#727: Fade out or flame out?

Ahoy there Captain!

So, there’s this super awkward couple that my gentleman and I are both acquainted with through a Meetup group I used to run. We used to be closer, but we’ve started distancing ourselves, because the closer we got, the more we saw that we didn’t really care to be around. For example, the she-half of the couple (Greta?) is extraordinarily passive aggressive… Greta’s catchphrase when addressing the he-half (Irving?) is, “IRVING!!! CAN YOU WASH THE DISHES *PLEEEEASE*????” Of course, in the snottiest tone she can muster. Irving, of course, is no prize himself… he’s a secret asshole, presenting as super-chill and totally laid back but having a sneaky side to him that is hella lazy and dismissive of anyone who may hold a different opinion.

So we moved them from Always Friends to Sometimes Friends, and made our excuses so that my gentleman could stop running a tabletop game that included them as participants (Greta had a bit of a habit of actively pouting (at age 30!) whenever things in the game didn’t go the way she wanted for her character, and Irving would always make excuses about ending the game early whenever she’d get in a funk, which started happening with exponential frequency). Following the end of the game, Greta blew up at me directly when I announced my exit from the Meetup group, demanding ownership and making a huge production about why we didn’t talk anymore. I snapped back at her that I didn’t appreciate her making something that was painful for me (the possible dissolution of my Meetup group) into a referendum on our friendship, and if she wanted to talk to me about the fact that we weren’t very close anymore, she could have chosen literally any other time.

We haven’t spoken much since then, and Greta hasn’t brought up our last real conversation at all. We’ve seen one another at other events and while everyone’s been polite, we haven’t had much contact. They recently sent us a Save The Date for their wedding, but when it came time for the bridal shower invites, I was snubbed (I had another event that day anyway, and I actively dislike bridal showers in general, so that was no hair off my backside). Now our mutual friends have received their wedding invites, and my gentleman and I have not.

On the one hand, my gentleman and I are not that into weddings. On the other hand, I think it’s rude as hell to send out a Save The Date and not follow up with an invitation. Part of me wants to contact Greta and Irving and let them know that they’re continuing to behave unacceptably, and if they miss us as much as they’ve made reference to towards our mutual friends, this is not the way to mend fences. Part of me is glad I don’t have to buy them a Himalayan Pink Salt Block and Shaver for their wedding. Part of me, though, knows that the mail is not the most reliable vehicle for sending messages and maybe it got lost, and I don’t want to be half of that Awful Couple that didn’t even RSVP to a wedding invite (and thus lose the Moral High Ground).

My question is thus… we’ve been plopped into an Awkward Spot by having to pick a discreet follow-up versus a discreet Total Fadeout. How to best mitigate it? Which to pick?

Your humble servant,


Dear Uninvited:

I have a recommendation for you. Instead of contacting “Greta” & “Irving” to find out where your wedding invitation went (or worse, berate them about not inviting you), howabout you mentally unsave their wedding date? They can get married surrounded by people who love and like them, and you can be somewhere that is else, doing something that you actually want to be doing with your time, with people you actually like.

If there was a postal error, and if they are nailing down the guest list and they mention that they haven’t heard an RSVP from you, you can say “Sorry, we never actually got an invitation in the mail so we figured you made other plans. We won’t be able to attend. Congratulations, though!” No expensive gift, no recriminations, no etiquette lessons, just, “No, can’t make it! But we hope it goes swell” and get out of the conversation as quickly and as gracefully as you can. Look at it this way: If you were pulling back from close ties with them and they didn’t invite you to their wedding, that’s actually what success!!! looks like since the relationship, such as it is, has readjusted to being mutually “meh.” I realize that there are some weird feelings swirling on both sides about belonging and inclusion. The awkwardness will fade with some more time and distance. In the meantime, you can’t “slow fade” on someone and then drag them for fading right back.



121 thoughts on “#727: Fade out or flame out?

  1. “Instead of contacting “Greta” & “Irving” to find out where your wedding invitation went (or worse, berate them about not inviting you), howabout you mentally unsave their wedding date?”

    I quite agree, and I’d take it one step further with nonrefundable tickets to just about anything you love that’s going on outside your area. They make an excellent excuse! You mention tabletop, so maybe you could look for an out-of-town convention that you’d enjoy going to?

  2. “Save the date” doesn’t automatically mean “you’re getting an invite!”. And given that LW seems to be none too keen on “Greta” and “Irving” anyway and was already engaged in disengaging from them, why worry anyway? Now the LW is spared having to spend money on expensive outfits and gifts for an event that they didn’t want to attend anyway, from the sounds of things!

    1. “Save the date” absolutely does mean “you’re getting an invite.” What else could it mean? “Be sure not to schedule anything else this day, so you can spend it sitting home and stewing that we never followed up”?

      1. I have NEVER assumed “save the date” means “You’re invited!” – I only assume I’m invited when I actually get an invite, either physical or at least emailed. A lot of things can happen between setting a date and sending out actual invites – the chosen venue might turn out to have a lower limit on numbers or fall through etc. The only moment you can safely assume you’re definitely invited is when you have an actual invite, and not before.

        1. I would be hella furious if someone sent me a Save the Date card and then never formally invited me to the event. Burn the bridges of friendship, furious. I’m trying to see how a StD not being as solid as an invitation could be read as anything other than “I want to tell you I’m having this event, and I want you to accommodate me in all of your planning, buuuuut, I’m not really sure that I want to bother accomodating you,” and I’m failing.

          Not that I disagree that an Invitation is the only one true Invitation for things like weddings and the like, but if I’d gotten a StD card and then no invitation, I would feel utterly comfortable calling someone and asking what was up. Admittedly, I wouldn’t do it in this case because I would have already made plans for the wedding date — in a different city.

          1. I agree. “Let me tie up your time and then totally waste it” is never not rude. If you have people you just want to announce the fact of the event to but not invite to it (which is hella weird unless you have a bunch of people who live way the fuck off in different time zones and you really want them to know about it but not invite so they don’t have to feel obligated because–they’re very dutiful and they would, despite, crippling expense? I dunno) then send a separate, non-save-the-date thing. Assuming there is something like that. Copy of the newspaper wedding announcement, maybe?

          2. Mercutia –

            They actually make wedding announcements that are meant to be sent out after the ceremony has taken place. They aren’t terribly common these days. They were used much more frequently when most weddings were smaller. They also used to include “at home” cards announcing the couple’s new address.

        2. It is true that things change, but if I received a StD card and then something changed I would expect to be told pronto, so that I could carry on organising my life.

          A StD card is a request for my time, and if the couple aren’t planning on filling it that’s fine, but they ought to let me know.

          1. Exactly. If for some reason (venue change, money trouble, whatever,) your save the date list is not the same as your invite list, you owe the people who are not on the invite list a personal call with an explanation. If the wedding is cancelled of course you can send out “sorry we’re not getting married” cards or something. But save the date is absolutely an imposition on someone’s time and planning (some companies want holiday schedules made out before February or so to plan for the year, I might want to go to Vegas on holiday, but decided instead to take off the time of the wedding and now cannot change my plans.) I’m owed the earliest notification you can give me that something has changed so I can get on with my life.

        3. I think you’re right that you shouldn’t show up to a weddng if you got a save the date only and no invite, but it’s kinda rude to send a save the date to someone you don’t plan to invite. It’s possible in this case that the couple in question decided not to invite the LW in light of recent fading of the relationship. That’s totally ok, but it’s kind of extenuating circumstances. “we just weren’t sure who to invite yet so we sent save the dates to everyone and then invited a subset of those people” wouldn’t be the best approach.

          Anyway the captains advice still stands, I wouldn’t suggest contacting the couple about it.

        4. Save the dates are one of those ridiculous things that was invented in the last 10 years to make couples pay even more money for a wedding than they already are. They are completely unnecessary because they functionally act as a wedding invitation. Why on earth would you bother “saving the date” for an event you don’t expect to be invited to?

