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Huge argument with friend over extremely trivial matter

(63 Posts)
sugarman Tue 06-Jan-15 09:23:39

Good grief, I cannot quite believe what happened today.

Summer here and last day of a week at the beach with another family (total 2 adults and 4 children).

It has been blissful, beautiful spot, fabulous weather and so much fun.

This morning I was in my room packing when my friend burst in and let rip at my son, 7, saying he was very rude and he needed to go with her right away.

I asked what was wrong and she said he had removed the strap from her daughter's body board. I was confused as actually he had loaned his strap and had asked for it back. Turns out he had asked the mother, she had said yes and he had then removed the strap believing he was doing the right thing, but had mistakenly taken the strap from the sibling's board.

I said, "OK well you give him his strap and he'll give you yours," fully believing it to be a minor misunderstanding, the sort your children have over whose turn or whatever.

She stormed off, I spoke to my son and worked out the misunderstanding, then I went to her to explain why he had taken the strap. I tried so hard to be kind and reasonable, but she hit the roof. She said I was being ridiculous, that he had taken her daughter's strap and repeated that he was "very rude" to have taken it back. She was shouting and really lost the plot. She said her dd's strap was missing and it must have been my son who had taken it because "he was up early" and he "needed to tell the truth about where it was".

I am afraid I saw red at this point. I said her dd had lost her strap, my son had been kind to loan his and she was being very unfair to accuse him of taking anything or lying about it.

I also said that a replacement strap would probably cost about $3 and it was really sad to be arguing about something so trivial.

She then ordered her children into the car, came back into the house and said she hoped I was glad for ruining her holiday and that she was leaving and she would not be helping to clean the house.

So I spent the next 1.5hrs cleaning and left feeling shocked, angry and really just bewildered.

I feel as if I don't really know what happened or why, and that she has been completely irrational.

Can anyone tell me whether I have missed something? She was SO so angry, and so sure she was right that I keep wondering what on earth I did wrong. And how anyone could get into such a fury over such a small thing.

In my view the week had gone really well but now I am guessing that she was already upset about something and the strap was in some way her last straw. But genuinely in the dark here.

BarbarianMum Tue 06-Jan-15 09:29:23

Honestly? Based on what you've said she sounds deranged. Does she have form for bottling things up and then blowing? Are you unusually thick-skinned and oblivious? Have their been issues b/w the kids all week?

londonrach Tue 06-Jan-15 09:30:58

Must be a back story, it seems very strange. Maybe she didnt want to clean the cottage at the end and used this as an excuse. How was the rest of the week.

KnackeredMerrily Tue 06-Jan-15 09:34:28

I might get eaten alive for saying this but maybe she was hormonal? She's a friend good enough to go on hol with, it will blow over if you let it.

wowfudge Tue 06-Jan-15 09:34:45

Sounds like a real overreaction. Wait until the dust settles then speak to her and find out what was going on.

In the meantime speak to your kids and try to find out if anything else went on that you weren't aware of perhaps?

CleanLinesSharpEdges Tue 06-Jan-15 09:35:57

Something has got to have been irritating her all week. To just blow up like that over something so trivial is strange. Are your ideas of parenting very different? Are your children 'spirited'?

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 06-Jan-15 09:36:12

How handy that she blew up just before it was time to clean the place!

Seriously though, it sounds like she just lost it and found herself in an argument she probably didn't want to be in either- I sometimes have these with my husband, very rarely, but we are never sure how we got into them as it is over something very trivial but all of a sudden you are shouting and it all matters terribly. The primitive forebrain has taken over...

I wouldn't do anything now, it is trivial, she is in the wrong (so what if there was a muddle over the straps, or even, god forbid, he did take one which would have been dealt with calmly by the parent). Just stay calm as you do really have the moral high-ground.

As to what caused it, who knows? It could have been she was irritated the whole week by your family, it could be something else entirely such as she was going back to a difficult home situation and she just got stressed and blew up.

I would leave it and wait for her to get in touch with you. She owes you a thank you for the cleaning at the very least.

OddFodd Tue 06-Jan-15 09:37:54

There's definitely something else behind it. Or she's barking

HorraceTheOtter Tue 06-Jan-15 09:40:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Vvvoom Tue 06-Jan-15 09:40:54

I'm with knackered and am thinking pmt/menopause depending on her age.

I would concentrate on reassuring your son that he did nothing wrong and explaining that people get irrationally angry sometimes and not to take it on board.

I do remember my best friend shouting at my 2.5 year old for pushing her 1.5 year old on holiday once. It really upset me but I managed to hold my tongue and all was smoothed over. It's just stressful being around other people's kids as well as your own.

FinallyHere Tue 06-Jan-15 09:44:52

Just saying, that i tend to get a bad fit of the end of holiday blues. The first holiday i ever went on with now DH, i was really, really 'orrid to him on the last day while we were packing. Age 35-ish so should have known better.

Now that i know that it descends on me, i can make plans to avoid (have something to look forward to soon) and recognise when it happens and admit to it, rather than acting it out.

That may be all it was for your friend, so an apology might be on its way. I was very embarrassed, and very, very grateful for OH staying good humoured throughout, though afterwards he said he was afraid that was the end for us. Getting tearful thinking about it.

Hope it all works out for you, F.

Hatespiders Tue 06-Jan-15 09:47:44

If someone behaves like this, all you can do is:-

1) Think for a bit to make sure none of it is your (or son's) fault. (in this case it certainly isn't)
2) If not, totally blank it from your mind and refuse to let it upset you in the slightest.
3) Be extremely cool to the antagonist afterwards and do not engage with them.
4) Refrain from puzzling over it afterwards, or re-living it to find an explanation. Shrug it off.

