Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

My best friend got married last year during the height of Covid with ten people in her backyard. I just got engaged and I am happily planning my big wedding in the next couple of months. I want to include my friend in the wedding prep but don’t want her to feel upset by the huge differences in our parties. Is it better to leave her out of the details, should I ask her if helping is hurtful, or do I just get out of my own head?! I value her friendship so much and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.

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Friendship Fumble

 

Dear Fumble,

All you picky eaters out there, this one is for you. You are at a meal and the host is gracious and kind. She cannot help but continue to offer you dish after dish, ignoring your polite refusals, and piles your plate with unfamiliar fare. You do your best to be solicitous and polite, but find it difficult to swallow the unpronounceable dishes curated for the foodies of the world. The lovely host continues to insist that you taste “just one bite,” positive that her dishes will radically change Ms. Baked Chicken into Ms. Foie Gras. You demur, you affirm that you have never been as full as you are at this moment, and take a blood oath to try some “next time.” “You must try this. You will definitely, positively, maybe, love it,” becomes a battle cry. Leaving you dejected, frustrated, with a mouthful that you cannot eat, and of course, hungry.

 

Sometimes…

Mazel Tov on your engagement! It is wonderful that you have a friend that you care about so deeply. She was unable to celebrate her wedding with a traditional big party, while you plan a wedding for many and without restriction. You worry about hurting her feelings with constant reminders that her wedding celebration was nothing like the one you are preparing for. You are not sure what to do, and I certainly appreciate how deeply you care about her feelings. In that same vein, I hope we can assume that she cares about your feelings and happiness as well.

 

The Questions Are Complicated…

Your best friend got married last year. She was tremendously blessed to find her zivug during such a difficult time. She likely understands this and has made peace with the small wedding she had or has planned for bigger celebrations in the future. Taking command of how she should feel about your wedding is beyond the scope of friendship. Surely, your friendship allows for individual feelings and emotions.

 

And the Answers Are Simple.

Take a moment to sit with your friend. Explain to her that you hope that she can help you plan for your wedding and wait for her answer. If she is glad to assist, she will likely tell you so, and if she is uncomfortable in any way, I hope she will have the space to say so as well. Then leave it alone. You share your position and she will share hers and then proceed with the answer you have been given. There is no need to remind your friend of your wedding disparities at every turn or to constantly beg her forgiveness for something not done. Respect your friendship with your kind request for her assistance and respect her answer the first time. Let her assemble her own plate and your friendship will remain full and satisfied.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at hennihalberstam@gmail.com to schedule a phone session.