From the forums:
The Johnsons and Millers had their children around the same time. Understandably, the children grew up very close and my husband and I love the kids. However, the Johnsons are really terrible parents to their son. They barely interact with him to the point of neglect, punish him for behaving “like a child” and have told him directly that he is the reason why he will never have any siblings. One of the biggest issues for me is that they refused for months to take their son to the doctor when he had some significant health issues. Honestly, I was very close to calling CPS when they finally took him (they were too “busy” before). He ended up having major surgery and now has permanent damage that will affect him for the rest of his life. Basically, they’re not great people and if it wasn’t for the Millers who invite them to a lot of events, I’d back away completely. As it is, I’m fine with seeing them occasionally, but I won’t go to events they host anymore or invite them to ours.
The issue now is that we’ve been invited on a lengthy trip with the Millers, and the Johnsons are invited. While I’m fine with seeing the Johnsons occasionally I’m not fine with sharing a residence with vacationing with them. This is only one reason why we don’t want to go on the trip (finances and availability are others), but my husband related this reason to the Millers and now Mr. Miller wants us to all get together and talk to the Johnsons about our issues with them. The Millers also have many issues with them. My argument with my husband occurred because he agrees with this plan and would want to go on the trip with them and doesn’t understand why I can’t just ignore their behavior for the duration (hint because I would go apeshit and snap).
So my questions are:
1) Do you think having a group discussion would be worth it? I don’t consider the Johnsons my friends at this point and am fine with the status quo as it is. Also, what in the world would we even say to them? My husband says we can be “tactful,” but how do you tactfully say “we don’t really like you because you’re terrible people, parents and friends”?
2) How do I get my husband and Mr. Miller to understand that I can’t just ignore the Johnsons during these types of trips? — Not a Fan of the Johnson’s
1) No, a group discussion would not be “worth it.” There IS no tactful way to tell people you just don’t like them and can only really be close friends with them if they get a personality transplant and quit acting like total assholes. Besides that, you have other reasons for not wanting to go on this trip — finances and availability. Even if the Johnsons got personality transplants in time for the trip, that still wouldn’t change the other factors keeping you from signing on to this group vacation.
I say put your foot down and tell your husband and the Millers you absolutely will NOT participate in any discussion with the Johnsons and you strongly, strongly advise against such a discussion, even without you. Although, to be honest, if the Millers have the discussion without you, there’s a good chance the Johnsons will no longer want to be friends with them and you will no longer have to endure their presence at group events, so I take it back; tell the Millers they can do whatever they want, but you (and hopefully your husband) wish to be kept out of the discussion.
2. It’s not your job to get your husband and the Millers to understand that you can’t just ignore the Johnsons on a long trip; it’s your job to tell them you’re not going, period. You’re a grown-up — you don’t have to make every decision understandable to every person in your life. You certainly don’t need to get the Millers to understand your feelings about the Johnsons. Frankly, it should be enough that you can’t afford the trip/ don’t want to spend the money on it and that you aren’t available. As for your husband, tell him that the two of you should invite the Millers — sans the Johnsons, of course — on a trip you CAN afford and CAN be available for — at another time this year. That way, your husband doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on a fun trip with his pals and the Millers don’t feel alienated.
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