Gransnet forums


Friend problem, advice please

(22 Posts)
LuckyFour Sat 14-Oct-17 14:40:42

I invited a newly widowed friend to join a group to which I belong and she has since joined other local groups. The problem is she hogs all conversations and turns everything to herself in a showing off/boasting type of way. Other friends are now beginning to get really fed up with her, as I am. I would not want to upset her but I'm wondering if there is a way I can help her before people start to avoid her. This has already started to happen, she is sometimes not invited to friends homes for coffee etc. Any suggestions.

Imperfect27 Sat 14-Oct-17 15:02:51

Oh dear - I think I would carry the same sense of anxiety for her as you do, if it were a friend of mine, but you are not her keeper and unless she has an illness / capacity issue that means her behaviour is misunderstood / makes her vulnerable, I think you should leave her to find her own way. You can't make other people like her. If you are still a constant friend yourself, then she still has tangible support, beyond meeting others. Try to set lightly to it. It may all mend itself over time - maybe she has been rather anxious to make a good impression and may settle down herself.

Bluegal Sat 14-Oct-17 15:26:19

How long has she been your friend? You say she is newly widowed. Has she always been like this (and if so there must be some qualities you like as you regard her as friend) or is she trying to overcome/compensate for her grief in some way?

If YOU like her I would just arrange to carry on meeting her for coffee/meals etc on a one to one. Let her find her way with others. Don't isolate yourself from your other friends though and don't feel guilty accepting invitations anyone else isn't invited to.

CherryHatrick Sat 14-Oct-17 15:38:28

Maybe she and her husband belonged to a group with an established "pecking order" based on income or perceived status. Without her husband she may feel she has to establish her own place in your group using the same criteria. As the others have said, just be there on a one to one basis until she feels more confident.

LuckyFour Sat 14-Oct-17 15:42:15

Good advice already, thank you. She has been coming to clubs etc for about three or four years and is getting worse I would say. She has always talked a lot but her husband was well liked. He died about four years ago.

Christinefrance Sat 14-Oct-17 15:46:32

Sounds like your friend is feeling insecure without her husband LuckyFour sometimes you just have to say something to the person concerned. It would be a shame if she lost friends and company at this stage. If you have been friends for a while you could pick the issue which is most annoying and talk around that with her.

M0nica Sat 14-Oct-17 16:29:32

Some people do not adjust to living alone and not having someone in the house for daily chitchat and talk a lot when they do join social groups. It takes various forms; this lady has to talk herself up a lot. I have a single friend, who since retirement has developed this problem and in her case has become dismissive of everything I say. I think she does it with others as well.

I do not know what the answer is to this, I wish I did.

Starlady Sat 14-Oct-17 17:21:55

Neither do I. Feel so bad for your friend, LuckyFour. I agree with others that she is probably feeling insecure.

If you can manage to change the subject when she goes on and on about herself or broaden it in some way ("Oh yes, I know lots of people who have had that happen. In fact, I read an article in the paper...") that might help.

Otherwise, as pps have said, not much you can do. She'll have to realize the change that's needed on her own.

Starlady Sat 14-Oct-17 17:22:17

Sad to say, it might take the loss of a couple of friends to do it.

Luckylegs9 Sat 14-Oct-17 20:33:57

It's a hard one, she does sound insecure and now needs people more than ever, but is driving people away. Perhaps seeing her on her own if you like her, might be best, I don't think I would be able to tell her what is wrong, it could destroy any confidence she has. Is there any way when she starts to monopolise the conversation, you can interrupt and turn the conversation away from her. Good luck,

Hm999 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:24:13

When alone with her, ask about something about one of these friends 'did Fred tell you about his new grandchild?'. Hope she will realise that she is involved in a monologue, not dialogue.
I once lived in a town where all that the local mums at Toddler group wanted to know was what my husband did (so I could be 'graded?). I moved.

vickya Sun 15-Oct-17 09:36:22

I haven't any advice to offer here, Luckyfour, and haven't a similar problem, unless I am similarly one smile, but just want to say the posters on this thread are very understanding considerate and really NICE.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:55:49

It's a tricky one, as vickya has pointed out we try to be NICE, don't we? I can only suggest that one of you try to politely but firmly change the subject when this happens, maybe even ignore what she's said and bring in another topic. If this happens enough she may get the message that you don't want any one person to dominate.

