Tag Archives: relationships

Friendship Friday: are you friends with your kids?

My kids are not my friends.

I don’t want to be friends with them right now. That is a privilege that awaits them when they are adults.

I have friends who are great friends with their kids. I have tried that approach (well, a mild version of it), but I was forced to put a stop to it. Because I couldn’t seem to get the balance right. The boundaries kept getting crossed. It’s possible that I didn’t work at it long enough – I can accept that, but it’s fine. For now, I am the Mom and they are the kids.

This very clear boundary works for me. I make the rules. I make the decisions. I am the adult in the relationship.

I do make an effort to  maintain openness. I have always tried to do that. I don’t quite know if it’s paying off yet – I guess I will know when Child1 becomes a proper teenager. For now, he appears to like talking to me about stuff (he feels free to tell me cool and not cool stuff and even things that he did wrong that he feels bad about or things that make him feel sad or whatever)  and he seems to enjoy my company very much. This makes me happy.

I DO treat them with respect. THE WAY I WOULD TREAT MY FRIENDS.

This means that I am as kind as I could possibly be even on hard days.

It means that I don’t shout at them.

It means that I try not to judge them or their very limited choices. But I WILL nip a potential bad choice in the bud. STAT.

It means that I listen to them, give them my full attention, do fun stuff with them and make time to engage and to connect with them.

It means that our relationship MUST be based on trust and complete honesty and that this is not negotiable.

It means that I will mentor them and be a safe place for them. ALWAYS.

It means that I will accept them for who they are. Flaws and all.

I guess though that one could say that there IS a friendship between my kids and I. Our relationship HAS to be based on that in order for it to work. BUT. It is a different type of friendship. It has limits and MANY boundaries. They ain’t my BFF’s or anything.

For the moment this works well for my DH and I.

I don’t know if the current approach is going to ruin the possibility of our adult friendship. I hope not. It certainly hasn’t ruined my relationship with my parents who only became my friends when I reached adulthood. I count them as two of my very best friends.

For now though, our “friendship” will continue in the way that it has, although there is going to be a bit of a shift with Child1 in the coming years. I will continue to work hard to maintain a fair balance between Mommy and Friend and safe place.

Over to you:

Are you friends with your kids?

How do you maintain the balance between friend and parent?

Do you struggle with it and find it a challenge?

Do you believe that parents should be friends with their kids?

Apparently certain foods can press THOSE buttons

Some foods are apparently aphrodisiacs.

There are studies. I wonder who actually takes part in studies like that and HOW EXACTLY these studies are done? I sooooo want to be part of a study like that. I LOVE food. A LOT. And dot dot dot.  Would you be part of a study like that if you are asked?

Anyway. Food doesn’t make me want to jump my Boyfriends bones or anything – clearly I need A LOT less than that!

In other words, food doesn’t seem to have an aphrodisiac effect on me. And believe me, I tried them all just to see, because I AM in the business of doing my own studies about stuff like this.

Here’s some of what I tried:

Oysters – nope. Made me nauseous. Couldn’t stand the texture. No romance followed that experiment.

Avo – nope. It made me want MORE avo because avo happens to be one of my favourite things.

Sushi – nope. It just made me greedy for more sushi. No aphrodisiac effect there. Just greediness. Because I LOVE sushi.

Chocolate – I rarely crave it (except when I’m pms’ing), and it genuinely has no aphrodisiac effect. Well, not for me anyway.

Figs – again, no effect.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE eating figs. No aphrodisiac effect in these parts though. When I’m eating figs then at that moment I want MORE figs. Not dot dot dot.

Radish and asparagus – I don’t really buy these and can’t remember when I last ate them. Somehow I doubt that they would have that effect on me.  I cannot think how something that looks so unappetizing can have an aphrodisiac effect on ANYONE!

Wine – Um ABSOLUTELY YES. Whiskey DOES make you frisky. This one wins hands down EVERY SINGLE TIME. In moderation only and possibly in combination with these foods. Which leads me to believe that it’s the wine and NOT the food that makes me want to get undressed STAT.

