I am a stay at home mom with three young children. We haven't lived in this city very long, but I have become great friends with my next door neighbor (Denise). She's a stay at home mom too. Our kids play together and she and I get a along great and have gotten really close. Her best friend (Pat), however, who comes over quite regularly is somewhat domineering and belligerent. Frankly, I think she is jealous of how close Denise and I have become. Denise is very sweet and unassuming, and Pat is just the opposite. I even jokingly mentioned to Denise one time that I didn't really get their friendship and Denise just laughed and said, "Yeah, a lot of people tell me that."
Now, for the problem: A lady who is like my second mom invited me to come spend a weekend with her at her beach house 4 hrs away and bring a friend. So, I invited Denise, knowing we would have a great time tog since we get along so well, and she gladly accepted. When she casually mentioned to Pat about the weekend trip, Pat's response was, "Well, I'm coming down there too. I'll just stay in a hotel." Well, golly gee! Now I feel like the whole weekend is ruined! I do not want to be a third wheel, but that's exactly what will happen, because I've seen Pat in action. I even mentioned to Denise that I thought it was rather rude of Pat to do that, and she just said, "yeah, that's just Pat for ya." But, I know, we can't stop her from going. And I know that Denise would never be so rude as to not answer when Pat calls to find out where we are at EVERY SECOND of the day.
To make matters worse. Pat is now pressuring Denise to ask if there's enough room in the beach cottage for her to stay there. I've been there before. Of course there's enough room. But what am I supposed to say? "Yes, there's room, but I don't want Pat to stay with us"? That makes me sound like the bad guy. And if Pat asks Denise if she asked about her staying at the cottage, how could Denise respond no without explaining why? Pat will know it was me that didn't want her to stay there, and then she would do everything to make the weekend even more miserable for me!
So, what do I do? I was SO looking forward to a girls' getaway, and now I'm not anymore. I could just cancel the whole thing, but Denise would want to know why, and that just makes me look like the bad guy again. And then they would probably end up going and staying in a hotel. So then I miss out on getting away. The trip is supposed to be this weekend, and we live quite away from our former home,so it's probably too late to invite someone else. And even if I did, how would I explain to Denise that she's uninvited? Once again, makes me look like the bad guy!
Your house, your invitation. Period.
Your invitation was to Denise. Denise does not make plans in YOUR house. She doesn't have the authority!
Explain to Denise that the invitation was for her only, and if she can make it, fine. Do not discuss Pat, because she's a "non-issue" in all this.
(You have CHILDREN? Wow, you are going to have to know how to say NO and set limits once in a while - real soon. Or they will run you like your friends do.)
It's not MY house, it's the house of a friend. Please read the thread. And this isn't about saying "no". It's about the fact that even if I say "no", Pat is not welcome at the beach house, she will STILL come to the beach anyway and stay in a hotel, but hang out with us wherever we go and dominate Denise's time. How can I not discuss Pat? She's the major problem in all this?
You have a wishy-washy friend who is not understanding your feelings.(Denise) She is the one is is keeping the door open for Pat to invite herself.
Tell Denise that this is an invitation for her ONLY and she can tell everyone else that. Let her deal with this pushy person who is intruding on other people's vacation plans.
You don't need to explain or make accommodations for anyone whom you have not invited.
The plot thickens. I've had these kind of problems. They are very tough. For the past 8 years, I've had some neighborhood talk against me, by 3 neighborhood bullies, and you'd be surprised how the "good" people walk away from the issue and let the bullies take over.
It's pretty understandable, they don't know what's going on, or why, and they don't know what to do. In my fantasies, they become super people, and stand up to the bullies, but in reality, that doesn't happen and I have to become a super person, or nobody is.
I did have someone who stood up to one of the bullies 2 or 3 times, but that bully was pathologically angry, and he wasn't going to let go of his anger no matter what the truth was. This person you're dealing with sounds pathological, also.
So I think you're going to have to go this alone. All of I can think of is, to ask your friend, to not answer her cell phone when the monster calls.
Of course, being timid, she's going to say, no way. What she means is, she's afraid of the bully when the bully and everybody gets back in town. The bully picks her enemies wisely. She picks the timid. Timid would have to scream in the bullies face to try to get her to back off, but of course bully knows timid is not going to do that.
