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I think my friend’s lying to me and I want to call her out on it

The question

A friend moved overseas. There, she met a guy, brought him home in the summer and then, seemingly out of the blue, married him. That I'm okay with. I'm not thrilled that she told me after the fact. Our friends – who knew – said she didn't want to tell me because she didn't want to steal my thunder, as I'm getting married soon. I'm not a Bridezilla, though: I offered to share my wedding reception if she wanted a celebration at home. Now she says she can't come to my wedding because work is keeping her overseas. I get the feeling her explanation is mostly bull (she said she could come months ago), and I want to call her out on it. I've always helped her out when no one else would, and I don't get why she's not being honest with me. What do I do?

The answer

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I don't get why you just assume she's lying.

Of course, it's possible she's not telling you the whole truth. But why jump to the conclusion that the explanation is something sinister?

Maybe she looked into her bank account and saw nothing but cobwebs and dust bunnies and didn't want to admit that to you.

These days people are still throwing lavish ceremonies and holding "destination weddings" like it's 1995. I know yours isn't technically a destination wedding – but from her POV it is, and those things, while fun, are expensive and a big commitment.

Here's another possibility: She's telling the truth. She truly did have a work conflict and/or didn't want to "steal your thunder."

(Though I do admit it's hard not to smell a diaper-full of mendacity. And it's also an odd detail that your friends all colluded in conspiratorial fashion behind your back.)

In any case, I would say, first of all, remain calm. Frankly, pardon me, but there is a soupçon of Bridezilla boullion in the flavour of your behaviour.

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I'm sorry to be so blunt, but you know the saying: If it pouts like a Bridezilla, stomps around like a Bridezilla, sulks like a Bridezilla and kerfuffles like a Bridezilla – maybe it is a Bridezilla.

You say you've always been there for your friend in the past when others weren't. Why not give her the benefit of the doubt now?

Bottom line, talk to her. For me, this sort of thing is best done face to face. Perhaps it's because I've been on a "paleo" diet lately, getting in touch with my caveman roots, but I like seeing people in person, sniffing their scent, seeing what cloths and skins they have adorned themselves with and into what new configurations they have arranged their head pelts and facial fur.

But maybe that's just me. These days everyone seems comfortable with non-tête-à-tête forms of communication – even my mother, who once upon a time couldn't wrap her dome around a cellphone. Now, when my son Adam practises the piano, she'll hold her iPad up behind him with the disembodied head of my brother, who lives in Virginia, on the screen, watching and making comments.

To her, this seems normal. To me, it's kind of freaky, and a little intrusive. I mean, I didn't invite my brother's head over, and don't necessarily want it hanging around, making cracks. On the plus side, it doesn't need to be fed, only plugged in when its battery runs low…. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I guess if you can't wait to talk to your friend in person, you could Skype her, or whatever. Just bear in mind that computers are an awfully "cool" medium for this sort of "hot" interaction.

Or is it the other way around? My McLuhan's a little rusty. Just bear in mind the best way to resolve a froideur is not through heat nor coolness but warmth.

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You're going in with the wrong attitude – calling her out, assuming she's lying. This is a friend you want to keep, not a defendant in a docket.

Proceed from that premise. Tell her that her friendship has always meant a lot to you, mean it, and proceed from there.

After all, what has happened that's so bad? You missed each other's weddings. Sad but not huge. This one may be mended easier than you think, and a laptop or iPad with your beaming face on it may occupy a place of honour at each other's anniversaries.

What am I supposed to do now?

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