Advice

Dear Julie: “I’m Stuck In the Middle” + “My Friend’s Breastfeeding Bothers Me”


DAME’s Friendkeeper’s got advice for a woman playing therapist to her married besties, and another who can’t deal with her pal’s boobs in public.



Dear Julie,

A number of years ago my best friend married this really great dude who I now consider to be nearly as good a friend as my original bestie. I hang out with both of them together, I hang out with each of them separately; they’ve been a really great support system for me for a long time. The issue is that they’ve been dealing with some problems in their marriage lately and though they’re not trying to put me in the middle, that’s kind of where I’ve found myself. As far as I can tell they’re pretty standard problems for people who’ve been in a relationship for a long time; neither of my friends is at fault (it’s not like one is cheating or anything) and I’m pretty sure they’ll come through it without signing divorce papers. But in the meantime, how can I be supportive to both of them without feeling like I’m slighting the other? Should I just ask them not to talk to me about it at all? That seems weird too since we usually talk about everything. How do I keep our friendship intact during this rocky period in their relationship?

Third Wheel Therapist

 

Dear TWT,

Is this Janet? Are you writing about Jack and Chrissy? Seriously, I’m impressed that you are such good friends with both people in the couple. That’s not usually the case, but kudos to you for your modern ways. That said, I don’t know if it’s such a good idea for you to be advising both of them. There’s bound to be a time where they are talking and one of them will say, “Janet thinks you should remember to hang your towel up!” And the other will say, “Well Janet thinks YOU should be able to fill the gas tank in the Prius!” And then you’ll be in the middle. I think the fact that they sound like two decent, reasonable people means you can tell them to speak to each other directly. Or see someone professional together. It’s too risky this way and you don’t want to lose them as a support for you, either. There’s no reason you can’t listen to their job woes or other friend issues, but their marital concerns should stay between them. 

xx Julie

 

Dear Julie,

A friend of mine recently had a baby who she brings almost everywhere with her. I’m totally ok with that. What’s making me kind of uncomfortable is her constant breastfeeding. I’m all for breastfeeding and I consider myself a pretty progressive person which is why I’m surprised that I’m bothered by this, but seriously, she’s prone to whipping out her boobs at a second’s notice, no cover up, no nothing, whether we’re at a low-key cafe or a high-end restaurant. Nipple everywhere. She doesn’t seem to give any mind to the looks she gets from fellow diners or wait staff and I wish I didn’t either, but I do! Am I being prude? Would it be out of line for me to ask her to cover up? I don’t want to impose on someone else’s parenting choices but it’s so distracting that I find myself avoiding hanging out with her cause it just feels like a total breast fest. What should I do?

The Worst Breast Friend

 

Dear TWBF,

I think the key here is “recently had a baby.” She is finding her way with the whole thing and may feel “the need to feed” in this manner. It really comes from the person, and what they’re comfortable with. It’s kind of the way I see people at the beach. Some women wear three tiny triangles for a bathing suit, while I’m a fan of the burkini. Some men like Speedos while I prefer them in 1890s bathing costumes. You may have guessed I wasn’t a public breast feeder, but I did walk around my apartment with the boobs hanging out all the time because my daughter never stopped eating and it seemed like too many steps to put them in and take them out. And one of my best friends said, “What the hell is the deal with that?” And then she went on a very long rant about how weird the nipples of nursing women look and part of the reason she didn’t want to have a baby was because she didn’t want the giant ginger-cookie-looking tits. I explained to her that while you were nursing they weren’t tits they were breasts … or udders. But the whole thing made me laugh a lot. Again I think this a highly personal decision. My own feeling is that anything goes with infants, but it does kind of bother me when a 3-year-old puts down his iPad to nurse in public. That just seems political and not my cup of tea. I’d say, when your friend is nursing check your smart phone. And if you really feel horrified, don’t go out with her in public for now. The first few months pass quickly and a lot will change.

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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