Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… how do you respond to a childless friend who never asks about your kids? What do you do when your friend expects you to be excited about all of her milestones, but shows no interest in one of your most important ones? Have your own questions? Email [email protected]
Dear Scary Mommy,
One of my closest and oldest friends never shows any interest in my kids. We’ve been friends since college, and we’re in our late thirties now. She’s always been clear about never wanting kids, and I’ve always 100% supported her in that. We’re long distance friends, but still text and talk as much as possible. She hit a lot of her milestones before me — she was married first, bought her first house first, etc… and for each of those milestones I was cheering her on and present. I travelled to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I sent her a care package when she bought a house. I was there for her through her divorce… etc. She barely acknowledged the birth of my first child. Of course I didn’t expect her to travel for a baby shower, but she didn’t so much as send a card. My child is now five, and she’s still never acknowledged a birthday or even so much as asked how she’s doing. If I start talking about kid stuff, she quickly changes the subject or makes a comment about how glad she is she still has her “freedom.” Do I just accept that this is who she is? It’s gotten to the point where I am really bitter about it.
Oh, boy — evolving female friendships can be tough. There’s a lot to unpack here, but first I want to say it’s totally valid for you to have hurt feelings about your friend not acknowledging one of the most important things in your life — your child.
Unfortunately, some people are just a lot more self-centered than others. You say the way she acts is starting to make you feel “bitter” — maybe you need to reevaluate whether you’re still friends merely because of the longevity of your relationship or if you really still want this person in your life. Old friends can become like family, and by that I mean we tend to take a little more abuse from them than we would from anyone else. As we get older, we take a lot less shit. You probably wouldn’t put up with the way this friend makes you feel from a new acquaintance, right?
You need to try to separate the person that you are from the person that she is — and stop expecting her to be as considerate as you. It hurts, but some people are just more thoughtful than others. You sound like the kind of person who fits into the “more thoughtful” bowl. Your friend sounds pretty self-centered, to be honest — and maybe you’ve just grown out of the person you were all those years who was okay with having friendships that felt one-sided. If you find yourself keeping a tally of all the things you’ve done for her in the span of your relationship that feel unreciprocated — it may be time to let this friendship go.
That being said, if you think there’s a larger issue that is making her respond to you in this way, maybe you should try being honest about the way you feel and see how she responds. When we’re burying resentments, we can’t be a truly present friend, either. Either way — honestly will go a long way. It’s hard to get things out in the open, but you’ll never heal your friendship — or move on from it — until you do.
Have your own question? Email [email protected]