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Friend only wants to be my friend when there's nobody else there

(39 Posts)
judyandbunty Mon 16-Apr-12 23:08:35

Hi. I've namechanged as I would prefer not to be identified. I am a MN regular though.

I have been friends with a woman for several years now. I thought we were good close friends. She's been supportive to me several times about various things. However she seems to go in phases with me. Sometimes she is very friendly and we're close and at other times she's off with me. She's mainly off when there is someone else around to talk to whom I assume she perceives to be better company than me. Our DCs are in the same school year at the same school.

Before the school holidays I thought that she was being a bit off and ignoring me when others were there at school collection time, but I actually dismissed it as me being a tad sensitive. She would do things like walk up to someone that I was with and talk to them but not acknowledge me. This happened 2 or 3 times in the last couple of weeks of term and even though I'd say a cheerful hello to her she would just greet me offhandedly and then carry on talking to the other person. If I'm waiting at pickup for my DS she will walk into the playground and go and stand with others and will only stand with me if there is no one better to stand with. If I go over to her she will be very distracted when talking to me and will keep putting her back to me and chatting to others. I'm not a shy person and can easily hold my own in a conversation but I always get the feeling she doesn't want to talk to me when there are others there. I have also been to a soft play centre with her before with our younger DCs and she invited a friend without telling me and they were engaged in chat about things I knew nothing about and left me out a lot despite me trying to join in.

Today at school pickup she was standing with 2 other mums and I went over to speak to her as we'd exchanged several texts during the day. She had a very uncomfortable look on her face, spoke to me very little,although the other mums were fine with me and I could see she was making a concerted effort to exclude me from the conversation. She kept putting her back to me again to turn to these other mums and in the end I actually walked off without saying goodbye as my DS came out of school. She made no effort to say goodbye to me.

What gets me is we normally meet up once a week with our younger DCs and she instigates this and is lovely with me then and we get on well, but it seems that she only wants to know me when there are others there. Reading all this back to myself, I know I need to stop bothering with her, be busy when she wants to meet up and just let the friendship peter out. I can't understand why she is like it though and am understandably quite upset. What do I do?

judyandbunty Mon 16-Apr-12 23:10:06

that should have said when there are no others there in the last paragraph of course

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 16-Apr-12 23:14:44

Weird... almost doesn't matter why she does it. It makes you feel bad, she is doing it to manipulate, whether consciously or subconsciously, and you maybe need to be pleasant, but distant.

ImperialBlether Mon 16-Apr-12 23:17:10

You really do need to stop this friendship. It's not a friendship!

I wouldn't meet up with her. I'd tell her I was busy if she suggested it. If she asked what I was doing, I just wouldn't reply. I wouldn't go up to her and talk to her in the playground. If she (eventually) asks what's up, I would tell her - not in front of others, but in private. I'd spell it out. I doubt that will happen, though - she knows what she's doing and if you avoid her, she'll guess that she's gone too far.

Please, for your own self esteem, just act as though she's a passing acquaintance.

complexo Mon 16-Apr-12 23:19:40

Huum< sometimes is hard to understand why some people that we think we know so well is behaing in a way we don't understand.
If I were you I would cut contact with her and be busy when she contacts me and let it rest. You probably will be thinking it over and over for a long time and the more detached you become more insight of the situation you will have I think. I would not push for a explanation at this stage as your friend seems to be very inconsistent at the moment she is probably not ready to talk to tell you the truth and her real feelings. Shame you still hae to bump into her at school.
Time to treat yourself to a nice huge pair of sunglasses and take up listening to music using earphones. Don't forget to look content and pretty on the school run even in inside you are in turmoil.

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 16-Apr-12 23:19:46

IME challenging this sort of behaviour never achieves anything...they will deny, or make it somehow your fault, or both...

judyandbunty Mon 16-Apr-12 23:21:48

Thank you for the replies.

She's done this before, about a year ago then suddenly snapped out of it and was all pally again. I suppose if she was a true friend and I had done something terrible, which I really don't think I have, she would tell me rather than behave like a schoolgirl.

judyandbunty Mon 16-Apr-12 23:22:42

Parsley last year when she did this I asked her several times what I'd done and she always said nothing.

ImperialBlether Mon 16-Apr-12 23:23:46

If you'd known her at school, you'd more than likely she did the same thing then, you know. Some people learn that way of behaving when they're small. I know my daughter had 'friends' who would suddenly stop speaking to her - she'd be desperately unhappy - when they felt she'd suffered enough, they'd start speaking to her again. Dreadful girls. This woman sounds like she was one of them.

complexo Mon 16-Apr-12 23:25:01

You are better than that, and you don't need her.

