a coworker prayed for my fiancé’s death so we didn’t invite her to our wedding … and now there is drama

A reader writes:

My fiancé, “Ted,” has worked for 10 years on a small, very close-knit team, all of whom seem to get along exceptionally well. All the team members and spouses/partners socialize outside of work together as well, and we consider them all to be close friends. We thought they felt the same.

A few months ago, on the way to a work event, Ted and his coworker/best friend “Bob” were involved in a serious car accident and were rushed to the ER. Everyone waited anxiously for hours as they both underwent surgery. Thankfully, they both recovered.

When Ted returned to work, a team member, “Sally,” told him she had a confession to make. She said that while they had been in surgery, she prayed that if God had to let one of them die, she hoped it would be him. (WTF?!?)

Ted was shocked and asked why. He said she gushed on and on about what a “saint” Bob is. (Her examples were that Bob gives her great advice on her struggling marriage and has loaned her money when she was in a tight spot.) She finished by saying, “No disrespect to you, but Bob is in a class by himself. You have to admit you can’t measure up to that” and walked away.

Ted was truly devastated to learn that she felt this way, but he tried to attribute it to the stress of the situation and did his best to put it behind him. He never told anyone else on the team what she said and tried to continue on at work as if nothing had happened, but his relationship with Sally hasn’t recovered. He is still deeply wounded by her comments.

Although Ted appears to be a confident person, underneath he is fairly insecure. He truly thought Sally was a good friend. So in addition to causing him a lot of pain, this has also rattled his confidence. Now he’s wondering if all his team members secretly feel the way she does. Ted and Sally have always seemed to have a warm, cordial relationship and he can’t understand why she would say such a hurtful thing. Ted is now constantly measuring himself against Bob and questioning why he isn’t as “good.”

I suggested that perhaps Sally has a crush on Bob or feels closer to him for reasons that have nothing to do with Ted. But he is convinced that thinks she sees him as a “second tier” man and worries that others do too.

Our wedding is coming up soon and the venue strictly limits the number of guests. When it was time to send out invitations, Ted invited the rest of the team and their spouses but did not invite Sally and her husband. I expressed my concern that this would cause more problems, but he replied that since we could only have a limited numbers of guests, he’d prefer to spend our special day with another pair of close friends who “genuinely love and appreciate” us rather than a woman with whom his relationship is now severely strained.

Two weeks ago, I got a call from another team member, “Alice,” asking me if I had forgotten to send an invitation to Sally. I explained that because the venue is small, we simply couldn’t invite everyone.

Alice then told Ted that if we didn’t invite Sally, she and the other women on the team wouldn’t attend either. Ted told her that since the invitations have already gone out, there is no way to add Sally and her husband now unless we “uninvited” two other guests, which we can not do.

Now all the women on the team, including Sally, are freezing Ted out. They refuse to speak to him except when forced to, which is really starting to adversely impact the collaborative work the team does and hampering Ted’s ability to do his job. The men on the team have sided with Ted, saying they feel we have the right to invite (or not invite) whomever we want to our own wedding. This has caused an even further rift in the team.

Everyone is questioning Ted about why we didn’t invite Sally, but he doesn’t feel it’s his place to explain why he doesn’t want her to attend and just keeps repeating that the decision was due to the venue size limitations.

The manager of the team works at another site, and because the team has previously worked so well together, has historically been fairly hands-off, and is oblivious to what is happening now. But if the work continues to suffer, she’s going to notice and ask what’s going on.

What, if anything, should Ted do? Should he preemptively go to the manger to give her a heads/up, or will that make it even worse to be seen as “tattling”? Is there anything he can do to “fix” this on the team, before it erodes their work product even more?

I did weaken and called the venue, who grudgingly said they would be willing to accommodate one more couple. Should we break down and invite Sally to the wedding for the sake of harmony at work?

What a mess.

I completely understand why you wouldn’t want Sally at your wedding! She prayed your fiancé would die. Maybe not exactly … but pretty close to it. And then for some reason, she felt the need to tell him. Why?! She should have kept it to herself; there was no need to inform Ted and if she hadn’t, presumably life at work would have just gone on as before. So Sally sounds like a bit of a nut.

However.

I’m not a fan of pressuring people into wedding invitations, but you also can’t exclude one person from a tight-knit group and expect that not to send a message and cause drama. You’ve got to either invite the whole group, or invite fewer of them so you’re not leaving out just one person, or leave out the one person and accept that it’s going to be A Thing. You and Ted chose the latter option but are hoping it won’t cause drama, and that’s not realistic.

It’s especially not going to happen when no one knows why Ted is upset with Sally. From what they can see, they had a close, tight-knit group of work friends and now Ted has randomly and hurtfully decided to exclude one person for no reason.

I get that he’s trying to blame it on the venue size, but that doesn’t really work when you’ve excluded one person from a “tier” of wedding guests. It wouldn’t work if he had excluded one uncle or one niece, and it doesn’t work when you exclude one of a very close team of colleagues. People are going to read something into it and be hurt.

The drama that it’s causing is pretty excessive — coworkers freezing him out and refusing to speak to him except when forced, to the point that it’s affecting their work, is a weirdly intense reaction (as well as inappropriate and unprofessional). That’s likely a sign that the boundaries on this team were messed up before any of this happened, and that’s why the wedding invitations are functioning as a bomb rather than more like an exploding soda can.

And again, in theory you should be able to invite whoever you want to your wedding and exclude anyone you don’t want there. And you can! You just can’t do it without consequence, and that’s what you’re seeing now.

As for what to do, if Ted wants to stick to his decision, he’s probably better off just being matter-of-fact about why: “Normally we would have loved to have the whole group, but when Bob and I were in the hospital Sally told me she prayed for me to die if one of us had to. So we’re not asking her to celebrate our wedding with us.” Then at least people would have context. It will probably cause a different kind of drama, but if Ted can stay matter-of-fact about it (“it is what it is and we can still work together fine, but it didn’t make sense to ask her to be at the wedding”) it’s probably a better option than the drama of No One Knows Why Ted Did Such an Unkind Thing.

Frankly, it might also be an opportunity to clear the air with Sally. It sounds like she might have no idea why Ted didn’t invite her. He could sit down with her and say, “I’m sorry this has gotten so out-of-hand. I should have spoken to you earlier. I was really hurt by what you said to me after Bob’s and my accident. I’d thought we were close friends, and I haven’t been able to get past you telling me that you prayed I’d die if one of us had to. It’s why we didn’t ask you to be at our wedding, but I’m realizing that I should have talked with you about it earlier.”

It’s possible that conversation could move things to a much better place. Maybe Sally didn’t realize how her remark came across and maybe she’ll be mortified in hindsight. Maybe it’ll turn out she was addled by painkillers when they talked and this is the latest in her long and embarrassing list of discoveries of things she said that day. Maybe they’ll have the sort of conversation that will make Ted happy to extend a wedding invitation to her. Who knows. But looking at where things stand now, not talking to her about it seems like the worse option. And just giving in and inviting her without having that conversation first doesn’t seem likely to fix things at this point.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 1,186 comments… read them below }

  1. Jean*

    “I sort of prayed for Ted’s death, better tell him about it in excruciating detail” WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F***

    I swear I never knew such weirdos existed until I started reading this blog.

    1. MysteriousMise*

      I love this blog. It makes my weirdos feelore normal.

      Ted,tell the people what Sally said, and talk to Sally.

      1. Rachel in NYC*

        I think that’s all you can do cuz other wise people aren’t gonna get way Sally wasn’t going to be invited w/o knowing that one day Sally could very well pray for their death.

      2. Expelliarmus*

        Agreed! There’s going to be drama either way, so it’s better to have drama revolving around Sally wishing Ted would die rather than people thinking Ted is randomly being a jerk.

      3. Grey*

        Ted, tell the people what Sally said,
        and talk to Sally since you’re not dead.

        This could be a Dr. Seuss book.

        1. Edwina*

          I do not like what Sally said
          She prayed for me to end up dead
          I do not want her at my spread
          I do not want her when I’m wed

          1. STAT!*

            I don’t want Sally at the venue,
            I don’t want her to read the menu,
            I don’t want her to drink my wine,
            Don’t want her there at wedding time.

            Don’t want her saying “Mazeltov!”,
            Nor wedding cards signed “All my love”,
            Don’t want her near my friends and wife,
            ‘Cause Sally prayed for the end of my life.

            The best we can hope is Alison is onto something and Sally acted like that due to some medical/ drug problem. Otherwise, just yuck.

            1. BabyElephantWalk*

              Maybe Ted should just email the text of these poems to the team … or perhaps link them all to this article.

          2. Despachito*

            Sally, ah you ill-bred Sally,
            You prayed for me not to rally.
            Be assured I keep a tally,
            You are no more down my alley.

      4. MusicWithRocksIn*

        I just cannot imagine someone saying something like that to me, and not immediately turning around and telling other people I was close friends with that it happened. I would be texting everyone I’ve ever met within ten minutes going “OMG, you will not imagine what this weirdo at work just said to me!!!”. I would need to talk about it right away. If someone says something hurtful and thoughtless to you, it is not on you to keep it a secret so other people won’t be upset at them, they said the weird mean thing, the fallout should be on them.

        1. NoNotNan*

          I think Ted kept it in because he was so incredibly embarrassed and disturbed that someone he thought liked him would think so little of him. I had a terrible boss and he said horrible things to me and I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my own husband. I imagine Ted internalized this as part of the trauma from the accident.

          1. Delphine*

            Yes, I can imagine sharing it with people if I thought it was absolutely bonkers, but if it hurt me, I would probably keep it close to my chest. OP says Ted worried that perhaps other coworkers felt the same way, so I can see why he wouldn’t have shared what she said to him.

            1. banoffee pie*

              Ted seemed to start worriyng other people agreed, which is the saddest part. It’s awful how people like Sally can make you think you deserve their bad treatment.

              1. Sue*

                Yes, the idea that he believed her thoughts had merit is very sad. It was life changing for me when I adopted, “consider the source” as an explanation for meanness/insults/bad behavior. It let me let go of so much and stop the over–analyising and doubting myself. It doesn’t mean I’m never introspective, just that I am better at judging where I might do better and where they are a jerk.

                1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  Oh yes. My BFF has a tendency to see drama where there is none, so I take everything she says with a pinch of salt, even if I love her dearly.
                  I also wait for confirmation of what she says from other sources, and before believing the other sources, I ask them where they got their info.

          2. Gan Ainm*

            Yeah I think your interpretation of stuff like that really depends on your lens. A confident person will see that sally is being unkind, rude and is probably a little nuts. A person lacking in confidence (which OP says Ted is) will internalize it and take it as a statement about who they are (unlikeable, and not as good as Bob), instead of seeing it as saying something about who sally is (lacking empathy).

          3. doubledeeay*

            This is incredibly insightful. Yes, I agree, and had not thought this until reading NoNotNan’s comment.

        2. Greg*

          I had a far more low-stakes version of this happen to me once, and I can understand Ted’s reaction. I saw a business school classmate, not someone I knew particularly well, and in the course of our brief conversation said something about my girlfriend (now wife). She said, “YOU have a girlfriend?”

          To this day, I’m not sure if she thought I was gay, or simply couldn’t imagine a woman wanting to go out with me, or what. But I was someone who hadn’t historically had lots of relationships (for most of the two years we were in school together, I was single, although I’m not sure she knew that). Point being, when she said that, my immediate reaction wasn’t anger, it was shame. (The anger came later).

          I haven’t seen this woman in more than 15 years. I haven’t forgotten what she said, and think about it from time to time (and regret that I didn’t call her out on it in the moment). But this comment is the first time I’ve told anyone about it. Not even my wife knows. It’s not an insecurity that I really want to revisit with anyone else.

          Point being, when something taps into their deepest fears, people often react by withdrawing inward. So I can totally understand Ted not addressing it with Sally, not wanting to explain it to his coworkers, etc.

          1. Meep*

            From a female perspective, if you talk daily, she was probably amazed you didn’t spill the beans sooner. Doesn’t matter that you don’t know her well. Women want to know everything! If you barely talked, there is a possibility that you didn’t seem like the “type” or that she had a slight crush on you and was dismayed. Go with the latter.

            1. Roller*

              I get that you are trying to be comforting but as someone (female) who has been cornered into being told about my coworkers’ love lives before, I can honestly say I don’t care and I want to leave the conversation. I feel there is pressure on women to take an interest, and stating that women universally care about this stuff just isn’t true.

            2. Greg*

              No, that definitely wasn’t the context. We didn’t know each other particularly well, and this incident happened the year after we graduated, so we weren’t seeing much of each other at all (indeed, as I said, I haven’t seen her since). There’s no way she would have expected to know I was dating someone.

              She could have meant any number of things, and in retrospect, I should have just said, “What is that supposed to mean?” and let her squirm while she tried to explain. But the point of my story was my reaction rather than her intent.

            3. Lunita*

              Let’s not further stereotypes of women as being gossipy busybodies. Some are, and so are some men. So are some gender-neutral people.

          2. Alice906*

            Greg, this is such a thoughtful comment. It really helps shed light on what Ted’s experience might have been, and why he responded the way he did. I’m upset on your behalf!

            1. banoffee pie*

              Thanks for that story, Greg. I know what you mean about the first reaction being shame, then anger later. I’ve felt like that at times and then got mad at myself that I believed the insult, even for a while. The mean people/bullies have such self-confidence that people sometimes believe them, unfortunately.

      5. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

        Yes, Ted should definitely let everyone know what Sally said. Otherwise, they will think he is being a jerk. Sally is the jerk, not Ted.

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Can we please please please have a “Worst Co-Worker” award category this year? We have a sterling candidate right here.

      1. serenity*

        I don’t know, I also happen to think OP’s husband didn’t handle this well. This is the latest in a long line of letters where people ask what their oblivious spouse/partner should have done/should do at work. This workplace sounds like a hot mess but Ted isn’t doing so great either!

        1. Bluesboy*

          Did he handle it perfectly? Probably not. But let’s be honest, if I have a group of friends/co-workers who I am close with, except one of them prays for me to die, I’m probably not going to want that one at my wedding, and I’m not sure that there is a perfect way to handle that. He might have handled it wrongly, but I think he was classy by not blabbing to his whole group about what Sally told him.

