I spent last summer in the mountains working in a bike shop and mountain biking. It was a fabulous summer, outdoors, doing what I love. While I was there, I met a really fun guy. We started hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.
He invited me on a jeep trip for a long weekend to meet up with friends down by the lake. I decided to go. I probably should have known him better before saying yes.
Nothing untoward happened, and I felt safe the entire time, but he was strange. The trip didn’t go as smoothly as planned and when we returned to our summer homes, we quietly agreed we weren’t meant to be.
A few days later, I realized I had left my brand-new pyjamas, bought on the trip, in his bag. I messaged him and asked for them back. No reply. I left it a few days, and then asked again. This went on for two weeks.
I started to get really annoyed. They were my pyjamas, and I had just bought them and wanted them back. It took another two weeks before he drove up to my house and threw them at the front door.
Why was he holding my pyjamas ransom? And why was he so aggressive?
This guy sounds very immature. Whatever happened between you on the trip – or didn’t – he felt slighted, and perhaps embarrassed. His way, possibly, to control the situation was to keep something of yours. The more upset you became over it (and rightly so), the more power he felt.
And that’s what he needed to save face – in his own mind – about the unsuccessful trip. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary, but he needed it.
Be happy you didn’t stay with him because that’s who he is and you would have had to live with that.
My wife has a friend who is married with a child. There’s something not quite right about this little girl. She stares at me the entire time we’re together, at their place, ours or out. It’s very unnerving.
Our daughter tries to engage her in play – they’re only nine years old – but she has no interest. If she’s not staring at me, she’s staring at her iPad. They give it to her all the time, never leave the house without it. I don’t like going out for a meal with them because we don’t believe in electronics at the table.
We have taught our children to engage in conversation, and if the meal goes on longer than they can manage, we bring cards or colouring, or something they can do together quietly. This little girl won’t engage in any of it.
I’ve asked my wife what her situation is, but her friend NEVER discusses anything about her daughter. Again, we don’t live like that. We talk and discuss and if one of our kids is going through something, we ask around to see if it’s normal growth or something of concern. This couple live in a denial bubble as far as I can tell.
How can we continue this family relationship if it’s all smoke and mirrors?
Unfortunately, I don’t think you will. Friendship, like all relationships, is about communication, sharing and growing. If the other couple isn’t sharing what’s going on in their lives, it will be hard for you to continue spending time with them. Especially if the issue is basically the elephant in the room.
Don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying they HAVE to share. They don’t. It’s their choice to keep their situation private. But it will have an effect on your friendship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the nosy neighbour (Jan. 14):
Reader – “Your suggestion (Ellie) was wrong. I, too, had a nosy neighbor who watched my comings and goings from our condo complex. He was always puttering about in the yard as he was on the gardening committee. I’d no sooner get home and he’d be knocking at my door.
“He became so embolden that he started making suggestive remarks that we get together. He was a married man, and I regularly would run into his wife. I wanted no part of it in any way, shape or form. Thankfully, I have a peephole in my door, and if I saw it was him, I didn’t answer. After a few days, he got the message.
“It sounds to me like this neighbour is trying to intimidate, and there is no place for bullies in our society these days. I would suggest she stick to her guns and simply be polite and move on.”