So Timid is the tipping point, and Bully knows she will win the balance of power, 2 to 1, by Bullying timid, and Bully will win, 2 people to one.
It's maddening. Along these lines, one of my "friends" in the neighborhood, was told (I figured out) by one of the 3 bullies, "Don't walk your dog on the neighborhood streets until I can win over (me), because you and he will end up walking your dogs around the neighborhood together, and we can't attack him by himself, if you're with him."
And my friend, my timid friend, did that. He quit walking around the neighborhood for several years, so our mutual acquaintance could attack me. What did I do? Well, I couldn't do anything, but try to increase my "counter-plans" if one of the bullies increased his attacks.
One of my counter-plans was, I would walk my dog in a different neighborhood.It was a great plan. I stayed positive, which was the main plan, and then would try to top whatever they came up with.
I didn't nec. get more aggressive, they were waiting for that, so they could say, "Did you hear what he said?", so that never happened. Instead, I would try to get more smart, come up with a better counter-plan, than they had an increased aggressive plan.
How did it turn out, after 8 years of attacking over nothing, they finally moved. One bully remains, and is pathologically angry, but I've got a counter plan of informing his wife, who's friendly, thank goodness, when she rides by in the car, of what the truth of the situation is. Telling him the truth doesn't work, for I've tried it 2 or 3 times.
Also I try to figure these people out, as in, why are they acting like that? There is some form of problem there, and I try to figure out what it is. Like anger, like trauma in childhood, like they can't really make friends or talk, so they rely on their anger to communicate and try to win. You know, like, play games.
So I might consider asking your friend not to answer her phone when the bully calls. She might not do that, but she might. If she does, OK. If she doesn't, can you ask your friend who owns the house not to open the door when she drives up and knocks on the door?
She can talk through the door to the bully, when the bully says she wants in, to tell her to get off the porch or she's going to call the police. The bully can't bully the person who is owns the house, they don't know or socialize with each other.
If the bully won't get off the porch, the police can be called. Bullies don't respond well to more powerful forces. They back off. Now, the bully may return when the police leave, and then the police will have to be called again.
You could also consider not opening or talking through the door if she knocks,and calling the police if she doesn't leave the property.
If she gets too aggressive, she could lose "Timid" as a friend, so she may have to hold back a little bit.
It could be a rough few days, but you might have to stand up to her ,and it could result in a win. Also, might con. going at a time when she doesn't know you two have left for the trip.
You might con. not going on the trip if Timid won't agree to not answer the Bullie's phone calls.
I might add, that Timid, if she does talk to Bully on phone, she is not to tell her the address of the house. She'll have to agree to that, and let Bully call all she wants, she can't interrupt the evening.
Bully might realize it would be expensive to drive there, rent a motel room for a number of days,and she doesn't even know where you are. Tell Timid, if she wants free room and board, she can't be answering the phone every 5 minutes.
Thanks for all your thoughts PJVL. It's looking more and more like this is a lose-lose situation for me. I really don't think that Denise will not answer Pat's phone calls, and it's not a matter of her showing up at the beach house, it would be a matter of her showing up wherever we go out to eat, or wherever we go at night. And then Pat would ask Denise where and what time we're going to be out on the beach the next day. If I ask Denise not to tell her where we're going to be, or cancel the beach trip altogether, then Pat is going to want to know why, and what else can Denise say except that I didn't want Denise to tell her where we are, or I didn't want to go to the beach, because she (Pat) was going to be there too. And if that happens, it not only makes me look childish and rude, but I also have no doubt that Pat will do everything she can to undermine mine and Denise's friendship, and I may end up losing my closest friend here.
Yes, I could tell Denise that if she wants free room and board she can't answer Pat's calls, but, once again, that sounds pretty high schoolish. And if I do present that to Denise, I have a strong feeling that Denise would then say she just won't go. Because you're right, she is Timid and would rather not go than stand up to Bully.
So then I end up possibly losing a friend, and not going to the beach at all, b/c I don't really want to go by myself, and it's too late to invite someone else.
BTW PJ: Sorry you had to go through all that stuff in your neighborhood. Sounds like you handled it as well as anyone could have. I like your philosophy in trying to understand why someone is the way they are. I think in Pat's case, she is just a very unhappy person in many areas of her life.
(I worry about women who can't stand up for themselves)
YOU tell Denise the vacation invitation is for her ONLY. She really should not be discussing that invitation with anyone else.
