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Friend's​ awkward plan-making behaviour

(64 Posts)
ballofwax Thu 13-Apr-17 13:10:07

I need a reality check and or advice for how to address a long standing issue I'm having with a mum friend of mine. She and her DC live very close to us, and since our DC's were born (quite close in timing) we have seen a lot of each other. My issue is that periodically (it's happened 5 or 6 times in the last couple of years) when she and I make plans to meet up, either after the plans have been set or even as we're approaching our destination (cafe, whatever), she'll announce that another mum is coming along, or ask if it's ok with me if she invited someone else.

In general, these other mums are either mutual friends or acqaintances, and I don't intellectually have a problem with the idea of hanging out with them, but I hate being blindsided like this, feeling like I've made plans under false pretences. I'm relatively introverted, and feel uncomfortable being given so little time and space to make a decision about whether I want to hang out with somebody, especially when her question of whether I'm ok with an unexpected addition doesn't actually feel like a true question and just a formality? Like if I tried to push back and say I didn't want so and so coming for coffee, my reticence would be met with confusion, and I would feel like the person who was making things awkward, when I think this behaviour from her is the height of awkward rudeness?

I've tried fading things out with her and only responding​ to her invitations to get together, never initiating things myself, but we live so close to each other, and there are countless times in any given week when our paths might cross, that truly ghosting on the friendship isn't an option. There was one instance where I tried to push back, and said I'd prefer to keep our meetings one on one, but I definitely wasn't clear enough and my veiled attempt to get her to stop double booking her dates seems to have flown in one ear and out the other.

DH thinks I need to firmly call her out but we really do not have the type of friendship that accommodates that kind of critique. The fact that it keeps happening is making me seriously second guess my feelings and wonder if maybe this isn't as rude as I think it is? AIBU? And if not, how the hell do I respond to this and make it stop happening? Do I have to literally ask after every invitation if she's already planning on inviting someone else? I feel like I'll come off like an arsehole.

LovelyBath77 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:17:57

It sounds like a tricky one. i'd feel the same. I wonder if the next time maybe ask in advance, is anyone else coming? as prefer just to see people 1 to 1. but understand what you mean. If it feels uncomfortable maybe say you find groups awkward and you enjoy her company but not groups at the mo. But see what you mean.

LovelyBath77 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:18:49

Or maybe even if you did initial it then you;d be a bit more in charge of inviting others, or not? I guess it depends how much you like her or want to continue with the friendship.

LovelyBath77 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:19:02

initiate it, I meant.

SenoritaViva Thu 13-Apr-17 13:24:48

I think there's a way of telling her. I could possibly be a bit like your friend and have a more the merrier attitude. I'm not sure it would cross my mind that you might not like it. I'd be mortified to think I was making you uncomfortable though and would rather you gently explained this to me.
I wouldn't call her out as your DH says but just explain how you feel.

WindwardCircle Thu 13-Apr-17 13:27:18

I've seen this issue come on here before, some people don't see the the problem and feel the more the merrier, and some like you (and me) really dislike a sudden extra person being invited along.

I suspect your friend is in the first camp, and can't see anything wrong in what she's doing because it wouldn't bother her if the situation was reversed.

I think the only way to tackle it is total honesty, explain that you're an introvert type and you find suddenly being thrown into a situation where you have to meet a new person when you were expecting a one on one coffee with her very stressful. If she can't understand that you're different to her, and won't modify her behaviour then she's not worth keeping as a friend.

rookiemere Thu 13-Apr-17 13:30:41

You need to be really specific and that's probably a little awkward in itself. But you need to let her know that you enjoy her company but find it a bit overwhelming when there are more people there.
If she is a good friend, then she'll be fine with that, if not then the invites will dry up.

PensPencilsandRulers Thu 13-Apr-17 13:32:08

I have a friend like this. I'm very quiet but she is very warm and friendly and welcoming to everyone. I know she means no malice whatsoever and is just of the opinion that the more the merrier.
At first it made me a bit uncomfortable but it's worked out well because the people she's brought have become good friends of mine as well. And now I will sometimes bring extra people when we meet as well and as a result we have a wider circle of friends, in fact some of my friends and her friends have now become good friends.
I suppose really it depends what sort of person she is. Is she doing this in a warm, friendly, open way? Does she make sure that you and the friend she brings are introduced properly / does she make sure you are both included in all conversations? So for example, would she talk about something/someone that only her and her friend knew about or does she try to steer the conversation to topics of shared interests? I think if you are going to do this, invite extra friends to meet ups, you have to be willing to spend time making sure both friends feel included. Does she do that?

FATEdestiny Thu 13-Apr-17 13:35:50

"Aww I don't feel like going out in a group, so I'm going to cancel. You and [insert name] have a great time! <smiley tone>. Shall we rearrange for next Tuesday, ust me and you? See you 10am in the coffee shop?"

Every time. She will soon her the message.

opinionatedfreak Thu 13-Apr-17 13:36:47

Tell her. She probably doesn't have a clue it upsets you.

I'm afraid, I would probably do the same and not even consider for one second that someone might mind. I love setting up networks of friends and have done so very successfully eg. two people I know well and see socially now have a totally separate friendship to me. We sometimes do stuff as a three but they often do stuff together.

