Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
I live in Manhattan, and I have a very good friend with an adorable 18-month old child. I love my friend, and I think her baby is great...the problem is that she brings that baby everywhere. I’m not just talking brunch, that baby comes to girls night dinners, to parties, even to bars until the wee hours of the morning. We can’t have a conversation that isn’t interrupted by a constant stream of baby chatter or crying. When we have (gently) mentioned to her that maybe X event isn’t the best place to bring her child she gets extremely defensive. Frankly, that baby is both a buzzkill and a cock blocker for us single gals in the group and I’m over it. How do I let her know she needs to get a sitter or stay home without hurting her feelings?
Just say, “It’s not my fault he didn’t pull out!” AM I RIGHT SINGLE LADIES?!?! Wait, no, that is the very thing you should not do!
Okay, true story: My friend Katy grew up in bars and restaurants in NOLA, because that’s where her single momma worked and it’s not like she had a round-the-clock nanny. She was exposed to adult conversation at an early age and, as a result, developed amazing communication skills as well as the ability to socialize with all types of folks. But you know what? Sometimes grown-up time was just grown-up time, and that’s when other people took care of Katy – family, friends, and of course her drag queen babysitter, who trained her early on in the drag queen arts: throwing shade, looking fierce, and applying eyelash glue.
I’m not saying you need to find an actual drag queen and pay her to babysit your friend’s kiddo (although you’re in Manhattan and it’s totally a possibility). I’m saying your friend needs to learn the art of compromise. If she’s got enough money to go out to brunch, dinner, and occasionally bars, well, she can presumably save up for a sitter once in awhile. I can’t think of a graceful way for you all to offer to chip in, and I don’t think it’s your financial responsibility as her friends to cover her babysitting costs.
Tell her, “Listen, I think it’s really important you get out of the house without the baby sometimes and just take care of yourself. You deserve to have time with your girls. We’re going to this hot new club next week, Hay, where you sit on bales of hay and drink moonshine. Why don’t you get a sitter and come out and get a little wild with us?” Give her at least a week's notice so that she has time to get childcare.
Obviously, you can’t use this approach all the time. So I think you’re just going to have to not invite her to some things, like impromptu after-work tequila shots. If she asks why, tell her honestly, “Well, we figured we were going to a bar to hunt cock, and last time you brought Evangeline and she puked all over the waitress. The time before that, she threw her own poop at the bartender. We didn’t want to tell you to leave her at home, so we decided we’d just go out on our own.” If your friend’s feelings get hurt, well, them’s the breaks. Our lives and friendships change as we get older, and it’s unfair and also creepy to expect your gaggle of single girlfriends to accommodate your kid at a boozy pre-fuckfest.
I have a “friend” who is more of an acquaintance now. I don’t really care for Ann; she’s rude to waitstaff, treated her ex in an abusive way, is aggressive and does not listen to others. She likes to control things and I’ve realized she’s unstable to be around. I would be more than happy to have nothing to do with Ann these days. She is, however, close with one of my best friends and whenever something is arranged Ann tags along. My other friends despise Ann, too. How do we get this one friend to NOT invite Ann along?
I’m sorry, did you say she’s rude to waitstaff? Then she can burn in the fires of the deepest pit in Hell, because she is the worst. I am exaggerating only mildly. In my travels through this wacky thing we call life, I have learned one ironclad rule: if you mistreat service workers, you are a shit person. Therefore, I am happy to join on the Ann Sucks bandwagon.
The way I see it, you and your girlfriends have two options. The first is to continue hating Ann and talking shit about her behind her back. That can be fun for awhile, but it’s certainly a waste of energy. And it basically makes you a Mean Girl, so you become that which you abhor. It makes your soul uglier. We do not want you to have an ugly soul.
The other option is for all of you to sit your best friend down and say, “Ann is awful. She is awful for these reasons/incidents: X, Y, and Z. Do not bring her around us anymore. When we hang out as a group, she is not invited.” If Ann finds out and confronts you, either refuse to speak to her (who cares? She sucks!) or calmly tell her exactly why she has made herself unwelcome among your group of friends. Cite specific examples. This woman is not your boss or your sister-in-law; you don’t have to pretend to care about her.
I have a jealousy problem. I am friends with some incredibly smart, foxy, hilarious friends. I’m also related to some amazingly accomplished people. I love them all to tiny bits and I am so proud of everything my peeps have done, and I know they’ll continue to go on to do super awesome things in their lives. But underneath all that support, I also have this uncontrolled envy that pops up no matter what. The voice pops up in the back of my head, comparing myself to everyone else, and always falling short. It’s illogical, and self-destructive. How can I start to get a handle on this jealousy thing?
It's hard not to get jealous when your best friend is a natural size 4, or your cousin is a doctor and a lawyer, or your pet monkey wins an Emmy. I think the underlying here is that you don’t love yourself enough or appreciate your own accomplishments. And that makes me think it’s time to get thee to a therapist. Seriously. I’m not saying you’re dealing with a mental disorder. I’m saying you could use a guide, your own personal Yoda, to help improve your self-confidence and therefore your life as a whole.
Along with the therapy thing, which I really do think is necessary, I’ve got a few other ideas. I suggest you look at yourself in the mirror at least once every single day and say, “I love you exactly as you are. You’re fucking awesome.” Keep saying it every single day for two months, and see if it does any good. If it doesn't, so what? You only wasted three seconds a day telling yourself how great you are.
And the next time you feel the twinge of jealousy, tell yourself, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In other words, your friends' successes will help your own success. Then take the energy of your jealousy and put it into your own passionate pursuit.
Image by Jim Cooke, photos via Shutterstock.