her time with one friend and when they fell out DD was miserable because she had no other friends. They made up but after that I organised playdates with other girls. Bit pointless to invite her best friend along if this was what I was trying achieve.

As for using the OP for her contact value grin at the Machiavellian tactics of SAHPs whether real or perceived.

The social engineering comment was funny. Organising playdates for a child with no mates is a good thing. Organising playdates for a child with only one mate is the dad being controlling.

MummaBubba123 Tue 28-May-13 07:58:57

DEFINITELY do what Terriorisy said! Loved it and not too 'in your face'!
Next time he calls with a last minute play date offer, definitely do that!

alpinemeadow Tue 28-May-13 08:03:49

I too think the dad may not be as bad as people are assuming. I don't think early bird meant that he invited a,b and c back to x all at the same time and excluded dd from a gathering of all the others. I thought he was inviting each of a, b and c back separately - which seems fair enough, certinly within parameters of normal socialising. He does invite dd, but not very often - annoying but not villainous! If i'm wrong and he was inviting several girls at the same time and not dd, then that's different.
The maths lessons - it may not have been he who asked for it to be just the two girls, but the school who made that decision.
Wrong way of asking if earlybird can look after x - agree it's quite annoying, if you want a favour ask nicely, don't pretend you're doing the other person a favour, but again not villainous.
Handholding - yes maybe overreacting to object on one occasion but as per my earlier post he may have concerns that it is seen as 'excluding' others. Look at it another way and he's saying don't be exclusive, be friendly and open to everyone. Not a bad message!
Totally agree earlybird should put her dd's interests first, and it does sound as though the two girls are lovely friends!

pickledsiblings Tue 28-May-13 09:51:44

HabbaDabba, these girls are not in Reception they are in Y6, it's slightly different. If the girls come out of school holding hands then that suggests to me that they are each others preferred playmate when the Dad isn't around to interfere.

HabbaDabba Tue 28-May-13 09:56:15

Y6? And people are giving the dad grief because he is concerned that after so many years at the school his 11 year old DD has only one close friend??

flumperoo Tue 28-May-13 11:02:42

I'm a single parent and as my daughter was going through primary school and I was making friends with other parents, I definitely had the feeling that married couples preferred friendships with other married couples. So, although being a single parent might not be an issue in terms of the dad fancying you or the mum feeling threatened, it could be the case that they prefer and more actively seek relationships with other couples like themselves.

IN a general way, some people-in-couples will only socialise with other couples. I find it a weird subspecies of mundane behaviour.

Earlybird Tue 28-May-13 13:52:02

To clarify and respond to a few posts:
* the Dad invites A/B/C to play with X individually (not as a group that excludes dd). When our girls get together outside school it is usually (but not always) at my instigation.
* DD has other friends both in school and outside (as does X), but they are each others' clear 'favourite'.
* The exclusive Maths lessons were instigated by X's Dad and TigerMumX2, not by the school. These two parents believe their bright girls have superior ability to the few other 'Maths Geeks' (all seem to score roughly the same on tests as they talk about it amongst themselves)
* I asked the Dad if he had seen the other family because we all are friends and they live near to each other (We live miles away). it was casual chitchat to pass the time, nothing more (besides, why wouldn't he simply say 'yes, we had them over for a BBQ last weekend' - it is not a big thing to me. What is a big thing is that he is deceptive about it - especially as I will hear about it because X will tell dd.).

As far as socialising with couples as a single person: my married friends are happy to include me in their plans a great deal of the time, and I'm thankful for that or I would have a very limited social life as most people 'round here are married! I'm grateful my single status appears not to threaten the women, and that the men are able to resist me (grin). Obviously, there are times when I am not included, and it may sometimes be because people would rather invite couples to a dinner party, etc., but that is understandable and certainly not something i take personally.

Springdiva Tue 28-May-13 19:17:01

Well, he does sound odd then. I'm not sure what makes people lie for now reason. Except it is a bit disrespectful towards the person you lie to. But can't see how you would stop him from doing it.

I remember when my eldest first started school, many of us were 'interested' in how our DCs were doing and tried to make sure our DC was near the top of the class but you mellow with time and in the end just want a happy time for your DC.
Perhaps he has come new to the school environment and is going through the competing thing ie where he wants the 'best' pals for his DD especially as she is 'gifted' and has yet to mellow.

topsyandturvy Tue 28-May-13 20:37:27

I think Dad is obsessed with contriving situations to provide what he thinks is best for his daughter. I think he has too much thinking time on his hands as well.

I dont think it is anything personal against you or your daughter.

What I do think though is that if you you enjoy some kind o friendship with this family you should strengthen your ties with the Mum a bit and give Dad a wider berth?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now