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The Friendship Facebook Death

Oct22

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Hi Amy,

I have a situation that I’m not sure how to handle, my best friend from jr/highschool/ college is getting married next week, and I just found out about it…from Facebook, from the pictures from her bridal shower… that I wasn’t even aware of. We were so close, and she was the maid of honor at my wedding, and I am incredibly offended and my feelings are so hurt that a) she didn’t bother to let me know that she was engaged b) didn’t invite me to any of her showers and c) I didn’t get invited to the wedding. (And from what I’ve gathered, this is not a small wedding.)

I completely understand that we are not as close now as we once were (I feel like she was the one who pulled back after I had my daughter) but I have always felt we were the kind of friends who could pick up where we left off and would always be there for each other even though we don’t live near each other anymore (the wedding is in our hometown) but obviously I am not on the same page as her. I don’t want a lot of drama and I have banned my husband (who was also friends with her) and mother (who is also hurt and angry about this) from contacting the bride about any of this because I truly do not want to stress her out or make her feel bad or cause any kind of drama right before her wedding.

What’s done is done, but I wonder if I should ever bring this up with her? Let it go and never say anything about it? I guess I’m having a hard time feeling so rejected by someone who I thought was a friend.

Thanks,
JP

Ugh, and this is why Facebook is kind of the worst. Where you can get this level of social and emotional turmoil just by opening up your laptop to see what your friends are up to? Oh, they are up to having parties and weddings that you are not invited to. I FEEL GREAT NOW.

So listen, obviously everything you “thought” about this friend — that you were the kind of friends who could pick up where you left off, who would always be there for each other, who both equally valued what your friendship used to be in spite of time and distance and age — was wrong. And being wrong is hard. Your pride is hurt, your ego is bruised and you just got whalloped in the heart by the bat of reality. But you were wrong. This friend — for whatever reason — has moved on and left you behind, either completely thoughtlessly or because your perspective was even MORE wrong than you think. Because maybe in her perspective, you guys did have some big falling out, some crucial moment when you weren’t “there for her,” and she’s been playing some silent-treatment-passive-aggressive game by not telling you that hey, our friendship is in trouble before it got to this point.

Or. OR. You guys simply did just drift that far apart. I’m not sure of your ages here, but just how long has it been since you guys had any meaningful sort of contact? (Beyond peeking in on each other’s Facebook pages, that is.) Did you ever talk to her about the “pulling away” after you had your baby? Or did you just sort of let it slide because you didn’t want drama — whereas she maybe saw it as evidence that YOU were pulling away as well, or that you didn’t think the friendship was worth the work to maintain or fight for. Maybe at some point you guys went from “low-maintenance friends who can talk once a year and have it be just like old times” to a barely-there, NEGLECTED relationship on life support. Maybe she honestly thinks that it’s been so long that the friendship just died a natural death, and there’s no point in holding on to the past at an event that (for her) is all about looking forward to the future.

Anyway, there are a MILLION hypotheticals here. (She’s mad at you! She’s a bitch! She’s moved on! She’s just not that into you! Your invites got lost in the mail/devoured by wolves! This whole thing is just a crazy rom-com-style misunderstanding!) I have absolutely no idea WHY she didn’t invite you, and I guess it’s up to you to decide how important it is to find out.

Here’s what I would do. First, I would do some seriously deep introspection and inventory on the friendship. I’m guessing you’ve done a bit of this already, but try to do it without assigning anyone to the villain or victim roles. Check for any red flags or signs that something was amiss — or anything you overlooked that could have led to you both having (clearly) such wildly different valuations about it. Was there anything that could have made her mad? Was contact always one-sided? Was someone always making excuses or apologizing to the other for not being better about keeping in touch? And again: when was the last time either of you actually put any effort into the relationship, or did it basically die a slow polite-check-in-on-Facebook death like so many friendships from junior/high school and college?

Second, I would send her a note of congratulations. Tell her you learned about her upcoming wedding on Facebook and you are so, so happy for her. You wish her the best and hope her day goes beautifully, etc. DO NOT mention your hurt feelings or ask why you weren’t invited. Have someone else review your note to check for any unintentional feelings creeping through.

She might message you back with some hints or even an outright explanation for why she didn’t share the news with you. She might give you something that you can use to start a dialogue with her (AFTER the wedding, I’d say) about your different opinions about the status of your friendship and your shock at not even being told of the engagement. Or she might not. She might just say, “Thank you! I’m so happy yaaaayyy!” and leave you just as confused as ever as to whether this is a friendship worth repairing or continuing with. People are really very hard to understand sometimes.

