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I've been having un-Christian thoughts about a friend and could do with some advice.

(12 Posts)
LeoTheLateBloomer Mon 26-Sep-11 13:32:56

My local mum friends are all great, loyal and fun and we tend to do things in groups. However, there is one who I'm finding very difficult to like. I'm going to call her 'Jo'.

Jo is a fairly central character as up until now our group have been meeting at her house every Monday. She's big on organising and this is part of the problem I'm having with her. She's trying to organise me and I find her very pushy. A friend of ours lost her DP at the weekend and I decided to organise a card and present. We've started to share out the Monday meet-ups so we were all at my house today. Jo leaped in and tried to take over organising the card. I stood my ground and said I was happy to deal with it but it made me want to punch her very uncomfortable. I'm not very good at being assertive.

She tries to take over lots of other things as well, or she has ideas before anyone else and begins to take ownership. I don't know if anyone else sees Jo's bossiness as a problem or if it's just me. Backing away from her would be very difficult because we have an arrangement where we look after each other's DD once a week and because of our shared friends.

I'm posting this in here because I could do with some sensitive advice which isn't always forthcoming in 'Chat'. I really don't know what to do. I hate having bad thoughts about her and getting it off my chest to another friend seems very wrong because all our friends are mutual.

Any wise words?

allhailtheaubergine Mon 26-Sep-11 13:40:38

You are right not to want to discuss her with another friend. There's a word for that and it's not a nice one.

You cannot change this woman's behaviour or personality.

All this leaves you with is changing your own reactions to her; both what you think and what you do and say. In your position I would decide to take a two pronged approach:
1. Decide to be more assertive with her. It sounds as though it was successful when you stood your ground about the card, and no dramas ensued. Get into the habit of not letting her take over when it is something you want to do. Invite everyone round to yours for once - she might welcome the break!
2. Decide to let the rest wash over you. It's all you can do really, and it's a better option than seething and getting yourself worked up about it. Enjoy the positives - how nice to let someone else take on all the bother of emailing and phoning and sorting everything out.

PS I am not a Christian.

AMumInScotland Mon 26-Sep-11 14:13:25

Some people will try to organise anyone who comes within range. They don't necessarily mean to be unkind - my gran was a lovely woman but she assumed as a default that everyone else needed her to sort them out. It probably came from being the oldest girl in a big family in her case, so everyone she met got treated as a hopeless little brother!

What you need to do is just be assertive - politely say "No thanks I've got it sorted already" etc. Hopefully once you've done this a few times, she'll realise that you don't need or want her to take over. If it doesn't sink in after a few occasions, you may need to take her to the side and let her know politely that you'd rather she didn't try to take things over.

If she does it in the group why not say "Good idea. Now how are we all going to take it forward?" - that way it should help the group as a whole to take joint ownership rather than letting her take over.

MargotQuaker Mon 26-Sep-11 16:42:32

A very funny novel in which a sub-theme is why one woman is "organising"-- tho not the sort of trial your friend is-- is Libby Purves' Regatta, which is a brilliant read anyway, with interesting sidelights on religion.

LeoTheLateBloomer Tue 27-Sep-11 07:00:21

Thank you for your replies.

I know it's not intentional and I can't change her. I've been thinking a lot about what to do and I've realised I just need to be more assertive and hope that, in time, she backs off as a result.

I feel like she singles me out over the others with trying to take over. This is ironic because she's the only one who knows how much I was bullied and controlled by my ex. I'm going to back away slightly when we meet at her house and try to see her on mutual territory for a while.

Thanks again smile thanks

LeoTheLateBloomer Tue 27-Sep-11 07:04:43

Oops! I meant neutral territory blush

Pandemoniaa Tue 27-Sep-11 11:20:51

I'm not a Christian either but I have been suffering from a similar character and my thoughts haven't always been charitable. As in your case, Leo, this is a woman who needs to organise. If things don't pan out (ideas she has come up with don't turn out to be practical or possible) then huffy little remarks appear on that viperous nest of vipery comments, Facebook. She is also keen on being at the centre of things even when there isn't actually a central role to be played. If necessary, she tries to ensure this by an ever less subtle form of bullying.

After several months of realising I am less and less keen on her, I've come to the conclusion that it is best all round if I remain politely assertive when necessary but otherwise avoid her. She won't be changing any time soon and I don't like the effect her mindgames have on me or others around us.

So your suggestion of seeing your friend on neutral territory is a good one. Also, I'd advise concentrating on other friends so that the effect of the controlling one gets somewhat neutralised.

eaglewings Fri 30-Sep-11 13:16:34

Leo, I have been thinking about your story for a few days but didn't come up with any answer for ages

You have lots of good ideas already and the only one I can really add is prayer and I feel a bit guilty posting this as it's always the last thing I try when annoyed with someone but does seem to work!

Everyday pray Gods blessing on them. Also ask to be able to see them with God's eyes, he loves this lady just as he loves you with a love bigger than we can imagine.

Slowly you may move from a position of being unhappy in their presence to being comfortable. You still may never be best friends, although you are probably a better Christian and me and so it may be possible smile

In the end though we are called to love our neighbour not like them so don't beat yourself up about this. The difficult thing is being in a friendship group together. I am so impressed you came on here to talk it through not gossiped about her

blackeyedsusan Sun 02-Oct-11 17:03:02

hmmm

errrrrrrrrr

i'd probably give in because I am a wimp.

try and meet up with some of the quieter members one to one. maybe a couple of you together could organise something between you. you have then got moral support of each other to resist being taken over. you don't all have to be at meet ups, you can meet in twos or threes trying not to leave anyone out. I would also try to cultivate friendships away from the group as a back up plan.

re your feelings. be honest with God and tell him how you feel and that you wished you didn't. that is better than wanting to feel and actively cultivating feelings of annoyance.

JohnnyRod Sun 09-Oct-11 00:14:08

So how did she take it when you said about the card? You might be worrying too much, she may come across as overbearing but she might be easily pulled up.

LeoTheLateBloomer Sun 09-Oct-11 09:18:46

This thread fell off my "Threads I'm on list" so have only just seen it again!

Thank you for your thoughts. I've done a huge amount of praying on the subject and I've spent less time with her to avoid feeling frustrated, both of which have helped.

We were speaking on the phone a week or so ago and she said she hoped I didn't think she was interferring with the card. I'm sure she wouldn't have mentioned it if I hadn't stood my ground. I just said I felt it was easier to combine card and present rather than do them separately. She seemed to accept that.

I'm definitely feeling better about things. I think it all just got on top of me at a bad moment.

Thank you again for responding smile

gingercurl Mon 10-Oct-11 09:57:10

She might actually be a bit pleased that someone else is taking control. I think sometimes people get in the habit of taking over arrangements because otherwise things end up being talk shops about doing something, but nothing actually happens and the inertia drives some people (like me) around the bend.
If another person(s) start to take control//show initiative as well it might rebalance the distribution of power in the group. Things may seem a bit rocky at first until the "now order" settles, but as long as everything is done up front and with kindness/respect of others, it will probably make the group even stronger, better and closer than it was to start with.

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