Was I out of line in having this conversation during a bachelorette?
April 25, 2014 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Friend invited her ex-boyfriend to her bachelorette event. During the event, he revealed to a few of the attendees that he still has feelings for her. Bride became angry at each of us for indulging in this conversation. Was I out of line?

I have a friend "Sammy" who got married recently. Prior to the wedding, Sammy held a bachelorette event with both men and women invited. One of the attendees was her ex-boyfriend "Jake". Sammy's fiance was uncomfortable at the idea of Jake being at the bachelorette event, but didn't object.

During the bachelorette event, Sammy was very nice to Jake, occasionally touching him affectionately, tearing up when talking to him, etc.

At one time, Sammy was in a different part of the room out of earshot. Jake told me and a few other friends about his feelings for Sammy. He said that he still felt unresolved, and felt strange about her wedding. We asked him to elaborate, and had a 15-minute conversation about it. Other people from the bachelorette event were walking in and out past our conversation during this time.

When Sammy found out later about this conversation, she became very angry. She contacted each of us to shout at us for having such an inappropriate conversation during the weekend meant to celebrate her wedding. She said that we showed poor judgement in having this conversation about an ex-boyfriend in front of other friends who were there to toast her future.

I feel resentful at being yelled at. My view is that if she didn't want this type of conversation, she shouldn't have invited the ex-boyfriend and acted affectionately toward him. She knew full well that he still has feelings, and she invited him anyway.

Her view is that she's free to invite whomever she wants, and it's up to us to behave in a socially appropriate manner. She thinks we showed poor judgement and behaved inappropriately.

What do you think, MeFites?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
She invited drama and then got pissed when (incredibly mild) drama showed up. You weren't out of line but you're not going to convince her of that so just let it go.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:43 PM on April 25, 2014 [39 favorites]

She's right. She shouldn't have invited him. You shouldn't have encouraged/interrogated him. Two wrongs don't make a right- her faux pas does not absolve yours.
posted by quincunx at 2:45 PM on April 25, 2014 [26 favorites]

Yes I think you were. If someone confessed that to me at a bachelorette event I would say something like "not the time or place" and shut them down. Because it's not.

Then offer them a ride home because awkward. And it woukd probably be best if they left before the bride overheard.
posted by fshgrl at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2014 [14 favorites]

She's made a number of bad decisions here and wants to foist the responsibility onto her friends instead of facing the fact that she showed poor judgement and disrespected her future husband. Are we to believe that she's unaware that ex-boyfriend still has very strong feelings for her and that she doesn't enjoy his special attention and the drama? Please.

I don't see a lot of gray area here. She doesn't have any right to yell at you about this. She needs to figure out why it's so important for her to string this poor fellow along and invite him to wedding events. The fact that he vented to you all is a direct result of her inviting him to an event that was sure to reopen his wounds.
posted by quince at 3:02 PM on April 25, 2014 [28 favorites]

Honestly, I think everyone is in the wrong here. I don't know anyone in their right mind who would invite an ex to a bachelorette party (especially an ex where there is ANY chance they still have feelings!). Certainly she should not have been flirty with said ex, at the bachelorette party or otherwise. But, at the same time, the ex should never have come to the event, and no one (ex or friends) should have been talking about romantic feelings for either the bride or the groom at the event. And finally, regardless of misdeeds, adults really don't need to be shouting at other adult friends.

At this point, I would write it off as a Bridezilla moment, give a "non-apology apology" (along the lines of "I am so sorry that your feelings were hurt), and pledge never to speak of it again. People can go kind of crazy before weddings, and I think it is best to let bygones be bygones, assuming this is not an ongoing issue in your friendship.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:03 PM on April 25, 2014 [39 favorites]

I'm with Sammy here, that's some inappropriate shit to talk about at an event celebrating her relationship. Maybe that flies in terrible rom-coms but not in real life.