Either way, I’m sorry. I’m sorry your feelings were hurt by someone you thought was a lifelong friend. I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way that oh, you guys actually weren’t the sort of friends you thought. I think a lot of us have been there, done that. I personally have a couple “best friends” from my long-ago past with whom it ended badly and messily and for reasons I’m still not 100% clear on. We’re friends on Facebook now and I STILL have no freaking clue why they friended me but still won’t…you know, talk to me about anything that happened between us beyond the occasional “like” on a photo or status message. Sometimes I’m tempted to message them and be all HEY WHAT THE HELL about it. And then I change my mind, because I have other friends and relationships that are probably more deserving of my mental energy.

No matter what happens with this particular friend, I would encourage you to look for these other friends and relationships and focus on them. Focus on making them real and keeping them healthy, and never taking them for granted that they’ll always be there. Sadly, it just ain’t so sometimes.

Photo source: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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16 Responses to “The Friendship Facebook Death”

  1. Jesabes Oct 22 at 12:51 pm Reply Reply

    I would wait to send the note of congratulations until after the wedding. Even if it’s completely “happy for you!” and not snarky, sending it the week before the wedding is passive-aggressive in a “you bet you’re a** I noticed you didn’t invite me, and I’m calling you on it” way. Afterwards, when she’s doesn’t have to decide whether to extend a last-minute invite and is likely to be getting notes of congratulations from lots of people would be more appropriate.

    • Grammy Oct 23 at 1:10 am Reply Reply

      I think this is right — for the reasons Jesabes stated. Waiting till after the wedding to send congratulations keeps it from being some kind of gotcha thing and can then be construed as an old friend wishing you well. Whether it makes her wish she’d thought of you sooner or not, you’ve been gracious.

      And Amalah’s last paragraph is the best advice in the world — concentrate on the friends you have now and don’t let Facebook bring unnecessary hurt and wasted time into your life.

    • JMH Oct 23 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

      I totally agree! I was thinking the exact same things.

  2. Kat Oct 22 at 1:33 pm Reply Reply

    This. This is why I have no love for FB. Just because you check my profile every couple of months does not mean that we are friends (doesn’t matter how long you have known me). My friends are the ones that I call or text at least once a week or every other week, the ones that I ask for advice on the polka dot tights I found, the ones that call me when they are having a bad day. Everyone else is just an acquaintance (yes, even you , freshman year roommate that I never talk to anymore but comments on my baby pictures constantly). I appreciate the thought behind the comments on the baby pictures and stuff, and it’s nice to hear from everyone every once in awhile but….honestly, we are just acquaintances at this point. So don’t hold your breath for an invite to my birthday or any other event. I don’t collect friends, I keep the ones that are involved and interested in being a good friend (and commenting on posts on FB does not a friend make). All this to say: if you didn’t even know she was engaged you are obviously not as close as you once thought. If you haven’t picked up the phone to call her or make plans in the last 6 or even 12 months you probably aren’t really friends anymore, ya know? No drama, not your fault, not her fault and no reason to have hurt feelings. Things change, and most of the friends I have now are not the ones I had in college (especially if we had our baby before they settled down). And no one needs to feel bad about that. If you really do miss the friendship, perhaps do as Jesabes suggests: write her a congrats note after the wedding. Just don’t expect an occasional comment on FB to rekindle the friendship (or keep a friendship alive).

  3. Sarah Oct 22 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

    Some people are golden retriever style friends and some people are not. Golden retrievers feel like friendship is eternal and they will do anything for them. Some others feel like friendship is cool when it’s right in front of you, but not a big deal when it’s not. Golden retrievers feel hurt when they realize that the other doesn’t value their friendship in the same way. I’ve been hurt like this before, and it sucks, but at some point you just have to realize that you’re out of sight, out of mind for the other person. Value the friends who value you, just like Amalah said. 

  4. Susan Oct 22 at 4:55 pm Reply Reply

    Something vaguely similar happened in my life: We were really good friends from our first job out of grad school, thick as thieves for 7 or so years until I had a baby. She is about 15 years older than I am but never had kids so misinterpreted my initial distance/distraction as lack of interest. After 7 or 8 months of dwindling e-mail and face-to-face contact (we live in the same city & neither of us use fb) and then 6 months of absolutely no contact I wrote to her. I sent an email saying that I missed her, but that it seemed the friendship was done. I expressed my sadness for the loss and my gratitude for the years of awesomeness. It opened such a dialogue where I found there were so many times that I accidentally brushed her off (in my harried, new-mom eyes they were insignificant, but to her they were deep cuts). We ‘made up’ and have been enjoying our old friendship again for a few months- with lots of new understanding and appreciation for what each other needs in a friendship. 
    So I totally recommend reaching out from as positive a place you can muster, but AFTER her wedding. Until then, she’s bound to be stressed and her reaction will be colored by guilt/stress/whatever. Maybe it IS over, maybe it isn’t. I think it’s worth asking though…

  5. Olivia Oct 22 at 6:33 pm Reply Reply

    This reminds me, I really need to call a couple of my best friends from childhood. FB has a way of making us feel like we are keeping in touch when we really aren’t.