          Sally caused this whole situation, so she should have done the decent thing and when people asked why she wasn’t invited just shut the whole thing down with ‘we get along fine, but we aren’t that close, so no worries’. Unfortunately I suspect that she thinks she just ‘tells it like it is’ and didn’t do anything wrong and is now offended to be excluded from the wedding.

          1. Elle Woods*

            Agree about on both points. Sally strikes me as someone who omits parts of the story that would reflect poorly on her and then tries to play the victim. Or, she’s really that dense and doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions.

            1. Meep*

              Could be possible that it was a passing thought to her and meaningless. I have a coworker who says the most off-putting, mean-spirited things and then completely forgets she said the horrible thing a second later.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                Yeah, I bet Sally would claim never to have said it – which is why it’s important to bring it up again asap rather than once everything has gone tits up.

              2. LunaLena*

                I find it hard to see how it was a passing thought when she specifically approached Ted with the intent to “confess.” As someone who has blurted out stuff I shouldn’t have because I wasn’t thinking, I can totally empathize over it being a thing, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

                Also just because they forget about it afterwards doesn’t excuse the behavior at all. In fact it makes it even worse, that they’re so careless about saying things that could affect the listener so deeply, and they should be called out on it even more.

          2. serenity*

            You’re right but, from what we’re getting here, this whole team has boundary issues and relationships that are probably not ideal for the workplace. And Ted likely contributes to that – I can’t see any other reason why he would have internalized those comments so much – and to such an unhealthy extent – if normal work boundaries existed.

            And Sally didn’t exactly cause the wedding brouhaha. Ted should have privately had a word with her and made clear that he was – and continues to be – offended by her comment. Or, been more conscious of what excluding only her would do to the larger team. As Alison said – the rest of the team has no idea what happened.

            1. Delphine*

              A team can have healthy boundaries and an individual can still internalize hurtful comments. It could be due to past experience, it could be that he’s just an anxious person or a person who struggles with confidence, or he might just have been extremely shaken from the car accident.

            2. allathian*

              Yeah. I can’t imagine ever wanting to invite my coworkers to a wedding. Coworkers who have become friends outside of work, maybe, if I was having a big wedding, and if I had any such friends. Ours was just for our immediate families, because neither one of us wanted the fuss of a big wedding.

          3. quill*

            I mean, from a quick reread she confronted him with this right after he returned to work from a life threatening hospital stay. It’s theoretically possible for him to have handled it better than “say nothing at the time and then have emotions about letting this person be at his wedding later,” but it’s not realistic to expect that of him.

            Probably Sally has told the rest of the women in the office that Ted has been treating her coldly since the accident and now she is the ONLY person not invited to their wedding. She doesn’t really have to lie for them to draw the wrong conclusion, especially if she’s a person who thinks that by confessing that she prayed for him to die she’s cleared the air and he should forgive her because she confessed. (It’s not that uncommon for that to be an undercurrent in christianity! Just usually not taken to this logical conclusion…)

          4. EPlawyer*

            Sally is waaay too into beinging her issues to the office. Bob loaned her money and advises her about her marriage. Just TMI.

            Ted needs to realize Sally likes Bob better because he indulges her drama not anything work related.

            Yes he needs to tell the office because BOB will probably be mortified at it too and start shutting Sally’s oversharing down. In fact the whoke office needs to take a step back

          5. ArtsyGirl*

            Agreed, honestly I am flabbergasted that Sally does not have the self-awareness to see how her statement from a few months ago that “I prayed you would die” and not receiving an invite to a wedding are connected. Did she really think that by confessing it that it would create instant forgiveness from Ted? After all, he had just lived through a traumatic experience and she somehow made it about her.

            1. hbc*

              I’m not surprised at all. Sally sounds like someone who has zero filter, and I’m sure she thinks it’s obvious that she likes Ted. I mean, objectively, choosing Bob the Money and Advice Giver does not diminish the value of Ted the Very Nice Coworker. He could still be a 9.6 out of 10 while Bob is a 9.97. Since she means well, there’s no harm in saying it, right?

              And to someone with no filter, they often can’t conceive of someone not spurting back whatever they might be thinking. Since Ted didn’t say, “Ouch, Sally, it’s really awful that you were even theoretically Sophie’s Choice-ing us,” nothing important happened in that conversation.

              1. Hekko*

                You can always pray for the survival of both, or if you really think God Almight only has plans to let one of the men survive, pray for the one you like better and not the other one. There’s no need to offer the other one as a sacrifice!

                And there’s no need to tell the one less liked about it at all. Unless you are wrecked with guilt and want to apologise and beg for forgiveness and even then, it’s your job to repair the relationship (and to realise you damaged it!).

                1. Sarah M*

                  Yes. It was already strange that she prayed for one person’s survival over the other vs. praying for both of them, but to go and *blab* about it to Ted the minute he’s back in the office/out of the hospital??? What the everlasting —-?! I seriously hope Ted tells the rest of the crew what she said, and explain that bo, he didn’t invite the person who *actually wished he would die in the hospital* to his wedding.

          6. L.H. Puttgrass*

            It seems like Ted was initially trying to avoid office drama and (unsuccessfully) move past it. The issue came to a head when it was time to decide whether to invite the person who told him that she prayed for his death to his wedding. At that point, he could invite her (ugh), tell the whole class what she said (ugh), not invite any of his co-workers (probably the best option, in retrospect), or just not invite Sally and hope she has the grace to understand why and not make a big deal of it. Choosing the last option shows a bad sense of drama-avoidance and a disastrously poor understanding of Sally, but I don’t understand why Ted made the decision he did.

            1. L.H. Puttgrass*

              That should read “I understand why Ted made the decision he did.”

              A little editing is a dangerous thing.

            2. wittyrepartee*

              Or like… only invite his bestie Bob. Then “it’s a very small wedding, family and a few close friends, blah blah blah” makes sense.

            3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Interesting that the other mistake “class” instead of “workgroup” didn’t hit you. Of course it didn’t, the drama level makes them all sound like they are in school still.

              1. ouchiHands*

                I think “tell/share with the whole class” is a highly idiomatic phrase at least in US English where it’s used in many contexts to mean “telling the entire group”, although there is usually the implication that there’s something immature or dramatic about the situation.

          7. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

            Given how nuts-o Sally sounds, it doesn’t surprise me that she is making A Thing out of not being invited to the wedding. I’ve known people who really freak out whenever they aren’t invited to something, even if it’s an event it wouldn’t make sense for them to expect to be invited to. While we all get our feelings hurt or feel a little left out from time to time if we aren’t invited to something, but most of us don’t make it a big deal. These people really flip out and play the victim if they aren’t invited. Super annoying. And the people I’ve known to be like that were at least a little whack-a-doodle.

          8. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            OK so it’s classy not to blab about other people being nasty just for the sake of gossip. But when it gets to the point of gender war in the workplace (which is what OP is describing, all the women siding with Sally and all the men siding with Ted), you need to drop the classy stance and explain.
            Ted should have talked to Sally long before ever issuing any invitations. Ideally he should have just taken time to regroup and spoken to her within the week of her telling him about praying for him to die “you know Sally it really upset me the other day when you said you prayed for me to die rather than Bob. I don’t mind that you prefer him, after all he has indeed been there for you, but that’s not a reason to ask God to take me. …Unless you have a specific problem with me in which case it would be kind of you to let me know so I can perhaps explain or make amends”.
            Even explaining while issuing the invitations would have seemed tacky.

        2. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Ted’s only mistake was trying to move past an incredibly hurtful thing his co-worker told him, then not being able to move past it.

          On a scale from 1 to cheap-ass rolls, Ted’s actions are maybe a 1. Sally utterly destroyed the scale, scattered its shards to the four winds, and salted the earth anywhere they landed.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            This. Ted opted to not tell tales out of school, but the problem is coming up now because nobody else knows what in the world is going in here.
            Honestly though – do we really blame Ted given what seems to have been said to him by Sally? It would probably stun most people to “deer in headlights” immobility.

            1. serenity*

              Telling “tall tales out of school” means lying. Who is encouraging Ted to lie here?

              I think Ted is an adult with agency. He could have appropriately been really insulted and hurt by Sally’s comment – as he rightfully was – and handled it in such a way that didn’t cause more drama later. Not sure why this is controversial. This site has been chock full of instances of people behaving inappropriately or hurtfully at work and talking about the best ways to deal with that. This isn’t that.

              1. serenity*

                Actually “tall tales out of school” is more about revealing secret or confidential stuff. My bad. Still, doesn’t apply here. “My co-worker said something really hurtful and offensive” is not that.

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Where and when I was raised “telling tales out of school” also encompassed gossiping and spreading comments that would stir up drama (which let’s be honest – repeating Sally’s comments to the rest of the team is going to cause drama).
                Have to remember that just because something means something in one area, doesn’t mean it’s the same nationally, which is on me.

            2. Librarian of SHIELD*

              And I totally get why he wouldn’t have told anybody at the time. That’s a really weird thing for someone to tell a recent accident survivor and I don’t blame him for not knowing how to respond in the moment. Of course, in the moment has stretched into a long period of awkwardness and drama, and that’s not ideal. I do think Ted needs to tell at least one person what Sally said to explain why this is happening. Like, they don’t need to have a team meeting about it, but maybe the next time someone brings it up he should just respond honestly and see what happens.

            3. ArtsyGirl*

              Yes in my mind, Ted’s only mistake was not anticipating how excluding a single co-worker was going to play out in a overly friendly, small office. He likely assumed that Sally wouldn’t bring it up and maybe make an excuse about being busy that weekend, but it doesn’t seem like Sally has any filter or dignity. She is either mind-numbingly dense or she is a perpetual victim.

              1. Redd*

                I honestly wonder if Ted thought Sally would *want* to attend. I mean, she took it upon herself to let him know, “I like you and all, but not so much that I want you to live.”

                1. Fran Fine*

                  Yeah, it was probably a little bit of both not wanting her there and thinking she wouldn’t want to attend anyway.

                2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  I doubt Sally even remembers that cruel remark and would put money on her denying it were he to mention it now.

          2. Guacamole Bob*

            I think deflecting and saying the lack of invitations was for space reasons was a pretty big mistake. If he’d said something like “Sally said some really hurtful things to me after the accident, so we’re not close anymore” he might have been able to at least clue people in that he wasn’t just excluding her for no reason.

            I get the instinct to not gossip and repeat her exact words to everyone at top volume, but acting as if dropping one of a tight-knit circle from the invitation list is not going to cause any hurt feelings is a bizarrely oblivious move.

            1. serenity*

              acting as if dropping one of a tight-knit circle from the invitation list is not going to cause any hurt feelings is a bizarrely oblivious move.

              Bingo

              1. Aquawoman*

                I would tweak that to “acting as if dropping one of a dysfunctionally enmeshed group from the invitation list is not going to cause any hurt feelings is a bizarrely oblivious move.”

              2. pancakes*

                Yes, and I would say the same of wanting to remain friends with someone who sees the world the way Sally does. I think it’s bizarre for Ted to want the approval of someone who sees him as a prospective human sacrifice to an incredibly cruel, petty, and vindictive deity. I do not see the appeal of wanting the affection or esteem of someone who thinks this is a sensible or captivating view of human mortality.

                1. aebhel*

                  Honestly, it doesn’t even sound like he wants to be friends with her, just that he was hurt and blindsided and now wants nothing to do with her, and is also insecure in such a way that her comments made him second-guess all his other relationships at work (which, frankly, given how they’re acting, was… not unreasonable).

                2. pancakes*

                  Yeah, I agree. It’s hard enough to be recovering from a serious car accident even without insecurities about oneself, or about dealing with over-the-top coworkers.

            2. Rose*

              But it’s obviously not a close knit circle of friends if one is praying another dies. I feel like Ted learned sally was not his friend and reacted accordingly. He gave a polite excuse rather than stir up dram because he was expecting her to keep her side of the social contract and pretend there wasn’t weird crazy drama that she had created. He’s between a near death experience and his wedding so he’s prob really looking for the path of least resistance on things which is understandable.

              1. serenity*

                The problem is this is impossible to do in an office team that has blurred personal and work boundaries like this one seems to have. Anyway, I’m not interested in hearing more excuses about Ted’s not great handling of this situation – regardless of the fact that Sally’s comment was totally out of line – and I’m out.

              2. Despachito*

                “it’s obviously not a close knit circle of friends if one is praying another dies” AND if the rest are confronting Ted about that. I’d absolutely not want them left off the hook because THIS IS NOT DONE, and this is NOT the way friends, let alone coworkers, act.

            3. Quinalla*

              Agreed, if all the coworkers had been excluded, that is a great go-to reason. But when you exclude just one out of a group, folks are going to interpret that as just an excuse and wonder what the real reason is. I know the LW husband is probably thinking it isn’t “fair” to share his reasoning, but as long as you follow Alison’s advice and don’t trash talk – just state what happened – I think it will go much better. Will people still be upset and will drama still commence? Probably, but at least they’ll be upset for the right reasons.

              And agree 100% with all that said this situation is just revealing the messed up dynamics that already existed here – not causing them.

          3. Hannah Lee*

            Yeah, when I read the framing as “and *now* this is causing drama” all I could think of is Ted and LW did not cause the drama.
            Sally is the one who caused drama with 2 incredibly awful moves #1 actively wishing for her co-worker’s death after somehow creating a “deserves to live” workplace ranking and #2 telling Ted about it! WTAF. On both counts.

            Ted’s actions have just pulled back the curtain on drama that’s been there for awhile.
            The best course of action now is to explain why Sally was left off the guest list “she prayed for me to die” is a pretty good reason.
            But, honestly, I think the ship has sailed on this team ever recovering a good vibe. Even if Ted explains his actions, people are already entrenched painting Sally as a victim of Ted’s snub. And Ted now knows they will band together to snub him without addressing it. It may be time for Ted to look for a new job, with a new team that doesn’t have this baggage and “we’re a family … who secretly would sacrifice one of us to save the team saint” vibe.