          1. No, they’re not useless. They let someone know when the wedding will be so they can start making travel arrangements, etc., which is especially useful if you have a lot of out of town guests and your wedding is somewhere with a lot of tourists (in my hometown, where I’m getting married, summer is both wedding season and tourist season, and that’s the case in lots of places). Traditionally wedding invites are sent out very close to the wedding, like 2-3 months before, and they have more specific details about the venue, the time, etc. which you didn’t know when you sent out the save the dates.

            They’re not necessary for everyone (if most of your guests are local to you, for example), and they can just as easily be emails as letters, but they’re certainly not useless or pointless across the board.

        5. Save the Date is not for everyone you might invite, so they are available if you choose to invite them. It’s for those you can’t imagine your wedding without, so there’s no way they’ll miss it. It should be save the dates to a small group and invitations to a potentially bigger one, not the other way around.

      2. Yeah, “Save the Date” mailings are meant to go *specifically* to the invites list of the wedding. If you get a Save the Date, you can and should expect to get an invitation to the wedding itself. Otherwise, what are you saving the date for?

      3. Maybe in normal circumstances, but this isn’t normal. It’s ‘Save the date’ followed by a period of massive deterioration in the friendship. Greta and Irving may well be trying to do a discreet fade by not sending an invite, rather than doing an explicit uninvite, which would probably be really awkward for all concerned. Obviously it’s not an ideal situation, but I don’t think it’s as easy as following fixed ettiquette rules in this particular situation.

      4. I’ve never heard of a “save the date” note automatically meaning “because an invite is following”. It is, at the most, a friendly shoulder-tap that So-and-So is getting married on this date, so you can remember to send a nice card. I know Miss Manners has fielded this question a few times, actually – and she’s always come down on the side of “no, it does not mean that you need to save the date; it just means they’re alerting you to the fact that there’s a wedding coming along – if they want to invite you, they’ll send an actual invitation”.

        1. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-07-16/features/0807140297_1_wedding-goodwill-thinking

          That was the only actual Miss Manners column I found addressing this situation in a 5-minute search, but it says that “It is not binding on the guest, who need only answer the actual invitation when it appears. But it is binding on the host, who cannot ask someone to save a date and then declare: ‘Oh, never mind. You didn’t make the final cut.’ ” It appears to say the absolute opposite of what you are saying, and to agree with what I have always understood.

          If you have counterexamples, could you please post them?

    2. A “save the date” is supposed to mean that an invite will follow. Miss Manners gives a clear explanation that a “save the date” is not binding on the guest, who need only answer the actual invitation when it appears. But it is binding on the host, who cannot ask someone to save a date and then declare, “Oh, never mind. You didn’t make the final cut.”

      In another reply on another day, she simply declares it unthinkable not to invite someone after sending them a save-the-date notice.

      A more recent column describes the same etiquette.

      1. Does any of this really matter? I mean I’m pretty sure the ‘Etiquette Police’ aren’t real and that the LW doesn’t even want to go to this wedding in the first place. Why not just throw out the ‘Save the Date’ card and do something fun?

        1. While your recommendation for the LW sounds like the best course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not horrendously rude to send Save the Dates followed by no invitation (with no explanation). I understand it in this case because of extenuating circumstances, and think it’s probably the best option for all parties involved. But in any other case…no. There are no etiquette police, but there are kind actions, and there are hurtful actions. And this kind of “put this on your calendar….nope!” behavior is hurtful.

          1. Reminders? Weddings take ages to plan sometimes; a StD the year before, followed by an invitation months before so you can get caterer numbers and remind people seems functional.

            (Or I could see sending both because you like sending mail. But I am weird that way. Or because it feels like you are pacing yourself. Or something.)

          2. We didn’t do save the date cards…I wasn’t even aware that they were a thing? This was back in 1999 though. We just did invitations. We were on a budget and more cards would have been more expense, too.

          3. I think the point is, if people will have to travel for your wedding, they’ll need to make plans well in advance. If you know the date of your wedding, but don’t have the details nailed down yet, a save-the-date can give people a nice heads-up. They don’t need to know the exact reception venue to ask for time off work and buy a plane ticket.

          4. If you’re planning a wedding not too far away, of course there’s no big need for them. I was planning a wedding where half the guests would have to cross the Atlantic, so though a save the date would give them a heads up as soon as possible to start booking flights.

  3. Part of me wants to contact Greta and Irving and let them know that they’re continuing to behave unacceptably, and if they miss us as much as they’ve made reference to towards our mutual friends, this is not the way to mend fences.

    Except you don’t seem interested at all in mending fences? You don’t like these people? It seems more like an excuse to berate Greta & Irving for being two-faced (saying they miss you, but not acting like it), when you don’t really want them to miss you or care that much about you. And, honestly, the “we miss them soooo much but just don’t get a chance” bit seems like a common, and harmless, social lie.

  4. *sorry if this ends up posting twice, not sure if the first one worked or not!*

    I’ve been through a lot of slow fades and quick fades, and it is painful and anger-making. In your case, LW, I think you’re still more entrenched in anger towards this couple than you might realise. Yep, they might be awkward and annoying, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be the objects of derision or have people who don’t like them at their wedding. Ok, you’re ambivalent about going to the wedding, but you want the invitation, but I don’t think you’re on the moral high ground, or that MHG even exists here. You seem to think G&I’s wedding has a lot to do with you, but I think it’s much more likely that they just sent you the Save the Date and then went “Do you really want them there?” “Ummm… no…” The battle here is coming from you.

    It’s ok to be angry, and to not like them, but please don’t feed it by engaging either with them, or engaging with the whole thing mentally. The best thing you can do is just leave them alone.

    1. This. Spending less time and energy on people who annoy you– your original goal in moving these people from “close friends” to “sometimes friends”– is a good idea. Frustrating as it is to receive mixed messages from them about the wedding, the quickest path to not being frustrated anymore is to not engage. Don’t try to claim the moral high ground. Leave the playing field.

      1. Yes, this. LW it sounds like you’re rather invested in being the better person than this couple and somehow “winning” this sort-of-maybe-a-tiny-bit feud. Or at the very least this is major “bitch eating crackers” territory. It’s fine to not like people and be annoyed or angry about things they’ve done, but *let it go*. Just…who cares? You gain nothing by making some kind of point out of all this. Who’s benefit is all of this for? Who are you trying to prove you have the moral high ground to?

        Why would you even want to go to their wedding? I don’t mean that rhetorically – really think about it – what do you hope to gain from staying engaged with this drama at all? Because standing on the outside it seems like you should just walk away from these people and do your own thing and forget all about them.

        Life is to short to spend any of it on whatever this is.

        1. I definitely read strong “bitch eating crackers” off the original post, and in my (sadly rather large) experience with that territory, once it’s at that point the relationships is pretty much almost-absolutely, never-say-never-but-so-close-to-never unsalvageable. Disengage as quickly and cleanly as possible and end the drama.

          In case anyone is confused, https://criminalreviews.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/a-captain-awkward-glossary/#bitcheatingcrackers

  5. I think even Miss Manners would say that while it’s very improper to send a save the date but not a wedding invitation, the best thing to do here would be to forget about these people and their wedding entirely.

    Best outcome if you contact them: They meant to invite you, or claim they did, and resend the invitation. You then get the choice of attending the wedding of people you strongly dislike or turning down an invitation that you asked them to resend, which won’t go over well.
    Worst outcome if you contact them: They didn’t mean to invite you, and you get into a nasty, passive-aggressive fight about who’s to blame for the end of the friendship.
    Best outcome if you say nothing: They didn’t mean to invite you, and don’t spend another second thinking about you.
    Worst outcome if you say nothing: They meant to invite you, and lump you in with the many other rude people who didn’t RSVP. While this isn’t a pleasant thought for a considerate person, realistically speaking, this probably won’t be at the top of their list of grievances about a friendship that’s already ended.

    I sort of get the feeling there may be some fantasy of a conversation with Greta where she can be called out for her behavior and then admits that she’s missed the LW and apologizes for all that’s gone wrong, but social interactions rarely work out that way, and I think a passive-aggressive person in the middle of wedding planning is especially unlikely to react in the desired way.

