Q. My best friend and I have been drifting apart, due to conflicting schedules, but we still always tried to make time for each other.
Last year she asked me to be maid of honor for her wedding. I was flattered and very nervous, as I have severe social anxiety.
Eventually, she “demoted” me to bridesmaid and had another person step in. This did not cause any problems; I was actually relieved.
When the day finally came, I had a major panic attack right before we walked down the aisle. I was very unsteady, and the groomsman basically held me up and was very kind as we walked up the aisle.
However, when he finally had to let me go so we could each go to our place, I tripped over my foot and fell. I was mortified, but I got back up and stood in my place.
After the ceremony, I burst out in tears to the maid of honor. I felt I had ruined the wedding. She was very kind and offered me words of comfort. I calmed down and everything seemed fine the rest of the night.
Now fast forward eight months later, and I have not heard a word from the bride. I apologized profusely for what I did — and nothing. I have to assume that this has to do with her wedding because I have no idea what else it may be.
What do I do?
A. I am happy that you were surrounded by comfort and kindness during your frightening anxiety attack.
Here’s a question: Did Jennifer Lawrence tripping on her way up the stairs to pick up her Oscar ruin the Oscar ceremony? (No.)
Of course you didn’t ruin this wedding.
However, your reaction after the fact might have inflated your role in your friend’s big day.
When you apologized for “ruining” this wedding, you were saying two things: “Your wedding was ruined. The headline of your wedding — the most important thing that happened that day — was me falling.”
Neither of those things is true. Both statements seem to make the day about you.
I hope you will sit down with a therapist to talk about your social anxiety and the impact it has on your life. You may be able to learn strategies to head off an anxiety attack at the pass. Give the bride a breather and contact her down the road, when you’ve achieved some perspective.
Q. Why is it considered appropriate to take photographs of people at any time and at any place — and use them however you wish?
I’ve had my picture taken in classes, at seminars and conventions, at parties, at family gatherings, and even at worship, always by surprise and never after asking permission.
When I ask the photographer to move on, they seem surprised and offended and act as if I’m being a rude wet blanket.
Actually, they are interrupting our activities, breaking into our conversation and concentration, and assuming that we are agreeing to have our privacy violated.
I wouldn’t mind being asked to be part of a posed group photo, so I could decline politely, if I chose.
As it is, it seems as if participating in any kind of group activity means that your picture could be published and circulated anywhere without your knowledge or permission.
Is there any subtle and graceful way to deter these shutterbugs?
A. It is possible that — when you sign up for a seminar or purchase tickets for an event — you are tacitly agreeing to have your photo taken and used, without realizing it. Some organizations embed language into their contractual boilerplate that basically says that anyone purchasing a ticket (or clicking “agree”) is also agreeing to have their photo taken and shared.
Otherwise, I don’t think you should search for subtle or graceful ways to deter people from taking your picture. You should simply say, “Please don’t take my picture.”
Q. I was distressed by your anti-Semitic answer to “Disgusted Husband,” who was refusing to attend an orthodox bar mitzvah ceremony because he thought it was “sexist.”
Shame on you.
A. In my answer, I pointed out that many conservative faith practices (including conservative Christian denominations) are sexist “in structure, if not on the surface.” I also pointed out that anyone has the right to practice their religion any way they choose, and that if “Disgusted” didn’t like it, he should stay home.Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.