Wow. Everything you hope to accomplish, you can accomplish in one move: Trust your revulsion and end your friendship with A (which obviously includes dropping out of the wedding). When A asks, tell her exactly why. B doesn’t even need to hear it from you; it’ll make its way around. I hope C follows your lead.
November 2008: Excluded from the wedding party
A girlfriend asked everyone in our close group to be a bridesmaid — everyone, that is, but me. Apparently I got bumped for the groom’s big sister. I’m trying to be supportive and take the “It’s your wedding, it should be how you want it to be” attitude . . . but feeling more than a little left out and a lot like she doesn’t feel as close to me as I do to her. Am I being unreasonable? Any tips for dealing with it gracefully?
— Last Kid Picked for Dodgeball
I know, intellectually, that trying to project how funny this will be in 10 years will offer no consolation. However, it’s just this kind of horrid, thoughtless behavior that softens us up and teaches us not to entrust our happiness to others lightly. In the short term, as you have identified already, it also teaches us who our friends are, and whom we can trust. This here bride, not really your friend.
To this hurtful message, though, I think I can safely add a buffer: Just because she’s thoughtless enough to do this to you now, and just because you’re apparently eighth on her list of seven friends, that doesn’t mean this friendship is over.
Why? Something else that always seems to come out 10 years later (as you’re regaling your current friends with the tale of the Great Wedding Party Dissing of 2008) is that everyone else can tell a story like this, too -- from the other side. If anyone claims to have made it to middle adulthood without being able to cite a moment when s/he, wittingly or not, treated someone cruelly, then that person is either delusional or a saint.
So do as you’re doing, square up and take it. It’s for your own dignity, but that alone could improve your standing with the bride, if that’s what you want. And if you’re not sure where she stands with you now, then be civil and open-minded, and let time take care of the rest.
March 2007: What if I hate the groom?
How does one respectfully decline an invitation to be a bridesmaid without hurt feelings and permanent damage to the friendship? I’m afraid I’ll be asked to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of my best friend (who stood as my maid of honor several years ago).