            1. Mr. Shark*

              I agree. People are blaming Ted, when he was just trying to be polite and nice. Really, forget Sally. She caused all of this. Ted should just come out and tell people the truth, rather than dodging it, at this point.
              Saying that Sally said something hurtful is fine, but I don’t even think that goes far enough. Just tell people the truth, and that Sally is not someone you want around on your special day.

              1. RJ*

                I agree. Ted doesn’t owe Sally anything and he should just tell the truth.

                And then look for a new job because this place sounds bonkers.

              2. Great Grey Owl*

                Ted would probably be a fine addition to a normal, functional workplace. Unfortunately, that is not his current workplace. And, having a coworker describe how “she prayed for you to die instead of your coworker, who helped her and thus deserved to live more than you do” is not found in typical business classes or handbooks.

                I don’t understand why people are faulting him for not perfectly responding to this abnormal workplace.

            2. Florp*

              +1 If people keep asking him, Ted could say “Here’s why I didn’t invite Sally: she prayed for my death because I’m low on her deserves to live workplace ranking, and then she decided to tell me about it as if it was a normal thing. Maybe you should ask her where you stand on her list.” Imagine that being a thing you have to say at work! So bizarre. I’m really hoping for an update on this one!

              1. allathian*

                Yeah, me too. I understand why Ted was blindsided in the moment. But really, I can’t understand what Sally was thinking when she told Ted about the praying.

                1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  I would have been blindsided – that’s normal. But I would have mentioned it later once I’d regrouped, and explained to my colleagues that I couldn’t consider Sally a friend after that incident.
                  If it’s such a “tight-knit group” others should have noticed that Ted and Sally were no longer being friendly to each other surely?

          4. The Prettiest Curse*

            I take the view that if my colleagues are praying for my death or burning me in effigy or whatever else, that’s their business. Telling someone you work with that you prayed for them to die (even after an accident) falls squarely into the category “creating unnecessary workplace drama for no good reason.”
            And on the topic of wedding invites … wedding invites and work are a total minefield. If he didn’t want to get into what Sally said to him (which is totally understandable), Ted should have pleaded venue size or Covid restrictions and said it was family only at the wedding.

        3. CBB*

          Ted is not well suited for life in a drama llama zoo.

          He’s not adept at understanding what’s going on: First, in the way he took Sally’s comment to heart without realizing that not everyone thinks like that. Second, in not realizing that inviting everyone but Sally would be an issue.

          I hope he eventually finds himself in a workplace where people don’t get all up in each other’s personal business.

          1. Dr. Honeymaid*

            I am literally a trauma surgeon. If you think everyone *ranks who gets to live* you are sorely mistaken.

            Good lord, I have some dark humor, but that’s unreal.

            1. Lab Boss*

              I don’t know, I could see thinking that way. Not in an intentional “I have created a list of my coworkers in order of survival preference” sort of way, but a lot of people react to trauma by bargaining with God/Karma/their flavor of the greater power. I can see someone landing on that point, of “OK, universe, this is terrifying, PLEASE don’t take Bob, if you have to take someone take Ted” without ever actively deciding that’s how you were going to be thinking.

              Of course actually TELLING EITHER OF THEM is where she crossed a huge, flashing, glowing line.

              1. pancakes*

                I don’t think the question should be “are there indeed people who think this way” so much as “should the rest of us want their friendship or approval?” Answers to that will vary, of course, but it doesn’t seem like Ted has even begun to consider it for himself.

              2. wittyrepartee*

                Yeah man. People under stress think all sorts of crazy things. You don’t tell those horrible things to traumatized people! Comfort in, Dump out. Sally desperately needed to dump out. Way out. Out of the office out.

                1. Blue*

                  Yeah, I’m a firm believer that people are not responsible for 90% of what goes on in our heads, but we are responsible for 100% of what comes out of our mouths!

        4. emmelemm*

          I’m pretty sure wishing someone would die *and telling them that* is so far beyond anything “Ted” might have done that anything else is immaterial.

        5. Great Grey Owl*

          I don’t think that there are many etiquette books that tell you how to politely respond to a coworker who admits praying for your death. And, if he had what he thought was a good relationship with this coworker, I am sure her comments shocked him & shocked people don’t behave perfectly.

          Since I have had violent coworkers in the past, I would not have wanted to take any chances and would have reported her immediately. While it might not be a direct threat, there is no good reason for her to have shared her prayer for his death. My advice to Ted, if he doesn’t think he can report her, is to look for another job away from this toxic workplace.

      2. Sandy Trap*

        +1!

        How on Earth could Sally think that expressing this thought to a man who was in a serious traffic accident was at all acceptable and that she would experience no consequences? Her comments were extremely inappropriate. I am gob-smacked.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          I survived a very near fatal car crash some years ago. I’m now wondering how I’d react if someone had said they prayed that I didn’t make it.

          ‘What the actual (redacted) (more redacted) you complete (redacted) tosser?!’ probably with language and volume that would put ME on a warning from the boss for losing it. There’s tears in my eyes just thinking about this.

          1. Thursdaysgeek*

            And if you believe that God can heal people (and I do, usually with the help of medical professionals), he isn’t required to triage his miracles. I would have prayed for you AND Ted AND Bob – why limit to saving just one? I’m glad you survived your accident.

            1. Anonym*

              THIS. Good grief, this! It’s so bizarre! Almost as bizarre as telling someone you prayed for their death…

            2. WiJ*

              Exactly! It’s not like God asked her to rank her coworkers and choose who should live or die – or at least I would hope not…

              1. The Rules are Made Up*

                She just decided that it had to be either/or apparently and that’s so odd to me.

                Sally: “God if you HAVE to take one please let it be Ted”
                God: “Um who said I was taking anybody?”
                Sally: “Okay but if you INSIST then please just take Ted!”
                God: “I really never said one had to ….”
                Sally: “TED”
                God”………”

            3. NotAnotherManager!*

              Yeah, I was never under the impression that prayer was an attempt at negotiating with God or that, if you limited your request to saving one coworker, that one was more likely to survive/be saved by the almighty.

              I think Sally has a lot of issues and not being invited to a wedding is the least of them.

              1. The Prettiest Curse*

                Yeah, the many bizarre ways that people find to misinterpret the religion of their choice never fail to amaze me.

              2. Worldwalker*

                Does Sally actually think that God consults with *her* about what actions He should take?

                “Hm … I think I’ll kill one of these two … better ask Sally which one it should be.”

                The combination of a peasant understanding of God (“I can make prayer magic”) with utter arrogance (“I can make God do what I want”) is staggering.

            4. Thoughts&Prayers*

              When I hear of things like this, I pray that both come through okay but also that they don’t suffer should they die.

              I sure as heck would not ask God to pick and choose – OMG!

          2. Coffee Bean*

            I know. I mean – why would anyone even think that saying anything other than ” I am glad you are okay. I am glad both if you are okay” and instead saying “I prayed for you to die . . .” I just can’t.

        2. KoiFeeder*

          I would have started biting right then and there, honestly. Hopefully not literally, but hearing something like that after a serious accident and a hospital stay would have shunted me solidly into some severe panic behavior… and I don’t have a flight mode.

        3. Roxie*

          Sally appears to be one of those people with no brains and no filter.

          My thoughts are that Ted should go to her, tell her that he was quite disturbed by her remarks after his recovery, and thus felt uncomfortable about inviting her to a momentous event in his life. He could then suggest that he will clear the air and disclose his reason for the snub to the others unless she would prefer to go to eachof the others herself along the lines of “I said something unkind to him and the non-invite is justified.” Ted should put a short deadline on when Sally should accomplish this. This gives her a chance to save some face by owning up to her fault without confessing the full details.

    3. mreasy*

      I started hyperventilating at the headline and this did NOT disappoint. Like. Weird enough to pray for someone’s death? Like that’s how it would work???? But to TELL THE PERSON? I just…wow.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yeah – I get not wanting to out Sally, and I also totally understand why this gave Ted pause and made him yank her off the invite list – but at this point you need to make it clear to Sally “what she said” in the aftermath of the crash is why she is not welcome at the wedding.

      2. Aquawoman*

        Not only tell them but then double down on it like OF COURSE they prayed for him to die because “You have to admit you can’t measure up to [Bob].”

        1. fhqwhgads*

          It’s almost like she was thinking of them as like…characters in a video game rather than actual human beings.

        2. DJ Abbott*

          I saw lot of this growing up in a fundamentalist area. I don’t remember hearing about praying for someone to die, but the fundamentalists were always going around saying they prayed for a person to do this or that and they were completely self-absorbed and unaware.
          The phrase “I prayed for you (to)…” is a common form of communication with them.

      3. Open mouth, insert both (homicidal?) feet!*

        I had a colleague who told another that they had considered killing them. And considered it perfectly fine to say, since supposedly they were no longer homicidal. And was shocked! Shocked! That police were called and investigations performed.

          1. Open mouth, insert both (homicidal?) feet!*

            Yeppers, the homicidal one blamed the potential victim for some work drama and was considering taking her out. Seemed perfectly content with announcing her previous plan since, well, it was now perfectly acceptable since she hadn’t killed the colleague. Self-absorbed, party of one!!!

            1. Meep*

              OMG. That is next-level crazy. I have in passing said “I am going to kill them” when my coworkers do something stupid but never would I actually consider killing them. (None of them are worth jail time. JK. Mostly…)

              1. Artemesia*

                I know a promising chef fired from a position where she had been doing great and been getting promotions when she jokingly said ‘I’m going to kill you’ when a co-worker did something that ruined her preparation of a dish. It was OBVIOUSLY not a serious threat and she did not have a record of threats or violence — but their HR basically took a ‘zero tolerance’ stance and she was out of there.

                1. Despachito*

                  This seems to me VERY exaggerated on the part of their HR.

                  I’d understand if they gave her a warning but to fire a stellar employee after ONE possibly inappropriate but apparently harmless… seems too much for me.

        1. Great Grey Owl*

          Sounds like you worked my former employer I had a colleague who frequently received death threats from our other colleagues. Some of these threats were quite graphic.

          Glad the police were called on your colleague and hope that the potentially homicidal coworker was fired.

          1. mophie*

            Wait you had a coworker who received graphic death threats from your “colleagues”? As in plural? And “frequently?”
            I think maybe it’s the coworker who had the problem…

            1. Despachito*

              I cannot imagine any behaviour deserving graphic death threats.

              I can imagine “oh, you deleted my week’s work, Fergus, I’ll kill you”. I’d assume everyone will know i am NOT going to literally kill him, just that I am angry. People do not get killed at the workplace.

              But if I described in gory details HOW I am going to do that…. I’d be seriously worried for Fergus’s wellbeing. Fergus might be an awful employee but still does not deserve this.

              Unless you meant Fergus is paranoid and making things up (and in this case I agree with you).

    4. Meep*

      My Sally told me that it wouldn’t be such a big deal if /I/ got COVID but if /she/ got it, she could die multiple times last year while frequently exposing me to COVID like it wasn’t a big deal. Ignoring the long-term effects that were already known at that point.

      I believe it. Some people have no filter and what is inside is horrible. I guarantee Sally doesn’t even remember what she said as it par the course with her.

      1. Paulina*

        Sally told Ted about her biased prayers to clear her conscience from having done it. She gave no thought at all as to how the confession would impact Ted, and she wouldn’t have thought about it since, that having been the point of clearing her conscience. Her act to clear her conscience was the actual offensive thing, but that doesn’t cross the mind of people like Sally.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Oh the old ‘it’s okay if I do/say a horrific thing if I confess it afterwards’ trope.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            With a side of, “if you don’t immediately forgive me because I was honest, then YOU’RE the terrible person”.

          2. Les Cargot*

            The traditional 12-step programs for recovery from addiction (Alcoholics Anonymous and such) include a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of oneself and following up with admitting “to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Later, other steps involve willingness to make amends to the persons they have harmed and then making “direct amends to such people wherever possible, ***except when to do so would injure them or others***.” (emphasis mine).

            If Sally felt guilty about something she prayed for, the proper thing to do would be to talk it out with someone in her faith community, possibly a leader/clergy or a friend who can be trusted to keep confidences, or maybe even a secular counselor. Instead, she added emotional injury to physical injury in dumping all this on poor Ted, then and she compounded it by complaining about not being invited to the wedding instead of recognizing the omission as a natural consequence of her cruelty.

            At this point it would be reasonable for Ted to tell the truth, whether verbatim or softened (as Guacamole Bob suggested, “said some hurtful things to me after the accident”), or raise the issue with his manager, to whom I would suggest telling the whole truth.

            1. Les Cargot*

              ETA: If I were Ted, I would leave Bob entirely out of whatever he needs to say. It’s unfair to Bob, even if he is part of an apparently unhealthy enmeshment culture at work, to involve him. If I were Bob, I would be horrified to hear that someone I had been nice to had prayed for someone else — anyone else — to die instead of me.

              1. zinzarin*

                This is all the more reason to include the relative details about Bob’s ranking when sharing this story. Sally deserves for Bob (assuming he’s a reasonable person) to “wtf?!?” this news and drop Sally to the bottom of his own list.

            2. wittyrepartee*

              Yeah, as a former Catholic, my reaction was: “That’s EXACTLY what a priest is for.”
              Do not confess your unkind thoughts to the subjects of those thoughts. Crikey!

        2. DrSalty*

          Yep this was my take. She felt bad about it and therefore decided to confess to make herself feel better, completely oblivious to how hurtful this would be for Ted. Some people have the emotional intelligence of a toaster.

            1. Crumbledore*

              That last bit really crosses the line into non-apology territory – not that the rest of it was any good, of course.

              1. banoffee pie*

                Yeah she got defensive and tried to make Ted admit the other guy was better. That’s my read anyway, she was sure she was right and why couldn’t Ted see it?!

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          This comes up a lot re confessing affairs: “I told you I lied, so now I feel great! Whew! Now we move on to the part where you forgive me and everything is fine again. …Why is that part taking so long?”

          A very common human impulse.

        4. Meep*

          Exactly. People like Sally only care about themselves. Once they make themselves feel better they forget how they hurt the other person.

