One of my friends has a terrible habit of speaking in baby talk. One minute we’ll be in the middle of a normal conversation, the next minute she’s using a childish voice and dropping random baby words in place of our normal adult conversation. It occurs no matter where we are and she’s even ordered her food using this strange lingo. I ignored it at first, but it has become a bit annoying and extremely embarrassing. Should I say something to her? It would probably help to mention that her children are solidly in their teenage years.
Dear Baby Babbles,
I have to admit, I’m getting quite a hearty chuckle from envisioning a 40-year-old woman in a restaurant ordering her ‘gwilled cheezy samich’ and glass of red wine from a perplexed waiter. He dutifully takes down her order before sprinting back to the kitchen to ask his coworkers if they’ve seen a lost Miniature Human roaming the restaurant while mommy has a bit too much wine at lunch. Lo and behold, your friend is dining childless and the staff are now aware they have a crazy woman to deal with.
I can see how that would be embarrassing for you.
What I can’t comprehend is how you managed to not only ignore this behavior up until now, but also deepen your friendship with this woman without addressing the issue. You’re either extremely nice, or you lack the fortitude that confronting someone would require. Neither one of these possibilities is going to be helpful in addressing this annoying habit with your friend.
I suggest you tackle this problem with a frank attitude. Simply tell your friend what she is doing and ask her to make a concerted effort to stop. This strategy is sure to embarrass your friend, but there is no getting out of the uncomfortable situation at this point. Unless…
There is one other solution but it will require a great deal of courage.
You could mimic her style of talking the next time you go to lunch. Plan in advance and pick out the most high-class food on the menu – an item that no child would ever go near with a stick of dynamite, let alone a fork. Then order it using the most infantile voice you can muster while mushing together the vowels and syllables. Heck, change the words to the menu item where you can, really give the waitstaff something to laugh about at the end of a long shift.
I’d like an owder of moo wewington and a side of mushy taters.
Translation: I’d like an order of Beef Wellington and a side of mashed potatoes.
If that doesn’t point out the absurdity of your friend’s habit, you need to ditch the friendship before you begin babbling in your sleep.
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