    1. I can not think of a single Ms Manners response, ever, where her suggested response to rudeness was more confrontational than to feign shock in some non-confrontational way. I am completely confident it would be in this case as well.

      I am particularly confused as to why OP wouldn’t view this disengagement as the huge gift that it is. They have disengaged from you – a boon – and they are doing it with one last groundswell of crappyness to help demonstrate how lucky you are to have them out of your life.

      Ms Manners has a lot to say about being gracious about gifts, too. Accept this one.

      1. Ever so occasionally she does: “There is no need to go beyond a curt “no” when asked if [Dear Reader’s son] is adopted,” was mentioned in a 2013 column. But it seems that’s reserved for extremely offensive personal questions asked by strangers. I am also confident she’d recommend non-confrontation here.

        I agree that this disengagement is a gift. If all the other couple says about it to mutual friends is that they miss the LW and their gentleman, I’d say that’s also a gift – this one of limitation and of not having to have the end of this relationship cause shockwaves in a larger circle of friends.

      2. Oooh — not anymore, regarding your first paragraph! Her kids have taken over the column most of the time, and sometimes I’m shocked at the ridiculous and rude things they put out as advice.

    2. I was getting that impression too. My advice to the LW is to write a paper letter–not an electronic message, which can go where it wasn’t intended to go all too easily–detailing everything this couple has done and failed to do, read it aloud in a room where nobody can hear, and then burn it. And then drop all attempts to contact either of them about anything ever, starting with the wedding invite issue.

      1. Yes. I haven’t followed this exact advice (the last angry note to an ex-friend I wrote was composed on Evernote), but it can feel so good to just put shit out there…and then ignore it. Don’t send it. Delete, burn, whatever. I read mine to my husband (because this person hurt him as well), but that was it. And now the whole situation has gone from being rage/tears to being laughter.

    3. I posted this elsewhere on the site, but worth repeating here: two friends both had their invitations to my wedding go astray in the mail. One called and whined at me. She got sent a new invitation. We are no longer friends.
      The other said nothing to me, even as I was burbling at her about wedding plans. About three weeks out from the wedding, I was going through the RSVPs, and noticed she hadn’t responded. I called her up to ask. She told me she’d never received an invitation, and figured I got to have whomever I wanted at my wedding. I said yes! I can! I want you! She never got a formal invite in the mail, and came to the wedding and had a blast. We’re are still friends several years later.

  6. I feel like you’re upset that they dumped you before you could dump them, and now they trump you somehow. That is an unpleasant way to feel, so reframe it that you are gloriously free of their difficult and unpleasant ways, without having had to lift a finger. Outsourcing FTW! You’re going to have such nice times filling the space they used to take up with friends who are way more fun.

    1. Yes to this. It reminds me of a time that my monogamous boyfriend of 6 months who supposedly was in love me, conveyed to me that we were broken up by failing to respond to a text message. No seriously, I still haven’t got an answer about whether or not we’re going to grab dinner and talk out some issues on that Tuesday evening 3 years ago! Guess not…

      The hardest part for me to let go of was that he had rejected me in the rudest and most hurtful way I could imagine, when he was the one acting like a giant douche canoe. I couldn’t STAND that he got to leave that relationship thinking his behaviour was appropriate and I was crazy.

      I think there’s a bit of this going on: The LW thinks that this couple deserve to be dumped as friends because of their bad attitudes and behaviours, so it’s hard to accept that this couple is turning the tables on them when DAMMIT NO, THEY’RE THE ONES GETTING REJECTED, not the other way round! It’s a deep-seated need for them to understand their fault in the matter, and that need comes from a place of still being emotionally invested in this whole situation.

      But I promise you that a couple of years from now, you will no longer care what they think, regardless of how this plays out now. What matters is that the relationship needs to end. So just act now as if you already don’t care, and don’t respond. You’re getting what you want: you don’t have to be friends with them anymore or attend their wedding.

      1. Yep. And fighting over who-gets-to-dump-whom is still keeping the relationship going, it’s simply morphed into a very toxic form. Trying to have the last word is still engaging with these people. And sometimes, for the manipulative Darths out there, that’s exactly what they want you to do so that they still have you on the hook and/or know you’ve received their mean signal. Or so they have an opening to tell you why they don’t like you any more.

        “Why didn’t I get an invitation” can be a lot like “why don’t you love me any more.” Usually it’s best not to know the details, and it can be used to make you look and feel pathetic. Far from recapturing the ability to dump, it leaves you open to being dumped again, this time with more force.

        There is also how things may be viewed by the larger group to consider. While it may be tempting to expose this couple for their bad ettiquette in not following up on a StD, they’re the ones having a celebration where the others will be wanting to have a good time and ignore whatever drama is going on. Your best bet to come off well is to act like it’s not a big deal being excluded, don’t know why but haven’t really thought about it.

        Turn around and walk away.

        1. *Totally*. If the LW is right that these people are a nightmare, what they have done here is put out bait: “ha ha ha ha ha ha we will send them a save the date, but not an invitation, so THEY will have to contact US about WHY and then we will explain to them the manifold ways of their suckiness!” There is no percentage in falling for this by thinking “ah I will contact THEM about THEIR suckiness and then they will have to listen to MY explanation of its manifold ways!”. Back away!

          (I am reminded of a Gary Larson cartoon my mom brilliantly invokes in these kinds of situations: a mosquito says to another mosquito, who is swelling like a balloon, “pull out, Betty! You’ve hit an artery!”) Don’t stick your proboscis into an artery if you can avoid it 🙂

    2. I love your reframe 🙂 Getting rejected sucks even if you were planning to reject the rejector anyway, but considering that LW doesn’t seem to want to be friends with them and actually going to their wedding would likely be a whole lot of no fun whatsoever, I’d call it a win.

    3. Good reframing. Two years ago a friend and I got in an argument on Facebook for really ridiculous reasons (that basically boiled down to him mansplaining and me not liking it) and he defriended me. I was upset for a few hours. Then I realized how much more pleasant the Internet was without his weird passive-aggressive bullshit. And then I blocked him, so I’d never have to see any of his stuff on mutual friends’ posts.

  7. Yeah, I don’t think you get to be righteously offended that these people whom you’ve cut out of your life are now cutting you out of their lives. If it helps, reframe it as them respecting your wishes about no longer having a close relationship.

    1. Or, they feel bad about the dumping that potentially already happened, and don’t want to have a last, awful, confirmation that you’ve really dumped them and recategorized them as friends coming in the form of the way you decline the invite to the wedding.

      In the end it doesn’t matter why, it.just matters that it’s done and time to move on.

  8. LW, you seem to want an excuse to corner them and tell them about your grievances, in an attempt to get them to shape up or be better friends you’ll want in your life or maybe just to satisfy your own desire to have the last word in the failed relationship, I don’t know. Either way, you have to pick here: burn your bridges or don’t. You can have that viscerally satisfying rage-conversation where you let them know just how they’ve wronged and annoyed you over time, but they *will* talk, and other people *will* hear about it. Do you want to be known as the passive-aggressive person who blew up at them “out of nowhere” (don’t assume they know you really have a problem with them, whether they “should” or not), or do you want to be the person who just kinda happened to drift off, as people many times do?

    I think both sides of this are valid. You’re allowed to want your last fuck you. Heaven knows I’d be the last person to deny you that. But, ask yourself…do you want *others* seeing that? And do you want to be the kind of person who hangs onto this kind of stuff instead of just letting it go?

  9. Think about it this way, if Greta had written in to the captain agonising about having sent a save the date to a couple that she didn’t think wanted to be friends anymore and wanting to know if she really had to send them a proper invitation?, Captain Awkward probably would have told her to only invite people she really wanted to be there to her wedding (I’m assuming based on past advice). So even if she’s breached Official Wedding Etiquette I don’t think Greta is really in the wrong here.

