Issues with a friend of a friend

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 2
Member
6949 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

You may need to go specific and it’s going to be a very uncomfortable conversation.  I don’t want to be around X because she said A and B about this group of people. I do not spend time with people who feel that way and will not spend time with her.  She is not welcome in my home.  You could also have a less uncomfortable conversation regarding general boundaries (and that’s okay if you don’t want to confront it head-on.  Not everyone has it in them… I sure don’t!).  It’s your event and/or it’s your home, X is simply not invited and E will need to understand that she can’t extend the invitation.  If she does, it’s on her to rescind it.

Post # 3
Bee
340 posts
Helper bee

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem singling out racist, toxic people to a friend.

“E, I’m incredibly uncomfortable around X and Y. Their racist views and remarks don’t fly with me. I won’t tolerate being around them any longer, and I hope you can understand and respect that.”

Also, it’s more than okay to pull her aside/text her after an event and say “hey, please ask me if you can invite people to events at my house next time.” She’s got to, on some level, know this is a problem if she has exes over it. Though, tbh, I may be re-evaluating my friendship with her if she’s down to clown with super racist, toxic people on a regular basis. I’m assuming these friends have made those remarks around her a number of times… I obviously don’t know her, but I don’t think she can be entirely naive to that.

To be clear is to be kind. Every relationship needs clear and established boundaries. You’re not telling her who can and can’t be *her* friend by saying you’re not going to be around them anymore, and if she’s a true friend, she should support your decision. If this turns into a “but whyyyyyyy?” or “they’re not that bad–you’re overreacting!” thing then, again, I’d be re-evaluating my friendship with E.

Post # 4
Member
5005 posts
Bee Keeper

I would just put it all out there and stop tip-toeing around it.

“E, we love hanging out and appreciate all of your wonderful qualities.  We know that you’re outgoing and have a “more the merrier” attitude and your ability to care and get along with everyone is a really admirable.  But we’re more reserved and prefer smaller groups and knowing who will be there ahead of time.  Unexpected guests make us uncomfortable.  We’re happy to sometimes have large group things or hang out with your friends if you have a party, but when we make plans with just the three of us, we would prefer it not turn into a group hangout or at least have you check first if our plans can accommodate additional people.”

If you’re open to other friends and are ready to be definitive about those specific two, then I would bring that up and draw a hard line at those two.  “We’d appreciate you running extra guests by us first.  Most of the time it’s not an issue, we just appreciate a heads up.  However, we really need you to know that we can’t hang out with X and Y anymore.  We understand you’ve been friends since childhood and we don’t want to stand in the way of your friendships, but we personally cannot be friends with them due to their racist beliefs.  We know that sometimes they might be a group events at your house and we’ll be cordial, but please don’t bring them along to things with just us.”

Neither approach to life and friendships is necessarily really right or wrong, although the way the opposite type of person operates can often feel wrong (where I might think bringing people unexpectedly is disrespectful, someone else sees not having an inclusive open-door policy as being rude or closed off).  It’s more about personality types and being respectful of those differences.  I have a small group, but sometimes we’ll invite an extra without checking (usually not a complete unknown and usually someone we all get along with but aren’t as close to, but maybe they’re having a bad day and so we’ll invite them to happy hour with the group).  Usually we check though just out of respect.  But I also have a few friends outside this core group who are more like E – super outgoing, everyone they’ve ever met is in their contact list in their phone, focuses on the good and won’t cut people out, and they are always buzzing with activity and different friend groups.  And that’s just how they operate – everything is always an open invitation.  And it works for them.  So it’s just a matter of us communicating so we compromise and respect each other’s comfort levels.  They understand when I ask them to lunch I mean just them (although I occasionally get an unexpected guest) and I understand that when they invite me to things that I am opening myself up to a more social occasion with additional people.  

Post # 5
Member
6962 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I’d ask her to speak (by phone or, even better, video chat) and just tell her “Hey, I love you and I appreciate that you enjoy bringing people together. I think you understand that that is not the case for everyone, though, so when you invite people without asking, it doesn’t feel as though you are doing it for the rest of us, it feels like you are doing it for yourself. Please check in before inviting others to gatherings, especially when they aren’t in your own home and especially especially when they are in someone else’s home.

Separately, your friends X and Y have views that I do not agree with and I’m not going to tolerate being espoused in my presence, so I’m not going to hang out with them anymore.”

And then keep behaving as you normally would with her. She might test these boundaries again a couple times. If she does, just reinforce them and then if she continues to do so, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship with her.

My mother used to do this thing when I was younger where she would be talking on the phone with a relative and want me to come say hi, so she would say, on the phone where they could overhear (and so I couldn’t say no), “Twilight, come say hi to so and so.” I hated it and I tried talking to her about it a few times and she ignored it, so I finally told her that if she did it again, I was going to say no and I was going to say it loudly and clearly enough that the person could overhear me. She tried it and then she got embarrassed when I said, “No” and walked away.

I say that to say, that once you have given this friend a heads up about your boundary, if she tests it in front of another person (to try to prevent you from enforcing it), be sure you absolutely enforce it (clearly, kindly and firmly), even if the other person overhears. No amount of me telling my mother to stop trying to force me to talk to people worked like me saying No with someone else there to overhear.

Post # 6
Member
2473 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
@bouviebee:  There’s two routes you can take.

You can tell your friend that some of her friends make you uncomfortable because of their attitudes (mention specific instances where these people made racist remarks), and that you won’t be hosting these people in your home. 