You and your ds have not provoked this ridiculous storm in any way. She is bizarrely crackers and out of order. Do not go on holiday with this nutcase ever again.

sugarman Tue 06-Jan-15 09:50:22

Barbarian Honestly the rest of the week had been great and londonrach I really cannot provide a backstory. I did not see this coming.

We have been away together before, no arguments. The children bet along beautifully, they have had so much fun.

I have noticed she does get anxious especially about packing up, even before we left she was planning the departure. But I just thought well that's her and everyone's different.

My only gripe with her was that she tends to land me with her kids; on our last holiday she got a call to say there had been a flood at her home and she needed to return to sort it out. She went off to get ready to go and the next thing I knew she had gone and left me with her kids. For 2 days! Because she hadn't mentioned leaving them I had assumed she would take them, I suppose because that is what I would do.

But in the end I just decided I felt sorry for her that her house had been flooded and for her children that their mum had taken off, and I just wanted us to have a nice time. So I let it go and on the whole the holiday was a success (which is why we planned another)

This holiday she did make a few attempts to leave me with her children but I was more assertive. Not to suggest I won't look after other people's children, but that I really dislike being manipulated and will only do straightforward agreements.

There was a little more awkwardness on the first holiday when we took the children snorkelling because when we arrived her girls didn't want to snorkel and she was very angry with them. She barely spoke the rest of the day but I didn't broach it because I figured it was between her and her kids.

So yes I have seen her angry and resentful before, I just had no idea this strap thing would blow!

Vvvoom Tue 06-Jan-15 09:52:32

Sounds like the end of an unequal friendship to me.

GoringBit Tue 06-Jan-15 09:54:41

Personally, I'd back off and wait for her apology/olive branch. However anxious or stressed she was, there's no excuse for the way she spoke to you and your DS. Does she have form for dodging the end of holiday cleaning?

Faffyduck Tue 06-Jan-15 10:00:38

She sounds barmy

I think something must have been festering all week or perhaps for a while, even from another holiday perhaps

She blew up then, but she would have blown up even if it was that you offered her a coffee instead of tea iyswim kind of thing - the kettle (her) had simply boiled

Your son was just the opportunity she saw and took

Roussette Tue 06-Jan-15 10:01:17

I agree, this is an unequal friendship. She simmers with resentment over trivial things and you are easygoing, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

To be fair to her, perhaps she just gets anxious but hitting out at friends is not the answer.

crumblebumblebee Tue 06-Jan-15 10:05:14

Something else must have bothered her. Nobody acts like this over something so petty, surely? Is it very out of character for her?

sugarman Tue 06-Jan-15 10:06:13

Gosh thank you all for the kind and reassuring replies, I'm starting to feel better. I was so shocked I phoned my mother but where she is had just had an earthquake and I felt utterly ridiculous for wanting to talk about a strap fight!

Hatespiders thank you for the point by point instructions, I am reading carefully. As my ds said, "well I don't think we'll be holidaying with them again anytime soon."

CleanLines no my children are not spirited. The old one is extremely quiet, the younger one has a loud voice but then so does hers so we're even in that respect.

thenapolean nice post, thank you.

wowfudge I asked the kids what they thought and they said they were glad I had stuck up for ds as he felt very sad about being blamed.

HoggleHoggle Tue 06-Jan-15 10:10:11

I agree this is nothing to do with the flaming strap.

I have the occasional habit of losing my temper with the wrong people at the wrong time because of not speaking up at the right time (iyswim) - but nothing like this scale, so she clearly has anger issues I'd say. This is a very big overreaction and horrible to include a child in it. She owes you and your son an apology.

Leaving you to do the cleaning is just fully out of order, immature and actually quite spiteful. Even within the context of an argument, a grown up should be able to be pissed off with someone yet do the decent thing and share their joint responsibility for something.

I'd be taking a step back from this friendship at the very least.

Poppet1974 Tue 06-Jan-15 10:11:37

Goodness, I'd be looking to find someone else to go on holiday with. I'd be furious if someone shouted at my DS over something so trivial! She sounds like a nightmare to be honest.
I'd let her get in touch, she needs to apologise.

sugarman Tue 06-Jan-15 10:13:32

crumblebumble I have seen her angry with her children and she has told me about disagreements with her ex (he is very difficult) and with her nannies but we have never argued.

pictish Tue 06-Jan-15 10:15:50

Well there you go...she has form for being thoughtless and egocentric.
When I read your OP I thought maybe the pressure of being with another family for a full week had made her pop, and considered maybe something had been irritating her all along.

With what you've said about her sneakily trying to leave her kids with you and you being more assertive about it (good for you btw) I wonder if she was got-the-humpy about that...not that she should have been.

Anyway - her behaviour was outlandish and she owes you an apology.

wyamc Tue 06-Jan-15 10:15:59

I think she was probably stressed by things building up over the week.

It's funny how living with someone else for a week can bring the worst out of you. I would hope she'll apologise to you.

It's a bit like having flat mates I think. We go on holiday with another family and it works really well but you do have to bite your tongue with a lot of things. Our holiday friends will do things like take our towels out of the bathroom and then go and use them on the beach. Or the dad will just pack all the toys and clothes he finds at the end of the holiday without considering who they belong to.

I find myself becoming very protective over my towel, hiding it where they can't possibly find it, because it would be too petty to mention it, but on the other hand, it drives me slightly mad.

Faffyduck Tue 06-Jan-15 10:18:50

You probably never argued because by your own admission you were more assertive this time than previously.

I had a friend like that - took the mick, right up till I was assertive and couldn't have her kids as free childcare to her for a month while she fucked off on holiday to Africa.

All of a sudden she argued with me absolving herself of owing me any favours in returnhmm

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