    No one is actually losing out in this situation. Except for maybe not getting a Himalayan Pink Salt Block and Shaver but that is kinda incidental at this point. You don’t want to be friends and now you have decent evidence that Greta doesn’t want to be friends either. On the other hand I do know it can sting even when people you don’t like demonstrate that they don’t much like you either so make sure you have something fun lined up for the day of their wedding to take your mind off of it.

    1. The thing is that a “save the date” literally means “save the date,” meaning you’re asking someone to set aside that time for your wedding and not make plans to do anything else. It would be so incredibly rude to leave someone hanging like that. If you’re not going to send an invitation, you should send an explicit un-invitation. Of course that would be uncomfortable, but it’s already an uncomfortable situation, and that way you’re not leaving anyone hanging. But as for what the LW should do in this specific situation, it’s really a win-win. They weren’t planning on going anyway, and confronting this other couple to berate about their lack of etiquette would be absurd.

      1. Look, I get that it’s rude, and the LW can hold on to that if they really wants to feel superior, but at this point it really doesn’t matter. If Greta HAD written in then maybe the captain would have given her some scripts for uninviting the LW but she didn’t and instead seems to be doing exactly what the LW wants by being polite at parties but no longer close. I don’t think focusing on the rudeness of it is all that helpful because, as you point out, confronting her about it would be absurd.

        1. Hmm. That is odd. You made a statement that you don’t think Greta is in the wrong. I made a statement disagreeing with yours. Now you say I shouldn’t be focusing on that, the thing you brought up. Which makes no sense at all, so I am done.

          1. No your carping on some silly etiquette rule that I doubt anybody but you cares about. Greta was rude. Fine. So what? Is her wedding supposed to be called off because she didn’t send a invite to people she doesn’t like? Is the LW supposed to frame the ‘Save the Date’ card and hang it on her wall as a memento of their shitiness? Or hey maybe since these people don’t like each and don’t want to hang out that can do just that and let go of relationship that neither of them wants.

          2. It’s not carping when it’s a direct reply to what someone else already mentioned. It was already on the table; I didn’t bring it up. And no, it’s not a silly rule that nobody cares about; it’s a pretty important rule. It’s not like using the wrong fork. If you don’t follow the rule you’re potentially wasting a good deal of someone’s time and money, which makes it pretty important.

            In this *specific* case it’s moot because LW didn’t save the date and has no interest in going, and I’ve already said that LW should just let it go, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important in general. I’m really confused about why some people are having such a hard time with this. Someone said Greta wasn’t rude. I said I disagree. I also already said there’s no point in LW trying to hash it out with her. Just because I think Greta was rude doesn’t mean I think LW should do anything about it, and it also doesn’t mean that I don’t think LW was also rude. But I didn’t see any point in saying LW was also rude because I thought we were already all pretty clear on that. Are we? In case there’s any doubt, I think they both behaved horribly toward each other, and people who bring out the worst in each other shouldn’t be friends, nor should they even try to talk about why they can’t be friends.

            This whole discussion is just so weird, with people making all kinds of bizarre assumptions and misreading things.

          3. I think that I need to clarify something about my initial comment. I don’t think the statement “What Greta did wasn’t wrong” is at all the same as “What Greta did wasn’t rude”. I do think she was rude, and potentially caused a hassle for the LW. I also don’t think she was necessarily wrong to change her mind about who she wanted at her wedding.

            In my first comment I really wasn’t talking about rudeness/politeness, except for a sidelong mention of the fact that Greta did breach wedding protocol. I was trying to give a different perspective on what Greta had maybe done that deliberately ignored how rude it was because I felt like maybe the LW and other people were getting hung up on that aspect of it and focusing on something else might help.

        2. I think it’s okay to say that what Greta (probably) did is rude.
          In this case I would personally say her actions were understandable. Though I also think it’s understandable that the LW thinks they’re confusing and rude.
          I don’t think anyone here is 100% right or wrong. I agree with the Captain’s advice.
          Sometimes friendships fade because of personality traits that are terribly mismatched, and hurt feelings ensue, and no one quite knows how to act towards the other person in the (former) friendship. That’s the situation the LW and Greta are in, exacerbated by the wedding planning stuff.

      2. But then, getting all butt-hurt cuz you didn’t get a chance to refuse the invite isn’t exactly a healthy point of view either, and it’s very rude to ask for an invite JUST so you can either refuse to attend or attend with an entirely non-celebratory agenda for the last word. I don’t even care what the wedding etiquette might be on this one….for whatever reason, there’s no invite. Seems like the bride and groom have moved on, quietly and without fuss or fanfare. Time for the uninvited to do the same. The unsatisfactory relationship out of which they were attempting to extricate themselves is, unless they refuse to let it die quietly, over. Book something fun on the weekend with the money you would have spent on clothes, gifts, booze, transport, cosmetics and shoes, and never think of it again. TaDah! You got what you wanted, and a stress-free open weekend to boot

        1. I agree, I think they both handled the situation poorly, and it would be best for everyone involved to let it go and move on.

      3. In this case, I think not sending the invitation is probably the best of a number of stressful choices — given that the friendship is clearly falling apart, I’d rather be in “so…are we getting an invitation? we really don’t want to go anyway…” limbo than be told “yeah, you’re definitely not getting a wedding invitation, in case you needed a reminder that we’re not friends anymore”. It is confusing, and unfortunate, but unless Greta *knew* she wouldn’t be sending an invite when she sent the Save the Date, I think it’s just mostly crappy timing.

  10. LW, it sounds to me like you’re looking for a reason to address Greta and Irving not for sending you a Save the Date but not an invite, but because you want to air your grievances about every last thing you dislike about them and why you don’t want to be their friend. Nobody needs to hear a massive list of Reasons You No Longer Like Them. Let it go and be glad that they’ve apparently already moved out of your life.

  11. LW, I totally feel for you. I come from a circle of strong Geek Fallacy carriers, and it took me a looooong time to break free of the idea that I had to keep engaging with them just because they wanted me to (and would punish me socially if I didn’t).

    You don’t say explicitly that something similar is going on here, but little things in your letter make me wonder if this is also about the wider social circle: it sounds like the dissolution of your Meetup Group was very painful for you; it seems like many of your mutual friends are still invited to this wedding.

    If your great and secret fear is that these people are going to think ill of you for your behavior, well, I completely understand. I was afraid of that for a long time, too. Here are the things that got me through it:

    1. I can’t do anything about the way other people behave or what they say about me behind my back, so I should let that go. It’s out of my control.
    2. However: the way other people behave and what they say about me behind my back is much more of a reflection on them than on me, and my friends know that.
    3. I get to have boundaries. Other people are not entitled to interacting with me, no matter how guilty they try to make me feel.
    4. The best way to maintain friendships with the remaining members of the social circle is to carry on with the things that make those friendships great.

    I’m not saying that a big friend-group breakup like this isn’t scary, but I think the Captain’s excellent scripts will carry you through the rough patches. There’s nothing you can do to fix these people up into people who are easy to get along with, and it’s not on you to do that anyway. I wish you and your partner lots of luck in rebuilding your community!

    1. This is very insightful. I think the LW is a lot less worried about not being invited to the wedding and more worried about what all their friends who ARE invited to the wedding will think when LW and Partner aren’t there.

      The script for that is easy. “I don’t know why we didn’t get an invitation, but we didn’t. Glad you had fun, though!”

      If the mutual friends decide to take that back to Greta and Irving, that’s on them. You aren’t making the situation awkward by just stating the bare fact that you weren’t invited.

      In my vast personal experience as a late responder (ahem), if Greta and Irving HAD invited you and wanted you there, you would have heard from them by now, asking why you hadn’t replied to the invitation. That, more than anything else, is a strong clue that you were not invited.

      1. “On the one hand, my gentleman and I are not that into weddings. On the other hand, I think it’s rude as hell to send out a Save The Date and not follow up with an invitation. Part of me wants to contact Greta and Irving and let them know that they’re continuing to behave unacceptably, and if they miss us as much as they’ve made reference to towards our mutual friends, this is not the way to mend fences. Part of me is glad I don’t have to buy them a Himalayan Pink Salt Block and Shaver for their wedding. Part of me, though, knows that the mail is not the most reliable vehicle for sending messages and maybe it got lost, and I don’t want to be half of that Awful Couple that didn’t even RSVP to a wedding invite (and thus lose the Moral High Ground).”

