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Should I Attend the Wedding of a Friend Who Snubbed Me?

Should I Attend the Wedding of a Friend Who Snubbed Me?

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Dear Rachel,

I have a good friend I’ve known for a few decades, but a few years ago she decided she didn’t have the emotional strength to keep up her friendships.

She would no longer meet, invite me over or allow me to visit. Our exchanges took placeShe decided she didn’t have the emotional strength to keep up her friendships occasionally over the phone. She told me it wasn’t personal; it was just something she had to do for herself, and she’s adopted this stance with all her friends. I considered it very selfish behavior, and was very hurt and angry and with her unilateral decision to limit her friendship with me without my consent. Because I care for her and we have a lot in common, I acceded to our brief telephone conversations (you know, like in prison, where you only get one phone call a month).

Anyway, she’s marrying off her only daughter, and now, of course, wants her friends to come to the wedding. The wedding isn’t local; the young couple are holding the ceremony in a forest or something, and it’s not easy to get to. So I’m wondering, after all these years of spurning my friendship when I was begging to see her, why should I even go? Why should any of us?

Sincerely,

Uninvited


Dear Guest,

I hear your hurt and anger, and understand it. But if your friend cut off from all her friends and not just you, then indeed it wasn’t personal. Although there is something selfish about it, there is also something sad and pitiful. You’ve lost touch with one friend while she’s lost touch with all of them. It isn’t necessarily true that now because she needs you, she’s invited you to the wedding. It’s probably more a case of her wanting to share this occasion with her dear friends, despite her difficulty, and she’s probably stressed out about it as well, wondering whether or not they will come.

You’re asking why you should go, so let me suggest a few reasons:

  1. It’s a mitzvah to gladden a bridegroom and bride. The fact that they’ve gone to the trouble of making it in a “magical” forest shows how much this special day means to them. Your friend’s daughter is blameless in this whole thing, and if over the years you had any relationship with her, I’m sure she would be happy to see you and feel hurt if you don’t show up. The Talmud teaches us how big a mitzvah it is to gladden a bride and bridegroom, and dance before them on their wedding day. The extra effort you have to make to get there will only give you a bigger mitzvah.
  2. With all the intermarriage in the world, we should doubly rejoice at a Jewish wedding. I know that many of us are overwhelmed with social commitments, but a Jewish wedding of an only daughter is really a special event and cause for celebration. A Jewish wedding parallels our connection to G‑d. He is our bridegroom, and the nation of Israel is his bride (Song of Songs). Every wedding is a metaphor for this special connection.
  3. The Torah forbids us from taking revenge (Leviticus 19:18). If your main reason for not going to this wedding is the way your friend treated you, then there is an element of revenge in it. That includes showing up at the wedding and making her mother feel bad.
  4. Many times we regret what we didn’t do more than what we’ve done. Your relationship with this friend might change again. The fact that she’s marrying off her onlyYour relationship might change again daughter will leave her with an empty nest, and she may want to reopen lines of communication with her erstwhile friends. Not attending the wedding may be something you regret in later years and become a sore spot that will bother you more than one evening’s inconvenience.
  5. A wedding is a joyous event with good food, good music, and a chance to get together with people you like and maybe meet new people as well. Go and enjoy yourself! Breathe in the revitalizing air of the forest.
  6. The most compelling reason I think you should go though is that there is a difference between having a friend and being a friend. It’s nice when they go together, but G‑d wants us to be a friend. Hillel says: “If I am only for myself, what am I?” (Ethics of our Fathers 1:14). The prophet Michah says: “What does G‑d require of you but to do justice, love lovingkindness and walk humbly with your G‑d?” (Michah 6:8). Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to be humble and do kindness? To be the good friend that you have so missed being to this woman?

I wish you and your friend mazal tov! And may we witness the fulfillment of the verse: “There will again be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the sounds of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of groom and the sound of bride.” (Jeremiah 33:10-122)

Warmly,

Rachel

Rosally Saltsman is a freelance writer originally from Montreal living in Israel.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous Athens, Greece August 15, 2017

Not long ago I found myself in a simular situation. It all started when we were invited to my friend's house for dinner. One of my friend's guests played the quitar and sang an obscene song. I objected to the song and told my friend that she as the hostess should have stopped the song. She was offended and I appologized for hurting her feelings but I felt that she should know why I distanced myself from her.
Her son got married abroad and about a year later I recieved an invitation through the internet from someone I didn't know inviting me to my friend's reception. It was to celebrate her wedding anniversary and her son's wedding.
I thought about it for a while an then I decided to go with the hope of rebuilding our frienship once again.
It was a total disaster. I wish I hadn't gone. She snobbed me so bad that I felt depressed for days later. Reply

Feigele St Johns FL August 15, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

This was doomed to happen! She did not invite you. Someone, you didn't even know, who maybe didn't have the authority to do so, did!!! . Was that someone trying to make things even worse? If she really wanted to resume friendship with you, she would have call you directly. At least did you have a chance to talk to her? I guess not. I feel so badly for you how you must have been so uncomfortable, but at least you tried. That's all we can do. Reply

