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Difficulties in friendship groups

(25 Posts)
BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 11:38:08

I hope I can explain this! Like many people I'm friendly with lots of different people, that I met and built relationships with in different situations. However because I live in a smallish community, and kids are all school age, there's a lot of overlap of friendship 'groups' if you can call them that. We've been trying make an effort to get together for a night out occasionally and different people can make it at different times.

My next door neighbour K is very popular, gets on with everyone, a great friend. She's very close friends with A, who is not quite so popular and in fact gets on a lot of people's nerves. I have known A a long time (longer than most), and I see what people mean but she is basically quite vulnerable and insecure, and has a lot of problems in her life, really more than average. I think her behaviour (which to me, never gets beyond a bit irritating, she's not malicious) all stems from that.

Recently, 2 other friends approached me to ask if next time we go out, K would go if A wasn't invited (I suppose because she's my neighbour?). They want her on her own. I was shocked tbh and sort of spluttered 'you'd have to ask her' but I really wish I'd said 'I don't know, but I won't!'. To me, that's bullying by exclusion and I want no part in it. Plus how can you 'invite' or otherwise to a couple of drinks at the local bar? Different if it was someone's house, although I'd also be uncomfortable if that happened & I knew about it.

Anyone got any pearls of wisdom? My strategy right now is do nothing, say nothing. I now feel slightly uncomfortable around these 2 friends though, which I'm sad about as I previously thought they were really genuine.

Hullygully Wed 15-Jun-11 11:41:10

I have the same problem. My approach has always been to invite everyone to everything and equally to refuse to "keep secrets" from the A person.

This means I prob miss quite a few invites, but I'd rather that than be an ol meany poo <polishes halo>

And I'm not six, so I can't be doing with it anyway.

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 11:46:24

It's good to know I'm not alone, thanks Hully. It IS mean and childish isn't it? FGS, if they want K on her own that badly, arrange a quick coffee or something, not a big communal gathering from which A is v obviously excluded!

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 12:00:59

I'm always excluded from almost everything. It's hurtful and mean, but since no one wants to lose their own social standing no one stands up for me. So I get invited to lots of individual coffee/lunch dates, but no one admits to really being my friend at parties.

I do not know why they do this. It's been 5 years of this type of behaviour, so I just assume it will never change.

Perhaps if A is a nice person, you could tell her tactfully?

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 12:01:52

having said that, I would love to stand up for myself, but I've already been labelled 'crazy'.

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 12:07:50

eandz - I'm sorry, that sounds really hard! What do you mean no-one admits to being your friend - you mean they don't talk to you at parties but will talk to you at coffee? Again, just so mean. sad Don't assume it won't change though, things changed a lot for me after 5 years of living here just because my circumstances changed.

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 12:09:08

x-post - sad again.

Hullygully Wed 15-Jun-11 12:18:26

BadPoet - yes, it's childish and pathetic.

eandz - is this to do with the mad fb stuff and odd R&R (I remember from another thread)?

thisisstupid Wed 15-Jun-11 12:25:58

Mybe you should be honest with A and tell her that people don't like her and ask her to modify her annoying behavoiur i know it sounds harsh but its better than everyone bitching behind her back

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 12:27:59

At parties even if I do sit with a group of women, a select few always ask pointed questions to justify whatever opinion they have of me.

For example One woman often says: "Oh, you're make up looks very pretty today, are those fake eyelashes too".

Another lady who often tells everyone I'm crazy usually asks questions she knows the answers to by using things I've talked about in the past.

An example of this would be to take something trivial like: the time I needed the bank card and my dh accidentally took it to work, so I met him up for lunch to get it. So she would change the context "EandZ is sooo crazy! She stalked her husband at work for his bank card!" and then end by saying "Crazy in a good way!"

yuck sorry, I've just had soo much of this lately.

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 12:29:19

your not you're.

Hullygully Wed 15-Jun-11 12:29:35

maybe she can't help her behaviour, thisisstupid

Hullygully Wed 15-Jun-11 12:30:20

eandz you really new a whole brand new group of friends..

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 12:30:26

HullyGully

yes, this has to do with R&R and a few of their buddies. It's been going on for quite a while. Not meaning to hijack. It's just nicer if everyone is open and honest.

Pandemoniaa Wed 15-Jun-11 12:31:06

It's a difficult one but you are being a kind friend to A in an awkward situation. I agree that it is mean and childish to exclude someone from a communal gathering especially since these might be occurring in places that you can't actually exclude people from. I'm not sure that I would tell A, however, I'm not sure what you could say that wouldn't come across as hurtful in a way that would make her insecurities all the worse.

I have a similar dilemma with an old friend of mine too who, I'm sorry to say, can be a bit of a nightmare at bigger gatherings. She's got a heart of gold and would do anything to help anyone (her insistence on being helpful is part of her problem) but cannot "read" social situations very well and can be exhausting company. She's a great interrupter and will talk across conversations in a way that drives people demented. Especially since she usually interrupting to say something that's completely out of context.