Do you believe that there is truth to the whole “eat-this-and-you’ll-be-in-the-mood-for-dotdotdot” thing?

Do I possibly just need A LOT MORE or even A LOT LESS than the average woman to actually want to get nekkid?

Could I be over-thinking this?

Am I just a greedy guts?

Ps…if you are too shy to comment…LOL..then just send me an email. OK?

Pps…if you have never thought about this or really have no clue about food/aphrodisiacs, then do feel free to do your OWN study. OK?

ppps…if I have left any aphrodisiacs off the list then let me know. OK?  I’m happy to do further studies on this side of Cape Town.

Extrovert/Introvert

I consider myself to be an extroverted introvert.

I like people a lot and genuinely enjoy socialising. I get my energy in this way – though I do have a preference for smaller, more intimate socials as opposed to really big ones.

However, I need downtime. In fact, I need significant amounts of downtime to recover from people. Downtime for me = being home, being quiet, taking a nap, reading a book, vegging in front of the TV, lying in the sun etc. It is for this reason that I will only ever plan one social on a weekend and if I can’t get out of having just one, then I will make sure to schedule AT LEAST 2 hours of quiet time somewhere.

If I don’t have enough down time then I become frazzled and start to feel overwhelmed. I start to become tired and irritable. And it feels like I’m out of sync in a way.

My DH is exactly the same – thank goodness.  In fact, he needs A LOT more downtime than me. This is one of the reasons why we will never go on holiday with other people – even for a weekend. Because if we want time-out then we want time-out. It’s a bit rude to take a time out when you are WITH people. Btw..we did try once to go on holiday with another couple and their child.  We had a great time but after that long weekend, we needed another long weekend holiday to recover!

I do find that introverts get a lot of flack which really is so unnecessary. Fact is, they really just have different needs. They DO have strengths – GOOD strengths, but these strengths are often overlooked because they are not loud and bouncing off the walls.  It’s kind of sad, really.  It’s not wrong to be introverted, it’s just different.  Don’t know why so many people (i.e. those who are not introverts) struggle with this so much.

Child1 is DEFINITELY extroverted. People love this. He NEEDS to have very regular contact with people. He is loud and talks all the time.  Child2 is the opposite. He loves being alone and can entertain himself for hours. He talks when he feels like it and can easily go for days without saying a word.

Child2 enjoys being out and about but he doesn’t necessarily need people when he’s out and about. He’s really at his happiest when he has his Mommy and his Daddy and his Brother around.  His favourite thing to do is just to go for a drive. Even just to buy bread at the cafe.  He REALLY doesn’t need people. I find that many people (in my family especially) struggle with this which I guess can be an adjustment if you are used to a Child1.  It really has never been an issue to my DH and I.

I have an extroverted friend who is BATTLING at the moment. She’s just moved home after being abroad for 10 years and has no job yet so  is also out of routine which complicates things even more. She stays with her sister who is a homebody.

This is the story of her life on an average day:

Friend’s sister goes to work during the day.

Friend is home alone during the day. No people contact except for BBM and online friends. ALL DAY.  Friend has tried to reach out to all her old friends but is battling. Everyone has changed and moved on – it has been 10 years already! No one is going out of their way for her or anything.

Friend’s sister comes home from work and wants to relax in front of the TV after dinner or maybe read her book or whatever. Friend’s sister essentially needs for her brain to go quiet and settle and she has her little routines to make this happen.

Friend (by now) is STARVED for conversation with real people by the time her sister comes home and literally bounces off the walls. Also, Friend wants to go out. To a restaurant, for a walk, to the beach.  ANYTHING really. Friend really just wants to get out of the house. Can’t stop talking. Makes plans.

Friend’s sister feels overwhelmed and shuts down.  They clash.

Friend can’t cope. Wants to go back overseas.

Fortunately Julia is the best person for Friend to talk to about the Friendship stuff (remember she’s been on her own friendship trip this year) but Julia simply has no answers about how she can manage her extroverted nature to avoid her poor sister going nuts!

