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Author Topic: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19  (Read 10689 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2015, 10:28:57 AM »
It sounds like you'll have to give some thought to the kind of friendship you want to have with her, now that she's in close physical proximity again. A lot of people I know have moved away, and the vast majority are really bad about keeping up long-distance friendships. None of them have ever moved back, so I don't know what I'd do if they suddenly wanted to pick up where we left off the last time they lived nearby. It sounds like she did some hurtful things that made you reassess your friendship and push her down a few levels.

It might be worth setting some boundaries with her now--for example, maybe don't let her get into the habit of dropping by to see you unexpectedly, don't go out together more than once a month, etc.. Whatever level you're comfortable with. Living so close, and being somewhat pushy, it would be easy for her to act like a closer friend (as she may think she is), but if you give in to that, you may eventually come to resent the liberties she takes and the time you spend with her. Better to keep her at a distance now, no matter how close she lives; if you find you enjoy her company a lot, you can always warm up later.
~Lynn2000

mandycorn

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2015, 11:26:46 AM »
I like the advice to just keep it short and simple, without falling into apologizing or over-explaining. You're not doing anything wrong and if she's at all self-aware, she knows your relationship is different now.

Plus, it's your wedding and you get to choose whoever you want to be a bridesmaid, regardless of past conversations. Those were all based on a hypothetical situation, and now that it's here and real, you get to start over with a clean slate. Which is not to say that you're immune from relationship consequences about those choices, but they weren't a binding legal contract or anything.

The other thing to keep in mind, if she brings up the wedding a lot, is that she could just be someone who loves hearing about weddings. I certainly do. I'm happy to discuss wedding details all day long with brides I work with, even if I'm not even remotely close enough to expect a wedding invite. I do follow their lead and don't keep trying to talk about it if they don't seem to want to share details, but it would be easy for a person to forget to look for those signs and just assume the wedding is the topic of conversation.
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lowspark

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2015, 11:49:55 AM »
OP, you said that it seemed like she only contacted you when she wanted something, but you also said that she contacted you to get together when she visited town and also that she's now contacting you to get together now that she's moved back.  That was a little jarring to me - it sounds like maybe she wasn't able to maintain a proper friendship with you without face-to-face time, and now that she's trying to rekindle the friendship, and the way you worded it makes me think you're irritated by it.

Greencat, that's fair. I guess I sort of am. I guess since we used to be pretty close, I sort of feel like she plays the "we're such good friends" card when it's convenient for her. When she comes to visit, I get the feeling that she only wants to hangout with Mary and I when she has nothing else to do. She has come into the area multiple times without contacting us (which is fine!) but then another time she was back around the holidays and stated, not asked, that we would be hanging out for halloween because she didn't have anything to do. And when my dad passed away she was the only one of a small group of people that I told, who didn't even call me to check in on me. This does not make her a bad person but it was just eye-opening for me about what I expect from a person that I would consider a close friend.

And I know that she's reaching out because she's back now, and that makes sense. I'm fine with being friendly and seeing her, but I feel like she's going to be really full-on about the wedding. Sorry that was so long, it's hard to explain my feelings around it. I definitely do not want to hurt her feelings, I just am happy with my current bridal party. And I feel a bit guilty because we had talked about it, even though it was a long time ago.

You know, reading this post, I was thinking, even this, even though it's directed to us on the internet here, is really a JADE.

The thing is, you don't need to justify why you are picking certain people and not picking others to be bridesmaids. You don't need to justify that to anyone. Not to Shelly, not to Mary and certainly not to us. But to me, it kinda sounds like you're trying to justify it to yourself.

So back up from that a little bit. You've made your choices. The reasons don't matter. Even if it's "I don't want Suzy in the wedding because she has blue eyes", that's ok, as long as you just keep those reasons to yourself.

I really like Lynn's response from way up at the beginning of the thread, particularly the bolded.:

If Shelly asks you anything along those lines, it's her that's being rude and creating an uncomfortable situation. Try to keep that in mind. No reasonable person holds someone to the wedding fantasy they cooked up in high school.

That said, if she does ask, I wouldn't answer with what you suggested. It reads as defensive, like you know she ought to be your bridesmaid by default and you have to come up with reasons why she isn't. In fact reality is the opposite, you can choose whoever you want and don't owe anyone an explanation. If you (or Shelly) want to have a talk about why you're no longer as close, that's fine, but it shouldn't be in the context of a specific "marker" like being your bridesmaid.

If she asked straight-out like that, I would probably laugh and bean-dip, or say something like, "I'm only having two, Mary and my sister" (or however it is), something objective and not personal to her.
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gellchom

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice?
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2015, 11:56:12 AM »
w/ a wedding guest, the "proper" answer is, "it was a small wedding."

I think "It's a small bridal party" is your best bet.

