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Yikes, not easy...

* Tell her how you feel OR kick her out? That's hurtful and cruel despite the guise of doing the right thing (like the husband admitting the affairs to make himself feel better). What - she needs to change her personality to fit in with you? Smacks of bullying. Won't work, will end ugly.

* Ease out of it by faking the end of the group - everyone very busy etc - take a break over the holidays and then restart again slowly in the new year but just don't invite her back. Not great but non-confrontational. If she ever does find out however... it's awkward and she's hurt

* My opinion? Man up. Everyone sucks it up, grows up and learns from this experience. Someone did initially invite her into that inner sanctum, after all? Sometimes we need difference to appreciate the similarities. Perhaps the group being rocked isn't so bad in the greater scheme of things after all. There are ways to guide and temper people's behaviour through shaping (i.e. by vary your responses to her behaviour just as you would for a toddler) so they can all help her out in general by doing this, and at the same time they'll have an opportunity to embrace diversity and grow.
(I'd also advise more wine while you're doing it).

That is a tricky situation indeed.
For me, its a case of trying to find out why she is like she is and adapting how I handle her in group situations. Kinda like when you know a child has a disability- you adapt how you handle that child when you see that child.

Ditto to all of the above.

If I were "the woman," I would very much appreciate the truth -- a lie would be much more hurtful.

It would be interesting to know more about the nature of this person's comments. Is her criticism/attitude in any way justified? How exactly does she challenge the other women's issues or identities? What is the larger issue that is at stake? Does she make negative or upsetting comments about everything, or is this specifically in regards to a particular topic?

I'd say have everybody learn by being open with this lady. Speaking about somebody behind that person's back is already hurtful, IMHO. Give communication a try, and if that doesn't work, reconsider your options and new understandings.

You can't break up with someone without hurting their feelings. It's an oxymoronic statement.

So the question is how to do it in a caring and responsible way while being aware that feelings will be hurt.

I think if the moms' group is THAT determined to get rid of the woman, then someone else in the group should let her know, and then your friend should give her a call separately, tell her she's so sorry it ended that way, and get together with her individually in order to preserve the relationship between those two families.

That said, if it's really just a playgroup, I think I'd just wait it out and see if things naturally slide. As kids enter preschool the dynamics tend to change really quickly and groups splinter in all kinds of ways.

just challenge her when she says something out of turn....in a kind way. simple.


I would definately somehow, gently tell her about the situation. She may chose to try and change, be embarrassed and do everyone a favour by breaking up with the group herself or she could turn into a vindictive bitch...worst case senario...

If the group told her a "white lie" or a lie of any sort to remove her it would be bound to come out sooner or later and she would be more hurt by being the proverbial last-to-know than if the group were just upfront about it.

If I were said woman, I would rather be told the ugly truth and make my own decision than hear it via someone's back door. (and I supose I could have just said that in the first place huh?)

Good luck to your in-the-computer-friend....breaking up is always hard to do.

This is tough...what it comes down to, it sounds like, is that the group just doesn't like her. And beyond that, they've started talking about her behind her back.

I think that if she's doing something objectively hurtful (offensive comments, showing up late and holding everyone up, making others watch her kid for her, etc.) then the group should confront her directly and either kick her out of the group or give her a chance to mend her behavior.

But if it's really a personality conflict (she talks a little too much/too loudly/doesn't like the same books) and not a correctable behavior, I'd say the group needs to suck it up. She was invited in, after all. Probably, though, if they're uncomfortable, so is she--and she may end up excusing herself.

"Should the woman be told that she is rubbing people up the wrong way and be given a chance to change? "> sure, honesty rules.

Well, provided these "women" are mature adults then they should have told the woman along the way that she was rubbing others the wrong way, etc. This woman gets something from being part of the group or SHE wouldn't continue to show up. She is likely unaware how she is being perceived and what dire consequences are afoot.

I think that one person from the group, whomever considers themselves 'closer' to this woman, should speak with her privately and from a place of compassion (and not accusation or judgment). Explain, using specific concrete examples, how this woman's behavior is affecting the group dynamic and ask whether she is aware. Tell her what the expectations of change are in order to continue in the group and what the consequences will be if she doesn't. And, be prepared for her to want to opt out.