      2. pope suburban*

        Ugh, I can relate. I have a colleague who left to work remotely as soon as possible, and didn’t come back until months after everyone else- which is fine, everyone should be able to do what they need for their health. But she kept manufacturing situations where I’d have to come into contact with the public, before the vaccine, when cases here were out of control. We could have set up a pick-up/drop-off table that could be sanitized, but she was aggressive about making me leave the building and have sustained (and unusual for the job) interactions with God knows who. I didn’t feel that I could safely push back and it has permanently damaged our relationship. Some people are really comfortable with thinking of others as disposable, and of course they have no compunction about making that apparent.

        1. Olivia Mansfield*

          Almost as if her security in her own safety was enhanced by seeing evidence of someone else’s diminished safety.

          1. pope suburban*

            You’re not wrong. The part that I found exceptionally frustrating is that this person clearly understood that COVID was a serious threat, and was being scrupulous about following protocols in her own life. If she had been a denier, well, that would also have been terrible, but at least there would have been some internal consistency. As it stood, it was just this stark reminder that *she* matters, where *I* am expendable. As you can imagine, it fit with a larger pattern of behavior, it was just the most egregious example.

        2. Meep*

          People are selfish are they not?

          I ended up jumping on the Moderna vaccine trial when my coworker let me sit in a room with our unmasked boss after he had been exposed to covid. She only told me afterward. Then while she was ranting and raving about irresponsible HE was (while taking off her mask), she drops the line “This is serious. My friend, [Name], is waiting on a COVID test. She is symptomatic right now. Speaking of [Name], we went out to dinner last night and it was so weird how few people were at the restaurant.”

          Yep….

          1. pope suburban*

            Oh my God. That’s completely horrifying and I’m so sorry you were put in that position. I applied for the trials for similar reasons but did not make it in. Fortunately I ended up not being sick or, to the best of my knowledge, ever being exposed, but it was very scary for a while. I’m endlessly grateful that my state included public employees in the second or third wave of eligibility. I don’t think I’m bulletproof now, but being able to get the shot did a lot for my peace of mind for sure.

        3. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

          I know what you mean. Anyone who tries to pressure me into doing anything like that, that I’m uncomfortable with due to the pandemic is a deal breaker for me. If they ask if I will do something that is non-essential, I decline and say I’m uncomfortable with it due to the pandemic, and they still push back, that is it for them as far as I’m concerned. I will still be civil to them if I have to work with or deal with them in any way. But make no mistake, they mean nothing to me and I will only do the minimum for them and only when I have to. No other person gets to decide that it’s ok for me to contract a potentially deadly or debilitating virus.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I’ve had people in the last year+ actively HOPE that I get Covid instead of their family/friends etc because they’re of more value to society than me. There are some really evil self-centred arseholes out there.

      I’m all in favour of straight up telling Sally ‘you said you prayed for my death, said I wasn’t as good a human as someone else, what exactly was your end goal for telling me that?’

      Because I cannot conceive of any answer that makes even a modicum of sense.

      Eff Sally. Sally sucks.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Yeah. They really can. Harkening back to yesterday’s post on self care I’m gonna go take the iPad offline and read some Pratchett because there’s really nothing more I can read or contribute to on this particular letter. It’s a little too close to home.

          1. Batty Twerp*

            Sounds like a plan, since I’m afraid I’m to incoherent to offer much advice.
            Which book? I’m thinking one of the Witches – Nanny Ogg makes me laugh, and I don’t think I could handle anything too heavy right now.

            /Derail

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              It was Raising Steam in the end, but it makes reference to my home town and the industry I work in so it’s like a comfort thing. It’s a rough time here, I’m unable to get to the office or anywhere because of the uk fuel crisis (car is empty) and being disabled and so I probably sound like I’ve lost hope. It’ll get better.

              1. Blue*

                It’s a shit time for us right now, especially for us disabled people. It wears you down.
                A bit of Pterry sounds like just the thing, he always makes me feel slightly better about the world.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                  Yeah, I used to have a quote from one of his books on my lab coat at university. Ahh well, stuck at home again but I got my ‘anthill inside’ sticker on my laptop so is good :)

          2. LunaLena*

            If you haven’t decided on a book yet, may I suggest Nation. It’s my favorite Pratchett book to read when I’m angry or upset because it’s a book that he wrote when he was full of anger himself, but it also shows that anger can be productive. Plus Mau’s defiant “does not happen!” always reminds me that, even though we live in a world where we have little control over anything, we do have some over the little part that we inhabit.

            Hope you feel better soon, it’s really terrible how easy it is for people to say thoughtless and horrible things like that.

          3. Jules the 3rd*

            yeesh! People can suck. I’ve enjoyed your commenting here, and hope you live long and well and happily. Pratchett is a good path for that! (I have finally got my kid past Guards! Guards!, can’t wait for him to hit The Truth and Going Postal…)

            1. Worldwalker*

              Am I a bad person because I just never liked Going Postal? *worried look*

              My personal favorite is Small Gods. Maybe because I like tortoises.

                1. allathian*

                  I’ve been stuck with Small Gods now for a while… My favorite stories are the one with Rincewind, and especially The Luggage, and the books with the witches, especially Witches Abroad.

              1. Robin Ellacott*

                Small Gods is my favourite. :) I use it as a gateway drug when getting people to try the Discworld books.

                For an angry read I would suggest anything Vimes or Monstrous Regiment, but then all TP’s books are filled with righteous anger coupled with the desire to make things better.

          4. Coffee Bean*

            I am sorry, KeyofG. That must have been awful, and I wish it hadn’t happened to you. From your posts, I really believe you are a great and insightful manager.

      1. Formerly Ella Vader*

        RIGHT??!

        In my belief system, there is no zero-sum scorekeeping power in charge of the universe. Whether or not a stranger dies of Covid does not affect whether someone I care about dies of Covid. Except in situations when someone has to choose who gets the ICU bed and the ventilator, those are independent occurrences.

        Similarly, only in television medical dramas would there be a situation of, two people are in an accident and whether one person dies determines whether the other person lives.

        Probability and statistics doesn’t work that way, physics doesn’t work that way, and as far as I can think of, there aren’t any common teachings of God working that way.

        1. Worldwalker*

          There is an absolutely scary number of people who believe the “Gambler’s Fallacy” — that if you flip a coin and it comes up heads 9 times, the 10th flip is certain to be tails.

          1. nonegiven*

            If I flip a coin and it comes up heads 9 times, I start wondering if I have a two headed coin and might want to check.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yup – Sally strikes me as the person who “is just being honest” without ever considering the impact of that “honesty” on the rest of the world around them.
        Let’s not be too harsh on Ted – Sally’s comments obviously completely threw him for a loop. But now I think Ted needs to be clear that Sally made some incredibly hurtful comments, and now he doesn’t feel able or comfortable with Sally at the wedding.

        1. Cathy Gale*

          Right! The “take me as I am, this is it, and if you don’t like what I have to say, it’s your problem”. AKA “I’m not just oblivious, I’m narcissistic and think everyone should bow down to my personal wisdom.”

          Sally’s creepy comment did not need to be said to anyone, and has destroyed the ability of this team to get things done.

        2. Junimo the Hutt*

          “I’m just being honest.”

          “Well, cool. In your honesty, you also forgot to be kind. Which is HONESTLY more important.”

          1. pope suburban*

            This makes me think of the set of questions from, I think, Dear Abby, that you should ask yourself before you give voice to a thought: Is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind?

            Someone else had a variation on it that I also liked: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me, right now?

            Sally seems like the kind of person who could benefit from being drilled with both concepts. People who are enamored of brutal honesty tend to care more about the brutality than the honesty, and that’s really no way to go through life.

        3. Artemesia*

          ‘incredibly hurtful’ is too little. At this point he needs to say ‘look I realize by not repeating what Sally said to me it made it hard for everyone not to understand why I didn’t invite her to my wedding. I assumed she knew and would not make a fuss. When Bob and I came back to work after that terrible accident where we both almost died she made a point to seek me out and say she had prayed that I would die if only Bob could live. After that I really can’t be around her or have her at something as important as my wedding. ‘

          Anything vaguer than that just invites more drama.

      3. Snappybackb....*

        Be sure to ask her that question in front at least 3 female co-workers! Yeah I am petty and mean, Sally want drama, me give Sally drama!!!!

      4. Chelle*

        I don’t understand this. It’s not like there are 3 COVIDs to go around and if 3 people get it then no one else does.

      5. Worldwalker*

        In some Jewish traditions, if you see smoke coming up from your neighborhood, it’s considered wrong to hope/pray that your house isn’t the one on fire, because that means you’re actually praying for a neighbor’s house to burn down. I can see how that works.

        A really nice guy I knew slightly died of COVID last week. Anti-vaxxers have a lot to answer for.

          1. Artemesia*

            tell it to the family that has tens of thousands in unnecessary hospital bills for their child’s appendicitis because he couldn’t get treatment till after it had burst because the ER and ICU were filled with unvaccinated COVID patients. Luckily the kid didn’t die; he could have. But a fairly minor event became a major one because he could not get help timely. And of course several adults have died when they couldn’t get treatment timely.

        1. Lady Kelvin*

          I have no intention of making a joke out of a truly awful situation, I am currently high risk for COVID (8 months pregnant) and have literally been housebound for two months because of anti-vaxx idiots (I am vaccinated but am taking no chances), but the first time I read your comment all I could think of was “how does someone slightly die of COVID”. English syntax is weird.

      6. Robin Ellacott*

        More. Value. To. Society????

        Let me at them.

        I’m so sorry. You sound witty and kind, which is more than can be said of most people. More fools them for not seeing it.

      7. Despachito*

        Wh… What…?

        Keymaster, I am so sorry you have such stupid asshats around.

        What a stupid, hurtful, rude, unnecessary thing for them to say. Please do not give them a second thought. There is something seriously wrong with them.

        And now excuse me, I am going downstairs to pick my jaw up from the floor.

      8. CoveredInBees*

        What a revolting thing for them to say. There is also an excessive amount of COVID to go around for everyone.

    6. Artemesia*

      This. Ted erred in not telling people why she wasn’t invited. Only hope in rescuing this now is to share that as Alison suggested. Otherwise HE will always be the nasty unkind one at work.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        ‘Sally told me she prayed for my death after the accident. She. Told. Me. So forgive me if I want nothing to do with her’

          1. Carol the happy elf*

            I’d give Ted a “forgiving” script, though. Macchiavelli here, not Saint Francis.
            I put something further down, where Ted gathers all but Sally, and explains to them (and Bob) that Sally said that she prayed that Ted would die instead of Bob, and he’s sorry he gave that blather about a small venue- it IS small, but he knew that Sally would feel such horrible guilt over having said that painful thing to him, that she would feel as thoigh he was rubbing his happiness in her face if he invited her, and it would make her feel such horrible guilt….

            Then, Ted, trail it off RIGHT THERE. SERIOUSLY. Walk away, shoulders slumped. If (when) anyone asks what in the name of all the flying monkeys Sally meant, or said, just say that in times of extreme danger or shock, people say what they mean. Then ask for some privacy.

            1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

              damn, you’re good. Like you should be a consultant to evil masterminds or something.

        1. Just Another Zebra*

          “She told me, with no remorse or repentance, that she prayed for my death if it meant saving Bob.”

          1. Hannah Lee*

            I’d leave Bob completely out of it.

            Because that sets up a dynamic of the other team members slipping right past “she told me she wished me dead” and going straight to “Hmmm, Ted or Bob? Who would I want to save if I could only save one? Well, Sally’s got a point, actually! And Ted leaving her off his wedding invite list proves it!”

            “Sally prayed for my death when I was in the hospital after that horrible accident. And SHE TOLD ME about it! I don’t want to spend the happiest day of my life with someone who wished me dead.”

            Let Sally be the one to try to justify her value judgements about her co-workers.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yeah, leave Bob out of it. If Sally wants to say that out loud, let her. It will make her look like the shitty one.

            2. Yorick*

              If you’re gonna tell people she prayed you died, you have to explain why. It’s messed up that she did it, but she didn’t just want him to die in general.

              1. Gothic Bee*

                That’s just splitting hairs. It’s not better just because she only wanted him to die in order for Bob to live and there’s no reason for Ted to get into all the details here. She can explain further if she wants to.

                1. Aggretsuko*

                  Literally it doesn’t make sense that either Bob or Ted should die, unless somehow a vital organ transplant was involved. Clearly Sally made that up in her own whackadoodle head.

              2. Just Another Zebra*

                This is what I was thinking. There’s definitely a nuanced awfulness here. And I worry that if he leaves out the “instead of Ted” bit, it will look like he’s hiding something to make Sally appear worse. Which is what I think would happen.

                1. Hannah Lee*

                  Ted: “Sally did this awful thing, she prayed for me to die … and then told me about it. I made me feel awful at an already stressful time. I don’t want someone who wished me dead at my wedding”
                  Team: “Why did she do that?”
                  Ted: “Ask her. BTW Is there any possible reason that would make it ok?

                2. AstralDebris*

                  Here’s the script:
                  “Right when I came back after the accident, Sally came up to me and told me that while I was in the hospital, she prayed that if somebody ‘had to die,’ that it be me.”

                  Possible addendum:
                  “When I expressed hurt and shock, she proceeded to tell me, in excruciating detail, how much better of a human Bob is than me. And then she just walked away. I am trying to move past this and not have it affect our work, but obviously given all of that I am not comfortable having someone who prayed for my death at my wedding.”

              3. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

                No, no they really don’t. Each of us is responsible for explaining our own actions. Sally can explain why she did what she did – it is not on Ted to explain for her.

              4. Pennyworth*

                I suspect if he just says that Sally prayed for his death after the accident and it gets back to she, she will immediately explain that it was only because she likes Bob better.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes, this is that awkward space where Ted was in the right and Sally in the wrong all the way through… but you can’t give someone the cut direct and expect there to be no resulting drama in the tight knit group. Work group, games group, old college pal group.

        A calm “I didn’t invite Sally because she told me that when I was in the hospital she prayed for me to die” gives the rest of the group the context they need to understand what’s going on. Still drama, but at least people aren’t guessing as to the background of the tension.

    7. NeutralJanet*

      It would be rude enough for her to just tell Ted that she prefers Bob, even though it’s perfectly normal to be better friends with certain members of a group than others…but the fact that she told him she prayed he would die?!

