She may be my best friend, but I'm not hers...
June 19, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

How can I deal with the fact that my best friend is not inviting me to her wedding?

I have known my best friend for more than a decade. We went to the same high school and then became very good friends in College.

We have been very tight for the last 10 years. We have many of the same friends and the same interests. She has vacationed with my parents, siblings and I (with no other friends present). She has an open invitation at both my house in my current city as well as at the home of parents and family members. To be blunt, her family-life has been less than stellar (with histories of borderline mental illness and alcohol abuse on both sides) so I have always made an effort to treat her like a sister. We have also been on numerous trips together - the latest one to the Middle East in February which we had talked about doing ever since we became friendly and for which we had finally saved up enough money for.

We communicate daily – either in frequent emails through the day or in phone calls.

While my love-life has been less than super active (coupled with the fact that I am an extremely private person when it comes to matters of the heart), I have always been a main confidante of hers when it came to her relationships. In university, I was the one who held back her hair as she threw up repeatedly after having a bad reaction to the morning-after-pill. I was the one she cried with when a particularly nasty boyfriend did anything particularly nasty. When Mr. X came into the picture two years ago, I was thrilled for her. She insisted on bringing him to me to get my approval. He was a delightful man – uncomplicated, down-to-earth but truly caring and a good match for her. When she asked if he could come with us on our much-planned trip to the Middle East, I agreed and we all had a wonderful time without any awkwardness. I would now qualify the three of us as being good friends.

I have teased her in the past about their getting married and the two of them openly talked about a future wedding while around me. Last summer, she asked me if I would consider being a bridesmaid at their wedding (they were not yet engaged at this time.) She indicated that the maid of honour role would likely go to her other friend, Ms. Y, who she grew up next to and who is her *oldest* friend. I was slightly disappointed with this, but understood and could live with her choice as long as I would be included in a different role.

Over the last six months, they continued to talk with increasing likelihood of their becoming engaged and moved forward with plans to purchase a house. She would email me houses they were looking at and ask for my opinion. We talked about the future and plans and I always teased Mr. X about when he was finally going to propose so that I could arrange to send them some champagne.

Then a month ago, I got a phone call from my friend which started off with: “time to go get the champagne – we just got engaged”. This phone call happened less than hour after he popped the question and followed only calls to both of their families.

I expressed my happiness to them both and offered my congratulations. When I asked whether they knew the approximate date they would be looking at getting married on, there was a pause which was followed by: “oh sometime in the fall. We’ve decided to do something really small with only about 10 people – just our immediate families, Mr. X’s friend and… of course… Ms. Y. She’s my best friend after all.”

I was hurt by this, of course, since I always considered my friend to be *my* best friend… when clearly I was not hers. I did not want to spoil her happy day by saying anything so continued offer my congratulations and left it at that.

The next week when I visited them (bringing the champagne), she was all abuzz with wedding details and spoke about them with me frequently about venues, religious ceremony discussions and locations for their tiny reception. She also made a point of repeating that I would not be there and how it would only be for their immediate families and their two “best friends”. I felt tears come to my eyes (something that never happens to me), excused myself to the washroom and, after composing myself, did not return our conversation to the topic of the wedding. Anytime she mentioned it afterwards, which she did, I would change the subject.

Meanwhile, Mr. X’s mother was very unhappy about such a small wedding – it which her large, extended family would not be included. I held out hope and was bombarded with dozens of emails from my friend about their discussions with her future mother-in-law and how unreasonable she was being.

Finally, I got a note from my friend saying they had reached a compromise where they would have a wedding with 50 people – all relatives, Mr. X’s best friend and Ms. Y. They were also planning to have a “pub night” with about 10 friends around the time of the wedding.

I decided that unless I said anything, she would not know how disappointed I was. So I asked whether it made any sense to not expand the guest list to 60 people – to include family members plus the people at the “pub night”, since the friends list was so short anyway and that they wouldn’t be much additional cost (since anyone with any class would leave behind a gift envelope to cover the cost). I got back a long, but formally-written diatribe (think: “Dear Anonymous, thank you for your email.”) about how this wasn’t about cost and that they were treating this wedding like Christmas or Thanksgiving – as a family only celebration. I was shocked – especially since she had celebrated Christmas AND Thanksgiving with my family in the past. She also went on to say that Ms. Y, as her best friend, was being included because she was a “friend of her family”.

She also went on to say that while they would love to have friends there “in a perfect world”, that if she included me or any other friend, they would have to open things up to other friends who they hardly ever see and their parents’ friends. As a final jab in the belly, she said “if we invite you, I have to invite my mother’s priest’s sister – and you know I can’t do that”. I took that to mean that our friendship had the equivalent value of her relationship with her mother’s priest’s sister. Lovely.

She has shared everything in her life with me, and I with her, and yet now she is withholding this most public of celebrations.

I have cried numerous times over this situation. Like it or not, she has been my best friend (even if it turns out I am not hers). I want her in my life. I want to be able to normal around her and know that she will treat me with the kindness I have always shown her and which she has always reciprocated. But I can’t.

She is now pretending as though nothing has happened and that, not only am I not hurt, even if I was, I have no reason to be hurt.

So, hivemind, other than boring you with the details of my life, what I am looking for is this:

1) confirmation that I have a right to be hurt by this and that I am not being selfish

2) advice on how to proceed with our relationship

3) advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am

4) advice on whether I should send a gift when they get married (she continues to share details about the event so I know the date). I increasingly think that by doing so, my intention will not be to celebrate the occasion or to be generous, but rather will be out of spite to make her feel guilty
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (89 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I see why you're upset but what would piss me off the most is the whole, "You're not invited but blah blah wedding blah." I would kindly call her out on that, e.g., "I'm not invited to the wedding but why do you keep talking about it?" Her answer might be very helpful and make her feelings clear. Does one talk about weddings to BFFs because she needs your support even though you're not invited for some cryptic reason or is she just talking to talk/being selfish?
posted by ShadePlant at 3:29 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

1) Yes, and the "mother's priest's sister" thing is particularly weak.
2) Take a step back for awhile.
3) You already have said your peace, all things considered.
4) Sure. Be the bigger person.

I know it sucks, but sometimes it becomes apparent that you're better friends with someone than they are of you. This is just the law of averages working against you.
posted by rhizome at 3:31 PM on June 19, 2009

1) confirmation that I have a right to be hurt by this and that I am not being selfish

Yes you do, and no you aren't.

2) advice on how to proceed with our relationship

Cautiously, and only after lowering your expectations.

3) advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am

That's not going to happen. From a distance, without knowing either of you, your friend sounds like someone who's always going to be looking out for #1 and who will use others to get what she wants. She sounds very selfish and narcissistic. Your trying to get her to realize the how deeply she hurt you will turn into something that affects *her,* not you. If it were me, I'd just start reducing the contact I had with her. Don't say anything else. Just be a bit aloof. If she ever asks, tell her that after you weren't invited to her wedding, you realized you'd misunderstood the depth of your friendship, and so you're making the required adjustments to that.

4) advice on whether I should send a gift when they get married (she continues to share details about the event so I know the date). I increasingly think that by doing so, my intention will not be to celebrate the occasion or to be generous, but rather will be out of spite to make her feel guilty

Well, you won't make her feel guilty, so don't worry about it. If you didn't get her one, again, it would probably turn into something about *her*. Yes, get her a gift, but don't spend too much thought, time, money, or effort doing so. Mail it. Don't bother to go out of your way to personally deliver it.

I've been in situations where I realized friends weren't as good of friends as I thought they were. It hurts. It sucks. But you've got to move on and realize that that's just the way it is, and you'll find better friends on down the road.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:37 PM on June 19, 2009 [35 favorites]

yeah the whole "Your not invited but the wedding will be sooo great" is pretty insensitive. Whatever else I, also, would call her out on that.

I don't know though, some of these things are going to come down to a cost/benefit analysis for you. You obviously felt closer to her than she did to you, so the dynamic is going to change, how drastic is up to your level of comfort with it.

I would tell her you feel hurt and need time to come to terms with that.

If it where me in a similar situation (and this may not be the best advice here) I would start to minimize contact somewhat, wish her well, send a small tasteful gift, don't completely eliminate her from your life, but shift focus.
posted by edgeways at 3:37 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

The problem with really small weddings is that you leave a lot of people out. If you don't talk about the wedding at all, you seem secretive, while telling someone more details means they get interested in it. So you talk to your friends, even though they're not invited, because you want to share the experience, even though it's not something everyone can experience. Think of it like a vacation - you'd tell your friends of an up-coming vacation plans, even if they're not invited. Except that vacations aren't as special as weddings.

1) you're not being selfish. You were told of the wedding when there were plans for something larger. The plans were scaled down, and now it's only for a few people, cutting out you and all her other friends.

2) Be straight-forward, but in person if possible. Maybe take her out to breakfast or lunch, so you two can talk about things.

3) I'm not sure, sorry.

4) Send something small and thoughtful.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:41 PM on June 19, 2009

This might not be totally relevant but my I hadn't seen my best friend in college for several years, then he came back to my city to visit. He ended up spending the whole time with a mutual friend of ours who was kind of a troubled guy at the time, and difficult to be around. I never got to hang out with him and his fiance without the other friend there, and it was super awkward. Just believe me, it was. He was there for 10 days and I was totally pissed off at the end. Perhaps with reason, perhaps not.

Anyway, their wedding was across the country. I didn't have money at the time and decided I didn't really want to go if he couldn't make some time for me. I ended up not going. Probably not the most mature decision.

Reason I'm telling you this is that within a few months we'd made up. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about who's right or who's wrong at this point. Weddings make people act like total assholes. I don't know why exactly but it's true. But post-wedding sometimes people can figure things out.

I totally understand why you feel hurt. I would be too. You have no idea what's going on in her bride-damaged head. Try to pull away and see what happens. I wouldn't be shocked if there is some sort of apology later on. If there is I'd consider accepting it.
posted by sully75 at 3:42 PM on June 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

It's really painful when you come to a realization that someone doesn't value your friendship or relationship as much as you do. I've had it happen to me a couple of times in the past and it has always made me really sad to realize that this friendship was not as deep and lasting as I thought it was. I think it's really important to realize it's really sad, but that it isn't a reflection on you.