Any ideas? What advice would you have for my friend wrt the extrovert/introvert issue?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

If you are an extrovert, how do you keep it in check if you need to?

In fact, if you are extroverted, how do you cope with introverts, especially if you are forced to spend a lot of time with them?

 

Weddings and Marriage.

The subject of weddings has been on my mind a lot lately – probably because we just had one in our family and I’ve been involved in a bit of the drama that it inevitably brings.

I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed my wedding.  In fact, I will come right out and say that I didn’t enjoy my wedding.

It was definitely not about me and it simply didn’t reflect who I am – or rather who I was at the time. I was also about 4 months pg and so there were hormones and fatigue and everything else involved.

I did make a STUNNINGLY beautiful bride (if I must say so myself) and I was so skinny, it’s unbelievable. Beautiful, perfect skin. Not a single wrinkle or pimple. Perfect hair. Perfect make-up. A dashing man. The world at our feet.

I enjoy small and intimate and meaningful. My wedding was definitely not small and intimate and I was so overwhelmed by everything and by all these people that I kind of missed out on meaningful.  I even asked my DH at the reception if we could leave now because I was starting to get annoyed with all the guests wanting to kiss me and all the smiling (one can only do so-much fake smiling and face-gym) and photos and flashing cameras and all the people and and and. That was at about 6pm when the reception just started. Shame, I remember him being very sympathetic – but we simply couldn’t leave – it would have been rude.

I personally feel that often,  too much is made of the actual wedding day and that couples forget that the marriage only starts the next day. Many of them forget this because all that is on their minds is this one day and the flowers and food and and and.

I think that I may be biased about this. Really, I have found marriage to be incredibly hard. WAY harder than getting through my wedding day.

What I DO love about weddings is the fact that it is ALL ABOUT INTENTIONS AND THE DECLARATIONS THEREOF. You are declaring to your partner that you will ALWAYS be there, no matter what. You are declaring it publicly and making your intention known to whoever is around to witness it.  I think it’s BEAUTIFUL and honestly, a very bold and BRAVE thing to do.

I must admit that I grin to myself a little when I watch the bridal couple – especially at the point when they say vows and make these promises to one another. They have stars in their eyes. They are so in love. They often don’t have kids yet. And they truly believe that things will be perfect from that point onwards.

I grin to myself and I wonder if they know that this is possibly the best and the easiest that it will ever be. That this is quite  possibly the best that they or their spouse will ever look. If they must only know that at some point, the fantasy will become reality and that they are going to have to pay bills, deal with A LOT of adversity, have kids and deal with this, that and the other. If they must only know the MAGNITUDE of this commitment that they are making.

I believe that sometimes, couples lose sight of the HUGE commitment that they are making. And mark my words, it is a MASSIVE commitment.

Seriously. One person until you one of you die. No matter what.

Whether you or they are healthy or sick –  even though chances are that you haven’t ever needed to deal with someone else’s bodily fluids.

Whether you are wealthy or poor - even though chances are that you’ve never had to deal with an unemployed spouse AND having to cover all the bills. Or you’ve never had to deal with someone who simply can’t work with money.

In good times and in bad times – need I say more? Bad times can be anything from addiction to depression to infidelity to uncertainty to problems with interfering in-laws. Really, the list is endless and I can do an entire blog post on this.

Until death ends your union  – forever can be a VERY long time, especially if there is a lot more poorer than richer and especially if the bad times seem to go on and on and on and on.

I do think sometimes that the vows need to be re-looked at, because at the end of the day, this is the real world.

Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not knocking down the institution of marriage. I honestly believe that it’s a BEAUTIFUL thing, even though it is damn hard work. And as I said earlier, I do understand that weddings are all about intention and declaring your intentions before God and before the masses

However,  I am occasionally skeptical about marriage – or could I possibly be skeptical about people? I don’t know – I guess it’s something to think about and I DO think that about 90% of the time there is WAY TOO MUCH focus on just this one day i.e the lead-up to the marriage.