      1. Be kind, rewind*

        Exactly. The underlying message she sent is “here’s all the reasons why Bob deserves to live more than you do”… That is so hurtful and unforgivable that I am in complete shock that she sees nothing wrong with this.

        1. paxfelis*

          I think HR, or someone with power to enforce consequences on Sally who isn’t embroiled in this mess, needs to make sure that all of this aid that Bob has been giving is truly voluntary. I find it likely that Bob doesn’t want Sally to unleash drama, so he helps her to avoid that possibility.

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m surprised how often this comes up–“I’ll only be in difficulty if people find out…. better tell some people.”

      I think it’s sort of like having an intense dream that Bob from Accounts Receivable was killed in a terrible photocopier mishap: To the dreamer it feels real and akin to relating what Bill from Accounts Payable did on the weekend, but to everyone else it’s a bizarre unloading of your subconscious that no one wanted to hear.

    9. Momma Bear*

      I think at this point Ted should 1. consider counseling if his Imposter Syndrome is hampering his work and 2. just be upfront about why you aren’t inviting Sally and 3. if the other women don’t come, that is their choice. Enjoy the people who do. Weddings are such drama and it’s amazing that we don’t all just elope and avoid it all. If the team freezing him out is now causing problems with work, he should document the work related things when he speaks to his boss. He needs to get ahead of the drama vs letting it happen to him.

        1. JJ Bittenbinder*

          Elopement high-fives!

          We mostly avoided drama, but there were literally zero friends or family members invited. I can’t imagine we’d been able to invite 1 or 2 to accompany us without the resounding choruses of “why them and not me?”

          1. KaciHall*

            We planned a very small wedding – my dad was never going to be able to come so we decided to just invite one friend each as a witness, and a mutual friend (who was already ordained) was going to marry us in the park.

            Well then my mother in law got wind of it, started inviting people to our wedding, and asked where she should tell them to park. So when we picked up the license the week before, I jokingly asked if we could just get it officiated right then and there. And we could. So I got married in jeans and a sweater,. We had no witnesses with us so the judge’s secretaries signed.

            I miss my plans a little bit for my tiny wedding, but the drama after eloping was SO much less than it would’ve been if we had tried to go through with the ceremony.

            1. Despachito*

              Oh dear.

              What’s wrong with people thinking that they have ANY say in OTHER people’s ceremony.

              There would be so much drama avoided if everyone was able to understand that I DO NOT HAVE ANY RIGHT TO DECIDE WHATSOEVER about any wedding but my own.

    10. Boof*

      I’m visualizing what went down and it’s a bit worse than a randomly mean thing – it sounds like Ted had just had some serious trauma (I had a car accident a while ago that wasn’t my fault, and fortunately no one was injured, but even just that seriously rattles your sense of well-being), and then Sally STOMPS ON HIM WHEN HE’S DOWN. No support, just “by the way I like bob better than you, I was hoping at least he wold make it”, apparently as soon as Ted is looking to get back to “normal” returning to work.
      It’s so outlandish I have to wonder if Sally knows Ted is insecure and is somehow enjoying watching him be crushed? Or maybe Sally just likes being the center of attention? Maybe there’s some charitable interpretation where Sally is just deeply selfish and thinks her guilt and wishes are the main thing that matters – but in the end, she did a deeply crappy thing and I think most of society would be horrified. Ted is best off just letting the team and Sally know a) what happened and that b) he is just not comfortable inviting Sally to his personal wedding after that, especially with a limited venue.

      It’s actually an incredibly crappy thing to do and I think the best thing to do is for Ted to air it out, if Ted is willing to listen. Ted definitely doesn’t need to protect Sally from her own actions by hiding it.

      1. Sarah M*

        This.

        I don’t understand what would drive someone to do stomp on someone that just experienced a trauma, I really don’t. I had something very similar happen to me, and I have never forgiven that person for mocking me (I was very close to the WTC on 9/11, and was there for the whole thing. He mocked me for having PTSD afterwards, joked that he now “knew an actual psychopath [sic]”.) I did not react with as much poise as Ted did/has in this situation, either. I retaliated verbally against that person later, in a way I’m really not proud of, and I really regret doing that. I fully acknowledge that I deserve it, but guess who the A/H became in our friend group? Yep.

        1. Boof*

          Uck, that’s terrible that someone would mock you for that (and psychopath, how does that even fit?! – rhetorical question).

    11. emmelemm*

      Been reading AAM a long time now, and in the realm of coworker v. coworker issues, this *might* take the cake.

    12. anycat*

      i am also SO THANKFUL that i don’t encounter these weirdos at my current job. in past lives… probably..

    13. feral fairy*

      Stop trying to find excuses for Sally. Frankly, discussions of prayer shouldn’t be part of the workplace at all, but obviously in practice in the US that doesn’t always happen. But when you get to the second paragraph, this comment really becomes fanfiction. While the idea of someone saying this out loud is appalling, it is truly not that far out of the realm of possibility to warrant speculating that the fiance was in a state of psychosis (!!!). And to your other speculation, it doesn’t sound like Sally was apologizing, first of all. Second of all, her specific spiritual beliefs are not really relevant here. Whether someone came up to me and said “When you got in that car crash, I hoped that if someone died it would be you” or “I prayed to God that he would take you and not Bob” I’d be hurt and infuriated by either statement. The second would actually bother me more as a religious minority because God doesn’t belong in a secular workplace. How are they both not examples of workplace bullying?

    14. aebhel*

      I’m fairly sure he wasn’t dealing with post-anesthesia hallucinations by the time he was back at work.

      And why all the bending over backward to assume that Todd was lying, mistaken, or hallucinating (!?). People exactly as awful as Sally exist all over the place.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      It’s a Shakespearean tragedy. Act I establishes the 10 years close-knit team. Act II is the car crash. Act III is Sally’s confession and the wedding invitations. We’re now in Act IV.

      I just hope at this point that half of Ted’s work team doesn’t jump ship.

      1. Shakespeare*

        ACT I, SCENE iii: Sally’s bedroom

        (Sally, kneeling bedside, deep in prayer.)

        SALLY: God, please if you’re listening, don’t take Bob from me. Bob is a saint! He loans me money. Take Ted if you must.

        GOD: WTF

        GOD: who gave u this number

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Today’s “good reason I’m working at home so people don’t wonder why I’m laughing uncontrollably” award goes to Shakespeare.

          That’s an instant classic, that is.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        I was thinking this is like one of those basic sitcom plots, where the entire half hour could have been avoided with one quick clarifying conversation.

        Ted: “After Bob’s and my horrible accident Sally made a point of telling me she hoped I died rather than Bob, which kind of put a damper on 10 years of friendship and after that I didn’t feel like she should attend my wedding.”
        Sally: “Well I like Bob better and it was only if *someone* had to die.”
        Everyone else: “OMG Sally what?? Yeah don’t invite her.” Boom, done.

      3. MusicWithRocksIn*

        It is very Shakespearean tragedy, because if Ted had just used his words and told people what was happening, it wouldn’t be such a mess.

    2. WellRed*

      Did they really not consider that this might happen? Also, assuming OP is female, love how coworkers just assumed they should contact her about this.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        I would like to think that they asked Ted first and were checking with OP to see if she might give them a different answer, but… probably not.

    3. AY*

      Really makes you understand why so many do not maintain close personal relationships with coworkers. I have had close friendships with former coworkers, but if something like this happened to me, I’d definitely think twice in the future!

    1. What's in a name?*

      After reading further I think the best answer is for Ted to go to therapy. It would help with his insecurity, help him to feel comfortable to tell Sally how he feels, share the information with the team and probably more stuff, since I am guessing the wedding has more drama than just this.*

      It might be that telling Sally and the group how he feels would be awkward, that is not Ted’s awkwardness, it is Sally’s to own.

      *This advise comes from someone that got married less than a month ago and has some stressful in-laws, especially when it comes to the groom’s “duties” (/rights) w.r.t. the wedding.

      1. PT*

        Ted needs to go to therapy because someone else wished he would die?

        That is victim blaming.

        Ted should promptly report this to HR, who ideally should remove Sally from his proximity, and because it is a small company, he should also start looking for a new job ASAP.

        1. Persephone Mongoose*

          What? Therapy is not a punishment and it is certainly not “victim blaming”. He deserves to process what Sally told him with a professional, who can also help address his passivity and insecurities that have made this situations worse than it needed to be.

          1. What's in a name?*

            Treating therapy as a punishment or victim blaming is a major part of the stigmatization of mental health that is all too prevalent.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Yeah, I do think therapy might help Ted to deal with life’s slings better going forward. (Specifically trying to choose the above-it-all no drama option, but then not being able to actually get over whatever happened and so there is still awkwardness and drama, just in a different spot.)

              1. Cambridge Comma*

                These aren’t life’s normal slings and arrows, though. Most of us don’t get our co-workers praying for our death and telling us about it. It’s ok not to handle that situation well.

          2. CBB*

            Agreed. I think Ted might find therapy empowering.

            I feel bad for Ted because I can see a younger version of myself being like him. Today I like to think I would be able to recognize Sally for what she is (bonkers and/or a bully) and let her comments roll off my back. And furthermore not feel obligated to invite any coworkers to my wedding unless they’re an actual friend.

            1. Momma Bear*

              If something in your life is holding you back – in this case his overall insecurity – he may benefit from short-term counseling. I’ve gone to therapy to deal with a bad work situation and it really helped. It doesn’t absolve Sally but it may help him deal with the fallout at work.

            2. Butterfly Counter*

              I think this is where my disconnect comes in. I’m guessing the OP, her fiance, and the team are in their 20s and I’m almost twice as old as that. I have been trying to put myself in OP’s fiance’s position and I can’t imagine taking Sally’s comments to heart. First, there is no way I’d be so enmeshed with my coworkers, so that part is foreign to me so I can’t imagine it. Second, I don’t think I could possibly internalize such a crazy confession. My reaction would probably be stunned silence before going home and telling my partner that Sally is koo-koo-bananapants and you’ll never believe what she just told me! And then we’d gossip about how much she probably wants to get into Bob’s pants and that her marriage is doomed (and that would be my own private petty revenge).

              I think this might be something that takes time and perspective, and maybe some therapy, to get over. But really, in the future this is going to make one heck of a story to tell to other (read: better) friends!

              1. pancakes*

                I don’t think age has anything to do with this. In the US we have middle-aged (and up!) politicians who talk about their deities having chosen them to run for office, and lots and lots of middle-aged (and up!) people who take them very seriously when they do.

                1. allathian*

                  Yes, no doubt. But other than that, I agree with Butterfly Counter. In my 20s I was very insecure, and had imposter syndrome, too. And at some jobs, I really wanted to be included, and any hints of my coworkers not liking me would upset me greatly, even if I tried not to show it.

                  Granted, I’m not sure how I would’ve reacted to a comment like Sally’s if I’d returned to work after a potentially fatal accident, but the older I get, the less Fs I have to give, and the less I care about whether or not my coworkers like me. Sure, I doubt anyone wants to be actively disliked, but I’m not looking for friends at work, I just want to have friendly and professional relationships with my coworkers and to avoid any workplace drama.

              2. Former Employee*

                I’d be surprised if they were still in their 20’s since the team has been working together for 10 years.

        2. RabbitRabbit*

          No, Ted needs to go to therapy because he believes that other people also see him as a “second tier” man due to one woman’s prayer for him to die instead of the “superior” Bob.

          That doesn’t mean that Sally isn’t terribly wrong, because she is.

        3. What's in a name?*

          He should go to therapy because he is feeling insecure and like a lower tier man after a serious accident that included surgery all to the point he cannot talk candidly about how someone wished him death. That isn’t victims blaming, that is recommending help to the victim.

        4. Gipsy Danger*

          Therapy isn’t a punishment. It is a tool that can help us deal with all kinds of things, like finding out a person we thought we were close to wished we would die.

        5. Homebody*

          I think the commenter is saying Ted may need to pursue therapy because of existing insecurities worsened by the situation, not the other way around.

          Totally agree that Ted should look for a new job. I have a feeling there is more drama at this workplace due to the lack of boundaries

        6. Hills to Die on*

          It’s about helping Ted to heal and see that he isn’t a bad person. Getting help when needed is not victim blaming. That’s ridiculous.

          1. Lance*

            This. There’s no blaming anyone here, least of all the victim; LW themself stated that he’s suffering from confidence issues. That’s reason enough to at least conside it, especially now when it’s liable to affect his work even more.

        7. KoiFeeder*

          No, Ted needs therapy because his response to someone being senselessly cruel to him was to think she was right.

          Now, yes, he should also go to HR and look for a new job, no arguments there. But just like I would tell someone to go to the doctor if they were physically walking around on a broken leg, he needs to go to the brain doctor because he’s doing the mental/emotional equivalent of that.

        8. Atalanta0jess*

          What? Therapy is just….healthcare. It’s to help you heal.

          Saying that is victim blaming is like saying it’s victim blaming to suggest the victim of a stabbing go to the hospital. It’s patently absurd.

          1. Washi*

            Right, it sounds like Ted’s mental health has really suffered, so he may need mental healthcare. Saying Ted could use help is not the same as saying the situation is actually his fault.

        9. quill*

          No, someone victimized Ted by letting him know that they wished for him to die, casting doubt on many of his long term relationships, hindering his emotional recovery from a serious accident, and down the line damaging his relationships with his workmates.

          The therapy is for Ted to recover from that. It’s working on one end of the problem, while “never have to work with Sally again and give the rest of the team context for why that is” is the other end. Ideally the two solutions will meet in the middle like Lady and the Tramp eating the same spaghetti.

        10. NotAnotherManager!*

          Nope. Therapy is not a sign of a defect, it’s no different than taking a NyQuil when you’re having cold symptoms. Providing appropriate mental health treatment *should* be empowering and therapeutic to victims, and the idea that therapy punishment or blame is, politely, really messed up and inappropriately shaming.

          One of my parents was a horrible person, our best guess is that they had narcissistic personality disorder. Growing up with someone like that can be very damaging, if left unchecked. They were the messed up one, but I still went to therapy to work through how their truly awful behavior affected me. Not because there was something wrong with me but because there was something wrong with THEM that I didn’t want to turn into something wrong with me.

