Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My best friend recently got engaged and now all she talks about is her wedding. It's seriously like aliens have taken her over. Every post on Facebook is about her wedding — what kind of veil she should have, or photos from trying on dresses, or links to her fundraising page for her honeymoon. Every Pinterest post has to do with DIY wedding stuff. Centerpieces. Bridal gifts. Playlists. I'm so over it already, and the wedding is not until summer 2018 — as in, more than a year away!!
The guy she is marrying is honestly great, but it's really the first real relationship she has had in years. She has struggled with her self-image and I think for a long time didn't even think she would get married. She had to work through some things and now is in a much healthier and happier place, but part of me also worries she has rushed into this marriage because she has wanted the ideal of marriage so badly that she said yes without even thinking about whether he was right.
Whether he is or isn't, only she knows. But the other night — admittedly after several glasses of wine — I basically told her that her constant wedding prattle was boring (I wish I could say I said it nicer than that but I really didn't) and I told her I was worried she said yes only because he asked and she's eager to get married.
Now she's angry at me for being "unsupportive" and says maybe I shouldn't be a bridesmaid, or even attend. I feel horrible for upsetting her but stand by my feelings. What should I do?
You nailed it. When so many of our girlfriends get engaged, it's truly as though some alternative life form takes over their body — one capable only of conversations about venues, honeymoons, florists, cakes, caterers and gowns. And all the while, we look on in disbelief and amazement and wonder if our intelligent friend with whom we had such wide-ranging and fascinating experiences will ever return; or, conversely, if we are doomed to an eternal conversation about mermaid versus ballgowns, and whether to toss rice or quinoa.
Let me break it down: Your friend as you knew her is temporarily gone, at least until after the wedding. And you've got to cut her some slack. She is certainly on cloud nine and elated at this romantic turn of events. This should be one of the most memorable and amazing times of her life and especially if she never foresaw finding someone, she is surely overwhelmed with intense, joyous emotions, and all the planning and details that must occur to deploy an awesome wedding.
Here's the truth: This isn't about you. You might be bored, or feeling left out, or questioning her motives, but that's what's happens when our besties marry their partners. This is about her happiness, her future, and her transplanting all of her long-rooted wishes and dreams for her wedding day into one grand show of lifetime commitment and adoration.
The marital train has left the station and rather than question her motives, get off the tracks, come aboard, and ask her what she needs to make the transition smooth and wonderful. Because that's what friends do.
Is she making decisions emotionally because she's overwhelmed that someone "chose her?" Maybe. But your role isn't to intercede, dissuade or persuade; it's to be there for your friend, who is barreling through one of the most formative and fascinating times of her life and needs support from those who love her.
Wow — supportive much? Your bestie who has struggled emotionally and romantically over the years has had her fairy tale come true. She's riding a high: happy, energetic and looking forward to the biggest day of her life and a future with her partner. Of course she wants to share it with her best friend! And you tell her she's boring you? I'll echo her: Maybe you shouldn't be a bridesmaid.
Look, I dislike wedding commitments as much as anyone. Tux fittings, event prepping, forced conversations and awkward partying random strangers? Yeah, I'd rather be skiing or hiking. But at least there's free beer, food and music. Oh, and at least I'm there for my friend. Friends make sacrifices. Friends go above and beyond when they are needed. Friends stand outside for two hours in a starchy suit on a ridiculously humid, 90-degree day getting photos taken and watching their besties get married. Friends are there for the planning, prepping, kissing, reception and sometimes even the post-reception cleanup.
You are not that kind of friend. You think this is all about you, your feelings and your perspective on her decisions. Newsflash: This is her special day. Yes, she wants and needs your friendship and backing on the decision-making and logistics — that's what bridesmaids, good friends, moms and sisters are for.
If providing this level of support is so annoying and exhausting for you, tell her you don't want to be a part of it. Stop armchair quarterbacking and player hating — be true to yourself and honest with her and tell her you want out. And then stay the heck out of her way. Don't expect to be in any of the awesome wedding photos or part of the epic bachelorette party retellings. And don't expect to be her best friend anymore.
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.