I think the friendship has changed and I don't think you can go on like you did before. You can still be friends of course, but she obviously doesn't value your feelings enough to include you even if that would make it a little more complicated for her. And really it's her wedding, she can say yes or no to anyone she wants. If she will tell one of her closest friends no, she can certainly tell anyone her mother wants to invite no.

So I say be her friend, but cut out this constant contact stuff. You are not her best friend. You are not someone to be her constant emotional support. It's time to downgrade this friendship a couple of degrees. I won't go so far as to say she is using you, but it sounds like she is getting a little close for me taste. At the very least she certainly isn't showing you the degree of appreciation and consideration that your years of friendship would merit.

As to your other questions. I think you've said enough. She gets the picture and has decided she just doesn't care. Don't send a gift, send a nice card with a short message congratulating them on their marriage. They don't get to make a profit off of not inviting you to their wedding.

And please do not let her rope you into planning her wedding for her.
posted by whoaali at 3:42 PM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

1. Being hurt is not about rights. Emotions are not logical. If you feel hurt, be hurt. If anything, you have the right to feel however you feel. If it were me, I'd classify it as a rejection, and yes, it would hurt deeply.

2. This depends on how hurt you are. You can step it back to acquaintance level for a while, and keep busy doing other things, and let her make the next step. If it is too hard to do that, then I suggest sending a gift, perhaps, and a congrats card, and then not making any effort to call her until you have gone through your own emotions about this, and have (for lack of a better term) calmed down about it all.

3. Wait til after the wedding. If you say something now, you will add drama. It's her wedding, and she can do it however she wants, and surely everyone else is putting in their input, and suggestions, and the Y friend is likely adding her opinions, and everyone else not invited is expressing their hurt, and she has to get her dress and arrange the wedding and reception and deal with her new husband, and her new life change, and on and on. If this is truly about cutting down the guest list, and IF she is hurt that you can't be there, she already feels the tension of the decision she's made. By not telling her now you are either being an incredibly understanding friend or moving into acquaintance mode, which may be for the best. Don't add further drama to her decisions right now. It would not end well. Either she would announce that she didn't really want you there (OUCH), or invite you just to make you happy, and then have everyone else even more upset ("why anonymous, and not me? Aren't WE good friends?"), and potentially leave you feeling awkward at the wedding. If, two weeks after the wedding, you are still chewing about it, THEN talk to her. Express how you feel, that you felt snubbed, that you're not sure you two feel the same about your friendship, etc.

4. Send a gift if you want to. No one is required to send wedding gifts. You have up to a year to send a wedding gift. That is plenty of time to consider how you feel, and to ease the worry you are sending it for the wrong reasons.

My own experience -
I have had both a formal large wedding, with EVERYONE invited, and a very small courthouse wedding with only my children, my now-husband, and one witness - someone who was not part of either my family group, my coworker group, or my circle of friends. When I got married at the courthouse I told everyone. I also told everyone we were inviting no one. My dad made that one easy. He replied to the news with, "Are you expecting us to come for the wedding?" When I said no, he said "Ok. Well, we'll pop some champagne to celebrate from afar." My best friends, when told they were not invited, simply said, "Awww. I wish I could come. But I understand." Of course, like I said, we invited NO ONE but the one witness and my kids.

The formal wedding, when we invited everyone, was a nightmare. Every time we thought we had the guest list down, and could set up food and such, we'd realize (or someone would mention) a whole small group of people we'd forgotten about. Then everything had to be adjusted, and new invitations sent out, and more seats taken care of, and so on.

I find it odd she invited Y but not you, and not only that, but that she didn't take care how she told you. I could see saying, "I know you'll be upset, but I felt Y should be there, and I can't invite both of you, because we are keeping it small." Or SOMETHING. But who knows how a bride-to-be's mind is working, when everything gets chaotic. Who knows, maybe Y has friends who got her a great deal on a wedding venue, or has exquisite taste in dresses. It doesn't sound, from your post, like she has put much effort into caring about how you react to non-invite. Perhaps dropping back into her acquaintance is the only result you'll see from this, and if so, good. A friend with such little thought about how you feel may not be as good of a friend as you think.

( I feel for you, btw. I have been in your shoes. It hurts to suddenly realize that your idea of a relationship is not how it is for the other person. It hurts a lot, and kind of forces you into a re-evaluation of everything. You'll mourn, and grieve for what you thought you had, and feel crappy about it. So keep busy. Hang out with other friends. And let yourself grieve.)
posted by routergirl at 3:43 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

1. Uh. Yeah! Shit. She's behaving obnoxiously.

2. Agree with rhizome and step back.

3. You guys are friends, right? You share everything? You support each other. Well, guess what, that doesn't just stop when things get tough. If it were me I would say, "You know what, you are my best friend in the whole world. I view you as a sister. I have been so delighted to watch you fall in love and I am so happy for your happiness but I'm crushed that I will not be invited to the wedding. It's not that I'm looking for a free meal and a night out, I'm looking to share in the moment, toast your happiness and be a part of a joyful occasion. But, since I will not be part of that, it really hurts me that you keep talking about it. I'd like to not discuss your wedding anymore. I wish you the best and I look forward to reconnecting after the honeymoon."

4. The sad thing is that this sounds like it's going to put a major damper on your friendship. If she doesn't realize how thoughtless she's being then I don't think it gets better from here on out. People do strange things when they fall in love and sometimes they turn their focus inward. I don't think you should wait for her to get her head on straight as it might take a long time for that to happen. Yes, send a thoughtful gift and forget about it.
posted by amanda at 3:43 PM on June 19, 2009 [15 favorites]

The mother's priest's sister thing wasn't nice, but here's an anecdote from my wedding planning: we thought we were going to have a small-ish wedding, close friends and family. My wife's family lives far away, and not many would be making it out. My mother got involved in my list, and things got big fast. Invite on group of family members, and you can't exclude anyone else on that tier.

Yes, your friend is a jerk for putting you on the same level as friend of a friend of a friend, but 60 does cost a lot more than 10. Maybe she doesn't think of you of being a close friend like you do, which really sucks, but we only have a bit of information to judge the situation.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on June 19, 2009

Of course you're hurt by this, and of course you have every right to be.

You ask for "advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am", and I'm curious if you've said it at all. You wrote "I decided that unless I said anything, she would not know how disappointed I was. So I asked whether it made any sense to not expand the guest list to 60 people – to include family members plus the people at the “pub night”, since the friends list was so short anyway and that they wouldn’t be much additional cost". What you asked, about expanding the guest list because there wouldn't be much extra cost, is not at all the same thing as explaining your hurt and disappointment. Did you actually explain your hurt? Or did you focus on how it really wouldn't be a big deal to add 10 more people, so why not go for it?

If it's the latter, I strongly recommend that you sit down with her, in person, and say the things you've written here. Look her in the eye and talk. Focus on how important the friendship has been to you, how happy you are for her, and that in fact you are hurt and surprised to learn that she doesn't consider you a friend of the family. You can't hint at it, you have to get vulnerable and actually say it.

That might help. Maybe your hurt will suddenly 'click' with her. Perhaps you two can find an accord and salvage your closeness. Alternatively, there's the possibility that she'll blow you off and tell you you're being selfish about 'her' day. If she doesn't already get it, if she thinks that it's okay to go on and on about the wedding to you without including you, then I'd guess the latter is more likely. And at that point I, personally, would start to slowly disengage. Refocus my energy from her to other friends, and work on building up my other friendships into the mutually satisfying and supportive relationships I deserve.
posted by amelioration at 3:50 PM on June 19, 2009 [5 favorites]

It's their right to keep the guest list painfully short, but you have some right to feel hurt by this, especially in light of the enhanced guest list.

She is exacerbating things and being extremely crass by drawing you into the planning and drama of her big event when she has excluded you from attending. (Somewhat in her defense, because it is the focus of her life right now, she can't easily not do this other than by excluding you from her life (which is another reason why a close friend like you should be invited), but she could at least make the token effort!

As to (3), I wonder... it sounds like you have tentatively suggested, by email, something that touched on the possibility that you might like to attend.
I'd be upfront, direct, in person, about how you understand that she has to draw a line in the sand somewhere, but obviously it really hurts that you're it, and that that's hard to enough without having to also pretend to be ok with it and happy. This thing is an elephant in the room, and the tone of her email makes that clear. If you really are close friends, you should be able to talk about the elephant, frankly, face to face. I realize some people (such as you two) socialize through signals and hints and suchfourth, but I suggest at least consider a blunt getting-to-the-point and a clearing of the air.

Keep your eye on the ball if you have that conversation. She's going to be over-sensitive and defensive. You're not trying to shame her, or force her to apologize, or to admit she's wrong, or get invited, and there is a fair chance she'll get nasty. But you want to get things to a place where, in future, the two of you don't need to dance awkwardly around the elephant all day, some kind of situation where you both acknowledge things aren't ideal, and will try not to inadvertently make things worse.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:53 PM on June 19, 2009

I think this is an opportunity for you to look at your friend in a new light, and also to learn some valuable life-lessons. You have a code of behavior, where such treatment would not be part of "being a really good friend". It is entirely possible, that your friend does consider you a very good friend, but in her world, the wedding is the kind of occasion where all sorts of weird restrictions happen ("family, but not friends, and if friends, then only those who are friends of the whole family" etc.). To me, it sounds irrational, but there are no set rules here. People have strange ideas.

