She’s invited to a birthday party, but only if she dresses a certain way. Her friend Kate and her boyfriend Jamie have been together for nearly three years. She’s met Jamie, hung out with him before, and sometimes goes to sports events together, so they have also become friends. Jamie’s 30th birthday is coming, and they both planned a big party, and she helped a little as well.
A few days ago, she received a message from Kate. She asked if she wouldn’t mind “toning down” her look for the party and if she could send her a picture of what she was planning to wear. She was confused and asked Kate for clarification as to what she meant. After asking several times, she asked if she “really had to say it” she asked if he could dress ‘frumpy’ because she didn’t want to be outshone at her boyfriend’s birthday party.
When she didn’t reply, Kate wrote again and said that she wanted Jamie’s full attention that night, which she wouldn’t get if she showed up appropriately dressed. She replied to Kate that if she was going to be so much of a concern to her, she would rather politely decline the invitation. Kate became upset and said she was acting immature for not coming just because she said she would steal the spotlight.
She defended herself and said it was about making her responsible for whether or not she draws her boyfriend’s attention, which she’s never tried to do nor done as far as she’s aware. Kate said she felt it was important for her to stand out because Jamie’s friends and colleagues would be there. She told Kate that she didn’t want to be a distraction and would rather not come and would send her Jamie’s gift so she could tell him why she wasn’t coming.
Kate didn’t tell Jamie why she wasn’t coming because he texted her that night saying he knew she was “booked” the night of the party, but he would really like her to be there. He asked if she could reorganize her plans so she could come. She didn’t reply, but Kate messaged again, saying she knew Jamie was trying to get her to come and put her pride aside and come to the party.
She asked Kate if she would ditch the outfit policing, but Kate refused, so she’s still not coming then. Kate stopped messaging, but other mutual friends said that while the request was ridiculous and Kate knew it, Kate was desperate to be seen a certain way, even if it was pathetic. Some friends say she shouldn’t go, but she feels terrible missing the party when Jamie asked her to come.
She is reaching out to the online community to ask if she should allow Kate to approve her outfit and go to the party or skip it. She later added that she is married, but her husband isn’t attending the party because of work commitments.
“I’m married, so even if he was single, I wouldn’t be. And even if we were both single, he wouldn’t be my type, and I’ve known Kate long enough that she should know that.”
Many readers believe that she should tell Jamie the truth herself.
“Tell Jamie the truth. Just say “sorry but when the choices are giving up my bodily autonomy or giving up the party, the choice is simple.”
“No need to be diplomatic. Just tell your friend you’re not booked, but you aren’t going to have your clothing dictated, and so long as GF requires a dress code, then you don’t feel comfortable. No need to tiptoe. Just tell him the truth. It’s what friends do.”
Others said to let Kate explain the situation to Jamie herself. But some are worried that will allow Kate to tell another lie.
“She’s given up the opportunity to have any control over the narrative without first having to convince their mutual friends that Kate lied. Not saying Kate would do that, but admittedly, based on her request of OP (original poster), I’d be concerned that she would.”
Some readers feel like they can understand why Kate is feeling insecure.
“I agree with this being the most diplomatic way to handle it, but I gotta say, I can almost see where the girlfriend’s insecurities are coming from. He was told that OP had plans that night, and he asked her if she could change them and come??? That feels really weird for a casual friendship.”
“I’m nearly certain Jamie has (off-handedly) mentioned how nicely OP (the original poster) dresses or how attractive OP is to Kate, and currently, the two have some intimacy issues.”
“I suspect Kate does know Jamie isn’t your type and that you aren’t interested in him. I think there’s a strong possibility that you’re Jamie’s type, though, and he’s carrying a bit of a torch for you.”
Some readers question why Kate wants to be the center of attention when it’s not even her birthday. I am curious – a big 30th party is supposed to be about the birthday person.
“She wants to throw a party and be the center of attention? Does she think this will make him propose to her or something? Either way, stick to dressing as you wish. She’s blowing up your friendship over her insecurities, and you can tell her BF that.”
What do you think? Should she tell Jamie the truth herself? Should she put everything aside and dress ‘down’ for the party and attend? Or should she end the friendship because of Kate’s insecurities?
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