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How do you stay friends?

standard July 5, 2007 3 responses

I have a friend. I know, it’s a shock. This girl is amazing; she’s funny, she’s smart, she’s just the kind of person I want to be friends with forever. However, she hasn’t really spoken to me in months and I’m not sure what to do about the issue.

This friend has a daughter; a cute 3 year old who seems to have some sensory integration issues. I’m no expert, but a close friend of ours happens to be one, and it’s her professional opinion that this child has some issues and would benefit from occupational therapy.

At a dinner a few months ago the professional friend brought up Sensory Integration Disorder and hinted that maybe they might want to read some material that she could get for them. I mentioned some things that I had read myself and the conversation went on from there. At the time I thought it was just a few friends discussing the issues that can make life difficult for children. In retrospect I should have realized that she would take everything personally.

She thinks I was judging her child and comparing her to my own “perfect” child (who was playing quietly near the table at the time). She thinks it wasn’t my place to discuss this at all, and I should have kept my opinions to myself.

Fact is, I’m just not the kind of person who would keep my mouth shut. If you have spinach in your teeth, I’ll tell you. If we’re shopping and you try on something unflattering, I won’t let you buy it. And if I think your child has issues and might benefit from being evaluated by a specialist, I’m going to tell you how I feel. If you are my friend I expect the same treatment. I may not like it at first, but I’m not going to shun you for telling me, and I’m definitely not going to give you the cold shoulder without telling you why!

This dinner and her reticence to speak to me coincided with the start of my second trimester. Until recently I honestly thought that she was uncomfortable around me because of my pregnancy. I know they’ve been trying for a second child for a long time now, I thought it was painful for her to see or talk to me. I was trying to be sensitive and stay away. Now I feel like an idiot.

I need to contact her and make amends (without letting on that a third party had to tip me off to the situation), but I’m not sure whether it’s worth the effort. We’re never going to see eye to eye on child rearing. We’re always going to have radically different opinions about how to help our children through life. I love her as a person, but I don’t like how she parents. I’m pretty sure she feels the same way about my mothering. So what do I do? Is it worth remaining friends? Should I make amends or should I let the friendship die? Our children are really young, this isn’t just going to go away.

What would you do?

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3 responses

  • To quote:

    I have a friend. I know, it’s a shock. This girl is amazing; she’s funny, she’s smart, she’s just the kind of person I want to be friends with forever.

    *****

    Contact her. Either way, you’ll know for sure.

  • I’d agree, if it were not for the fact that similar parenting styles are crucial if a friendship is to survive. It sounds like you have differing communication processes too.

    It is awful I know, but sometimes you just have to let friends go.

  • I’d be really really careful about posting about friendships on blogs. Will she read this? It’s a immensely public arena to air out the “dirty wash”.

    Some times, even if you love a friend dearly, it just seems that it won’t work.

    I recently had that happen myself, lost a friend, due to miscommunication, and there’s not any amount of fixing that could fix what went wrong. Dumb?? I know… sad, too, but I guess that’s just how the ball drops some times.

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