I think you already answered your question: You want nothing more to do with Carrie. I’d trust your instinct on this one. The woman sounds radioactive with a capital R. It’s not as if you miss her company or feel as if your life is somehow incomplete without her. From everything you’ve written, it sounds as if your overriding goal is simply to make peace. At the risk of disturbing it, I’d leave her off the guest list for the big day, too.
But just as you seem to have intuited before, polite is the way to go. Rather than meet up with Carrie, I’d send her another note saying that you’re always happy to see her at this or that event, but you think there’s too much water under the bridge to contemplate the two of you reconnecting in any real way. You wish her well, but don’t think you’ll ever be able to get past your hurt at how she vilified you. If she lashes out and says you were never her friend, calmly point out that you tried to be exactly that—until she turned on you. Good luck and happy nuptials!
Friend or Foe
Dear Friend or Foe,
Since the time we met two years ago, my friend “Hannah” and I have gotten together about once a week for drinks after work. It isn't as if we’re best friends, but we’re fairly close. Neither of us has a car but we live in a small college town. My home is in an interesting neighborhood a 20-to 30-minute walk/10-minute bus ride/seven-minute bike ride from her house, and we both work centrally. It has dawned on me gradually that Hannah, who has no disabilities, will only get together when we meet in the center of town. Over the time I've known her, I’ve invited her over for dinner and cocktail parties, coffee and brunch; each time, without ever explicitly saying that it’s too far, she has come up with an excuse to cancel at the last minute. She never does this if we meet near her house.
For a while it didn't bother me, but slowly the issue has come to do so. I feel that, if we're really friends, once in a while she should go out of her way to see me—and that I'm the one always making the effort. Subsequently, she has never seen my house or, to my knowledge, even been outside of the center of town. I tested her recently by inviting her to get together and only confirming “where” the day before (a great place nearer my side of town). She of course tried to change the plans, but I reiterated that I really wanted to take her to this restaurant. She said she didn't want to walk in the dark. I said we'd meet early and I'd show her how to grab the bus home or call her a cab (very cheap and convenient here). She canceled the day of, claiming to have a “hangover” from the night before.
I haven't contacted Hannah since then, and she hasn't contacted me. I'm thinking I just won't hang out with her anymore. Am I wrong? If she was upfront about her limitations that would still be annoying, but it’s her lying that really irks me.
Sick of Staying in Your Nabe
We’ve all had that friend—dying to see us, so long as we’re the one standing on the porch, ringing the bell. But in defense of Hannah, she may be suffering from one of two maladies with which I can also relate. The first is low energy syndrome. Some people are simply so wiped out by the end of the day that the thought of even climbing into a taxi becomes daunting. (Pathetic but true.) The second is fear of the unknown. We may not be talking about the slums of Rio here. But the fact that Hannah has never even seen the other parts of your college town (how long as she lived there?!) suggests a need for familiarity that borders on pathological. I’d wager a guess that her failure to travel has more to do with her own hang-ups (maybe she’s gotten it into her head that you live a dangerous neighborhood?) than with not caring enough to cab it over. I’d send her an email saying, “Sorry things didn’t work out the other night, but I guess I’m a little frustrated that you’re never willing to meet on my side of town. Am I missing something?” See what she says. Maybe she’ll finally admit that the hangover is permanent. Good luck—and bottoms up!
Friend or Foe