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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am feeling so down right now as I had a real run in with another mommy who has been a good friend but our friendship has slowly deteriorated. She emailed me to let me know she finds that I am very competitive and she feels uncomfortable about it. She mentioned when I compare our children and their behavior. I have thought long and hard about it and really don't feel it is competitive in nature! I need some input!!

I love to ask questions like how long is your child napping, when did they start giving up naps, when they showed interest in using the toilet, how much do they weigh, how tall are they, do they like this or that, etc and feel it helps me see where my little one is, and it helps me understand WHO he is when I compare him to other children around him. However in my opinion there is never a better than about it. A mine is a little chubby and yours is solid seems harmless to me but another friend told me that this could be interpreted as maybe I am saying I like chubby more....I don't get it?! To me, my guy could be chubby or solid or short or tall, but if there is no value that I am attaching to either characteristic how can it be competitive?

Anyone? I need input!!
 

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I would have never thought those types of questions were competitive, until I read Siblings Without Rivalry. I know it's a different situation, but I learned that those seemingly innocent comparisons are, in fact, competitive.

I wasn't doing that with friends, but I did do something similar with my sons. I would say things like: "Ds1 was potty trained at exactly 2 weeks before his 3rd birthday. I wonder when ds2 is going to be?" "Ds1 doesn't really like meat. But, look at how much ds2 likes meat!" I never meant it to be a competition, but I think the boys felt the pressure. I never ever said the stereotypical "why can't you be more like your brother?" And, I never felt that way. I just thought I was making factual or inquisitive statements.

Anyway, once the lightbulb went off and I realized that what I was doing was creating tension between them, I stopped and they DO get along a lot better. There is much less fighting.

So, it's a little different situation. But, I do understand how your questions could be perceived in a competitive way.
 

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I would just suggest that if you want to keep the friendship that you simply seek to understand her viewpoint. (Preferably not through e-mail since it's easy to read too much into it.) Once she feels understood, perhaps you can try and explain where you're coming from.
 

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I have to agree...I am like your friend and when others question me on my child I get my back up. Weather my feelings are right or wrong is not the issue..I just think there needs to be certain boundary's with certain people. If your friend has spoken up to you about it, just take that as a boundary that she wish to be in place and leave it at that. I too have distanced myself from a friend because she is competitive, but in a very direct way saying "well my ds was doing such and such long before your ds's age" as if to suggest there were something wrong with mine. Although I have told my friend that I am put off by her comments, she just throws back at me that she is trying to help - again as if to suggest that I require help - but yet can not respect the boundary.

Take it or leave it. The ball appears to be in your court.
 

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I think it depends how much you ask these questions. I had a neighbor who asked these things constantly and it drove me nuts. Everytime I saw her, I would get 'how much does he weigh', how much does he eat', what does he eat', how much does he sleep', 'is he walking', 'is he talking', 'how much does he poop' ????????
My ds walked early (9 months) and I almost didn't want to tell her because she'd think there was something wrong with her dd. And of course a week later when I saw them, she kept making her dd stand and walk even though she clearly didn't want to. When her dd walked at 13 months, she called me up really proud and told me that her dd was now walking, almost in a 'so there' way.
I really don't don't miss them since they moved away.
The reason it bothered me was because it seemed like she was always thinking there was something wrong with her dd. I'm a very relaxed person, who doesn't follow charts or where children are 'supposed to be' developmentally.
I never felt it was competative, (well maybe just the walking part) just sad that she had to ALWAYS be comparing our babies. I had wished she had looked beyond what our babies did, and focused more on who are babies were.
 

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I would not find those questions competitive, but I know some people would. I think if her friendship is important to you, you should explain your viewpoint, apologize for coming across as competitive, and restrain yourself with the questions in the future.
 

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I can see where your friend is coming from. It depends how you ask these questions, how often, your tone, your persistence if your friend gives a vague answer, the look on your face, etc.

My mother has a close friend "C" with a grandaughter the same age as DD. I am so tired of her asking DD's weight, height, recent milestones, habits, likes, dislikes, sleeping patterns, meltdowns, etc. It's the way she does it. Her tone, her relentlessness, her desire to know every little detail about my daughter gets to me. My mother isn't as inquisitive about her C's granddaughter as her friend is about my child. Why does C need to know? She won't accept a general answer. She persists and I get irritated. The questions others ask about DD aren't as pointed or as busybody-ish. It's obvious to me that she's comparing for the sake of finding ways to put her grandchild above my daughter. I find that kind of one upmanship distasteful. I don't think you're necessarily like my mother's friend but it definitely sounds like your friend sees you the way I see my mother's friend so you need to decide whether to tone down your questions for the sake of preserving the relationship or to let this friendship go.
 

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I can also see where your friend is coming from- even if you don't intend your questions to come across that way. I have several close mom friends with whom I feel like we're all just very interested in eachother's toddlers- just because we all find it fascinating to see how their individual personalities and such are blooming as they grow. However, with people who I'm not as close with, there are some questions that really irk me because of our personal situations. For example, my dd was a late eater-- so even if someone was inquiring in all innocence about what foods the kids like, I would (and still do sometimes) start to feel defensive. We're also some of the only ones of our friends who still nurse and cosleep (dd is 23 months)- and I can almost feel my hair starting to bristle whenever someone asks about how often dd wakes at night, etc. I'm not sure exactly how close you are with this friend, but it'spossible that some of your questions might be hitting a button with her. It sounds like your heart is in the right place- so I'd talk with her and explain how you would never intend to make her feel like that. I hope you can work it out, if that's what ou both want to do.
 

