Hello everybody, I find myself in a weird conundrum and I hope you can give me some insight.
For better distinction, let's name the protagonists:
# Me - okay, I don't think there's any danger of confusing me with anybody else.
# Angela - my best friend
# Betsy - a mutual friend
# Paul - her husband and another mutual friend
# A circle of even more mutual friends, part of which I became through my close friendship with Angela. We usually invite each other to our respective birthday parties.
A few months ago, Betsy sent an e-mail out to our entire circle of friends, asking us to contribute to Paul's (expensive) birthday present and please do so asap as it was a limited edition.
Paul's birthday, his 30th, is still a month away and to this day he hasn't sent out any invitations to his birthday party, the plans for which he had only hinted at to Angela and her husband.
This had been going on in that particular circle of friends for a while now: The call for present contributions, usually by the birthday girl/boy's partner, would go around before any party invitations were issued. I think that kind of procedure is quite tacky, so when Betsy's e-mail came, I took the liberty to not reply.
Three weeks ago, Betsy sent an invitation for her own birthday party, due this weekend, to Angela and her husband (who have other plans). I haven't received any invitation, which is the first time in about ten years.
At a gathering two weeks ago, I was told by a third person that she had spread the word that I hadn't replied to her aforementioned call for present contributions, was obviously irritated about this, and probably didn't invite me because of that. Since this was third-hand information, I didn't pay it much attention and continued being friendly and chatty with Betsy, who, if she was indeed irritated, didn't let on about it at all.
Now the time of Paul's birthday party draws nearer and neither Angela nor I have received any invitations yet. Since Angela is a lot more friendly with Betsy than I am and had also contributed to the gift immediately, I have little doubt that she and her husband will be invited. However, since Betsy plans all of Paul's celebrations for him (his own preference), I do not think I will be invited.
The problem for me is not my exclusion from these parties.
I am not particularly close with either Betsy or Paul, though I like both of them and we enjoy to chat on occasion. I have reason to believe that Betsy doesn't like me very much, simply because our personalities and particularly our sense of humor differ quite a bit. She probably views me as an "appendage" to Angela.
I think she shouldn't feel compelled to invite me just because we're part of the same social circle. Of course I'm a little sad I won't be part of the celebration and see everybody, but Betsy can invite whomever she wants, and since Paul leaves it up to her, the same is true for his parties as well.
Angela, however, is furious.
To her, it seems obvious that the only reason I'm not invited is because I wouldn't assure my monetary contribution to Paul's present. She thinks Betsy is materialistic and chooses her friends depending on how she can profit from them. Plus, Angela loves the heck out of me and is very protective, particularly because she knows I have deep self-esteem issues.
She has announced that, should her husband and her get invited and not me, she will confront Betsy about it in public at the party. I think that is a bad idea - for all the reasons I named above, but also because Betsy does not deal well with criticism and will likely make a scene. Since it's basically her party, this will probably not go over well for Angela.
I have a real problem with the thought of causing a rift in this group of friends, and I especially don't want Angela to be told off for defending me - and I have an irrational (?) fear that Betsy might convince the others that I'm not somebody they should be friends with.
But Angela has cast aside my explanations as to why it doesn't bother me all that much that I'm not getting invited to either of these parties.
What can I do to convince her not to have this encounter on my behalf?