Dear Carolyn: My daughter was engaged to a young man who wanted a big wedding. They both saved to pay for it, but in practice the burden of organizing and paying deposits fell on my daughter, with the expectation that later they would either join the finances or he would reimburse her.
Well, two months before the wedding he ran off with a pregnant girlfriend. My daughter is overwhelmed by the emotional fallout and the financial obligations. I volunteered to notify the guests about the cancellation.
Some guests, especially on our side of the family, complained about their own nonrefundable plane tickets and demanded that we reimburse them.
What is our obligation to these people? We are not in dire financial straits, but neither are they, and I feel that all financial support I can muster should be going to my daughter. Emotionally, I am appalled so many relatives and friends saw it fit to complain and demand more from us with only perfunctory words of support for my daughter ("I am sorry about your engagement, but can I have a few hundred dollars to cover my plane cancellation and my new dress?").
I cannot see this situation as anything other them showing their true colors, and I don't want to have any relationship with them anymore.
Canceled: Wow. I can’t see it as anything else either.
So, yeah, you don’t need me — you’ve got this. You have seen their true colors, and you are free not to have any relationship with them anymore.
If you’d like, you can give them the runaway fiance’s number to see about reimbursement.
Re: Canceled Wedding: My sympathies to the bride. And perhaps it should be suggested to the complainers, since they have those tickets, that they use them and come to offer THEIR sympathetic support to your daughter, who has just had the rug pulled out from under her.
Anonymous: This would be ingenious, except that it means inviting people to visit who just revealed themselves to be butthats.
I guess if it would involve a complete transformation of perspective — “Huh! I was just asking a horrifically jilted bride for my money back, when in fact my first impulse ought to have been an ounce or two of compassion” — then their showing up to console the bride might work.
Dear Carolyn: My best friend of decades started yelling, "Dye your hair! It's embarrassing to be seen with you!" the last time I saw her. What makes her think my value as a friend is whether I'm the wrong color accessory? Haven't seen or spoken to her since.
— Harassed Over Gray Hair
Harassed Over Gray Hair: It makes no sense to me whatsoever, to the extent that I can’t find any way to empathize with someone who’d say that. There is some satisfying symmetry, though, to the (apparent) end of this friendship: Now you’d both be embarrassed to be seen with each other.
I knew someone who started commenting on everyone’s weight; plenty of people grow warmer and more compassionate as they age, or more focused on certain interests, or more emotionally liberated, so it makes sense, I guess, that others would change in less likable ways.
Or maybe she’s just loopy. Forgive or not as you see fit.