Dear Mrs. McVeigh
A longtime, very close friend asked me to be a bridesmaid at her upcoming wedding. But at twenty-five and in an entry-level position at my job, I simply can't afford to buy the bridesmaid's dress, or to throw the showers and bachelorette party my role would require. (Let alone, the plane ticket I'll have to purchase to get to the wedding itself.) When I confided to the bride-to-be my reluctance to participate in her nuptials, she was crushed and felt I had offended her. Should I have done differently? And are there steps I can take to make sure this doesn't hurt our friendship long-term?
Dear Regretfully Declines,
You did the right thing by being honest with your friend. The bride to be should be understanding and sensitive to your situation – it is not uncommon at your age to be in this position. You are smart to decline instead of incur a debt that may set you back for a while. If she acted offended, I would go back to her and discuss it again, encouraging her to express her true feelings about the situation. If she is a true friend she will either offer to take on any cost for you to be a bridesmaid, or tell you she understands and drop the whole matter.