Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

"You go to college to find your bridesmaids" Yeah, right!

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice "You go to college to find your bridesmaids" Yeah, right!

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  • #853822 Reply

    In high school I was pretty shy and kept to myself. I usually was unable to hold onto a lot of friendships. Since I felt like I didn’t have good friendships in high school, I tried joining clubs and Greek Life in college. It went poorly. I had a good college experience, but I don’t talk to a single person I went to college with.

    I went to grad school super far away (over an ocean) so my I don’t keep up with my friends from there.

    Now, I am working full time and I have an apartment with my boyfriend and our dog. My boyfriend and I have been together for five years, and I have been wondering if eventually we’ll get engaged. I just moved back to the states from overseas, and what few friends I do have from home- are really not good friends. They don’t reach out, we barely hang out. It’s a lot of gossip or getting blown off again and again. I mostly hang out with my boyfriend’s friends and that’s fine, until I thought about the engagement thing again.

    I really don’t have anyone I would ask to be a bridesmaid. My “best” friend and I had a huge falling out, and ending in me realizing how bad of an influence on my life she was. Two other girls I talk to are so busy with their own lives we barely communicate. I ask to hang out here and there and it’s always a no. I don’t talk to any of my cousins, my one sister is way too young and the other is probably the only person I would ask for sure.

    It just made me really sad to think about. I tried going to exercise classes to meet people, tried meeting people at bars or through my boyfriend. I even tried online friend apps. Even when I do meet someone I like, it always ends up in a relationship where I feel like their flaking on me, or it’s just not a genuine friend.

    I have no idea how to solve this issue. I have no idea why I’m cursed with an inability to have female friends even though I want some so badly. Any advice would be great!! Thank you!

    #853824 Reply

    There’s a couple of different things going on here.

    First, “My boyfriend and I have been together for five years, and I have been wondering if eventually we’ll get engaged.”

    Five years, and you haven’t even talked about how you see your future together? For pete’s sake, just talk to him. If you want to get married, say so.

    Since he hasn’t even brought up marriage, the bridesmaid issue is completely moot, but – bridesmaids are optional. A maid/matron of honor is optional, but it sounds like you’d ask your sister. My best friend didn’t want a big extravaganza, so it was just me standing up with her. Lots of people get married without any attendants.

    As for making friends, you’ll find your people eventually. And for heaven’s sake, talk to your boyfriend.

    #853826 Reply

    You’re arguing in favor of your limitations, when there are women right in front of you that you can befriend if you want to.

    You’re running a kind of goldilocks number on yourself, out of fear, I guess. “Not those women — they gossip.” “Not those women — they’re too busy.” “Not my cousins — we don’t talk much.”

    Stop judging people for not being perfect, and don’t give up so easily on the people who are already in your life. Plan something fun (it’s October, go to a haunted house) and keep reaching out.

    #853829 Reply

    It’s time for you to evaluate yourself. The common factor among all of these women you can’t maintain a relationship with is you.

    Try “The Like Switch” by Jack Schafer.

    Think about what you are doing or not doing to maintain friendships. People don’t avoid you if they are getting something positive out of the relationship.

    My daughter just started college. The last thing on my mind is that she will find bridesmaids. I’m hoping college leads to a great job.

    #853830 Reply

    What on earth, are you for real? Bridesmaids? What even are you talking about with the title of this post? That’s not a thing people say. Again, bridesmaids? You’re not even engaged. I can’t.

    Skyblossom is right, the common denominator is you. You’re judging all these women for these petty things, and meanwhile you’re self-centeredly thinking about your hypothetical wedding and who’ll be in the photos. I don’t even know what to tell you except how about looking outward instead of inward all the time. Take an interest in people. Try to give a good time instead of get a good time. Stop judging women for every little thing. Talk to a therapist.

    #853835 Reply

    I suspect two things: you expect a lot more from your friends than you expect from yourself or you expect from your boyfriend. I can’t imagine that in five years your bf hasn’t gossiped or been less than supportive but you aren’t dropping him like a hot potato. And how much of this is influenced by your bf? How supportive is he that you find friends? Does he suggest that these friends aren’t great and you just agree and drop em?

    The others are right… the common denominator is you.

    #853836 Reply

    Do you really want female friends, though? I know you’ve been trying to make friends, but you’ve also always been more of a loner, right? That’s fine, that’s not some huge personal problem (unless you really think it is.) You had a best friend. You fell out. It takes time to meet someone who is going to be a kindred spirit, right? You just moved back to the states. Like dating, it takes time and steady, concerted effort. And you’ve got to loosen up a bit. Don’t be so petty and judgey. People gossip, it’s a way of relating to one another. People will flake. You have to forgive them for being over scheduled, or exhausted or whatever. And not everyone is going to like you, either. What makes you a person someone is going to want to be friends with? You have to decide how much effort you want to put in and what you’re really looking for in a friend. Do you feel lonely, or do you just look at social media and others and have determined yourself to be lacking? Because social media is a lie. That’s not reality.

    And you’re putting the stakes too high right now. You can’t look at new potential friends and ask yourself if they are bridesmaid material for a wedding you aren’t having as of yet.

    Setting aside the friendship thing, if you want to be engaged, married, etc you need to talk with your bf and plan that future together. Don’t just sit idly by hoping he knows what you want.

    #853839 Reply

    I can tell you things that make me keep someone at arms length.