It is a good lesson in that, I found in my life, that it makes sense to compartmentalize friends. It is a child-like idea to have a friend with whom you share everything. Such friendships happen, and most often they are formed when both parties are young. Often they end, when the parties grow apart. Adult friendships are somewhat different (though exceptions of course, can happen). I have a friend who is religious. I am definitely not. We share our interest in art and have a great time socially, but we don't discuss religion - and I have learned long since, that you should resist the urge to reach consensus with a friend ON ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. It's unrealistic, and will leave you with few if any friends. I have a great friend who is a hardcore republican in the military - and I mean so hard-right, that it's close to the "birthers" territory. I am quite far to the left (though ideologically flexible). We don't discuss politics, but I've been to his wedding, we go camping together etc., and he's one of the most reliable will-go-to-war-on-your-behalf friends I've ever had. You strike me as still fairly young, and perhaps you've just not thought of these things in these terms. You should feel free to have friends from all walks of life and all psychologies, just learn what works and what not with a given friend.

That said, there are certain requirements - otherwise it is not a friendship. Mutual affection. Some mutual interests. You will not be nasty or mean to each other. You will not tear down each other. You will be supportive.

In this situation, if the friend is not excluding you based on some grudge, but based on weird ideas, then simply chalk it up to their "bag" that you do not share, and concentrate on the other parts of the friendship. All that happened is that you learned something about her. Of course, if you find that she is merely a user, and that you are not extracting anything from the friendship, feel free to break it off. But I would not voice disappointment to her. She probably won't understand it anyhow. Send her the gift. But evaluate - is she really worth being a friend? Do you enjoy her company, in view of her weirdness in some areas? Evaluate, then move forward either way.
posted by VikingSword at 3:54 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Look, this is her wedding. It's not about you. She's already not having the wedding she wanted - the one she wanted had 10 people, and she's having 50 because she had to capitulate to the wants of her mother in law. She clearly is not super comfortable about it, which is why she is trying to justify it to you, and she's trying to make it up, like with the friends-only pub night. You are ungraciously trying to get her to add that group the wedding, upping the headcount/catering bill by 20%.
I do agree that it's gotta sting, particularly because she'd previously talked bridesmaid with you, but let it go already. Be the bigger person. Send her a gift, and mean it.
Sully75 is right, weddings make people act like assholes. Don't be one of them.
posted by 8dot3 at 3:54 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, you poor thing, I nearly cried reading your story. I am COMPLETELY on your side, and I don't even care that I don't know "her side of the story" - fuck her, I'm mad at her for you.

That said, honey, you HAVE to be straight with her, you have to tell her clearly and plainly how you feel. Her reaction may surprise you - maybe she's seriously in Bridezilla mode and just can't see past the end of her own goddamned nose right now and your being honest will snap her out of it.

Sadly, she may surprise you the other way, too, and tell you to buzz off and how dare you ruin her special day.

I don't know, but either way, you need to know where she stands so you can readjust your expectations or her and your friendship accordingly.

I am so sorry you're going through this, I really am.
posted by tristeza at 3:56 PM on June 19, 2009 [15 favorites]

You have every right to feel hurt by this, but she is still very important to you. Before you reduce contact or back away from her, why not explain to her exactly how you feel? If she has been a good friend to you all these years, perhaps there is some explanation and she is not aware that she is hurting you. You have nothing to lose by having an honest discussion with her.
posted by orme at 3:58 PM on June 19, 2009

It sounds as though there is something going on behind the scenes here. As an outsider, I can't begin to guess what it is. Maybe someday you'll know what was really going on, or maybe by then you won't care.

As for the gift, that's a little harder. A wedding gift is traditionally a guest's presence - often accompanied by a present or cash. As you are being specifically excluded from the wedding, I don't see any reason to send a gift - unless it would give you pleasure to do so. Doesn't sound as though it would. I certainly wouldn't allow myself to feel pressured to do it.
posted by clarkstonian at 4:03 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm going to take a different route and say that you are over-reacting a little here. They (key word: They) originally wanted a small wedding, from the sounds of it. Not everyone can be at these things, and being excluded from this is sort of to be expected.

From your description, Mr. X's mother then bullied them into having a larger wedding so that their family can come along. You are not in Mr. X's family, ergo you were not included in this list. Maybe they still want the wedding to be as small as possible, as painless as possible. Once they start adding friends as well, the wedding becomes 300 people. Maybe they don't want that.

It's also important to stress what amelioration said here, too. Did you really convey that you were hurt, and not that you thought that they should simply invite more people along? These are very different statements.
posted by vernondalhart at 4:06 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would be so hurt and disgusted by this kind of behavior. Yes, weddings are expensive, everyone wants to join in and you have to draw a line somewhere, fine. But equating your years of friendship with someone she doesn't know is really hard to justify. If it were me I would have a hard time wanting anything to do with this woman or her family. I'd treat it like a particularly bad break up, stop talking to her and move on. Not saying that's what you HAVE to do, but I would have a hard time trusting her or being interested in anything she has to say, knowing that after all these years I was just an aquaintance.
posted by amethysts at 4:06 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hmph. Wow.

1) Sure you do.
2) If I were you I wouldn't proceed with the relationship. I'd hang out with somebody new. Just me talkin'.
3) Yeah. You've done enough.
4) Go ahead. I sure as hell wouldn't go nuts. Get something nice, small, thoughtful, inexpensive.

Just curious. You don't have to answer. I wonder if this new guy is indirectly influencing her. I'm not suggesting he's behind some kind of conspiracy against you but I wonder if your friend is hitching her wagon to his star, meaning I wonder if he is a "step up" for her.

You said her family had problems with alcohol and mental illness. I wonder if Mr. X looks like Mr. Stability to her and she wants to grab hold of that man and his lifestyle with both hands to the detriment of her friends.

Does Ms. Y's family have more money than yours? Just a wild stab in the dark. If so, maybe your friend sees herself stepping "up" in the class structure by marrying Mr. X. And since she's stepping up she feels the need to cultivate other friendships in the same class as Mr. X which may leave you out. If so, that, of course, is her sad loss not yours.

Maybe I'm totally wrong. I know it's tough to condense your life's story into one MeFi post so I understand. It just seems to me that she's taken a recent and substantial departure from your friendship. There's a reason for that. You would know that reason better than anyone.

If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn't be surprised if she calls you back after the figurative (not literal) honeymoon is over and wants to be friends again and tells you how sorry she is for being such a jerk etc.

It's up to you what you should do. I wouldn't wait around hoping for her to come to her senses but again that's just me. Nobody knows your situation better than you.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm going to be a little contrary. I don't think anyone is owed a wedding, and I don't think you do have every right to be hurt by not being included per se. Weddings are extremely expensive and complicated to plan, with money basically disappearing into the coffers of the wedding industry, and to a certain type of person, not even enjoyable. Having it relatives-only or immediate-family only are about the only firm lines you can draw (your friend probably made a mistake in including any friends). It has already ballooned well out of her control, and with a mother-in-law who is unreasonable and controlling about this, inviting any more friends of hers probably _would_ lead to the necessity of inviting another set of people the in-laws want, with corresponding cost and complexity increases.

However, I think you are perfectly right to be hurt by your friend's significant lack of tact in the way she is excluding you, and by what you have learned about the ranking of people in your friend's mind (which she may not exactly be aware that you are learning). I honestly think you should try as hard as you can to disentangle these issues in your mind from the problem of the wedding itself.
posted by advil at 4:18 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

From your description of your friendship up to this point, it sounds like the two of you are very close. Her behavior with regards to the wedding seems out of place, and I think there's a very strong possibility that the stress of trying to make everyone happy has kept her from realizing how thoughtless and hurtful she's being. In other words, I would give her the benefit of the doubt--it would be sad to give up on such a close and long-term friendship without making every effort to set things right.

If I were you, I would tell her how much you'd been looking forward to being part of her special day, ever since she talked about having you be a bridesmaid. Tell her that you're sad, having been involved in her relationship with her fiance since it began, to be shut out of this important part of it. Maybe mention how you were hurt to be compared to "her mother's priest's sister," and tell her that you find it hurtful that she can find the resources to add 40 family members, but can't muster enough ingenuity to make an exception for you. Her worries about "if you let one in, you have to let them all in" are understandable, if misplaced and badly expressed, so maybe ask if you could be a member of the wedding party and thus be a part of the event without opening the floodgates for a vastly expanded guest list.

On preview, I agree that weirdness with Mr. X's family may be behind some of her behavior.
posted by fermion at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think this is an opportunity for you to look at your friend in a new light, and also to learn some valuable life-lessons.

I agree. But what a crappy way to learn that crappy lesson. My guess is that she really could only bring one non-family member, and she chose her other friend over you, and she just lacks any sensitivity or tact, thinking that your feelings won't be hurt because you're supposed to be happy for her. Maybe that's not the case.

3) advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am

Only one way to properly do it is to say it. Say exactly how you feel. To her face.

Any other way might come off as passive-aggressive. Your only choice is whether to do it now, or after the wedding. I have no advice there.

I agree with other posters that you should not do anything related to helping with wedding planning. But I'm on the side of getting her a gift - something small, and not to personal. I think anything else may come off as passive-aggressive. You are the bigger, better person.

A question I'm curious about - did you really never see this coming? I mean, is she kind of flakey otherwise? Maybe if you can look into the past to find her other behavior in line with this, and to properly rationalize how this happened, you'll feel better about how your relationship has come to this.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:20 PM on June 19, 2009

She's getting married. Your relationship will change, you just got a jump start. I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by notned at 4:27 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

You certainly have the right to feel hurt. In your place, now, I would probably say this to her the next time she told me about her wedding:

"You've explained why you're having a small wedding, and I understand, though I am disappointed. But since I'm not invited, I would prefer not to be privy to the planning details, because it hurts. Can we please talk about something else?" Then follow through, ending conversations when the wedding comes up.

This will almost certainly mean you won't talk until the wedding.

Do not give her a gift out of spite. You're not invited to the wedding. You don't need to give her a gift; if you do, it should be thoughtful and inexpensive. I would skip the weird pub night thing.

After the wedding is over, reconsider based on how your relationship evolves. People often do weird, thoughtless things in wedding planning, and if they are otherwise reasonable people who are sorry when they hurt you, you give them some slack. And if she continues to distance herself from you, then you have your answer.
posted by jeather at 4:29 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

She's very clearly decided that her friends are her single friends (hence the "pub night") and that in this new phase of her life she has no room for anyone not of genetic relation. I have had friends do this, not to this extent, and I found the whole thing rather provincial.

