The bridesmaid always rings twice

Subpar Advice from the Sub-Basement

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Illustration by Lydia Wojack-West

Frugal Bridesmaid writes:

So I’m really happy for my friend who’s getting married, and would be thrilled to be her bridesmaid if she asks…except that she spends money like it’s going out of style. I, however, am more frugal and am on a budget. I’m panicking about saying no, or saying yes and then seeing the bill come my wayespecially if it’ll be on location (hint: It will most likely be on location). Do I suck it up and pay? Do I suck it up and say, “Only if in town?” How do I get out of this without seeming like a prima donna friend?

Heya Frugal Bridesmaid,

Welcome to the year when all of your friends get married and pregnant at once. Welcome to attending an avalanche of parties in soft pastel dresses you can never wear again. Welcome to long telephone calls about the representation of teal as both an emotional color and as a delivery device for an embarrassing amount of tulle.

I have to say, I’m on your side with the panicking. If you know that your friend is all about the money, and you’re all about not starving to death, her wedding shouldn’t be pricey enough to put bridal party and guests alike in debtors’ prison. That being said, anything with the term wedding automatically gets marked up so the expensive nature of it is almost unavoidable.

You shouldn’t have to suck anything up. You should feel joy for your friend, but instead you’ve had to economize your emotion, and that just plain old sucks. You already know deep down how that conversation is gonna go and it won’t be happy for you. Your friend will feel miffed and you’ll feel sad and everyone will be bummed about the scenario.

The best I can do is to offer you a compromise. If you have the free time and want to be involved, why not say yes, I’ll be a bridesmaid, but I can’t pay for the whole of my dress. And if someone is willing to help monetarily, offer to help fold invitations and ferry wedding presents around as a way of diligently economizing your time. If the bride goes all Bridezilla over that suggestion, maybe you put the friendship on hold until the wedding season is over. And then she’ll rrrreally need you, because she won’t have any friends left after that.

Or plan a girls’ night and pop in Bridesmaids. That might work too.

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

All Abuzz writes:

I have a great job at this local nonprofit. It’s stressful and the hours are long, but hey, I’m pretty happy. When we go out to lunch, we cover each other or split. There’s not a running tab, everyone just kind of goes by the honor system and it works, believe it or not. Occasionally, though, I’d like to treat my office mates or friends out to something without them feeling obligated to pay back. What’s the best way to bring this up without lording my affluence over them?

Heya Abuzz,

Mazel tov on the job! It sounds like a sweet gig. I’m about to graduate…is your nonprofit hiring dashing and witty writers?

I think it’s great, and I’d love for someone to pay for my coffee on occasion, but I can understand why people might think it’s coming with strings. So here’s an idea you might enjoy from the random acts of kindness file.

Get a five dollar coffee gift card and choose a fellow employee at random. Leave the gift card at their desk, unsigned, but make it clear that it’s a thoughtful gift from the kindness fairy. Do it on a random non-birthday day. Make it a tradition for yourself. Then it’s a gift and a surprise and a mystery and a kindness that can get passed along. Who wouldn’t want that?

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

The Next Step writes:

Hey advice guru, I’ve been with my current boyfriend for almost two years and I want to start a conversation about moving in together. I hate leaving his house at the end of a good weekend together but he hasn’t brought it up yet, nor any other sort of long term commitment that one might expect after being together as long as we have. Am I pushing or have I waited too long?

Heya Next Step,

I wouldn’t say you’re pushing, but you’re definitely at that commitment line if that’s how your relationship rolls. After all, two years is quite a relationship, and you’ve been through a lot. But I don’t think a dinner out and a conversation is really going to help you here. Not to say that honesty isn’t the best, but I think this requires a different tack to go forward with to get to that honest place.

Have you done the toothbrush or drawer test to see how boo feels about you leaving stuff? Because then your presence is there, and if he’s okay with it, you will be too, more and more. If you start getting red flags and weirdness, then you’ll have to have a full-on conversation, but it may just be that your boyfriend is a bit like Bobby Hill: mulch that can’t be moved until it’s acted on.

If your relationship is more about the fun than the relationship aspect, and if you’re expecting wedding bells at the end and he’s not, well then you’ve got quite a Bridesmaids situation going on, and you’ll have to ask yourself if Jon Hamm’s what you really want or if there’s actually some Chris O’Dowd down the road who wants to give you the security to go with the goodness you’re actually feeling.

Also, if your boyfriend doesn’t like Bridesmaids, I’d reconsider the whole relationship altogether. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Hearts and Stars,
Your Advice Guru

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