The problem: Thirty years ago, my husband and I socialized with three other couples before everyone moved away and I got divorced. This year, I got an e-mail from one of the women with two photos attached — one of her son’s wedding and one of our kids together when they were young. We have kept in touch, and I invited her and her husband to my son’s wedding, although they were unable to come. I knew her son was getting married, and I understand how tough guest lists are to manage. Then I found out that the other two couples were invited. In her e-mail, written lovingly, she suggested that we get together soon in another city, but my impulse is to decline or ignore her. I feel hurt and excluded.
Low road: E-mail her your mailing address, since clearly you “never got the official invitation.” Ahem.
High road: It’s hard not to take personally the seeming slight, but don’t take it personally. As you said, wedding lists are fraught, especially today when couples are marrying later and want to be surrounded by their friends.
It’s also possible that you perceive your friendship differently. While you consider her a close friend, she likely values you as an old friend with a shared history. Taking the high road assumes that she cares for you and meant well, even if she seems a bit clueless about how her photos would be received. Ultimately, this was just a big party.
Keeping in touch with someone for three decades also is worth celebrating. You needn’t jump on the next plane to see her. But you might send warm wishes for the newlyweds and your hope that, should she find reason to be in your city, you’d love to catch up over dinner or drinks.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad.