Dear Ann Cannon • One my friend’s daughters, a bright, dedicated young woman who is in medical school, worked for Planned Parenthood for several years. This young woman still supports PP and is a visible proponent for all things that have to do with women’s health, especially where poor women are concerned.
Another friend found out about that and has quit including our mutual friend (the mom of the daughter) in all sorts of social functions, including a recent baby shower. When the mom found out, she was heartbroken and asked me to intercede. I am a chicken and do not want to say anything because, well, I want to be a part of this group. Still, I can’t believe a lifetime relationship has been thrown away because one woman believes that evil emanates from Planned Parenthood. What can I do?
— Scaredy Cat
Dear Scaredy Cat • There are just some things in this life I don’t get. Like, why socks disappear in dryers. Why cats like people who hate them. Why things that taste good are often bad for you. Why people default to texting when a quick phone call is sometimes more effective and efficient. Why dogs think they smell good after rolling around in dead stuff. Why people like the white meat of a Thanksgiving turkey when dark meat tastes better. Why Bath and Body Works only offers Vanilla Bean Noel body cream during the holidays. Why the Cubs let go of Joe Maddon. Why people in Europe think root beer tastes like cough syrup. Why raccoons were ever invented in the first place. Why deer somehow understand that daffodils are poisonous because COME ON! It’s not like deer are that bright! And oh yeah. Why someone would end a long-term relationship with a friend because that friend’s daughter worked for Planned Parenthood.
Wow. Is there something else going on you don’t know about? In other words, is the Planned Parenthood thing just a convenient excuse to dump a friend? Or was the friendship terminated strictly because of the daughter’s association with Planned Parenthood? This just seems so … extreme to me.
Meanwhile, what should you do? As always, you have options.
1. You can NOT intercede and let the chips fall where they may. Honestly, sometimes things work themselves out if given enough time.
2. You can intercede as per your friend’s request. Ask (kindly) what’s behind the decision to exclude a lifelong friend from social gatherings. Listen to the response. Then point out (also kindly) the personal cost for your mutual friend of this presumably “moral” decision.
3. You can encourage the excluded friend to speak directly to the woman who has cut her off.
There’s no one correct way to handle this situation, but my preferred choice would be the third option. Generally speaking, I believe people should work out their own issues instead of trying to get someone else to do it for them — unless, of course, you’re all in the same room together. Inviting a third party to act as a go-between when you’re NOT in the same room increases the chances for misunderstandings.
Meanwhile, your desire to remain a member in good standing with your peer group is both understandable and normal. But I think you’ll respect yourself more if YOU personally keep including your marginalized friend in your activities.
And now for a few more words from our readers …
Dear Ann Cannon • You recently responded to a lady who was a Relief Society president. She was asked by “a couple of sisters” to talk to another woman about her son who is a bully in the children’s nursery. Your reply was to back off and let them clear it up themselves. What the heck?! When someone is in a leadership position, it is part of their responsibility to be educated, informed and prepared to problem solve and help to keep things running smoothly. You said the sisters should not hide behind the Relief Society president’s position as a ward leader. Leader means LEAD — not act like a pansy and fade away and hide.