          Should the narcissist have been in therapy? Absolutely, but it wouldn’t have helped because they didn’t think there was anything wrong with them. It’s not my fault they were a narcissist, but it sure was nice to have someone validate my feelings and give me strategies for to deal with someone whose behavior I could not control and who was not motivated to change it themselves.

        11. Owler*

          I think the comment from What’s in a name? is meant out of kindness. If Ted is so conflict adverse that he can’t tell Sally how hurtful her comments were, it’s doubtful that he will be able to go to HR. Suggesting therapy is probably a good idea, as this is probably not the only time that Ted’s wish to avoid negative situations will impact his life.

          I hope the couple can figure out a way to keep this situation from coloring their feelings about their wedding day. I was similarly conflict adverse (especially on my 20s), and it has taken longer than it should have for me to figure out how to approach negative situations head-on. I hope Ted can do better for himself than I have.

        12. Worldwalker*

          If Sally had slammed Ted’s hand in a file drawer, would it be “victim blaming” to suggest Ted should go to the doctor?

          Same difference.

        13. Beth*

          Going to therapy isn’t a punishment, and suggesting that it would be useful isn’t blaming Ted for the incident. A therapist could be a huge help as Ted faces down a really cruel incident that has had a lasting negative impact on his self-perception and confidence. I’d probably need to go to therapy too, if someone I saw as a close friend told me they prayed for my death! That’s not something most people are equipped to handle on our own!

      2. KateM*

        What jumped to my eye was “Now he’s wondering if all his team members secretly feel the way she does” plus “Now all the women on the team, including Sally, are freezing Ted out. They refuse to speak to him except when forced to”. How does Ted even stand this??

    1. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

      That was my first thought as well. I am going to be on pins and needles until we receive this update.

    2. Lalla*

      Yes, I came to the comments (late) to emphasize the same thing. OP think about us!!!! We are in it too know, and will *need* an update!

          1. Carol the happy elf*

            You can get them in Belgium; they reminded me of Twinkie mates with Oreo, but not as sicky sweet.

            Probably online; they’re good with warm milk, the way it’s sometimes served overseas. Also good with a banana-coconut shake.
            Which is taking my mind away from this horrible train wreck.
            Ted needs to clear the air with his coworkers.
            As in “Sally told me that if Bob or I had to die in that wreck, she hoped it would be me.
            I FELT THAT SHE MIGHT FEEL GUILTY IF I INVITED HER TO A CELEBRATION OF MY HAPPINESS.”
            This must be done with everyone in the room EXCEPT Sally; and Ted must not be ashamed to shed tears.

          2. Worldwalker*

            Possibly more available: Plantain chips. They’re like potato chips, but made from plantain (a sort of starchy banana) instead of potatoes. And they are delicious.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          Well, what about banana chips? You can buy those at almost any grocery store and they’re particularly good when dipped in Nutella…

        2. LunaLena*

          I used to eat some banana-flavored puffed crackers in Korea (think puffy Cheetos, but banana-flavored instead of cheese). They’re called Banana Kick and are really tasty! If you have an H Mart or other Asian grocery store in your area, they probably have them.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Me too; I actually put it in a book. I’ve been trying to stop saying “that’s crazy” and it’s my favorite substitution.

    1. Putting out fires, Esq*

      Yes, and just because someone is bananacrackers does not obligate you to cover up or join them in their bananacrackers-ness. I get being shocked in the moment and not know what to say in the face of Sally’s death prayer confession, but there’s no reason to keep her confidence.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yeah – honestly I think a conversation needs to happen with Sally where she is explicitly told your comments were unbelievably hurtful – and they are why you were not invited to the wedding. I will now on be telling everyone that you were not invited because of very hurtful comments made in the aftermath of the crash.
        Right now you are protecting Sally from the consequences of her comments – let her feel those consequences.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          I think that conversation should be had in front of the team.

          “Everyone is expressing dismay at why Sally was not on the guest list. To clear the air I’ve decided to explain it. Sally told me she prayed for my death while I was in the hospital … it was an incredibly hurtful thing to hear. And while I’ve put it behind me at work, I wasn’t comfortable with someone who wished me ill being a guest at my wedding. I’m sure you can all understand that.”

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Oh agreed – I just don’t know if I personally would have the ability/guts to actually do it.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      As long as we’re moving into advice columns food metaphor territory… Sally has earned her bacon pants.

      1. Kate R*

        I’m not sure this is even the high road. Sounds more like he’s trying to avoid more conflict so it will just go away, which of course won’t work. It may be that Ted is worried if he tells the others what Sally said, they’ll agree with her since OP mentions his deep insecurity about this. But I agree, he should tell them because it provides necessary context. Also, I wonder if Ted responds to all conflict this way, and, I know this isn’t a marriage advice column, but if I were OP, I’d want to have a serious discussion with Ted about the importance of talking things through instead of having the kind of guesswork involved here. Given what OP has described about Ted here, it does sound like he’s open with her, but it would make for an exhausting marriage otherwise.

        1. Guacamole Bob*

          Yeah, Ted was put in a bad situation here, but he’s not handling it super well by trying to dodge any sort of conflict and pretending that everything is fine and they just threw darts at a board to pick someone to be left off the list when they hit the venue capacity.

        2. Le Sigh*

          The thing that drives me nuts about this is Ted didn’t want to announce what Sally did and wanted to keep it private — okay, fine. But he made the consequences incredibly public, without giving the people any context. And he’s doubling down and refusing to explain, making it worse. If someone in my friend group was deliberately excluding one of our friends for seemingly no reason, I’d be asking questions, too!

          Should he be able to invite whoever he wants? I mean, yes, but even then there are still certain social conventions and courtesies. How often do we see letters about people pointedly wanting to not invite someone’s spouse? He might not have intended to make a statement, but excluding one person from a group is going to create more attention and drama on this whole thing, especially if people don’t know that there’s a reason behind it.

          1. Cambridge Comma*

            Sally made them public. She should have realised that he was protecting her in front of her co-workers, and pretended to be busy that weekend or whatever. She’s made the drama. Again.

            1. LunaLena*

              Pretty sure she wouldn’t see it that way, though. In my experience, people like this don’t think they did anything wrong, they were just speaking their truth and no one should ever be hurt by that (and if they are, it’s their problem for being “sensitive”). Plus there are a lot of people who think confession absolves everything – see: people who cheat on their significant others and confess, then assume it means they’re forgiven. She definitely would’ve shown up at the wedding, because who wouldn’t want to go to a big fancy party that all their friends are attending?

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                I think this is sadly accurate. But I said the magic words and apologized/confessed. Why is he so upset with me…..

                She probably has such a long list of things she doesn’t understand (including that comments are actions and they have consequences.

            2. Le Sigh*

              I agree, Sally *should* realize it, but she also should have never said what she said in the first place. Someone who tells you they prayed for you to die over another person — because what kind of person does that?????? holy moly — isn’t likely to realize this was her fault. She should, but she won’t. And the coworkers don’t know what’s going on, so to them, Ted made it public and they can only go off what they know. It’s not fair to Ted, but that’s the situation he found himself in — and avoiding the conflict is actually making it worse.

          2. ArtsyGirl*

            Agreed, Ted’s conflict aversion has unintentionally magnified this problem. He should have spoken to Sally privately before the invites went out to say that because of her batshit actions, she was not welcome at the wedding. That way Sally had either the choice to publicly excuse herself or if she made a deal about it, then Ted could have told the rest of the co-workers about her actions. Because he didn’t she was able to get ahead of it and play the victim.

          3. Gothic Bee*

            To be fair, getting into a major life-threatening accident, then being told your coworker and supposed friend prayed that you would die, all while planning a wedding is all a lot to handle. I don’t blame Ted for not making the best decisions here (in a situation where there were no good decisions to begin with).

            1. Redd*

              And more specifically, after my life-threatening medical crises, I spent a lot of time grappling with the fact that I might have died and wondering if I’d have been missed. I cannot imagine how overwhelming it would be to have someone volunteer the information that they’d have been relieved.

        3. quill*

          I mean, I’m sure it’s been emotionally and culturally framed for Ted as the high road. The whole “don’t hit your bullies back and keep sharing with them because you’re a bigger person, nevermind that it helps them get away with it and hurt you again” high road.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            Yeah, but if that’s the script he was operating from he should have just invited her to the wedding.

            1. quill*

              That script breaks down IMMEDIATELY when it comes to doing emotionally significant things with the person who hurt you in attendance.

              The things you tell yourself to get through ordinary actions are often revealed to not work during unusual actions. That’s just human nature.

        4. LunaLena*

          I agree with this. I get the insecurities, but at this point, what does he have to lose? At worst, he’ll find out his worst fears are confirmed (and he already thinks they are; if they are actually confirmed he is now free to look at next steps like finding a new job), at best he’ll find that he worrying needlessly.

          1. Yup*

            +1000
            He should prepare himself that every one of them thinks and says that they agree with Sally, that Bob is a much better man, and if one of them had to die it would be him.

            If he can sit with that, and get okay with it, it gives him tremendous power in this situation. He can then speak his truth and, chances are, will discover others are on his side.

            However, I would be amazed if he actually does this. Someone this risk averse is unlikely to risk being authentic and vulnerable, even though it could make a significant difference in him overcoming his fear.

            1. STAT!*

              Agreed except … he might not have the emotional bandwidth at this time to mentally prepare himself to learn some awful truths around how people really think about him. And time is not on his side, in terms of organising the wedding reception and explaining to his co-workers the true reason Sally is not invited.

              I think there is a real possibility people will continue to identify as #Team Sally even if he tells them all what happened. Not because they really wish ill on Ted or agree with Sally. It will be because they have all become so emotionally invested in that position that they can’t intellectually and morally pull themselves out of it. Otherwise, they would have to admit to themselves they were wrong, judgmental, and cruel to a person experiencing vulnerabilities, and this will cause a cognitive conflict with their self-identification as “a good person”.

              Reckon Ted will be looking for a new job soon. Hope he finds a great one in a less emotionally fraught environment. Also hope he and the LW have a great wedding day despite all this upset. #Team Ted!!

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I don’t blame him for trying it at first, but now, yeah the high road of ignoring is past and just say that she made incredibly hurtful comments in the aftermath of the car crash and I now dont feel comfortable with Sally at the wedding.

        1. Le Sigh*

          I don’t even feel like there *is* a high road anymore. The high road could have been ignoring it and just inviting her to the wedding. It could also have been communicating to Sally that what she said was hurtful, and being willing to share that with coworkers or even HR what happened — and then the lack of invite might have at least made sense. None of that would have been fun or really fair for Ted to deal with, but this approach — keeping the reasons to himself but making the punishment public, and seemingly out of nowhere — is really just making things worse.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Well, yes and no — it sounds like she only said it to Ted, not in front of other people (unless I’m misunderstanding). So technically she didn’t make it public. But yes, she certainly *started* this whole mess — but as I said upthread, the coworkers don’t know any of that. To them, everything was fine and then Sally was excluded from the wedding out of nowhere — so to them, Ted made it public. And if Sally is the type to say something that awful to Ted, I doubt she’s made the connection. So to her, she’s the victim.

              None of this is fair to Ted, but regardless, he has a huge perception problem — the coworkers don’t know what’s wrong and think he’s being unfair, and they not surprisingly are making a stink about it (right or wrong that reaction is pretty predictable). I think a lot of this could have been avoided if he’d addressed this with Sally earlier on, but at the very least, if he wants the coworkers to stop attacking him, he’s probably going to just have to come clean about what she said.

              1. Despachito*

                He should above all realize that THE COWORKERS HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT TO ATTACK HIM about the organization OF HIS OWN WEDDING.

                They are wayyyy out of line for doing that.

        2. serenity*

          I’d actually push back and say the “high road” isn’t ignoring any of this. And with the caveat that this workplace seems quite dysfunctional which is something Ted likely can’t control at all.

          If a close friend or co-worker that you’re very close with (whether that’s healthy or not) does something hurtful and offensive, freezing them out in public while telling no one why isn’t a “high road” in the definition of that term I would use. It’s a little immature and conflict-avoidant.

          1. Le Sigh*

            I tend to agree with this and you’ve articulated what’s bugging me. What Sally did was really awful and Ted is in a crappy position. And if Sally was just an acquaintance, I could understand pulling back without talking about it. But freezing someone out is a really harsh step — sometimes an understandable one, but I’d hope people would at least try talking to someone you consider a close friend before going down that route. And practically speaking, it’s backfiring on Ted because his coworkers (and it seems, Sally) think he’s freezing her out for seemingly no reason.

            I can be really obtuse sometimes and in high school had a good friend come over one day and end our friendship. She was just frustrated and over me. I was dumbfounded and upset at the time, but in retrospect I do appreciate that she at least explained her feelings so I wasn’t left wondering. It also gave us both space to grow, work through it, and become friends again (perhaps not possible here, but a good argument for not avoiding conflict!).

        3. Typing All The Time*

          Yes, and people might not believe what Sally told him. Sally could deny it, call him a liar and/or totally forgot what she said.

    1. OhNo*

      Exactly. Unless everyone else in the office is as… odd… as she is, they will be horrified at what she said and will completely understand why she was not invited to the wedding. Keeping that conversation under wraps helps no one but Sally. Why is Ted so keen to protect her reputation at this point anyway?

      1. Putting out fires, Esq*

        You don’t ever have to protect the person who hurt you. If she doesn’t want her reputation damaged, she shouldn’t say reputation-damaging things.

        1. Meep*

          Yeah. I used to protect someone like this. Now when she tells me my 101-degree fever is because I am ovulating or asks if I am pregnant because I take ONE sick day (she has done this four times in 4 years), I let people know exactly how horrible she is. She is willing to say these things, she can own them.

          There is a 99.9% chance Sally knew how she sounded and said it in private to hide it. There is also a 99.9% chance she said it to at least one other coworker who will back Ted up once it comes out.

          1. Putting out fires, Esq*

            Like, this is how people get away with some seriously toxic behaviors, ya know? And while it is never the recipient’s fault that the person talking to them is a (fill in the blank) jerk, it also doesn’t mean that the recipient is required to cover for them!

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Agreed – betting this isn’t the first crazy thing Sally has said – but it is probably the most hurtful. Please let the rest of the team know – betting they wouldn’t support her being this mean to Ted.

