Friday, December 16, 2011

When friends don't respect boundaries...

A couple of days ago, I stopped by a blog I occasionally read.  I initially started reading the blog a few years ago when someone on Recovery from Mormonism linked to it.  I thought the blogger was somewhat entertaining and she wrote well, so I kept dropping by to see what she had to say. I generally thought her blogs were funny and snarky, if not occasionally a tad on the disrespectful side.

When I first started reading her blog, the blogger was married, but had no children.  She complained that none of her friends were childless, so she was left with no one to "play with", as it were.  She commented that she and her husband were seeking new friends, but didn't want anyone around who was struggling with infertility, since she and her husband didn't want to hear about how someone's junk didn't work.  I thought that was a somewhat insensitive and rude remark, but I had to admit it was also kind of funny.  So I kept reading her blog, enjoying a large part of it... until the day she announced that she was pregnant with twins.

Suddenly, this blogger who had claimed that she didn't want kids had turned into a certified mommy blogger.  Every new post was about her pregnancy.  And then when her twins were born, every post and photograph was about them.  One of the twins has special needs and initially wasn't expected to live, but somehow miraculously survived.  Mommy blogger now takes every opportunity to write about how hard it is to be a mom of a kid with special needs and what a miracle this child is.  She posts picture after picture of her kids, dressed in identical outfits like living dolls.

Mommy blogger had picked up some regular lurkers from Recovery from Mormonism and some of them had linked to her blog, pointing out how self-absorbed she seemed to be.  Mommy blogger found out about the comments on RfM, got pissed off, and made her blog private for awhile.  But she was evidently missing all the attention, so quite predictably, she eventually reopened it.  I started lurking there again, noticing that Mommy blogger had toned things down a bit... until the other day.

Mommy blogger recently wrote that she has an awesome neighbor who helps her out a lot with her kids.  Awesome neighbor is always around to chit chat, lend Mommy blogger eggs, milk, or flour, or enthusiastically attend neighborhood events.  In other words, Awesome neighbor is definitely a good friend to Mommy blogger...  but is Mommy blogger a good friend in return?

In a recent blog entry, Mommy blogger describes her neighbor as a kind-hearted person who happens to be very private.  She writes that she had been wanting to blog about her neighbor for awhile, but had always held off, because Awesome neighbor is not a fan of attention.  Apparently, Awesome neighbor's sheer awesomeness finally overrode Mommy blogger's initial minimal respect for her privacy, because Mommy blogger recently penned a post that not only identified Awesome neighbor by her first name, it also identified her in several photos.

It seems that Awesome neighbor was recently diagnosed with a type of cancer.  Despite the fact that Awesome neighbor is very private, apparently her diagnosis is license for Mommy blogger to "out" her.  And not only has Mommy blogger identified this woman to the entire Internet, she has also outed the woman's plight to the rest of their neighborhood, mainly because she and another neighbor took it upon themselves to decorate Awesome neighbor's garage with balloons, streamers, and "get well soon" signs.  As she giddily writes about all of this, Mommy blogger reiterates that her neighbor is private and hates attention... and Mommy blogger notes that the "get well soon" decorations were taken down very quickly.

It seems to me that if you have a friend who has repeatedly explained to you that they are private and don't like to draw attention to themselves, it's not very respectful or even all that friendly to blog about her, especially with photos.  I wonder how Awesome neighbor must feel, knowing that her wishes and preferences aren't honored by her "friend", Mommy blogger, who has shown absolutely no respect for her boundaries.  Mommy blogger seems so proud of the fact that she's gone against her friend's wishes, as if she knows her friend's needs better than her friend does.  Or maybe she just plain doesn't care what her friend wants and needs.  It seems to me that a true friend would have resisted the urge to publicize how awesome her neighbor is if the neighbor had made it very plain that's not what she wanted.

It makes me wonder if Awesome neighbor has started making covert plans to move yet.

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