• Keeping Friends

Bridesmaid advice: When the bride feels left out

Published: February 17, 2016 | Last Updated: January 16, 2024 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
Wedding etiquette expert Sharon Naylor offers sage advice to a bride who
feels left out when her bridesmaids become chummy with each other.

QUESTION

Hello,

I have found myself in a very weird place with three of my girlfriends.

This summer at my bachelorette party most of my bridesmaids got to meet for the first time. I had six local girls and a few out of state ones. Two of the out of state girls (who live close but had never met) really hit it off together with another one of my friends that lives near me. Every since that, I have felt extremely left out by them—with the local friend in particular.

During my bachelorette party they grouped together for everything and made the other girls left out, including me. It happened again at my wedding when the local friend complained to me that she was not sitting with the other two at the rehearsal dinner, and made a comment about my wedding seating chart right before the reception started because none of them were seated together.

I thought maybe I was being too stressed out with the wedding and being overly emotional. However, I go on a trip every other year with one of the out of state girls and she has also invited the other two. Which you’d think—how great, my best friends are now friends but its caused me to feel like the 4th wheel and very left out. They all talk to each other about the trip and then tell me later about plans they’ve made with the others and yet nobody has asked or included me in plans. It is really weird to me because they all met five months ago through me and yet now I am feeling like the 4th wheel on my own trip.

I don’t know what to say or do or if I shouldn’t even say anything but I am worried that it will only get worse as the trip gets closer (It’s the last week in June).

Any advice would help.

Signed, Allie

ANSWER

Hi Allie,

It’s wonderful that your friends have connected with each other, and while it surely stings to feel left out, I caution you against jumping to any conclusions about their intentions (i.e. leaving you out on purpose.) It doesn’t sound like you’ve done that, and I applaud you for your maturity.

It sounds like they’ve just connected as a new, shiny social circle and are operating without a fear-based ‘we have to include everyone or feelings will be hurt.’ When situations like this happen, in a strange way it’s actually a compliment to you that you’re seen as not grabby with your friends, not needy, not someone who demands to be included or put at the top of some kind of hierarchy. Your friends are simply connecting with people who have something wonderful in common: they’re all friends with you.

It can be very hard to make new friends while in adulthood, so these occasions when people are placed near each other in a social or celebratory situation can very often create an exciting new bond. When multiple people are involved, there may simply not be an organizer in the group who will make sure that each friend is always included. They may not be aware that your feelings are growing into injury, so now is the time to speak your truth.

Since some are long-distance, you can plan a Skype to check in about the details of the trip and assure them that you’re really looking forward to spending time with all of them. You don’t want to put them on the defensive with “Why haven’t you talked to me about the trip plans?” or it’s going to be an awkward trip when they feel you’ve changed. That said, it’s wise to communicate with all of the ladies at once, with a touch of humor easing the topic into a workable issue with an easy solution.

For example: “I know this is going to sound very immature, but I’m feeling a little outside the circle right now. I just wanted to speak up before I let anything negative fester and cause a problem. I’m so happy that all of my friends like each other so much, and I’m finding myself a little uneasy hearing about trip plans later on. I know, very immature, but I love you guys and I just want you to know that trip-talk is something I’m missing.”

You’re providing an actual topic or event, not throwing at them the general ‘I feel like the 4th wheel’ that will befuddle your friends and cause defensiveness and possibly a greater wall between you. Provide an easy step to fix it, and offer your humility about it so that your friends are less likely to get offended or confused. Your friends may be surprised at first, but they’ll likely appreciate your honesty and trust in them.

A big key to success here is communicating with all of them, not messaging one of them, since that can turn into a game of telephone that distorts your message and leads to drama. Then, model what you’d like the relationship to be. Share a link to something interesting about your trip location, respond to group messages in a timely manner, and participate in your friendships with each member of the circle and with the group.

Don’t let your fear of being the 4th wheel create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Act without letting your imagination guide your actions and reactions, and hopefully you’ll feel embraced in this wonderful new circle of friends that you helped bring together.

Signed, Sharon Naylor


Sharon Naylor, author of 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding

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Category: Communication, KEEPING FRIENDS

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  1. Amy F says:

    Feeling excluded is never fun, and most everyone feels that way at one time or another.

    Look at the vacation as an opportunity to get some bonding time in with your friends. If you don’t go, the chasm between you will grow. They will be making new memories and you will have chosen not to be part of the experience. These are your friends, people you cared enough about to give roles in your wedding. Have fun and don’t overthink it.

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