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Advice needed for tricky situation please.

(19 Posts)
whatdoyoureckon Fri 19-Aug-05 13:12:30

I have changed my name for this thread as I know a few people here in RL and would rather they had no knowledge of the following.

I would be interested on your views regarding a situation I find myself in almost weekly which I am starting to have reservations about. Hope this post won’t be too long or overcomplicated in explanation.

I got to know about 5 other girls from my ante natal group. It was a very small group and so easy to get to know everyone and form relationships quite quickly. There was one person (X)who naturally stood out as an organiser and seemed very keen to get to know us all; she initiated most of the initial outings and coffee mornings etc.

It’s about 2 years since then and in that time certain conversations and actions from one particular person I shall call X have been flagged up especially in the last 6 months or so. She is seemingly a very assertive, opinionated person who lately I find quite unpleasant. She started off with really singling out one girl for her parenting style and a few personal comments. Starting off most of her tirades with “I really like her but….” I didn’t get too worked up over it as I didn’t really join in and would just brush it off and say “well, we all have our styles and personal foibles..blah blah” That particular person works full time now and doesn’t attend any get-togethers with as much frequency but she still gets a bit of a slating from X. Recently she has been saying things of a racist nature too…precluding with “I’m not racist but…..” She uses the word Paki etc. I have told her that I am not comfortable with her using that language in front of me or my child. She kind of peddled backwards a bit and constantly refers to me as being “so PC” (FFS!)

I have tried to subtley invite another girl over for coffee by her self but a suggestion of the latter always gets the following response. “Oh ok, is everybody else coming too?” which I take as a subtle hint , meaning they would rather it stay that way.

Just as an example last week we went to a huge park and all of the kids were toddling around have fun when a man walked past with a Bull Mastif dog. They all curiously started to follow the man. He stopped and waited for them to catch up so that they could stroke/see the dog up close. The minute my DS got close I leapt up and said under my breathe “mmm I don’t think so” (We have a dog and My ds bashes it around a fair bit and I didn’t think this man’s dog would appreciate similar) The minute I got up X says “Oh FGS it’s ok let them, the owner wouldn't stop unless the dog was ok” I couldn’t believe part of me almost considered sitting down again the instinct took aver and I went over to Ds and sat down to the grass next to him making sure he didn’t startled the dog whilst all the another toddlers had a grab (interestingly 3 of the other mums went to get up too but following X’s comments sat back down again) I’m afraid I just wasn’t prepared to risk that but came back to muttering from X and this made me feel a bit paranoid.

I have tried to limit my contact with the group as it’s starting to feel awkward when she’s there – when she’s not it’s fab in my opinion and very relaxed.

My problem is I really like the other girls and feel I don’t want to stop going and wipe out all the lovely memories and history that we’ve had but equally I feel I can’t continue attending if X is going to be there. It’s getting silly as I am constantly being made to feel like an idiot for my beliefs and ideals by her and her only. I think everyone else is too scared to challenge her or disagree with anything she says.

Part of me just thinks I should cut off contact and not bother with any of it anymore but then I will lose out on having known 3 other really lovely girls. I feel a little resentful that I may have to do this. I must say that X is extremely unapproachable and I have tried to have conversations which may challenge her reactions to certain things and she goes off on one.

Any suggestions?

koalabear Fri 19-Aug-05 13:20:51

i think this is fairly normal for these groups - everyone is thrown together at the beginning and gives each other support - and then as people develop their own parenting styles etc, there tends to be a bit of "drift"

this has happened in our group to

i now attend as i feel it suit us, and not as it doesn't - and i do ignore comments from the "x" s in my own group - i have also explored other avenues, other groups, other classes etc, so that i am broadening my friends rather than restricting myself to one circle only

with a bit more space, and time, this has helped considerably

oh, and i wouldn't try to speak to "x" about her opinions - people have all different views - i would just leave her to hers and not get involved

Hattie05 Fri 19-Aug-05 13:23:32

I think if i were in your shoes, i would continue going (as you say you like all the others and its nice to mix with others who have children the same age). Me being me, i'd be more inclined to stand my ground with my opinions and the way i do things and just thing sod X. She can say and do as she likes and you will be doing the same!

I would also continue to invite others round for individual coffee etc so you get the chance to not have x around. You never know they may all be relieved to meet up without her as well!

tiredemma Fri 19-Aug-05 13:23:41

have you spoken to the other ladies? maybe they all feel the same but wont say anything.

I had a "friend" very similar, eventually i mentioned how i felt about her to another friend within our circle (or "coven" as dp used to call it!), appeared she and other friends felt the same, hence we managed to eventually slowly break off friendship with the bullish one.

dont miss her at all.

hope you find a solution though, she sounds horrible.

CarolinaMoon Fri 19-Aug-05 13:24:47

Um, unless you can find a way to see the other girls without X (e.g. suggesting going to something that you know X won't be able to make because it clashes with something else, if that's not too obvious) - then I would say it probably isn't possible to carry on with it. There's no point if it's getting unpleasant. I think these types of things often have a natural shelf-life anyway - people can change a lot over 2 years.

Do you have other groups you can hang out with instead?

whatdoyoureckon Fri 19-Aug-05 13:28:42

Thanks for that. Yes I do attend other things, we are pretty busy. Like I said there are a couple of girls from the AN group I really do like.