Sammy inviting her ex is not the main problem here. She knew he had feelings; so what? If he's a friend she probably expected him to be happy for her and have fun, not shit on her event by telling attendees he was still carrying a torch for her. She has the right to invite whoever she wants and then to expect them to act like adults and not fourteen year olds. Jake is a tool for bringing it up and everyone who talked to him about it are all tools for participating and not saying "shit man shut the hell about about that, this is about Sammy and Fiance, not Sammy and Jake."
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

I am in the "Sammy is primarily at fault here" camp. She invited him so she needs to take responsibility for that. He was clearly emotional and you extended an empathetic hand by talking to him about it. In other words, she made a mess and you tried to clean it up. She sounds like one of those awful self-entitled brides who created far more drama by yelling about it. You don't owe her an apology. She owes you one in my opinion.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:17 PM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd be curious as to whether she's planning on having words with Jake over this. My guess is that she's got some unresolved feelings about him. Maybe not romantic ones, but that she's not being honest with herself about the kind of attention she gets from him and what it means to her.

You can apologize, and if you want to set a boundary about the shouting, you can do that, too, and if you want to let her know that you think she contributed to the situation, you can let her know that, too, but be prepared for her to deny and get upset with you.
posted by alphanerd at 3:20 PM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

She said that we showed poor judgement in having this conversation about an ex-boyfriend in front of other friends who were there to toast her future.

I would agree with her if it were just you and some friends talking about her ex, but she showed poor judgement by inviting her ex; I don't think your having a conversation with him is the main issue here.
posted by Asparagus at 3:22 PM on April 25, 2014

You can't control what guests talk about at a party. I think inviting an ex (especially one that she knows still has feelings for her) to a bachelorette party is cruel.
posted by 41swans at 3:27 PM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

We asked him to elaborate

This was a poor judgement call. Better judgement: "Dude that sucks, but this is not the time or the place. Do you need to unload? We can grab beers this week."
posted by DarlingBri at 3:30 PM on April 25, 2014 [23 favorites]

is it actually important who is the one to blame here? i mean, i realize that is your question. but even if you totally had the right to have this conversation there, your friend's feelings were hurt. you totally didn't mean to hurt her feelings, and you might even think she's being a bit crazypants. but she's your friend. you love her. you didn't mean to hurt her. you feel bad that she is feeling bad. the rest is (totally understandable) defensiveness.

if it's more important to keep this friendship and to make things right, apologize and tell her you love her and you are sorry that something brought down her special day. if it is more important to be right about this and you have had it with her and her drama-making, well, then tell her you were right and she was wrong.
posted by andreapandrea at 3:31 PM on April 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

I think that she was in the wrong here, and shouldn't have invited the ex.

That said, speaking as someone who hates weddings, one of the most enjoyable weddings I've ever attended was my ex's. But here's the important difference: By the time my ex got married, so many years had passed since our relationship ended that I had absolutely zero lingering feelings toward her, and she and all of our mutual friends knew it.

It was Sammy's responsibility to know this, and obviously, she didn't gauge that well enough.
posted by tckma at 3:36 PM on April 25, 2014

It was a party specifically designed to celebrate your friend's relationship with her fiance. You and others spent a chunk of it discussing her relationship with her ex, in a public place where everyone else at the party designed to celebrate your friend's relationship with her fiance could walk by and overhear, or join, the conversation with and about her ex.

It was not an appropriate time or place to engage in that conversation, no. I think the ex is the one majorly at fault here -- if he couldn't attend without spilling his guts, he shouldn't have attended -- but you chose, for at least part of the evening, to focus your attention on your friend's ex and his feelings for her rather than celebrating her current relationship, which is the whole purpose of these sorts of parties.
posted by jaguar at 3:45 PM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

I actually think her inviting her ex and your and other guests talking to him about his feelings are two separate issues, unlike everyone here. She shouldn't have invited her ex, not because he's her ex, or because "she knew he still had feelings for her" (you don't state this in your post), but because her fiancé was not comfortable with it and it should have been ALL about her and her fiancé, no one else.

I don't think she should have been weepy and affectionate with her ex, again because her fiancé was not even comfortable with his presence, NOT because she knew he still had feelings for her, as we're not told this.

