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Should I say something to friend or smile sweetly and let it go? (Long, sorry)

(72 Posts)
quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 13:13:10

Old friend (have posted about her before) who is child free and not very keen on kids, to put it mildly. I had my dd fairly late in life and we had some teething problems with her adjusting to the fact I am a parent: kicking off about my having to cancel things when dd was very sick, making no bones about the fact she can't stand hearing about people's kids etc. We had a bit of a rough time but have come out the other side and generally have a workable compromise: she accommodates the fact I have to put my family first, I have accepted she will probably never play a part in my dds life and keep discussion about my dd to a minimum.

The problem is recently she seems to be channelling some of this previous negativity into lots of very negative remarks about parenthood in general in in her work in particular in a way that I think is about to sabotage her at work. She is working on a project with another woman who has two kids. She feels that this woman is basically not up to the job as a direct result of having kids. Obviously I can't judge this woman's competence, let alone comment on her family set up, but I find this judgemental and occasionally sexist. She says things like how entitled she thinks this woman is because she basically doesn't work weekends, every time she thinks the woman isn't pulling her weight she slips in remarks like "that's what you get for working with mums." Recently she said she had given this woman a dressing down about some perceived failing and said she had told her: "if you are going to do this job for me properly you are going to have to be a bad mother for a while." I was speechless at this: I felt like saying that if my dream employer said this to me I would tell them to piss off on the spot.

It's tricky for me: I don't want to trigger another argument about this topic: it's clearly very sensitive for her, the last few rows we had about it were explosive and very upsetting so I don't want to reawaken an old argument and I want a quiet life. And I doubt she will listen.

On the other hand some of it is downright offensive: I wouldn't sit through that sort of sexist bile from a male colleague so dont see why I should tolerate it from a close (female) friend who calls herself a feminist.

And also I don't think she is doing herself any favours like this: she has a long history of falling out with colleagues and employers because of her lack of tact and I fear this woman is on the point of throwing in the towel on this project (potentially taking financial backers with her) because she is clearly not feeling appreciated by my friend and presumably having to deal with remarks like this isn't helping. It may sound sanctimonious but I genuinely feel that she needs to be told for her own good how much damage she could do to her own business.

Should I tell her that she can't get away with talking like a 1970s police chief and risk another apocalyptic argument, or should I just stay out and let her dig herself further into a hole?

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 14:21:37

Could you frame it differently? Tell her about someone who has got in big trouble for doing what she is doing? Tell in a wide eyed it couldn't possibly have anything to do with her own situation kind of way?

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 14:51:14

Hully yeah I could. I am sure she sort of knows this anyway. It's hard to avoid the feeling that she is trying to get across the idea that she is doing it to needle me because she knows explicit anti-kid rhetoric won't be tolerated.

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 15:05:34

Of course she is.

She is seething with suppressed ISHOOS, they have to come out one way or another.

But if you think she really is saying this stuff to a woman at work (and she may not be), and if you are genuinely concerned she might get in trubs, then that's a way to alert her.

NicknameTaken Mon 01-Jul-13 15:27:41

If she implies that you're a baby bore, why can't you imply (or say straight out) that she's being a work bore? Why do you want to hear her chunter on about work anyway?

Either your friendship is strong enough that you've stuff to talk about except children and work, or else it's not and why bother?

Wylye Mon 01-Jul-13 15:29:50

Maybe you could phrase it in a "It's a good job you're self-employed, comments like that would have you strung up in a normal company!".
That way she can laugh it off if she chooses, but you've made your comment.

Tbh she doesn't sound like much fun tho, I'd cool it off and see if she could be bothered to show some interest in you as a friend rather than as a sounding board for her vicious comments.

Wylye Mon 01-Jul-13 15:30:39

Comment comment comment, must find my thesaurus... blush

MyShoofly Mon 01-Jul-13 15:43:26

she sounds unpleasant, but if you want to keep the friendship than I would tell her maybe you two shouldnt talk about her work anymore as obviously you have differing views on women who have children and wouldn't like to get into another argument about it. agree to disagree so to speak. I'd just say it in a matter of fact manner and be done with it.

if you can...I couldn't personally not say something but I'm adversarial that way

Branleuse Mon 01-Jul-13 15:56:23

she sounds very unpleasant

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 01-Jul-13 16:00:40

Self employed or not, you say this other woman has financial backing which your friend will lose if she walks. Can you approach it from that angle?

