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7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

In high school and even during college I had some friendships that could be considered high maintenance. Circumstances were different before getting married and having kids. During those earlier phases of life you can certainly bend yourself to allow more quirks and bumps in the road of friendship, especially as you are all figuring out how this friendship thing works.

Now that I am a Mom of three young kids. I have less time for friendships. However, this is a time in life when friends are especially needed. Moms need to have a shoulder or two to lean on when feeling insane, someone to meet up with when you need a few hours without kids, and someone other than a spouse to share life’s challenges and joy.

In order to have healthy friendships that are worth the time and effort, yet don’t cause more work and headaches in life you require low maintenance friendships. Experience has helped me weed out the high maintenance friendships that I have had over the years. At this point I naturally gravitate towards friendships that are low maintenance. It doesn’t mean that they are any less valued. Actually it is quite the contrary. Low maintenance friendships lend themselves to more kindness, openness, and sincerity in the relationship because there isn’t drama, gossip, high expectations, and other things to get in the way.

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Below are my top 7 tips on how to be a low maintenance mommy friend and they are as follows:

1. No Drama

The jealousy among women need to stop if they want to remain friends. We all have different talents and abilities, our kids are all different, and we all have different life experiences. You can’t compare yourself to others. So, if your mom friends act less than perfect, let it go. If their life seems better than yours it’s because probably you don’t know their entire life story and all the details of their life. Let it go. Just be you. Just worry about yourself. Don’t act or react to your negative thoughts and feelings, especially as they relate to others.

Drama usually rears its ugly head in the form of words, so use your words wisely. If there isn’t an upside to something to a friend, then you probably don’t need to say it. If what you are going to say is intended to get a friend’s emotions running high, then you may need to analyze your heart and the intentions behind what you want to say.

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2. No Gossip

The truth about gossip is that it is hurtful. Another truth about gossip that is important to recognize is that if a friend is gossiping about all their other friends, then they are more than likely gossiping about you when they are with their other friends. To be a good friend don’t gossip about your friends. Don’t even gossip about others who aren’t your friends. Change the subject when gossip occurs or find a way to leave the situation. Staying and listening to gossip is just as bad.

3. Time is of No Matter

The best kind of friendship for a mom is one where you can see each other after weeks or months of not seeing one another and you can pick up right where you left off, as though you saw each other the previous day. There may or may not be texts between seeing one another, but it is not taken personally, because fellow moms know that sometimes life gets crazy and hectic and everything besides keeping your family afloat can go by the wayside. This also means that you don’t give your friends a hard time, if they don’t immediately return your calls, texts, or emails. When they eventually get around to it, as life and time allows, that is good enough for you because you are an understanding friend.

4. Low Expectations

Keep low expectations of your fellow mommy friends. Nobody is owed anything by being a friend. It was nice when back in high school and college days meant all your friends around you helped you celebrate your birthday. That sometimes happens with mommy friends, but not always. Some days it is hard enough to remember the birthdays of your own kids. What it boils down to is that nobody owes you for being their friend. If they do nice things for you, like order you a cup of coffee, send you a nice note, or offer to watch your kids, then thank that friend! Extra gestures of kindness are not required in mommy friendships. However, they do make the relationships sweeter. Expecting these acts of kindness from friends will leave you disappointed in your mommy friendships. Try to do the nice things for your friends when you can, but do so without expectations of getting anything in return. That is what true friendship is based on.

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Expectations in your friendships will only lead to disappointment and then resentment. Don’t set yourself up for these negative emotions. Understand that your fellow mom friends are extremely busy and often overwhelmed. Their spouse and children come first, so sometimes friendships don’t get the love and attention we all want to give and receive.

5. Allow for Personality Quirks

Everyone has personality quirks, including you. If you want others to accept you, with your quirks and all, then you need to be accepting of the quirks that others possess. For example, we all have friends that run late. Don’t give them a hard time about it every time they are late. Instead, bring a book along and enjoy the extra time cathing up on your reading. Allow your friends to be human. They are flawed, as we all are flawed. Don’t hold their flaws against them in your friendship.

6. Don’t Criticize- Instead Encourage

Don’t be the critical mommy or the mommy who gives all the advice (you just come off as being a criticizer of those who don’t do things the way you are doing them). Words are powerful, so use them wisely. Look for the positive in your friends and tell them the good things you see in them. Be a positive force in their life. People like to be around others who are positive. Negativity is draining. If you are around friends that are mostly negative, you are going to feel depleted and drained after being around them. Set the example of positivity by looking for the good in others and situations. It doesn’t mean you need to be a Polly-Anna. It just means that focusing on real, positive aspects of life helps others around you see the positive as well.

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7. Allow for Differences

Thomas Jefferson said “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend”. He was a wise man. Everyone has different views in life. If we were all the same we would be robots and life would be boring. Allow your friends to be who they are in life. Embrace the difference, because it makes life interesting.

Don’t hold your friends differing opinions against them. We are all entitled to our opinions. Allow your friends to express their views around you without criticizing them, reacting harshly, or discrediting their opinions. If you put your friends down for their differing views, religious preferences, etc., then you are probably going to lose them. Be thankful that your friends express their views around you. It means they are comfortable around you in sharing this side of themselves.

Gratitude: If you are a mom with awesome mommy friends then consider yourself blessed. Tell your friends that you appreciate them. Good friendship is a true gift.

More by this author

Dr. Magdalena Battles

A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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