But, also consider that there are children involved and, as parents, we can't just exercise our will because it is convenient when these young souls are forging their first friend relationships. And, while the exit of this woman's child can be easily explained away, is that really what we want to teach our children? That the people we expose them to are expendable? I suspect, if these children were middle school age and having a similar problem with a child at school, let's say YOUR child, you would want them to give your kid a chance. Maybe your kid wouldn't want to change to be part of the group but then it would be his/her decision and not a mob deciding for him/her.

And, as others have said, you cannot break up with someone without hurting her feelings. Unless, of course, she is only there for the good of her child and is waiting for the opportunity to rid herself of catty, clique-y, judgmental people.

Honestly, I think the whole situation kind of screams "Mean Girls" to me. We have all come across people in life that are difficult, that we'd rather not be around, so I can completely sympathize. But for an entire group to ostracize one person -- eek that sounds so cruel. Especially since there are kids involved, and this woman's child doesn't deserve that, and what kind of a lesson does that send to kids?

The ethical thing to do would be for one mom to take the woman aside, and politely explain (in a kind, constructive-criticism type way) the other moms' gripes with the woman. And give her a chance to change.

But honestly, isn't life full of situations like these? Don't we all have those people in our lives who annoy us from time to time? I personally always try to look for the thing about that person that is likable, and try to ignore the more difficult parts, because everyone deserves that. And God knows, I need others to return the favor from time to time, because I am most certainly not perfect.

It sounds a bit like bullying to me. Like kids in a playground that specifically want to exclude another child from joining in. How could one possibly teach children that it's wrong to do that when their mothers are doing it?

They should behave as they want their toddler to learn to behave in social situations. Of course they should call her on it if her behavior makes them uncomfortable--individually, AS the behavior makes anyone uncomfortable. But this is so seventh-grade: you can't sit with us at this lunch table because you laugh too loud. Grow up, already. If she's doing something that's actually rude, call her on it. Otherwise, stop gossiping behind her back like a bunch of mean twelve-year-olds.

There is no way to break up with her without hurting her feelings, and no way not to cause bad blood between the husbands who have to work together.

I agree with Lee and KD. "Woman up" and deal with it. If her behavior is actually rude, address that.

don't usually comment on these things but I have to agree with Lisa and KD. We all need a little compassion at times. And the old cliche works- what goes around comes around. It might be that this is one of those situations where its easier *not to like* someone and then the bitching starts- socially its exactly what you don't want your children to experience. so to take it as an opportunity be grown up about it, unless its really anti-social / unacceptable behaviour on this woman's part- the rest of the group need to step up and try to work it out rather than ostracize her.

It sounds Mean Girls-ish to me too. And a bit scapegoating in that the group can bond around how they don't like this one woman.

If she's said something that hurt someone's feelings, then that person can speak with her one-on-one and sort it out. That's a good example to set for the kids rather than everyone talking about it at length behing this woman's back.

What KD and Sandra said. From your post, I didn't get the impression the woman had done anything really rude or awful. I feel pretty bad for her, reading this post. Grow up, ladies, confront her in the moment or keep your thoughts to yourselves.

I agree with those that say there is no way to break up with her w/o hurting her feelings. However, I don't agree with those who say you should keep including her in the group no matter what. NO! If your kid was getting bullied, would you tell him he had to hang out with the bully? No,of course not. If your daughter was having problems with another girl on the playground, would you force her to play with her every day no matter what? No. If a relationship becomes toxic, then you need to remove yourself from it. Period. Why would you choose to hang out with someone you don't like? Yes, at some point the kids will need a life skill like that. But at 2? No. This is a play group, not mandatory Monday morning office meetings. Life is too short for that.

Now, the issue is, how to do it, and I do agree with those posters who say the "break-up" must be done with with compassion and respect. It should be done by one person, definitely not a group, as kindly as possible. I have no idea how you do that, honestly. That's definitely tough, esp. with the added husband/work connection component. But if keeping her in the group is going to drive other people away, that's not right either.

