Help need advise to handel overwhelming friend


Hi all,
Here is the situation, a good friend of mine whom I met at church when my oldest son was a baby. we were in the mommy and me play group together and became great friends. Our husbands have become friends and our sons are good friends. Her and I are the co-advisors for the 5-7 year old youth group. when we were in the baby youth group she began organizing couple night outs and Ladies night outs. She does a great job finding great resturants that will give pix fix menues to our usually large group. When our boys moved up to the next group (5-7) she continuued to arrange these events and extended the invitation to the baby group parents as well. (many of us moms are in both groups since many of us have several children.) My friend is a social butterfly who is very active in our parish. (her mother is very active in the Womens philanthropy group and her brother is part of the Parish council.
My friend has Bi-polar disorder and is on very strong medication for it.
She has a tendency to talk a lot, and loudly, and dominate every conversation. When other people talk to her she tends to space out on them very quickly or change topic to something she can relate to better. Highly intelectual conversation tends to bore her she always has to be the one ruling the event. (she says this behavior is part of her Bi-Polar disorder and she can’t help it.)

here is the delemma… the baby group has mentioned at a few meetings that it would like to host some couple nights or ladies nights seperatly from the older group.(my friend is no longer in the baby group her son is in the 5-7). Some felt the group had gotton to large and wanted a calmer time out. (the lady who brought it up told me in confidence that she loves our friend but our friend is overwhelming and she wants to be able to have a quiet ladies night out with intelligent conversation (not talk about what thje lateset realty tv show was on).
I understand her concern, but I told her that our friend spends a lot of time organizing the outings and she does a great job. (I said, just sit at the other end of the table).
so, we left it as is, for now.

Next, the Parish Priest had an idea a few years ago about having a Mr. and Mrs. club. which is basically a larger version of our couple nights out. This however would involve any married couples in the church , all age groups as well. (but really the target demographic is the 25-49 yr olds) the under 25 have several young adult social ministry groups and the 50 and over group have a bunch of social groups.

soooo…the parish council president asked my friend if she would be interested in running this group. at the time she was having health issues and turned it down. The group never started. This year, the PCP wanted to get this gruop started so he asked another member of the Parish council and his wife to head it. (my daughters Godparents).

My friend is so anoyed that the Parish Council Pres. didn’t ask her again. (I’m sure he assumed since she had so many on goining health issues and also runs 1 of the youth groups that he should just find someone else.)

so now I have to keep hearing about how this will affect our soicial outings for the yout group parents because it is the same people and couples are not goining to attend a youth roup adult outing and a Mr. and Mrs. club outing. none of us have enough time or money for that. She thinks he (PCP) should have asked someone not in our social circle so they could draw new people into the new group. Many of the groups are run by the same people
(same volunteres).

But here is the thing that is driving me NUTS!!! She is so concerned with wanting to be incharge of every social event. It is just not that important to me, I have other things to be concerned with. I only go to a ladies night out about 3 times a year and my husband and I try to make it to the 3 or so couple events a year. Most everyone elese looks at it that way. She is so obessed with her self apointed social chair position in our youth group that she has now started to take offece to the every other social group in our parish that does not ask her to run their social calender. There are 600 families in our Parish enought to have plenty of different groups.
we are in lent right now and I really don’t want to listen to her go on and on about this stuff. It is so trivial.

How do I lovengly tell her to get over it.


Tough one. Sounds like you are very close to her, so perhaps you have the best chance of making her understand.

It may be very difficult for her to not be dominant due to the Bi-Polar, which seems to just kick in and take over. Anway, a heart to heart with her, explaining how it’s great that all these events are growing in your vibrant parish, perhaps try and use her excess energy in some other ministries that are “less social” in nature. Food pantry, Prison Ministry, Visiting the sick, Eucharistic ministry.

Something that will make use of her org skills, but perhap also give her some peace as a result of seeing the Spirit at work. …

Just some thoughts…


I'm not sure you will be able to help your friend get over it. Perhaps it would be more realistic to make it your goal to just not have your friend constantly obsessing about it with you. I would be blunt and just say something like "I know you find this upsetting, but I don't think we will gain anything by endlessly discussing this." And then immediately change the topic. Repeat as often as necessary.



Maybe together you research and discuss vainglory (one of the deadly sins) since she seems to take her good quality and now wants it to be used in a way that makes everyone look at her in appreciation (that she wants the attention). I guess I've recently realized that this is my BIGGEST sin ( I always thought it was pride but when explained, realized that it was vainglory instead). Her BiPolar probably doesn't help with this.



She could benefit I think from just being a participant and not the social director too for a bit. Its not a competition, and she needs to realize that. People will form connections with or without her as the director of any group.

But I have to disagree with the way you handled the other person wanting to “host” an event instead of your friend planning the night outs. I think she was telling you in the nicest way possible that people are developing some hard feelings towards your friend. And maybe one of the things that can help both your social group and your friend is that you rotate who plans the night outs or the other activities you do as a group. Your friend needs to learn to let go of the need to be in control and sometimes just be a “member” and nothing else. People will then begin to know her as you know her and not as the person that has to dictate what everyone does or talks about. She needs a healthy balance of being the planner and just being the attendee. That would also make people feel a little bit more like its everyone’s group, because I could see members at a certain point resenting your friend whether they say it out loud or not.


This is part of the problem as well. The other ladie wasn’t offering to host or arrange any events (she volunteers for other things though). No one really has the time but our Social butterfly friend. It would be great if she could just arrange the events and not need so much attention regarding them. We all know how hard she works to arrange them and we thank her and tell her good job. But she can’t seem to help needing more than this.

(there are many of us who do a ton of things for others be it church, school, etc… and we do it quietly and don’t look for the attention or praise. How can I help her understand this?


Here's a quote from Mother Teresa that may help her to reflect (I can't imagine how all this time "organizing" may affect her family, then again, I am desperate by Thursday to spend LOTS of uninterrupted time with my own family and can't imagine overextending myself and infringing on the family time): "I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world."


This is HER issue... not yours... don't take on her stresses. Simply say "I'm sorry you're upset over this." and then change the conversation.

There's nothing wrong with "breaking free" from the parish-run groups. Sometimes those groups are wonderful for making *initial *contacts, but it isn't necessary to continue to go if you have a tight small group of friends that you can now relate to (kids and faith - fabulous!). Maybe you should consider doing smaller, low-key outings with the "baby group" couples, where you can discuss topics of your liking outside of this woman's influence.
I have a feeling this woman does a *wonderful *job at bringing people together. God is using her gifts in a wonderful way. That doesn't mean she has to then control how people decide to *continue *their friendships outside of her presence.

Kindly end the conversations and lessen your time with her... don't carry her burdens.


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