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Part relationships, part 'playground politics' - WWYD?

(24 Posts)
MolotovBomb Fri 14-Sep-12 10:04:27

Hello all,

I hope I've posted in the right place - I think this could fit into the Pre-school education board too, so it's there aswell.

Okay, so a bit of backstory for context: DH, DD1 and I moved to a village in February 2011. I'm a pleasant neighbour, but I have a busy social life and am not in much (also had DD2 this April so my hands are full!) whereas other neighbours in the road tend to have coffee together, etc. One of our neighbours is a woman in her mid 20s named 'N' (I'm late 20s). N has 2 daughters, her eldest is the same age a mine and they now go nursery together.

Now, N isn't a person who I would make friends with under normal circumstances. We're different to eachother in many ways. However, I think it's good to make an effort particularly as our daughters play together.

On Tuesday morning (day 2 of nursery), I bumped into N and her daughter outside our house. The outcome of the conversation was that they were walking to school, too: I said 'I'll come with you if you like' (good for my DD as she's a bit wobbly with starting nursery). N said that she was meeting her friend (with a child in the same nursery class) that they'd be going about 8:30 and to come along.

I got out of my house at 8:33 and they'd gone. They didn't call to see how long I'd be; they just buggered off.

I thought that was very rude, vented to a friend, then carried on as normal saying 'hello' and chatting to N later at the school gates.

This morning, my DDs and I are walking to school and, unbeknown to me, N's friend had been walking behind us with N's daughter. I heard the little one's name mentioned and I turned around and said 'oh! Thought I heard your name!' When I turned again, I saw N waiting her for friend and the children a little way ahead. She must have seen me, I mean, her mate walked around me. N COMPLETELY blanked me; they didn't wait and walked on pigs

It got me mad. I slowed down a bit and fiddled with my hair so I wasn't trailing behind them. Fortunately, I saw friendly faces and was able to join them on the last leg to school. I got to the playground and ignored N, although my DD went over and played with her DD.

The thing is that N talks to me when this friend of hers isn't there. She makes a beeline for me if she's on her own. And I'm sometimes on my own, so it's awkward to not speak.

I don't want to be their friend and walk to school with them. But, I'm stuck as to how to handle them ignoring me. I was treated like this in my own school days an it gives me butterflies a bit. It makes me feel angry and stupid, and I'm irritated by their bad manners and rudeness.

What would you do, folks?


Shesparkles Fri 14-Sep-12 10:06:19

They're being very rude, but would it have had a different outcome had you not been late on that 1st day? I know it was only 3 minutes, but it was late

TeaBrick Fri 14-Sep-12 10:08:19

What I would do is stop making any attempt to walk to school with them, withdraw and just become polite rather than trying to be friends, not worry if she only wants to speak to you at certain times, it's her problem not yours, stop making eye contact if possible, and concentrate on talking to nice people. Some people are weird, and you don't need them in your life really, but you have to tolerate them in this sort of situation really. Don't lose any sleep.

MolotovBomb Fri 14-Sep-12 10:22:57

Yes Shesparkles I totally take that on board. I just think it's that combined with past awkwardness and the fact that they could have rang my doorbell (N knew I was finishing feeding DD2).

Thanks Teabrick, I'll give what you said a go x

JustGettingByMum Fri 14-Sep-12 10:43:33

I think if N is your neighbour, and so you will be seeing quite a lot of her, I would knock on her door and ask her if you had done anything to upset her as you noticed her ignoring you.

N can either then say yes, you did x,y,z.
Or look embarrassed to have been caught out acting in such a petty way, and try to pretend she hadn't seen you.
Either way, you've addressed the issue with her, in a grown up way.

Shesparkles Fri 14-Sep-12 11:23:15

To be fair to you Molotov, when people behave like that, I don't think they would have been different had you been early or bang one time. I'm at the other side of being at the school gate and have seen this kind of behaviour too often.
If I were you, I'd be polite, even if she doesn't speak to you first, always say hello, so it can never be said that you've done anything out of place.
You have a life-and it sounds pretty hectic and presumably happy, stick with who and what you know.
All you have in common with this person is living in the same street and giving birth within the same 12 months. There's no law to say you have to be pals with your neighbours, although manners help! I have a right doozer of a neighbour whose child is the same age as my eldest, I tried to be friends with her and it ended very messily!

MolotovBomb Fri 14-Sep-12 13:09:56

That's a good idea JustGetting but might be too confrontational for my usual style. I may well say something along those lines when I next see her on her own (it's good to have this plan in mind) rather than make a point of knocking her door.

Thanks again Shesparkles, I think you're right in that all N and I have in common is that we are mothers to kids of the same age and live on the same road. We would not be natural friends or acquaintances.

I saw her at school at home-time. I drove in and needed to answer a text before getting out of my car. I did that, then she'd moved by the time I'd got DD2 out of the car. There's a mum from another village who looks lonely but desperate to talk to someone, so I made the effort to chat to her today. It was great doing this (and she seems lovely) and so not having to make eye contact or any effort with N.

I'd heard about playground politics before, but hadn't seriously thought it was anything like this! It's like being 14yo again! (Just not as painful, thank the Lord!)

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 16:59:52

Well, it's beginning of week 4 of nursery and it's still like I'm invisible!

I think I'm doing well in ignoring N and her friend in return - as Teabrick suggested. But it's so awkward! I'm making friends with other mums who have children in my DDs class but this thing with N and he friend is casting a shadow. A weird impasse has been reached: we mutually ignore one another. It got a little better last week when my DH was off ('hellos' were exchanged) but it's back to how it was.