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 16-Apr-12 23:25:57

Don't assume its something you have done. The unspoken truth is that some female non-sexual friendships can be abusive too. Best to detach yourself IMHO.

judyandbunty Mon 16-Apr-12 23:34:58

I think it boils down to her not respecting me, plain and simple really. I've always been there for her, always made an effort, and she probably knows that and is playing on it

complexo Mon 16-Apr-12 23:36:18

Well lets see how she feels one you are not there for her anymore.

ImperialBlether Mon 16-Apr-12 23:37:40

Keep that at the forefront of your mind, next time she wants to meet up. She sounds horrible - you should avoid her.

Lizzabadger Tue 17-Apr-12 03:19:29

She sounds like a bitch. Cut her out of your life. Plenty of nice/normal people out there.

Alltheseboys Tue 17-Apr-12 04:40:52

I think parsleys spot on. She is no good for you,

StrawberryMojito Tue 17-Apr-12 05:02:25

Definitely no more weekly meet ups. Only chat to other mums in the playground unless she makes a concerted effort to speak to you and then be purely civil.

ebmummy Tue 17-Apr-12 05:59:56

I agree with the others. She sounds a bit of a cow tbh. I'd keep it civil, maybe when you're standing alone and she comes up to you, you could say hello, and say 'sorry, I've just got to catch up with x' and walk off to talk to another Mum so she understands what it feels like..? Petty but a succinct lesson!

YunoYurbubson Tue 17-Apr-12 06:09:52

Do you think it's possible OP that she thinks of you as a friend who she sees with her younger child, but she has closer friends who she wants to catch up with at school?

I don't think it's unusual to have friends for different reasons.

I have a group of women who I meet up with because we all have small babies. Much as I enjoy their company, it's a circumstantial friendship. I am much closer to some of the mums I see at school, having known them for years. I would not want to spend all my school gate time talking to my baby friends when I've already seen them that week, we've caught up and I'll see them again next week. Particularly so if I'd also spent all morning texting one of them.

Having said that I would never be rude or blank them or turn my back.

I suppose I'm just wondering if it is possible that you and your friend are at cross purposes and either you are missing her hints, or she is being very clumsy in making those hints.

I don't see that you necessarily have to choose between BFF or icily civil. Would it be okay for you to compartmentalise her too - catch up when you meet with your younger children, and give her a cheery hello at school?

judyandbunty Tue 17-Apr-12 09:09:40

Thank you everyone.

Yuno, no I'd say we have been far closer than she is with others.

It wouldn't work for me compartmentalising them I'm afraid; I don't think I want to be friends with someone that disrespects me so much as to think they can pick and choose when to speak to me and ignores me when they feel like it. It's just not what I want in a friendship.

Deep down I knew the friendship was over before I think. I just wanted to vent and to see if it wasn't me being oversensitive. Civil is the way to go.

HexagonalQueenOfTheSummer Tue 17-Apr-12 14:42:36

Oh god, definitely ditch the bitch!

Life is far too short to put up with that kind of shite

Jenna2017 Fri 31-Mar-17 10:02:29

wow this sounds so much like what I am going through with a friend of more than 10 years of friendship. she suddenly has attained a lot of confidence and doesnt seem to need my friend ship. we would be chatting very well but when I meet her and try to talk, she would rush and say just a minute I have to see so and so...and she would just rush off. and when she is alone, she would come to me and talk so nicely that all my thoughts of not talking to her, gets out of the window. and next day she would do the same. such people are manipulative, selfish and inconsiderate. i can understand what you are going through because just when you are thinking of breaking off, she would come with full charm...even we dont talk much, but she would always give me a birthday present and tell me, you know I always give you presents..But I havent given her a present for the past 4 birthdays...she doesnt get the message, its as if she is trying to make me feel guilty, that look, I am giving you, but you are not.....i get a twinge but I wish she should stop giving me presents..how can I refuse it? I dont want anything from her but she just gives me..

loveyoutothemoon Fri 31-Mar-17 11:34:41

Wow! Fuck her off....the stupid cow!

LiveLifeWithPassion Fri 31-Mar-17 11:43:40

People like her don't respect those who are 'available' and there for them. As soon as you step back, she'll probably start seeking you out.
Don't bother with her any more.

rollonthesummer Fri 31-Mar-17 11:50:39

How odd. At first I was going to say that she just doesn't like you but then read that she instigates meet ups with you with your youngest?? That's strange. Is it just you and her atbthese other meet ups?

If there's another people at them, I'd still think she doesn't like you-perhaps her child likes yours or something so you're 'useful' to her? If it's just you and her at them, next time she asks-I'd reply no and tell her why!

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