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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So, long back story for the question:

My husband and I moved into our home while I was pregnant with our first daughter. On a walk around the neighborhood one night, I discovered a close friend I had in high school lived just a few houses up. She had a boy that was around 1.

We became friends again and once the baby was born our kids became friends as well...play dates, we joined the local library, activities, etc.

Fast forward to now, our kids are 5 and 6. I’ve done a lot of things for them over the years. She borrowed tons of baby items and she found out I sewed so she took advantage of that, asking me to do everything from mending a zipper, to curtains, to trying to alter newborn onesies, to around 6 memory pillows, etc. I eventually had to tell her it’s too much, because she would just take and take.

My daughter has always been a friendly and very open kid. She adored her son. Would always want to hug him when she saw him. Loved to play with him. He was outwardly quiet and offstandish. I also would pick up on him saying things to try to get her upset. That he didn’t want to be her friend, or he had new friends now, or he just doesn’t want to play with her, etc. So, he came to her birthday party at the local skating rink and ended up falling down, getting angry and then wouldn’t skate. He kept asking her to sit with him and then told her he was mad because she wouldn’t sit with him, so she ended up sitting on the side at her own party because he made her feel bad. Eventually I got her up and skating and he ended up sitting alone until it was time to go home.

I’ve tried limiting our times we run into them, and I noticed the same from them. They would come late to the library instead of our normal time, until this last time we met them and again, he said he didn’t want to be friends with her. Understandable for him to feel that way, but my daughter ended up asking his mom why he doesn’t like her anymore and she said, I don’t know. I tried, but he just doesn’t want to be friends with you. It hurt her a lot, and as a mom it hurt me too. Only because they have grown up close with each other and she just loves being around him no matter how he treats her. I also felt it was a bit off for the mom to say it, especially since they have been so close for so long.

Well, she’s having a birthday for her youngest and I don’t want to go. I blew her off until she confronted me and asked if I’d be there and I panicked and said yes because ages ago I told her she could borrow my high chair for it.

I run from confrontation. Ha
Am I being too sensitive about the situation or am I right to feel like it’s a bit toxic for my kid and maybe even me? should I tell her how I feel about the comment or am I overreacting?
Close family feels I am completely justified, but I always like to have an outsiders opinion.
 

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Take responsiblity for your part in this and for the direction you now want to take.

She took and took, and you allowed it.

The children are 6 years old? Trying to dissect their behavior and work all this out is unnecessary and emotionally draining.

If it were me, I'd go get a nice birthday card at Target, and I'd write something along the lines of, "Our family wishes the wee one a very happy birthday, and I hope you all have a wonderful party. I'm sorry we'll be unable to come."

I wouldn't ignore the party, but I also wouldn't go.

In the future, be polite and be kind, but don't initiate or engage. If you're ever put on the spot again (with anyone), simply tell them thank you - you'll have to think about it.

You don't have to explain or complain or justify. Just be nice and move on. :)
 

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People can’t take advantage of you unless you let them. She’s a user. Back away from her and her family. Yes, it’s going to upset your daughter but better now than later because this stuff will escalate with time.
 

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So, while it DOES hurt you about this boy and your D, she needs to learn this lesson early in life before it becomes super important. She has to learn that not everyone wants to be your friend even if you are nice, even if you help them, etc.. Just tell her that she can only control herself -- not anyone else, and if he doesn't want to be her friend, it is HIS loss. Help her learn this!
 

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@hillybilly2785 You can still be friendly and cordial without actively maintaining the friendship. Just because you're neighbors doesn't mean you have to be best of friends, even if you were friends at one point. People grow and change, and sometimes they out-grow friendships.

You need to establish and maintain boundaries with this person, not just for yourself, but because this is a healthy behavior that your daughter needs to see you modeling, and maybe it's something you should talk to her about, as well. This young boy sees how his mother uses and manipulates other people, and he's already learning to use this behavior on other people, as clearly demonstrated at your daughter's birthday party. You need to teach her that she needs to be true to herself so that other people won't be able to manipulate her (please, think 10 years into the future when some horny boy is trying to coerce her into sex before she's ready), and she will only believe you and really internalize it if she sees you acting with the same self-respect when it comes to how other people treat you.
@minimalME has some great advice. You can still let the borrow the high chair... tell her that you and your daughter won't be able to make it, but that you will bring the high chair over that morning or the day before or whatever. If she presses for a reason, say you have a family obligation. And then, on the day of the party, actually take the kids to see the grandparents or something, so if it ever comes up, and someone asks your daughter what you were doing, they'll say something about spending time with grandma. It will take several polite declines, but after 2 or 3 declines, she should get the picture. If she asks you about it, you can say, "It seems like the kids are going through a phase where they aren't really getting along, and I don't really want to force it. I want to respect their autonomy in this respect."

If she asks you to DO stuff for her, just say NO. You have the right to say NO whenever you want, and you don't need to provide a reason. You can just say, "No, I won't be able to help you with that; it doesn't work for me [right now]." If you are pressed for a reason, you say, "I already told you why, it doesn't work for me right now." And if she asks when it might work for you, you can say, "I don't see it working for me for the foreseeable future. I have my plate full with two children and everything else in my life, so I won't be able to help you with this."

I think, for both of these situations, you need some rehearsed responses, which you just need to practice over and over so they will roll off your tongue without you even having to think about it.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Again, if it were me, I wouldn't bother with the highchair, and I wouldn't explain. I truly doubt it will make anything better.
Yeah, I agree. I would probably think, F the high chair, too. I only mentioned it because the OP seemed to have some anxiety/guilt over saying no because she already agreed to lend the high chair, and that was one of the reasons she said yes to the party in the first place.

