The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Anxious bridesmaid feels she ruined a wedding

- Amy Dickinson

DEAR AMY >> My best friend and I have been drifting apart, due to conflictin­g schedules, but we still always tried to make time for each other.

Last year she asked me to be maid of honor for her wedding. I was flattered and very nervous, as I have severe social anxiety.

Eventually, she “demoted” me to bridesmaid and had another person step in. This did not cause any problems; I was actually relieved.

When the day finally came, I had a major panic attack right before we walked down the aisle. I was very unsteady, and the groomsman basically held me up and was very kind as we walked up the aisle.

However, when he finally had to let me go so we could each go to our place, I tripped over my foot and fell. I was mortified, but I got back up and stood in my place.

After the ceremony, I burst out in tears to the maid of honor. I felt I had ruined the wedding. She was very kind and offered me words of comfort. I calmed down and everything seemed fine the rest of the night.

Now fast forward eight months later, and I have not heard a word from the bride. I apologized profusely for what I did — and nothing. I have to assume that this has to do with her wedding because I have no idea what else it may be.

What do I do?

— The Banished Bridesmaid

DEAR BANISHED >> Iam happy that you were surrounded by comfort and kindness during your frightenin­g anxiety attack.

Here’s a question: Did Jennifer Lawrence tripping on her way up the stairs to pick up her Oscar ruin the Oscar ceremony? (No.)

Of course you didn’t ruin this wedding.

However, your reaction after the fact might have inflated your role in your friend’s big day.

When you apologized for “ruining” this wedding, you were saying two things: “Your wedding was ruined. The headline of your wedding — the most important thing that happened that day — was me falling.”

Neither of those things is true. Both statements seem to make the day about you.

I hope you will sit down with a therapist to talk about your social anxiety and the impact it has on your life. You may be able to learn strategies to head off an anxiety attack at the pass. Give the bride a breather and contact her down the road, when you’ve achieved some perspectiv­e.

DEAR AMY >> Why is it considered appropriat­e to take photograph­s of people at any time and at any place — and use them however you wish?

I’ve had my picture taken in classes, at seminars and convention­s, at parties, at family gatherings, and even at worship, always by surprise and never after asking permission.

When I ask the photograph­er to move on, they seem surprised and offended and act as if I’m being a rude wet blanket.

Actually, they are interrupti­ng our activities, breaking into our conversati­on and concentrat­ion, and assuming that we are agreeing to have our privacy violated.

I wouldn’t mind being asked to be part of a posed group photo, so I could decline politely, if I chose.

As it is, it seems as if participat­ing in any kind of group activity means that your picture could be published and circulated anywhere without your knowledge or permission.

Is there any subtle and graceful way to deter these shutterbug­s?

— Camera Shy

DEAR SHY >> It is possible that — when you sign up for a seminar or purchase tickets for an event — you are tacitly agreeing to have your photo taken and used, without realizing it. Some organizati­ons embed language into their contractua­l boilerplat­e that basically says that anyone purchasing a ticket (or clicking “agree”) is also agreeing to have their photo taken and shared.

Otherwise, I don’t think you should search for subtle or graceful ways to deter people from taking your picture. You should simply say, “Please don’t take my picture.”

DEAR AMY >> I was distressed by your anti-Semitic answer to “Disgusted Husband,” who was refusing to attend an orthodox bar mitzvah ceremony because he thought it was “sexist.” Shame on you.

— Also Disgusted

DEAR DISGUSTED >> In my answer, I pointed out that many conservati­ve faith practices (including conservati­ve Christian denominati­ons) are sexist “in structure, if not on the surface.” I also pointed out that anyone has the right to practice their religion any way they choose, and that if “Disgusted” didn’t like it, he should stay home.

DEAR AMY >> My wife, children and I were invited to my sister’s home for a holiday family dinner with about 20 other relatives.

The dinner hour was made known to us in advance and, as we live several states away and had an unavoidabl­e activity for our son that morning, we let my sister know that we would arrive as close to the dinner hour as possible.

Well, we hit traffic and were late by 30 minutes. We had been in near-constant contact with my sister throughout, so she was aware of the fact that we were running behind.

When we arrived, the entire group was outside the home, engaged in an activity, and we were told, “The leftovers are in the kitchen.”

My family ended up standing in the kitchen, picking at cold leftovers and making the best of it.

We stayed calm but internally we were upset that the group saw fit to eat without us, knowing that we were on the way!

I realize that the food was served when hot and that we were the ones who were late. Does the fact that the hostess invited us and knew we were running late justify our hurt at the group not waiting for us to participat­e in a family dinner, or are we overreacti­ng to an unfortunat­e situation?

— Cold Turkey in Maryland

DEAR COLD TURKEY >> I think it’s reasonable to expect a person to delay a dinner for a few minutes if you are caught in traffic and have let them know your exact ETA (which, these days, is very easy to do — down to the minute).

However, your expectatio­n that your sister would hold a dinner for 20 people is impolite on your part. Some families run on a very tight timetable — where others are superloose. You no doubt already know which category your family falls into.

You were the people running late. Your message to your sister should have been: “We’re so sorry. We don’t want to inconvenie­nce everyone else; please go ahead, and we’ll catch up when we get there.”

I’m not sure why you and your family would choose to stand in the kitchen, internally sulking, when you could have taken your plates outside and enjoyed the fine Maryland weather along with your other relatives. Arriving late is one thing, but you don’t get to sulk when you do.

DEAR AMY >> You recently responded to a letter from someone who complained about others “vaping weed” in a restaurant. The letter writer (and you) seemed to assume that weed had a distinctiv­e smell when it is vaped. It does not.

Maybe everybody should mind their own business — and you should do your research!

— Upset

DEAR UPSET >> I have vaped nicotine and know it does not have an odor. To research this question, I consulted various vaping message boards, many of which noted that vaping weed has a distinct odor.

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