Make It Stop: “My BFF Eloped Without Telling Me And I’m Really Hurt”
My best friend of 15 years, who I’ll call Jen, eloped two months ago. She threw a dinner party at her house last week and surprised everyone by announcing their marriage during dessert. She said that didn’t tell anyone about the elopement, not even her family, but I still feel betrayed that she didn’t tell me first. How do I get over it?
I understand why you’re hurt. On the bright side, at least you’re in good company. You and Jen’s loved ones can create a Facebook group to lament about what a selfish, short-sighted thing the couple did.
Why would they want to elope anyway? Sure, maybe they couldn’t afford a full-blown wedding so heading to the courthouse and getting it done seemed financially smart. Or maybe they have complicated family situations where organizing a wedding would be overly stressful. Or maybe they despise the wedding industrial complex and didn’t want to take part in its ridiculous trappings. Or maybe she needed to add the groom to her health care, or he needed a green card, or they wanted save money on their taxes. Or maybe they found the spontaneity of eloping romantic, and just woke up one day and took the leap.
In those scenarios, the reasons have nothing to do with you. It’s not like she set out on purpose to exclude you, her best friend, from the plans. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and say she wanted to focus on herself and her now-husband’s wishes for their own purposes. The truth is, whatever reason they did it, they aren’t under any obligation to clue you in. Yes, in a perfect world, it would’ve been nice if she gave you a heads’ up, but she didn’t.
Don’t despair. You have control over how this plays out. The way I see it, there are three paths you could take.
The first path is to be supportive of her decision. Instead of lamenting, “How could you?”, you could say, “What a fabulous surprise!” If you show that you’re cool about the elopement, then it might give you the closeness you’re craving. As a bonus, since you’re so chill about the Great Elopement Scandal of 2015, chances are Jen will confide in you when other people aren’t as accepting, which as any best friend knows, is the best part of being on the inside. That’s when you step up as her #1 homegirl.
The second path is to take a step back and reevaluate if this is a friendship you want to be emotionally invested in. You have expectations Jen didn’t meet. Maybe you talked about being each other’s maid of honors and now that dream has come crashing down like a poorly constructed cupcake tower. No one would blame you if you (silently, subtly) downgraded her from best friend status to good friend status while you lick your wounds.
The third path is to do nothing. Although this feels like it might need immediate action—she hurt my feelings, dammit! I must show her the pain I feel!—sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do. Just see how it plays out. There’s no reason to completely ditch the friendship, but gather information to see if she is someone who still shares the same values as you. Hear what reasons she gives for keeping everyone in the dark then see how you feel about it.
If it were me, I’d give her a pass. Friends keep secrets from their friends all the time. It’s not because they’re bad people; it’s because they make the best decisions they can with the information they have at that time. If anything, this is a chance for you to show that you trust her judgment. Maybe she knows you would’ve tweeted out a congrats to the couple which set up a chain of events they would rather avoid. Or maybe she got a kick out of seeing your face when she hit you with the surprise. It’s possible. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but it does mean that she made decisions she’s asking you to trust.
There’s no need to punish her. Her wedding was one day. Don’t chuck a friendship of fifteen years over it. You probably had a good half hour window of being steamed after she told you, but after that, you should drop it. Friends do all sorts of major life decisions without consulting their closest friends. That’s what being an adult means. She needs you for emotional support in other areas, which is totally fine. The more nonjudgmental you are, the longer you’ll keep these friendships as you mature.
Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected]