Q: A good friend is constantly urging me to complain about the daycare we share, but I'm happy with the center. What should I do?
A: If you don't share your friend's concerns, there's no reason you should step in on her behalf. Plus, if your friend is constantly haranguing members of the daycare staff, they probably give little credence to her gripes. Join her constant protests and if you ever have a grievance of your own to air, the daycare center may give you a frosty reception or not take you seriously. If you can stomach your friend's griping, let her vent. However, if she is really pressing you to join in, or if you resent being on the receiving end of all her negative energy, then you'll have to speak up lest your friendship unravel completely. Find a time when she's not in a rant, and gently let her know that you don't see the issues quite the same way she does, that you like the daycare, and that hearing all her concerns stresses you out. Explain to her that while you think she should absolutely do what she feels she needs to do, you would prefer to talk about other things when you're together.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2005. Updated 2009