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3s a Crowd

(46 Posts)
Granny23 Tue 14-Aug-12 17:19:32

A friend who was widowed a year past rang yesterday to ask if we were going to conference in October and when I said Yes she asked if she could tag along i.e. get a lift there and back, stay at same hotel etc. Of course I said OK and DH is fine with the arrangement but last night and today I am so angry and disappointed about it. We have had our one week holiday with the DDs, their partners and 3 DGC which was great, but I was so looking forward to our only 3 day break with just the two of us to consider, when we can please ourselves, have a romantic meal and hang the cost, hang out with old friends and dip in and out of the conference when there is something we are interested in.

The answer is not as easy as planning another break for ourselves as money is short and time off from childminding hard to arrange. I do admire our friend who is successfully creating a new life for herself, but she has a couple of quirks that make her a bit of a pain at times. I think I am being unreasonable but how do I calm down?

Nonu Tue 14-Aug-12 17:36:04

Thats a tough one , just think you may be giving her a deal of help smile

HildaW Tue 14-Aug-12 17:43:58

Oh Granny23 take a deep breath m'dear.
Is she a good friend? Will you be able to have a little chat with her before you set off? If so just open a conversation with her about the conference, talking about whatever its about - then just say in a non challenging way 'I do hope you wont mind but, am sure you wont (and smile everso nicely) but we really do need a little bit of time on our own its been so busy what with etc etc' then just explain that you would like to have a least one proper 'date' with your husband during the week-end. If shes a good friend she should jolly well agree - if she cant see your need to do so then shes not quite the friend she should be and you should feel perfectly entitled to then say 'Oh well, am sorry you dont understand but we will be dining at such and such am sure you will be able to make alternative arrangements.
You are doing her a jolly nice favour - am sure she will be happy to play her part when she knows how important it is to you. Just keep your cool and discuss it openly and calmly - its when we get all het up and blurt the first thing that comes into our heads that missunderstandings happen. Good luck.

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 17:55:39

I agree with Hilda, Granny23 - it's all too easy for resentment to build up and things are said which can't be unsaid. Although your friend is a recent widow she's obviously getting on with her life to a certain extent, and I'm sure she'll appreciate your being honest with her and letting her know how important this time together is for you and your DH. She may be only too pleased to help - I hope so, good luck!

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 18:19:52

G23, isn't it possible that you will have other friends attending the same conference who might keep your friend company while you and your husband take time out for yourselves?

POGS Tue 14-Aug-12 20:47:47


I fully understand your problem, couldn't say no or felt terrible.

Have you ever thought that because you are all attending a conference, not going on holiday, she may have thought of the 3 days as a business rather than social time. When you are there I would make a point of looking at the 3 days as just that, business and convenience for travel arrangements and do exactly what you had in mind. Obviously you will not consider being rude but it will set the tone for future reference. You may be surprised and maybe she will be happy to share petrol cost and looking forward to meeting others and had no intention of hanging on to you, she may be thinking I must not be a gooseberry.

With a bit of luck.

crimson Tue 14-Aug-12 21:08:39

Why do I keep thinking of Mrs Warboys from One Foot in the Grave [especially the episode where they were stuck in a traffic jam...confused]....

crimson Tue 14-Aug-12 21:10:32

....make sure you've got some sucky sweets in the car, just in case [the wierd thing is that I never even used to watch 'One Foot'..or perhaps I watched it 'in denial'....

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 21:14:02

The term 'sucky sweets' suggests that somehow you did manage to watch at least that episode, crimson! grin

POGS Tue 14-Aug-12 21:52:18

crimson. smile

Faye Tue 14-Aug-12 21:52:45

Grany23 Your friend is newly widowed and has just asked for a lift and is staying at the same hotel. She is not sharing a room with you and there will be other people at the conference for her to spend time with. It is a great opportunity for her to get out and mix with other people but with the knowledge that her friends are around so that she doesn't feel quite alone. Please don't smile sweetly and tell her that you want some special time with your husband, it must be hard enough for her to have lost hers without her friends pointing out that she is in the way. There will be plenty of time for you and your husband to get some time alone over three days. I am sure you will have a lovely time and let us know how it went.

