The Friendship Facebook Death
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.
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/ThinkstockPublished October 22, 2012. Last updated October 22, 2012.