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The Friendship Facebook Death

The Friendship Facebook Death

By Amalah

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

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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Comments

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Jesabes
Guest

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
Guest
Grammy

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
Guest
JMH

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

Kat
Guest
Kat

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… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

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… Read more »

Susan
Guest
Susan

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… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

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.

Teresa
Guest
Teresa

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… Read more »

Mona
Guest
Mona

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… Read more »

JayelleMo
Guest
JayelleMo

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.

Matilda's Mama
Guest
Matilda's Mama

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… Read more »

JenVegas
Guest
JenVegas

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… Read more »

Catherine
Guest
Catherine

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… Read more »

AmyB
Guest
AmyB

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.

Breanna
Guest
Breanna

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).… Read more »

Alice
Guest
Alice

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.

Ruby
Guest
Ruby

Yeah, this exact scenario happened to me too!!! I’m very hurt. I didn’t expect it. I feel like she thinks I’m not good enough to hang around her. We used to b close but things have changed. Married life is ALOT different than single life. I used to be the party starter. I’d make an event and gather everybody together. I guess you could say I was the entertainer. But now I feel more like letting everybody else get the party going. I’m very busy now and once upon a time, I was the one coming up with the fun… Read more »