I have a friend who I've vented about this to - B - and today, she was standing with N and her friend, quite a distance from me and who I was speaking to. B had been with me, then moved away to answer a phone call, then went and stood with people who she herself has said look "rough".

To be fair, she is very close to a woman named M and I think she probably went over to see her (M was chatting to N and her friend) but it's just the fact that I've told B how much they irritated and upset me ... That she left me to stand elsewhere irked me a little bit, I must admit. She's bound to a) gossip with them about me or b) Not defend me if something is said against me.

MN is now my only 'safe place' to vent ...

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:04:46

Just re-read the 'rough' sentence and it doesn't read right out of context. 'Rough' in the sense that N and her friend look like they'd have no hesitation having arguments; in the sense that they have no manners, etc.

combinearvester Tue 02-Oct-12 17:08:38

I think you may be overthinking all this a bit.

The first thing you need to realise is never slag anyone off to anyone else in a small community. If you need to slag vent, ring someone who doesn't know and never will know all these people.

Secondly - smile and say hello to EVERYBODY. There is nothing better than smiling at someone who blanks you - they hate it. And if they are not blanking you and its all in your head, then you haven't pissed anyone off.

Something my evil sis says - if you start worrying about all this sort of stuff, it's probably time to go back to work.

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:19:48

Yeah, I might be overthinking it. I am prone to doing so! Maybe when it feels natural to say 'hi', I should, rather than thinking 'bollocks' and saying/doing anything but. I'm just so norsed off with how they walk past me and blank me.

I don't normally bitch. Honestly, only to my DH. In my defence, I just thought that B was a good friend who had the same viewpoints as me. I felt safe to slag in her company. Mistake! But she's acted oddly a couple of times recently, so I think all things combined demonstrates that she can't be trusted. Plus, her loyalty is to M.

I didnt think this would bother me so much - I am going back to work part-time soon!, btw!

Thanks for taking the time to post smile

combinearvester Tue 02-Oct-12 17:23:26

Glad you are going back to work, I know its easy for smaller things to bother you at home especially in new place. FWIW I have similar easily offended neighbours and I do arms-length smiling and hellos, talk about children, and that's it. If they are easily offended gossipers, you do NOT want to be involved.

pictish Tue 02-Oct-12 17:25:44

For god's sake do not whinge to another person about this woman!

If one of the school mums told me all this about her set up with another mum, I would think 'wtf?....go away!'

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:27:54

Ah, I think that last comment was a bit harsh - are you testing how easily offended I get? (joking!) N and her mate are just rude; they mean nothing to me so I need to let them bother me less, that's all.

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:31:08

Fair enough Pictish but it's not like that with B and I. We've been friends for a good while and she asked me what was wrong on that day. I'm not one to whinge to random folk. But we all need to let off steam to people we trust.

I'm judging from your reactions that I am being too sensitive, so I'll man-up.

pictish Tue 02-Oct-12 17:33:22

Sorry - wasn't angling for rude, but I guess I was.

I mean that this sort of tittle tattle makes my eyes roll about in my head. I cba with listening to that sort of nonsense. So she doesn't walk to school with you - never mind!

Fwiw - there was another school mum lived just up the road from me and sometimes we would end up walking together....but at other times she obviously couldn't be fucked with me and would totally ignore me.

I thought it made her a right twat, so I was glad when she moved.

Never make someone a priority if they'll only ever make you an option. x

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:35:25

Thank-you P - that's really good advice smile x

redlac Tue 02-Oct-12 17:36:35

I actively avoid all people on the walk to school - it's fine timing to avoid all the neighbours who walk to school. But that says more about me than my neighbours

Seriously, just put it to the back of your mind and smile politely when you see them - it will be good practice when all the DDs fall out and the mums get involved which this lot sound as if they will do

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 17:38:59

Oh, it was combine's last post that I thought was a bit harsh (the easily offended gossip bit) not your first post, Pictish

combinearvester Tue 02-Oct-12 17:44:41

No I didn't mean you! I meant them! I am assuming they have gone in a huff because you weren't there at the exact time you wanted to meet them iyswim.

piratecat Tue 02-Oct-12 17:51:33

the woman who you confided in was between a rock and a hard place in that situation.

She has prob heard both sides, thru her knowing M, and she didn't wnt to ignore her iyswim.

ladyintheradiator Tue 02-Oct-12 17:53:57

Oh god you are overthinking this. You don't like her but are clearly spending a lot of energy on her. You sound hard work tbh and if another mum chatted to me about it the way you have to B I'd avoid them.

MolotovBomb Tue 02-Oct-12 18:37:30

Sorry Combine - wrong end of the stick x

MolotovBomb Thu 04-Oct-12 09:20:03

Hello all, I just wanted to post a word of thanks to you, particularly, Combine, Pictish and Redlac: thinking 'never mind!' and remembering to smile politely and say 'hello!' is really, really helping me smile

N's friends were waiting for her at the bottom of my road as I came out this morning. Usually, my heart beats faster, I think 'fuckfuckfuck' ad desperately scramble around to do anything but walk past them. This morning, I thought 'they don't want to walk with you - never mind!' and I put my head up, looked them in the eyes, smiled, said 'hello!' and walked on with my DDs.

It was a much better way to handle the situation. I had to walk past them again on the way home and did exacty the same thing. Admittedy, I am paranoid that if I hear them laughing, that they're laughing at me but I'm probably being paranoid.

I flippin' love Mumsnet. Thank-you all again for your invaluable advice xx

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