And no, I am not saying that it is wrong to “go big or go home” if that’s your thing. I’m merely saying that sometimes one needs to look beyond the ONE DAY, and that when a couple is so caught up in the details of the ONE DAY, they can lose sight of what’s ahead.

I do think that  there many, many people who do not realise how big this thing called marriage is.  Because if they did,  then there wouldn’t be such a high divorce rate.

My very first job was for a firm of attorneys. Divorce was our biggest money spinner.  Not maintenance, DIVORCE.  And interestingly enough, our smallest money spinner was pre-nups. AT the time (I’m talking nearly 10 years ago) in the Western Cape alone there were 4000 divorces a year – just in the Southern Divorce Court. That’s not counting divorces that take place in the High Court. I shudder to think what that figure could be by now.

 

So this is what I would say to someone who wants to get married:

Get a pre-nup. I cannot stress this enough. One just NEVER knows what the future holds and for all you know, your partner could become a substance abuser or something in a few years.

Marriage i.e. the thing that starts the day after the wedding is not easy but it’s wonderfully fulfilling if both parties are in it.

It’s best to understand EXACTLY how BIG this thing called lifelong commitment and marriage is. Preferably BEFORE you walk down the aisle.

You may think on your wedding day (when you are staring into your partners eyes) that you can’t possibly love this person more or that you’ve reached the pinacle of your love. Trust me,  you haven’t.  Your love will grow and grow and grow. And it’s BEAUTIFUL.

If you have ANY doubt in your mind, even just  1% of doubt. Then DON’T DO IT.

What are your thoughts on weddings vs marriage?

Do you think that sometimes too much is made of the actual day and that couples lose sight of what’s to come?

Do you think that couples actually realise the magnitude of what they are promising one another?

What advice would you give someone who wants to get married and is caught up in the fairy tale part of it?

 

 

Would you marry YOU? AKA I am VERY thankful for my Boyfriend

Recently I was clicking and clicking and clicking through blogs and I happened upon a post where this question (i.e. Would you marry YOU) was asked. Of course I was clever enough not to bookmark the post so I can’t link it here.

I figured that I would explore this question and to start off my research I made a pros and cons list.

Here are the PROS of being married to Julia:

She WILL take your needs into account. ALWAYS.

She WILL do little things to steal your heart.

She will ALWAYS use kind words. – well, at least when she’s not angry.

She’s very practical and obviously this is a useful skill to have when managing various personalities within the home.

She doesn’t freak out that easily – more often than not, she’s the calming presence. She usually freaks out once you are done freaking out. She’s kind enough to give you a chance to go first.

She works HARD for what she wants.

She is passionate about advocating for her kids and is mostly a lovely Mom to them.

Julia doesn’t shout.

Julia is A LOT of fun and you WILL enjoy her company. She’s your very best friend AND your lover AND your spouse and your partner and she KNOWS how to be impromptu and spontaneous and let her hair down. She will ALWAYS have your back.

Julia is REALLY good at encouraging people so you know that you will be married to your biggest fan.

Julia is extremely intuitive and will know what is going on before you even talk to her.

She has quality time and words of affirmation as her primary love languages followed very closely by physical touch as a secondary love language – she doesn’t mind not getting actual gifts so you can save LOTS of money – she’s not high maintenance.

 

CONS:

Julia is not that awesome at cooking if she’s rushed and uninspired and is subjected to whiny kids at night. So if good food is what you want, then you are going to have to make sure that she’s a kept woman. Otherwise it’s going to be spagbol and occasional minute steaks. Like very regularly.

Julia is not particularly big on entertaining and finds it exhausting to be with people for too long periods. She gets her energy from people but needs quite a bit of down time to recover from them.  If you are a VERY social creature then you won’t cope with this.

Julia is a bit on the lazy side and will decide that she’s not going to do the dishes today. Or tomorrow. In fact, she will wait to see if you are waiting for her to do it. And then she’ll go NUTS because really, YOU could have done the dishes if it was bothering you already! Expect some tit-for-tat behaviour – she can be a bit immature ESPECIALLY when she’s PMS’ing.