The other option is to stop letting her get a free pass for the unquestionably rude action of inviting people to your houses and planned events. That’s just the epitome of rude, and shes either incredibly ignorant, or too selfish to care. When an unexpected guest shows up, you pull her aside and say, “Hey, I like to be able to plan for the gatherings I host and know who will be at my house. Can you please not invite extra guests in the future?” I personally would have already done this the first time it happened. 

Post # 7
Member
6944 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

I think it IS time to be specific about why you don’t want to hang out with those women. They are racist. You don’t want to be around them. I understand that it might lead to an uncomfortable conversation, but talking about racism can do that. And now is the time that we need to be having these types of uncomfortable conversations. 

Post # 8
Member
563 posts
Busy bee

I just want to add that if you do say something to her, don’t frame it as “P and I aren’t comfortable with you inviting friends over” because that makes it seem like it’s two against one and may make her defensive. Just explain how you feel, and leave P out of it.

Post # 9
Hostess
4152 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

View original reply
@annabananabee:  This is really good advice.  I have a close friend who has an awful racist, sexist, asshole of a boyfriend who she always brings with her, even when we repeatedly mention that it’s a girls’ night (pre-COVID) or catch up “just us girls” on facetime/zoom (COVID).  I guess it’s time for me to have a more blunt conversation. 

Post # 10
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee

You and your other friends should set some polite but firm boundaries, perhaps adding in something like “just the three of us” after stating the event/activity. It is definitely poor etiquette to invite someone to gatherings but esepcially at someone elses house! Perhaps your friend doesn’t realise that this is actually quite rude to do as you said she thinks “the more the merrier” but as an adult, she should know as it will spill over into other friendships and relationships. It is great that she has other friends, but not everyone has to be your friend! 

Post # 11
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee

“I feel like we need to discuss this with her, but I don’t want to risk alienating her, either.”

Yeah, this is the important part. The cost of having racist friends (which to me, sounds like an implicit cosigning of said racist views, by the way) is not being paid by E – it’s being paid by you.  But why?  If E wants to have racist friends, then why does she also have to force them on you?  Make her realize how her choices are affecting those around her (both the racists who are emboldened because they are accepted in society and those who have to uncomfortably accommodate them).

If E doesn’t choose the non-racists over the racists, then E is probably not as lovely or “delightfully naive” a person as you seem to think she is. Either way, she’s an adult, so she can bear the consequences of her decisions.

Post # 12
Member
1678 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

It would have been better to address this in the moment or after the fact when she invited someone to your home. The first time you let it slide and accommodated the extra guest, then you should have let her know a few days after said event was over that, ” I wanted to quickly address the additional guest you invited for thanksgiving. I’m uncomfortable with you inviting people to my home without checking with me first. Next time I’m going to have to say no. I am happy to consider additions if asked but I need to be asked ahead of time and asked not told. I know you understand. 

Then uphold the boundary. She does it again you say no period. Your friend should do the same in her own time. As another poster said you two shouldn’t group together to say this isn’t ok. You each need to address it with her separately. If the other friend doesn’t want to address it and let’s it happen again, that’s on her. 

As for the racist friends I would privately tell her you have no desire to be around them so if she wants to spend time with them she needs to do so on her own time, not when you schedule a meet up with her. Be prepared with a statement if/ when she argues against it or says can’t we all just get along. You: ” it’s a nice thought that we should all get along and hangout, unfortunately I will not be spending anymore time with them as that’s what works best for me. Thanks for understanding.” 

If she invites random people you don’t mind seeing but just didn’t include in your hangout you can address that in the moment. She brings someone or says, “oh I invited so and so” you just say, ” this hangout is scheduled for just us having time together us three, I’m sure you can find another time to see that person.” If she pushes you can say, ” I understand your desire to include more people but I don’t have that need. It would be great to have a heads up and ask each other before inviting additional people when we plan get togethers just us three. 

Post # 13
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

You not liking her friends aside, it’s very rude to invite people to someone else’s house without asking them first.  If you were just meeting at a bar or public spot, I suppose that would be one thing, but it’s very strange to not give a person a heads up that you’ll be bringing extra people to their homes.

I personally hate awkward tension and I’m sure she can feel it.  I think it’d be worth just telling her you want to talk to her about something – and just say that it’s bothered you that shes brought people to your house without asking you first.  You can name Thanksgiving as a specific example where an extra place setting had to be made.  Going forward, can she please just give you a heads up? Throw in there that sometimes you just want to hang out with just her and like smaller get togethers.

Post # 14
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

Oh and to add, I think it’d be totally fine to say that her friend’s racist views make you uncomfortable and you’d rather not hang out with them all the time (or at all?)

Post # 15
Member
2354 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I can’t get past just blithely inviting people along to someone else’s house without permission. That just…does not compute to me.

 

You may alienate E. In fact, you most likely will. Even people as lovely and sweet as E can get defensive, and she has been unspeakably rude, multiple times, even before you get to the question of her racist friends.

 

It can be a bit awkward to bring up something she did 7 months ago, but if she does it again, definitely, say, E, I know your general motto is, the more the merrier, but please don’t invite people over to my house without asking first.

 

As for your second point? Blunt honesty. E, you must have noticed how racist friend said X,Y and Z. And this is not the first time.  It’s not acceptable, and it makes ME feel complicit to continue to host her when she says these things. I am not inviting her for this reason, and she isn’t welcome to events I host or organize.

 

I think it’s pretty likely E will get upset. It may cause friction for awhile. You’re essentially scolding her and calling into question her taste in friends. But these are valid points you have and to continue to ignore it will just drive you crazy.

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