Carolyn Hax: When best friends certainly don't act like it

Carolyn Hax:

May 11, 2014 

Carolyn: So eight years ago, my best friend of 15 years - my maid of honor - basically told me, via email, no less, two months before wedding, that she had other plans on my wedding day.

Because I got upset by that information, she stopped talking to me.

I was not a bridezilla. There were no bachelorette events or shower, no bridesmaids' gowns or expectations. This is not a wedding issue. This is a friendship issue. For what it's worth, she once convinced ME to take an Amtrak from D.C. to Seattle for a wedding - it was post 9/11, and no flights were possible - because she argued that weddings were a big life event.

I begged, pleaded, left sobbing voicemails, emails, etc., with no response. Cut me off without explanation. It felt like a death.

Unfortunately our mutual friends continue to be friends with her, go on vacation with her, etc., despite her treatment of me. And this still drives me crazy because I'm a horrible person and I know it's been eight years and I should move on.

Given that such time has passed, how can I even expect our mutual friends to understand, much less take sides? But how do I move on? I am at the point where I just want to unfriend everyone because they tolerate such behavior. Am I just getting older or am I unreasonable?

TOO OLD FOR THIS CRAP

What a terrible story, I'm sorry. It's like a death with the added pain of intent - and without even the scant comfort a simple "why" can provide.

I can also see why you're pushing (flogging?) yourself to "move on," yet I don't believe time has the only say here. An imperative to move on also comes from reaching the end of your options. I'm not sure you've done that.

Namely, you can ask a mutual friend what the heck happened. (Asking anyone to take your "side" is suspect under any circumstances.) Yes, it's ancient history, but that also means asking is much less charged.

You're not guaranteed any answer, of course, much less a satisfying one - but just asking to fill in some blanks? That's within the bounds of friendship.

Some groups do manage to stay intact when two members have a falling out - when they're held together by a lattice of strong and true individual friendships, and when the cause of the conflict is either gray enough for decent people to hold different views of what went wrong, or when it's an oil-and-water issue, where there's no mistreatment, there's just incompatibility.

Your ex-best friend's actions seem too clear-cut and cruel to justify the continued loyalty of people who call themselves your friend - and even without filling in blanks, it does sound as if it would be therapeutic to unburden yourself of these people.

If you do have a mutual friend sturdy enough to lean on, then just give it a shot by talking to them.

You might still ultimately cut these ties - or your query might precipitate it - but the missing information has the power to bring a more profound kind of peace: Could anything justify what she did, shunning you without paying any price among people who ostensibly loved you both?

No guarantees, but you can ask.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online 10 a.m. Fridays at washingtonpost.com.

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