If someone was uncomfortable with this I would really want to know.

minipie Thu 13-Apr-17 13:43:13

As Windward says there are two types of people - more the merrier types and those who prefer to just see the person they've booked to see (I'm the latter).

I think you do have to be a bit blunt and say, next time you make an arranagement: "I'd really like to see just you this time, so please don't invite anyone else! That way we can catch up better" or words to that effect.

And if it works, say the same thing every time you arrange to see her grin hopefully she'll get the message.

If that doesn't work she's a lost cause...

bibbitybobbityyhat Thu 13-Apr-17 13:43:35

I dropped a friend for doing this a few times a few years ago but the person she kept inviting along I had grown to not like very much (although friend A didn't know this, she thought we were a happy threesome). I couldn't be bothered, in all honesty, to say "Look friend A, I don't get on with friend B so well, can we just do something on our own?" I simply decided to leave them to it and faded them both out. I've got many other friends and not lacking for a social life, and I need my friendships to be light and easy (but very definitely not superficial) otherwise I don't bother. Could you adopt the same attitude? When I read about people putting up with angst and drama all the time on Mumsnet, I do wonder why!

CognitiveIllusion Thu 13-Apr-17 13:45:23

I do this! As I have limited time for coffee with friends (what with work, kids, a voluntary role etc) I like to combine different people. I have never thought it is rude at all!

Hissy Thu 13-Apr-17 13:45:33

Call her out? for 5 or six times over the last few years? Your H is bonkers!

you are arranging informal stuff and someone else is tagging along, unless you want to have some kind of deep and meaningful conversation with her about some issue or another, what does it matter if someone comes along ONCE IN A BLUE MOON?

Chloe84 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:47:10

If she's a good friend otherwise, it would be a shame to 'ghost' her and lose her friendship for this reason alone, especially if you know you didn't make your feelings about her blindsiding you with other people clear. I think you need to be very clear about this first. If the friendship doesn't survive the convo, then at least you both will have closure. Much nicer than ghosting.

NurseButtercup Thu 13-Apr-17 13:47:32

I don't understand, if she was inviting complete strangers then yup I'd agree. But she's inviting mutual friends along soooo??

ballofwax Thu 13-Apr-17 13:53:15

Sorry, just to clarify, I really don't have a problem hanging out with new or additional people, it's the last minute change of plans (especially when it often feels like maybe she had made prior plans with those people and is actually trying to shoehorn ME into things). I guess I've always felt like the time for establishing the 'guest list' of a meet up is in the planning stages, even if it's not fixed and you want to leave open the possibility of inviting others (which, again, I do not have a problem with!), not 10 minutes before the scheduled time. But I accept that this is probably just a cultural difference between the two of us.

keeplooking Thu 13-Apr-17 13:55:49

I think I may have the opposite problem. I have a tendency to prefer meeting up with more than one person, because occasionally (no rhyme or reason) I dry up and cannot think of a thing to say, even with good friends. At least if there are other people in the mix, you don't feel the pressure on you to fill any awkward silences.

WizardOfToss Thu 13-Apr-17 13:56:48

I think you need to be honest. She may not have a clue that you are finding it awkward and rude (because lots of people wouldn't), and you haven't been clear. No more veiled attempts and hints, which are only leading to frustration on your part - to the point of considering ghosting the poor woman if you could get away with it.

Deep breath, say what you need to happen and why you're uncomfortable, and if she's a good friend, she'll get it.

StarlingMurderation Thu 13-Apr-17 14:00:54

YANBU. I hate it when people do this to me, and I never do it to other people - I might text and say, 'Shall we invite Louise as well, or do you feel like something more low-key?" or similar, so the other person can say "No" easily if they'd prefer a one-on-one.

coolaschmoola Thu 13-Apr-17 14:01:03

She isn't being rude, but yanbu for not liking it either. You need to tell her that you don't like it.

Obsidian77 Thu 13-Apr-17 14:01:23

You've made the problem worse by trying to fade her out, from this she probably has the impression that you aren't particularly close and have a pretty casual approach to being friends with her.
FateDestiny's answer above is nice, I'd use that next time.

1bighappyfamily Thu 13-Apr-17 14:08:50

I think this is a communications thing - but it's only happened five or six times in a year, given how often you say you see her, I really wouldn't sweat it.

I'm afraid I'm of the camp that wouldn't give this a second thought, although I like to think that if you told me you wanted to keep it one on one, I'd get that too.

TheMysteriousJackelope Thu 13-Apr-17 14:24:46

Explain that you'd like advance warning if she is planning on inviting someone else. I understand that you are looking forward to one type of a meet up and suddenly having to switch to a different sort at the last minute is grating. She isn't a mind reader, unless you explain to her she won't get it.

It isn't that you don't want to meet new people, you just want a day or so to get used to the idea.

It's a nice problem to have. I had a friend who used to just forget to turn up, or cancel while I was halfway through driving 25 miles to where we were going to meet. You'll notice I typed 'I had a friend'.

BlueFolly Thu 13-Apr-17 14:30:51

firmly call her out

confused wtf?! The woman is doing nothing wong!!!

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