After Jake told you all about his feelings, they should not have been discussed and elaborated on at such length. Again, it was an inappropriate time and place, especially if many people are over hearing the conversation and indirectly made part of it. Sammy is right that it should have been all about their future. I think talking to Jake about it was a bad judgment call, but not a horrible one, and I doubt it warrants Sammy getting extremely mad at you. Again I think it has nothing to do with the fact that Sammy invited her "ex", which is asking for "drama". She must have assumed Jake and everyone would act reasonably during the event, which seems a fair assumption (though she shouldn't have invited Jake to spare her fiancé's feelings).
posted by Blitz at 3:50 PM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

I think you all showed poor judgement here. She shouldn't have invited the ex, she shouldn't have done the teary-eyed drama thing, the ex shouldn't have come nor initiated this conversation, and those of you who participated in this conversation with him should not have indulged him, but rather should have stopped him cold and encouraged him to be happy for her or to leave the party.

If you value your friendship with Sammy, apologize for your part and then move on. If you don't, well, don't.
posted by vignettist at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2014 [8 favorites]

She shouldn't have invited him, he shouldn't have come, and you shouldn't have said, "Oh, do go on!" to your soon-to-be-married friend's sad ex at her bachelorette party.

You all fucked up. Apologize and move on.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:25 PM on April 25, 2014 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't feel sorry for this in the slightest, but I would apologize anyway. The bridezilla should apologize to you at some point for yelling at you, but I'd give her a pass even if she doesn't. Weddings are stressful.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

sammy kissed up to jake at her bachelorette, jake unburdened to you, and now sammy is blaming you for, essentially, being there with your ears open.

this marriage is a bomb waiting to go off. sammy will get back with jake, both of them will resent you, and the former hubby will join the french foreign legion. how close do you want to be to this?
posted by bruce at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2014 [14 favorites]

It's almost immaterial who's "right" here. Human relations rarely have a right/wrong, good/evil, yes/no answer.

The rest of this response assumes that you want to remain friends with her.

You feel upset that she yelled at you. I think you should let her know that you're upset. But she feels upset that you had an unauthorized conversation. She would like your apology (and she may feel as though she has the right to demand it, as she is the "bride" and many people think that holds special privileges, although I tend to disagree). I'm sure that if you had known how upset she would be, you would not have had the conversation that disturbed her, since, after all, she's your friend. You can let her know that. And I'm sure that if she knew how disturbed you were by her tongue-lashing and that you never intended to upset her, she would have been nicer about it, too.

If you think about right and wrong, it will just piss you off and make you feel superior, which is not the way to approach rifts in friendship if you want them to be repaired.
posted by janey47 at 4:41 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

When Sammy found out later about this conversation, she became very angry. She contacted each of us to shout at us for having such an inappropriate conversation during the weekend meant to celebrate her wedding. She said that we showed poor judgement in having this conversation about an ex-boyfriend in front of other friends who were there to toast her future.

I'm with bruce on this.

Sammy's angry with you because that's a good way for her to deny her own unresolved feelings about Jake: by projecting them onto you (all), and excoriating you for countenancing them.

If you want to be the best possible friend--and by that I mean the best of all possible worlds friend-- you will advise her to postpone her wedding until she has faced and dealt with how she really feels about Jake.

In any case, don't be buying any expensive wedding presents just yet.
posted by jamjam at 5:05 PM on April 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Sammie was wrong for inviting Jake, she was wrong for acting so lovey towards him, and for yelling at anyone. Jake was wrong for accepting that invitation, and for talking about their relationship and his feelings about Sammie to anyone BUT Sammie. You were wrong for standing there and encouraging that conversation (which you must've done, or he wouldn't have kept talking for 15 minutes), as well as talking about it even more later.

So: everybody screwed up. Stop the drama train NOW, and if that means a half-assed apology ("I'm sorry your feelings were hurt") do it, then drop this whole subject. Also consider backing off from Sammie (and especially Jake) for a bit, because you do NOT want to be at Ground Zero when this time bomb of a marraige explodes --- which it definately WILL.
posted by easily confused at 5:12 PM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

It was a conversation; it harmed no one. Jake is permitted to discuss his feelings with people he knows. Bachelorettes and weddings aren't magical spaces where personal history stops happening. Brides don't get to police conversations they aren't a part of because their "special day" approaches. If Sammy's impending wedding is threatened by something so insignificant, I think you can look forward to attending her next one.
posted by gladly at 6:43 PM on April 25, 2014 [8 favorites]

I think Jake being all woe woe a thousand times woe would be hella inappropriate if it was a dinner party, let alone a bachelorette. Presumably if they're broken up and if she's getting married and they're still good friends she's probably had beaucoup conversations with him about his feelings that she's already shut down and made clear she's not into him. I bet your friend feels like by indulging Jake's confession you're enabling an extended psychodrama in which she's got an unwilling starring role.

