An old "friend" you're trying to avoid invites you personally to their wedding. Do you go?

How do you manage it when a friend won’t let go of you despite your best efforts?

In this situation, I have a friend I’ll call Jane. Jane is a nice, social butterfly kind of person who I worked with for several years. During that time, she became a bit of a mentor figure for a time, and later a close ally. Jane was my mom’s age, but really liked to go out and about, and I’m more of a wallflower. I enjoyed her company so I mostly went along for the ride. Everything was fine, no concerns really.

After leaving that job, I genuinely wanted to keep in touch with Jane. We’d done a few things outside of work - maybe a half dozen times in all - such as going to the bar or to local events. I figured it’d be nice to continue that, so if she called to do something (usually along the lines of “I’m by your house and on the way to the bar, are you free?”) I’d often go along.

Awhile after I moved jobs, she got separated from her husband. Their relationship had been tumultuous. She had met him a few years back in an online chat room. Her attitude seemed to be pretty blase about the whole thing - I always got the impression that she was serially monogamous (sort of, they were swingers) and had a line of serious relationships going awhile back. In any case, she had met someone new - a woman. This was a pretty big deal for her, so I didn’t hear from her as much until she worked up the nerve to tell me. I honestly wasn’t terribly surprised, and definitely didn’t disapprove or anything, as she apparently thought I would for some reason.

In any case, around this time, she started getting a lot more interested in spending time together. She’d frequently call or text asking me to come over at the last minute (bear in mind she lives on the far side of town, about 20 minutes away). If I’d try to ask her to come over to my area, she’d never want to. Usually, she had plans with a bunch of people and wanted me to go too. I’d participate occasionally, but due to the last minute notice I’d often say no. Often, she’d be rather passive-aggressive about it. If I didn’t answer a call, she’d leave increasingly whiny voicemails about how I never answer, et cetera. I frequently asked her to take things to email as I didn’t usually answer the calls as she’d call during work hours, but she ignored me.

I tried inviting her to mixed events in the hopes of not always doing things with her friends, but this didn’t work. I threw a house party and she basically corralled me in a separate room from everyone else and would pout if I wasn’t giving her attention. She got really drunk, made a mess, and antagonized some of my close family members who were in attendance. So, no more of that.

In any case, I tried to be sociable on occasion, but when we’d get together, she’d spend most of the time guilt-tripping me about never seeing me or not answering my phone when she’d call or whatever. I got rather aggravated with this but we were generally always in mixed company, so I didn’t feel it appropriate to go off on her, and besides I’m not much for confrontation. I began to genuinely avoid her, but on a few occasions she wore me down.

Finally, she got separated from her new love (they had done a commitment ceremony about a year earlier). I didn’t know, but she left me a few passive-aggressive voice mails wondering when she’d talk to me, which I ignored due to being rather aggravated with them. Finally, I answered my phone when she called and she basically let loose on me for a long time, crying and screaming. I didn’t know what to do, and I genuinely felt bad that she was going through a difficult time, but I didn’t think it was fair to be told “you weren’t there when I really really needed you!” I mean, we’re not close friends! We’re barely friends at all. And you didn’t say any of this in your messages. I had no idea that this was all going on whatsoever, and frankly I didn’t feel that I deserved such a thrashing. In any case, being the non-confrontational person that I am, I reassured her for yet a thousandth time that it wasn’t because I disapproved - I didn’t know what was happening, and anyway, I hope she’s doing all right but no I can’t come over tomorrow. I didn’t hear from her for a few months after that.

After that time I’ve just avoided her completely. It’s been about six months, I suppose. She’s getting married again (I’ve met her new partner during one of our previous get-togethers) and now has invited me to go (in a text message), saying it’s really important to her. I can appreciate that, but honestly I feel like I’ve put up with enough. And, for goodness sakes, the wedding is on Christmas Eve of all days, and while I don’t have firmly immovable plans, I definitely planned to spend it with my own family.

I have no doubt that many folks will go, “What the hell, kick her to the curb”, and I suppose that’s fair. But, I try to be a compassionate person. I think in this case I’ve been taken a bit advantage of to be more like a doormat and I just wanted a bit of a pulse check on my decision.

“Sorry, I won’t be making it. Long-standing plans that weekend. Congratulations!”


And if you get the whiney, passive-aggressive phone calls, you need to be straight up with her. ‘I’m sorry but I don’t enjoy our friendship and I think it’s best we go our seperate ways.’

“You really can’t take a hint, can you?”