And on that note, Julia is not a pleasant individual when she’s PMS’ing. She’s a hormonal mess so you might consider staying out of her face for a few days every month.

If Julia is stressed out, she takes a nap. She won’t talk until she’s good and ready. If talking is the way you deal with stressful situations, then  you may have a problem.

If Julia is VERY angry (which hardly happens btw), then she becomes a bit immature. She swears and will call you names and slam doors and walk off. She doesn’t shout though so that’s a good thing. Right?

Julia is very good with everyone else’s money but appears to have struggles when dealing with hers.  If you are not going to do the money stuff then you’d probably need to appoint an external party to manage household finances.

Julia is a complicated individual. She’s a thinker and a feeler and mostly makes heart-decisions as opposed to head-decisions. You don’t always know where you stand with her. You don’t always know what she’s thinking AND she’s a bit of an over thinker which will probably drive you nuts and make her seem high maintenance.

Julia is a serious procrastinator. You are in for a rough ride if you are a Type A personality. Also, she forgets to finish what she started.

As you can see, being married to Julia is probably a good thing.  You could be really fulfilled.

However, those cons? I don’t think I would marry  Julia. She’s a tad unpredictable for me and those love languages of hers, (even though they don’t cost money) are a lot of work.

So tell me. Based on my pros and cons could you be married to me?

Would YOU be married to YOU? Why or why not?

Ps..while I was writing this post earlier, I called my Boyfriend and asked him why exactly he got married to me.  He couldn’t speak to me because he was busy but managed to tell me that it was the BEST decision he ever made and that he would absolutely make the same decision again and again and again, despite the fact that I am completely UN- AMAZING for about 5% of the time.  See how well I’ve trained him? He KNOWS that he needs to use beautiful and affirming words.

pps…I am EXTREMELY thankful for my Boyfriend. He completely gets me and lets me be as crazy as I want to without stifling me or trying to box me. He’s one in a million because I honestly think that any other man would have left me by now!

Friendship Friday: Busy friends, forced friend-dating breaks and socialising in the silly season

FF

So lately it has felt like ALL my friends are just so busy!

I must say I have felt a bit frustrated by it all and I wondered at one stage how it is that I am attracting all the “busy” types.

I guess it could be a personality thing as well. Whenever I am having a really stressful, busy time then I deal with it by procrastinating trying to escape for a bit and so, if I don’t sleep, then I try to socialise.  I realise that everyone is not like that.

Thing is, I don’t really want to socialise in December. That’s when I want to take it VERY easy and just be with my little family. And so lately I’ve been reaching out, and everyone is just BUSY and wants to meet up with me in December when their lives have calmed down. It’s not wrong, it just doesn’t suit me.

I do know that it’s a crazy time of year and even though I initially took it a bit personally, I am now officially OK.

In fact, I realised earlier this week that this forced friendship-timeout or break or whatever you want to call it is actually a good thing.  For various reasons actually:

  • I have had a bit of time to regroup.
  • I am making time to clean my house and get some order – it’s happening slowly but there is a bit of a declutter operation happening at the same time.
  • I am just hanging out with my little family – we’ve had a BIG year.
  • I am running.
  • I am doing simple little crafts with my kids – specifically with Child2 because Child1 has been studying hard for exams, but having said that, I am planning a little crafty  something tomorrow that will suit both kids.
  • I am making an effort to spend time OUTSIDE – whenever the weather is not crazy.  Even if it is just to people-watch. Sitting in the sun is AWESOME.
  • I am reading up a storm.
  • I am making time to do actual writing in my journal.
  • I am crossing stuff off my to-do lists – this feels REALLY good.
  • I am forcing myself to be still – I usually don’t struggle with this but lately it’s been harder. There is just so much noise. EVERYWHERE.
  • I am making an effort to fix the broken stuff in my space.  Both my computer and my keyboard are now fixed – I’ll be collecting them early in next week. Next up in the fixing queue is the washing machine (am going to have to replace it) and then the stove and oven (I have already spent money earlier this year fixing this – I am thinking of replacing this too).