There's a lot of psychoanalysis going on, but there are some people who take different phases of their life as ways to establish a new identity. Remember those people you were friends with in high school and you get to college and it is like, "Can't take my call asshole?" It hurts more in the adult world because you don't have that friend churn, or at least that's my theory.
posted by geoff. at 4:34 PM on June 19, 2009

(since anyone with any class would leave behind a gift envelope to cover the cost)

That is wrong. What you mean is 'I would leave behind an envelope to cover the cost, and people who share my ideas on proper wedding behaviour would as well.' Unfortunately, nobody I know would CONSIDER leaving cash behind at a wedding. Maybe your friend doesn't have that expectation either.

they were treating this wedding like Christmas or Thanksgiving – as a family only celebration. I was shocked – especially since she had celebrated Christmas AND Thanksgiving with my family in the past. She also went on to say that Ms. Y, as her best friend, was being included because she was a “friend of her family”.

So you have told us that she is considered a friend of your family, but you never mention you doing anything with her family. Have you ever spent Christmas/Thanksgiving with them? If you haven't spent time with her family, then you're not a friend of her family. That's completely separate to her relationship with your family.
posted by jacalata at 4:36 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I really think this is something that needs to be talked out with her. Because she has every right to keep it as small as possible and invite whomever she wants. But that "mother's priest's sister" comment was awful, awful, awful.

In your shoes, I would focus the conversation on that. As in, "I understand that you wanted to keep this very small, and now you are in a situation where you had to make the wedding bigger against your wishes. I am not trying to talk you into inviting me, but I do need to tell you that your comment about having to invite your mother's priest's sister if you invited me hurt my feelings. I consider you to be a much closer friend than that, and I feel like you just compared our friendship to one that resembles that of a distant acquaintance."

I would personally feel like shit if a friend of mine pointed this out to me. I'd apologize, because even if I never meant to imply that our friendship was at such a low level, it certainly came out that way. IMO it is perfectly okay to talk to her about this - people should have a chance to rectify mistakes they have made. If they choose not to rectify, at least they were given the chance. And yeah, she's got a million things going on in her life, but other people's lives don't actually revolve around her or her wedding.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ouch. Total slap in the face. Weddings bring out the bitch in everyone and planning a wedding is total hell. Put that somewhere in the back of your mind, even though you're hurt. You (probably) have no idea the arguments she has had with her fiance, her parents, his parents, the caterer, the photographer, the company that will print the napkins.....ugh. I do suggest if you guys are that close you just admit you're hurt the next time she starts bringing you into the wedding convo. It's gonna eat at you.
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:46 PM on June 19, 2009

It might help salve your feelings to examine some possible motivations for your friend's behavior and her (perhaps unconscious) reasoning.

You point out that her family history has been bumpy, that you have always treated her like a sister, and that she has made herself at home in your life with your family. Of course, that very familiarity is what makes the exclusion sting.

But consider this: weddings and other ritual events often prompt us to re-examine our family connections and dynamics.

[What I'm about to type is a hypothetical scenario, a possible reading of the situation you describe. I'm not saying this is the correct construction of the events, only that it's a plausible construction.]

Your friend may, consciously or unconsciously, be trying to re-establish her bond with her birth family. Maybe they've been supportive of her new partnership, maybe they're providing a safer family base for her, maybe she just instinctively feels that a wedding is a time to rejoin the family unit, maybe a lot of things.

And your presence may be a challenge this new model she's trying to establish. You are a witness to their many failings, and to her own rocky past. You are a sister to her, but not a daughter to her parents; a sister to her, but not a sister to her brothers and sisters. You are both an insider and an outsider.

Simply put: your friend may feel (again, consciously or unconsciously) that it's too difficult to forge the desired connection with her blood family if she is flanked by a member of her family-by-choice.

Consider that scenario. It might be wrong. It might be way wrong. But ritual events often provoke strong and not entirely logical re-examinations of our life path. Your friend's wedding may be spurring her to reconsider her connection to her family, to her friends, to her community, in this way or in some other way I can't imagine.

And you're getting the fallout from it.

I'm not trying to dismiss your pain, or to excuse her hurting you. I'd be hurt, too; most people would, I think. I'm just suggesting that there may be something behind it, something besides the idea that she doesn't love you or value you.

Your pain is very understandable. In your shoes, I would tell her that I understand she is keeping the wedding small* but that you'd rather not hear all the details about it. She should understand that this is a sensitive matter and respect your request. By the same token, you should understand thst this is a big part of her life right now, so she's certainly going to mention it in passing.a
*and the truth is, no matter how many people are coming, "small" is the term to use here --- it just means "too small to include [person's name]."
posted by Elsa at 4:48 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm here to offer a second opinion. A couple of my very-close friends (read: I introduced them to their husbands) have gotten married recently and I was not invited to either wedding. Their weddings were family-only. I have known both friends in excess of 10 years. I was disappointed, but did not take it personally.

I know how much you want to be a part of this, and for obvious reasons. Weddings are freakishly expensive and the economy is in shambles. People are doing what they can to live frugally and yes, your friend is being very, very insensitive towards your feelings by handling it the way she's handling it. However, I think you should stop overanalyzing this as it seems like the couple are only trying to include family and one person who couldn't accept that the invitation was family-only (Ms. Y) and possibly had some kind of personal fallout with your friend over it to get herself invited.

Don't throw away a friendship over something like this, please. You sound like you have an amazing friendship together and your friend is love-drunk and wants to share her happiness with you. If you discuss this with her rationally, possibly AFTER she marries, I think you can come to a healing point together.

Because once she starts making exceptions to the "no friends" rule, he'll want to as well, other friends will make demands, and the wedding will escalate into the couple having fallout with EVERYONE they know and it will ruin what's basically a day just for them.

I just wanted to offer a slightly different perspective from everyone else... it's THEIR wedding, not yours, as much as it (rightfully) hurts you to be excluded from it. I'm very sorry for your pain, and it is justified and real... but put yourself in her shoes. And besides, we don't know what all the reasons are behind their decision as a couple. There may be things you don't know or understand. Best friends keep secrets from each other sometimes to spare feelings or to avoid various family issues or (insert real reason here), you know?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:50 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

So I asked whether it made any sense to not expand the guest list to 60 people – to include family members plus the people at the “pub night”, since the friends list was so short anyway and that they wouldn’t be much additional cost (since anyone with any class would leave behind a gift envelope to cover the cost).

This is where things really went off the rails, I think. Being charitable, I can imagine that your friend was disappointed, angry, and sensitive about the fact that her vision of her wedding (as a small, intimate affair) was hijacked and made bigger by her mother-in-law. To get yet another piece of well-intentioned advice about how she really needed to make it even bigger and invite even more people, especially from a place where she was least expecting it--well, I can see where that would result in an defensive, icy email like she sent. You weren't asking her to invite just you; you were angling for an invite by suggesting she invite a whole group of friends. Being really charitable, maybe that's where the hurtful comment about her mom's priest's sister came from--reacting to the idea of opening the wedding to friends in general, not you specifically.

That's being charitable. But if you're really interested in salvaging this, I think you need to take the most charitable view and work from there. If it really did go down like I laid out above, I think the best course of action would be to go talk to her one more time, being careful to talk about your feelings rather than how she's doing her wedding "wrong". (Not that you said that, just that it's possible she's sensitive about that right now.)

Preface with an apology about making unwelcome suggestions about her wedding, particularly when you knew that she's already compromising on how small she wanted it to be, then explain that the ill-considered suggestion came up because you are feeling upset about not being invited when you've always considered her family. Tell her that you understand that friendships aren't ever perfectly 50-50, and while understandable, it stings a bit to be formally told that while she's your best friend, you occupy the number 2 space for her. Then finish off by saying that you understand and appreciate that she wants to keep the wedding small, but given how much grief this is causing you that you'd prefer that she not talk about the wedding with you anymore, since it felt like kinda like pouring salt in a wound.

Then, it's there in the open: she knows how hurt you are, and she gets to weigh that against how much she values keeping her wedding small. At least when you get your answer you'll know where you stand; right now, you're really hurt but it's entirely possible that she didn't connect your suggestion to invite all the pub friends to her wedding with how you specifically feel about being not considered family.
posted by iminurmefi at 4:52 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

I get the small wedding thing here, but at the point when the party grew to 50 people, her not inviting someone who she speaks to EVERY DAY is just not right. That tells her friend that she is, at best, #51 whether or not it is intended that way.

I think, from my tiny little peephole into this relationship, that the problem here is that she DOES think of you as family - as in, the people who are always there for you who you totally take for granted. You have always taken care of her, but she's managing to put you into the faithful-dog category without considering - or having the consideration - to think about what that means. To you it means you *are* family; to her, it seems that it means that you're just old reliable.

You know how when you become a regular at a restaurant, sometimes they give you treats like free drinks or extra pie, but they also sometimes let you wait longer than other customers when they're really busy, or get your own water, because you're sort of family to them and they know you'll understand that they have to take care of the new clients?

That's what she's doing.

She's taking you for granted. This is pretty clear to me from the fact that she can not invite you while assuming that it's okay to drown you with wedding talk. Because... you're just there, for her. She's a special thing to you, but it seems that you're just a fixture to her.

Draw away. This is a hard but valuable lesson. Find new friends to talk to every day; let her initiate contact with you - maybe she'll learn to miss what she no longer has. If she doesn't, well, you've the right to move on to people who see the value in your company, rather than the mere consistency of it. It sounds like you two were pretty tethered to each other, at least on your side, and it's not at all a bad idea in general to widen the net of your friendship and share a little less among a lot more.
posted by Billegible at 4:57 PM on June 19, 2009 [32 favorites]

"...but I do need to tell you that your comment about having to invite your mother's priest's sister if you invited me hurt my feelings. I consider you to be a much closer friend than that, and I feel like you just compared our friendship to one that resembles that of a distant acquaintance."

