This happened a few months ago. I was at a dinner with some family friends, who are the parents of my best childhood friend (let’s call her Lydia). Lydia’s mother was there, whom I am very close to, and one of her mother’s childhood friends whom I had never met. We were just having a casual chat over the remains of dinner.
I was about to head off on a solo trio around the world so I was in a pretty good mood at the time. I was talking about where I planned to go, and where I was going to spend Christmas. I should mention that Lydia and her family originally come from one of the countries I was visiting. I looked over at Lydia and said, “You should come to [home country] for Christmas! It would be awesome to be together for the holidays!” Her mother agreed and said she should come and join me. We did not, as far as I can tell, actually apply any pressure to make her come with me. They were passing comments. Which is why I was so shocked at what happened next.
Lydia drew herself up and said, right to my face and in a tone much louder than necessary given the small party of people, “Well, unlike some people, my parents don’t pay for everything I’ve ever had, so I’m not able to just ‘up and go’ whenever I want to. So no thank you to Christmas in [home country]”. This was even more insulting because my parents have not contributed one thing towards my trip, given that I am, you know, an adult, and also because I know for a fact that Lydia’s parents help her out plenty anyway, and she makes more money than I do. I know those things are beside the point but they just added to the horribleness of the moment.
There was a stunned silence. And I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know whether to move on or not, or to say something. I felt so embarrassed about her comment although later I realised the only person who should be embarrassed is actually Lydia for being so vulgar and standoffish in the first place.
The result is that I distanced myself from Lydia before I left. I’m still on my trip now but I don’t intend to invite her along to anything ever again.
So my question is: what would you do? How do you move on in social situations when someone says something so mean and hurtful, in front of people you like and also don’t know that well? Any input is definitely welcome! 1212-14
Lydia’s comment was loaded with a lot of back story. She could have been exploiting the opportunity to make a passive aggressive jab at her mother which is likely, in my opinion, given that the last person to speak on the topic was her mother. You may never know what the motivation was for Lydia’s outburst but the solution is not to defend yourself since it really is no one’s business how you fund your trips and had you responded to her, you would have looked just as petty as Lydia. Best to change the topic of discussion quickly as if the comment was never said.