Basically, I’ve just been slowing down (although it’s happened earlier than I planned) and aiming for some peace and restoration (for lack of a better word) – this has been a  VERY good thing for me and my little family.

Despite this, I actually DO miss connecting with friends. I had a STUNNING friend date earlier this week and it was exactly what I needed. So, I guess I will play it by ear for the next few weeks. Am not going to make any effort but will be open to it although I don’t REALLY want to do too much socialising in December.

So, at this stage, it does look like I’ll be starting fresh with the friend dating after the silly season – unless of course there are some impromptu ones that come up.  And of course I will make an effort to socialise with whoever comes all the way to Cape Town to meet up with me!

Over to you:

How does the silly season and this crazy busy time of year affect your friendships?

Do you socialise more or less?

Do you have socialising “rules” for this time of the year?

 

Shutdown vs surrender

I don’t quite know how to explain this thing that my DH and I are going through.

An odd patch? A funk? A bit of weirdness?

We are not fighting like cat and dog.  He is fighting with me. I have shut down because the words that I am hearing are not affirming me in any way. My words come out all pathetic and whine-like.

Eventually we both become quiet. There is distance.

It’s as if we are both working through stuff. Not together. Individually.

He is busy. With stuff for everyone else. I am waiting for him to be less busy.

I am a quality time  and words of affirmation kind of girl.

I ain’t getting no QT and WOA.

We are both tired.

We do talk about the stuff in our lives that affect us negatively: Money. Kids. Grief. Kids. Depression. Kids. Work frustrations. Kids. The constantly messy house. Kids.

And we promise to try a bit harder.

Then it’s back to square one a few days later.

I always say that the way one deals with adversity as a couple can either make or break your relationship. And I think that we’ve done exceptionally well with the horrible cards that we’ve been dealt these past few years.

But I have to wonder if there comes a point where couples just get tired of trying to survive. IS there a point where the adversity just becomes TOO MUCH? Is there a point where living in survival mode just causes an automatic shut-down?

They say that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I’m not feeling this today.

Because in my world, what doesn’t kill you has the ability to make you a shadow of who you used to be.

In my world, what doesn’t kill you can cause damage in other areas of your life.

In my world, what doesn’t kill you can leave you feeling depressed and despondent and inadequate.

In my world, what doesn’t kill eventually has the power to limit your words. And your spirit. And your tenacity. And your will to go on.

Can you tell how much I hate that platitude?

Can you tell how very tired I feel today?

AT what point do you shut down? Do you even get to that point? Am I possibly confusing shut-down with surrender? And how do I get my words to sound less whine-like? Ugh. I really don’t like the sound of my voice sometimes.

Friendship Friday: Do you have a litmus test?

About 2 weeks ago I was chatting to one of my single friends on FB. We talked about things like dating (I am sooooo glad I’m not dating anyone except my current boyfriend because it’s damn hard work if you are single!) and se.x as a single person and things like re-establishing  emotional intimacy especially after you’ve come out of a long-term relationship.

At some point we discussed having a litmus test of sorts. I am not sure if you know what a litmus test is? Here’s a definition but simplified, it’s basically a test where a decision of sorts relies on the results of a single indicator.

For example, my friend who is very active in the dating game has her version of a litmus test. She read about it a few years ago in Cosmopolitan and she made it her own!

When she goes out for dinner with a new guy (or even with a potential girl bff) then she stops eating, flashes her pearly whites and then asks if there is food stuck in her teeth. She then closely observes their body language (gosh, she already has this down to a fine art) and how they respond to her.

If there is no grossed out reaction and they say “no” or even “yes” then they can stay and chances are that she will have a friend for life.

If they are grossed out and the question makes them uncomfortable then this (for her) is an sign that the friendship/relationship probably won’t progress. So she enjoys the evening and then cuts her losses.

Now I don’t personally have any form of  litmus test but this past week  when I was thinking about this some more, I realised that I have another friend with a similar test.

My friend N usually asks people if her nose is clean. Seriously!

