I was recently at an outdoor sports tournament for my nine-year-old son. Sitting on the sidelines for hours, I started talking to the woman who had set up camp beside me. At first, we just asked the basic questions, as in, which kid is yours? What grade is he in? What school? Etc., etc.
Her phone rang a few times while we were talking and each time, she answered it. She seemed annoyed with each call. Shortly thereafter the conversation turned to her berating her husband for being absolutely useless in her absence, how he couldn’t manage to get the simplest tasks completed without calling her multiple times, and how her annoyance was about to bubble over. All the while, we were both keeping an eye on our own children and shouting encouragement for positive movements on the field.
Before the conversation turned, we had exchanged numbers because the children were going on the same overnight the following week, and it was nice to have a connection with another parent while the kids would be away.
The day ended awkwardly, as I didn’t know what to say to her about her husband. But now she’s texting me incessantly, apologizing for being so open, embarrassed at what she said, hoping I’ll forget everything. I’ve texted back saying not to worry, and we all have bad days, but she’s not letting it go.
What do I do?
You’ve told me that you’ve responded with words and kindness, but this woman is obviously embarrassed by what she shared and nervous since she doesn’t know you. Your series of responses moving forward will depend on how you want the relationship to continue.
If you’re fine with keeping this woman as an acquaintance only, then the next time she texts, simply respond with emojis. You could reply once more with reassuring words, but after that, you need to shut it down. Emojis or reactions.
If, however, you’d like to cultivate the friendship, I suggest you meet up with her in person. Once together, you can assure her that everyone has bad days, get annoyed with their spouses and shares too much information. It’s all good.
Note to readers: This was obviously quite timely so I emailed the writer directly. I still chose to publish the question because awkward moments like these happen all the time and we have all found ourselves wondering how to respond.
My best friend and I have done everything together since we met in first grade. We went to the same high school, chose the same university, and got engaged within six months of each other. We calmly discussed our weddings as we both really wanted to be present for each other’s big day. It worked.
We both then got pregnant around the same time, and had our babies quite close together. We couldn’t be happier for each other. And we’ve been having the best time! We take our kids to almost all the same programs and just get to do life together.
So, what’s the problem? Our husbands. They don’t gel at all. They literally have nothing in common, nothing to talk about, and get on each other’s nerves. Double dating is not a thing.
We don’t get it! I love her husband; she loves mine; and it’s reciprocal.
How do we get the guys on board?
Try talking to your husbands separately. Hear them out. There may be some legit issue between them. If that can’t be resolved, try talking to them together, so they can really understand how much it would mean to both of you if they could put their differences aside.
FEEDBACK Regarding the child who faints at the sight of blood (May 22):
Reader – “Just some info the mother could use to help her daughter:
From the Mayo Clinic: ‘Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope.’
From Nationwide Children’s: Vasovagal syncope – the term for a rapid drop in blood pressure and heart rate which can trigger fainting. The good news is that most kids will outgrow or learn to self-manage an extreme response to seeing blood.
From WebMD: ‘How do I stop feeling faint when I see blood?
When you start feeling light-headed, you tense the muscles in your arms, legs, and trunk for about 10 to 15 seconds to raise your blood pressure and prevent fainting.’”
Lisi – Thank you so much for these quick tidbits. Very helpful.