- We're living in a time filled with sadness and uncertainty, so it's normal for you to feel anxious about your friend's still-scheduled wedding.
- Before springing into action, consider waiting a few weeks to see if your friend decides to cancel or reschedule her wedding. That way, you avoid conflict.
- If you feel the need to say something, be thoughtful about the emotionally-charged situation and offer to help virtually if you can.
- Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here.
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Nearly a year ago my best friend from childhood asked me to be in her bridal party for her wedding, and I gladly accepted. But now, with the coronavirus outbreak leading to so many event cancellations, I'm becoming very concerned about the affair, which my friend has yet to cancel.
I see people rescheduling or canceling their weddings near-daily on social media. With every day that passes where my friend doesn't cancel hers, I become more anxious. I don't want her to hate me for bailing on something I said I'd do, but I'm concerned for my own safety and that of others.
How can I tell her I'm not coming without ruining our friendship?
If you haven't heard, we're living in unprecedented times. We're all experiencing anxiety, fear, sadness, and other difficult emotions on a regular basis.
Your feelings of anxiety are normal since you're coping with a fear of the unknown that stems from not only our current crisis, but also the lack of information surrounding your friend's nuptials.
And you're right: Events are being canceled daily, and for good reason. We need to keep people safe, and the best way to do that is to reschedule big gatherings like weddings.
With all of the emotions we're juggling, I'm sure it feels like your friend is purposely putting you in a tough spot. But take a moment to think about how she feels. She's spent over a year planning this day, investing lots of time and money, and has no control over the fact that it can't happen despite the resources spent.
According to Landis Bejar, a New York City-based therapist who specializes in counseling brides-to-be, it's very possible your friend is indeed canceling her wedding, but is tying up some loose ends before getting back to you.
"There are some benefits to just pausing, waiting it out, and seeing if that decision is made for you," Bejar told me. "It's very possible that you might be sitting with this deliberation about this wedding and [your friend] is sitting there making the same deliberation about what about the wedding and what is the best course of action."
Bejar added that she's seen a huge number of cancellations in the past two weeks and said that most brides-to-be are handling the situation in a safe and realistic way.
If you can bear to wait a little longer and see if your friend sends any update to her guests, you could avoid that anxiety-provoking confrontation you were thinking about.
On the other hand, if the wedding continues to draw closer without any cancellation notices, there's a polite way to let your friend know you can't make it.
Bejar said the most important thing is to take a thoughtful approach so you can show your friend that you still care about her despite your absence at the wedding.
She recommended you call or FaceTime your friend a few weeks before the scheduled wedding day and telling her how much she means to you. Then, you can tell her that this wasn't a decision you made lightly and explain any reasons it's best to stay home.
If you have a child or family member who's immunocompromised, for example, let your friend know you don't want to put them at an increased risk. You could even say you're concerned about being around elderly people at her wedding that you could potentially get ill if you were unknowingly carrying the virus.
"I think that it's pretty understood that anybody who's proceeding to have the wedding in this climate is going to understand that people might change their mind or their turnout might switch," Bejar said.
If you want to cushion the blow even more, Bejar suggested asking your friend how you can help from a distance. You could send her a care package to let her know she's on your mind during this difficult time, offer to call vendors if she's considering rescheduling, or simply say you're there for emotional support.
As this unprecedented time continues, every day is a new opportunity to rethink habits, expectations, and how we treat others. Perhaps this experience could be just that for your and your friend.
As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.
Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.
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