Here's the latest installment of the Friendship Court.
Renee from Michigan writes: My friend Irene is divorced with four children. She has a loser of an ex-husband and struggles to make ends meet. We were recently out for lunch with a group of women and everyone was talking about Nadya Suleman and her octuplets. I said I thought Nadya was a freak and that she was completely wrong to bring eight more children into this world when she is a single mother who exists on government loans and food stamps.
Another woman at the table agreed with me and said she thinks the government should take her fourteen children away and give them to families desperate to have kids. Another woman chimed in about how our tax dollars have to pay for Suleman's children's subsistence while she works two jobs to support hers. Irene did not say a word. After lunch, when I was driving Irene home, she chewed me out and said that what I said was equivalent to saying that the government should be able to take her children and that I was a terrible friend for not sticking up for her when the other women said things. Then she got out of the car without saying goodbye and hasn't called me since. I am so confused. Did I do something wrong? I don't know if this friendship can be saved but I will feel better after hearing your answer.
Leslie Adler: Dear Renee: I think you are innocent of the charge of being a "terrible friend." I am guessing that what Irene is feeling has nothing to do with you or Nadya Suleman. You and the others around the table stated opinions and good friendships can withstand differences of opinion. The comment about taking away the kids, though a little harsh, doesn't seem to me to translate to a judgment about Irene's life. However, maybe you could have been more sensitive to Irene's insecurities about raising her children alone and potential fears about needing government assistance or, worse, having her children taken away. If the friendship is worth saving, even if you think Irene is being irrational, you should call her and say that the conversation was merely about current events and economics, and it never occurred to you that Irene would think it was about her because you simply don't put her in the same category as Nadya Suleman. Tell her how much you respect her efforts as a single mom and leave the ball in her court to call when she feels like chatting.
Thanks for sending your dispute to the Friendship Court.
|Leslie Adler mother, lawyer and creator of the Vuv Club shares her witty thoughts on the many roles women play in their everyday lives. Leslie also combines her legal skills and friendship experience as presiding judge of Momlogic's "The Friendship Court."|
Ever have a fight or a break-up with a friend and wish a judge could tell you who's right?