And have you tried laughing at her mad opinions?

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 16:02:42

Nickname I am not a baby bore and she knows it -- I only ever talk about my dd from a practical or circumstantial point of view ("I have to pick up dd" is about all she gets.) I have always been punctilious about this.

It seems to have gone beyond this and now seems to be a more or less generalised attack on mothers, and I just worry that she is going to alienate people.

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 16:05:49

you can't do anything quesadilla

I have a friend who pisses people off all the time. If I try and tell her why she cries and accuses me of attacking her.

you have to let them dig their own graves sadly

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 16:07:44

Bear yes I think that's the way to go: they are on the point of finding out whether they have got a big chunk of funding and if this woman walks my friend probably won't be able to raise the cash on her own,

I am just going to point out that she needs to keep her onside.

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 16:09:21

Hully wonder if we know the same person smile

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 16:10:58

No, my friend doesn't have baby ishoos!

EldritchCleavage Mon 01-Jul-13 16:13:22

Don't work so hard to keep the friendship that you end up lying down and letting her walk all over you though.

youvegottabekiddingme Mon 01-Jul-13 16:17:51

Maybe she desperately wants a child but can't and doesn't want to share her feelings about it. so she's behaving like this to cover up her own sadness and despair

NicknameTaken Mon 01-Jul-13 16:48:28

Not saying you are a baby bore at all! I thought I read you as saying that she implied this. Have tangled myself up in pronouns, but not meaning to insult you at all!

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 17:06:56

youvegottobekiddingme this has occurred to me but I think it's more complex than that. I am pretty sure she has never desperately wanted a child as she has had opportunities in the past and passed them up, so to speak.

It is possible that she just feels very isolated though; almost all of our friendship group and all her other close friends have had kids now. She is quite a social animal and thrives on the sorts of group scenarios which are harder to organize when you are single and your friends are coupled and settled,

This is why I want to tread quite carefully and not be a bitch by saying that she doesn't understand what it's like to have children etc. But I don't want to become a punchbag for her angst and tolerate lots of really unsavoury remarks as a result.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 01-Jul-13 17:20:14


I think that if you think she's trying to needle you you need to decide whether its worth calling her on it, or (my preference) decide she's too much hard work. But then I'm surprised she hasn't alienated you yet. Perhaps you are more tolerant than me.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 01-Jul-13 17:36:26

Your friend is a bully with a attitude that could bankrupt her,why bother?

Solari Mon 01-Jul-13 17:54:56

I honestly couldn't remain friends with someone like this.

Not liking kids is one thing, but literally wanting nothing to do with or hear about your DD, ever? That's very extreme, and I wouldn't be able to "feel the love" from someone who would so happily expect me to compartmentalise my daughter out of my life when with her.

It would have been a deal-breaker before we ever got to that compromise. Not judging you at all (sorry, can sound too harsh sometimes), but I couldn't do it.

tobiasfunke Mon 01-Jul-13 18:21:32

I had a friend like this. She was just totally unreasonable when I had a child. Deep down it came down to the fact that she was probably jealous of her friends that had children so went so far the other way to show that being a mother had turned us into awful human beings and only she had made the right decision. She had actively made the decision not to have kids so I think it was like reassuring herself that she done the right thing whilst making her friends feel awful. The unreasonableness and nastiness became unbearable so I quietly dropped her after 20 years.

quesadilla Mon 01-Jul-13 18:37:28

tobias you've basically summarised the way I privately feel but haven't got the guts to express.

foslady Mon 01-Jul-13 19:00:47

I think I would have to let this friendship go, too. I would just say the next time she starts that you are deeply offended by her attitude, and in by keeping up her stance has become the non parent equivalent of baby bore and that you think your friendship needs space. If it means anything to her, she'll be back

persimmon Mon 01-Jul-13 19:06:28

I have a friend with whom I rarely mention my DS; she is childless mainly by being in a relationship with a chronic alcoholic for 10 years.

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