Tough situation, I wish your friend well.

Wow, sounds just like my cousin. What we do is suck it up and deal with it because she has a great heart and good intentions. I can only take her in small doses and do not seek more than a casual, family relationship. She comes across as being very insensitive, but most of us know she is sensitive (easily gets her feelings hurt). In meeting people similar to my cousin I usually accept that they do not fully understand how they are coming across to others. More than likely a lack of social skills. After all, my cousin has parents that love her and enough family members to accept her (in small doses). I believe she thinks she is just a strong female that speaks her mind.
With all that said, I would either suggest dealing with it and somehow finding the humor in her or at least two moms (separately and at different times) mentioning something to her about trying to be more sensitive or less opinionated. If the other moms in the group slowly state how they feel on certain topics there is a good chance it will help shape the womans behavior. Ex., A family member told my cousin that another certain person gets nervous/anxious when anyone is too loud our suggests too many ideas. The blame was relocated and accepted (for now). . .

It's not clear to me from the post whether the target is merely annoying or a real abusive bully. Abusive bully? Tell her to stop or she (and her attitude) are no longer welcome at the group. Merely annoying? Deal with it. "Hey, XYZ, that comment sounded a little harsh. Please tone it down a bit." or "XYZ, we heard about your experience. Let's hear about ABC's now without interrupting her." Assuming the kids are getting together at the same time, why deprive the target's kids of a fun time with their friends? Further, is there some reason the other moms can't get together outside of the group and just not invite the target?

It sounds like this group of women are ganging up on one mom. They are being bully's. They are already talking about her behind her back instead of being adults and dealing with it in an adult fashion. Shame on them. Tell them to put on thier big girl panties and grow up already! If the mom acts out of line in some way, or any of them do, then they should be called out on it there and then. Talking about another person behind thier back and ganging up on them is not good for anyone. Once this mom is out of the group you have to wonder who thier next target will be.

Agree with first commenter, Lisa, Sandra and L.

I think they're forgetting another important factor - the children. As someone who ended up on the outside of my mothers' group the thing that bothered me the most was the fact that my son was missing out on these experiences with other kids his age, and an important chance to learn social skills and make friends. Mother's groups are not just for the moms, but for the kids too, and by wanting to remove this woman from their group, they're making the child suffer as well.

That's not to say it doesn't suck for me, but the difference between the mothers & I was just too great age, lifestyle and parenting-style wise, to really have common ground beyond the fact we had babies about the same age, so while I don't consider it a great personal loss for me, I feel sad that my boy should miss out because these cliquey women could not accept someone who was a bit different from them for the benefit of their children.

I went through this a lot. My kids are grown now but between the school activities (room mother, etc), sports, dance lessons, karate lessons, God knows what other lessons, birthday parties, drama in the neighborhood, play groups, play dates, and everything else under the sun that three kids participated in-someone was always having a problem with someone. My mantra was always the same. "My kid plays with her kid, so leave me out of it." I was the only one that everyone liked because I stayed out of everything. You can't change someone. You can only change the way you react to them. If someone is getting on your last nerve, walk away and occupy yourself with something else. Get on the floor and start playing with the kids or something.

I could see what's going on without even being in the group that your friend is in. The other mothers are talking about one woman behind her back. They are eye rolling when she's not looking. They're all huffy. They're telling each other that they can't stand her. It's ugly. I've seen it happen a lot. And they all look like a bunch of middle schoolers. Your friend and the other women are being mean. They need to suck it up for the kids, because the kids like to play with each other.

Will the group become bored with her gone? Group dynamics are weird, people polarize in groups, and with her gone, they might make someone else the scapegoat. If someone doesn't like her enough, they should stop coming to the group. I don't think there's any way to exclude her without being mean, they'd have to excuse themselves, and regroup elsewhere.

Also, I wonder if there is one dominant person in the group who is threatened by her and is mobilizing the others, perhaps subconsciously, against her. People are such sheep, this often happens. She might get along fine with the group if they were to remove someone else from it- who's that?