If she can still lend the high chair, then that helps alleviate that anxiety/guilt. She can honor the promise and still not have to go.

Also, this person lives a few doors down... I don't know what the politics of her neighborhood are. I want the OP to establish and stick to her boundaries, but I also don't want her to become a neighborhood pariah because of mean gossip over a high chair. School mom gossip can be VICIOUS.
 

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I completely agree with everything you wrote - it is important to follow through with your word, and neighborhood politics is indeed awful.

I'm so thankful I'm done with all this, and I don't envy parents of young children.

Yeah, I agree. I would probably think, F the high chair, too. I only mentioned it because the OP seemed to have some anxiety/guilt over saying no because she already agreed to lend the high chair, and that was one of the reasons she said yes to the party in the first place.

If she can still lend the high chair, then that helps alleviate that anxiety/guilt. She can honor the promise and still not have to go.

Also, this person lives a few doors down... I don't know what the politics of her neighborhood are. I want the OP to establish and stick to her boundaries, but I also don't want her to become a neighborhood pariah because of mean gossip over a high chair. School mom gossip can be VICIOUS.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@minimalME
My husbands suggestion was that if I felt the need to go, go myself but leave the girls home with him.
However, he felt I was silly for saying yes. He said don’t even lend the chair, and nothing is obligating me to go.
@Openminded
I’ve definitely taken a step back. I don’t initiate any conversation, and only respond. She just asked if the chair was still available and I had completely forgot I said she could use it. I stumbled, agreed, then immediately regretted it. My daughters said on her own in random instances that she is glad she doesn’t play with him anymore.
@jlg07
Yes, I can’t help but want to protect her, and though it sounds odd, I find it really easy to help her understand that some people don’t want to be friends-when it’s a stranger. Dealing with people I know is hard for me.
@FeministInPink
She’s definitely the type to throw you to the wolves on Facebook. She lives in a glass house, but she’s got the biggest rocks to throw at you. She is extremely gossipy, catty, and loves causing conflict or drama. I have stopped doing anything for her. I didn’t mind much about the chair at the time because it’s just sitting not being used. Any hobby I did- sewing, wreaths, baking, you name it- she would see it, like it and want me to do it for free or would cheap out on paying, so I just tell her no now. It was becoming way too much. She’s controlling in most relationships she has. I’m naturally a giver and obviously to a fault at times.
 

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Why does she need to borrow your highchair for the party. She has young children. Doesn't she have a high chair?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@Diana7 I agree with him, and think that’s what I’ll do. @EleGirl I don’t know. She borrowed one of those space saver ones that go on a chair, but she gave it back. So I would think, but I’m not sure.
 

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You should have just continued to blow her off until she got the message that you weren't coming loud and clear. You don't owe her anything and especially the use of your highchair. She can get her own.
 

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@FeministInPink
She’s definitely the type to throw you to the wolves on Facebook. She lives in a glass house, but she’s got the biggest rocks to throw at you. She is extremely gossipy, catty, and loves causing conflict or drama. I have stopped doing anything for her. I didn’t mind much about the chair at the time because it’s just sitting not being used. Any hobby I did- sewing, wreaths, baking, you name it- she would see it, like it and want me to do it for free or would cheap out on paying, so I just tell her no now. It was becoming way too much. She’s controlling in most relationships she has. I’m naturally a giver and obviously to a fault at times.
Sounds like you are better off without her! Play nice/friendly enough so she thinks that you're just super busy, but so she doesn't throw you to the wolves, and eventually she'll lose interest in you, and she'll move on to someone else she can more easily manipulate.
 

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I'd just tell her that her son hurt your daughter's feelings and she doesn't want to be around him. The boy is getting into his "girls have cooties" phase so that's what's up, nothing odd. He'll likely be pestering her again when she's a teen. If the crappy friend asks if you will go, just tell her you need to take care of your daughter as your husband has plans. After this just give her the brush off for future events. If she disses you on FB reply with how she takes advantage of you every chance she gets. She's a user. I'm sure all of her friends are well aware of that.
 

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I'm confused. You said party "for her youngest" and your husband said leave the "girls" with him. How many children are there between the two families now, and what are their ages?
 

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When she reaches out to you, you can say, "You're welcome to come over and get the chair on (day) but we won't be coming because we have plans that I forgot about the last time we spoke." This will be the truth. You temporarily forgot your plan to have a backbone.

If she doesn't reach out to you for the high chair, don't bring it over. Later tell her, "I thought you were coming to borrow the chair" so she knows she was welcome to use it and by her choice she didn't. Drop the card in her mailbox and be done with it.

Just be busy in the future whenever she wants to get together or when she wants you to do something for her. No need to make the slow death of a friendship a big deal and create an enemy in your neighborhood.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@Pam Each of us have 2 children. Mine are 5 and 2. Hers are 6 and tomorrow is her other boys 1st birthday.

It was funny this entire week, she was constantly reaching out. Asked to meet for lunch cause she missed the girls. Then she popped by unexpectedly with a late birthday gift for my daughter. Was suddenly really interested in me. Wonder if it had anything to do with the birthday tomorrow? 🤔
She did ask for the chair. And didn’t come to get it until around 8pm. I handed off a birthday gift with it as well, and said I wasn’t sure I’d make it. My youngest woke with bit of a fever and a nasty cough, and I sound like Dorothy from the Golden Girls, so I said I’d be staying home if we aren’t better. No lie needed.
I know I didn’t express myself to her, but it took the pressure off for me a bit at least.
 
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