          3. Hannah Lee*

            Makes you wonder if Sally is the “missing stair” in that work group – someone toxic that people habitually accommodate and work around.

            Even Ted, though he personally and privately reached his limit with her still covered for her at the office. It wasn’t until the cost was higher than he was willing to pay ie seeing the face of someone who wished you dead on your wedding day that he pushed back in any way, and even then he still covered for her by not explaining her actions.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Yes, this. Tell them. (Though I don’t know how to tell anything to a group of people that is not talking to you.)

      1. Sharkie*

        Unless I’m reading this wrong most women on the team are the ones icing him out. I have a feeling that the members of the team that are pro Ted have an idea of how Sally can be.

      2. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Oh, that’s easy, assuming they’re all in the office. Just pick a time (towards the end of the day so you don’t disrupt everything), stand up, and just announce to everyone that while you had hoped not to have to do this, their actions in freezing you out have forced you to explain why you didn’t invite Sally to the wedding. Say the one sentence of what Sally said, say the 1 sentence of that’s why you’re not inviting her. Say that you would prefer to move on and not discuss this again in future. Sit down, and ignore the drama (or leave for the day).

        Or send an email to everyone.

        It’s going to be a mess. But it’s already a mess, so you can’t really avoid a mess.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I would really not stand up in the middle of the office or send an email. Nothing says “I am actively courting drama” like making an all-staff announcement. Far better to calmly and matter of factly tell one person if and when the opportunity arises (ideally this would have happened when Alice asked why Sally wasn’t invited but it is too late to change that now), and let the news percolate through the team naturally.

          1. I'm A Little Teapot*

            Eh, maybe. But frankly, between everything that’s happened and is happening, I would uninvite the whole lot, find a new job and leave all these people in the dust. I don’t need to work with someone who wishes me dead, I don’t need to work with people who are willing to stop talking to me because of a wedding invite.

          2. quill*

            Find the Most Gossipy But Not Sally member of the team who you can trust to report accurately, seed the conversation from there.

            Er, maybe give Bob a heads up because you know who else is going to be disturbed by Sally’s comments? Bob.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              “Find the Most Gossipy But Not Sally member of the team who you can trust to report accurately…”

              Hmm, I’m thinking a Venn Diagram of those two things “Most Gossipy” and “Can be Trusted to Report Accurately” will probably not have much of an overlap.

              1. quill*

                In a very small group where nobody is literally anyone else’s grandma? Yeah, on second thought, probably not…

              2. tamarack and fireweed*

                I’d take two or three of the group for tea – a good mix of level-headed / always had an excellent work relationship with, well-regarded + one that is definitely inclined to gossip.

                It’s a shame that Ted is saddled with cleaning this up – he didn’t cause any of this, and at most was naive about how a selective wedding invitation would look like and how public it would be. I also wouldn’t have blamed Sally too much – wishing for something pretty terrible can happen if you think someone you love might be dying, and it was clearly fully irrational (that is, Ted’s and Bob’s chances of survival were entirely independent from each other!).

                The three points Ted should be getting across is a) this happened; b) it was a terrible judgement of Sally’s to unburden herself to Ted of all people; and c) Ted was quite hurt by it and so obviously didn’t think that having Sally share the celebration of private happiness was appropriate any longer.

            2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              I mean, just as Ted didn’t need to hear it back then, Bob doesn’t need to hear it either. But I agree that if it is going to become common knowledge, Bob deserves a heads-up.

              1. quill*

                There is no way that Ted can protect himself and continue to protect Bob from knowing that this happened. So the least he can do is make sure that Bob isn’t blindsided.

                1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                  Yes, it would need to be phrased along the lines of, “I wouldn’t have bothered you with this, but…”

            3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              I wonder if subconsciously Ted was trying to protect Bob (and maybe Bob was still out injured/admitted to the hospital when everything went down initially). But now – stop protecting Sally, but let Bob know.

      3. NeutralJanet*

        Maybe tell the office gossip and assume that it will proliferate from there? And then be ready to explain exactly what happened if anyone comes with questions.

    3. Agitated Gopher*

      My thoughts went to “Sally, why don’t you tell the group what you told me about when I was in the hospital?”

      Probably a bit too vindictive to be actually helpful, but would be pretty satisfying.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        I would 100% do this. I don’t think it’s vindictive at all, I think it’s justified. Right now, Sally is banking on his silence so she can be cruel and not look bad. Ted has done absolutely nothing wrong, and telling others what she said to him would likewise not be wrong.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          But this assumes two things:
          1) that Sally will admit in front of the group what she said
          2) that she understands at all why her comments were hurtful

          I’m not hopeful on either front.

      2. Cosmerenaut*

        This is exactly what needs to happen. In this situation I’d probably also ask for all the coworkers having a snit to please return their invites so they can go to people who deserve them more. Because after all, if only one person can go to the wedding, Sally will pray that it goes to the classiest person in the room.

      3. quill*

        Smaller scale, but I made a project partner stand up on presentation day and admit they’d done none of the work… I think it only worked because I was guaranteed to not be in the same class as them in three weeks!

        It would probably not work with Sally given the bias the rest of the office has by now towards what they were first told about the situation, i.e. that Ted has been cold to Sally and pointedly not invited her to his wedding.

    4. turquoisecow*

      Agreed. I don’t know why Sally felt the need to tell Ted, but since she did, he’s not obligated to keep it a secret. Other people should know this.

      1. Ins mom*

        Why not call it what it is? Sally told me she prayed I’d die… I can’t get over it , neither can my fiancée! What’s hard to understand about that?

    5. Use your words*

      Ted should call a meeting with the entire team including sally and say, “I didn’t want to cause problems so I didn’t tell anyone sooner. I see now that I should’ve spoken about this before sending the invites. When bob and I were in the accident, Sally told me she prayed if one of us had to die, it would be me, because she likes Bob more. When she could’ve just prayed for both of us to live, imagine that. Or kept her cruel prayers about my life being worth less than Bob’s to herself instead of saddling me with those painful words. In light of that, I don’t feel close to Sally anymore but hoped I wouldn’t have to tell all of you because the whole situation makes me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want to drag you into it. Now you know. Come to my wedding or don’t.” Also he should find a new job. These people suck.

      1. Empress Matilda*

        Yeah, this is almost the only way out of it at this point. Short meeting, stick to the facts, do not take questions from the press. No doubt this will cause even more drama, and people will continue to take sides, but at least now they’ll have all the information. Then Ted and OP can GTFO of all this, and enjoy their wedding in peace.

      2. Starbuck*

        Yes. I’d only add “of course, I thought it would be obvious to Sally why she wasn’t invited, so I’m surprised that she seems to be confused about it” or something like that.

      3. Nope*

        Except I suspect there is 0% chance that Sally will go along with this. She is far more likely to deny ever having said that, say he misunderstood her, and then say how hurt she is. She will play the victim, and make things far worse for him if he does a group announcement.

      4. LouAnn*

        Ted could Find a way to be alone with a sympathetic and gossipy coworker, and shake, or look like he’s about to cry, and so on. That way, if he does those things out of nerves, it won’t be as bad, because it will be part of his act. Coworker will ask if he’s OK, or he can say he is sorry he can’t concentrate on work or whatever because of the Sally situation. So sad that she misinterpreted why he didn’t invite her. He only did it because she wished him dead, and so on, as other posters have suggested. This scenario may make it easier for Ted. Or the OP could show up at the office for a little talk with everyone.

    6. Pumpkin215*

      Absolutely. Cowboy-up, Ted.

      I can’t imagine having a so-called-friend/coworker say this. But my reaction would have been equally horrifying. I’d tell EVERYONE what she said.

      Put out a billboard on the route to work. Spell it out on a cake. Spackle mirrors and walls with post-its. Get a stick-on tattoo.

      This is not a hide it under the rug situation. Spill those beans in an epic way and report back please.

    7. kittymommy*

      Yep. I mean, what the what ever loving f*** is wrong with Sally???? And now this little twit has the audacity to be ticked off about the wedding invitation? Are you freaking kidding me?

      I would tell EVERYONE why Sally didn’t get an invite. Hell, I may have it printed on the damn program (okay probably not but I would think about about for a sec).

    8. logicbutton*

      I wonder if Ted hasn’t told them because he worries that if he did, some of them might side with him but others still might not, and he would rather have everyone mad at him for the wrong reason (because then he can just reassure himself that they’re wrong) than have only some of them mad at him for the “right” reason (because maybe then his fears about being a “second tier” man are well founded). But he’s gotta tell them! Right now they’re bewildered by seeing their formerly close-knit office falling apart when they don’t even know why.

    9. Be kind, rewind*

      Yup. Tell them. But talk to Sally first. She needs to hear from you how hurtful and unacceptable what she said was.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        I’d entirely skip that step.

        Sally has shown herself to be someone who is not reasonable about other people’s feelings or well-particularly Ted’s. Saying “your words made me feel bad” probably won’t make much difference to someone who already wished you dead.

      2. AKchic*

        Sally has earned no private talk. She lost all consideration and heartfelt talking when she said what she said.

        Private talks give her power. Take any modicum of power she could ever hope to have away by refusing to discuss anything with her privately.

        1. Be kind, rewind*

          It’s not about what Sally has “earned”; it’s about Ted establishing that this is NOT OK. Coworker relationships 101: if someone has offended you, tell them directly.

      3. Starbuck*

        Nah, if anyone should be spoken to first, it’s the manager, so that they have the context they need to deal with it when the rest of this mess unravels.

      4. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

        Do not talk to Sally, Ted. She is an atavistic skid mark of a human being who has, by her own actions, revoked any consideration you might have owed her, and you’ll only give her a chance to get out in front of the consequences of those actions.

      5. Beth*

        I really wouldn’t suggest that. It’s so obvious that a comment like this is hurtful and unacceptable! If she hasn’t realized that by adulthood, that’s on her; Ted doesn’t need to set aside time and energy a special interaction (and one that’s likely to be painful for him, at that) to tell her something that any kindergartener would know.

    10. ShakenNotStirred*

      That seems like it would have been the best course of action from the beginning. That would have caused its own drama, but what the heck else are you supposed to do with the fact that a coworker told you that your life has less value than your other coworker? What was Sally expecting to happen? What is wrong with Sally is the real question I want to be answered.

    11. MistOrMister*

      Right! What point does keeping this secret serve? I get not saying anything from the beginning, although I’m not sure I would have kept that quiet from a group of supposed good friends. But once it starts causing dissension in the group it makes no sense to keep it secret. Also what the heck is up with Sally acting like she doesn’t know why she wasn’t invited??? I guess maybe someone who is so clueless as to say they prayed for someone’s death could be stupid enough to not realize that person wouldn’t want to be around them going forward but wow….that takes some serious lack of awareness.

    12. HiHello12345*

      Totally agree. I think the workers who have turned on him deserve his explanation, and Sally does not deserve to get off scot free.

    13. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impaired Peep*

      I know we are very do not do things for your spouse in their place of business here, but I would have TOLD the co-worker who called me exactly why Sally wasn’t invited. I would be matter of fact about it but I would say it.

    14. RVA Cat*

      This. The “death prayer confession” was blatant bullying and harassment. Ted needs to report this. Someone like Sally doesn’t just do this once. It sounds like she is running a Mean Girl clique, and Ted’s employer needs to kick her out the door and shut this down.

    15. NotAnotherManager!*

      100%. I really do get not saying anything about the batshit comment she made in the interest of not stirring up drama and feeding the crazy, but, when SALLY starts creating drama and blaming Ted for it, that’s a great time to be very confused that Sally’s surprised by the lack of invitation and saying loudly in a common area, “Well, Sally, you told me you prayed for my death, so I had no idea you’d want to attend my wedding when your prayers weren’t answered.” and then let that one hang.

      The key is to be surprised/confused when people ask why Sally’s not invited – of course, after telling Ted she prayed for his death she’s not invited, why would she be?

    16. Boo Radley*

      Honestly, this was my instinct. No heat, no anger just say, “Oh we didn’t invite Sally because when I returned to the office she told me she prayed that I would die.” I mean it’s such an outrageously inappropriate and callous thing to say there’s no reason to expect him to be close to Sally anymore.

    17. Beth*

      Yeah, I think that’s the only way out at this point. It doesn’t have to be a Big Dramatic Reveal–or, it probably will be dramatic, both because it’s an awful thing to say and because this group seems prone to drama, but Ted doesn’t have to be the one being dramatic about it. If he says something like, “Sally made a really painful comment in the wake of the car accident a few months ago. She told me that she prayed that if God had to let one of us die, she hoped it would be me. I don’t want to make a big deal of it, and I’m trying not to let it impact our work relationship, but I can’t deny it’s impacted our friendship. I’m not comfortable having her at my wedding as a result,” I can’t imagine anyone would argue with that.

  2. Nia*

    If a coworker ever tells me they prayed for my death I’m going straight to by boss and telling him its either them or me, but one of us will not be working here in the morning.

    1. What's in a name?*

      She didn’t pray for his death. She just offered him as a sacrifice to save Bob, if there was to be a death.

        1. Venus*

          Not better at all especially given all the added context, but best to remain factual to what Sally said so that she can’t try to reduce the impact on her when others are told. You don’t want her to be able to say “That’s not what I said!”

        2. Rachel in NYC*

          It would have been better if she presented him as an offering in some sort of sacrificial ceremeony.

          Hmmm…maybe there was a ceremony, she used a picture and it just didn’t work? alas we maybe never know…

        3. TechWorker*

          No, definitely, Sally is an oddball. But it’s not the same sentiment… if the love of your life and someone you knew less well were both in intensive care, it’s not unreasonable to be praying more for one than for the other. But you don’t need to a) tell anyone that or b) tell THE OTHER PERSON that wtf. I’m with OP that this is a weird reaction to Sally realising she has strong feelings for the other guy…

          1. Jenn.*

            She didn’t just pray for one person more than the other, or prayed for one and ignored the other all together. She actively prayed for one to die, like prayers are a zero sum game or something.

            1. tamarack and fireweed*

              Well, yeah, but when I read that title I imagined something more vicious and vindictive. People can go a little loopy when they’re there consumed with fear a loved one might die. There is a context to “Dear $DEITY, if you need to take one of them, please don’t let it be Bob. Take Ted instead”.