I wish I was a better friend because I want to retain her friendship but in order to sustain it I have had to develop a coping strategy that I'm not entirely proud of. So nowadays if I'm going to an event with a group of people she doesn't know and which involves an activity she doesn't actively participate in I don't tell her about it. Because she can't help being herself and after 28 years of friendship I've had to accept this!

But having said this, I would never condone my friend being deliberately excluded from drinks in the pub, say, with a group of mutual friends. Nor would I want to conspire to leave her out. Also, knowledge of the things that I do with other people won't get back to her in a way that compounds her exclusion. I wish I could be kinder though because it goes against the grain to keep secrets about such innocent things from a friend.

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 15-Jun-11 12:37:41

I think it is definitely mean of these other two women to try and get K out without her friend A, and you should take your lead from non meany poo Hully.

I go out with a group of friends. There is one woman who seriously gets on my tits, I mean REALLY badly. But if I don't feel I have the patience to get on and grin and bear it (sometimes I am just not in the mood) - then I just make an excuse not to go out. It is not for me to dictate to other people who they hang out with.

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 12:47:36

Maybe, thisisstupid, but like hully says, I don't think she can't help it - well not all of it. She has a lot of issues she is working through, and imo a lot that she may have to work through in the future. She is very emotionally fragile. I think that people should show some compassion, quite frankly (most people know her circumstances). And try to note her good points, ironically she is the least bitchy person I know.

eandz - that is bullying too, and I am not sure I would know how to respond either. I feel for you though.

eandz Wed 15-Jun-11 13:00:09

Badpoet

so will you tell A? Are people avoiding her because they think her life is too 'dramatic' for them? Does A have any really close friends, is K her close friend?

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 13:02:46

Lots of x-posts - thanks Pandemoniaa, sounds similar actually. And bibbity, exactly. I'm not perfect, I get irritated too sometimes but then it's up to me to not spend time with whoever or whatever is bothering me.

I think I am a bit shell-shocked - I didn't think these two had it in them which led me to doubt my own reaction, so it's good to have collective reassurance that this is not really on. Ah well.

Thanks all smile

BadPoet Wed 15-Jun-11 13:12:43

eandz - at this point I won't tell her because she hasn't really done anything other than be an extreme version of herself, which currently I don't think she can help. Also, while I am picking up that people find her irritating, this recent request is the only concrete example I have of that iyswim?

I am not sure whether it's her life is too dramatic, I think it's people find her exhausting company - much as Pandemoniaa says.

K is a very close & caring friend to A, and while I don't think of her as a close friend exactly (because our relationship isn't very equal maybe, as I don't confide in her), I do care a great deal about her and I see her a lot, both in groups and individually. K has got her out and about doing lots of activities, I join in with those I can and help out in practical ways (e.g. having her children over for tea, although that's just as much because it's nice to have them).

ImeldaM Wed 15-Jun-11 13:28:07

I agree with Hully, its mean.

I hate that kind of thing, have been 'burned' a couple of times with 'group friendship' and am very wary now, prefer one-to-one. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really hard to get along with & thats why I annoy people/result in being bitched about/backstabbed by so-called friends sad

But I also have several very good close friends who I've been friends with for ages who reassure me that its something about 'them' (the backstabbing bitches so-called friends, that is), not about me. Most of the time I accept that but does get me down sometimes.

molemesseskilledIpom Wed 15-Jun-11 18:40:15

Try not to get involved - it will backfire on you eventually. If they want to act like this then leave them to it. This is playground behaviour.

MizzyFizzy Wed 15-Jun-11 18:58:57

I think this is why I don't 'do' big friendship groups....I always end up stuck in the middle....and usually have to give them all up and look for new one to one friends.

I seem to be incapable of remembering who is friends with who and who doesn't like who...and who was at my house but doesn't want me to tell one particular friend...it drives me nuts in the end - so finish up saying nothing to anyone and moving on to new friendships - as it's safer that way and tbh life is wayyyyy to short for this bickering stuff IMO!

mossip Wed 15-Jun-11 19:19:17

I think this is playground behaviour they should've grown out of years ago. How appalling. Just because somebody has problems, you don't exclude them from social gatherings. When these two get their own problems, because inevitably it happens, where are they going to turn?

I had two immediate family members with cancer over the last few years. One of them died. It was incredibly draining and what got me through was my good friends. I was shunned by a few for being "depressive". All I can say is their time will come where they need support and people won't be there for them.

I would do the right thing by your friend and not be part of this childish rubbish.

queenbathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 19:21:12

I would have probably countered their attitude and stated quite firmly that everyone should be welcome. I've lost friends over this sort of thing and to be honest I don't really have any regrets. Life is so much easier if I don't have to appologise for who I'm friends with!

It would be different if one of them was arranging something and invited people individually, she could leave out who she liked. It would be up to K and A to decide for themselves.

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