• Handling Breakups

Should she attend the wake of her ex-friend’s sister?

Published: November 9, 2015 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
A woman wonders whether she should attend the wake—given that the friendship has exploded.


Hi Irene,

I have an ex-friend who attained that status due to an unkind personal attack on me when the issue was about something else (not about me). She told me what she thought of me and when her blow up was over, she and her daughter started saying that I’m holding a grudge. I just chose not to be friends with an explosive person who told me what she truly thought of me.

Recently, her sister died and other friends are encouraging me to go to the wake. I didn’t know her sister and my ex-friend didn’t get along with her while she was alive. Now that she is dead, people are telling me to let it go.

I have let go of the friendship. To me the friendship before the explosion was more about a religious connection than a “friend” connection. What do you think?

Signed, Loretta


HI Loretta,

When a friendship ends in a blowup, there was usually something festering long before that.

In this case, your friend lashed out at you and it sounds like either this was the last straw or that she said things that were so hurtful that you’ll never forget them.

You are saying that it wasn’t a friendship you valued and you are comfortable now that it’s over. Given these circumstances, I see no reason why you would be obligated to attend the wake of her sister.

It sounds like your mutual friends see your attendance as a way to patch things up but that decision is yours, not theirs. Your ex- may even feel uncomfortable if you attended the wake given the acrimony between you.

If your ex-friend is someone that you’ll have to see because she lives in your neighborhood or attends the same church, you can send her a condolence card after the wake.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, Relationships with ex-friends

Comments (6)

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  1. MM says:

    I agree with Irene’s advice too. I’ve NEVER had an ex friend attend a funeral, let alone send an condolence card. I wouldn’t bother.

  2. Kate says:

    Loretta, thank you for posing this question. I’ve recently ended a friendship of over 30 years, and it has been a struggle, though there is only resignation in my case rather than acrimony. My friend’s mother is aging, and now that I’m past the friendship I worry over whether to attend her funeral when the time comes – her mother and I were (and still are) very close. I believe that funerals are for the living, not for those who’ve passed, so offering support at a funeral in the midst of an uncomfortable ex-friendship probably isn’t welcomed or helpful to the ex-friend – nor is it likely to be good for me to be there. I’ll definitely follow Irene’s advice and forego obligation for self-preservation.

  3. Lauren M says:

    I agree with Irene’s advice about not attending the funeral or to the wake, and also I agree with Irene’s advice about the condolence card, if the ex friend is someone you may see at church or who lives in your neighborhood. This is the best way to handle this situation.

  4. T says:

    Why would you g to a funeral of a person you didnt know?. Its best to stay away from these people, these is no reason to be going.

  5. lua says:

    There is really no reason to go, since you did not know the sister and you are no longer friends. Make room for someone else whom is close to your former friend and sister. If you ever want to reconnect with this former friend, a wake is not an appropriate time.

  6. Tanja says:

    Hi, I think in this situation, do what you feel comfortable with. Given the fact that you did not know the sister. You could write a text, facebook and offer your sympathies. However, I think it would be okay not to attend if you are not comfortable with that. You do not owe her anything right now. If you want to reconnect then attend the wake. But, if you are convinced it is done and you want to leave it in the past. You did not know the sister, it would be enough to write a text to let her know that you heard about it and that you are very sorry for her loss. That says it all as well. Good luck.

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