She has some allergies and is regularly blowing her nose. Then she actually tilts her head a bit backwards and will ask you “is my nose clean?”

Now fortunately it takes A LOT more than a possible snotty nose to gross me out so I can cope really well with stuff like this. However, some people can get completely put off by it and so I do think that it’s a tad unfair to use the results of this test to decide if the friendship will be “easy” or “ongoing” or not.

The other day I was in my office and I remarked that my b***bs were itchy – remember I mentioned in this post about my itchies?

No one was offended or anything – they all laughed about it and said that my b**bs were probably going through a growth spurt. I guess there is already a level of emotional intimacy with my colleagues. I wouldn’t have mentioned that if NBL was in the area – we still need to get to that point.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I do have a litmus test. I may invite you to my house.

A few years ago I invited a friend over. I had just moved in and had no furniture so I had camping chairs and a mattress in the lounge. I caught her sneakily looking around and her face looked a bit skew. And I decided there and then that we couldn’t be friends. It felt like she wasn’t interested in me – only her surroundings or rather her lack of surroundings.

In fact, after that I never ever invited anyone over. Until this year.

So do you have some form of litmus test?

Do you think that there is a place in relationships or in budding friendships for something like that?

Is it fair to base the potential of a friendship on a litmus test?

Friendship Friday: When you don’t like friends of your friend

Marcia blogged this morning about how we treat friends of our friends.  I do think that there are many layers to this subject and so I’ve decided to blog about something related to this issue.

I am currently in a situation where (for various reasons – I’m not going to mention them ALL in this post) I really don’t like a group of friends that my one friend socialises with.

Now if you know ANYTHING about me, then you will know that I am generally very accommodating and very tolerant of people and their choices. I really don’t care how you live your life. It’s your life, and as long as you are not breaking laws or hurting people then I couldn’t give two hoots about it.

These friends of my friend are not “different” in an out-of-the-ordinary way. They just have some really bad habits.

For example, the one is a bit of a user.  We will go and eat out and then she will have forgotten her purse at home or “lost her credit card” or something so can’t pay for herself. So my friend then ends up paying for her. This has happened at least 3 times when I’ve been out with them.  Now I get that sometimes people are scatter-brained and that something like this can happen to anyone but EVERY SINGLE TIME??? Eish. No. I think she’s living in User Avenue.

The other one is just downright embarrassing when we go out.  I don’t embarrass that easily so really, if I ever do cringe then you must know how bad it is. For example, she will flirt inappropriately with men who SHE KNOWS are married.  The last time it happened I felt embarrassed for the man – I could see that he was extremely uncomfortable. Or she will go “missing” (it is extremely obvious to me that she has Adult ADHD – she’s just WAY too impulsive) while we are in the movies!  OR she will be rude to the waiter. And she’s just so vulgar! I don’t mind swearing but there is a difference between dropping the occasional F-bomb and being vulgar with a capital V. She’s Vulgar.

Initially I thought that my feelings were based on insecurity. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this wasn’t the case.

I accept that my friend is an adult and that she can socialise with whom she sees fit. I also accept that my friend knows what’s going on (specifically ito Ms User) – she’s definitely not naïve.  I get that my friend obviously gets something out of those friendships. Dr Phil usually asks something like “what’s the payoff?”

I don’t know what the “payoff” is for my friend but I KNOW that there is one. Perhaps this is the key? Perhaps I should try to find out what exactly my friend gets out of these particular friendships? But would that make any difference? I feel emotionally secure within the friendship so should it really matter to me?

For the moment I am comfortable with the way I am handling it. At all times (no matter how much I dislike them) I WILL treat them with respect and with kindness. I am comfortable with the way my friend handles the situation. In all fairness, my friend has gone out of her way to integrate me into that particular circle. It just hasn’t worked out and she’s been incredibly understanding about it. I do love my friend and so I grin and bear it and smile and wave or whatever.