And the more details you include, the more like a lecture it becomes. It's probably wisest to keep it really short.

Indeed. This is a situation where a bride could get nervous and JADE by accident.

Absolutely, this.  Stay away from anything about people you are "close with now," or how high school fantasies are just that, and so forth.  It's true and completely reasonable, but can't you see how it might sting a bit?  Especially to someone who has recently moved back to town and wants to reestablish relationships and may feel like an outsider lately.  Don't use any language relating to how you feel about anyone.  Just "it's a really small wedding party, just my sister and Mary."

Of course, it's true that if you are having 10 attendants, that won't work.  In that case, I'd actually even consider including her, if you think it really is important to her.  You will barely notice the difference, and you do feel pretty much affection for and connection to her, I suspect, or you wouldn't be feeling funny about this.  I mean like if it's the situation that she's "right on the line," as it were -- if you were having one or two more attendants than whatever number you are having, she might indeed be one of them -- not like some neighbor kid with bridesmaid fantasies or someone you hate hinting to be included.

Cali.in.UK

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2016, 12:46:05 PM »
Update - well, I just got a message from Mary that Shelly asked her directly if she (Mary) was a bridesmaid. Apparently Shelly is upset that I did not talk to her about it and feels that I should have pointedly told her she was not a bridesmaid and why. To me, telling her why she was not chosen, unsolicited, sounds very awkward and kind of mean.  It also seems like she thought that if Mary was a BM, then she should be too because we've all known each other for the same amount of time. I'm going to see Mary tonight so I'll ask some more questions because this was all via text.
Also, Mary told me in a "head's up" sort of way, not gossipy. I think she wanted to warn me in case I got an unexpected message from Shelly, which, maybe I will?

lowspark

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2016, 02:58:23 PM »
I agree that it would have been mean to tell Shelly, "sorry, I'm not picking you to be a bridesmaid." Shelly isn't thinking of it in that way. She's probably hurt that you didn't ask her (that happens) and is just trying to work it out in her own mind. So it might be a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation but I wouldn't have.

If she contacts you, I'd just use that same verbiage that was mentioned upthread. Something like, "I'm just having Mary and my sister" or "I'm just having two bridesmaids" or something similarly vague. If she persists, you just say, "I'm sorry, that's just how it worked out."

Again, don't JADE. It's not important to give her any excuses or reasons. Just "that's how it worked out." Repeat as needed.
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lakey

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2016, 05:31:38 PM »
I agree that it would have looked bad for you to bring up to her that she wouldn't be a bridesmaid, and why. The fact is she didn't get asked, and she will feel hurt whether you had told her she wouldn't be asked, or not.
The fact is people have a lot of friends, and they can't ask all of them to be bridesmaids. It's that simple. If she asks, I would simply say, " I just couldn't ask everyone."

Runningstar

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2016, 05:37:12 AM »
While I can understand how Shelly is hurt over this (because she thought that she would be in your wedding), it isn't really fair of her to expect to be.  She can't hold you to that.  But - I think that you might want to contact her and have that awkward conversation now and move on from this one way or another.  Otherwise you might have this hanging over your head at your wedding. 

Cali.in.UK

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2016, 06:42:02 PM »
There are a lot of great phrases in this thread and if I do speak with Shelly (still on the fence) I have some good sentences to use. One that DF suggested was "it was a hard decision, but I couldn't pick everyone." When I met Mary last night, her recap was similar to what she texted me and she said she didn't think that Shelly would say anything but she can be a bit unpredictable.

She did mention that their meeting was the first time that they had hung out alone since I got engaged (over a year ago) and when Shelly brought it up it seemed like it was something that had been on her mind. It didn't come up naturally, Shelly brought it up and she referenced it as the elephant in the room. I definitely have not thought of it has an elephant in the room because we've talked about other aspects of the wedding. I have actually not specifically talked about my bridesmaids with any non-bridesmaids female friends (unless asked) because I don't want people to feel bad and it seems a bit impolite.

Mary Lennox

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2016, 08:19:58 PM »
OP, I think you should wait and see if Shelley brings it up first. I am firmly in the camp that if someone has an issue with me, they should bring it to me, I'm not going to chase them down to discuss it.

If she never brings it up, great. If she does, you've got plenty of good lines to use.

gellchom

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2016, 09:20:17 PM »
I think the key is to keep it as minor an issue as possible.  I know that it seems like a big deal now, but really, we are talking about being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding.  It's not like she's the only one of your or your husband's sisters not included, which could be humiliating or symbolic.  It's just not a big deal in the end.

So don't make it one by initiating a whole conversation about it or giving a long speech or discussing it at length if she brings it up.  Don't bring it up yourself at all.  If she does, then stick with "Well, you know, it's impossible to have everyone you like," and then leave it at that (which isn't easy, I know!).  But that is what keeps it a small thing, not a major issue.