Ooooh. ^^^^ that was very good from DrGirlriend above. I'd consider using that verbatim.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 4:58 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'll keep it short: she is not as invested in your relationship as you are. She has relied on your support and companionship for a long time now, and from your description of the past there wasn't any real reciprocity going on. Now she's treating you insensitively, and shows no interest or ability to pick up on how much her behavior is hurting you.

It's time for you to go spend more time with your other friends (or get some if you don't have any), mourn the loss of a relationship you didn't really have in the first place (at least on the terms you thought applied) and move on with your life. She can still be your friend, of course, but you'll not be able to rely on her (based on her track record) and you should not be her confidant, her therapist, her traveling buddy or her sounding board.

If she reaches out at some point, apologizes, and tries to make things right, it's up to you what to do afterwards. Just know that, from this outsider's perspective at least, it seems like you're better off without her.
posted by davejay at 4:59 PM on June 19, 2009 [6 favorites]

Also, what Billegible said is dead-on, and much better put than mine.
posted by davejay at 5:02 PM on June 19, 2009

I think iminurmefi made some good points and it is possible that she feels like, for whatever reason, that you are slightly on the other line in the "friends" group and if she did invite you then her other friends (the "pub friends") would then be asking her, "what am I? dogmeat?"

Frankly, all weddings should be banned. People act like goddamned fools when it comes to weddings.
posted by amanda at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I hate to say something like this about your friend whom you clearly love, but I think she is paying you back for an injury she can't help feeling you have inflicted on her over the years, but that she has in reality done to herself.

All those years you had her over to your house, loved her and invited her to be part of your family, she was warmed by it and no doubt it gave her something to live for in very difficult times, yet at the end of the day, or weekend, or month, she had to go back home to her own loveless house and deranged family to confront who she was and where she came from, and finally, what you had that she never would or could have-- and she blamed you for that despite herself.

Envy is the second deadliest sin for good reason.

Now, she finally has an opportunity to turn the tables on you, to make you the excluded one at the feast through no fault of your own-- and she's playing it to the hilt.

Her triumph over you will have the taste of ashes, though, and will make a very crumble-prone cornerstone for a marriage, I'd imagine (what must her husband be thinking about the way she's treating you?).

Based on the tone and details of your question, I believe you are a truly loving person, and I consider you capable of something I could not do, and very few people I've ever met could do. I think you can forgive her and continue to love her in spite of this.

If you don't, you won't be losing much, really.

But she will.
posted by jamjam at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

She's not your friend. She knows she's hurting you and she doesn't care. I think you have to "break up" with her and meet new people. It will be tough, of course, but I think she's being too terrible to include in your life.
posted by anniecat at 5:15 PM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

She's using you and views you, on some level, as a servant, not a friend. Never talk to her again. Sorry, but that's the hard truth.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:19 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

One comment about the mother's priest's sister. She didn't say that because she thinks the MPS has as much claim to attend the wedding as you. She said that because HER NEW MOTHER-IN-LAW says the MPS has as much claim to attend the wedding as you, and she's been in an exhausting battle with the new M-I-L about whether the MPS is coming to the wedding, in which she's currently holding on to a precarious victory. She brought up the MPS precisely _because_ the notion that such a person "needs" to be at her wedding is ridiculous. And what she's trying to tell you is -- "it sucks that you're not coming, but at this point the only argument I have left against my mother-in-law's monster guest list is "I'm not even inviting one of my dearest friends, how can I invite these 25 more people you want?"

Do I know for sure this is the right interpretation? Nope. But I think it makes more sense than yours.
posted by escabeche at 5:29 PM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

She is not your best friend. You thought she was, but it turns out she wasn't. You can either swallow your pride and adjust to being a sort-of-friend, right up there with her mother’s priest’s sister, or you can scale it way back or even, as some have suggested, break it off. I suspect you're too nice and generous a person to do the latter, but the farther you go in that direction, the better off you're going to be. Make some friends who really love you. And ignore the "It's her special day" people here; they either have not read your post carefully or don't take your feelings as seriously as they take the specialness of brides.
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2009 [5 favorites]

Forget the wedding stuff entirely. (I think the rule is that people that don't get invited don't need to send presents, anyway.)

What you have learned here is unfortunate, but useful to know: She views you as a some sort of emotional minion. You are there for her to lean on, vent to, and draw support from. She is willing to be friendly to you in conversation, but doesn't view you as something she needs to invest in. You're not equals in her eyes.

Scale back your contact and dealings with her. If she asks why, you can tell her - honestly and without malice - but don't be surprised if she doesn't ask. Getting her to recognize how hurt you are is not likely to change your value to her, anyway.

Be proud of yourself for being such a giving friend, but don't let anyone take advantage of you, the same way you'd try to stop people from taking advantage of any other good and decent person. Reconnect with other friends and spend more quality time alone for a while. Dive into books, hobbies - whatever you enjoy that does not involve human drama.

You'll be fine.
posted by ignignokt at 5:39 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

What has she done for *you* lately? Or ever?

I realize it's possible you framed the question the way you did because you were trying to emphasize that she owes you, but the way you've laid things out, you're her support system and she's your nothing. What do you get out of this friendship these days? What have you ever gotten out of it?

At the same time, I think you're overreacting a tad to her mother's priest's sister comment. I'm guessing the chain of thought there is "If I keep it family, I can keep if family, but as soon as I invite Anonymous, I'll have to invite these three people, and then, because I invited them, I'll have to invite these 9 co-workers. And then, my mother's gonna be pissed because my guest list is now 80 people and I haven't invited any of the people she thinks are important to invite, and she's going to pressure me to invite her priest and his damned sister from her bridge club and ARRRRRRRRGHHAHAHAHAHAHAHKILLMENOWWESHOULDHAVEJUSTGONETOVEGAS!!!!!11!!!!!!!" She's not equating you with her mother's priest's sister, she's just making a tactless slippery slope argument.

But if you're the friends you think you are, then you should be able to open up about this, and tell her you didn't mean to add to her wedding planning stress or make it even less the small, personal wedding she wanted it to be, but that you feel like she's practically your sister and to be excluded from it, while still having to go through all the details is really hurting your feelings, over and over again with every conversation about the wedding. If you're really the friends you imagine you are, she will snap the fuck out of bridezilla mode and either recognize that you should be invited or at least stop laying the details on you or respond with a deeper explanation of just why she can't include you, one that might make some sense. And if you can't have that conversation, then you're not the friends you think you are, and maybe that's why you're not invited to the wedding.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seriously, you need to ask her, calmly and with composure, "What the hell?" This makes no sense based on what you written here and while she may not owe or even give you an explanation, you owe to yourself to ask "What the hell?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2009

It sounds as though there is something going on behind the scenes here. As an outsider, I can't begin to guess what it is. Maybe someday you'll know what was really going on, or maybe by then you won't care.

I agree. And I just want to note that the thing might be money. I don't know if she and the fiance are paying for everything themselves, but on the extremely likely chance that they're not, it could be that whoever is footing the bill - hubby's family? - has commandeered the guest-list decisions. I've seen it happen. It actually happens in my own family, to some extent - my sister-in-law's family gets to call a lot of shots during the holidays, because they're willing to fly her and my brother around. Even though the two of them would like to spend more time with us, they're awkwardly beholden because they've accepted the money. So, in this scenario, for all we know the family's paying the bills and told her outright "You can have ONE friend," and loyalty meant it came down to Old Friend Y instead of More Recent Friend You.

That's not enough to explain all this fishy behavior, so I agree with those who say you should talk directly about it. I tend to agree with those who say you should do it after the wedding, because weddings make people completely nutso. Either way, your relationship is being recalibrated. You don't need a right to be hurt - you feel what you feel, and right now you feel hurt. Maybe for good reason, maybe because of a misundertanding or more to the story that you don't know. But it's kind of a big deal to find yourself excluded from something you fully expected to be part of, and not for no reason, either. This is a time to accept your sad feelings and then just make choices that let you keep your own self-respect.
posted by Miko at 5:46 PM on June 19, 2009

Call her up and talk to her in the tone you'd talk to a child. "Listen, Z, you're my best friend and I love you and you ARE going to invite me to your stupid wedding, goddammit. I'm not taking no for an answer."

Don't just "get your feelings out there." Man, that can be so annoying. She already has to plan a wedding and deal with this life-changing event, now she has to help you manage your feelings, too? And don't make it like blackmail either, a la, "Gosh, if you don't invite me I just don't know what this means for our friendship boo hoo hoo hint hint hint." (Though these might work better if the relationship has a high tolerance and history of drama... YMMV.)

If she says yes, then you can participate in the wedding with love in your heart and happiness that you have not created a mess.

If she still says no, blow it off: "Pfft! This hurts a lot you know, but I'll get over it." When she talks about the wedding with you, roll your eyes and ask again if she's going to invite you. You support her, but you don't have to support every stupid decision she makes.

Don't create drama, be clear about what you want. In no case should you raise a stink before the wedding. Sometime after the weddding, the rules go back to normal life, and you may still be a friend, you may not, who can say? Deal with that when it happens.

If this course of action seems difficult to you, then you should ask yourself if you even really want to be part of the wedding. If not, then why feel bad about it now? To hell with that ungrateful bitch and her fucking shitball wedding, it might be comforting to say.
posted by fleacircus at 5:51 PM on June 19, 2009

I disagree with a lot of the earlier responders' attitudes. Here's what I think is the crux of your issue:

if we invite you, I have to invite my mother’s priest’s sister – and you know I can’t do that”. I took that to mean that our friendship had the equivalent value of her relationship with her mother’s priest’s sister. Lovely.

This is not a reasonable interpretation to make. It is equally possible, and I believe, much more likely, that her relationship with her mother is being viewed by her as having equivalent value. It's not that she's sitting there being like "Who do I want to invite? My mother's priest's sister? Or my super good friend?" It's that she's sitting there at the kitchen table, incredibly frustrated and emotional about the fact that this joyous wedding occasion that's supposed to be so special for her is turning into this huge argument with her mother, who is saying, "if you invite your social friends, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO INVITE MINE!!!"

