How to handle unwanted invitations from ds friends mum(28 Posts)
After some gentle advice please. Met a new friend through ds who regularly invites us to play dates at their house, trips out etc. Like three or four times a week. On paper it sounds lovely, but this friendship is draining. I have anxiety and food issues so really struggle outside of my comfort zone, so am keen that ds (2.5) socialises, but as time has gone on I have found this 'friend' to be quite rude, overbearing, and obnoxious. Her ds is nice, so my boy is happy, but the second we get to the play dates the criticism of me starts. According to her I'm always late (I'm generally not, and pride myself on this, there was one time when ds needed a nappy change and I had to arrive 5 mins late), I look tired all the time, I need to wear make-up, how do I stay so 'skinny', why am I not married, etc etc. All these things are delivered with a lovely passive aggressive tinkly laugh, if I try to defend myself, which I find very, very hard, it falls on deaf ears and she's on to the next thing. Repeat ad nauseum every time. Happens even when we're with other people, they get to hear all about how rubbish I am generally while I'm sat there. It's not just criticism, she probes me about my private life, or tries to, I am a private person so I don't appreciate this at all. It's like she's sensed that I am emotionally weaker than her and takes some kind of pleasure in this? I know I need to grow some and stand up for myself but for me any conflict is excruciating, and I'd love some advice on how to handle future invitations. I don't see any way out of this friendship in the next couple of years as the boys are at nursery and some activities together. I dread seeing her now and even losing sleep over it.
Just don't go. Delay replying to texts and do t answer phone calls. If she catches you outside nursery, say you're busy. This is easier said that done. I have anxiety too and these situations stress me out a lot. However, children's friendship groups change rapidly at school. The two boys may play well now but not in 6 months. Once they hit 5 or 6 you can have play dates without parents. You can organise things so the child only comes to your house and you drop them off at parents later with a brisk 'sorry, must dash. I've got some errands to run'. In response to invitations to come in for coffee. It's worth taking a book along to activities so you can block her attempts at conversation.
Thanks. Yes I'll start delaying replies to texts, she's called this morning asking to meet up, I've let it go to answerphone. Unfortunately this woman treats me like her new best friend, always makes a beeline for me at activities, so even if I'm busy or talking to other people, she will come over to interrupt and essentially take over. Other people have commented to me that she seems very domineering so I don't think it's just me?
I'm struggling, had three invitations from this mum in the past two days. Have said no to them all without saying sorry, which is hard for me, but I feel guilty and stressed!
She "treats you like a best friend" whilst also treating you like crap. Who says those negative things to someone they are supposed to like?
Good on you for staying strong.
She sounds awful! She doesn't own you and you owe her nothing. I'd start weaning her down to once a week arranged meet ups. As your children grow up it's amazing how you'll find new people. I know it's hard to break ice with others at some if these places but try to do so so there's other people to chat to.
Are there any activities or places she does't go that you can start to go to? To give you some space!
Lastly, Google assertiveness tips - start to form / write down stock phrases you can use. For example, turning an invite down. You don't like make up.
And tell yourself that she does it as she's insecure and you help her to feel better about yourself!
Reading your post again, she sounds quite rude?
The only alternative possible positive thing I can think of is that she's concerned or worried about you <doubtful but you never know emoticon>
Yeah I find her very rude, violet, I would never dream of commenting on anyones weight or appearance, and I get quite stressed and upset when people do it to me. But your post has really helped me, no I don't owe her anything, I need to remember this. I feel so guilty saying no but it's not a friendship I want to continue, I don't think a proper friend would behave like this and be so pushy? It's really thrown me as she's so intense, she's now talking about regular meet ups when I'm not at work, this is something I don't want at all. I don't know why I feel so helpless.
If you nip this budding "friendship" short now you will save yourself years of stress and strain from her. Think of it as ripping the plaster off.
And assertiveness tips sound like a great idea, thank you!
Thanks Nap I know you are right, this situation is taking up too much space in my head, it's not healthy and we're only a few months in.
You need to tell her straight. I need my own space and think the boys are fine just seeing each other at activities/in school.
If she asks why, tell her you have too much on and do not want to do play dates or coffee anymore.
It's her negativity towards you that gets me. It's hard having a friend who is more "active" than you in terms of needing to spend time together often but if it's also crap together because she is essentially shitting all over you, then the whole thing becomes pointless to try and maintain.
Would you be prepared to actually say something next time she starts being unpleasant? Just something simple like 'actually it doesn't make me feel very good when you speak to me like that'? - it sounds simple when written down like I have though and a lot more difficult to actually say, I appreciate it's not easy to tackle somebody even when they're being unpleasant to you.
Sorry, I wad so indignant on your behalf I posted too early!
.... As an adult you can chose who to hang out with. Sound s like you are doing great with distancing your self from her, stay strong
Weird ,the first bit of my post disappeared...
I was saying I don't think you need to grow some and stand up for yourself, I think you need to give yourself permission to not be loyal to toxic people. She sounds almost bullying.
ieff I also wondered if it's possible to say you don't like being commented on in that way? But I must say I'd find it hard to say.
I only really learnt about assertiveness in the last few years, but it's really helped.
There's some great advice here - don't give her permission.
give yourself permission to not be loyal to toxic people
The rest of this website is also good. I think there's a big connection to assertiveness and mh. There is with me certainly!
Thanks all. Fantastic advice Ohyes, that's really resonated with me.
And thanks for the link violet, I'll check that out. I'm not a strong person and I really, really struggle with overbearing people.
I had a friend who wound up hiding in her own house she was being pursued by another parent like this. It is so toxic. I would be able to say "That is very rude/intrusive" but my friend would not. Eventually this bossy Mother turned her attention elsewhere (found a new victim). Stay strong and be firm.
I bet you're stronger than you think.
I gained a lot of confidence dealing with others through my job (I was forced to learn to be more assertive as I chose to be a teacher) by watching others but also through practice.
I've also gained lots since becoming a mum and also I'm now 40. For some reason I care less about feeling guilty as long as I know I'm fair. And I value my own happiness more too rather than constantly bowing to others. But I'm still learning about it! I'm still not great in some situations.
Could this be a starting point to learn more about standing up for yourself, gaining some more assertiveness and more confidence? It won't happen over night but with time I'm sure you can!
Mumsnet has taught me lots too. About self respect, over-bearing toxic people or bullying people and how to not be pulled down by their agendas.
Oh OP, that sounds excruciating and I really feel for you.
Lots of good advice here, but start being busy and aloof. I know it'll be hard, but you're not best friends and you don't want to be. She's not done much to prove herself as friend material.
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