        LW, the above paragraph of your letter also made me wonder if the wider social circle is the underlying issue, perhaps in a way that you haven’t acknowledged? I know that when I had to disassociate myself from the gaming group I’d been part of for half a decade, it took me three years to figure out that when I said “Those people are super rude and I have the Moral High Ground by not being super rude” I actually meant “I’m really, really upset that the only group of friends I had to game with seemed to have no problem letting me leave the Geek Circle, even though the people they continue to associate with are not Good People.”

        It hurts to walk away from a meetup group, a regular activity, and friendships, no matter how necessary those decisions are. Grieving for what you have lost is totally fine. Being angry over your treatment is totally fine. These are valid feelings! But maybe it’s time to check in on how your feelings are impacting your thought processes regarding this wedding. Receiving a Save the Date with no invitation is rude. BUT! you don’t like this couple. You want to slow fade this couple. You and your partner have actively distanced yourselves from this couple. AND! This couple did not invite you to the bridal shower (saving you time and money!). This couple hasn’t sent you an invitation to the wedding (saving you time and money!). This couple is, as other commenters pointed out, giving you the gift of helping your slow fade without *you and your partner* putting in effort. Would re-framing your thinking this way help you?

        And if you’re worried that “Greta” and “Irving” will bad-mouth you to mutual friends for your non-reply to a non-received invitation in order to cause drama (the paragraph I quoted indicates that you are worried about this), use a modified version of the script Drew provided if confronted by mutual friends: “Oh, we never received an invitation. Post office, amiright? Glad you had a good time!” The best way to avoid drama is to refuse to participate, and this script may help with that.

        1. Yeah I think you caught a pretty important undertone where Greta and Irving are seen as souring/making more painful the departure from the meetup group. Nice ::)

  12. Yes, you’re right. Save the dates should always be followed by invites. But it wasn’t. Seems like that is for the best. Move on and move these friends from “occasional friends” to “be polite if I run into them at the grocery store” people. Plan something else very fun (as suggested above) for that day. Really awesome karmic balancing? Make a donation in the amount you had budgeted for wedding gift to a charity. And with that gesture, send your friendship into the ether.

    1. I’m quite taken with this suggestion and will keep it in mind if I ever run into something similar!

  13. LW, just checking here: these people are not Your Kind of People. You don’t really want to hang out with them. And now, you don’t have to. That seems like the best possible resolution.

    “Greta” is described as being passive-aggressive, and has sent you a “Save the Date” card but no invitation, which sounds really, um, passive-aggressive. She is also described as talking to your mutual friends and saying that she misses you, but not actually talking that much directly to you, which also sounds really, um, passive-aggressive.

    Here’s one facet of passive-aggressive behavior: it’s about trying to incite someone else into making the first move, or shouting, or otherwise acting offensively, so they can claim the mantle of innocence and victimhood.

    By the sounds of it, Greta’s passive-aggressive behavior seems to be working on you, LW. You want to confront her about the duplicity between what she’s said to other people versus how she’s acted towards you, even though how she’s acted directly towards you (the Slow Fade) is what you want. You want to bring up the missing wedding invite… for a wedding you don’t actually want to attend.

    Don’t play the game. Take the total fade-out. If mutual friends bring her up (especially if they bring up something she said to them about you) change the subject. “If Greta really wanted to talk to us, she could, but it seems like she’s content to just talk about us. And I’m not even interested in talking about her, except to hope that she and her new husband are happy.”

    1. This is exactly what I was thinking. It’s entirely possible that Greta and Irving are just being thoughtlessly rude or that the invitation got lost in the mail. It seems more likely that they’re trying to cause drama with the LW, and not playing into that can only be a good decision.

  14. I’m not sure what the issue is, here. I mean, yes, your ex-friends were out of line in sending a Save the Date card and not sending you an invitation. But. . .you don’t want to go. It’s a bit like someone you’re not into blowing you off.

    If someone mentions that Greta and Irving were hurt that you never responded/came, just say that you never got the invitation.

    It does strike me that you’re trying to win the friend breakup. There’s no winning those things. Just luxuriate in your newly-acquired space. That’s the win.

  15. There’s no real way to win with a passive-aggressive persion. You just have to walk away, because they’ll squeejaw around anything you say or do so that you’re the bad person. I hate the situation you’re in, LW, because it’s maddening and frustrating and hard to let go of, but it’s hopeless. I’m so glad you’re not stuck going to their wedding. And I’m sad that this is helping to break up your circle of friends. Your real friends will stick with you, though. They know she’s passive-aggressive, too.

  16. Not inviting you to a wedding shower is not “snubbing” you, it’s just not inviting you! Also, when you use the word “snub” and then give like six different reasons why you didn’t want to go ANYWAY, SO THERE, it kind of sounds like maybe you did?

    The point of a slow fade is simply to retreat from someone’s life because you don’t want them to be in your life anymore. You wanted to slow fade AT them: you wanted them to notice your slow fade and feel snubbed, punished and possibly humbled and humiliated by it. Maybe they do! But you’re never going to get the satisfaction of knowing that.

    Closure is something you make for yourself, not something that someone else gives you by following your script.

    1. Word! I love this comment. I think the concept of someone slow fading AT another person is an incredibly useful one for understanding things like this.

  17. Dear LW,

    I’ve gotten save the date thingies and then no invitation. I felt slighted, but then remembered that some people send StD in lieu of announcements.

    It’s rude of these people, so I figure I’m not really their kind of person or their friend anyway.

    I think you’ll be happier once you acknowledge that Greta and Irving are no longer your friends at all. A good way to do this is, as the Cap’n suggests, making marvelous plans for some where that is else.

    I know it really rankles.

  18. Now our mutual friends have received their wedding invites, and my gentleman and I have not.

    I got to this and thought “Great! Problem solved!” and was very puzzled to see that the letter continued after that point.

    On the other hand, I think it’s rude as hell to send out a Save The Date and not follow up with an invitation.

    So add “being rude as hell” to the list of reasons not to be friends with Greta and Irving anymore.

    Part of me wants to contact Greta and Irving and let them know that they’re continuing to behave unacceptably, and if they miss us as much as they’ve made reference to towards our mutual friends, this is not the way to mend fences.

    I’m very glad you recognize that this impulse is not a good one, or at least recognize that sufficiently to write to the Captain so that you can hear her and the chorus of commenters sing “DOOOO NOOOOT DOOOO THIIIIS” in five-part harmony. You don’t seem to want to mend fences, so who cares if they do? Find other ways to vent your anger and frustration. I recommend punching pillows, or going to a recycling facility where you can hurl glass bottles into a bin from a safe distance away, or yelling from a mountaintop (or local equivalent).

    If your mutual friends are reporting to you about what Greta and Irving tell them, I believe “Please don’t tell me about the things Greta and Irving say about me” is the classic CA response (perhaps with some reassurance that you don’t expect your friends to pick sides). If you want to get in touch with Greta and Irving directly, you’re capable of doing that. If they want to get in touch with you, they’re capable of doing that. Your friends being message-bearers and/or gossips will help nothing and no one.

    and maybe it got lost, and I don’t want to be half of that Awful Couple that didn’t even RSVP to a wedding invite (and thus lose the Moral High Ground).

    You don’t need moral high ground to not be friends with someone. You can withdraw consent to the friendship without having any reason beyond “I don’t want to be friends anymore”.

    If you’re worried about what your other friends will think of you, and if they ask you whether you’re going, it’s up to you whether you say “We’ve kind of drifted away from G&I so we decided not to go” or “Unfortunately we have a conflict”. But take ownership of that–don’t blame it on the mail or complain that G&I were rude to you, because that could be construed as a hint that your friend should ask G&I whether they sent an invitation and then report back to you. Also, then you get that powerful feeling of taking charge of a situation. You chose not to go. Doesn’t that feel good?

