Dear Wendy: My Wedding Is Making My Best Friend Crazy
I graduated about two years ago and moved from Chicago to Florida. My best friend from college still lives in Chicago and we have remained very close. Ever since last December, when I got engaged, this friend is driving me CRAZY. She throws herself a pity party every day and then gets upset when no one comes. I am having a very small wedding so have not asked much from my bridesmaids but whenever she volunteers to do something she then complains about it for the next month — to me. She recently told me that she’s spending so much money on weddings that she has decided she’s going to throw herself a “singles party” and that everyone must bring presents. I understand that attending weddings is a financial burden — but being that I am the one hosting the wedding I feel like she should probably find someone else to talk to about that. On top of that — she’s been complaining so much recently that my fiance doesn’t want her to come to the wedding – let alone be IN the wedding party anymore. Am I being a Bridezilla? Or does my friend need to keep some of her comments to herself? Can our friendship possibly survive my wedding and her pity parties? — Frustrated in Florida
First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Having gotten engaged and married this year, I understand the kind of emotional and financial stress planning a wedding can create, and it’s a shame your best friend is letting her jealousy get in the way of being a supportive friend. You have a couple of things you need to think about here. First, how important is this friendship to you and how important is it that your friend be in/at your wedding? It’s easy to be someone’s friend when you’re feeling good about your own life and your friend doesn’t need much from you. It’s not quite as easy when a friend’s happiness only reminds you of what you don’t have. That’s not real friendship, and if your friend in question has a history of not being there when you need her, or only being there when it’s convenient for her, I’d dump her a** before she had a chance to ruin your wedding. Life’s too short for bratty, toxic friends.
If, however, you’re serious about salvaging the friendship at whatever cost, you have a couple of options. You can “relieve” her from her bridesmaid expenses/duties, either by offering to cover them yourself (if you can afford to without feeling resentful) or letting her know that while it’s important to you that she be a part of your wedding, it’s more important that she not feel financially burdened by it. If that means she attends your wedding as a guest rather than a member of the wedding party, so be it, but do give her the option one more time to make that decision. Being in a wedding is expensive and maybe she didn’t fully realize that when she first agreed to be a bridesmaid. Or maybe her financial status has changed since you asked her and she can no longer comfortably afford the expenses. The point of her being a part of your wedding party is to honor the special bond you share, not to financially exhaust anyone.
If she decides to remain a bridesmaid, be frank with her that that means no more whining about the cost of attending yours — or anyone else’s — wedding. If people in her life are getting married left and right and she’s feeling left out, remind her that there isn’t a time frame for finding a life partner; she’ll find hers one day, too. But this is your time right now and you’re not being selfish or a “Bridezilla” by asking for a little support from your best friend.