Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Tell Me About It: Friends who are never without the kids

Can I get some alone time with my friend or does she always have to bring her kids?
Can I get some alone time with my friend or does she always have to bring her kids?

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: I'm at a stage of life when many friends are having kids, and I am very accommodating. I've always liked kids, and my friends' kids enjoy spending time with Auntie Kate.

My problem is I feel a couple of these friends are taking advantage. One has brought her kids along on every single get-together we've had since she had her first child five years ago. Another moved an hour away when she had kids, and about 95 percent of the time our activities involve my going to her house to hang out with her kids.

I understand their kids come first, but both are married and have access to affordable child care and relatives. When I ask to meet up, it's with plenty of notice. Am I asking too much?

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  • Answer: Question is, are you actually asking? Have you spelled out what you would like? "I'd love some one-on-one time. Maybe a nice dinner?"

    If each says no, you have your (unfortunate) answer - but I suspect from what you've written that your being so amenable to having the kids around is part of the equation here, that your friends are taking advantage more by default than on purpose. Worth a shot to try to change the assumptions.

    Question: My wife is an introvert. I get that, and we long ago shifted to a system where I only ask her to attend outside-the-home events important to me. After declining seven invitations from a couple who are my friends, we have been invited to spend a weekend at a friend's mountain cabin. My wife has agreed to go, but she's sighing and moping and making me feel horrible for asking.

    I've given her the out of my going without her, but she insists we go together. What now?

    Answer: She's acting like a child. "When you say yes, please own it. Don't mope around the house like I gave your kitten away."

    Question: A neighbor gets in her van, then honks her horn (sometimes more than once) to alert the kids that it's time to go "now!" This has been going on for years, and the quiet of the street is broken up. Is there any way to approach this, or should I suck it up until the kids finally learn time-management?

    Answer: I've lived either in a big city or near a fire station my entire life, and a day punctuated by only three brief episodes of loud noise doesn't even show up on my nuisance radar.

    If I knew and disliked this neighbor, it might, which I suspect is the nub. You dislike her, and therefore resent the noise?

    The answer's the same regardless - let it go as a minor cost of living - but that might be easier if you know why she bugs you so.

     


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    Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

     

    Carolyn Hax
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