Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Softly tell friend she’s crossed a line

Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: What is the best way to end a friendship – to back away slowly and quietly, or to be upfront about why you are unhappy?

My friend has become the Patron Saint of Stressed Mothers. Friends in our group have pitched in to help her adjust to this new lifestyle by baby-sitting, bringing over meals, and listening patiently to all of HER problems.

Now her rudeness is extending to friends, with comments such as, “Well, now you know what MY life is like,” after seven hours of baby-sitting for her. Or better yet, you bring over meals and she complains that she had to turn on her oven.

We all realize that part of this is related to the hormonal adjustment and just being plain tired, but she recently stopped working, and we hoped things would improve. They have not.

Is it time for an intervention, or should we move slowly away and then explain when she finally realizes we’ve had enough? – Ready to Bail on a Friendship

Seven hours? My former new-mother self just fainted.

My current incarnation is finding it hard to believe there isn’t one truth-teller in your entire group.

“Actually, the thing to say to a person who just watched your child gratis for seven hours is, ‘Thank you, O madly merciful one.’ ”

“If there’s a problem with my dinners, say so, because I’ll gladly stop feeding you.”

“I’m concerned about how negative you sound. Have you talked to your doctor about your mood changes since the baby?”

These are plenty solicitous and completely clear – steel wrapped in flannel.

You’re still her friend (for now), so try using this formula to tell her kindly whenever she crosses a line; then wait a reasonable interval to see whether she gets this overdue message.