Dear Ann Landers: I am getting married in five months, and I no longer want one of my bridesmaids to be in the wedding. I asked "Jane" at a time when I was trying to salvage what was left of our fractured friendship. I believe the girl is clinically depressed, among other things, and she flatly refuses to get help. I am also concerned that her emotional problems could lead to a breakdown right before the wedding, or worse yet, during the ceremony. She is unstable and blames her problems on being single. A wedding ceremony may be more than she can handle. When she first heard about my engagement, she needed three days to "get over it."
I have tried to be a good friend to Jane and have always listened to her problems. I suggested that she see a therapist or talk to her doctor about medication for depression, but she has done nothing to help herself. I am exhausted from trying to keep this friendship going. To make matters worse, Jane has been away for two months and has made no effort to communicate with me, even though I have left messages saying she needs to be fitted for her bridesmaid's gown.
I realize it's tacky to "disinvite" someone to be in the wedding party, but short of having a psychiatrist sitting on the sidelines, I don't know what else to do. Any ideas, Ann?
-- In the Middle of a Minnesota Dilemma
Dear Minnesota: What about Jane's family? Surely someone must know where she is or when she will return. If you cannot get any information about the girl's whereabouts, and she doesn't contact you soon, you have every right to assume she will not be in your wedding.
Try to reach Jane by phone or mail, and tell her you must know at once if she plans to be in your wedding. You must not allow yourself to be held hostage to her emotional instability. Tell her if she does not respond within the week, you will have to ask someone else to fill the spot. Then, do it.
A one-way table
Dear Ann Landers: My new husband and I are gourmet cooks. We love to entertain, and when we do, we put our best efforts on display. While our friends seem to truly enjoy the meals at our home, they never reciprocate. They have told us, "You two are such wonderful cooks, we could never compete with you and would be embarrassed to try."
My husband and I would be quite happy with a burger on the grill or a pizza delivered to the house. Must we simplify our dinner parties so people are less intimidated? We love to cook and would hate to let our talent go to waste. So what's the solution, Ann?
-- Susan, Somewhere in North Carolina
Dear Susan: Your so-called friends who say they cannot compete with your gourmet cooking and therefore do not invite you to dinner are copping out. Tell them you wouldn't mind being invited to join them at some "nice little restaurant" -- in fact, you might even suggest a place.
For you to continue to entertain friends who show no genuine effort to return the favor does not make any social sense whatsoever. Jokingly tell them, "It's your turn, and any hamburger joint will do." In other words, call their bluff.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.