My friend sex-shamed me. Do I have to include her in my wedding?

Question: “I’m struggling with whether it’s worth it to make up with an old friend before I get married for the sake of keeping the peace with the rest of my friend group. I have a group of friends (about 10 of us) that all studied abroad together. We got really close and when we came back we all lived together. During that time me and one of the girls, Katie, had a pretty big falling out. She was very judgmental of my sex life and I constantly felt shamed It was because of this that I started to distance myself from her, but I remained fairly close with the rest of the group.

After college, things got even worse when I heard Katie’s boyfriend (now husband) say racist things about people of my ethnicity. She invited me to their wedding, but I never had to make a decision on going because of COVID and a reduced guest list. I’ve started seeing Katie a bit more since people are getting married and having showers, but so much time has gone by that now it’s just cordial.

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Now the issue. I am preparing for a wedding next fall. I was approached by a mutual friend who asked if I was going to invite Katie to my wedding. I said no, that we have to cut our list of family down already so it will really only be close friends and family. She proceeded to lecture me on how it would be weird to not have Katie at a big life event for one of us in the crew, and that Katie and I should hash out our differences.

I’m upset because I thought things with Katie had improved, and over the years I was constantly left out of events that Katie and this group of friends have all had together. Things as small as birthdays to bigger events like joint bachelorette parties. I was excluded from her bridal and baby shower. I asked this friend why Katie was allowed to exclude me from life events but I wasn’t. She said that those events are in the past now but moving forward we should prevent it from happening again.

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I am now feeling pressured to invite her to my wedding, even though I don’t really want her (or her husband) there. I am having a hard time understanding why it is my responsibility to patch things for others feelings, when my feelings were never taken into account. Should I just invite her? If I invite her to the wedding does that mean I have to invite her to things like my bachelorette party?”

Answer: First of all congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Now straight to business: You don’t need to invite Katie if you don’t want to. Your guest list is solely up to you and your partner, and you shouldn’t feel any pressure from a friend. Also, it seems like you are having a somewhat intimate wedding and when Katie had the same experience you didn’t make the cut. Was it weird for everyone in the group at her wedding and other life events without you? Your “friend” was quick to forget this, and while I don’t fault her for asking out of curiosity, to then guilt trip you and deny the double standard isn’t OK. You mention already having to cut down family for an appropriate guest list. Would you rather cut Katie or great aunt Sally if it came down to it? To me, it seems like Katie and her racist husband would be an easy decision here.

At the end of the day, it isn’t your responsibility to play the peacekeeper, and it sounds like you’re happy with how your relationship with Katie is. There doesn’t seem to be a need to “hash things out” unless you really want to for your own peace of mind. It sounds like this friend of yours is closer to Katie and maybe felt the need to insert herself due to loyalty despite it being inappropriate. It is interesting to me that this friend group has been OK excluding you for Katie’s comfort in the past, but you aren’t allowed the same consideration on YOUR wedding day.

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If you want to just invite her to your wedding to keep the peace you certainly can, but that doesn’t mean she needs an invite to your bachelorette party. I view bachelorette parties as an experience for close, consistent, meaningful friendships. It doesn’t seem like she fits that standard, and she didn’t invite you to hers so no need to feel obligated to extend an invite. Choose your guest list based on who makes you feel loved and supported, not to make others happy. If this friend or any others from the group won’t support you on your day because Katie isn’t in attendance, then maybe they weren’t quality friends in the first place.

Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast, “Two Hot Takes” where she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY’s readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at Mabsher@gannett.com or you can click here to share your story with her.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Do I have to invite a frenemy to my wedding to keep the peace?

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