I don't mean, though, to treat her feelings as a small thing.  If she tells you she is hurt, don't tell her that being a bridesmaid isn't important.  Simply listen and tell her you are flattered it means so much to her and that you are so sorry that she is disappointed.  But don't talk anymore about bridesmaids or wedding stuff, just reassure her that you do value and like her.  Once you get onto some subject in her life instead of anything about you and your wedding, the moment will pass.

mandycorn

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2016, 01:45:45 PM »
I think the key is to keep it as minor an issue as possible.  I know that it seems like a big deal now, but really, we are talking about being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding.  It's not like she's the only one of your or your husband's sisters not included, which could be humiliating or symbolic.  It's just not a big deal in the end.

So don't make it one by initiating a whole conversation about it or giving a long speech or discussing it at length if she brings it up.  Don't bring it up yourself at all.  If she does, then stick with "Well, you know, it's impossible to have everyone you like," and then leave it at that (which isn't easy, I know!).  But that is what keeps it a small thing, not a major issue.

I don't mean, though, to treat her feelings as a small thing.  If she tells you she is hurt, don't tell her that being a bridesmaid isn't important.  Simply listen and tell her you are flattered it means so much to her and that you are so sorry that she is disappointed.  But don't talk anymore about bridesmaids or wedding stuff, just reassure her that you do value and like her.  Once you get onto some subject in her life instead of anything about you and your wedding, the moment will pass.

I think gellchom's approach is a good one if she brings up the topic herself, especially listening to her feelings. The added benefit to waiting is that I can't come up with any way you could possibly bring this topic up without it being weird or letting her know that you and Mary were discussing it behind her back - neither "Mary said you were mad at me" and "So... you're not a bridesmaid" feel like a particularly good way to start that conversation.
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

Runningstar

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2016, 06:06:36 AM »
I can definitely see those points!  But..... there have been elephants brought into this, a mutual friend, and it is on the OP's mind.  I'd go with a "Hey Shelly, it is nice to have you back around.  While I didn't keep to our childhood bridesmaid plan, I'm hoping that you can come to the wedding.  It will be a great day to all be together." 

Just adding this for another perspective.

Chez Miriam

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2016, 09:35:34 AM »
OP, I think you should wait and see if Shelley brings it up first. I am firmly in the camp that if someone has an issue with me, they should bring it to me, I'm not going to chase them down to discuss it.

If she never brings it up, great. If she does, you've got plenty of good lines to use.

I can totally see Runningstar's point of view, but if Shelley has had time to think about it [now she knows she's not going to be a bridesmaid], she might get past her hurt feelings on her own.

Starting a conversation that Shelley might not have done could re-open the 'wound'?

I'd load up on bean dip just in case, if I were in that position [I work best when I've planned out in advance what I want to say in difficult conversations]. 

And think of it as good practise for all the other instances where people will tell you what you "have" to do regarding your wedding plans. ;)
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich

green.and.blue

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Re: Anticipating an awkward non-bridesmaid conversation, advice? update#19
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2016, 09:49:45 AM »
I have two perspectives on this. My MOH, who I was still very close to when she got married, did not choose me as a bridesmaid. Right after her engagement, myself and another friend from highschool were visiting her and we took some impromptu trips to bridal shops and she talked about what WE might wear. She hadn't asked, but I'll admit I had assumed that us two friends would be bridesmaids and her sister would be MOH. Later, it played out that her nowDH insisted that a) his sister be a bridesmaid and b) that they have matching numbers of attendants, and that he was having three and not budging. So my friend was stuck with her nowSIL, plus her sister. She chose our other friend as her MOH. However, she took me out for coffee, asked me to MC and give a reading at the ceremony, kept me included in all the wedding events, showers, shopping, etc. We are, in fact, closer than before, and I know that's because I was understanding. Outwardly. Surprising to me, I was still a little hurt!

For my DH, his best friend (our groomsman, because his brother was best man), lied about his wedding party. He took DH for a beer and told him they weren't having anyone stand up with them. When later his nowwife told us in passing she was going bridesmaid dress shopping, he lied again and said that just her sisters were standing up with them because then their mom would spring for their dresses. Then later, we'd made plans to come into his city for lunch and he blew us off saying he was going house hunting. We contcted DH's brother to see if he wanted to grab lunch instead, and he said he couldn't because he and Friend were getting fitted for their wedding tuxes. Yup. DH's friend picked three other guys, still lying to DH, when in the end DH's brother was a groomsman AND we were invited to the wedding. We were going to find out! A few months later, Friend explained to DH that he just didn't want to make DH feel bad that he didn't pick him and that he'd only picked DH's brother becuase he'd asked to be a groomsman and Friend couldn't say no. DH was so, so hurt. But he still can't tell if it's just the lies he's hurt about or not being asked.

And I think DH and I are both reasonable people. Weddings are emotional.