My husband and I have been together for 10 years, married for eight. His best friend has been around since they were both five years old. He’s a nice guy, and I can see how their friendship has grown and grown over the years. They practically finish each other’s sentences.
He and I get along very well, especially because when I came on the scene, I didn’t try to “steal” my husband away from him. They get a lot of alone time, and as a result, he’s very respectful of our couple time.
The problem is actually his wife who I can’t stand! She’s whiny, spoiled, judgemental, and self-important. I’m surprised she even wants to be friendly with me because I’m so not her people. The husbands would love it if we became besties as well, but that’s not going to happen in this lifetime. I can’t stand her!
How do I make this easy on all four of us?
I suspect the crux of the problem is that her husband has the same expectations as yours, and as you say, you’re not her people. So she’s doing her best to appease him, but having the same issues you’re having.
This may sound impossible, but if you truly believe that she doesn’t want to form a friendship with you any more than you do, why don’t you talk to her? Seriously. Invite her out to lunch one day and discuss it openly.
You can agree that you don’t need to spend a lot of time together, but you’ll both be able to come together amicably for the events and milestones that matter.
You might surprise yourselves and form a friendship after all.
FEEDBACK Another person reflecting on the question from the dad who didn’t want to buy his still-growing son expensive shoes (Sept. 20):
Reader – “If the boy wants $400 sneakers, let him buy them himself!
“When I wanted the ever-popular Earth Shoes, my parents couldn’t afford them, but my VERY wise mom said the following: The minimum wage is $2.35, do chores around the house, and I will pay you by the hour. When you collect the $42 for the shoes, you can go out and buy them.
“When I had the $42 in my pocket, I didn’t want to spend it as I worked hard for that money and couldn’t part with it. When my kids wanted something, I said the same thing to them… with the same outcome. Of course, they didn’t want to spend it!
“It was my daughter’s birthday and she wanted a particular T-shirt. She had $30. We went to the mall and she picked her shirt. I went out into the mall, just outside of the store as the store was dark, loud and scented. She was standing at the cash looking at me; I’m looking at her. I can’t figure out what’s taking so long. After about five minutes, I walked back in.
“What’s going on? Is there a problem?”
“Mom, we’re waiting for you to pay.”
“Me? You have your birthday money.”
“Yeah, but if I pay for it with my money, I’ll only have $5 left.”
“I told her if she wanted the shirt, she could pay for it herself. She didn’t buy the shirt.”
Lisi – you are a smart woman who learned from another smart woman, your mom. No doubt the lesson will be passed down from your daughter as well. Financial literacy is an important life skill. Your daughter will be grateful.
My friend just got divorced. She has four teenagers. She’s always been an overzealous mom, but since she’s been on her own with the kids, she’s hyper-sensitive and all over the spot.
It’s very hard to have a conversation with her. She doesn’t finish her sentence before she’s on to another thought. And making a plan with her is impossible! I’ve asked if she needs any help – four kids is a lot – but she brushes it off and says she’s fine.
She’s not fine.
How can I help?
You’re a good friend. Many people would walk away but you recognize she isn’t functioning normally and you want to help.
She sounds overwhelmed. Why don’t you send in dinner one night? Something simple like pizza, or something she can freeze if she’s already cooking. Meet her one morning, after she’s got all her kids to school, for a quick coffee and walk. Let her talk. Make mental notes.