Our kids are nearly the same age and often play together. My former friend still doesn’t speak to my husband or me, unless there are other parents around and then she’ll make small talk.
Last week, she emailed to invite our kid to her kid’s birthday party. My husband and I don’t know what to do. Neither of us wants to go, and our kid is too young to be dropped off. We don’t want to skip the party and stay home, as every other kid in the group is probably invited — and our kid will feel excluded. Do we go out of town just to avoid the situation?
— Should I Attend?
Should I Attend?: Ever read a situation and wonder how it's possible that people don't see how weird their behavior is?
Total multiyear lockdown on a onetime friend, except to issue an invitation. Okay.
As tempting as is sounds to flee for the weekend, joining this neighbor in her weird alternative universe for one afternoon would serve your kid best.
Why? Because you share a neighborhood. That’s everything.
I’ve seen a lot of these neighbor-suddenly-stops-speaking-to-me stories in my inbox over the years, and I can’t recall even one where the kids’ friendships weren’t severed as a result. The fact that your kids have kept playing together through this cul-de-sac cold war is remarkable. It jacks up the weird to another level, but it’s remarkable all the same.
It’s commendable on the part of Ms. Silent Treatment USA, even — it’s only fair to say. Cul-de-war shunnings are extremely painful for the children caught up in them, because they get to watch out their windows as everyone gathers without them.
So don’t risk it. Go, play along, hold your kid’s place in the crowd.
Re: Party: If the kid is out of diapers, ask another neighbor to watch both kids. In my community, one parent has supervised two kids at a single party for all kinds of reasons.
Anonymous: Elegant, thank you.
Re: Party: My kids are grown now, and as they grew they quickly forgot friends from the days when they were "too young to go alone" to parties. Skipping this party will not make or break your child socially. I vote for shielding the whole family from toxic people.
— Anonymous 2
Anonymous 2: Thanks. I'd agree for any party except a neighbor's.
Re: Party: My mother stuck out my play dates with the daughter of a woman who was awful to my mother, until the daughter started being mean to me, including hitting and throwing toys at me. I will never forget that my mother tolerated something like that on my behalf, and then protected me appropriately.
— Anonymous 3
Anonymous 3: So selfless of your mom.
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