It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Wedding Gate” whose friend verbally attacked her at their mutual friend’s wedding. The friend sent an “I’m sorry, not really sorry” email afterward, to which the LW responded with an angry email explaining “the difference between honesty and being an asshole” and how her friend was “a judgmental, rude, meddling idiot.” The LW felt bad later, after she calmed down, and wondered how to smooth things over. Keep reading to see where things stand between them now.
When I wrote to you, I had just sent off a really angry email to my friend Lacy who had royally pissed me off at our mutual friend’s wedding. And I was feeling really bad about that. I agree with the advice that I wasn’t wrong in telling Lacy off. She was out of line. Her conduct at the wedding was definitely a Strike #1 and Strike #2, and her non-apology was the Strike #3 as you put it. I objectively agreed with all of that; yet, I still felt really bad.
You asked me to nail down what exactly I felt bad about and then proceed from there. So I did. Betrayal by both Lacy and Sara, the other friend at the wedding, was definitely what made me feel bad about the whole thing that happened at the wedding and that caused me to write the angry email to Lacy and hit “send.” I wish I had just cooled off a bit before I sent the email. To address some of the questions in the comment section about the letter: It wasn’t a mean email per se; it wasn’t like I reverted to name-calling or anything. I just very bluntly told Lacy that she was out of line, that she should mind her own business, and that I did not appreciate her judgment or her non-apology apology. Except it wasn’t short and sweet like that; it was a million paragraphs too long, and it was drowning in anger and emotion. Because I was angry and emotional when I wrote it and sent it.
As for nailing down exactly why I felt bad after I sent the email: Well, I felt bad because I worried my email had genuinely hurt Lacy’s feelings and I felt bad for dragging Sara in because Sara and Lacy’s friendship took a hit and it never recovered. I also felt bad because I saw what happened to Lacy after our fight. She really spiraled out of control after the wedding. And fast. She quit the charity board we both served on. She also quit her job. And then last month she quit our city. She decided to move back home to live with her mom and to regroup. I heard she is not doing too well, which is too bad because I thought the change of scenery might do her good. I know with certainty the fight we had at the wedding had nothing to do with me. She had a breakdown and I was in the line of fire.
So, the funny twist to all of this? Well, when I saw how distraught the wedding fight left Lacy, I decided to extend an olive branch to her. Even though she never sent me a real apology, I sent Lacy a second email. This time I copied Sara, and I said that I didn’t want to fight anymore, that I had no hurt feelings, that I was sorry for letting my own anger and emotion drag them both down, that it all felt so silly and that I really wanted to forgive and forget if they were on board with that. … Sara replied that she was so happy to hear this, and our friendship has become stronger.
But Sara also let me know that I had Lacy’s email address wrong. Which meant Lacy did not receive my olive branch email. And which also meant Lacy did not receive my anger- and emotion-fueled email that I had felt so bad about that I wrote in to you…
Oh, thank God!
So, basically, I got a second chance to do what I wished I had done: get all my thoughts down in writing–that is therapeutic–but then calm the F down before sending anything…. And of course I had no interest in re-sending the angry email by that point. I did resend the olive branch email to Lacy’s correct email address. Lacy replied with a very heart-felt apology (finally) and came over one evening and cried and cried (this was before she moved) and it was really very… awkward. I felt really sorry for her, and I told her that I really hope she feels better soon and that, to the extent she was feeling bad because she worried about me, not to, that I really was over it and at that point I just wished she would get to a good place with everything she had going on. I distanced myself from her a bit but made a point to see her before she moved to California. And I haven’t heard much from her since.
Thank you for taking the time to give me advice–it was very helpful to read your advice. Sorry this update is so long. Brevity is not my strong suit.
Wow! Now, that’s ironic.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.