DEAR AMY: I need some perspective. My fiancee broke up with me for a two-week period, for seemingly no reason. She was apparently going through family issues and felt she couldn’t be a good girlfriend while coping with all of that. During that break, my best (guy) friend sent her a nasty text about how poor this decision was and how much she “didn’t deserve” me. My fiancee and I got back together soon after his text was sent. The problem is she still holds a grudge against my best friend because she feels he shouldn’t have gotten involved. In my eyes, he was just being a friend, but it’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t even want him at the wedding, where I want him to be my best man. I’ve tried talking to both of them and he’s willing to bury the hatchet if she is, but she’s not, and is holding a grudge. What should I do?
Groom to Be
DEAR GROOM: I’m not going to react the way your friend did, but before moving on to your question, I do think it is important for you to recognize your fiancee’s behavior as being worthy of scrutiny. She dropped you suddenly and without explanation. I assume you trust her to stick with you now?
Your guy friend should not have sent this text. His choice to do so illustrates the wisdom of not being triggered and reactive when responding to someone else’s personal situation.
However, even if it was a mistake — surely your fiancee could understand that loyalty toward you drove his behavior. She might have friends (or be a friend) with this level of loyalty, where feelings temporarily override good judgment.
Your friend should not merely offer to “bury the hatchet.” He needs to personally and sincerely apologize to your fiancee for his choice to send a nasty message to her. He had many better choices he could have made in the moment to show his support for you.
Does your friend still believe that your fiancee doesn’t deserve you? If so, he probably shouldn’t stand up with you at your wedding. You and he should have an honest and private conversation about this.
You should encourage him to apologize personally to your fiancee. If he chooses to apologize, she should honor your longtime friendship by accepting his apology.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend is 66 years old and is a blue-collar worker. He has a habit of making many comments to waiters and waitresses about their wages and tips, while they are serving us. Here are some examples: “If you do a good job, maybe I will give you an extra $2 tip,” or, “Your tie looks expensive; they must be paying you too much here.” This is embarrassing to me, and I think it shows disrespect to the server. Restaurant workers work very hard and don’t need to feel belittled by idiot customers. They just chuckle when he makes these comments. I have told him numerous times to stop doing this. How should I handle this situation? Should I apologize for him? I don’t want to punish myself by stopping dinners out. He thinks I am overreacting and he says he is just clowning. The bizarre thing is that his granddaughter is a waitress and he is very proud of her.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: How would your guy feel if a client came onto his worksite and made a similar comment to him? (Truly, he might not mind it at all.)
On one level, I interpret his comments toward other hardworking people as his way of identifying with them (most of the comments any of us make are really a reflection of aspects of ourselves). He is trying to connect, but he is going about it in a clunky way.
I don’t interpret these comments as being patently disrespectful, but more as being unnecessary and potentially off-putting.
You can’t control him; you should not apologize for him. You shouldn’t call him an idiot, nor cast these remarks as idiotic.
Now you can ignore this behavior, because it’s on him.
He could test your response and reaction by asking his granddaughter how she feels when customers make comments like this. Servers deal with this sort of “humor” all the time.
DEAR READERS: Sometimes people who dispense advice run out of answers. If you’ve ever been curious about the life behind my advice, read my new book, “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (2017, Hachette).