• Handling Breakups

Two Close Friends in the Same Book Club Cut Their Ties

Published: July 3, 2015 | Last Updated: November 15, 2022 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading

How do you handle a breakup when you’re in the same book club?


Hi Irene,

What should I do? An adult close friend of mine for years ended our friendship. She started having an affair and cut me out of her life.

I made repeated attempts to understand and repair it but now I’ve decided to completely ignore her…I’m moving on.

It’s been a two-year ordeal. Our husbands and kids remain friends. She makes other plans when the rest of us get together. She is pathetic. But we are in the same book club!

She’s skipped many book club meetings recently. The conflict is: I am hosting at my house next month. I don’t want to extend an invitation to her. Is this fair? Help! What do I do??

Signed, Margaret


Hi Margaret,

You’ve decided to end your involvement with this woman and move on, which sounds like a good decision.

Admittedly, the book club situation is messy because you wouldn’t ordinarily invite her to your home. As awkward as it may be, it seems like you can’t exclude her from book club meetings, even the ones in your home.

Given that she has been skipping recent meetings, my guess would be that it’s unlikely she will appear at this one. Even if she does, you only have to act cordially and not get involved with her on a more personal level.

Just send her a boilerplate invitation/notice of the reading group meeting via email—or you could ask another friend to do it for you.

Be thankful that she isn’t a colleague at work that you have to see every day.

Best, Irene

Do you have any other suggestions for handling this uncomfortable situation?

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Comments (8)

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  1. Vanessa C says:

    She avoids you because you know the real “her” which she has abandoned. How does it work with your families being together without her???? Surely her husband finds this strange. By all means invite her. If you don’t, you look small.

  2. Christie says:

    Oh LW, I feel your pain. A person with whom I was once very close and once a member of my book group was having multiple affairs. I knew about most of them, but I felt that it was not in my place to tell book group about her behavior. At the same time, I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with her being there, and was thankful she was showing up less frequently. I wanted her gone, but I also didn’t want to be the “bad guy” who wanted her to leave. However, when I discovered that her affair with my husband, I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought. I essentially kicked her out, and she made a big speech to me that she was going to quit anyway. When I told book group that she was asked to leave, with only a vague reason why, every single person was relieved she was gone. Every. Single. Person. I wish now that I would have told the book group sooner that I was feeling so uncomfortable with this woman around because others opened up on how uncomfortable they were. So I would suggest putting out some feelers to your closest friends in book group, or maybe to the group as a whole and frame it as, “You know, X has been an absent member recently. Do you think it’s time to ask her to leave if she can’t make the commitment?” I wouldn’t be surprised if others echoed your feelings.

    The other thing that jumped out at me, though, is that the rest of your and her families are going on with life as if nothing is going on. Does her husband know about the affair? Does yours? I suspect there is a much deeper reason as to why she isn’t involving herself in family gatherings and it has less to do with you than you think.

  3. bronwyn says:

    My immediate thought would be that you ask someone else to handle the invitations and that person can just say that she is helping you out because you’re busy. Then you have no direct contact in terms of correspondence.

    I agree with the others, not inviting her would be in bad form and if she does decide to show, as Irene said, treat her cordially.

    Is there anyone else in the group who knows of your situation? If so, you might ask that person to act as buffer for any potentially awkward situations if this person does show up. You can plan to be cordial and a good hostess, etc., but as we all know, no one can plan for every eventuality in a situation like this.

    I think everyone who has responded has come up with some great suggestions, and I really love Amy’s, “I’m rising above; I’m rising above.”

    Funny, “E.R.” had a similar scene with I believe the character was Benson, an African American surgeon who found extremely pointed racist sentiments tattooed on the forearm of the patient as he was about to proceed with surgery.

  4. Amy says:

    I agree with the others, you can’t not invite her. Since she’s avoided you for 2 years, I doubt you’ll have to worry about her showing up.
    Do you watch Grey’s Anatomy? In one episode Bailey, a black doctor, has to do surgery on a white supremacist with a swastika tattoo on her stomach. When ask what she’s doing she says, “I’m rising above. I’m rising above.” I use that mantra when I’m dealing with people that I’d rather ignore. It’s season 4 episode 10 ‘Crash into Me part 2’ if you’re a fan.

  5. Patti says:

    Extend the invitation. You wouldn’t want to be excluded and excluding her would make you the “bad” guy. The others in the club might look at this as immature, mean girl behavior. Take the high road. She probably won’t attend, but if she us be cordial as you would want to be treated. If you can’t do this, ask another group member to host. I get that you feel uncomfortable with her in your home, but excluding a group member hurts the whole group.

  6. Sandra says:

    As Irene noted, I would imagine this friend won’t attend the book club meeting — especially if she’s skipped so many meetings in the past, and especially if she makes other plans when you get together with her husband and kids, etc. I’m guessing she’s avoiding you too. But if she does attend, you should treat her cordially as a guest. Hopefully, your book group is large enough that she will simply blend in with the others.

    Our neighborhood book club communicates through a group email system, which is handled by the same person (we switch book club leaders every year so that one person isn’t responsible for the notices for more than a year. Email notices are sent out to all the members, as reminders for the next book club meeting and which book we are discussing. We always request RSVP through the same email system, so that the hostess knows how many to expect. It works very well for us, especially since we have a lot of members, and usually have 15 or more neighbors showing up each time. If your group doesn’t use this type of system, I would suggest you try it.

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