Feel like a truly lousy friend right now

I went to a friend's wedding today. It is quite a good friend, who I knew from the beginning of secondary school, so we have been friends around 15 years. Although we haven't ever been each other's closest friend, we have always kept in contact and made time to each other when possible.

A couple of years ago he went off round the world for a year on a missionary thing. He met someone in Guatemala and that is the lady he married today. I was really happy for him when I found out he'd met someone as he is the nicest, most conscientious and supportive guy you could meet but he has always been unlucky with relationships.

This should be a fantastic day. But I don't feel like that. I haven't ever really liked weddings, I just find them all so similar. It is supposed to be about these two fantastic unique people who have found each other but everyone does exactly the same thing...it feels plastic and ritualistic and I can't connect emotionally at all. I do feel happy for them as a couple but on the actual day I've felt...nothing. Numb, cynical and depressed by it all. I utterly hate myself for feeling like that, for the fact that whenever someone said how moving it was I felt like screaming no it isn't, it says nothing about what makes them the people they are.

I used to think I didn't like weddings because I always went to family ones. My family don't get on. They are really two-faced at weddings, they'll tell the couple it's wonderful and then bitch and slate it behind their backs, and I can't be doing with that, I loathe it. If you can't say something positive, shut up...

So I always thought it would be different at my friends' weddings. But even when I was a best man I couldn't connect to it...it felt like watching two actors playing my friends, speaking vows written by someone else that they would never use themselves. My favourite memory of being a best man was the casual rehearsal service, where my friend said his vows with such sincerity and seriousness that his fiancé burst out laughing, while he stood there, eyebrow raised in mock outrage. It was so spontaneous and so typical of them as the people I know and love that I found that far more sweet and moving than the actual service, which was just like every other wedding I've been to.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I just feel like a horrible person and a really awful friend right now. I wish I could just be happy for them instead of getting on my existentialist soapbox, but I can't seem to help it.

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5 Replies

  • Hate weddings as well so don't feel like a lousy friend - they just aren't everyone's cup of tea.

    Totally agree with the plastic quality - the important thing is that you were there for them and you got through it.

    Its the 'happy ever after' that gets to me.

    Admittedly going through a divorce also hasn't helped me - I think I'd find it really difficult to even be there nowadays - understand the desire to make a commitment but so angry with the legal side of things that I can't bring myself to feel comfortable with someone wanting to enter into that legal contract.

    Don't feel bad - you did much better than I could have done! Most definitely not a lousy friend.

  • I feel we are taught to expect far too much from weddings, the mothers have been planning them for their daughters practically since they were born. In all the effort to get the perfect wedding a lot of families do end up going down the road of a pretty much standard, not to mention expensive package, probably because the majority of relaitves just expect it to be that way. The planning takes a lot of effort, imagine how much planning and effort has to be put into creating a really unique event. Don't worry, you will have plenty of time to see how your friends unique journey through life develops. I suspect the lady who was so moved by the service was allowing her imagination to take hold, thinking about what will hopefully be a bright future for the couple, and not simply wowed by the vicars reading etc . let yourself keep hold of the memory of the more natural rehearsal, and smile at the future your friend will have. There will be plenty more chances to tell your friend how pleased you are for him.

  • You have no reason to be angry at yourself. The couple wouldn't have known how you are feeling. With respect, you were probably the last person on their minds. If he's enough of a friend to care, he's enough of a friend to know that you struggle in these circumstances. I don't like people in general. It's not that I'm not happy for the things that go well in their lives, or I don't feel sad when bad things happen, I just don't really connect to people. You're not alone x

  • Hi

    I'm sorry you are feeling so bad about not having enjoyed the wedding but the important thing is that it meant something to the couple. They can often be false situations because many people don't like saying loving things in front of everyone and at the same time are nervous usually in front of people, and also the guests put on the smiling faces because they should and not spontaneously. Try not to beat yourself up about not having enjoyed it, just let it go. It's sad that you felt people in your family were two-faced, it's difficult, if they were honest it might have seemed horrible of them. People are strange and say all sorts of things because they think they should and not what they really feel, the important thing is whether they are honest and decent people in personal relationships, whether you like them as people. I wonder whether it made you wonder whether they are sincere with you and can be trusted? Maybe that's something that comes from your childhood experiences?


  • Thank you all for the kind replies - I do feel better knowing I'm not the only one that finds these things difficult. Always feels like you are the only one when you're there. I wasn't really worried that the couple would notice, I think I just expect more of myself.

    I do wonder whether people are sincere at weddings - although I don't normally, day to day. I suspect it is related to previous experiences, being so used to someone saying the bride looks like she's wearing a giant meringue as soon as she's out of earshot, and so forth. I think a lot of the sentiment does feel false because of that, I do to tend to question what everyone's saying when they're safely out of range.