Nothing pushes my buttons faster than someone trying to get me to do something I don’t want to do - this would have been over permanently for me the first time she tried that shit. You’re obviously more patient with it than I am, but she’s been awful to you - there’s compassionate, and there’s putting up with someone being a dick to you. I think it’s probably past time to tell her flat out that you don’t see a future in this friendship, and have a nice life.

ETA: I think Agent Foxtrot nailed it. :slight_smile:

By the way, she invited you to her wedding via text message? Classy. :rolleyes:

Make sure your declination is also a text message. A string of whiny texts is very easy to ignore.

Absolutely don’t go, that’ll just feed into her again. And you probably do need to say something, but that’s only if you’re hoping to recover the relationship. If not, you probably will still have to firmly say, “Stop calling me over and over. It isn’t doing anything for our friendship and it’s disrespectful of my time.” Or something like that; you’ll have to think of the best time/place.

Unless you’re enjoying all the drama and want to see what’s going to happen next (after the upcoming marriage fails), I would say “can’t make it, have wonderful life, bye now”. She doesn’t NEED you, she just wants another spectator as she goes her merry way through her tumultuous life.

I picked I’d thank her for the invite and congratulate her, but that was before I realized it was an invite by text message. I don’t text, so that might push me more into the ignore category.

But anyway you look at it, attending the wedding sends her the wrong message, and I can’t see that she needs any encouragement to involve you in her life.

I seriously don’t see the reason you’d go. Definitely let her know ahead of time that you won’t be there–no reason not to–but don’t go.

Nope. Life is too short.

I would probably send a courteous response and even a small gift.

This thread ended at post number two.

But send a card or small gift or something.

What? Why should she do that? Invitations are not code for give us presents! You give a present if you go to the wedding. All that the invitation requires is a polite response saying, “thank you for thinking of me, I cannot make it. Congratulations on your wedding.” Sending a present is not necessary. Now, given that the only invitation so far has been text, definitely no present and the reply could be a text or something saying, “sry, cn’t mk it. hav fun tho.”

Hard to disagree with that.

Like I said, I’d probably send a card or small gift, but certainly there’s no requirement.

Why when you could get really drunk and make a huge drama scene when they ask if “anyone here has any reason, why these two should not be wed.”

Insert long drunk rambling diatribe professing your undying love for her secondary to the wide variety of sex acts involving live animals you shared, how she promised it would be you marrying her all these years and how you feel so used…

Make sure to stop and pee in a planter on the way out.

As Hank the deuce said, “Never complain, never explain.”

I voted “No, I wouldn’t go, and I wouldn’t contact her back”, although I do think you should tell her you can’t make it. I do not, however, think she deserves a thank-you note for a last-minute text inviting you to a Christmas Eve wedding. Agent Foxtrot’s suggested response seems good to me.

After that I would very strongly recommend that you cut off all contact with this woman.

If you’ve decided you really don’t want anything to do with her then you have no reason to be at her wedding. It’s not fair to her, it sends the message that you want to maintain the friendship when you really don’t. If you’re not sure if you want anything to do with her … I would say give some excuse for not being at her wedding (it’s easy, it’s on Christmas Eve) and reach out later if/when you’re ready to talk to her.

Odd that you don’t mention any circle of friends to which the two of you belonged. You’d be able to poll some others who might have had some contact with her during the past six months, and gotten their thoughts on the subject of where her head is at these days.

I’d respond that my plans for Christmas eve and day would make it impossible to participate in the wedding, and wish her and her new spouse a lifetime of happiness.

Thanks for the thoughts, all. I’m grateful for the sanity check.

I do not plan to send a card or gift. She moved recently, and I don’t have her new address, nor do I wish to request it. I also don’t know where the wedding venue is since she didn’t mention it.

But the thing is we’re not really in any circle of friends. We always hung out with her friends (except for the one party I mentioned), who don’t know me except through her. The one exception, a mutual co-worker, is far closer to her than she is to me and sees her quite frequently. It was definitely not a situation where I could go and ask people about her, nor at this point would I want to, since I don’t want to rekindle any friendship. I just want to be left alone and out of these childish games, since she’s unable or unwilling to have what I consider to be a healthy mutual friendship with appropriate boundaries. Going to one of her friends would have only served to create a lot more drama.

It’d be one thing if the drama is new; it really isn’t. She’s always been dramatic, it just didn’t really involve me since I’m not the kind of person to participate in such games willingly, and I don’t really cause any antagonism. When she was married to her husband, most of the drama surrounded that relationship and her family. When that fell apart, she apparently decided she wanted to spent more time with me, in her terms, and when I didn’t want this or respond as expected, she started to direct the dramatic behaviors at me. These things made me avoid her, creating an endless loop.