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 22:03:18

Well, contradictory advice there from Hilda and Faye, but you know your friend best, Granny23 and will be able to decide how to play it. I hope it works out for you all! smile

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 22:04:19

If it is, as I surmise, a party conference, it should have quite a good social side to it in the evenings, if it's anything like the ones I've attended in the past. Your friend will have a lot in common with the other delegates and will most likely know a good many of them.

crimson Tue 14-Aug-12 22:20:46

Not widowed but divorced. When newly divorced I found myself in a very strange place where a lot of women found me some sort of a threat. I thought I was imagining it until another divorced friend said she felt the same. Being someone that had always had both male and female friends [probably having more male friends because of my passion for racing and finding my racing club had more men in it than women] I was bemused by it; I wasn't out to 'find a man' but the same person I had been prior to the split. A widowed friend said the same thing had happened to her. So, even though I understand totally how you feel about wanting some quality time for yourself [personally I need solitude quite often and people don't always understand that] your friend may not be as confident about her life as she appears to be and may still be finding her feet. Difficult situation you've found yourself in, brought about by your own kindness, which is really sweet of you. But you need to set down the ground rules for the future as well. Good luck.

Granny23 Tue 14-Aug-12 22:29:31

Annobel and POGS - unfortunately that is part of the problem. Everyone else tries to avoid her and will avoid us too if she is with us - which is a shame as she is a lovely and interesting person, just overly loud (she is pretty deaf) dresses extremely loudly too and always so hard up that we are forced to eat as cheaply as possible as she insists on paying her share. Last 2 conferences she stuck to us like a limpet, except when we were leaving and she disappeared into a toilet and reappeared ages later from a different direction after we had searched high and low, been miles to to the carpark in the pouring rain to see if she had gone to the car etc.etc. We missed an important fringe meeting (with free lunch!) for the same reason as it was full by the time she reappeared.

I feel really bad saying these things about her as I like her and enjoy her company (in small doses). I am sure that if I had been the widowed one she would have been very supportive of me. I just feel kind of put upon ...........
I thought that putting my thoughts down here would help. Well I suppose it has, in that I see I am being petty minded and will just have to make the best of it with a good grace. C'est la vie!

crimson Tue 14-Aug-12 22:34:12

Oh dear; I don't think you're being petty minded at all from what you've said. There aren't many people anyway that anyone can spend a lot of time with without feeling a bit irritated. Maybe just be prepared with an excuse next time it happens? [and don't feel bad about it, either!].

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 22:36:39

Oh, dear, it's worse than we thought - that's the trouble, Granny23 when you try to be tactful in your opening post but don't reveal the extent of the problem! I don't blame you for feeling put-upon, and all I can suggest is that you have a good excuse ready for next time.

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 22:37:40

(Snap, crimson!)

nanaej Tue 14-Aug-12 23:42:29

Would it work if you start by inviting her to 'eat with us on the x night of the conference'? Would she get the subtle message 'but not on the other nights'?
Sort of on the lines of , 'Shall we all eat together on Monday because Fred and I had already arranged to go out the other two nights before we knew you would be coming'
It is hard when a traveling companion is hard work! We have been away with good friends many times but now it feels like one friend, who is very independent and has lived on her own most of her adult life, is finding it harder to consider what others would like to do and got quite forceful in pushing her choices! Made it all a bit stressful and in your case all the more so because she is self invited! Good luck wine

POGS Tue 14-Aug-12 23:45:20

Oh Blimey,

I think your stuck me duck. shock

Faye Wed 15-Aug-12 00:12:53

Blimey exactly, Granny23 you are stuck, but at least you will know from experience next time to check the toilet when she has disappeared. grin

Granny23 Wed 15-Aug-12 00:33:40

Faye - I did check the toilets but she had decided to double back to the conference stalls to get a souvenir for her grandson and got a bit lost.confused

crimson Wed 15-Aug-12 00:54:00

Just remembered trying to strangle [ I think that was my means of attack; I could be wrong..whatever it was it was pretty violent] a very dear friend who was sharing the driving with my, then, boyfriend as we travelled round Europe one summer. We'd all lived together quite happily in student accommodation for years prior to that. By the way, he wasn't actually driving at the time. It was a very long time ago; maybe I just shouted a lot [scratches head and worries about memory loss]. We're still friends, though smile although the boyfriend is now the ex husband. There may be a moral in this.

crimson Wed 15-Aug-12 00:55:20

... I think the moral is don't post things when it's way past bedtime and one's brain is fuddled with tiredness.....

Barrow Wed 15-Aug-12 10:10:42

As a widow of just a year myself I can sympathise with your friend. I find it very difficult to "join in" now I am alone. However, having said that I think your friend should be more understanding of your need to be alone with your husband some times. I assume you will be having breakfast in the hotel so perhaps when you have finished you could say something along the lines of "we'll meet you in the conference hall" The same if she goes off again, instead of waiting around for her just arrange to meet her somewhere. In her place I would certainly not expect to spend every spare moment with you and your husband. If you have mutual friends at the conference perhaps you could have quiet word with them and see if they can share her company!