Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I was somewhat surprised by your answer to a wife upset about attending her husband’s best friend’s wedding on the husband’s 40th birthday — a birthday they thought he might not reach due to medical problems.
I went to a niece’s Bat Mitzvah on my 50th birthday, and my niece wished me a happy birthday. We attended a cousin’s wedding on our 20th anniversary, and they asked everyone to toast us.
In the case in the letter, since the husband was asked to make a toast, would it have been so hard for the groom to ask everyone to wish his friend a happy birthday, as the wife thought he should have done? I think totally ignoring it was thoughtless.
It’s hard to argue with the idea that it would have been nice of the groom to say happy birthday.
But he didn’t — and so this couple had to make a decision: Hold a grudge because the best friend let the husband down, or move on?
Since it’s an adult, it’s a birthday, and it’s not unusual for people to forget things on their wedding days, it seems like lunacy even to consider denting a long, good friendship over it.
I also noted that when something is so important that they’d end a friendship over it, then they owed it to the friend to say how important it was before the fact, not after.
If the letter-writer could have done something to prevent a problem, then I’ll say so, for next time. But in most cases, waiting to hear that someone else is to blame for your problem amounts to a decision to stay stuck in a place of indignation, waiting for justice to be done. I’m not a fan.