Dear Kiss & Zutell—
My good friend and I have boys the same age who are heading to college next fall. Her son received a scholarship to an Ivy League school. He's extremely smart—a regular math genius. It's great he's talented, but my friend brags about him incessantly. I can't take it anymore. It's getting hard to be friends with her.
—Proud Mom of A Not Honor Student
Dear Proud Mom—
Getting hard to be friends with her? Unless you have the patience of a saint, it's probably been nearly impossible to be friends with her for years and years. You call her a good friend, but I bet if you really thought about it, you dread seeing her. She's someone you put up with but can't wait to get away from.
When I was a kid, my mom had a friend who couldn't stop bragging about her daughter, "Susan." Susan was in my class. And, according to her mom, she was the best artist, the best singer, the best academic. I remember listening to her prattle on and on, while my mother remained silent. Was mom embarrassed by me? Was I a complete failure at eleven?
After Susan's mom left, I asked mom why she was so quiet. My mom looked at me and laughed. "I wasn't even listening to her. Do you know how boring she is? No one cares about anyone's kids but their own. I know you're great. I don't have to tell Susan's mom. Besides, she wouldn't be listening. "
So I learned at an early age that parents brag about their kids but no one pays any attention. Think about it. Do you really hear your friend? Or are you busy concocting your to-do list for the day? I know that's what I do when my friend "Renee" begins going on about her son's basketball skills. Also, whenever I lose myself and chatter away about my children's talents, I can see my friends' eyes glaze over. I'll just switch topics and no one seems to notice.
My group of friends will call each other on it. It's become a fun drinking game at girls' nights out. If a friend starts bragging about their child, they have to buy the next round of drinks. Try this with your friend. Maybe she'll realize how ridiculous she sounds. Probably not. But at least you'll get lots of free Tequila shots.
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