Feigele St Johns FL August 10, 2017

People have different reactions to different situations. I had such a friend to but never gave up on her. I gave her her space when she needed and when she was better we resumed our friendship as if nothing happened, because, that is real friendship. Unfortunately, after about 40 yrs of knowing her, she passed away last December. And, I am so glad I never held the grudge against her, even when times were rough between us. Ms. Saltzman is right in all her advices. Reply

Rosally Saltsman Petach Tikvah August 10, 2017

To the anonymous person whose friend didn't attend because the wife wasn't Jewish. This was not a personal affront. It is against Jewish law to attend such a wedding. She was not trying to slight you, she was keeping halacha. Reply

Anonymous PHILADELPHIA August 9, 2017

My oldest, best friend from childhood chose not to come to my son's wedding because his wife wasn't Jewish. We had a Rabbi and a priest but did all the Jewish rituals. It was very hurtful and I no longer speak to her. Even her Orthodox daughter told her she should have gone. What do you think? Reply

Barbara Niles Phoenix, Arizona August 10, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

The things that are done in the name of religion boggle the mind........... What a sad situation; however,If your son and daughter-in-law are happy, that is all that really matters. Your friend is the loser. Reply

Barbara Niles Phoenix, Arizona August 8, 2017

The advice given here makes sense for this particular situation but what do you do when your very close "friend" drops you for no apparent reason and doesn't invite you to her son's wedding? This, after being in the same Chavurah together for over twenty-five years. Everyone else in the Chavurah was invited. ( PS: An apology was offered to this "friend" even though there was no apparent reason for her ending the friendship. The apology didn't help.) Reply

Linda West Chester August 11, 2017
in response to Barbara Niles:

That is so sad. :-( Apparently you are supposed to know how you offended her. How many of us expect others to be mind-readers. If you want to fix things now, you can write or call or invite her somewhere private and say "We used to be friends. I see that everyone else in our group was invited to your son's wedding and I was not. I feel hurt but mostly vey confused. Are you willing to tell me what happened from your point of view? I promise to listen without argument. It would really help me to get some clarity" Reply

Barbara Niles Phoenix, Arizona August 14, 2017
in response to Linda:

Reply to Linda Thanks, Linda, for your compassion and caring. Your ideas are good ones but I don't think this person would meet with me since she barely speaks to me when I see her. I do have some contact with her husband; however she told him that all was well between us now. He, of course, believes her (as it should be) and I don't want to cause any dissension between them. I have seen this person do the same thing to others when she tires of them; therefore, I have moved on as best I can. That said, it still hurts.............. Reply

Linda West Chester August 15, 2017
in response to Barbara Niles:

Yup. Sad. She's missing a nice friend. :-(
Have a great day. Reply

Barbara Niles Phoenix, Arizona August 16, 2017
in response to Linda:

To Linda Thanks again, Linda. I think I'd like to have you as a friend. You sound a wonderful, understanding person. Reply

Anonymous Lagos August 8, 2017

I really like the section on pure Jewish Wedding. It is like going back to the first principle and maintaining the hard earned heritage. Shema! Reply

Mulan Woodland Hills August 8, 2017

I would send a lovely card, with a donation made to a Jewish organization, in the name of the couple. Reply

Alan S. Long Island, NY August 7, 2017

A truly magnanimous column, for a saintly person or angel, but unrealistic for a human with feelings. Of course, the reasons why this woman should go to the wedding have merit. One particular thought makes little sense: if this woman decides not to go the wedding, there would be no 'revenge', just a display of normalcy. Not to be unkind, but not everyone lives in the fantasy land where friends can just decide not to be friends anymore, yet invite non-related people to celebrations and expect them to come.
Again, the reasons given as to why this woman should go are truly good reasons, just not practical or realistic. Reply

Anonymous August 7, 2017

She is asking because she wants the couple to receive gifts and she realizes that no one will give a gift under the present circumstances. She made her bed, she now has to sleep in it. Reply

Anonymous Texas August 11, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

It appears this bed is now filled with nightmares. Oy. If only this rift had never happened. Good evidence for not opening our mouths except in wisdom in the first place. Reply

Anonymous Hattiesburg August 7, 2017

There is a strong possibility that your friend was clinically depressed and withdrew from the world because interaction with it was too painful. I urge you to at least consider the possibility that depression led to her isolation and not personal feelings about you.

Of course, you are correct to feel hurt. She could have just said she was depressed, but sometimes depressed people don't even realize they're depressed. Really.

If you see her behavior as a result of intense, neurochemically-induced suffering rather than as a slap at you, it may help you enjoy the wedding. Reply

Linda Cincinnati August 7, 2017

I love this advice. Have fun. Make a new old friend. :-) Be an Aunt to a new generation. All positive.<3 Reply

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