  6. Teresa Oct 23 at 12:23 pm Reply Reply

    The golden retriever analogy is really good, thanks for that. I am a golden retriever type for sure, and yes my feelings occasionally get hurt when I realize how out of the loop of a social group or someone’s life I am, but then I have to be honest about how much I really want that person/group in my life and how much effort I’ve made to stay there (usually not a lot). Having a baby has been really hard on my social life, and years have passed but to me it just feels like yesterday that I was hanging out with certain people all the time. In the meantime I have other friendships, mostly friends with children and babies of their own so we get how hard it is to stay on top of socializing and don’t take it personally. 

  7. Mona Oct 24 at 6:42 am Reply Reply

    This probably hits home with a lot of moms with young kids, trying to find balance- I know it does with me.  Between two little guys, a husband, and a 40+ hour a week, high demand job(that I love, but still- more stress), there seems to be so little space and energy to maintain anything else.  I don’t have any sage advice outside of the notion of waiting until after the wedding for any notes- that seems kindest / most sincere- but I so appreciate to hear it’s not just me that struggles to fit in ANY semblance of friendship maintenance.

  8. JayelleMo Oct 24 at 8:39 am Reply Reply

    Something I’ve learned recently: If, after you’ve sent the message of congrats and are still feeling down about things, hide her from your feed for awhile. You can always un-hide her in the future (and it’s not as permanent as an defriending). It might be really beneficial to your mental state if you don’t have to see the endless wedding/honeymoon pictures popping up in your newsfeed over the next few months, rubbing your wound raw every time.

  9. Matilda's Mama Oct 24 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    I too went through something somewhat similar. My oldest dearest friend (who was also my maid of honor) of 25 + years had a year of hurtful painful distance. She had always mostly been single, dating here and there. She finally found someone she loved and who loved her. He was not open to me and my husband, nor did we feel like we had the opportunity to know him. It resulted in a breaking apart of my dear friend and me. It also crushed my family, and hers as we’d been best friends since we were 12. During this bad year, we did try and talk every so often to patch things up but it never felt real to either of us. We were both too badly hurt. I believed she was my sister and eventually we’d come back together. We always did. In the 12th month of this strangeness, she called me to tell me she was engaged but she didn’t want me to be any part of her engagement or celebration unless I felt like I could “prove to her that I deserved to be.” I quietly, unabashedly devastated, walked away. I wrote her a long letter. A letter I worked on for months. It was overdue. She didn’t respond. For 2 years. Then she called and wanted me to apologize. By that time, I’d moved on in my life and made peace with losing her friendship. I told her I was more than willing to start over right where we were in that moment…to move ahead and not look back but I was unwilling to rehash something that had happened over 3.5 years before beacuse I believed neither of us could represent ourselves in those moments that has long since past. She said no. She wanted to rehash. I held my head high and again, walked away. Sometimes you just have to accept that a friendship, even a very dear one, has run its course. Life gets in the way. And it is really ok. Handle the hurt and nurture the loss but don’t try to live in what was. if you’d never seen on FB that this old friend was leaving you out of her wedding, would you have been seeking out a reconnection with her? If the answer is no, just know that what you had at one time served you both well and its ok that you’ve both moved on. I wished my old friend well in her marriage and I meant it. I wished her well in her life and I meant that too. I want everything good for her. We just aren’t the same girlfriends we once were. And it is ok. I’m sorry you are hurt, It is understandable. You may come back together. For now, focus on the girlfriends who are there for you listening to this story of a friendship gone astray.

