DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am 30 years old and married. Occasionally I encounter someone I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time -- since before I was engaged. A co-worker from a past job, a former high school or college classmate, an ex-girlfriend of my brother. These people have asked me why I did not invite them to my wedding.
I am puzzled, because they never responded to any of my previous attempts to stay in contact: holiday cards that I sent to their families, lunch or party invitations that I extended through mutual friends, phone calls and social media messages that they never returned.
I assumed that we had simply parted ways in life, and moved on. They apparently expected me to send a wedding invitation, yet they showed no interest in continuing our friendship. Why do they feel it was appropriate for them to be at the wedding?
GENTLE READER: Are you asking Miss Manners why people like to feel included? Even when they rarely make a social effort themselves? Human nature is a contradictory, if predictable, condition.
However, upon further scrutiny of your complaint, Miss Manners notices that only one of your methods of communication to your former friends was an actual invitation: Holiday cards do not require a reply; invitations through mutual friends are vague at best; and social media messages -- well, surely you are familiar with how those generally go.
Perhaps your friends thought that a formal answer to these casual invitations was not necessary. And had they actually received a written invitation, they might have risen to the occasion.
Probably not. But weddings seem to be one of the few social events that are taken at least mildly seriously -- and past relationships, no matter how distant they may currently be, expect to be acknowledged.
To be clear, Miss Manners does not condone your friends for chastising you. Rather, she bemoans the casual way invitations are treated in general -- and how much they have fallen victim to people’s natural affinity for laziness.