    If you are really really concerned about being that Awful Couple, you can send a nice card to G&I that says “Congratulations on your wedding! We received the save-the-date card you sent, and regret that we won’t be able to attend”. But if they haven’t invited you, that could come across as a nasty dig at them, or a suggestion that you feel entitled to an invitation. I’d personally rather take the potential rudeness of not replying to the (probably unsent) invitation than the potential rudeness of replying to an invitation you didn’t get, especially when there’s lots of gossip flying around. Continue your slow fade and let it all go.

    1. Great response! LW, I wish I hadn’t included my script in my previous reply. Rose has a great reason why in the second-to-last paragraph.

    2. Awesome post. The part about asking friends not to be the messengers is really powerful and has alleviated a lot of stress for me in other situations. For me, it’s with my family, gossipers every one. Whether it’s friends or family, the Grownup Game of Telephone is wearisome. A script I’ve used with my siblings is “Please don’t tell me if Mom is mad at me or disappointed in me. If Mom wants to tell me that herself, she’s more than welcome to. [immediate change of subject].” And then until she actually says something directly, I pretend like I don’t know she’s upset and it’s quite blissful.

      Optional for LW with friends may be opening with a soothing statement like “I know you mean well, but…” or “I’m sure it’s hard to know that friends are in conflict with each other, but…” And if friends can’t take the hint and continue to insert themselves into Business That Is Not Theirs, time to initiate Operation Slow Fade (since it seems to be working well with Greta and Irving).

    3. “going to a recycling facility where you can hurl glass bottles into a bin from a safe distance away”

      Is this a service that recycling facilities offer? If not, we may need to license this idea.

    4. Do not do thiiiiiiiiiiiiis
      Do noooot do thiiiiiiiiiis
      Oh no,do not doooo thiiiiis

      Sung to the tune of Balulalo, complete with picardy third.

  19. I mean, you can choose to fade out from someone’s life but you can’t make them miss you. I think it’s pretty human to want them to admit they were wrong but you probably aren’t going to get that from someone who couldn’t even stand to lose face at a table top game.

  20. I have NEVER understood the new trend to “Save the Date” and then a real invite. Honestly, make plans, and when you know where and when, send me an invite. I’m fine with just the invite. I’m happy no more trees had to die to promote your union than will already, I’m good with less clutter in my house saying the same thing, and I’m fine with the risk that I may have something else going on. If it can’t be rescheduled, it is probably an important thing, and won’t be changed by the StD anyhow (laughing at that acronym every single time….here’s an STD for my wedding…..). It’s basically a glorified engagement announcement, or it was before engagements became more like serious dating announcements and before engagements lasted decades.

    Focus on the marriage, fret less about the wedding. Don’t attend weddings you don’t support, or those of people unrelated to you whom you dislike and at which event you will be miserable and or plotting some weird revenge dumping. Mostly brides and grooms are WAY too preoccupied with themselves to notice if all their guests RSVP’d or attended.

    1. But they don’t say the same thing. STDs (ugh) just have the date, but invites ask your meal option, specify exact times for ceremony/cocktail hour/dinner/dancing, and have hotel and registry info and/or website with same. All you need for the STD (yeesh) is to book the venue(s), which is usually long before any of that other crap gets sorted out.

      I mean, sure, you can’t really reschedule an international vacation, but maybe an STD (oof) four months earlier would’ve saved you from booking it over that weekend in the first place.

      THAT SAID, shooting the STD out (heh) over e-mail or private FB message is a way better option for the couple reasons you already mentioned. Then just call the three people who aren’t online on their rotary telephones.

      1. I did mine by email. The reason I sent them at all was that my wedding was hundreds of miles away, people needed lots of notice to make travel arrangements and loads of the detail we needed for the actual invitation wasn’t going to be available until quite close to the date. But I agree that they’re not always necessary.

        1. I think that’s the best explanation for save the dates. We also had out of town/state guests coming, so we sent out save the date (magnets!!) a couple of months in advance. Also like John says, the venue is typically the first thing that must be nailed down before anything else can even be booked, so it’s sometimes the only detail known by the couple.

          (Bonus: almost a year later, we still see our magnets on friends’ fridges and it gives us great joy!)

        2. Yeah, some friends of mine did theirs by email as well, which I think is a nice option. It also includeda “so, in case it’s changed since we hung out in college, what is your preferred name and title for fancy wedding invitations?” item.

    2. We absolutely noticed if our guests RSVPed and attended, the reason being, we were paying $70 per person for their meals (that in some cases went uneaten with no explanation).

      I get that some people don’t like weddings, or the whole wedding-industrial complex. But that doesn’t give you license to crap all over people who are trying to do their best to let people know with adequate time to prepare, and who want to not pay for food that nobody will eat. I’m not “wasting paper” willy-nilly because of some blind adherence to wedding customs, and my partner and I weren’t so wrapped up in ourselves that we didn’t notice whether or not people we invited, people we wanted to be there to share this day, showed up or not.

  21. Last year I sent someone an email to the effect of “you sent me a save-the-date, and now other people are talking about the wedding; did my invitation go astray?” and indeed it had. I sent that because I wanted to go to the wedding. The save-the-date felt like permission to ask, but it didn’t mean I was obliged to attend; even an actual invitation doesn’t mean that.

  22. So let me see if I understand this correctly:

    The friends you were trying to gradually unfriend (because they are a passive aggressive jerk and sneaky asshole), unfriended you first, and your upset about this for some reason?

    Having attempted and failed to fade out people I shared mutual friends with I think you are overlooking the great gift you have been given. I have people that I ended up having to be friendly with for all off undergrad that I straight up hated, because they never figured out that the reason they rarely saw me around outside of work/class/etc was because I did not want to be around them.

    Sure what Greta and Irving did was RUDE, and broke the rules of etiquette. But their rudeness just saved you weeks, if not months, of ditching invites, awkward social gatherings, and general angst. Not only that they ended in a way that you can explain to your mutual friends without looking like colossal jerk-faces. Because now your not going to have to commit one of the cardinal sins of group dynamics by admitting that you do not like someone in the group.

    Yes you could call them and confront them. But why would you? You don’t really like these people, so why would you want to go their wedding? Or continue to be friends with them?

    Because that’s the thing if you call them there is a high probability it’s going to end with you being close friends with them again.

    If it turns out you were invited you basically have to go to the wedding. Since that conversation will probably involve talking about all of the stuff going on between you guys, you will have undone any distance you managed to establish in this relationship. Similarly if you weren’t suppose to be invited, if they really did dump you, by calling your saying you care about this friendship and to want to repair it.

    Either way you lose your get out of friendship free card.

    Do not look the gift horse in the mouth, because in this case it’s not just going to bite you, it’s going to rip your freakin nose off.

  23. I also want to point out that this “save the date” seems to have a different social context than just sending someone a save the date and not following through. This save the date looks to me a lot more like a “I thought we were still good friends here’s an olive branch” and LW wasn’t keen on accepting that olive branch. Those save the dates get sent out way in advance of real invitations, right? It sounds fair to say that LW and Greta/Irving really stopped being friends. Why would you expect an expensive token of friendship with people you’ve stopped being friends with?

    1. I agree, it looks to me like Greta sent the Save The Date to reachout to the LW with the assumption that if the friendship was to continue she would reply with a message or phone call about the wedding date, when she didn’t it seems Greta took that as confirmation that friendly relations would not be restored and there was no point in following up with an invitation to the bridal shower or wedding. It may not have been intended as rude as the LW is perceiving it.

      1. That’s entirely possible. I’m wondering if it’s common to expect a phone call/message in response to the Save the Date (can’t bring myself to use the acronym!!)? When we sent ours out, a couple of people texted me their excitement that it had arrived, but that was just a delightful thing that happened and we didn’t notice anyone who didn’t do that, or take their lack of response to be an indication of friendly feelings. Although it could be that if Greta was being passive-aggressive, the Save the Date could have been like a “test” of sorts that LW “failed” by not responding immediately and enthusiastically.