I think saying that these women are being bullies is a tad harsh, but what I don't think anybody has taken into account that people are usually obnoxious for a reason. It seems to me that people who are actually happy aren't usually shitty to other people. They want more attention or they feel bad about themselves so they try and get more attention or show off how brilliant they are but being overbearing. I certainly know I have been guilty of that in similar situations. Instead of someone pulling her aside and saying, stop being a cow or shove off, someone should pull her aside and ask her if everything is OK. Give examples of her actions when explaining she seems off her game. That's a more subtle way of telling her that how she is acting is actually antagonising the group. And for pity's sake, if she is really being horrid just call her on it at the time instead of talking about it behind her back.

What a load of bitches. What a nice example to set for your children.

I'd tell the lot of them to grow up, suck it up and build a bridge.

No no no, they cant tell the woman that they dont like her. Thats terrible. Imagine how hurt she would be. Hurting someone's feelings on purpose is mean. I would die a thousand deaths if someone said that to me...besides for that bitch who said she didn't like me...she does not even like her own children.

They all need to put on their big girl panties and deal with the situation. Tell the odd one out that she is out of line or suck it up and shut up. Sounds a bit childish to me actually, there are always going to be people you dont like, always.

Someone that has a whole lot of honesty combined with care needs to talk to this woman and tell her what in her behaviour is causing issues. So, the age old wisdom of don't beat up the person, address the behaviour. And I promise you, it will be a lot less painful for her (as painful as it would be, which indeed it is going to hurt) than going behind her back and cutting her out without explanation. No good can come from that. That is how people are ostricised out of society. Discuss what it is, exactly, word for word, what it is that bothers people. (And try and be honest with yourselves: is it really her, always, or is it just a scapegoat for their own insecurities/image issues etc.). She may not come back to the group, but if she does, it is brave and I hope everyone will see it like that and help her. If you don't address this with honesty with everyone involved, mark my words, there will be a new scapegoat within six months. Every group looks for balance and if you take this voice out of the group, someone else will take that place. Imagine the distrust it will create among the others also if this is done behind her back. Those that stay behind may just start having those wonderful mind conversations in a little while: "What if I'm the next one"... "Why haven't they phoned"... "Why did they have coffee without me"...

Good Luck. I don't see any way to do it that won't hurt her feelings. She'll get over it. She'll probably never really understand it though, especially if you don't address the specific issues. If she is as insensitive as you think she is gentle won't necessarily work anyway. Most likey she isn't socially adept and will be hurt no matter how you do it or how many hints you give her.

As for the pepole that said "Don't make the kids pay for the mother's issues" Wrong at 2 the kids won't really care or remember. They are likely at best doing paralell play not making life long frends you are ripping them away from. Teh mother can find other ways to get play experiance for her child.

What about the little child that will not be allowed to play there anymore, just because his/her mother is not the favorite of the group?

These women sound horrible. Tell them to grow up and graduate from high school.

Oh My Word I am so with Nina. No confrontation for me. I would be mortified if someone sat down and told me they didn't like me and I was out the group / or if I had to do the telling. Hurting someones feelings on purpose is just mean and I'm sure the others are not without some blame in the situation If I were the other ladies in the group I would just stop arranging that group for a while and plead hectic schedules and then later start it up again and invite some new ladies and some of the old.

"They say she is a little too over powering, a little too insensitive, a little too opinionated. She isn't a bad person as such, she just tends to rub other people up the wrong way."

My response really depends on what, exactly, this woman is doing that the others find so offensive. For example, by "a little too opinionated," does that mean she openly criticizes others for their parenting styles, etc.? Or is she voicing her opinion on trivial things like her preferred brand of coffee?? If it's more along the lines of the former - where her attitude/behavior is HURTING OTHERS - then I think either somebody needs to have a private talk with her, or the comments need to be tactfully addressed in the moment. If it's about trivial issues - and the rest of the group just doesn't like the fact that she's so outspoken - I like the idea of them "busying" themselves with something else whenever she pipes up. Or, if someone else in the group has a strong, yet diplomatic personality, they could counter her "opinion" with statements that reinforce the concept of EVERYBODY having an opinion, and that diversity is a good thing. :)

Tell your FITC that I wish her well in whatever course of action they decide upon. It really totally depends on how this lady is affecting the rest of the group, IMO (actually hurting other's feelings, or just annoying).

