Alice, Should I Preserve My Circle of Friends by Accepting a Bridesmaid from Hell?

Alice, Should I Preserve My Circle of Friends by Accepting a Bridesmaid from Hell?

Ask Alice
May 16, 2016
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice,

I'm a part of a close-knit group of friends, one of whom (I'll call her Sarah), is getting married this summer. Right after she got engaged, Sarah had invited us all to be bridesmaids and we were all thrilled. Several months ago, one of our mutual friends, (I'll call her Nicole), moved back to the states and settled down in our city. We'd all been friendly with Nicole in the past, but usually kept her semi-out of the loop because she can be, well... abrasive.

Most conversations with her are one-sided since she only likes to talk about herself and her interests. She constantly interrupts, doesn't listen well, and often makes backhanded comments. When Nicole found out Sarah was getting married, she assumed she would be a bridesmaid as well. Sarah didn't have the heart to reject her and Nicole is now part of the bridesmaid clan.

Flash forward: I got engaged on New Year's Day. I'm planning on inviting the same group of friends to be my bridesmaids when I get married early next year, but now I'm in a major pickle. Over the last few months I've seen what a nightmare Nicole can really be (constantly comparing Sarah's wedding plans to what she did at her own wedding, trying to get Sarah to change the date of her bridal shower to better fit her own schedule, insisting she would be a better wedding planner than Sarah's wedding planner, etc.). Even though we limit our contact with Nicole to strictly wedding-related events, those few interactions cause too much stress and drama for what should be a fun time. She has moments where she's perfectly sweet and considerate, but they are often overshadowed by her inability to interact with others (which I know stem from some of her deep insecurities).

So my question is this: Do I invite everyone to be a bridesmaid but Nicole and risk what will most likely be an awful confrontation (which I'm sure the rest of the girls will be dragged into)? Or do I invite her to be a bridesmaid and try my best to shut down her potential drama before it starts? My fiance says I shouldn't invite her and not feel bad about it. Sounds great to me, but I know fantasizing about doing that and actually doing that are two very different things. I think the hurt she'll feel if she isn't invited to be a bridesmaid will be greater than the relief I'd feel if she were excluded. But then again, I don't want to deal with the same drama Sarah is dealing with now. What are your thoughts?

Say Yes to the Stress

Dear Stress,

You may be on friendly terms with Nicole, but it sounds like you're not truly friends anymore nor interested in future friendship. While I understand the instinct to honor past friendships at the time of your wedding and to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation, I think now is the time to cut the cord with her. Wedding planning already has the potential for strain and stress dealing with the logistics and finances. The more worry about relationship dynamics surrounding your wedding you can eliminate the better.

You already know what you want the bottom line to be: for Nicole not to be one of your bridesmaids. Will a confrontation when she finds out be awkward and unpleasant? Probably. But it will be short-lived. So your choice is whether you want a quick shot of misery or to have it doled out in increments over the course of your wedding planning and wedding. My advice is to rip the Band-Aid off this relationship and enjoy the relief that follows.

Readers, what would you do?

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