communication

Dear Julie: Advice About an Enabler and a Kid-Hating Friend


DAME’s Friendkeeper knows just what to do with a healthy-habit saboteur and helps a mom handle a pal who can’t stand her children.



Dear Julie,

I’m not a fan of the word diet, but recently I’ve made it my mission to eat healthier—veggies, whole foods, no sugar (ok, well, less sugar). I’m hoping these changes will get my energy up and truth be told, I could stand to lose a few lbs. Considering that I used to eat just about whatever whenever, this is a big change not only for me, but also for those around me. Most have taken to it with nonchalance or support, but I have one friend who just can’t let it be. When we go out for coffee she’ll automatically get me a pastry too. If I’m at her house, she offers up soda and salty snacks. When we’re out to dinner she’ll order the least healthy apps, then give me shit for not eating them. When it’s time for dessert she changes her tactic: “Just one piece of cake won’t hurt you! You’ve been doing SO good, you deserve it.” At first, I blamed forgetfulness but at this point it feels like outright sabotage. How can I tell her nicely to shove that cookie where the sun don’t shine? I don’t want to stop hanging out with her, but I don’t want to be constantly tempted, and I certainly don’t want to be made to feel bad about the way I’m trying to eat.

Signed,

She Can Bite Me

 

Dear SCBM,

Ah yes, the enabler. Whether you’re trying to diet, quit smoking, cut out drinking, or stop adopting so many dogs, there’s always someone who makes it very difficult for you to reach that goal. And mostly they have no idea they are doing it. Or they think they’re being kind to you (you don’t really need to lose weight or five dogs isn’t that many).  

And they don’t want things to change. Because if you are making a change in a habit that isn’t good for you, they might have to look at their things, too.

You really have no choice with this but to sit down (not at a restaurant or bakery or Shake Shack) and address this head on. 
“My friend, I need your support with this endeavor, it is really hard for me to do and I can use all the help I can get.” As we know, it’s hard enough to resist temptation without the cronut being shoved in our face.

If she still isn’t supportive, you need to not eat with her, because it really is unfair for you to be trying to improve yourself and have to fight outside influences. And also, please tell her to stop sending me photos of dogs on death row, if I take one more I will be evicted.

xx Julie

 

Dear Julie,

I’ve got two kids under the age of five. I love them to pieces but I’ll be the first to admit, they’re kind of a handful. They’re kids, of course they are! But I have a friend who, though she would never say, seems to love them quite a bit less. In fact, I get the feeling that she kind of can’t stand them. When she comes over, she assumes a position of tight-lipped tolerance. If I bring them to group gatherings with mutual friends she steers clear of all of us. But when it’s just the two of us, our dynamic is great! She’s hilarious, thoughtful, and I consider her a close confidant. But how close can we really be if she wants nothing to do with two of the most important things in my life? I’ve even found myself not talking too much about my kids when I’m with her cause I can feel the eyeroll brewing. I have plenty of other childfree friends who get along with my little ones just fine. What’s up with this one? And what can I do about it?

Please help,

My Kids Are Alright

 

Dear MKAA,


I found something out recently that I feel like I can share with you: Not everyone likes kids. In fact, some people down right DON’T like them. As a mom, I’ve encountered this—the dread of certain people when they see someone under the amusement park– height requirement. It sucks. Because kids—the best of them—can and should be “energetic” at times. And sometimes too loud. And as parents we want to see our children happy and we don’t ascribe to them being “seen and not heard.” The thing about your issue that resonates with me though, comes from when I was a kid. My mom had this artist friend who was single and lived in a cottage in some woods far away from people; she didn’t have or want kids. She always made this sour face when my brothers and I appeared. I remember once laughing very loud and obnoxiously (to amuse my brothers) and she said, “SHHHH” and her face looked like Cruella de Ville and I was ashamed… but not so ashamed that I actually quieted down, because, you know, fuck her. The thing is, I believe our responsibility as mothers and fathers is to not let our children behave obnoxiously in a situation that affects people who aren’t related to us. There are times like on a plane where there’s nothing we can do, but if you’re in a movie or a quiet restaurant and your child is going nuts, get ’em out. I have picked my screaming/tantrumming daughter up, who had suctioned herself to the floor of Sephora on Broadway and “gently placed” her in a cab so as not to disturb the whole rest of the Upper West Side. That said, we are all comfortable with different levels of “fracas.”   I think what you need to do is take a very deep, chardonnay-infused breath and let your friend know that you love her, but you love your kids and they are at this time, just kids. If she doesn’t want to be around them, you can visit with her alone. You can live with that. What you can’t live with is the grimaces and dodges because that hurts your feelings. 

xx Julie

 

Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.

 

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