How can I help my friend come out to play with baby around?
December 27, 2013 2:57 PM Subscribe
I've only seen my best friend outside of his house twice this year. He and his wife have a 15-month-old baby boy, and they ignore, decline or don't make it to every social engagement because the baby might cry, or the baby is sleeping. They've all but stopped communicating with me. Help me understand why this is so hard for them, and if there is there any advice I can use or pass on that can help?
posted by cogat to Human Relations (55 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most recently, I hosted a christmas lunch, and 30 mins after the appointed time, he texted "[baby] is still fast asleep - might be delayed or we might not be able to make it" - which is the last I heard from them. This is hurtful, and has been the pattern for ever since the kid was born - they only come out for major occasions, like his brother's 40th, and his brother's wedding. And everything seems fine when that happens, although they leave early in anticipation of his crying. Our birthdays passed without shared celebration, despite a bunch of invites from my end. He hardly ever replies to emails, voicemails or texts.
I'm his best friend in our city, but not a dad, and am certainly no expert in parent/baby psychology, but I'd like to be able to get a better feeling for what's going on. To me, it sounds like the baby is doing the same thing he does every day. The places we're inviting them to are our houses, not in public; we are happy to have a bit of crying and disruption and there is always a quiet room where he can sleep or be fed. Baby looks and behaves well within the bounds of normality as far as I can see. So why can't they accommodate this outside of their own house?
I have been trying to cut them all the slack they need while they figure out how to clamber back onto their social platform, but there's been no sign of improvement - possibly the opposite - and much as I just want to butt out and not meddle, I feel like it is time to have a come-to-jesus conversation, because I've seen several of his friendships peter out over the last year, and ours is in danger of doing the same.
I've tried to ask him about it, but I get an answer along the lines of "you'll understand when you're a parent", or "that's just how he is". He either lacks insight, is concealing something, and I don't really have the knowledge to prompt further, or offer constructive help. That's why I'm turning to you, AskMe! So specifically:
- Any idea what might make it so hard for them to come out to play?
- Any tools or techniques for making those things easier - that I can do, or that I can humbly suggest to them? I'm really trying not to meddle, but I need to fix our friendship.
(In case it's relevant, he's Indian, she's German, I'm British, we're in Australia. They're highly educated and mostly sensible otherwise. There are no signs of anything sinister as far as I can see.)