Tolerance.

by Penelope Smallbone

My “best” friend is getting married. Ever since she started dating this guy, she’s been very distant in our friendship and even more critical/judgmental of me than she ever was. Then they got engaged and I was ecstatic. I am maid of honor! I flew to St. Louis on a whim to help her dress shop. I planned (and paid for) part of a bachelorette party/shower. I bought a $200 dress. I bought my flight to come to the wedding in July. I’ve handled a few stressed-out-bride phone calls to date.

A week ago I received my wedding invitation in the mail and was startled to find there was no “+1” included in my reply card. I thought for sure this was a mistake, since I had already spoken with her about bringing one of my best guy friends as my date. I emailed her to find out, saying “so, I can’t bring a date…?” Her response was:

Nope. If you had a significant significant other you totally could, but you don’t because you don’t want one… 🙂

My jaw dropped, and stayed there for a good two minutes. I was wildly appalled, hurt, and felt completely discriminated against. It’s bad enough that I will be standing in front of her church as the “non-Christian friend” who they all know from her stories in bible group, and now I’m not even allowed to bring a companion to this very church-y wedding. I may choose to be single, but that doesn’t mean I have to be alone at a couples event. I felt like she was slapping me on the wrist for my decision not to be committed to a romantic relationship at this point in my life.

I ended up speaking with my mother to seek her advice. She said it’s probably not worth it to put up a fight. This is my friend’s day, and it’s clear we are moving in separate directions. We probably won’t speak much after the wedding. I should go with the flow and bite the bullet, knowing that in the end I will have taken the higher road. But I said, “Mom. I want to do that, but it is so frustrating from my end. I’m so hurt by her choice of words and I’m having trouble seeing the take-away lesson here.”

She said, “Tolerance. That’s the lesson. You’ll remember how you are feeling now and someday when it’s your turn you won’t treat your friends the same way. You’ll be more aware of other people and their beliefs, and you’ll be more tolerant and understanding of their differences. That’s the lesson. …Besides, if she makes such a fuss about you being non-Christian, maybe you don’t want someone in your life who is so critical of you in the first place.”

So I’m taking the high road, after shelling out a total of $900 to attend and be a part of a short daytime wedding that doesn’t even include a sit-down meal. And I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not gaining my best friend’s husband. I’m just losing a best friend.

Advertisements