Dear Carolyn: A former best friend hurt me terribly several years ago when she didn’t invite me to her son’s wedding, citing numbers. She must have known she was going to do this when she was planning her daughter’s wedding, for which she asked me to host a pre-wedding luncheon. Her daughter is my goddaughter, and I did it happily.
She apologized for excluding me from her son’s wedding, but since then, when she posts on social media about events she’s held, or photos of friends invited to her country house (I’ve never been invited), I feel all that hurt again.
Now, because I feel so hurt, I promise myself I’ll stop responding to her texts and not see her, but then I cave. What should I do?
— Obsessing Over Friend Estrangement
Obsessing Over Friend Estrangement: Oh, I’m sorry. Sounds as if you grew apart, or she grew apart from you, mostly — but she still cares about you and wants to remain friends. It’s just that she wants it only on her terms: being in touch one-on-one vs. incorporating you into her larger social circle.
That, of course, is still really hurtful, but it also isn’t an uncommon stage for an old friendship to enter when the years since you made the original connection are starting to pile up — and it makes a kind of social-emotional sense. People do branch off from each other, and if you and she now have fewer things in common than before, then a one-on-one friendship of warmth and nostalgia is the way to keep the connection going.
If you’re willing to be that friend to her, then I suggest hiding her from all your social media feeds. Spare yourself the renewable distress of seeing the group gatherings, and embrace what you have.
If that’s too hard or leaves nagging questions unanswered, then it might be worth it to you to be upfront with her: “I’m aware I’m not really part of your circle anymore, but I’m not sure what to make of our friendship now.” Run her response through your BS filter.
That is, if you still feel you benefit from remaining in touch with her and still have some warm feelings left. It’s not clear to me whether you cave and reply to her texts because you still enjoy her company, or you do it because you’re holding out hope that you can salvage your onetime intimacy. They’re two very different things, and only the former seems to justify the effort to stay in her life.
· Do you like her? Do you have a good time when you are together? Do you leave an encounter with her feeling better, or worse? Ask yourself those questions, and forget about all the rest.
· The issue is that the friend is continuing to not invite “Obsessing” to events she hosts. That says something about their relationship. She should just move on, and refuse to get together only when the friend has nothing better to do.
· Asking you to host a luncheon for the daughter’s wedding when you didn’t make the list for her son’s wedding, or her country house, is taking more than she’s giving. Rude.