Q. My fiancee and I have planned a wedding with only a few dozen people and it will be meaningful and not extravagant. My best friend since high school is typically not dating anyone, and wasn’t until a month or two before we sent out our wedding invitation. So, for her, we didn’t say “and guest.” I figured she would be fine alone because she knows my family well and has other friends coming as guests. She is now really into the guy and says it would “mean a lot to her” if she could bring him. Not only does this throw off our plans and cost us more money but this would open the floodgates, and I resent the pressure. Advice? —Frustrated
Normally with wedding quandaries, behavior starts to get so extreme and polarized so as to create caricatures. But here, to me, a best friend saying that it would “mean a lot to her” is an earnest and heartfelt request that deserves special consideration.
I completely understand it’s an inconvenience — your frustration is not in the wrong. But it also wouldn’t be wrong to consider that your close friend who usually doesn’t date has someone meaningful in her life now, and that goes well with the spirit of celebration. Plus, your wedding seems a great size for this accommodation: not so small that an extra, non-acquainted guest would wreck the vibe, but not so large that any “floodgates” will be more than a trickle. It’s a cost-benefit analysis, and though weddings often call for a hard line, given her closeness to you, I’d encourage some wiggle.
Dad and his big fat mouth
Q. My father is very judgmental about overweight people and has never been able to shut up about it. If he sees strangers eating junk food, he comments under his breath, or if I’ve put on weight he finds a way to bring it up. My brother is going through depression and has put on a lot of weight since my father has last seen him. It’s not something that we talk about, but we are all meeting up for a vacation in a month or so, and I want to tell my dad in advance to lay off. But I also don’t think he will and wonder if that will make it worse, like if he decides to say something to my brother beforehand, then my brother will know I said he had put on weight. —Daughter of a Fat-Shamer
If your dad has behaved this way for years, then the pattern is so ingrained that I’m thinking a heads-up just gives him an extra month to be a jerk, rather than actually making him reflect upon his jerkhood. I would focus on supporting your brother, especially given his depression, and be a human shield from your dad’s nonsense in the actual moment. Practice pointed looks, changing the subject and saying, “Hey, now. I’m not going to listen to that on vacation.” Standing up to him privately once the time comes (has no one done this before?) also seems like a moral imperative.
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