Two of my friends dislike each other. Yet they sometimes both involve me in their mutual dislike.
I’d initially introduced them. One, ten years older than the other, is busy with her executive job and her active family. She makes decisions very quickly.
My younger friend has a new business which carries a modern line of attractive household items. I’d recommended these when the other woman asked where to buy gifts for young adults moving into their first rentals.
Unfortunately, both women are equally stubborn when they feel they’re “right.” I learned that the one shopping for gifts swept through the displays, pronounced them “too expensive and impractically designed,” and left.
She’d loudly dismissed all the goods, for everyone’s hearing. The store-owner was devastated.
She’s a hard worker, ambitious and well-liked by many people. But she can’t get past this other woman’s criticism which she considers a personal insult to her taste and business abilities. What can I do?
In the Middle
Avoid and ignore their mutual dislike. Don’t invite them to the same events nor suggest any opportunities for them to meet again.
The “friend” who dissed the store’s entire collection felt no obligation to be kinder on your behalf. And the offended retailer needs tougher skin facing others’ criticism.
For your own peace of mind, only see those two separately.
My beloved 14-year-old grandson is still in pain from his parents’ divorce six years ago. His dad, my son, has recently found someone he plans to marry in the new year. She has a small child.
My grandson has decided he doesn't like/trust this woman, is angry at his dad, and plans to live full-time with his mother whenever he can do so.
His mom’s an alcoholic (currently in recovery), is bi-polar, and has harassed my son and our family. She’s been told by police/family services that she must cease and desist or charges will be laid against her.
I believe she’s poisoned my grandson against accepting anyone new in his dad's life.
I don't want to lose my grandson through parental alienation. His sibling’s handling things better but both children escape their situation by spending endless time on tablets and phones. They’re not engaging in life in a healthy way.
My son’s “solution” is to just wait and let things sort themselves out. What can I do to support these children? I'm afraid my grandson will get lost in the turmoil of his parents’ mishandling/poor parenting.
Supporting grandchildren who are experiencing divorce, through being present when needed, and listening to their fears, helps express your love without adding to their anxieties now and later.
But the children don’t need - nor will they benefit positively - from your negative opinions of their mother. The parents have already parted ways, their mother’s in recovery so she’s trying to do better.
Six years of post-divorce pain is way too long (from the time he was eight!) without the father seeking counselling as to how to help his children adjust.
However, your focusing on the parents’ possibly doing everything wrong doesn’t bring stability to these kids. It makes them feel more insecure.
Ask your son to discuss with a child psychologist what he can do that actually helps the children. And whether you can do more than worry.
His children miss their mom. That’s natural. However, waiting for them to voluntarily accept and adjust, only results in blaming others for the situation.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife who’s worrying about her husband’s “lack of friends” (Sept. 13):
Reader – “I wonder whether it’s occurred to the wife (and you) that the husband's previous party/friend-focused college years were less about what he really needed, and more about his navigating a time of life that often forces introverts into more social activity than they might truly want?
“Maybe he's being truer to his nature now, at a time when his social needs are met by family and work interactions.
“Nothing written by his wife implies that he's personally unhappy or dissatisfied... so why should he see a therapist?
“This feels vaguely like introvert-shaming (I speak from experience). Extroverts seem to want to "fix" introverts (pretty rare to find the reverse).
“I suggest that the wife and husband read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain."
“That's this introvert's two-cent's worth.”
Tip of the day:
Stay clear of the dislike any of your friends may have towards each other. See them separately.