Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Neighbor feels the sting of Queen Bee's A and B lists
Mean girls: There is a Queen Bee Mom in our neighborhood. You know the type — organizes all neighborhood events, has all the latest on school, real estate and book club news. She is nice and performs a lot of real service for the neighborhood, but if you cross her, well, you are done for socially.
The thing is, I've recently realized that she keeps an A and B list for invitations to events. I am on the B list. We are all in our 40s and my life is very full, so I know I should just be a grownup and let this go. But still, I feel hurt, and I don't really know how to deal with it.
Carolyn: She wouldn't be on your A list, either, right?
Still — most of the concern about her A list is for the wrong reasons. She's appreciated, ultimately, for her power, not for her heart or intelligence or humor or the other things people tend to choke up about when they talk about those they love. People don't get teary at the part of the speech that describes the way someone owned the neighborhood social scene. They just don't.
Anonymous: Re: Queen bee: I'm not the Queen Bee Mom, but I might be a younger version of her. I have a lot of friends, many of my friends know each other through me, I generally take the lead in planning stuff, and my friends call me the "cruise director." How do I know if I'm just a connector/social butterfly, vs. a dreaded queen bee?
Carolyn: Don't be punitive, and don't exclude.
Anonymous 2: Re: Queen bee: What does that mean, "you are done for socially" if you cross this woman? She talks behind your back to the other moms? Do you really want to be acquainted with those who would listen to her? Sounds very high schoolish to me. One woman can hold that much power only if you let her.
Carolyn: Actually, you can be "done for" just by being stricken from the guest list. Not a mean word needs to be said, but you find yourself cut off from the main access point to this particular community. It doesn't change the advice — you say, "Oh, well" and work on developing your own, you-friendly network — but it can feel strange to be excluded where you once were included. It's natural for rejection to sting, even if it's rejection under absurd circumstances.
It's not class differences, it's immaturity that's a killer
D.C.: Can class differences (income, education, upbringing) be a significant obstacle in an otherwise healthy relationship?
Carolyn: Two mature adults who are emotional and intellectual equals, and who have shared values, have the best chance of anyone of creating a union that lasts — regardless of their so-called "class." Usually, "class differences" that cause problems between a couple aren't about class, but instead about immaturity — say, if Upper is high on feeling superior, if Lower is out to prove something, if Upper is "slumming" just to stick it to a high-end family, if Lower is shameful or defensive about humble origins, etc. It's about outgrowing ulterior motives.