  10. JenVegas Oct 25 at 4:08 pm Reply Reply

    I have a friend from college. We were super tight, shared a house total brother and sister…like for real, not faking…he’s one of the few guys I DIDN’T make out with in college. And then we all grew up and moved out and he married a lady I don’t like. No biggie, I’ll deal…Tried REALLY HARD to get a long and be friends with her but we had a falling out, me and friend’s wife, and friend took wife’s side (of course) and one day sort of just gave me an ultimatum over the phone “Just apologize to her, will you?” And I didn’t. And so we did not speak again.
    And then I got married and didn’t invite him because I didn’t think we were friends anymore. Turns out he had NO IDEA I thought that. Had no real recollection of this (seriously, like it was huge, on the internets and blogs and stuff people chose sides craziness) fight I had with his wife and was really sad that I hadn’t invited him….which made me really sad that I hadn’t invited him. And since then we’ve tried, in a lazy sort of way, to revive a friendship of sorts but it hasn’t really stuck. So, that. Yeah. Maybe AFTER the wedding you should just say “Hey, what happened?” Because maybe something that was nothing to you was huuuuuge to her. Or maybe she didn’t invite anyone with kids.

  11. Catherine Oct 26 at 5:49 pm Reply Reply

    Gah, Facebook. So something like this happened to me, except in this case, I was the one who didn’t invite someone and then she found out via Facebook that I had gotten married. When I was compiling my guest list, I really thought very, very hard about whether I wanted this one friend to be there. Over the years, our friendship was very one sided where I would drop everything to help her out, but the favour was very rarely done in kind. I finally got tired of this, and a number of years ago we had an all out discussion of this where I told her what I thought of our lopsided relationship, and she vowed to change. But it never did change, and I got hung out to dry again. I was sick of the abuse. When it came to my wedding, I didn’t want any drama regarding this “friend.” I didn’t want to worry about would she come or would she stood me up for the millionth time. I decided not to invite her. And then she found out via Facebook that I got married. Initially, I received a very nice message from her congratulating me, but that was soon followed by another message demanding to know why I never invited her. I responded with maybe an all too blunt message  about how I could never count on her, and she responded by defriending me from Facebook and responding back with an insult filled message. I cried myself to sleep that night. I’ve gotten on okay after that, but that was truly awful. We still have friends in common so it does get a bit awkward from time to time. Maybe one of these days I’ll try to reach out to find out how she is and what she’s been doing, but not quite yet. 

  12. AmyB Oct 29 at 4:54 pm Reply Reply

    Amy’s advice is really good – I am just chiming in to say that this is definitely a smackdown letter that I would love to hear a followup report about.

  13. Breanna Feb 08 at 2:07 am Reply Reply

    This happened to me recently with a friend who I have known forever and have been close to for at least a decade. I got married, she was totally involved in my wedding, was a bridesmaid, etc. I found out she was engaged on FB and I congratulated her. I left a comment along the lines of – I can’t wait to see the ring, etc. Then as time went on, I tried contacting her via phone to hear her engagement story (i was REALLY happy for her, because she had dated alot of creeps and finally found the one). I would get return texts, but never return calls. I didn’t complain about it- I just figured people are busy. Then I see on FB as her status that her wedding date is set, but no date publicly mentioned. So, I left a comment saying- when is your wedding? and did you get your dress yet? She deleted that comment immediately and messaged me on FB and told me they are getting married in March (this was like 3 month ago) and they were having a small wedding with FAMILY ONLY. I responded and was like ok cool. I understand some have very small weddings, because if you invited all friends & family you may be at 200 people or so. So here and there I would see her statuses and her other friends would make comments like “I can’t wait till your wedding” and I was like huh? These are friends that she has known a few years and I as immediately offended and hurt. I sent her a nice message about it on FB and she re-iterated that it was family only! (which i knew was BS after those friends left those comments) and how she thinks its childish of me to expect to be invited to a wedding and she would never do anything like that , etc. I was dumbfounded and I knew at that point she was lying. Then she brought up how we have known each other forever, but its no secret that we haven’t been close in a couple years? I responded with ” we have always been the type of friends who pick up where we left over and it was never extended long periods of time”. Then she left the FB message at “I’ll be glad to talk to you about normal things, but not about this anymore. I was like WOW! So now that its closer to March, I KNOW she is lying. Her cousin posted pictures of her bridal shower and her bridesmaids are ALL FRIENDS. The real problem I have here is WHY DOES SHE LIE TO ME ABOUT IT? If she would have just been straight up and honest, I would have respected her much more. With her blatantly lying to me- I have lost ALL respect for her. I think its BS and immature to lie. Just be honest. Any advice or suggestions would be welcome. I just can’t wrap my head around this.

  14. Alice Mar 11 at 1:27 pm Reply Reply

    Yeah, I know how you feel. Someone who I thought was a good friend even TEXTED me to say that she was engaged, but as the wedding approached it became obvious that I wasn’t invited. So, whatever. I removed her from my FB newsfeed and will not be acknowledging the wedding at all. No gift. No congratulations. I realize that there is not a person in the world who will agree with me on this, and that’s fine, but I really don’t care. She can suck it.

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