    Hygiene – someone who smells bad like those who don’t wear deodorant, those who have some kind of rot in their mouth and those who wear dirty clothes.

    People who don’t engage in a conversation. I work with someone who is unpleasant multiple ways. She goes on angry rants, not at us, but about things in her life. It’s highly unpleasant to spend hours around her. She also engages in monologues. A conversation isn’t a conversation it is her talking on and on and on, at you, not with you. There is only room for her to talk.

    People who are controlling. I don’t hang out with people who try to control my life in some way or another.

    There are people I like as people but we have nothing in common and I don’t want to do the things they like to do. They are perfectly nice people but I’m not going to enjoy hanging out with them.

    People who have strong opinions on any topic but especially about politics, religion, diet and exercise. This also includes people who have only one interest and only want to talk about it.

    People who are rude to other people. People who treat anyone with disrespect. That means they must treat waitstaff with dignity and respect and must leave an appropriate tip. They must be kind and thoughtful to the other people around us, other customers or patrons. This includes everyone who doesn’t seem to have empathy.

    Anyone who is racist or sexist or who makes disparaging remarks about whole groups of people like homosexuals or people who are trans. This definitely includes anyone who starts a remark by saying that they aren’t something, say racist, then follows with a racist remark. People who have to tell you that they aren’t racist are generally racist.

    People I love to spend time with are fun. They are engaging. They are interesting. They carry on real conversations. They don’t get drunk when we go out together meaning I don’t have to babysit them at some point in the evening and don’t have to worry about taking their keys away from them. They don’t lecture or preach. They are polite and kind and thoughtful.

    Think about yourself. Does any of that hit close to home. Are you a bad friend or maybe you choose the wrong people as friends. Think about it.

    #853842 Reply

    The hypothetical wedding part is easy. Put both of your sisters up there next to you and call it good. Or just don’t have attendants. Or elope! Lots of options that people choose every day.

    I wonder what’s blocking you from making close female friends. Some of this just sounds circumstantial- grad school abroad, for example. But therapy might be a good place to get into specifics and figure out what you’re doing to keep people at arm’s length. It might just be about adjusting your expectations for friendships – the older you get, the more work it is to maintain even the most basic relationships with friends.

    #853844 Reply

    A) if you want to get married, start a conversation with your boyfriend about where he’s at on the idea of marriage or just your future generally. My husband and I had had multiple discussions about marriage before we ever got engaged. Most couples I know had had multiple discussions about marriage before deciding to move forward. It’s romantic in theory to randomly get proposed to, but marriage is a huge decision it should be something that’s long since been discussed and really shouldn’t be a “surprise” to either of you that you both want to be married to each other.

    B) When you do get married, your marriage is just as valid whether or not you have a wedding party, or if you have a small wedding party of just one or two people.

    C) Here’s the thing about being an adult with a career and a relationship and even maybe kids – you’re busy. It’s hard to have a social life where you have a big circle of friends you see often. My closest friend and I see each other, honestly, every couple of weeks. And we’ve been friends forever, it’s really hard to make friends when people are so busy.

    If you met another woman you want to be friends with, by all means take some initiative – ask her to happy hour, a movie, if you share a hobby ask her to do that. I like running, if I met someone athletic I’m all about the active hangouts. But meter your expectations, in this phase of life it’s going to be really hard to make a deep long lasting connection where you see each other often. You may still get close over time, but right now accept that people just have less time to give to friendships with all the other competing things in their life.

    #854071 Reply

    LW – I would say that this is a pretty normal feeling. You need to just understand that number of bridesmaids is not a contest. I feel like in general, younger brides have a lot of bridesmaids because the proximity to college. as women mature, you see fewer and fewer. The movie I love you, man is about this.

    Now, if you feel like you are lacking autonomy. I would keep trying. When I moved, I joined a book club. because everyone there is looking for friends otherwise, they would just make a book club with their friends.

    The old book, “how to win friends and influence people” is still good. It is like 70 years old but still holds up. I think you put too much weight on reaching out to friends or keeping score.

    #854143 Reply

    Making friends after you finish school is significantly harder, but I wouldn’t befriend a woman who claimed she was “cursed with an inability to make female friends.” Nor would I want to befriend someone sought friendships motivated by some desire to line me up in matching ugly dresses on her wedding day.

    My sister and I have both moved to new cities as adults. I’ve noticed she has more friendships of convenience than I do, whereas I have fewer friends with whom I am closer. Neither approach is wrong. It’s okay if you don’t have a ton of friends. It’s okay if your wedding party is small. It’s okay if the bridal party is uneven in numbers. It’s okay if you don’t have a wedding party at all. To that end, it’s really silly to be worried about your wedding party since you’re not even engaged.

    If you do want friends — not for your wedding party, but just because you want to connect — you need to put in the time and effort. Just like dating, not everyone is going to be a good match. Some friendships will only be friendships of convenience rather than deeper connections. You can’t force closeness. You also need to accept that people are busier as adults and may not have as much time to devote to friendships. Keep putting yourself out there. Take the initiative in organizing activities. Join a MeetUp group. If a friendship isn’t clicking, let it go. It sounds like you’re doing some of the right stuff to make friends, but I can’t tell if you’re expecting too much too soon or coming across too much like you’re screening for bridesmaids or what.

    Lastly, you go to college to get a degree and land a job.

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