DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a switch that goes off when people announce a pregnancy that sends out the “I can’t be friends with you anymore” alarm?
During my pregnancy, and now my first few months of motherhood, I’ve noticed people removing me from social media without notice, texting less or even just ignoring me for a week or month, then getting a “Don’t you have a baby now?” as a response to an invitation.
Last time I ate lunch with one of my girlfriends, she said, “It’s weird seeing you as a mom. I just … I dunno, man, you’ve changed! Not in a bad way! It’s just hard to see it.” And she left without saying goodbye. I got a text saying maybe I changed too much.
Does becoming a parent change a woman that much? Do I need to make new friends? My heart hurts. I feel like myself, still geeky, cheeky me, just with a son to look after as well.
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GENTLE READER: It strikes Miss Manners that it is your friends who have changed. At least she hopes so, as she trusts that you would not otherwise have kept friends who treated you so poorly.
Furthermore, they are extremely short-sighted. Surely at some point they will experience a change in their own lives (new job, romance, pet, marriage, baby) that temporarily disrupts their social schedules.
Certainly there is an adjustment period during new parenthood when one’s schedule and attention span are no longer one’s own. Some mothers are able to handle this while maintaining a pleasant social life with friends who are childless (or unable to remember when their own children were babies). And some new mothers become incapable of carrying on an adult conversation that doesn’t concern a baby’s bodily functions or require frequent interruptions for general panic, which is wearing even on sympathetic friends.
For a sensible mix of grown-up and baby talk, it is a good idea to make new friends of new mothers. But even if you get out less, you should certainly keep those of your old friends who really are friends and enjoy you at whatever stage of life you may happen to be.
A last hurrah
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Miss Manners has been quite clear that throwing a party for oneself is out of the question. What is her opinion, then, of celebrations of life, hosted by those who are terminally ill, as a pre-funeral or instead of a funeral? Is it in bad taste to attend your own funeral while still alive?
GENTLE READER: Well, yes. And technically impossible.
Miss Manners is not unsympathetic to the situation, however. If someone who is terminally ill would like to celebrate with friends — also known as just having a party — he may certainly do so.
There is no reason to give the party an alarming name. Those who know the person well may suspect the motivation, but yet be as grateful as those who do not, to not have to call it what it is, especially if the intent is to celebrate and not to mourn.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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