        1. It could have been intended passive aggressively but it may have been meant as a low key form of contact as the LW said they didn’t really talk since they argued at the Meetup group. It depends on how long the relationship was in decline and how frosty things had become. If I had a fractious relationship that was in the process of falling apart I would see the sending of a Save The Date as a non intrusive way to show there were no hard feelings, if received a Save The Date from a friendship I wanted to repair I would respond to it in some fashion to say I was delighted they had chosen a date or they must be so excited and use it as an opportunity to renew things. I don’t think the Save The Date but no invite is necessarily an insult or passive aggressive move on Greta’s part, but then I don’t know her and the LW does. I think the LW is too focused on winning the end of the friendship, whereas getting to walk away from a friendship that isn’t working for you is a victory in itself.

          1. “I think the LW is too focused on winning the end of the friendship, whereas getting to walk away from a friendship that isn’t working for you is a victory in itself.”

            BINGO. Totally agree.

  24. Okay, in order:

    1) Yes, it is poorly-behaved and unmannerly of them to have asked you to Save the Date, and then not sent an invitation. However,

    2) You were dropping the friendship with these people down to a minimum because, in part, you thought they were poorly-behaved and unmannerly people. As far as that’s concerned, they’re just acting entirely in character. So,

    3) Don’t try to get into contact with them again to ask them whether they sent you an invitation you’re only going to turn down to a wedding you don’t want to go to and wouldn’t enjoy if you did. That goes past bad-mannered and hangs a cross-traffic turn into silly.

    As someone else pointed out – they’ve given you a gift. They’re not asking you to make things awkward by feeling dragooned into showing up at a wedding you don’t particularly want to go to with a grudgingly-purchased gift, and trying to make awkward small-talk with everyone. Accept the gift of not having to participate gratefully. If all else fails, plan something else on that day, involving kittens and/or puppies and/or ducklings.

  25. Ugh, Greta and Irving sound like unpleasant people who are stressful to be around. They sound rude as hell, too, by sending you a Save The Date and leaving you hanging.

    I wouldn’t bring it up. Make other plans. If they say anything, follow the captain’s advice. If they give you the gift of letting it go, plant that African violet in your metaphorical yard and cherish it. Friendship dissolutions suck. But sometimes they really are for the best.
    *jedi hugs to you and your gentleman*

  26. The part of me that is super into winning passive-aggressive arms races suggests that the date you were formerly saving for Greta and Irving’s wedding sounds like a great date for a game night, and if any mutual friends who know the date of the wedding ask, a “Well, I suppose the invitation could have been lost in the mail, but to be honest we haven’t been that close for some time, so I kind of figured… ” and then dropping the topic never to speak of it again.

    The part of me that’s very happy to not have to deal with people who don’t actually like me and aren’t actually my friends says that a slow fade is a great idea and formally unblocking your calendar might be the last you have to think about them.

  27. There has been many comments, so, yes, it’s rude to send an StD and not send an invite, yes, you’re probably better off without your former friends, but I want to add one thing that hasn’t been mentioned.

    It is OK to feel sad and hurt when a friendship ends, it is OK to mourn what could have been. We are always allowed to feel what we feel even if to the rational mind it doesn’t make sense. But it is usually best not to act on those feelings, hence our Captain’s excellent advice.

  28. My partner and I were recently uninvited from a wedding after receiving a Save the Date because of a conflict with the couple getting married, but in our case, they were thoughtful (and ballsy) enough to call us and say “Hey, because of Conflict, we’re not comfortable having you there.” Sad, because I care about them, and I hate that Conflict was friendship-ending for them, but I appreciated the courtesy.

    1. Dang. That stinks, and I’m sorry that went down for you (Jedi hugs if you’d like them). It does sound like the couple handled an awkward situation fairly gracefully by coming right out with it instead of leaving you hanging. It would probably be nice for LW if Greta and Irving did the same, but alas, their other behaviors don’t leave much room for hope!

  29. I’ve had a number of weddings happen where it seems like ALLLLLL of my friends have been invited to Old-Friend-Now-Mainly-A-Facebook-Friend’s wedding and I haven’t.

    Here is the very simple, very effective, no-drama way to react when people ask if you’re going to so-and-so’s wedding: “Oh, I can’t make it. Are you going?”
    For when people ask if you went / mention they didn’t see you there: “Oh, I couldn’t make it, how was it?” “How lovely. Did you see that cat video / tv show / recent non-wedding event?”

    1. Me too! Internet Fist-Bump of Solidarity! We’ve lost touch outside of Facebook, and I know that’s just the course of things sometimes, but I still feel a twinge of sadness and left-out-ness when I see all of my high school group smiling prettily in bridesmaid gowns. When asked if I was going, I employed similar scripts to yours and tacked on a genuine “I’m really happy for them and hope it’s amazing!”

      I’m afraid I didn’t handle it as well when a former grad school friend got married. We were thick as thieves during school, even had apartments next to each other. She moved away to another part of the state after grad school, and once she moved I felt the total brush-off. Big drop-off in responses to texts and emails. I visited her new city not long after she moved and tried making plans with her, which she blew off. I invited her to all of my wedding events last year, and each invitation was met with a curt “Nope, can’t make it!” Then this year she got married, and I was not invited. I finally got the hint. Soon after, I ran into a fellow graduate who asked me if I was going (as he was). The soil was still fresh around the African Violet I’d planted, and I was like “NOPE. I wasn’t invited, actually! In fact, we’ve barely talked at all since she moved. So I guess that’s that!” He was a little taken aback, and I regret unleashing my frustration on him. I think I managed to sneak in a polite “But I hope it’s fun!” before dashing off. Lesson learned – deal with feelings on own time, employ brief and polite responses in the future!

    2. Why not just say you aren’t invited? This has happened a lot to me – I have a few close friends and a wider circle of acquaintances that have generally not invited me to their weddings. It doesn’t make any sense to me to imply I was invited, particularly if it gives the impression that I’m never showing up for anyone’s wedding.

  30. LW, I think Im missing the problem here. Weddings are about the happy couple; it is the sole event in their lives when all attending ought to be on best behaviour, be genuinely delighted for them, say how lovely they look, and fit in around them. Why on earth would you put yourself through such a thing for people you dont even like? Are you a masochist?

    I dont understand why you are upset at not being invited to an event where you have to swallow your pride, dress up, spend money to attend (even if just transport or bar costs) and spend the time smiling politely, gushing with everyone about how beautiful it is and how happy you are for Greta and Irving, and so on. Plus giving them a thoughtful gift of course.

    LW, I really dont mean to sound harsh, but however I consider things, I cant find a reason why you would do this which paints you in any kind of a nice light. You dont like them. You surely dont want to go (if youre that desparate for a free buffet, find the opening of some art shows instead). Dont go. So, dont make a fuss about not being invited, as you wont go anyway.

    I always try to empathise with letter writers, and I know there are at least two sides to every situation, and youre clearly resentful here, and Greta and Irving might be truly terrible and have hurt you in ways we dont know about. But I cant see anything positive here. Dont go, and dont raise it. Move on.

  31. I don’t understand the part where a save the date for a wedding would raise an expectation to be invited to a bridal shower, unless you were much closer friends than you say you are.
    I think it is way too late to try to have that conversation about your dead parrot friendship. You moved them from friend to acquaintance some time ago and now it appears they hav edone the same in as non confrontational way as possible.

    1. Agreed—it’s weird and rude to send a save-the-date and fail to follow up with an invitation, but neither a s-t-d nor an actual invitation implies that the invitee would also be asked to a shower. Not everyone expected to show up at a wedding shows up to a shower or a bachelorette party.

  32. Several people said something similar, but it occurs to me there’s also a difference between “we sent you a save the date and then decided we didn’t have room for you so invited you without saying anything” and “we sent you a save the date and then you started fading out on us and didn’t seem to want to be friends so we didn’t send you an invitation”. In all cases, it is (I think?) rude to ask someone to save the date and then not follow up at all. But in the middle of planning a wedding, it’s obviously really hard to phone/email someone and say “you seem to be avoiding me and don’t really like me any more, do you still want to come to my wedding or not”, and even though it might be called on to have that conversation, it does have a real cost that it will most likely lead to a big argument and rehashing all the ways they’re bad for you etc.

