Disinclined to be drama queen's bridesmaid

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Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: "Teri," my cousin's fiancee loves drama -- whether it comes through texting, Facebook, or old-fashioned back-stabbing. Teri calls me every few months to trash another cousin's new wife, "Maria." Last night, while out at dinner with a large family group, Teri texted with Maria, who had chosen to stay home. Imagine my surprise when Teri leaned across the table and said, "Maria is texting everyone that you are an idiot and that you're the reason she didn't come to dinner. Don't tell anyone. I'll show you the text later." I said I didn't want to see the text and that I didn't care what Maria said about me. But I question Teri's desire to tell me about this. And here's the thing: Teri hinted she's going to ask me to be a part of her wedding. I try to keep my life drama-free. I feel as if getting involved in her wedding will put me in the center of a bunch of hurtful nonsense. I see my options as begging off due to a lie, like "a lack of funds;" not attending the wedding (which I'd like to attend for my cousin's sake); or being a bridesmaid and trying to be a good example of drama-free living. Which do you think will work best?

--Caught in a Trap

DEAR CAUGHT: What I think will work best for you is to lie low, cross your fingers, and hope that Teri tires of you before throwing the bridesmaid gig in your lap.

If she offers it, you'll have to say no. Any lie you tell will ensnare you eventually. So I suggest a duck-and-cover technique that is both truthful and vague. Don't offer any excuses or reasons.

You say, "Teri, it is so sweet of you to ask me to be a bridesmaid, but unfortunately I can't do it." When she asks why, you say, "It's just not something I'm comfortable doing." The reason I don't suggest confronting her directly about her behavior is because toxic, dramatic people tend to transform every statement (however benign) into a "Lifetime" movie script.

Never communicate with her by text.