Well What a Rude Thing to Say.
December 3, 2011 6:03 PM Subscribe
How to establish boundaries with way out of line friends?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Someone that I would consider to be a dear friend has recently offended me to no end. After nearly two years of friendship it's apparent that I have a serious lack of boundaries and expectations within our friendship.
Sam* is someone that I would consider to be a close friend and to some extent he would consider me to be one of his closest friends as well. Due to recent circumstances I'd relocated to a new city far from where Sam and I lived. So consequently we'd gone from seeing each other regularly 3-4 times a week to not at all for the past 4 months. Before leaving I'd announced my pregnancy to family and friends including Sam. His initial reaction was upbeat and positive. We've kept in touch by phone and he was the first to know I was coming into town to visit. I've now been in town for about 2 weeks and a couple days ago we had our first encounter. I obviously look a lot different now than when I left 4 months ago! This is where it became ugly:
After greeting and settling in Sam immediately said something along the lines of him not believing that I'd actually decided to "keep" my pregnancy. Well that itself left a horrible taste in my mouth but I'd chalked it up to him regarding some precarious circumstances around my pregnancy. Precarious as in not being married. It bothered me but I made no mention of that. Sam continued to say several things related to my pregnancy and relationship that bothered me, but again I did a "well that's just Sam and his opinion." However, it really got under my skin when after I affirmed my pregnancy in a that's-the-end-of-this-subject tone, he said that he didn't want anything to do with me or my baby. He said it within a very unusual matter-of-fact context that initially threw me off because nothing about my pregnancy or personal life includes him at all. Within that one comment I felt as if Sam insinuated himself in my pregnancy, relationship, and lifestyle in an outrageously inappropriate way. I'd never dreamed in any capacity that Sam would have any role of contribution or involvement besides the general pleasantries any expecting mother usually receives. The idea that he'd actually felt involved enough in my decision to have a child to let me know that he "wants nothing to do with it" disturbs me.
He followed most of what he said with plenty of well wishing along with a big dose of skepticism and no support.
I was upset and I felt he was out of line but I didn't say so. We talked about other things and even made plans for lunch in a few days. It wasn't until after the conversation was over that I'd realized how rattled and angry I was. I was crushed and for the first time in months I was self conscious all over again about my decisions. I'm very upset with Sam for what he said but mostly with myself for just letting him talk to me that way. I don't think Sam is by any means a bad guy and I know that he has communication issues just like this with others. I believe he said those things because throughout our two years I'd never established that he can't talk to me without boundaries. I've usually just accepted any conversation we had to just run its course no matter how overbearing it became. Additionally since the conception of our friendship Sam has routinely dispensed unwarranted "guidance" and probably has an inflated venerable interest as he's years older than me. I'm particularly upset because my partner and I are comfortably prepared and able to securely raise our child, and we certainly didn't need Sam's advice/warnings. I also found it very odd that he openly had a negative opinion while we're incredibly excited and looking forward to our new addition. He isn't religious at all so me being unmarried couldn't be that offensive. Knowing Sam, all of those comments which I'd found horribly imposing probably just went right over his head. Regardless, I really feel the need to let him know that what he did was in fact horribly imposing and an unacceptable way to address anyone. I'm not sure if it's best to not mention my feelings and just let the friendship go or talk about it with him. This is not the first time he's invited himself with very unwelcome offensive advice but I certainly want to make this the last. Sam needs to know that my personal decisions and intimate life are off limits.