I think these women sound mean. They have obviously been doing a lot a bitching behind this lady's back. If it is only a gathering once a week they should all suck it up, I think she sounds like she lacks in social skills.

I would be interested in knowing what she's saying. Is this a case of a Attachment parenting majority and a "do what works for your family" lone wolf?

I think it's the responsibility of the person who invited her to explain why she is being uninvited privately. And not just because they don't want her there.

Being passive aggressive by giving her the cold shoulder or not disclosing the location of the next meeting would be childish and cruel.For all you know this lone wolf may be looking for a way out herself. I'm sure it not pleasant for her either always having the unpopular opinion.

Count me with those who feel for the child- my daughter is 2, and I would be devastated if she lost her playgroup.

It seems awfully 'Mean Girls' to me. If this other woman is so horrible, than it seems like they must have (or should have) been calling her out on the bad behaviour already. If it is just annoying things too small to bring up, than I think kicking her out of the group is just bullying. I consider the SAHM thing my job and as such, I think playgroups are like having to go to the office with people that I don't necessarily like. Sometimes you just have to get along to get the job done, which in this case, is letting the kids develope socially. Its something most grown-ups have learned to do, so why are these women acting so childish?
Playgroups are really for the kids. If some moms find it impossible to be with this woman, than I think stop the playgroup for a while due to the holidays and let the group re-form in a different way- maybe the whole group once a month and smaller playdates in between, with just the people you choose.

All sounds a bit childish - luckily it is happening in a playground where the average emotional intelligence is under 5?

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I actually think it's ok to hang around with people whose company you enjoy. Life is too short to spend with people that you don't like much. Bad enough that sometimes there are horrible people at work that I am forced to spend time with!

In my experience, rude or difficult people (once grown up) aren't likely to change much. I would not make it my mission to try to "fix" someone or inform them of what I see as their defects. I would just avoid them and move on. I am not sure it is possible to avoid hurting someone's feelings in this situation--no advice there.

But on the other hand, perhaps the person in question does not spare people's feelings either, and that's why the group does not care for her. I would not assume that the women are the "mean girls" in this scenario. But, of course, I'm just posting blindly, since we don't know the people involved!

I was often in a situation where I was not accepted in a group.

Therefore, I am against excluding, as a matter of principle.

I had to pay the price for it when I was sitting with friends, and A came in and after a few minutes, all friends would leave.

This is not nice, but still, I prefer to have A come rather than exclude her.

So here is the solution I offer to your friend: Make a group just with the woman who is about to be excluded and forget the rest of them.

That's my philosophy. I think that what this group is about to do is inhuman and would stick to the person who gets excluded.

Can you provide any more details as to what this woman is doing? Is she offending people with comments, being hurtful or mean, or do they just not really like her? I don't think that you should exclude someone if you just don't like them. I would try to get to know her better, find some positive attributes. IF she is doing hurtful things to the other moms or kids, you should let her know and try to get her to chnage if possible. I don't think everyone should gang up on her, or make her feel excluded. YOu won't always love to be around everyone, but try to get along if possible, for the kids. In time, the kids will grow and the group will break up anyway...as the kids get older and into school.

Good grief, what a horrid group of women. I hope at least a few of them will read these comments, grow up and learn to deal with people who not exactly like them. Then they could set a good example for their children instead of showing the children how to be petty and cliquish.

I'm no understanding some of the responses here. Why are these women horrid? Is it because they aren't staying silent about how they feel about this woman?

We all make friendships as we go through life usually based on something we have in common that causes us to enjoy their company.Why should all these women be made to feel uncomfortable just because it's PCer to do that.

I'm sure there are other play groups this woman can join. Perhaps one that shares the same parenting style and philosophy she has, if that's where the problem is. Now if she has s shitty attitude she needs to know that so she can work at improving. There could be major pressures at her house these women don't know about.You would be surprised how a cheating husband or money issues will make adults act out.

