View Full Version : Warning...long read...how to handle difficult people when they're also your friends?

Quilted Fantasies
September 5th, 2013, 03:56 PM
Since moving to a condo community I have befriended a lady named Lois. She is a good friend and she would give me the shirt off her back. I too would do anything for her. She frequently stops by for a glass of wine while walking her cute little dog in the afternoons. I stop by her place too!

With all her good points, Lois is a "little" rough around the edges. She does not suffer fools gladly. It is not an unfrequent occurrence for her to "go off" on people who have made her angry. Fortunately, I've never been the target. My personality is completely different. I'm much more passive.

Tonight I've invited Lois and her husband over for dinner. I'm really dreading listening to her rants over something that happened in the community yesterday. One of our residents died a few weeks ago. Yesterday there was a sign put up in the yard (against HOA rules, real estate signs only allowed in windows) and it was from an auction company. Later in the day an email went out to all of us that the auction was not for the condo, it was for the furniture, etc. The sign was unclear, to be sure.

Most of our homeowners are retired and the thought of a condo being auctioned of course makes us concerned about property values. Lois called me last night, still in a furor. She had called the son of the previous owner and started the conversation with "I want to know what you have done to you to make you treat us like this, putting the condo for auction and ruining all of our property values!" He explained the fact that the condo itself was not going up for auction.

Lois could not let it go. She was still venting last night; apparently she caused a big furor with the board over the whole thing. When I talked to her after the meeting she said "I'm so sick of this place! I can't stand living here!" I was tempted to tell her that she should move if she thought that was best, but like I said, I'm more passive.

I dread listening to the same rants tonight. I talked to DH about it and we are going to try to steer the conversation to other topics. I doubt we will be successful.

I swear, I wish we could all just count our blessings.

Any ideas of how to handle this situation?


September 5th, 2013, 04:10 PM
Lois you know it's only for the furniture. How can she be so hard headed. She must be scared about money. Which everyone is. It sounds like you just have to keep repeating it like a mantra. lol

Why would it ruin property values for a condo auction? I don't know anything about condos.

Quilted Fantasies
September 5th, 2013, 04:17 PM
It wouldn't necessarily ruin property values. I think the fear is that an auction would bring less than a regular real estate sale. Real estate values are based on similar properties in the area, so if an auction brought less, it would affect other values. Potentially, of course, an auction could bring more. However, there are other condos for sale in the community and I wouldn't think a person going to an auction would want to pay more than the lowest priced condo currently on the market here.

The mantra idea is a good one. I guess part of my concern really is about her going off on me if I do anything besides just listen.

Maybe I should suggest that she have her meds checked. JUST KIDDING!

September 5th, 2013, 04:22 PM
So Lois called a grieving son and yelled at him about a piece of property? She only thought of herself and not of the poor man who lost a parent.

If she started on about it at dinner I probably would ask how she could be so callous. But that's just me. Blunt like Lois says she is.

September 5th, 2013, 04:31 PM
Either cancel the dinner, or have other topics ready to discuss. It's your home, guide the tide of conversation. Just come right out and say you don't want to talk about that issue. That's what I would do.

September 5th, 2013, 04:32 PM
Thanks Grace-Ann for explaining that. I always think of value going down when you have neighbors collecting all kinds of cars and junk in their yards.

I was going to mention about talking to the son too. That was a little harsh and out of line.

September 5th, 2013, 06:06 PM
Grace-Ann, I would just simply say that I don't wish to discuss this subject and then move onto something else.

September 5th, 2013, 06:26 PM
I'm definitely the blunt type. I would say "Lois, I enjoy our friendship, but I must be honest and tell you that I find venting unproductive. I'd rather talk about something pleasant and I hope you'll agree. We're all friends here and there's no need to dwell on the negative."

That's the diplomat in me. If she kept it up I'd say, "Lois, sometimes you're like a dog with a bone. You need to give it up or I'm going to call it an early evening."

You set the boundaries in the relationship. For her to respect them, she has to clearly understand them.

Good luck!

September 5th, 2013, 08:34 PM
Grace-Ann... First of all, I love your name.... My daughter had four boys, but if she had had a girl, her name would have been Grace.

I agree that if Lois behind to rant about the condo.... Tell her that subject is off limits.

Also.... Lois's frequent rants obviously upset you.... It would upset me, too. I know you don't like confrontation... neither do I.... But. You may have to sit down with Lois....over a glad of her favorite wine, of course.....and explanation that her ranting makes you very uncomfortable. You have to do something, or your friendship isn't long for this world.

Good luck.... I'm pretty passive, too, so I know how difficult this situation must be for you.

September 5th, 2013, 08:43 PM
I think you have gotten some good advice. I would simply put up my hand, put on my smile, and say, Now, Lois! We have sorted that all out. It was a misundertanding....Lets talk about something enjoyable....

Quilted Fantasies
September 5th, 2013, 11:41 PM
Wow...how fortunate I am to have found such a good support system! Thank you all for your kind words and advice.

In case you're wondering...dinner went great, no mention of the auction at all until after dinner, and it was another neighbor who brought it up. I was armed with your good advice and so I good naturedly said to Lois, "I was hoping we wouldn't talk about this tonight." Then I put my fingers in my ears and started singing "My country tis of thee" like a five-year-old. It got a good laugh and the subject was closed.

Sandy, you're right, a frank conversation needs to be in my future. Just because I dodged a bullet tonight doesn't mean more won't be coming. I'll work on it.

September 5th, 2013, 11:49 PM
Maybe you need a new friend. She sounds like she has anger issues and needs some help dealing with them.

September 5th, 2013, 11:59 PM
Yep, she is high maintenance.

September 6th, 2013, 12:14 AM
That's good Grace ann. Even though we turn into adults everyone deserves a temper tantrum sometimes. Something hit her buttons and you are a good friend to stick by in this situation. Hopefully the only one.

My mom went through I need to drop a friend thing. I think it was a taking advantage situation. I was young and kind of forgot what it was about.