Also, idk why her crying is such a thing. It's her party and she can cry if she wants to. It's not a good bachelorette party until someone cries, someone's said she loves everyone here, and someone else has deeply regretted agreeing to be the designated driver.
posted by spunweb at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, Jake having romantic feelings towards Sammie /= Sammie having romantic feelings towards Jake. I think it would buy another ticket on the drama train for the OP to suggest otherwise.
posted by spunweb at 7:49 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bad judgment on everyone's part (she shouldn't have invited him, she shouldn't have flirted with him, he shouldn't have brought up his unresolved feelings, and you shouldn't have indulged that line of conversation), but since she's the one who set the whole bad judgment train in motion by inviting him in the first place, it's unsurprising that she'd project the responsibility for the situation on to someone else.

You can apologize if you'd like to smooth over the situation, but do so with the understanding that she almost certainly won't cop to her own role in all of this. Also, be prepared for more drama at the wedding, and make a plan ahead of time not to get sucked into it. This is a game where the only way to win is not to play.
posted by scody at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

(Oh, sorry, I read too fast and didn't realize that the wedding already happened. In any case, this incident may be indicative of a general tendency on your friend's part to set up drama and then blame others for taking part in it, which might be useful for you to keep in mind down the road.)
posted by scody at 8:15 PM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think everyone is wrong here, but you're just as wrong as she is. Yes, it was bad judgement on her part to invite the ex, but it's her party - she can invite anyone she wants. Obviously, she can't control the conversations that occur as a result of inviting her ex, but I think it is not unreasonable to expect that her friends wouldn't cause drama by asking her ex to elaborate on his unresolved feelings towards her at her own party while she is not present.

It was mean of her to yell at you but if you look at it from her point of view, you guys asked her ex to dish on his feelings for her at a party that is intended to celebrate her wedding with another man. I mean, why do you even want to know? How is it any of your business? It seems like gossip to me and that's why I think she deserves an apology - if you want to stay friends with her.
posted by cyml at 8:26 PM on April 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

She invited him knowing that the classic scenario is for him to get a little maudlin during the event. Especially since, one presumes, alcohol is in the picture. Then *you* get blamed when you lend a kind ear? ugh. Your friend is passing on her own responsibility and guilt to her friends, who were just trying to act humanely to the ex- (who shouldn't have been invited).
posted by DMelanogaster at 3:31 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

What do you think, MeFites?

I think that everyone involved exercised very poor judgment.
posted by John Cohen at 10:08 PM on April 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

What she did or did not do is immaterial--do not worry about whatever machinations brought Jake to be at the party--
you are responsible for your actions;
it's simply a mark of maturity.

Now Jake did something rather uncouth--broaching his personal emotional laundry about the bride at an event where it definitely should not have been encouraged.

But, instead, you chose to actively encourage him to talk more about it--enough so that it was a topic of conversation (and overheard by those nearby and walking past) for a quarter of an hour(!).

That is just--wow--akin to shitting in the punchbowl, making everyone who overheard feel really, really uncomfortable. Honestly, I'm surprised no one came over in the first 90 seconds to tell you guys
"That is a really inappropriate discussion to be having here and now."
You were (so, so) wrong to encourage Jake to expound upon his "dear god, not here!" feelings and you should apologize for doing so. If someone farts at a party, you try to ignore it or open a window; you don't encourage the person with "Awesome! Fart more, dude!".

Whether the bride ends up apologizing for something you see as her mistake is of no concern--you did something wrong, so you apologize. That's all you have control over.
posted by blueberry at 3:05 PM on April 27, 2014

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