Elrel Sun 15-Oct-17 10:00:31

If she's been doing it for 4 years she isn't likely to change unless she realises she is missed out of invitations. Wasn't she perhaps the same before she was widowed?
Can you cut off her boasting and turn the conversation to a general topic. Such as, to another group member, 'You went there on holiday too, didn't you, AN Other? What did you think?'
Or 'You had your garden landscaped too, didn't you ANO? Is it easy to manage now?'
You'll have to keep interrupting her but it could work.

Morgana Sun 15-Oct-17 10:50:31

Am part of a group where this has happened and got quite despondent. I think one of the others has had a quiet word with the newcomer and she is getting better at not monopolising all the conversation. She is quite a confident person so has accepted she needs to pipe down! I guess the kindest thing would be for you to gently mention the need for conversations to be shared?

grannygranby Sun 15-Oct-17 11:23:37

I too think all the advice is good and considerate. It is so difficult. as we all accept she is basically insecure and is overcompensating to be liked and valued and it is not working...perhaps when she is not showing off you could raise the topic in the group of how people who are know it alls are often insecure and a bit tedious....hopefully let her pick up the hint without damaging her further and embarrrassing her...depends on how bad it is I suppose. good luck.

sarahellenwhitney Sun 15-Oct-17 11:26:29

Newly widowed in your first comment and later you quote 'widowed nearly four years ago.confusedWhich?.
We all react different when losing a loved one. Does she have family ? before you turn to strangers for advice have a word with her family if she has any.It would be cruel to ignore her but if this is such a big issue for you then using your discretion have a word with your friend be honest and put to her how folk are feeling as to her conduct.

pollyperkins Sun 15-Oct-17 11:27:20

That would be very difficult to do Morgana - I wouldn't be brave enough and wpuld be afraid of offending! I think its better to be subtle as others have said and keep interrupting to bring others in. Or say in a not too unkind voice, yes you've mentioned that before and change the subject. She may get the hint.

Eloethan Sun 15-Oct-17 12:10:20

I wonder if would work to have a passing grumble to your friend about an "imaginary" friend or relative who always talks about herself and has no interest in other people's lives. Of course, it's quite possible your friend wouldn't relate this to her own behaviour because I think everyone is, to some extent, blind to their own shortcomings. It might be worth a try though.

I think to say outright that everyone is getting fed up with her would be very hurtful and would be bound to damage your friendship.

Another way is, as somebody else said, to interrupt - perhaps by asking about another person's news - or to be united in not responding to her comments and start a new conversation when she stops speaking.

I do feel for you. It is a difficult situation and I don't think anybody relishes the idea of hurting someone's feelings.

Coconut Sun 15-Oct-17 12:19:29

I presume these are informal meet ups so you don’t have agendas ? I personally would welcome everyone and ask if anyone has anything specific to discuss. Then I would very tactfully say that some members feel that they don’t get chance to speak much, so could we “all” be a little bit empathetic and focus on our listening skills. Most of the group will be fully aware of where this is directed, and your friend hopefully will get the hint.

LuckyFour Sun 15-Oct-17 15:23:21

Coconut. - I do like your suggestion of saying to the group as a whole that we should all try to listen more as some people don't get chance to say very much. Thank you all for understanding the problem and giving advice. My friend was newly widowed about four years ago and that's when I invited her to join a couple of clubs to which I belong. I understood how lonely she must have felt but now she is ruining her chance to have friends around her.

W11girl Sun 15-Oct-17 20:05:39

I can kind of half sympathise with your friend. When I moved from London to where I live now (in the North East)....I was picked on constantly by one particular woman who didn't like Southeners, so much so, the other women in the group would stay silent in the group when she would go on "the attack". In the early days I would "defend myself" but in the end I got fed up with her, and them, and I ostracised them! We didn't have much money when I was growing up but my parents made sure I had a decent education. I do a lot to help people but to some this is seen as "being better" than they are, which is far from the truth! I can't win! Luckily I made of strong stuff!