I've never gotten married, but everyone I know who has has gone through incredible stress over this, and when friends act like its about them and their feelings, it just makes it worse. its not like its not already hard enough for her to have to get emails like your "can't you just invite the pub night people?" and come up with a reasonable, non-super-emotional response after she thinks she's gotten it all straightened out (and she's probably not super happy with it anyway.)

If the topic of who was and was not invited to my parents' wedding comes up tomorrow, my parents will have sour feelings over it, and they are celebrating their freakin 35th wedding anniversary this year.

Another good friend of mine had a "small" (probably about fifty people) wedding, and he was distraught over the invitations: if I invite this person, I have to invite these other four, and I don't have room for five, so I can invite this other person who I'm less close with, and I hope the other five don't hear about it." Plus, trying to include people in a situation like your friend's pub caused all sorts of additional stress.

I had another friend who had a small wedding, and they decided to do A List/B List to ensure people they felt they had to invite got invited, but once they got a head count, they'd be ok inviting the people they wanted. His parents guilted them into inviting all kinds of "Mother's priest's sisters" on the A List, and they all accepted, meaning they got no B List, and their wedding was shared with like their dad's old business partner instead of their close friends.

My guess is your friend and Mr. X genuinely wanted a really small wedding, in part to avoid all the stuff that's going on now. Mr. X's family decided they wanted to have the big ole extended family there, which meant that it had to be at least say 45 people. But the rest was a compromise. A lot of parents believe that the wedding is more for them then for their kids. Its easy for us to sit here and say, "Fuck it, they should put their foot down to their families!" but we're not in their families. We have no idea what other internal family pressures and dynamics they are dealing with. I have a huge extended family, if I invited anyone to my wedding outside my brothers and parents, I'd realistically have to invite a minimum of seventy people without inviting any of my friends.

I bet they are extremely stressed about dealing with this, and for this woman to have to feel like you need special attention because your feelings are hurt is probably (a) not a helpful best-friend thing to do and (b) making her feel worse. I agree that she could be more sensitive about not bringing it up all the time, but you know, maybe its not such a terrible thing to try to let her wring some enjoyment from this CFK.

My advice to you would be to try to be the "over it" friend who's like, "look, I get it, weddings are stressful for a lot of people and it sounds like especially you two. Man, sucks that you have all this drama. The pub night's gonna be a blast though! Need any help with it?" And let her moan to you about her family/friends drama because she probably can't let it out to anyone, not even Mr. X, because it sounds like its driven largely by his extended family, and he probably gets somewhat defensive about them, if he's a normal human being.
posted by jeb at 5:51 PM on June 19, 2009 [5 favorites]

Just get her some candlesticks for a gift. They are nice, simple and easily split during a divorce. Recalibrate and withdraw to the level that you deem necessary for your own preservation. Under NO circumstances help her with the wedding.

Yeah, weddings do make people assholes extraordinaire but you know, people getting married, I hope, are adults. Adult enough to realize that there are consequences and results for behavior and should not be shocked at those consequences for action taken.

When you are in doubt just reread that email. Good gravy, email, to keep in mind where you exactly stand in her world.
posted by jadepearl at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2009

Listen to Miko and Jeb. All the outraged people, really: Have you guys been married before? Do you have crazy families? When you do the billing and figure out every guest is costing you like $157.73, even a really close friend or two might not make the cut... weddings can cost upward of 20 grand in some cities even for small places when you include rings, clothing, honeymoon, etc.

ESPECIALLY if one set of parents is paying... and dictating the list. OR the venue. If their venue allows 50 guests ONLY and it's booked, what is the couple supposed to do?

Have friends stand outside and look in trying not to act like they belong there? Jeez.

I'm just saying, there are PRACTICAL reasons to not be offended vs. emotional ones.

If your friend is getting married in a public park and it's a potluck, she's making her dress, and they aren't having a honeymoon? Disregard everything here I've typed and stop talking to her everyday. OK?

It's obvious the poster is a wonderful and giving friend. OP, again, you have every right to be upset. But it's probably not nearly as personal of an exclusion as you think it is... and I promise you, if you friend really is your friend and loves you, she will make some kind of amends once you discuss it with her on a non-accusatory level.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:00 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Jeb wrote what I would have written, better than I would have written it, and saved me lots of time.

Also, don't send a present. I think your observation is right on, that there's no way to do it without appearing spiteful, whatever your intentions.
posted by escabeche at 6:14 PM on June 19, 2009

Call her up and talk to her in the tone you'd talk to a child. "Listen, Z, you're my best friend and I love you and you ARE going to invite me to your stupid wedding, goddammit. I'm not taking no for an answer."

Oh yeah, and please don't do this.
posted by escabeche at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2009 [5 favorites]

I'll certainly be interested to know what, exactly, you will distill from this cacophony of colliding opinions and how you will resolve the situation.
posted by bz at 6:35 PM on June 19, 2009

Anonymous, I was in a somewhat similar situation recently and I was very, very hurt, too. With my experience (and obvious bias) in mind:

1) confirmation that I have a right to be hurt by this and that I am not being selfish

Yes, you have a right to be hurt; no, being hurt by this is not selfish. Even if it were selfish for you to feel hurt by this, what matters with respect to selfishness is how you behave, not how you feel. So, if you're feeling guilty about having (possibly) selfish feelings, I don't think you need to.

2) advice on how to proceed with our relationship

I don't know what to say here. My relationship with the bride definitely changed, though as time has passed, it's inched back toward normal. I guess it's up to you to decide whether or when you can put aside your hurt feelings. I could see going either way on this subject, depending on the details of your relationship with your friend and depending on whether your friend offers up a less hurtful explanation than she's given so far (mother's priest's sister? really?). And you may find that the further this event recedes into the past, the less it matters to you. That's been my experience.

3) advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am

I don't know what to say here, either. I asked the wise Mr. Maisie for his advice on this and he thought I should have a direct conversation with the bride before the wedding. He thought that I should tell her how hurt I was and he said that he even thought of calling her himself to tell her. (I know that might sound odd, but given the details of my situation, it was a reasonable thought.)

Anyway, I didn't take Mr. Maisie's advice. Before the wedding, I'd tried to gently and repeatedly make my feelings known. At the same time, I didn't want to get invited because I'd guilted the bride into it. I know that it's her day, not mine, and I didn't want to ruin it for her. I didn't want to say anything after the wedding either because what's the point of making her feel bad once nothing can be done? I'm mentioning the approach I took as a cautionary tale because in retrospect, I don't think it was the right one. Still, I don't know what the right approach would have been.

4) advice on whether I should send a gift when they get married (she continues to share details about the event so I know the date).

When I was wringing my hands over this question, Mr. Maisie said to me, "They're called wedding presents, not marriage presents." I didn't send a gift.

I wish you weren't posting this anonymously because I have a feeling that more details (including your thoughts on the comments you've gotten so far) would be useful in coming up with good advice as to how to move forward. I'm really sorry for the situation you find yourself in. Believe me, I know how much this hurts.

Feel free to memail me if you'd like to discuss this further or if you'd like me to post responses on your behalf.
posted by Maisie at 6:36 PM on June 19, 2009

Have you guys been married before?

Yes. My closest friends would take absolute priority over random extended family members, if it had come down to it. But then I have, you know, a spine.

I will echo others, poster, and say yes; your friend has a whole other perspective on your friendship to you. She will be back to you if her marriage hits the rocks, I guarantee it, because from the sounds of it, you're her friend-for-when-things-turn-to-shit.
posted by rodgerd at 6:39 PM on June 19, 2009 [6 favorites]

it will ruin what's basically a day just for them.

Gack. Nobody gets a day just for them.

And brides don't get a free pass on human decency. You don't talk to someone about being part of an event, disinvite them due to size constraints, expand the guest list without including them in it, and yet expect to continue yakking on about the event-planning throughout. That's boorish.
posted by palliser at 6:39 PM on June 19, 2009 [18 favorites]

Planning a wedding while trying to keep the sensitivities and needs of many people in mind is really not as much fun as one might imagine it to be. And the smaller the wedding, the more tense it can be. My "little" 100 person affair was hijacked by my former mother-in-law and we wound up with over 200 guests. Consequently, I spent the day talking to people that I didn't know and would never see again, instead of spending the time with our immediate family and friends.

Yeah, weddings can bring out the worst in people.

Do you have a right to be hurt? Absolutely. Your friend has not handled this well at all. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's one of those people who has a really difficult time seeing the world through anyone's eyes but their own. Some people just don't have that gift. My guess is that you would not have remained friends for this long if she was truly a miserable, uncaring person.

I would personally hold off on any discussions about my feelings until after the wedding because the last thing I would want is a grudging or pity invitation. I also would not want to cause her any additional stress that she might later want to hang on me. I would definitely make myself a bit less available, considering the readjustment of the level of your friendship. When getting together with her, I'd listen to very little wedding talk before cheerfully steering the conversation in another direction. When you're ready to have the talk about how this affected you, the detail in your original post paints a strong picture of why you expected to be included in her celebration. Tell her what you've told us.

As to the gift, yes, I'd give one. I would honor the years of friendship by acting in a way that I could look back on later and have no regrets. In short, I'd do my best to set a flawless example for how friends behave. Chances are that she'll see all of this in retrospect, and I don't think I'd like to give her the opportunity to think, "Well she behaved like a jerk, too!" After the wedding, however, I would take a fresh look at the friendship and decide how to proceed with any other holidays and events.

Friendships take a beating when marriages and children start changing the landscape. Some relationships have the ability to withstand these changes, and others crumble with very little pressure. Not all friends are forever, but I guess I'd want to hold off on that judgment until after the wedding when all of the pressure is off of her. If she cannot find anything wrong with her behavior after the fact, that would be very telling to me.
posted by contrariwise at 6:41 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

You're thinking that this is about how she feels about you. Maybe it's about how she feels about weddings: more a family obligation/ritual, less a community bonding/building event.

