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Personal space issues and pushy 'friend'!


Chippy86

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Hi all, firstly thanks for reading and I really hope you can give me a bit of advice!

I will try and keep it brief: my bfs best friend's wife is causing me a few headaches and stress . She is firstly quite a naturally loud, dominating character (I am not and find it hard to identify with people like this!!) she means well a lot of the time and is open and enthusiastic enough . However she has virtually no friends in this country (having moved here a couple of years ago to marry said fronds after a whirlwind romance, quite literally). So I feel as if she relies on me far too heavily. I am happy to spend a bit of time every now and again socialising with them both (or just her) and have had the odd nice lunch / afternoon out etc however, I often come away feeling drained, resentful. The majority (not exaggerating when I say around 80%) of the time spent with her she is just talking about herself (or more specifically moaning about various people she has encountered and fallen out with). I may get a word in but it's quickly turned around again to whatever she wants to talk about . She often wants to make plans with myself and boyfriend every weekend, part of my issue with this is I only see my partner at weekends, if I'm lucky, due to his work. I appreciate quality time with him as it's precious and obviously we make time for friends and family but a big proportion of our spare time is taken up seeing them(!) anyway you can make excuses etc which sometimes I do, but now it's really taken the biscuit she is determined she wants them to move to a house in our little town(!!) currently they live 20 minutes drive away, but apparently she has her heart set on trying to buy a house down our road. This really is way too close for comfort for me, like there will be no escaping lol. Is there anything I could do or do I just have to grin and bear it?? Xx

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If it was me in your situation, I'd enlist the help of my boyfriend. Tell him you don't really care for this woman enough to spend that much time with her, and that you really want to protect the time you have to spend just the two of you. Decide between the two of you how often you will hang out with the both of them. Then stick to it. You don't have to have a big confrontation or anything, just tell her and hubby that you two would like to hang out alone some evening when they invite you out, or that you already have plans just the two of you. As far as you being obligated to hang out with her alone, you aren't. It's your life, and you get to spend it with people you enjoy. It isn't your job to be her friend because she isn't capable of making other friends (and I can see why given your description of her). I would suddenly be busy a lot when she asks to hang out, and if you need to assuage your guilt or whatever, have coffee with her once a week or something. Or - if you feel like you want to save the "friendship" - be honest with her and tell her how you feel. If she doesn't respectfully address it, you have a concrete reason to end the friendship.

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You are going to have to assert yourself or this woman will continue to steamroll over the top of you. She feels comfortable doing so, because you've never stood up to her and she likes having that quiet meek friend who won't ever say anything no matter how loud or obnoxious she gets.

 

First start by telling your boyfriend you're really tired of spending every weekend with them and it's making you start to resent them. Tell the BF you need a break and you want to spend time with him and you book a couples activity for the weekend. Then you call the couple up and say, "We can't see you this coming weekend, BF and I need some alone time. We'll talk to you next week when we get back." Then you hang up the phone before they can get their protests in, you grab your BF and you both hop in the car and go. Stay gone the entire weekend. You leave no opportunity for these people to invite themselves along, you just go. And if they ask to come too you tell them no.

 

You will have to get really comfortable with saying no.

 

Next you go find other activities that you want to do and you make yourself not so available. "Let's have lunch on Wednesday, but I'm booked Monday and Tuesday so those days are out." Then you go and you make other friends and you do your own activities and you don't invite her.

 

Third when you are having lunch with her and she wants to go off on one of her rants you look her dead in the eye and you say quietly and calmly, "Enough, I do not want to hear any more about the people who've done you wrong. It's a negativity that doesn't suit you and I walk away feeling drained. What's good about your life right now, that's what I want to hear." And after she talks for awhile you stop her and say, "Okay, now it's my turn." And you talk and if she interrupts you then you tell her directly that while you like her when she monopolizes the conversation all the time it makes you feel like she doesn't value your friendship and it's your turn to talk.

