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I have had a friend during my college days. Unfortunately, it was only one directional and she never reciprocated my friendship appropriately. She used me for monetary purpose and mistreated me whenever I visited her home.

There was an occasion where I really needed some legal advice and her father guided me appropriately. I did thank him for his help.

However, her verbal abuse continued and I distanced myself from her, completely. And it has been quite a few years now.

I would be attending a wedding in a few months and I have understood that she is in the guest list as well.

Had it been a few years back, I would have hated the thought of seeing her face let alone meet her, but now, I am more mature and want to handle the situation appropriately. The kind of person she is, I am sure she would want to strike a conversation with me.

If her dad is at the place, I'll ensure that I speak to him in-person.

I want to tackle the situation and handle it without becoming uncomfortable or avoiding her completely. I don't want to appear condescending or intentionally short spoken, but I also do not want to encourage her to speak with me at length. I'm looking for a way to acknowledge her presence in a normal way without encouraging a conversation, essentially. How can I go about doing that?

  • hi @SandyC. Your situation reminds me of another question here on IPS. I'm not saying it's a duplicate, but I see many similarities. Maybe give it a read and see if the answers there help you too. – Kaspar Scherrer Mar 9 '18 at 12:38
  • I also feel that this one is similar: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/904/… to your problem. – Abhigyan Chattopadhyay Mar 9 '18 at 16:08
  • 'She used me for monetary purpose and mistreated me whenever I visited her home.' In what sense was she your friend, why did you visit her home? – Spagirl Mar 12 '18 at 16:05
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A key part to your potential answer is something you brought up yourself:

I am more mature and want to handle the situation appropriately.

No doubt that your friend will most likely be the same - true they could be just as they were before however you shouldn't necessarily be thinking of the worst case scenario. They might not turn up, they might avoid you, they too might have changed themselves.

Either way - should they decide to strike up a conversation you need to decide if you really don't want to talk to them; they might have changed in such a way that you find that actually you don't mind talking to them again - and that you actually enjoy talking to them now.

Of course you're still more than free to wish to not talk to them - so if you do find yourself in a situation where you are talking to them, just keep things brief. Just ask how they are doing generally, and try avoiding going into depth about anything in particular. Depending on how long you want the conversation to last you can ask as much or as little as you like. If she is extremely talkative and you find that the conversation has been going on for "too long" (for your liking) - then you could always find a reason to move on or end it; some ideas are:

  • "Well it's been lovely catching up, however I think I should go and do some more mingling/should catch up with some other friends too"

  • "Well it's been lovely talking again, but I think I'm going to grab some food/go home/go to the bathroom" (depending on the time of the wedding)

Or any other reason you can think of to leave a conversation.

9

Weddings always seem to have a lot of drama associated with them. People get worried about others causing a scene, uninvited guests showing up, and other things happening. Most of the time, these scenarios never materialize.

Your friend has most likely changed, as have you. I think you are judging her by what you remember of her and not what she might be now. There is pain, I can see, and it makes sense that based on your experience you don't want much to do with her.

This isn't a reunion, it's an event. I assume you're bringing a date to this. If so, spend your time with your date. I'm sure that he/she won't mind. :) If this old friend comes over to chat, acknowledge her, give her a chance to say "hi" and chat for a sec. Then I'd suggest saying,

"This is my date, [x]". It's been a pleasure, but [x] and I are going to enjoy this dance together. Thanks for stopping by!"

There's no harm in being civil here and then you can take some sense of accomplishment in not being too rough on someone at a wedding.

If she wants to make this into a reunion, then I'd suggest focusing on your date.

"I'm sorry, I'm here with [x] this evening and I'd really like to focus my attention there."

And sincerely wish her a pleasant evening. Again, be graceful and pleasant but firm that you don't want to spend a lot of time with her.

  • Is 'bringing a date' customary for weddings? Because if this is not the case most of this answer is based on a wrong assumption. – Hans Janssen Mar 12 '18 at 16:17
  • @Geliormth You make a good point. Generally in the US your invite includes a +1, so you can bring your significant other/boyfriend/girlfriend. – baldPrussian Mar 12 '18 at 17:00
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    @baldPrussian Yes, but many people (such as myself) don't have a +1. And I've been to a lot of wedding receptions by myself and had invitations to many more. (I live in the US.) Good answer regardless. – user4245 Mar 12 '18 at 23:40
2

I have a lot of practice with exactly this kind of situation. I think the answer is really pretty simple. Treat her and interact with her exactly the same way (I hope) you would an unappealing or boring stranger at a party -- be polite, make whatever small talk is required, and find the earliest polite opportunity to leave the conversation.

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