    So it’s rude, and maybe it’s because they were deliberately rude or lazy, or maybe it’s because they knew it was socially awkward and were forced to guess which option would be more polite. But in this case, you DIDN’T want to go, so despite their other failings, they mostly guessed right in this case. And it’s pointless to insist they should have invited you in case you wanted to go, when you didn’t — Ms Manners regularly points out, that even if someone DOES get etiquette wrong and DOES really insult you, then unless there’s something particular you want them to do, it’s most often futile and rude to lecture them on what they should do instead.

    And won’t make you feel better. They screwed up a few things. Maybe they screwed up this a little bit, or a lot. Maybe they tried to get it right, maybe they didn’t. But now they’re gone, they can run their life as best they can without you, and I’m sorry the process of disentangling yourself was so difficulty, but you’ve DONE it and now you can stop worrying about them and move on, I hope.

  33. … aside from everything else, I’m really puzzled how asking someone to do the dishes is “passive aggressive”, even if done so in a whiny way? NOT doing the dishes maybe, pouting sure, but asking is not? (websites like “passive aggressive notes” often aren’t really passive aggressive either…)

    1. I get the sense that maybe Irving and Greta are in GENERAL passive-aggressive (case in point, responding to a friendship fade by first sending a wedding save-the-date and then not following up with an invite), so in that light, even the seemingly mundane details of how they go about life perhaps start to take on that hue. It’s kinda moot, because the big picture is that LW and her partner no longer enjoy Irving and Greta’s company, and that’s OK even if it’s hard to coherently explain why. The other key part of the big picture is of course for LW not to engage with (or in!) the passive-aggressiveness herself, hence the simple and excellent advice of “Enjoy your surprise free day and just don’t go to the wedding.”

    2. My ex used to do passive aggressive stuff like… “If you ever decide to bring the washing in” or “I guess that washing just lives on the line now”. Lots of stuff along the lines of “when are you going to do this thing” while skipping the steps of a) actually asking me to do the thing, and b) doing the thing himself if it was such a big deal. Shaming your partner into doing a thing IN FRONT OF COMPANY I think is pretty terrible and rude, and the manipulation of it being a public request adds the passive aggressive element.

      Relating directly to the letter though, I will say that Greta is not the only adult who sulks when they don’t get their way in D&D. Two dudes in my group get really angry-sullen when things don’t go their way and giving them suggestions only makes it worse because they take it as us thinking they don’t know how to play/are useless. I’m still not sure how to handle that, tbh.

  34. Is why Hannibal Lector is a protagonist rather than a villain. We all secretly wish we could wreak bloody revenge on people who are rude to us. They gained an advantage by ignoring the rules that help us function as a society. This must not stand. They pissed me off, they should regret it.

    They were rude to you. They are rude people. I pronounce internet judgement upon them. I diagnose them with a case of being really super rude. You are better than they are, because you weren’t rude. As your prize, you may answer “Because they rude as balls,” when asked why you’re not going to the wedding.

    There are no problems here. They don’t want you at their wedding, you don’t want to be at their wedding. Sweet.

  35. LW, I think I understand some of the things you may be feeling. But actually, this is probably a better situation than it feels like.

    I once had a friend, let’s call him Charlie. Charlie and I got quite close online and occasionally over the phone (even though I hate talking on the phone) although we only met once or twice in person. He was going through a lot of crap and I did all I could to support him. I stuck up for him when idiots on forums were bullying him, even if Charlie was being a dick too. I spent literally hours talking with him about his mental health issues and the massive problems they caused him in his life, even though he was really passive aggressive and I struggled to deal with that shit. I listened whenever he wanted to talk about the crap that kept landing on him, even if I felt awful myself. I talked him through difficult situations and helped him find solutions, even when I was in a bad place myself. For years.

    I put my problems and needs aside because whenever we talked, his took centre stage. It took me a while to realise that. My advice was never good enough for him, but I just assumed that was his Jerkbrain telling him there was no point because everything was hopeless.

    One day we had an argument on Facebook, which had become our only means of communication. He said I was no friend at all because I hadn’t wished him a happy birthday and because I didn’t initiate communication with him as frequently as he expected, asking how he was and so on. I pointed out today was my birthday (a few days after his: I hadn’t managed to get online in a week) and he hadn’t acknowledged that either and that it takes two people to stay in contact and he hadn’t done that either. I told him about some pretty serious and difficult stuff that was going on in my life, explaining that it had stopped me contacting pretty much anyone for a while. Most of my friends knew what I was going through, but Charlie had never really given me the chance to talk about myself.

    He then sent me a hate-filled reply about what a terrible person I was, how I clearly didn’t care about him and had been lying all the times I said I did, and then unfriended and blocked me so I couldn’t reply.

    LW, at first I was so angry that Charlie had taken away my ability to reply to him. I wanted to tell him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him. That despite his anger at me for not checking how he was, he’d actually never once asked me how I was or about anything in my life. That he expected me to be there for him without even telling me he needed me to, yet totally ignored me when I told him about the hard time I was having myself. That he’d totally ignored the massive amounts of time and energy I’d put into supporting him when he needed a friend so he could throw a Feelings!Bomb at me and tell me that he knew better than I did how I felt about him and I actually didn’t care about him in spite of my words AND my actions. Yet according to him I was the bad friend.

    I was so annoyed that I couldn’t tell him all this and more. It took quite a long time before I realised that I was better off telling MYSELF all this and evaluating whether I actually wanted to be in this toxic friendship that drained me and made me feel shitty. Which…hell no. This was the second time he had unfriended me, I guess as some sort of punishment. LW, I realised that Charlie had given me a gift, the gift of freedom from that toxicity. The gift of never having to contact him again.

    Tell me you have never once fantasised about never having to contact Greta and Irving again. Yes? This too is a gift. Take it.

    1. Yes, I understand these kind of feelings too, and I wanted to add that while everyone is absolutely right that your best bet is to do something else the day of the wedding and let it go…

      – it is okay for you to feel resentful of their rudeness
      – it is okay for you to feel angry with them in general
      – it is okay for you to have fantasies about totally telling them off
      – it is okay for you to wish that you could slow fade AT them
      – it is okay for you to take some time by yourself to wallow in your anger or let it run wild inside your head

      There’s a world of difference between what’s okay/advisable to actually do in your interactions with other people and what’s okay to allow in the privacy of your own mind in order to work through your emotions. When things went bad for the final time with my Darth, I had a period during which any passing idle thought of them was followed in my brain with imaginary conversations and visions of letting my anger demons run wild. Eventually the feelings faded, so that now, the thought of them is mostly “Yeah, they were kind a jerk and a really bad fit for me; it’s a good thing they’re not in my life anymore.” You don’t have to always be nice inside your own head; it doesn’t make you a bad person to have those thoughts and feelings.

      1. Agreed! It’s ok to feel all of these things, but don’t DO them. And while it is ok to feel these things, I’d give yourself a small window of time to wallow in all the feelings and then try to put it aside. Focus on friends and family you DO like spending time with, focus on hobbies and interests you enjoy, or go find new friends and/or hobbies. We all need a good pity party every once in a while, but we also need to put a limit on the party and get on with living too. A friendship break-up, even one that you were working to make happen, still hurts and you still need time to grieve, feel angry, etc., but don’t keep poking the wound every day, give it a rest, focus on everything else and it will fade more and more as time goes on.

  36. If you *did* want to go and be happy for them, you should follow up. (This happened to me once; there was no save-the-date, but it was common knowledge, and I felt suuuuper awkward being like “umm I don’t want to presume buuuuut”. Fortunately, everything turned out happily.)

    But if they do say “oops we did mean to invite you” and then you’re like “well, we can’t come anyway”, congratulations, you’ve made yourself look like a phenomenal douchecanoe. No one *really* wants to be a douchecanoe, right?

Comments are closed.