Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I didn’t get an invitation to my friend’s wedding shower. I loooove showers and weddings and graduations and birthday parties. LOVE them.
I’m over the initial hurt and can rationalize that, perhaps, they limited the invites to just the wedding party and family, or my invite got lost in the mail, or my lack of invite was an oversight. (A lot of people were posting about it on social media — it didn’t seem like a small affair.)
If either of the latter two are correct, I don’t want my friend to think I ignored the invitation. Is there any way to address this? I don’t want to make her feel guilty or bad. I’ve been helping her with some wedding things, I was one of the first she told she was engaged, I’m invited to the wedding, etc. — it really seems like I would have been invited. I just had lunch with her, and she talked about the shower but didn’t ask me why I didn’t come.
For what it’s worth, her sister was in charge, and it was a bit of a disaster due to lack of planning, the sister’s martyrdom, and more. It’s entirely possible I was overlooked by mistake. What can I do?
Dear Uninvited: “I just had lunch with her, and she talked about the shower” — ayyy. That was your best opportunity to mention it, because having the other person bring it up for you is always the best opportunity — it spares you the awkward jumping-in. The wording didn’t have to be elegant: “I’m just going to be blunt, because it’s weighing on me — you’re talking about the shower as if I were part of it, but I wasn’t invited. Was that on purpose?”
You can still ask this, but you’ll either have to bring up the topic yourself or wait till she brings it up again. It gets odder and therefore more difficult as time passes, thus the missed opportunity.
But there’s really no statute of limitations on something that’s weighing on you, because the weight eventually affects a friendship and therefore your friend. Just make sure you acknowledge the time you’ve let pass. “I realize it’s insane to bring this up after 30 years but humor me. It has nagged at me and at this point hearing the worst possible truth sounds better than another 30 years of not knowing what happened.”
Or, take the far less dramatic path: Just treat the sister’s disastrous party-planning skills as all the explanation you need — because they are — and say nothing.
Even if either worst-case is true, that your friend left you out on purpose or that you were supposed to be invited and your friend thinks you were a no-show: You just had a friendly lunch, so whatever either of you feels isn’t dire.
The deciding factor is really whether you can shake this off and stay on the same terms with this friend as before. If no, then speak, and if yes, then let it go.
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