She's probably missing an opportunity for the latter, but it seems, for her at least, more about the former.
posted by amtho at 6:44 PM on June 19, 2009

Have you guys been married before?

Missed this. Um, yes. And I had a fairly typical, high-cost wedding in a major metropolitan area with an under-100 guest list. And plenty of demanding family members. It was totally stressful! I had to talk to a florist and everything! It was practically like climbing Mt Everest! And if our folks had tried to blackmail us into wounding close friends by withholding wedding funds, we'd have found another way to do it.

This is utterly manufactured, look-at-me drama. I'd have started putting the phone on speaker and reading metafilter during our conversations long ago.
posted by palliser at 6:44 PM on June 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

Have you guys been married before?

Hell, I'm married now. There are all sorts of reasons why her friends is being like this. That's why she should ask her directly "What the hell?"

As to the complicated situation being because the family is paying for something, screw that. If you can't be bothered to invite a friend as close as the OP describes, you don't deserve that friend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:50 PM on June 19, 2009

This is not the action of a friend.

I've been in situations where I realized friends weren't as good of friends as I thought they were. It hurts. It sucks. But you've got to move on and realize that that's just the way it is, and you'll find better friends on down the road.

Mudpuppie is right.

Make sure you send a telegram for the wedding though, something along the lines of..

"We go back a long way, I remember holding her hair back when she was vomiting due to an adverse reaction to the morning after pill..."
posted by mattoxic at 7:05 PM on June 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

Friends are important. Interestingly (and rather strangely), friendships sometimes grow, sometimes stagnate and sometimes just stop. I believe that all relationships throughout a person's life serve particular purposes, to teach you (or the other party) about different things, whether it be about patience, communication, or cooking. You never know what you're going to get, but it's important to treasure the friendship while it's there, which you have. Sometimes people turn into assholes abruptly. Sometimes they get brainwashed. Sometimes they randomly lose interest or reprioritize. Sometimes they get tired or whatever. Point being, I think you may have lost one here, and I understand that it's really painful. I think the best solution is to let her know (this hurts, I was under the impression that after Shared Events A, B and C, we were very close friends and I want to celebrate with you, but clearly that's not the case. I'm sad for our friendship.) and then (painfully) step back and let her do her thing. Something happened, and you may never know what, but you certainly can't force someone to keep you as a priority in their life, as sad as that may be. I certainly don't know this girl, but she may have been selfish all along, or something nutty like that. I'm very sorry for you, and I'm sorry that this happened. Actually, I lost a good friend over a similar situation about 13 years ago. I have no idea what happened, but it was sudden and painful. I think of her every once in a while and I still have the lovely salad bowl that she made for me, and I no longer resent her, but I would also never like to see her again. I think I have been harsh and mean here, which was not the intention, but I also think that there are amazing friends in your future.

That sounded cheesy, but you catch my drift. Best of luck, and my sincerest sympathies.
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

Have you guys been married before?

I've been married before. In fact, thanks to St. Alia's MeTa thread, I'm married to half the people on MetaFilter. Yes, planning a wedding can be stressful. Yes, people planning weddings often behave boorishly. Yes, if you love someone who is planning a wedding and behaving boorishly, you should try to be understanding and cut that person some slack. Still, if things truly are as Anonymous describes, I think the friend's behavior is at best extremely insensitive.
posted by Maisie at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2009

I know my feelings would be extremely hurt...not necessarily by her decision to limit the guest list, but by the callousness at her weak "explanation" as to why you are being excluded. While I agree that the mother's priest's sister comment was probably not intended to put you in the same category, would it have killed her to express some sadness/remorse/care that you would not be there? Or how about a touch of empathy that you might be disappointed by the situation? And what gives with her reiterating the fact that you were not invited (after previously asking you to be a potential bridesmaid) while pouring over details of the event?

I often read responses on Askme that say believe people when they tell you something about themselves. That good advice extends even moreso to when people show you things about themselves through their actions....She has shown you that she can be oblivious to your feelings. None of us can really know why --maybe she's a self-centered bridezilla that will re-emerge as her formerly-lovely self after the wedding, maybe her fiance's family is calling the shots and she is wimpy, maybe she has always harbored unfair resentment towards you because you have a great family and hers sucks. Who knows? All you do know is that she is capable of showing you very little care or empathy.

What you do with that knowledge will be for you to decide.
posted by murrey at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just my thought, but it seems silly to invest effort in someone who doesn't feel that you are worth the same effort. It doesn't seem to me like the friendship will be easy to salvage, as she'll likely talk incessantly about the wedding without any regard to your feelings. I would step back, don't waste your money on a gift, and see if she comes around after the event. If she does, then you have your friend back. If she doesn't, then probably no great loss. Sorry to say that, but life is a little too short, IMHO, to put up with crappy people.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:52 PM on June 19, 2009

No, the "friend" said it wasn't about the cost, so to say,"Do you know how much weddings cost?" seems beside the point. And then to be compared, directly or indirectly to the mother's priest's sister, just ugh. Very insensitive, and I'd be hurt, too. Hugs to you, Anon.

That said, I think that if you choose to buy a gift or send a card, you will be able to look back and know that you took the high road, which, to me, is one of the most important things here. She acted (is acting) like a heel. Rise above that.

Dial back your friendship, express yourself to her honestly and knowing that you're in the right (IMO), that you thought you ranked quite high on her list, and to find out otherwise hurt your feelings. A years long friendship should be able to withstand a conversation.

Yes, it's her day, but if she loses your friendship because of her thoughtlessness, it will be no one's fault but her own.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2009

Honestly, this would be a ditch or bitch situation for me, and I would ditch. It's crystal clear she doesn't value your friendship the way you value hers, and she's been mighty hurtful making that point. Frankly, I would say "I wish you luck in your new life together" and move on. To other friends.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:15 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm going to suggest something completely different: write an email to her with a link to your post, a comment about how you will be there for her after the wedding, as you have been up until now, but that you need to focus on yourself for a while to heal the pain you feel.

And I would make sure I get busy with other friends/family members on a number of different activities from now until the wedding comes, especially making sure that I have something great planned for the wedding day.

It will continue to hurt you ... but you would likely soon find out if you are deluding yourself by thinking of her as your best friend.

Best of luck and make sure you take care of yourself.
posted by aroberge at 8:24 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think your friend is being an asshole. If I were in your shoes, the friendship would be over. She asked you to be a bridesmaid and now you're not invited to the wedding? Sounds like also thinks your friendship is over.
posted by medusa at 8:55 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

You know, there are nice ways to say, "I'm only allowed to bring one friend to my own wedding," without very deliberately kicking you in the crotch about it five times or so. Which is what she did. She wasn't really trying to be nice to you at all about it. This woman is just plain MEAN. And to rub in the wedding details every single day? Hell, disinviting someone you talk to every single day? What. A. Dick.

If it were me, I'd never talk to her again either. But in your case if you want to be nice about it, I'd at least scale back to acquaintance-level, and tell her that if you aren't close enough to be in the wedding, you should perhaps scale back how much you talk then, since hearing about the wedding 24-7 is kind of painful. (And as was pointed out, you won't hear from her again.)

And for god's sake, don't get the bitch a gift. Fuck her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:59 PM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

I think you're absolutely right to feel hurt, but before you take any action or make any decisions on that, can you talk to her about this in person? I agree with the people above who say that weddings can make people CRAZY.

I know that when I'm really stressed, I can vent to the point of hyperbole. In her shoes I might also make the "mother's priest's sister" comment in stressed-out sarcasm against my mother if I felt like the guest list was getting out of my control, and I might not realize how it would come off to someone who really did want to be there. And if I were completely immersed in the world of wedding planning, I'd probably wind up talking about it all the time too, and maybe without realizing how alienating or boring it could be to someone not involved.

Devil's advocate - for all we know, maybe she's looking forward to the "pub night" most of all out of the whole experience?

I completely disagree with the idea of sending her the link to this post. I'd never want someone to point out that a whole website's worth of strangers were gossiping and making assumptions about my private matters! The poster is anonymous for a reason.

posted by cadge at 9:01 PM on June 19, 2009

I'm wondering what you know about the "best friend". Sometimes people have these people in their lives that they have known since they were three, and they went to grade school together, and their moms know each other, and even after college when they grow apart and move away and see each other like, twice a year, they are still "best friends". It's not my idea of a best friend, but frankly I never use that terminology/hierarchy anyway, preferring to have "good" or "close" friends. Anyway, what I'm trying to say, is that maybe this "best friend" is more like an obligation because of going back for many years or whatever. I'm not sure you should see them as a rival, or replacement, unless you get some sort of confirmation about the issue.

Your friend is still kind of tactless, but maybe she has an expectation that you would understand "best friend" to mean the person that was her friend through school, and would know why that meant that this person is why she had to invite them, of all people, to the wedding.

And maybe this is all super far fetched, but I've known people who have these old school relationships and refer to these people as their best friend, even though they are really not all that close any more. I think it's a weird thing, personally.

And maybe she's telling you all the details all the time because she thinks being honest and straightforward about all this wedding crap is the right thing to do with a good friend, in the hopes that they would understand that their being not invited is not a personal thing. You should know better than I if she's that sort of person, though.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2009

I'd let this friendship go and move on, as DarlingBri says. Life is too short and the world is too poulated for anyone to take this kind of garbage from one person.
posted by orange swan at 9:26 PM on June 19, 2009

Is it possible that you pissed the fiance off in some way during the trip to the Middle East? I have a friend that royally pissed my partner off and he has told me flat out he wants no contact with my friend whatsoever. And so now I don't invite my friend to anything I do with my partner.
posted by gt2 at 10:33 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

But I don't actually think she's your friend. You are right to feel hurt. If it were me, I would back away from this "friendship".
posted by gt2 at 10:36 PM on June 19, 2009

Dunno if it's a complete picture, but all the pre-met-the-guy stuff reads like you being there for her. Via oversight or because it wasn't ever there, no sense that you were more than used by a parasite.

The first plan, a 10-person wedding w. bride and groom each choosing one friend sounds questionable. Surely Mr. Wonderful fiance would understand if he selected one friend, the fiancee selected two or they agreed to each pick two.

