Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 am Posts: 1222 Location: Hiding in the nearest filing cabinet.
This will sound very low and underhand but I've been trying to avoid an old school friend, who has children, for a while now. For a time when we were teenagers she was my best friend, though, to be honest, we don't really have anything in common. She's never really had any career aspirations which I imagine is partly why she became a mother. She met a man, now her husband, and moved in with him after three days.
On a side note: I believe this was in part because she was 18 and her parents thought that because she was an adult and 'no longer their responsibility' that she should move out. I find that sort of attitude pretty disgusting. I am 28 and, for various circumstances out of my control, still live with my parents. I'm not proud of that and I try to be as independent as possible and try not to sponge off them. I feel guilty for still being there but they are perfectly happy for me to live with them and say I can stay for as long as I like and that eventually I will inherit the house so I will always have somewhere to live. Surely that's what parents are supposed to be like? Sometimes life just doesn't work out smoothly.
When she was 19 my friend already had her first son and had got married. (Shortly afterwards her husband was put in prison for rape, but she stood by him. I have no idea if he did it but, unlike many of her other friends, I didn't shun her.) For my 22nd she decided we should go clubbing, which I hate, but I went anyway and had a terrible time (including a nasty encounter with a man in a toilet because I couldn't bring myself to say 'No' for fear of angering him/appearing to be frigid. Anyway, that wasn't my friend's fault). She invited me round to her house a few times - by this time she had another son - and I couldn't wait to leave, not just because I don't like kids but because I no longer knew what to say to her and her life seemed so small and narrow now she was a wife and mother. Her husband had been released and they owned a card shop in the local market. I'm sorry to sound like such an awful person but it really was depressing. Since then she's had a daughter but I think her life is basically the same. Mind you, my life is basically the same too, thanks to my bad health and the recession but I'd prefer my sameness to hers any day.
I have other friends who have children and it's easier because we have more in common. Though on of them is somebody who went from being an interesting and outspoken semi-goth to somebody who uses a photo of her baby with chocolate round his mouth as her Facebook profile picture. One online friend leads a charmed life as a professional singer (what I want to do!) and has two small kids who sound pretty worthwhile. She doesn't worship them and her statuses are about lots of things but I have to be very careful when ranting about the children where I work, for example because she takes it personally and feels that I'm trying to attack parents in general, which I'm not. It's for this reason that I'm here now, actually, on this forum, because I know I can let off steam about such things and people will understand.
For me, it's been like Chocolatechipmuffin says, the friendship never seems two-way anymore, and if you don't just make sure they know you are bored to tears by the kid chat, you just become an audience. I had the girl who I lived with different places while young totally abandon me when she had kids and tried to justify it by trying to find fault with me. I am still hurt by it. My communications with her were the same, telling her about the fun music things I was doing, that she and I used to do together, and I think she just got so jealous she couldn't stand it anymore.
Now I have a friend with annoying kids who makes some effort to maintain the friendship, but you know you're way down on the priority list and she always acts like her schedule is tighter than mine (me with 2 jobs). Since she mentioned her BD and how she would be back from her trip in time for it, I asked if she wanted me to take her to dinner for it or something and told her to keep in touch during the trip (because the BD was the day after), and never heard from her. Then when she emailed after her BD, she said she'd call in the next 2 days, and that never happened. Then got an email saying she'd get in touch later this week, and that never happened. I can't even imagine what could be so important that she couldn't control her kids' schedules long enough to be polite to an old friend. At this point, I wish she'd just said "I won't have time."
I mean, how can you maintain a friendship knowing the person doesn't even consider your feelings or your schedule, only her kids'? She doesn't work or anything. But she lets her kids tell her when and what to do. I know she likes to dump them on someone when she can and go do something adult, but it only happens about once a year. I haven't even told her she can't bring the kids to the dinner. I assumed she would, so that's not even the reason. I'm sorry, and I guess I've got a healthy ego, but I need to be higher on someone's priority list than that. If she hadn't mentioned her BD, I wasn't even going to bring it up since last year, she waited until it was my birthday to finally decide she better get together 2 months after her bd. I didn't want to go through that again. I always used to invite her and another friend to go out on my bd, but this year, I'm avoiding it. I'm just fed up. I'm going out of town or having an old friend come to visit or something.
