Feeling Hurt

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I used to be friends with a couple. To be clear I was much closer with
one and met the other after they started dating and married. They
have a regular monthly dinner party at which I used to be a regular
invitee (of twelve chairs). It’s like a salon, with attendees from various
professions, and lively intelligent conversation about books, movies,
the arts and news. As the circle expanded, people began to lose their
regular seats, but now I have slipped way down to their alternate list.
I am invited maybe three times a year, usually a week or so before,
which means someone else dropped out. Part of me wants to ask if I
did something to offend them, though I am pretty sure part of it is
jealousy on the part of the wife, who has always been slightly cool to
me. She thinks I dated her partner, but we have always only been
friends. The last time I was invited was four months ago, very very
last minute. I went and had a good time. They seemed friendly but I
was certainly a fill-in. The other guests all said how nice it was to see
me “after so long.” I was at a loss about what to say. I hold a summer
party once a year. I can accommodate a large crowd. Should I invite
them and be friendly and hope they reciprocate? Should I poke at this
through a friend to see if I have somehow offended them? Or should I
not invite them (knowing people we friend in common will attend),
which I am pretty sure is the worst choice?

Feeling Hurt

Dear Feeling Hurt:

Social relationships are a minefield of potential hurt feelings,
misinterpreted etiquette, and ways to lose friends. That’s especially
true if the relationships aren’t close or aren’t founded in good
communication. This is a classic case of several factors causing
mismatched expectations on both sides. The punch line is that you are
likely more invested in this friendship than the couple is, and you’re
probably better off lowering your expectations or you will feel hurt
whenever you think about it.


Have your party and invite them. When you send their invite (which I’ll
assume is happening by email or phone) add a tagline saying you hope
they’ll extend the invite to the salon crowd, whom you enjoy having
met through them. Note: If you add “and I miss seeing,” you open
yourself to more hurt. See if they come, and treat them as you would
want them to treat you, as welcome guests.