Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: “How Can You Tell When You’re the Bad Guy?”

This week, Jenée Desmond-Harris and Joel Anderson discuss a Prudie letter: “How Can You Tell When You’re the Bad Guy?”

Jenée Desmond-Harris: So, I know you make fun of me because I had a strict rule for our wedding that anyone there had to be someone who we believed wanted the best for us and was sending good vibes. But I think that’s a reasonable rule! And someone who terrorized your fiancée with a skeleton is not sending the two of you good vibes!

Joel Anderson: I think, in your particular example, that you can sometimes go a little overboard trying to divine the intentions and emotions of people. I doubt anyone who I wanted to invite didn’t want the best for us, but that’s neither here nor there. I think the writer here had it right: “theatrically cruel” was pretty on-the-nose. Between getting a wheelchair, a skeleton, and then making a special t-shirt, it’s hard to imagine someone going through all of this unless they were totally lacking in awareness or they absolutely hate you. And in either instance, I can understand wanting to keep your distance from that person.

Jenée: I actually can’t believe the letter-writer’s whole family doesn’t see this.

Joel: Just in terms of effort, that was a massive undertaking. I’m curious about how that person’s brain works, and what they were thinking about as they put this all together.

Jenée: Similar to a murder’s brain, I think. I mean honestly, half of all Americans would get mad if someone proposed to their girlfriend at their wedding. How are we even in a debate about mocking someone’s sister’s death (with props!) at a bachelorette party?

Joel: It’s a really shocking and disrespectful display. And if your sister hasn’t gone above and beyond to apologize and repair the damage, then I’d have a hard time wanting to be around her. BUT. I think there’s this other thing: The letter writer’s fiancée is ready to move on, and that’s worth considering. Just from my own life, as you know, we talk a lot about: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? Because you can’t always be both.

Jenée: So wait: Are you saying they’d be happier if they would let their sister, the sociopath, attend the wedding? She hasn’t even apologized! I feel like that’s just asking for more misbehavior. And the fiancée is just being nice because it’s the honeymoon period and she wants peace.

Joel: I agree. But maybe there’s some compromise between “never speaking to her again” and “allowing her to resume her duties as a bridesmaid”? I think an apology is absolutely mandatory here, because only then can they move forward onto the other stuff.

Jenée: Like, she can attend as a guest and get patted down for weapons at the door?

Joel: Lol exactly. Or make her pour champagne for people or something.

Jenée: MAYBE

Joel: But she shouldn’t just be allowed to waltz back into their lives and the ceremony.

Jenée: IF AND ONLY IF she sincerely apologizes, which she has not done.

Joel: Right. That’s got to happen. But the LW also needs to talk with their fiancée about the hurt on both sides of this. The fiancée also needs to think about how it hurts the LW and could potentially damage their relationship with the in-laws. Like, lay out what that day looks like without a full and sincere apology, and if the fiancée doesn’t understand, then you have to decide how much of a hard line you want to draw. I lean toward keeping the peace with your partner, especially if the offense was intended for them and they’re ready to move on.

Jenée: I lean toward the letter-writer’s “Which is fine. They can get a bunch of skeletons and hold their own. I don’t care” stance. But you’re a nicer person than I am, and it normally ends up paying off. So.

Joel: I am, I will admit that. But I admire your commitment to your grudges. I just want this person to be happy and go into their marriage happy, which is why sometimes you apologize and sometimes you don’t invite friends who your partner somehow believes don’t want the best for you.

Jenée: Lol. Just know that if anyone in your family ever disrespects me like this I would like your you to stand firm!

Joel: No! The question is: Are they disrespecting me! But anyhow yeah, keep us posted LW!