Welcome to re-Prudied where I fix the terrible advice of Emily Yoffe, a.k.a. Dear Prudie, in the dim hopes that the original letter writer will read it and disregard Prudie's terrible advice. Today's response fixes Prudie's advice from an old column where she advised a bride who felt abandoned by her already-married friends.
Q: Last Single One Out
I know this is a bit of a trivial question. Throughout the last 10 years, I have helped throw bridal showers, engagement parties, baby showers, attended weddings, gave gifts, helped pay for bachlorette parties, etc. I am the last single one of my girlfriends. I'm getting married this summer, and I'm finding myself, well, alone. All my friends seem preoccupied with kids, moves, family drama, etc. I don't mind that, but it appears the effort I exerted during their single, engaged, married days is not being met. Everyone else seems pretty busy right now. I'm not asking for much since the wedding is small, and it's not even about the wedding. I'm beginning to feel taken advantage of. Should I just go ahead and drop these friends? We're doing our wedding list now. I guess this is what I get when I get married late in life!
A: Emily Yoffe
Thank goodness your friends have moved on and are deep in the guts of real life and not "My Day." How great that you've found someone you want to spend your life with. I assure you 10 years from now the memory of your shower, your toasts, the font on the mongram on your cocktail napkins will all be a fuzzy memory. Since you will be entering the world your friends are now in, it would be better for you to hang on to these friendship instead of blowing them up because everyone has moved on. You recognize your pique is trivial. So get some perspective, plan a lovely day, and be happy.
Prudie, just because someone says something is trivial doesn't always mean it actually is trivial. The LW is saying that because she's embarrassed by what she feels, but despite that, her feelings still bother her so that's why she's writing you. Having a problem such as this one is "the guts of real life," and a wedding-related question doesn't negate that.
Wedding questions from women are irresistible to the self-righteous and smug who cloak their misogyny in lambasting anything beyond a courthouse wedding with a Betty Crocker sheet cake. Cake rounds are the sign of spoiled princess! Only women are the dumb ones who want a six figure wedding, four engagement parties, and the entire Tiffanys catalog. Men would, like, never do that.
Funny thing is, Prudie, the LW never asked about toasts, fonts or cocktail napkins. What she asked for was attention and support from her friends, especially as she clearly went out of her way for them. What she needed was a very deep, substantive form of support and friendship, especially as she felt used. Not only that, but she felt very alone. I'm not sure what the LW means, but I doubt she was talking about carrot cake vs. red velvet. (Neither. White cake is the only cake.) Friendship means that those we consider closest to us rally around and alleviate those feelings of loneliness.
That isn't what's happening here at all.
True friends don't look at major life milestones they've already experienced and say, "You know what? It wasn't a big deal after all so it's not a big deal for anyone else. I'm done with all that now." True friends still come together during big events even though they might have other things going on like work, kids, mortgages, in-law drama, etc.
Unmarried and childless people can have hectic schedules too, yet somehow parents and spouses seem to get a pass when it comes to time management. If my bridesmaid days are any indication, all the effort the LW exerted probably tops around 160 hours per wedding not to mention the costs involved. To do all of that work on top of everything else is overwhelming unless you're extremely wealthy with nothing else to do in life. Even though these friends are married, they shouldn't get a pass because that just encourages those people to be selfish assholes who think that the only major life events worth rallying for are their own and all the events that came before their own.
As for whether or not to remain friends, it would be understandable if this LW said fuck it and found new people, but I would also recommend saying something and seeing what the response is. Those will say a lot in terms of how they view their friendship with her. No these friends aren't mindreaders, but during a time like a wedding, they shouldn't fucking need reminders to step up. This LW sounded like she didn't need much prodding herself when her friends' weddings were happening.
Friendships shouldn't be zero sum game, but it's difficult to remain friends with people who routinely enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor with nary a thought to reciprocation.
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