To me it appears that they seem to be afraid of X. As I mentioned I have tried phoning them separately and suggestioning things but how do I do that without seeming quite bitchy. I mean, it will be quite obvious that I am excluding X.

shimmy21 Fri 19-Aug-05 13:36:43

Take the bull by the horns and be honest. If the others say 'aren't we going to invite x?' could you just explain that she makes you feel a bit uncomfortable and you find her difficult to deal with. Although you're happy to see her in the bigger group get togethers, you don't feel she's a particular friend.

btw, happened in my group too. I found x quite difficult but took her with a pinch of salt and assumed the others did too. Wasn't until another group member told me that she'd nearly cut contact with our group because she found x so difficult that I realised that it was such a problem. But we stuck it out and learned to laugh about x's extremes. In fact x moved away eventually but we're all still friends.

whatdoyoureckon Fri 19-Aug-05 13:47:51

bump for people who have finished lunch.

libbyss Fri 19-Aug-05 14:30:11

I would not go to any of the meet-ups for a while and wait for one of the nice girls to contact you. Then I think I would mention that X makes you feel uncomfortable and that you didn't want to make a big fuss of it. That way it doesn't appear that you have been trying to exclude anyone actively.

I'm just a big chicken really.

mumtosomeone Fri 19-Aug-05 14:37:38

I think I would contact one of the others and invite them around.

Blu Fri 19-Aug-05 14:38:26

I suspect that if you practise a range of tactics for standing up to her, you will find that magically the other member sof the group will suport you, agree with you, and her power in the gruop will wane.

Have at your fingertisp a range of phrases like 'Fair enough, you do it your way, 'll do it mine', or 'I can see that works well forn YOU, but I always do THIS' or 'I'm working from insider experience here!' (if she tels you what to do / not to do with your DS.

As for the racist stuff, try 'you may not b being racist, but the problem is that you can see how that kind of comment COULD be racist!' or 'mmm, but if I heard a stranger say that it might come across as racist' - or just challenger her - I think it has more to do with (whatever ) factor, than race, don't you?'

Good luck!

whatdoyoureckon Fri 19-Aug-05 19:11:53

Thanks for that BLu, on this one I think we'll have to differ. I don't think she is nasty in a racist way but I don't like her racist labels and attitudes to some things.

I'm not white(although I would probably be thought of as being Italian or Spanish by most) and my husband is black. I have a mixed race child and out of choice I would rather that he didn't have to hear that kind of nonsence.

I must say it's only part of the problem here and I do think she says stuff which she probably feels is acceptable then back peddles a bit when she realises she's said something which is offensive to me and my family IYSWIM?

Blu Fri 19-Aug-05 19:26:58

WDYR: Actually, I think you are right. I don't know what i was thinking - I couldn't possibley contemplate socialising with someone who used the term 'paki' in front of a child!! (whatever the race of the child, I thnk). Also, she clearly has the sensitivity of an aneasthetised rhino.
I suppose I just felt sorry that you should need to retire from the group as a result of this horrible woman.

Actually, I am surprised that everyone else wants to have anything to do with her.

Since you HAVE told her that that language is unnaccptable, would you feel able to be open with the other members of the group and say you'd love to keep in touch with them, but you are keaving the regular tea group as it stands because of the difference of opinion about such language?

It does sound a horrible, and sad, situation.

Kidstrack2 Fri 19-Aug-05 19:46:33

Try and stand firm with your opinions and beleifs. If a situation again arises like the dog incident explain your what ifs etc and if she doesn't agree then thats her own beleifs and clearly she doesn't listen to other peoples points of view. Let it get a little heated for once and see her reaction, It may be that the others will do the same once you have done it!

whatdoyoureckon Fri 19-Aug-05 20:08:33

Thanks ladies. Yes I think I may try that one. hate the thought of there being an uncomfortable atmosphere but perhaps it's better to try to be a bit more firm and steadfast. See what kind of a reaction it provokes then if it's really bad I could feel abit more justified not attending anymore.

LOL at blu uneasthetised rhino!
This does sound daft BUT she really does have a heart of gold deep down underneith which I think is why I am reluctant to have a good go at her as despite how unsuitable or nasty her actions or words have been I can't help thinking there is a nice person underneith it all.

That said I would still rather not have much to do with her.

meggymoo Sat 20-Aug-05 22:13:23

Message withdrawn

ghost Sat 20-Aug-05 22:28:46

Could you arrange a couple of meet ups for when she is definitely not around. This might tip the balance so that if the others feel like that they feel more relaxed talking about it.

whatdoyoureckon Sat 20-Aug-05 22:38:25

X busts a gut to make sure that she attends everything, only missing a meet up once when she was on holiday.

Some days I just feel like a day at home and can't be bothered but as I say it is exremely rare that she isn't in attendance.

ghost Sat 20-Aug-05 22:48:16

Nightmare - know someone like that - I call her my 'so called' friend. Got round it a bit by arranging things for when she wasnt around, a couple of us then had an opportunity to vent our frustrations. Despite having similar reservations no one really wanted to be messenger or person to rock the status quo. Bit frustrating but amazingly liberating when you get together and bitch - amazing for relieving tension on a hard day!

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