SHE can tell Pat that the invitation was for her ONLY and that she has no power or authority to invite other people on this vacation.
Pat can do whatever she wants.
Denise knows that this invitation is for her only. That's not the issue here. Why wouldn't she mention that she's going on a weekend getaway to a friend? She had no way of knowing that Pat would respond the way she did. At no point did Denise INVITE anyone! Pat just said she was coming, period. And you're right, Pat can do whatever she wants, and what she wants to do is come to the beach and horn in on our girls' weekend. And if you've read the previous posts you will understand that there's no way Denise is not going to accepts Pat's phone calls, especially after driving 4 hours by herself to the beach. So how am I and/or Denise supposed to physically stop someone from answering a phone call or from driving to the beach?
However, Susiedqqq, Tar Heel did say that Pat was Denise's best friend. Again, the plot thickens. I just re-read that in Tar Heel's original post. I forgot that part. They aren't casual acquaintances. So Denise cannot tell Pat that, she cannot be firm with Pat, cause it might jeprodize their friendship.
So I think Tar Heel is right. She's going to have to drop the trip to the Outer Banks. Or, it could have been Myrtle Beach, or Nags Head, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, hit a couple of the seafood restaurants at Callabash, there all so wonderful this time of year.
Hey, invite us. That'll solve your problem. We won't quarrel. We'll appreciate it. Forget Denise.
But I degress. We're supposed to be talking about their situation. OK, here's what I was gonna say before I got lost on the beaches of North Carolina and in my memories of vacations from my teen and younger adult years. Whoa, I took a detour their.
OK, what I was gonna say was, Tar Heel said she was going to call off the trip. She lost the trip, but she kept her friendship with Denise. Which was more important? The friendship.
And what was Pat trying to do? Stop one trip to the beach? No. She was trying to ruin a friendship. And she failed. So Tar Heel won. And so did Denise, who didn't get crushed in the middle, and got to keep her friendship with Tar Heel.
So Tar Heel won 2 or 3 ways, including, she didn't get pulled into this, she backed out and won in that way.
Cooler heads prevailed. Tar Heel's. Maybe they can go to the beach another time. Slip off to Nags Head, I don't know.
But you also gained data about Pat, who is jealous of your friendship with Denise, as you said, and will go to any lengths. You can perhaps use that information when planning any future outings with Denise.
So, Tar Heel, who do you think is going to win this coming Thursday night's football game between South Carolina and North Carolina at Charlotte's Panther Stadium? I'm rating it even.
Well, obviously I'm pulling for UNC - LOL - but unfortunately I think SC has the edge. You never know though.....
'Why wouldn't Denise mention it to Pat?' BECAUSE SHE HAS KNOWN HER ENOUGH TIME TO KNOW HOW SHE TICKS!
There is more than one way, the direct, of inviting someone along.
Denise is obviously trying not to lose Pat (by pissing her off) in the process of becoming your friend, too. She was quite capable of failing to mention the weekend getaway (she could have said she was visiting a sick aunt or something...anything!), but instead, knowing full well what Pat's like and how she'd react, she went ahead and told her.
Denise is your problem (and Pat hers). She doesn't want a one-on-one friendship if it costs her her friendship with Pat, she prefers being in a little pack of three. But you don't like Pat and evidently that's mutual.
Spilt milk. The only options open to you now are to call off the trip or put up with Pat muscling in.
Or - the third - you can box clever: allow Pat to stay and deliberately give her virtually all of your attention, completely focus on her with interested questions galore.
That way, Denise is the one who's lost out as a consequence of her action (as it should be), meaning, she might think twice next time before she goes and WHOOPS!, surreptitiously invites Pushy Pat (or any third, uninvited person) along.
Aside from safeguarding what happens in the future, a side bonus might well be that Pat - no longer feeling threatened by you, quite the opposite - responds favourably to encourage more of the same and relaxes so completely and utterly that you get to see a different side of her (the pleasing one that Denise sees). You might just end up altogether surprised and delighted. After all, you've only seen Pat in this negative, threatened and on-the-defensive-aggressive frame of mind, haven't you. And unless Denise is a total masochist, being the woman's friend MUST bring hefty emotional benefits.
That's what I'd do, anyway, given how the getaway has already turned into a lemon: make long-lasting lemonade out of it.