• Keeping Friends

Sharing a friend’s happiness when you’re unhappy

Published: August 26, 2014 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
It can be difficult to share in a friend’s happiness when you are having a hard time.


Hi Irene,

I have a dear old friend whose daughter is getting married. I live 18 hours away and am only able to make one shower and the wedding.

My friend is upset with me and said I have not been in enough contact with her over the past eight months and when we have been in contact, it has been all about me. This is true. I have had a rough year and have been unable to share in her joy.

I am happy she was able to bring this to my attention and told her I will contact her more frequently to hear about all the preparations. Is there anything else I can do? Finances prohibit a visit in-between the last shower and wedding. I feel like I have let her down and the timing of my pity party sucks.

How can I let her know I am happy for her and want to share this with her?

Thanks, Annie


Hi Annie,

It is understandable that it can be difficult to be joyful for someone else, even a very good friend, when you’re having a tough time yourself. It’s great that your friendship allowed the Mother-of-the-Bride to bring this to your attention and that you were so open and honest in accepting her criticism.

Just because the issue recently surfaced doesn’t mean you have to respond in one fell swoop. Attending one shower and the wedding is a show of support and after all the wedding hoopla dies down, you will have other opportunities to readjust the balance sheet on your friendship.

It might be nice to send your friend a card or letter thanking her for being there for you when you needed her and promising to do the same for her. Any chance you could invite her to visit you after the event?

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (3)

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  1. Ruth says:

    I am going to take the not so popular viewpoint that the friend might offer a little more understanding under the circumstances. What is she asking you to do beyond one shower and attend the wedding? Co-host a shower or help her pick out her MoB dress or plan the rehearsal dinner? My oldest and best friends daughter was married a few years ago and she did not expect any of those things from me. I’m at a loss as to why she would put more on your plate during a difficult time in your life. I must have low expectations because if my friend were simply happy for me and my daughter that would be enough for me. If she were going through a trial I would not want to add to her stress or cause her financial burden.

  2. Amy F says:

    The fact that you recognize you’ve been unable to enjoy your friends happiness, shows a lot of insight on your part. Being happy for others I’d harder when life is tough. You’ve already decided to call her more often, a great step. When I have a lot going on and talking is the last thing I want to do, sometimes I test or Facebook message because those methods of communication take less energy. You can easily text a: how did the fitting go?– without overtaxing yourself and by doing so, you show an expressed interest in her joy. If you’re buying a new dress for the wedding, you can shop online and ask her opinion, which will show her that you’re excited and planning for the special day. You can even send an email- things are crazy here, but I’m still thinking about you.
    I think actions are more important than words, after the initial apology.
    I’m sure you can fix this, and it sounds like you’ve already started the process of recapturing the closeness of your friendship.

  3. jacqueline says:

    Have you told your friend that this has been a tough year for you, but that you are delighted her daughter is getting married?

    I think that Irene’s suggestion about inviting her to visit you after the wedding is an excellent one! It will give the two of you a chance to spend some quality time together.

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