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I'd have to say it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks as far as if this or that is a competitive statement. I think the only thing that matters is if you would like to keep this friendship, what she thinks and how she feels is important. Obviously she doesn't feel she could say this face to face, so if I were you, I'd call her up and try to arrange something where you could meet one on one without the kids (if possible). Explain that you are sorry she interpreted your actions that way and you were only trying to gather information, not trying to compete. You were looking for a general guide (or whatever you were looking for) as you are a new mama too and just trying to figure it all out and get ideas.

For example, we went to playgroup and the art project was painting. They used these things to paint that were like bingo dobbers, I never knew they existed nor would I have thought of them, but what a great idea! My son also is going between 1 nap and 2. I often wonder how people handle the transistion, when is an appropriate nap time if he goes down to 1 nap and how long does he nap. Of course we let him be the guide but I just wonder these things, YKWIM?

I know that I feel that parents are the most competitive people by far (more so then trying to climb the ladder in a fortune 500 company!) and I had no idea that world exsisted until I became a part of it. My son is delayed and it just makes me feel bad/sad when people ask if he's walking and talking and he isn't at 20 months! They don't mean to be hurtful but it does!!!!!!

My aunt has a granddaughter who is 6 weeks older then my DS and was actually a month premature, so adjusted, they are about the same age. She goes on that Ivy does this (walks) talks in 2 word sentences at 11 months (my DS doesn't walk nor even says mama at 20 months) that she puts her dishes into the sink after eating (pointing out that she follows directions and is smart, I guess) but never in a blantant framework, all round about. Is she doing it to be competitive, my guess is partly. Is she doing it to share what her granddaughter is doing, growing, learing? Partly. Does it make me feel like shit? YES! I just keep quite and don't really share what Logan is or isn't doing. If she knows he isn't walking or talking, I didn't tell her. Luckily I am 3,000 miles away. I don't really want her to come visit because of the whole comparison thing. Her thinking 'Ivy does this and that' and Logan is so far behind. Forget it, I don't need it. I say, lets see what they are like 20 years from now.....I hope my son is healthy, happy, a good person and still HUGS HIS MAMA!

Just one person's perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you guys so much, it appears that in many of your cases it is much more extreme and there is an underlying sense of true competitiveness and since I don't know the situations it could be similar in that they aren't meaning to be competitive but you are all feeling that it is for one reason or another. It helps me to understand that not everyone sees these questions in the same way.

I do use it as a tool to learn new ideas about the children reaching different milestones and how to handle those situations and yes, we were extremely close for a time, but everyone has their boundaries as someone mentioned and this seems to be hers.

Just a little more information, there are other things that have contributed to the deterioration of the friendship in which she showed she is one of those friends that takes but does not return favors. In a couple of my real times of need she wasn't there to return major favors I have done for her. So I am debating whether the friendship is worth the fight, especially if I so easily offend her. I don't want to have to walk on eggshells around her especially if she isn't there for me when I need her.

If anyone else wants to add, please do, this has been great for me to hear your opinions. A safe environment to receive constructive critisisms!

For those of you who would feel offended if the questions were prefaced with an, I am trying to get creative ideas for potty training my ds, can I ask you some personal questions about when your dd started? Then roll into the, when, where, and hows. Would you still feel offended?
 

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I just wanted to add that one reason I'm on MDC is because this is where I get my comparitive info, so thats probably why I don't ask people in real life.
 

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I started chatting with a man in line at the coffeeshop because he asked how old my son was and mentioned he had a younger daughter at home. The first words out of my mouth were "How is she sleeping?" What on earth possessed me to say that??? When my son was that age, that question made me want to cry. I could have slapped myself, really.

The point is that I think it's natural to want to make connections through asking questions about what each other's children are doing. But the thing is that you never know when you are going to hit on someone's sore spot. It can be really hurtful, and I, despite the example given above, try not to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by dawncayden View Post
I just wanted to add that one reason I'm on MDC is because this is where I get my comparitive info, so thats probably why I don't ask people in real life.
great idea and great tool! It appears i will need to more often as well!
 

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Quote:
I would not find those questions competitive, but I know some people would. I think if her friendship is important to you, you should explain your viewpoint, apologize for coming across as competitive, and restrain yourself with the questions in the future.
I agree with this.
 

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Quote:
I'd have to say it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks as far as if this or that is a competitive statement.
I'm going to say the opposite. You may not be asking in a competitive way, but if she's taking it that way, you need to rethink how much you ask her, and maybe look closely at how others react when you ask that sort of thing. You never know, it could be something you don't even notice but that irritates everyone.

The internet is a wonderful resource for these sorts of questions.

Quote:
The point is that I think it's natural to want to make connections through asking questions about what each other's children are doing. But the thing is that you never know when you are going to hit on someone's sore spot. It can be really hurtful, and I, despite the example given above, try not to do it.
Yeah, I inadvertently offended a friend with the most gorgeously chubby baby. He was fantastic, like a little buddha. But I think she was self-conscious about his rolls and got very uncomfortable whenever I'd slip and gush over him. (he was GORGEOUS!)
 

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I try not to ask too many of those questions either because I have a neighbor whose DD was born 1 mo. after DS and she'd always ask me questions like that and I felt like we were competing. I pretty much don't talk to her because it makes me uncomfortable. I save those questions for online forums
 
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