 

If she has a tantrum to any of these things you stop talking, you get up, you pay the bill and you walk away. You tell her in leaving, "I will talk to you when you act like an adult and stop throwing a tantrum." You repeat this same message to the guys if and when it comes up. If she comes around and starts behaving herself then great, you treat her warmly and with respect and you spend time with her. If not then you get added to the list of people she's at war and much like them probably you breathe a sigh of relief over never having to deal with her again. And your BF has to handle his own relationship with his best friend accordingly who frankly is probably delighted that he can push his wife on you and escape for a bit. But that's not your job.

 

That talk about wanting to move down the road from you will likely cease and either she'll turn into a good friend or she won't, but you won't have her steamrolling over you. Or you say nothing and you wait until she's moved into a house down the street and you resign yourself to having her at your place practically 24/7 while the guys run off and leave you babysitting her. Your choice since yeah, sometimes you have to speak up and be the bad guy, but the alternative is a whole heckuva lot worse.

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This woman doesn't sound pushy, you sound unassertive. I find it amazing that we have so much tolerance for unassertive people.

 

First you've said the woman has few friends, she probably assumes you're friends, assumes you like her, and doesn't talk to a lot of people.

 

If you don't like her, turn down her requests. Simple as that.

 

If you want some solution that work without being mean, why don't you help her to find other friends?!? No, it's not your responsibility but you're the one with the problem. For example:

- send her links for events, continuing education classes etc but tell her in the email you're not interested but you thought she might be

- sign both of you up for meetups and hope she meets people or takes the initiative.

 

What is the female equivalent for "man-up"? Do that!

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Thank you for all your answers! And yes I totally agree I can be unassertive, and typically this doesn't cause me many issues as most of my friends and family aren't like this woman at all and I am unused to having to be so blunt with people, usually if I make enough excuses etc to someone they get the hint and stop bugging me. I personally tend to equate bluntness with rudeness (but that's just my personal view point!! ) my assertiveness (or lack of) is something im working on and I really appreciate that needs to improve otherwise I'm partly to blame for my own situations I find myself in lol. Having said that here it's not the whole issue because the reality is she is like this with almost everyone I've seen her interact with. And the friends thing I didn't have a lot of time to explain but she has HAD friends since being here (his friends wives / gfs, various work placements and jobs, she goes to college etc she has had so many opportunities to make friends but she doesn't seem to be able, or the ones she was close to say a year / 2 years ago she appears to have fallen out with now! red flags for me right there.

Anyhow, spottiotti I think you have a great point and that's really helpful advice I have mentioned a couple of times before relating to specific events / situations but I think I could do with being a lot clearer on the issue and also trying to encourage my other half to spend time with HIS friend (her husband) without her (or me!) having to be involved all the time, they never seem to organise stuff themselves for just the two of them.

And parispaulette thanks so much am going to take your advice on board, getting comfortable with saying no is the key I think and I think up until now I've been scared of speaking my mind because I don't WANT to offend her in any way and the reason for this is because I don't want to make things awkward between the four of us (you know like she might b*** to her husband saying I'm being nasty or whatever / my bf might think I'm not making enough effort etc) but I don't want to suffer in silence either and there's a limit to my patience so yeh, going to just see how it goes I think and fingers crossed some 'balls ' might grow or something haha x

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Yes Chippy, I have to agree you are being too hard on this woman. Granted, she sounds obnoxious. But people can only fix a problem if they know there IS a problem.

 

It is not a bad idea to give your bf a head's up that you don't really click with this gal. Then you need to firmly but gently create some boundaries.

 

Go ahead and make those excuses. Even if it is as simple/honest as "Actually, bf and I haven't had much alone time, we're just going to watch a romantic movie on the couch Saturday."

 

Then once, you've refused go ahead and offer an alternative plan like: "Sorry, I am so exhausted from this week, I don't think I'm up for a shopping trip this Sun. But there's a great movie coming out next month...wanna go once it's open?"

 

By doing this, you will gently indicate to her that the time you have for her is not on a weekly basis, but a once a month or so thing. You will also be able to carefully choose activities that will have her getting on your nerves less. You think she talks too much? Suggest concerts and movies where she'll have to shut her trap.

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