lifestyle

Advice needed: "My life is getting hijacked by photos of my friend's baby."

Rosie: Just like Oprah/the Dalai Lama. Also the most humble person in the whole world.

Welcome to ‘Ask Rosie’, the space on Mamamia where you can contact me with your etiquette/relationship/general life problems (including but not limited to eyebrow crabs) and ask me, in my infinite wisdom, how I would handle them. Consider it my selfless Oprah-esque gift to all of humanity. Cliche cliche etc etc sassy advice cliche. You’re welcome.

Let’s get into it:

Dear Rosie,

I was at lunch the other day with a friend, and I found myself getting increasingly annoyed as the conversation was hijacked by photos of her baby. She has about 3000 of them on her phone, and they’re all identical and I’m just not interested enough to sit through something like that. It’s not really about the baby – I would be just as bored having to sit through a bunch of photos of somebody’s holiday – but my question is, what do I do in this situation? How do move things along without being rude?

Is there a polite way to say “Please stop forcing me to look at photos of your kid?”

Yours,

Over It.

Empathy = BRAIN PONCHO.

Well, Over It (or more accurately, as I’m sure will be the theme of the comments on Facebook, HEARTLESS WENCH), I think you and I need to have a little chat about something called ’empathy’.

Empathy is what happens when you put someone else’s brain on your brain, like a poncho. A brain poncho. Some people would call it ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’, but those people are not brilliant creative writers like me.

Now, being 28, I’m at that weird stage of life where half my friends are married with kids and the other half are still waking up naked and hungover with kebabs stuck to their faces. I am in the latter group, so I get where you’re coming from. If you don’t have babies, it’s hard to feign interest in babies.

But that’s where the empathetic brain poncho comes in. This friend of yours is kind of doing something major right now. I don’t know if you noticed, but she has created LIFE. You were basically having lunch with Jesus. Your friend pooping out and/or raising a spawn in her likeness may not be a big deal to you, but to her it’s probably the most important thing she’s ever done. Unless she managed to finish the original Super Mario Bros, in which case, the second most important.

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Try to imagine a time in your life when something really amazing had happened to you and you wanted everybody to know. For me, it was when I won the Lucille Ball Award for Comedy for my flawless portrayal of Jan in the Berowra Musical Society’s production of Grease. The certificate was laminated, Heartless Wench. LAMINATED. Or that time I stayed home from school and the midday movie was Hocus Pocus. That was basically like winning the lottery.

Looks precious.

I assume your life highlight has something to do with winning a fancy used tennis racquet on ebay in the last heart-stopping minutes of the auction. Or maybe getting a free ride on the bus because the machine was broken.

My point is, if you would expect your baby-owning friend to be emotionally invested in your crap, you can sit there and smile while she scrolls through 463 photos of little Windfeather in a onesie that says ‘KEEP CALM AND CHANGE MY NAPPY’.

I’m pretty sure the only people who don’t understand the concept of the brain poncho are the ones who used to kick homeless people and hide dead cats under their beds as kids. As adults they are either CEOs or in charge of border protection.

So you need to ask yourself, Over It/soon-to-be labelled Heartless Wench, do you want to grin and bear it, or be lumped in a group with the dead cat people?

Let me know what you decide. But not in person. I’m scared of you.

(It’s also helpful to remember that the novelty wears off after the first baby. Any second-born could tell you that they have approximately one photo to mark each year of their life. And most of them are school photos.)


If you want Rosie’s advice on something, email her at [email protected] and put ‘Ask Rosie’ in the subject line. Of course it will all be completely anonymous. And she’ll only judge you behind your back.

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