• Resolving Problems

My Best Friend Will Not Be Coming To My Wedding

Published: October 21, 2021 | Last Updated: October 21, 2021 By | Reply Continue Reading

A woman is upset that her friend will not be coming to her wedding after a fallout two years ago. She wonders how she should respond.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My best friend is my ex-sister-in-law (we were married to brothers). Both of us divorced years ago and we even became closer friends after that. We went out a lot and had a lot of fun together.

Two years ago, I attended her father’s funeral. She had been there for me at my mother’s funeral, so I wanted to be there for her. I had moved to a city about two hours away from where she lives and where the funeral was being held. 

My driver’s license had been revoked at the time and I had no car to get there anyway. I bought a bus ticket, was dropped off at the bus station, and waited to board. They did not announce the departure of my bus, and it left without me. 

The next bus would have gotten me there too late for the service. As I sat outside the station crying, I was approached by a man who said he often helped people he met at the bus station because many of them needed some type of help. He explained that he was retired and it was just something he did to “give back.” I told him what had happened, and he offered to drive me to the funeral. It was a risky decision that could have ended much differently and much worse, but I accepted the offer. (I did send a friend a photo of his license and license plate, and the make and model of his car in case anything bad happened. He was okay with this). He drove me to the funeral, which was two hours away, and gave me $60 cash, which I tried to decline but he insisted. 

I attended the service and found a ride to the venue where the after-service gathering was being held with two elderly gentlemen I’d met at the service. They also gave me a ride to the bus station afterward. 

At the reception, I found my friend and sat with her. I told her how I had gotten there and she basically had no response to what I had risked and gone through to get there. She did not have much to say to me at all. Some time afterward, I made a comment to a mutual friend that she barely spoke to me at the reception.

Fast forward to now. I wrote my best friend a letter (she is not on Facebook or messenger) asking her to be at my wedding. She texted me that she was “caught a bit off guard” by my letter and that she was happy for me, but angry because she had heard that I told someone that she had barely spoken to me at her Dad’s funeral. I texted back a very apologetic and remorseful message.

I added that I hoped she would still stand up with me at my wedding (which is approximately a year from now), but that I’d understand if she declined. A month later, I got a text from her saying, “Sorry it took so long to respond. I decided not to be in or at your wedding.”

I am tremendously hurt by her decision and the way it was conveyed. I have been going over and over in my head how to respond to her. (I have actually written out several responses and can’t decide which to use). In my text, I apologized to her and tried to explain why I said what I did, but she seems determined to hold a grudge.

I am not really surprised by this. She has a lot of issues (most of which are exacerbated by her alcoholism). My fiance says to either not respond or to say “Sorry you can’t make it. Make sure you send me the $3000 you owe me since you won’t be there to give it to me as a wedding gift.” (She had borrowed that money years ago when she was going through a tough financial situation and has never made any attempt to pay it back. I have always just figured I’d never get it back, so I never mentioned it to her and never let it affect our friendship).

How should I respond? I know it’s probably best to just respond, “Thank you for letting me know. I’ll remove you from the guest list” or “Sorry you can’t make it. You’ll be missed.” But the tone in her text signals to me that our friendship is over. This disappoints and saddens me greatly. I don’t know what to do. I feel her decision hurts us both.

Signed, Cara

ANSWER

Hi Cara,

It’s a bit hard to respond to your note because I don’t have a good idea of what else, if anything, transpired between your attendance at her father’s funeral and your request to have her at your wedding.

It sounds like you really made a heroic effort to get to her father’s funeral but as you suggest, taking a ride from a total stranger was really a risky thing to do.

People have different kinds of reactions to death and funerals, and it probably wasn’t a good time to tell your friend the saga of how you got there. She was probably grieving and may have had questions of her own about your judgment.

I believe that good friends should always overlook small offenses when someone has suffered a loss. And as you realized, telling a common friend about your disappointment wasn’t right.

In terms of your friend not wanting to come to your wedding, yes, that does signal that the friendship isn’t that important to her now as it once might have been. In addition to the funeral problem, loaning someone money, especially a significant amount of money that they may not be able to repay, often strains a friendship. If your friend can’t pay it back, it might be another factor making her uncomfortable to be with you. At this late date, you have to write the loan off as a loss.

Your gracious response to your friend not wanting to attend the party is perfect: “Thank you for letting me know. I’m sorry you can’t make it. You’ll be missed.” 

This leaves the door open for your friend to change her mind about the friendship and will make you feel like you have acted out of understanding and kindness rather than anger and hurt. Perhaps, after the wedding, you can reach out, find out what’s going on in your friend’s life, and see if there is any hope of repairing the relationship.

Hope this helps.

Irene

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Category: Disappointing friends, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

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