Silence and tolerating others isn't as good as accepting them.

One difference, Maddy, is that these women aren't proposing either to "fix" the outcast OR to "avoid [her] and move on." They're proposing to inform her that she's no longer welcome to associate with them, and that her child is no longer welcome in playgroup. If one of them particularly dislikes her, the disliker should be, by your comment, the one to avoid running into her. Instead, they're gossiping behind her back and trying to maneuver into a situation where she is explicitly rather than implicitly ostracized. It's juvenile, and it sounds, from the posting, as if they are so concerned about avoiding their own (minor?) discomfort of spending time with someone who holds her opinions too dearly, rubs people a little bit the wrong way--so concerned with avoiding this "not a bad person" woman that they don't mind how much pain or embarrassment or shame they cause her. In fact, they aren't even willing to bear the small discomfort of pointing out to her any actions or statements that they find "too much". They just want her to go away. But not in any way that would cost them the effort or discomfort of telling her "You laugh too loud, and I'd rather you not remain part of this group, and that your child not play with my children." No, they want a silent way of shaming her into realizing that she's not wanted, in fact that she's not welcome, and that no one valued her feelings enough to speak with her directly. She's just to become a non-person, someone who is RIGHT when she thinks that others are talking about her behind her back but won't address her to her face.

That's what's horrible about this. This kind of selfishness and unconcern for how one's actions will impact others is standard in three-year-olds and all-too-common in thirteen-year-olds. For these women, who have all presumably finished their adolescence, to behave as if only their own comfort matters, no matter how they may hurt someone who was once a friend and who is now "not a bad person, just someone who rubs me the wrong way" is appalling. They can let the group die a natural death by giving up on attending it themselves. They can incorporate new people to alter the dynamic. They can even be rude but direct and tell her they're tired of her company and want her to go away. (It's rotten of them, perhaps, but it's not as cruel as silently excluding her and leaving her to figure it out on her own, after unreturned phone calls or emails, or after running into all of the REST of them who had mysteriously continued to get the playgroup schedule when it stopped coming to her...)

Wow, KD ... I wish I had written that. You are so right, on all counts.

Wow. What sucks is that I have been this lady before. I am rather intense from time to time, depending on the topic. I tend to cause discomfort by accident, because I share my opinions. What's funny is, I expect the other people in the group to throw in THEIR opnions too, not just fold up like a tent and express no opinion or enter into a discussion. Ugh. Hate that kind of dynamic.

So, I've been the one left out of the group. Didn't get the invite. Rarely does anyone ever TELL me that I've even done anything to cause harm. Sigh.

What I've found is that if people really get to know me one-on-one they grow to love me. They end up being good friends. Problem is, more often than not, group-think causes people to push me out instead of getting to actually know me.

Personally, I KNOW I'm intense. I KNOW I talk to much. I KNOW I'm hard to get to know at first. I also know I'm pretty neat just the way I am, and if you give me a chance, I'm worth your time to know.

Here's my assvice... If you think it has gone past idle chatter into true dislike then have someone un-invite this person. There's no reason to bother trying for reform. These women are going to keep picking at her, no matter what she does to change.

If the chatter is just starting to grow, then tell the lady what the issues are (not as a group). I'm SURE she knows what they are already... you guys aren't the 1st group she's delt with. OR Try getting to know more about her and find out if there is something cool about her. It is VERY likely she knows she's not liked, and she's uncomfortable, and a little kindness might help her calm down and stop being quite so intense. Over time she could become a valued member, but it will take work.

I agree with this... If she DOES leave the group, watch your back - someone has to be next on the hate list. Just the way it is with this kind of dynamic.

Oh my stars can you imagine being on the receiving end of the "erm, we just don't like you..." conversation?! How truly awful, that's the sort of thing that can completely ruin someone's confidence.

If I were one of the Mum's I would A) suck it up, ignore her slightly abrasive comments or B) if she irritated me so much I'd leave. Never in a million years would I tell someone they were annoying me and my mates. So so so so so so so Mean Girls.

What a mean, puerile group of women you are describing! I hope this mom and her child find someone nicer to hang out with.

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