I have told my friend how I feel about her friends – I was sensible enough to wait until she asked for my opinion. She appreciated that I was honest with her and we actually haven’t spoken about it again. She mostly makes sure that we don’t socialise together which suits me just fine – she does talk to me about them now and again. This is fine too.

But over to you.

Have you ever NOT liked a friend of a friend?

How do you handle it?

Do you smile and wave (like I do) or do you just stay away?

Are your colleagues your family?

Earlier this week, a lady in the office called us together and shared a deeply personal thing that she’d been going through – something that relates to her health and that has the potential to become terminal. I don’t consider us to be great friends or anything  but we are always friendly with one another – we greet, we chat in passing (about things like the weather and what we made for dinner etc), we do share an office and coffee and the loo etc.

She mentioned that she’d wanted to tell us all about this thing, because to her, we are family. As colleagues we do spend a lot of time together and of course she needed us to pray for her and keep her in our thoughts during this time. What she is going through is hard and so yes, even though I do not consider her my friend or my family, I will do this for her.

Now. I am very extremely private in my workplace. I am friendly with EVERYONE. I don’t socialise after hours with colleagues (except with my former work spouse).

If you are my colleague and you are having a baby I’ll buy you a gift, when  your baby is born I will text you my congratulations (after scrambling for your number), if you lose someone I will offer my condolences and sympathise with you, if you are collecting things for charity then I’ll help you out, if you are having a bad day then I’ll commiserate with you and try to help you out, if you are leaving the organisation then I’ll contribute to your farewell gift etc.

I am not FB friends with any of my colleagues and if I should have a Blackberry I would probably not be on BBM with them. I know that I would block them if they started to follow me on Twitter.

Those who I work with only know the basics about me. I am married. I have 2 kids. I live in x area. Occasionally I may share a bit more. For example, they now know that I knit and do crafts – only because some of us knit at work. They know that I run and that I have a hate-hate relationship with bootcamp – because my trainer works with me. They know that I sometimes take Child2 for therapies – again, they don’t know the details, just that he is struggling with some things.

I keep it all very general at work. I was telling Marcia some weeks ago that I don’t even keep pictures of my family on my desk.  One of my colleagues actually joked the other day and asked if I REALLY have kids because no one has ever seen them.

I’ve never ever brought them to work or to a work function. I don’t take my kids to work functions for the same reason I used to avoid socialising with my kids. I don’t want questions. I don’t want to be the subject of gossip. I don’t want my children to be the subject of gossip.

I am socialising with my kids again because I feel that my friends need to accept them if they want me. It’s that simple. BUT, not at work. Because even though I am friendly with everyone, I don’t consider anyone to be my friend. Or my family.

I know that everyone is different but this is my preference – I DO like to draw a very definite line between work and my private life and I try my utmost not to let those lines blur.

No one in my workplace knows about the extent of Child2’s issues. I simply am not comfortable sharing something so deeply personal that I’m STILL struggling with.  My former boss knew everything. My current NBL doesn’t know yet – I do know that I will have to tell her soon because even though he is now doing private therapy, I still take him to Red Cross for a session once a month. A few years ago when my husband was unemployed for 7 months, NO ONE knew. Except my former boss.

Fact is, deep down I actually DO want  to consider them my family – we spend A LOT of time together so we may as well be family. BUT I have been burned in the past  and though it was nothing too serious at the time, that particular incident did make me reconsider my behaviour and what I choose to share/not share in the workplace.

Now here’s the thing:

The comments that my colleague made about us being family did get me thinking. I realised once more that I don’t quite see my colleagues as my family. I see them as my colleagues.

And I wondered what I would have done if I was in a similar situation. Would I have shared details of my health and possible treatments with them? Would I have waited for them to ask?  Am I ever going feel comfortable enough to tell them about what is currently happening in my life?

Somehow I don’t think so. But. Who knows? Anything can happen. Maybe  I will eventually share things with them.

So my question to you is this:

Do you see your colleagues as family?

How much of your private life do you share?

Would you gather the entire office and tell them if you have a health issue?

If you are OK to do this sort of thing then how do you ensure that the lines don’t get blurred?