I have heard other mutual friends complain of the same treatment from her, so I can safely assume she isn’t distant because she’s mad at me. Every now and then she will send a cheerful text saying she misses me and we should hang out soon, but, even if I agree and try to plan a time, she will end up having to cancel. The few times we have gotten together she has seemed genuinely happy to see me, asking about my life and updating me on hers. Then things will go back to radio silence.
Meanwhile, Monica and I have stayed close and I would love for her to be in my wedding. I know that if I asked Phoebe, she would be excited and say yes, but honestly I’m not even sure I could rely on her to make it to the wedding with the way she’s been acting lately. Would it be extremely rude to ask Monica but not Phoebe when we’ve all been friends for so long? Should I just invite both of them as guests so Monica doesn’t get caught in the middle of any hard feelings? Do I ask both and hope for the best? Or maybe just elope and save myself a lot of headache? (Kidding…) Both of them have been important in my life, so at what point do I decide whether this is a phase or a permanent shift in our friendship?
I’d love to hear your opinion as well as the readers’. Thank you all!! — Bridesmaid Conundrum
What if…you didn’t have bridesmaids at all? You joke about eloping as a way to avoid the whole bridesmaid conundrum, but, seriously, just not having bridesmaids at all (or even only having one single Maid of Honor bridesmaid) would solve the problem, too. Honestly, I don’t understand why more people don’t embrace this. For all the letters I get from people who resent something about being a bridesmaid, it seems like it would be a relief across the board to just get rid of the whole thing. But if you just can’t bring yourself to do that, then here are a few things to consider:
1. Yes, inviting Monica but not Phoebe when your friendship history and level of closeness has been pretty equal between the two for the last dozen years or so would most certainly alienate Phoebe and potentially ruin your friendship. (Even if she might not care about being a bridesmaid, there are still hurt feelings when you feel like you’ve been overlooked for the honor).
2. Don’t NOT ask Monica, whom you’re close to, to be a bridesmaid just because you don’t want Phoebe to be hurt if you don’t also ask her. If you want Monica to be a bridesmaid, ask her!
3. Maybe you don’t really care if you alienate Phoebe and potentially ruin the friendship. Middle school was a long time ago and it’s natural that a friendship from that era would shift and even eventually fade out completely. It sounds like your friendship with Phoebe might already be on that path, and not asking her to be a bridesmaid would just be speeding up the inevitable. Then again, maybe her recent flakiness is a phase and, in another six months or year, she will be more available to you. (But, you know, by then, you might not be so available to her; this is often how these childhood friendships go, especially once the friends hit their mid-20s and their lives really go in different directions. I can almost guarantee there will be guests at your wedding, and maybe even in your wedding party, you probably won’t ever see again after your wedding. Welcome to friendships in your mid-20s).
4. If you seriously think there’s a good chance Phoebe would skip your wedding even as a bridesmaid, then that says something about your feelings toward her and it just doesn’t make sense to invite her to be anything other than a guest (if that).
5. But maybe you aren’t really worried about her skipping your wedding. Maybe you’re just hurt that she’s been flaky lately and you see not asking her to be a bridesmaid as a way to communicate your hurt feelings. That’s passive-aggressive and I would not recommend going this route.
6. If you aren’t ready to risk losing the friendship/hurting Phoebe’s feelings, but you truly are afraid that she might skip your wedding and you don’t want to risk a bridesmaid not showing up either, how about extending another honorary role to her that could easily be cut or fulfilled by someone else if Phoebe backed out at the last minute. Like, she could a “guestbook attendant” or, she could be the official wedding favor passer-outer or some other role you might make up (be creative!). And if she accepts the honorary role, set your expectations really low to minimize potential disappointment if she flakes out. And if she does flake out, then look at the silver lining: at least you don’t have to be a bridesmaid in her wedding one day!
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.