From what I read, you filled a void and a need, the void and the need no longer exist and she's treating you like used Kleenex.

C'mon; she could sliiiiiiiiiide in one more person--without getting into, "but I'd have to invite... ."--if she really wanted to; to say otherwise is insulting people's intelligence.

No loss in having the heart-to-heart, to the extent that she'll care about you and your feelings. Maybe she will, but I look to my left, see 74 cents sitting on the desk and I wouldn't bet those coins at 20-to-1 odds that she would see and respect your perspective.
posted by ambient2 at 11:06 PM on June 19, 2009

I don't agree with a lot of the previous suggestions. Here's my main point of disagreement: this question has very little to do with a wedding. Instead, your problem has everything to do with you, your friendship with this woman, and her friendship with Ms. Y.

If you try to talk to your friend about how her actions make you feel by putting it in terms of the wedding, you are going to run into a lot of the problems that have been raised above. Weddings are complicated. Wedding guest lists are complicated. The whole dang thing is rife with frustration and anxiety. If you say, "I am upset that I am not invited to your wedding," she will just respond by stating some facts about the wedding -- "Oh, but I have to work so hard to keep my mother and his family happy, and the cost is already through the roof, and I don't know how I can fit even one more in" even though none of those details are what matter to you. The emphasis will be on that one day, not your friendship with her.

So take the wedding out of the equation. Talk as exclusively as possible about how you feel bad that she sees Ms. Y as a closer friend than you: "You know, I always considered you to be my best friend, like a sister to me, and I feel hurt and confused that you seem to see Ms. Y as a closer friend."

Now, that's an awkward conversation to have. It's a lot harder to talk about feelings than it is seats in a wedding... But that seems like the conversation you actually want to have. You are hurt, not because there isn't a seat at the wedding, but because the fact that there isn't a seat seems to imply that she does not value you as much as you value her.

If you want her to understand how much she has hurt you, I think these are the terms you need to use to explain it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:49 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, when I was made to realise that what I had thought was friendship was just a relationship of convenience for the other person. I was very hurt, and it's made me a lot more guarded about the extent to which I'll allow people into my life.

Your so-called friend is wrapped up in herself to the extent that she's not able to consider the feelings of those around her. It seems that your purpose with her has been served and she has no further use for you. That's not friendship.

You're entitled to be hurt, and if you want to continue with the friendship, I agree with what Ms Saint has said about discussing your relationship with her outside the context of the wedding. I no longer have contact with the person who treated me so badly.
posted by essexjan at 1:23 AM on June 20, 2009

I wouldn't bother talking to her about it. You have tried, and she went waaaay out in left field to be hurtful and dismissive of your relationship.

People quite frequently change themselves dramatically when they get married, and it's not always in good ways. It sounds like she's making a new life for herself, and you're not included.

This is cruel and ridiculous of her, and you have every right to be upset. But someone who is capable of behaving that way was probably not your friend the way you were her friend to begin with.

I am so sorry.
posted by winna at 1:23 AM on June 20, 2009

My take on this is different from most and is more generous towards your friend. From what you say about the alcoholism and mental illness, it sounds like she has an extremely difficult time with her family. She is probably really struggling to control their "crazy" from getting out and ruining her wedding while at the same time trying not to let on the extent of it to her fiance's family. This is probably unbelievably stressful for her.

Someone (her mother?) has turned into a complete drama queen about the wedding, I'm guessing. Perhaps due to financial control or maybe just psychological manipulation, her mother is being completely pandered to and the guest list is up to her. Perhaps her mother is even jealous of you for having been such a stabilizing influence in your friend's life - who knows? But for whatever reason, her mother is insisting that if she can't invite her friends then your friend can't invite hers. According to her crazy family's bizarre logic, if your friend invites you this opens the floodgates and everyone her mother has ever met gets to come along. Yes, your friend gets to invite one friend (and for whatever reason it isn't you). This is probably her mother's idea of being generous.

So if you can, trust your friend on this and believe her when she says she can't invite you. It's probably hurting her very much as well but just part of the balancing act she feels she has to perform. Think about whether she has been there for you and shown her love for you in other ways apart from the wedding. Unless you conclude that it truly has been a one-sided friendship, then try to overlook this wedding thing to support her and be there for her.
posted by hazyjane at 2:46 AM on June 20, 2009

Also, why do you want to be part of the wedding so much? Is it just about feeling included? Or is it about being recognised by other people as being an important part of this person's life? If so, hard luck, the only significant others being celebrated are the bride and groom and parents thereof - you don't have a 'right' to share the spotlight. Friendship status is not predicated on whether or not you get to play a big role in the wedding because, as others have said, there's often a whole load of non-rational family stuff that makes guest logistics seem bizarre from the outside.

With regards to her not acknowledging your hurt feelings, maybe she doesn't know how to handle this and is ignoring it as a way of not having to deal. Or maybe she really doesn't get it. You mentioned that you'd been quite closed about your emotional stuff, maybe she's just really thick-skinned or blinkered when it comes to the emotional states of others? I have a friend like this, I got caught up in her drama and was always on hand to mop up on many occaisions. It didn't really bother me until I hit a low period and realised she just wasn't there for me in the same way.

Later I asked her about it and she just said that I seemed so independent and capable it didn't occur to her that I would need support, or be hurt by her actions. I was annoyed, but realised that she just didn't have the emotional sensitivity to reciprocate that kind of care, so I scaled back my expectation and involvement and we now have a much simpler friendship.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:07 AM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

even a really close friend or two might not make the cut...

That's crap. Your friend would include you if she wanted to, and for whatever reason it's not a priority for her right now.

That said, you should probably wait until after the wedding to talk to her. Pre-wedding will just feed into the drama. For the time being, withdraw; refuse to talk about wedding details; and afterward write her a letter explaining your feelings.

And yes, no gift.
posted by miss tea at 5:16 AM on June 20, 2009

Man, this is why I eloped without telling anyone. MUCH less drama.

My take on this is different from most and is more generous towards your friend. From what you say about the alcoholism and mental illness, it sounds like she has an extremely difficult time with her family.

Yes, and her experience with crazy family probably makes it much harder for her to "have some balls" and say no to her new mother-in-law, especially in preparation for a day when the families are supposed to be happy about coming together.

Anonymous, you know how stressful this is for your friend. Her wedding is a source of stress for her, not joy. You are invited to the joyful relaxing pub night, the time when she and her fiancé can actually relax and celebrate with friends who will toast to their happiness. Is that not what you want? Your relationship with this woman is very important to you. You are thrilled to see her with this man. Go to the pub night, treat it as the coming-together-with-friends that it is, toast to their happiness, and help her deal with the aftermath of the wedding later.

You are more than welcome to say to her, "I'm sad that I won't be able to be at your wedding because I love you so much and your friendship is so valuable to me and I'm so thrilled for you and I would love to be part of that moment," so long as you follow it up with "but I understand that you wanted a small intimate day and it's already been highjacked, and I don't want to add anymore stress to this time (and I'm sorry for pushing you to go even bigger). I just wanted you to know that I will be with you in spirit and cheering you on and it's going to be great, mother-in-law and all."
posted by heatherann at 6:37 AM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

When you do the billing and figure out every guest is costing you like $157.73, even a really close friend or two might not make the cut... weddings can cost upward of 20 grand in some cities even for small places when you include rings, clothing, honeymoon, etc.

you have to admit it's a pretty big blow to go from expecting to be a maid of honor to not even being given a seat at a table at a 50 person celebration. I don't think it's fair to chalk this up to simply wedding stress - there was at least some miscommunication about the level of importance of the friendship.

It seems plausible that you're less her closest friend than her nearest friend. As above, it happens all the time that people give different importance to a friendship, so follow the advice about telling her you're not up for wedding talk, concentrate on other people, and let her contact you
posted by mdn at 6:48 AM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

I sure as hell would not send a gift.
posted by anagrama at 8:01 AM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Her behavior is selfish, and you have every right to feel hurt. There's probably nothing you can say to her to turn this situation around; she doesn't care to listen. If it were me, I'd scale the friendship back to casual acquaintance level.

There is the question, though, of how much you need this friendship. Obviously your friendship isn't as important to her, but do you need this friendship enough to be a selfless saint—one who will never be appreciated? Only you can decide if writing-off that amount of self-worth is worth what you get from this one-sided friendship.

Send an inexpensive yet tasteful wedding present in any case.
posted by paulg at 8:02 AM on June 20, 2009

I am so so so sorry. While I won't rule out that there may be wheels-within-wheels type wedding-planning skullduggery afoot--and I don't think that what she's doing is entirely unforgivable--I'd take this as an opportunity to step away from the relationship, draw some emotional boundaries for your own sake (by which I mean limiting the extent to which you let yourself get invested in her ups and downs), and cultivate some other friendships/interests.

And don't send a gift, seriously. Send a lovely, lovely card. But no gift. Please.
posted by Neofelis at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2009

This has been fascinating, and my head is spinning - I can't imagine what you must be thinking after reading all this, Anonymous. But, here's my answer, because I've been thinking carefully and have this to contribute:

1) You're hurt, whether or not it's a right or not. And yes, it's selfish because your desires are not altruistic. But I'm not saying either of those statements are a bad thing.

2) You proceed with newfound wisdom, based on previous knowledge and now this latest experience. And, hopefully, with more control over the direction the friendship takes, with less of a reactive approach. And be your best self through it all - you can use my motto, if you like: "I do not let how others are be the measure of the person I want to be."

3) Try quoting Paul Westerberg:

"The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them"

Really - trying to understand all this leads to madness.

4) Send an engagement gift - maybe that champagne, because you're happy they're going to be married whether or not you're attending the wedding, and it's the nice thing to do.
posted by peagood at 9:26 AM on June 21, 2009

“if we invite you, I have to invite my mother’s priest’s sister – and you know I can’t do that”

Dear Former Best Friend,

Thank you for letting me know where I fit in your life.


posted by deborah at 10:32 PM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

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