I do have a friend with an adult child who goes out and does things, but if there's the slightest chance her adult daughter might want to do something, of course, she'd drop me like a hot potato. What ever happened to common courtesy?
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:04 pm Posts: 5 Location: New Mexico, USA
Why do you think I'm on this forum?
But yeah, I've lost ("distanced myself from", whatever you want to call it) many, many friends because I simply have nothing in common with them anymore. All my old friends who had kids completely lost their identity and began spamming my FB newsfeed with baby pictures. It happens every time. It doesn't bother them any, as there are more than enough parents in the world to relate to. Meanwhile I'm at home staring at my guitars like, "Well, at least you won't get pregnant and leave me."
This is me. I'm 29 and I only have one friend who has children but has maintained her identity and interests outside of motherhood. The rest seem to have lost all interest in anything that doesn't involve their offspring, and I find we just don't have anything to talk about anymore. Because of this, as others have put it, I've become an "audience" for all their boring and tedious parenting stories. As for my FB page, it's a red hot mess cluttered with sonograms and pictures of babies who all look the same. I'm definitely in need of a new crew.
In my own experience and from reading the posts here it seems the people who become parents are the ones not putting effort into our friendships any longer. It makes you wonder what they thought of you to start with. Were we ever friends? Throughout life friendships with anyone will grow/change/come/go but it's such a trend in this situation.
Funnily enough, I have just taken steps to end a friendships with one of my oldest and formerly closest friends. I have known her since we were eight years old and she now has two kids but the reason for ending the friendship was probably the opposite of how these things usually go.
This friend had her kids when she was very young - 19 and 22 - whilst the rest of our circle of friends went to university, travelled, had long and often drunken nights out... and yes, we did also try to keep her included as much as possible and spend time her her and her babies. Now that her kids are teenagers and the rest of our circle are starting to pop out their own kids (apart from me obviously) she has been extremely and increasingly nasty to us, saying that we now "owe her" all the nights out she missed and she just wants to go clubbing all the time, stay out all night and have a series of one-night-stands (she split with her husband a few years ago). She refuses to have anything to do with my friends' kids - fair enough, nobody should be forced to spend time with anyone's kids but she calls them all sorts of names, tells my friends that they are old and boring etc which seems a bit hypocritical given that even my friends who wanted kids eventually never really enjoyed hanging around with her babies all those years ago but we did it to support her. She constantly tells us she can't imagine anything worse than our dull lives and just recently screamed at me that what was the point of having a childfree friend if I wasn't going to go clubbing and drink until I threw up? Because, of course, that's what we do. All the time. I said I'd be more than happy to meet her at a bar, go for dinner, have a few drinks but even when I was younger I never liked the clubbing scene. I said that being childfree meant that she could always all me to do something at short(ish) notice unlike the others but again she screamed at me that if I wasn't going to "have fun" then I may as well just have a kid.
So that's that one over. It does upset me after having had this woman in my life for so long. I found the reverse-bingos interesting though.
Luckily most of my other friends are PNBs and whilst it might take longer to arrange a meet up or night out, I can say with confidence that they are still committed to the friendship and although I was worried when the first pregnancy was announced, it really hasn't been too much of a problem. If we do have to let a few months go by without seeing a particular friend because she is busy with child-care, I have always found that these particular friends seem to make an extra effort to have quality time together when we do meet up. That is the measure of friendship.
There are a few more casual acquaintances that I have lost touch with along the way due to them having children but in those cases I can honestly say that there was not much commitment to the friendship on either side and that is why it fizzled. Only one person has stopped speaking to me for the sole reason that I said I didn't want to have children. That hurt but I'm better off without her.
_________________ I don't hate children but I do hate the sense of entitlement in parenthood. I want more from life than a child and no-one else can make my life decisions.
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