Ban Bossy? Keep Friends?

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There’s been a lot of buzz around the web this year both for and against banning bossy. Brought to the public’s attention by the backing of Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO), the movement basically calls for us to stop using the word bossy when we refer to girls so that they feel comfortable being leaders. Personally, I don’t think it’s the word that’s the problem. I think peer perception of socially-acceptable preteen and teenage behavior is largely to blame. I wish that I had been a little more confident in high school to be bossy, rather than shrink back out of fear of what others thought. It was nothing to do with the word, more to do with wanting to be accepted… which is ridiculous because it is SO hard for girls to feel accepted in high school anyway.

I’m unashamedly a bit of a bossy-britches. It goes hand-in-hand with my compulsive planning – which admittedly has taken a bit of a dive since having CJ three months ago. In the classroom, this was fantastic. There’s always a time and a place for student-led inquiry but a teacher has to firmly guide this to ensure that students meet the curriculum guidelines. It’s also come in handy lately for coordinating all six mums in my antenatal coffee coup – sometimes it feels a little bossy going “Alright, let’s actually just get this sorted – when are we going to meet up?” but I really like getting out of the house with people who understand if CJ has a meltdown.

I don’t want to be this person all the time though, and that’s where I find myself at a bit of a loss at the moment. There are a few of our friends who have said that they would love to meet/see CJ and that is great. Given that they have far busier lives than we do (oh, I remember those careless child-free days, it was a different kind of busy anyway) I usually say something along the lines of “That’s great. Let us know when works in with you!”. And then they don’t. Ever. Not wanting to appear to be demanding, I’m at a loss of what to do. They’ve said that they’d like to come, I’ve said great – am I meant to then start asking “So I notice you haven’t given us a time that you’d like to catch up. When would you like to catch up?” I guess a small part of me fears that the initial interest was actually just politeness, that they’re not really interested in maintaining a friendship now that my life is different and that I’ll be hassling them.

I’m sure that I am completely over-thinking the issue and that most other mums don’t struggle with this. Is it because I know I’m bossy that I think this is a problem? Have things really not changed that much since high school? It’s food for thought.

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6 thoughts on “Ban Bossy? Keep Friends?

  1. I think someone just has to be the bossy one in friendships. I know when I was the leader of an organisation a few years back that included my group of friends, I could push all I wanted to organise an outing just as friends but they couldn’t take over that role. I would say, “Let me know what you want to do this evening and I’ll come and pick you up”, and they just couldn’t do it. Years later, we are no longer part of that group and I STILL have to make the decisions!

    I think we all just dance around making decisions because we don’t want to be a pain, but they’re probably just waiting for you to say, “want to catch up this weekend?” They likely don’t want to interrupt your routine too… I know I feel annoying to friends with new babes when you don’t know what time sleep time is, etc.

    • That’s a valid point you have there Kirsten. They might not know how to approach things. We’re lucky that our little guy is fairly flexible so we can make things work 🙂

  2. It can be hard with new mother’s too. We know they’re learning how to “mum” while the new bub is learning how to “human”, we don’t want to impose & it’s hard to know what liberties to take & where to default to what they want to do. Do we just rock up & insist on staying for a bit, do we book it in? Weekends are the obvious choice, but that’s when the dad is home too. Do we ask them to join us for our lunch break (which I’ve done – but they don’t take up the offer)? It’s hard for us too. I wouldn’t take it personally though. I am positive they want to see you & CJ, they’re probably just a bit stuck too. It’s not bossy though, it’s proactive. If you weren’t “bossy”, you’d probably end up not seeing them so…Keep Bossy, Keep Friends… Kirstin is right… someone has to do it. xxx ❤

  3. I couldn’t agree more with Kirstin’s comment: SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT, and take it from a muppet like me who sounds like your complete opposite planning-wise, we *love* it when you do!

    I frequently utter ”let’s meet up!” or ”ooh, yes, we should definitely have lunch!”, but I have to be honest, I also have the attention span of a goldfish (VERY easily distracted), and am *never* the instigator of said events. Embrace your bossiness; it’s fantastic and probably severely verbally under-appreciated!

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