              The real problem isn’t that she did this. The real problem is that afterwards she a) didn’t recognize it as craziness born out of naked fear, but instead rationalized it, as if it was ok to idly (once both were ok) think about which of two coworkers is more worthy of saving and b) went to f*cking Ted to unburden herself instead of talking it through with a therapist.

          2. Simply the best*

            Praying more for one than the other is not the same thing as actively praying for one to die over the other.

                1. Working Hypothesis*

                  But neither of those concepts is the one that’s been used to defend her: “she was only praying more for one than the other.”

                  No. She wasn’t. Praying more for one person than the other is saying “Dear Lord, please save Bob. I mean, please save both of them of course! Please save Bob and Ted. Please save Bob and Ted. But oh, please save Bob, save Bob, save Bob.”

                  That is not what happened. “If somebody needs to die, please let it be Ted,” is an explicit statement that Ted is actually someone you’re comfortable with packing off to die, as distinguished from simply not paying as much attention to your desire that he live as you are paying to your desire that Bob live.

                  Frankly, no matter what she actually prayed, it should have stayed firmly in her own head (or between her and her deity), in which case it would have been firmly her own business. Nobody has the right to interfere with our judge someone else’s prayers SO LONG AS THOSE PRAYERS ARE NOT INFLICTED ON YOU. When Sally took the totally bizarre step of going to Ted and telling him what she prayed about, she lost the right not to have her prayers judged — because what she’s really being judged on is not what she said to her god, but what she said to Ted. And what she said to Ted was offensive and outrageous.

              1. Gerry Keay*

                I am legitimately terrified by the amount of people defending this by saying “well she didn’t really pray for him to die, she only prayed for him to die instead of someone else!!” Y’all need help.

          3. Librarian of SHIELD*

            It’s not weird to pray more strongly for the person you’re closer to. But it’s SUPER weird to pray that if anybody has to die from this accident it should be the person you like less. I can’t think of a scenario where that would even occur to me.

            1. TechWorker*

              Whilst I agree (well, I don’t pray, so neither would occur to me), it can’t be *uncommon* for people who’ve lost someone in dreadful accident in which someone else survived to have the (guilty, private) thought of ‘I wish the other person died instead’. It comes from a place of ‘if someone had to die, why did it have to be the person I love’. Sally has taken this 10 steps further over the unacceptable line by thinking this in a situation where no-one ‘had’ to die or did infact die, and then telling the guy.

              1. pancakes*

                What does it matter whether it’s uncommon? It is senselessly weird and brutal mathematics to think that if two or more people are in an accident together, one of them “has to” die.

        4. CG*

          She didn’t pray for his death generally! She prayed for his death specifically if needed to save her favorite coworker!

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            … And then she went and told him, not only that she had prayed for him to be the sacrifice to save Bob if one were needed, but that she’d done it because Bob was sooooo much better a person than he was and he could obviously never measure up.

            This is absolutely loonytunes, and it’s offensive and cruel totally independent from the actual content of her prayer.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Which is even weirder. That’s not how accidents work. Unless you’re in a cheesy “inspirational” movie. The “Christian” kind with a basic misunderstanding of basic principles of the religion.

        1. Portia*

          I doubt very much you can find a Christian movie where it is presented as good or acceptable for someone to pray for another person’s death.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            No, but I did see one once where a kid who didn’t pray hard enough ended up with a broken home & all kinds of terrible things happening. I think his little sister ended up either dying or addicted to drugs. It was one of the most bizarre late-night movies I’ve ever seen. And I watched the whole thing, like a slow motion train wreck.

            It was aimed at teens, and I can’t imagine creating something that twisted for kids.

            1. Ally McBeal*

              Yeah, evangelical-Christian media can be really grim and inappropriate. On the other hand, we also got VeggieTales…

              1. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

                I mean…VeggieTales did provide everyone with a song to sing while looking for their brush….

            2. Hannah Lee*

              There was a nun who taught religious education for kids in my parish. A girl in our class had been in a serious accident and been disabled as a result. The nun explained that God must love the girl very much and that she must be incredibly worthy in His eyes to have been disabled that way. And then went on to tell us that WE SHOULD ALL PRAY that WE could be so worthy have have something horrible happen TO US TOO, because it would me that we had truly earned God’s love.

              Even we fourth graders knew that was a perverse and horrible, evil thing to say to children.
              Some people who think the are “Spreading the Gospel” really should take a few moments to try to understand the key take-aways from that gospel first.

          2. Your Local Password Resetter*

            Oh, I’m pretty sure there are a couple of those around. There are some really screwed up fringe groups under the Christian umbrella.

          3. generic_username*

            You do see a lot with the bargaining for your own life though. Like, “please God take me instead, just let him/her live!” Apparently Sally was following that principle, but wasn’t feel self-sacrificing, lol

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              Yeah, when I was a kid and my beloved grandma was dying, I totally offered up the other really mean one as an alternative for God. (I mean, he didn’t take me up on it, and the offered one lived to nearly 100 because she was too mean to die, but I bargained.) The difference is that (1) I was a kid and (2) I did not TELL MeanMa that I’d rather Grandma live than her.

          4. Loredena Frisealach*

            Maybe, but the first and only campus crusade for christ session I attended in college had the group praying for sudden openings on the supreme court so…

            1. Hannah Lee*

              Oh, that makes sense … I’m certain “Those infidels must die to free up a government office chair for someone I like better” is straight from the Red Letter Text version of The Gospel according to Luke. /s

            2. generic_username*

              Ughhhh, my sister became enmeshed with that group in college. They’re basically a cult. Took years for her to be normal again and she STILL doesn’t see the issues we had with them. I don’t think the chapter on our campus did anything as abhorrent as praying for the death of a person, but I did get roped into attending a session where someone shared their personal story of “praying the gay away.” It really stuck with me – I didn’t keep up with him, but I hope he’s found his way to self-acceptance and peace.

              1. Loredena Frisealach*

                I’d belonged to it in HS and it was more of a social club than anything. I was pretty shell shocked by the time I left that meeting. The entire agenda was really something.

        2. Paulina*

          Yes, Sally’s “prayer” was some strange bargaining about people that she wasn’t even that close to. Surely if there was bargaining with a divinity to be done on Bob and Ted’s behalf, their close family or themselves would be the ones who would have to do it.

          I mean… the whole thing is bizarre, and no that’s not how it works. But even in fantasy where such bargains are possible, Sally was being extremely self-centered in thinking that it was remotely her call what deal was to be made. Ted, engaged to LW, can’t have his life traded in by a mere coworker. Sally should only pray to sacrifice herself.

        3. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, this isn’t a “one person has to die” situation, life doesn’t work that way and Christianity DEFINITELY doesn’t work that way.

          1. Gracely*

            Well, I mean, technically, Christianity kind of hinges on “one person has to die” just…not you know…someone who *isn’t* Jesus.

            (and if Bob is such a saint, then really he should be making the sacrifice, not LW; that’s kinda how sainthood works, right?)

          2. pancakes*

            I don’t think that’s definite at all. There doesn’t seem to be anything at all that stops it from working that way. It’s not as if Sally’s prayers or broader theology are gong to be audited by an inspector.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Let me put it this way: there is nothing in any mainstream Christian theology that would state that when two people have sustained serious injury, you should pray for one of them to die so the other can live. Nothing is stopping Sally from praying that way, but it’s not something any church I’ve ever heard of would encourage. Prayer doesn’t work that way and medicine certainly doesn’t.*

              *The only thing I can think of that works even remotely close to that way is organ transplants, where most of the time people on the transplant list are unfortunately waiting for someone else’s tragedy. But that wasn’t a thing here.

              1. pancakes*

                It doesn’t seem like a huge departure from prosperity gospel to me, and that’s very, very popular in the US – the idea that the best or most appealing deity to address is one who wants some people to be fabulously wealthy, and is fine with others suffering because they haven’t made a display of asking, or haven’t made the right display.

        4. BluntBunny*

          The film I’m thinking of is final destination but isn’t inspirational lol. In the second film there is a car accident and the basic principle of the film is a life for a life.

      2. Lance*

        But she basically did. In the first place, why would she pray for an eventuality of ‘one person’s probably going to die’, rather than just pray for both of them to come out well?

      3. Artemesia*

        what she prayed is irrelevant — it isn’t as if we have any evidence prayer has any meaning whatsoever beyond the person doing it. WHAT SHE SAID is the point. She can pray all she wants that Ted dies — SAYING it was inexcusable and saying it to Ted beyond inexcusable. She needs to be outed.

        1. Gracely*

          Seriously. It’s one thing to pray for something like that, it’s a WHOLE OTHER THING to actually tell the person. Like, you’re supposed to be ashamed of praying something like that, not proud of it. If you *must* confess your horribleness to someone, find a priest or reverend or someone who isn’t the person you preferred to die. Telling them just compounds the awful.

          1. turquoisecow*

            Yeah if anything I could see her going to Bob and saying oh I prayed for you to live, and not mentioning Ted. That would be at least socially acceptable, although perhaps uncomfortable for Bob especially if he isn’t religious. But to go to Ted and say I didn’t pray for you is just vindictive. There’s no way Ted looks at that and says “thanks.”

        2. allathian*

          Yeah, absolutely. Sally sounds like a horrible person, and I really hope Ted finds the confidence to look for and find another job soon.

      4. NeutralJanet*

        Sure, I suppose that’s a slight difference, but like…first of all, that’s not how prayer works, and second of all, why did she have to tell him?

        1. quill*

          She felt guilty, so she confessed. She figures since she confessed it’s forgiven, because that’s all you need to do to gain the lord’s forgiveness.

          Nevermind that the confession seriously hurt Ted.

          1. MistOrMister*

            Except it doesn’t seem like she felt guilty at all. The way the letter reads, she just randomly told Ted for reasons. It almost seems like she did it on purpose to be cruel because I can’t think of any other reason for bringing that up, ever.

            1. quill*

              I mean, I’m probably ascribing guilt because it makes the most sense out of this entire WTFBBQ situation. But there’s many shallownesses to guilt – from “I really shouldn’t have another brownie, tee hee,” to “for a minute I doubted that I’d done the right thing, so I confessed to you and then rationalized at you that I’d been right all along, now I feel better!”

              1. turquoisecow*

                And Ted didn’t tell her it was wrong so therefore she has no idea that he was hurt or that she didn’t explain herself well.

    2. sofar*

      I’d report to my manager and HR. I know that small companies can be kind of nutty about these things. But, if this happened, I’d run this up the chain like, “I’m sure you’d want to know that one of your employees is saying this stuff. I’ve been here a while, and I’m willing to continue to work professionally with Sally. But I’d hate to think what her lack of discretion could lead her to say to a client or new employee. So I wanted you to be aware.”

      Then, when other employees are like, “But why isn’t Sally invited?” I’d have a script of, “Oh well Sally said something disturbing to me after the car accident [fill in basic details]. I had to report it to HR. So, we thought it best not to include her in our wedding.”

      And then, if the other employees decide to cause drama, at least HR/the company has a paper trail and context, so you’re not coming to them with a whole mess of drama months after the fact that they have to untangle.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This is a good point and a good script, since the whole thing is affecting the work. The manager needs to know about it in any case.

      2. Recruited Recruiter*

        As an HR Professional – Yes, please tell me before there becomes a mess of drama I have to untangle just to figure out who the psycho is.

  3. Pool Lounger*

    I get why he didn’t, but if my coworker/friend told me she’d prayed that I would die (she could have just prayed that neither of them would die!) I would have immediately told my best friend/coworker, at least. That’s too weird and painful a thing to keep inside, and not communicating also leads to weirdness like this whole situation. I wonder if Sally will lie about it at this point. This reminds me of a novel or movie where I’m yelling at the characters, Just talk to each othet already! I hope your husband can either clear this all up or get out of this “like a dysfunctional family” workplace.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I know. Clearly this has been REALLY affecting Ted, I can’t believe he didn’t tell anyone in his “close” friend group at work why. I applaud the restraint but I couldn’t keep that to myself and see her every day.

      1. S*

        I mean, it sounds like he’s afraid the rest of the group will nod and think to themselves, “Well, obviously we’d all prefer Ted die if it was between him and Bob.” It may not be rational, but I can see why he’s kept it to himself if he’s worried about that.

        1. Putting out fires, Esq*

          Yeah, I get that, but my message to the Teds of the world is this: what happens if they do nod to themselves and agree? You’re already suffering from worrying that they hate uou, and they’re already not talking to you. If they do turn out to hate you, how has your life changed?

          1. KoiFeeder*

            As someone with Ted-style brain weasels myself, I wouldn’t bring this up to the rest of the group because if the worst case scenario is true and they do already hate me, then it’s just going to be unpleasant to bring it up.

            Except, presumably unlike Ted, I have a therapist so when I go “Sally said she prayed for me to die instead of Bob” the therapist goes “Wow. That is bananacrackers, and it’s even more bananacrackers that she would casually discuss that with you as if it wouldn’t impact you.”

            (Also, I have issues relevant to death and people wishing my death, so if I heard someone say that to me I would be looking for a new job because I would never be able to look at Sally again without panic attacks)

            1. Putting out fires, Esq*

              Therapist for Ted is definitely in order, especially if this is a long-term issue. It’s Sally’s fault, but someone without the anxiety weasel treadmill would have nipped it in the bud earlier. Sally created the problem, and Ted’s insecurity snowballed it. He needs someone he can bounce this stuff off who feels like a neutral party (presumably his weasels discount whatever OP has told him.)

            2. quill*

              Yeah it’s poking the territory of previous death threats directed at me, I’d probably be handling it way worse than Ted. Like, panic attacks or shrieking bad.

              1. KoiFeeder*

                Oh, agreed. I would’ve had a full on fight reaction and a panic attack, potentially even simultaneously. The fact that Ted can work with this woman and not actively hate her or try to avoid her at all costs is incredible to me (maybe even a qualifier for sainthood?).

                1. quill*

                  Yeah, the more I think about it the more I want to stab Sally with a fork.

                  Ted needs out of this place, a therapist, and not to have any of these folks at his wedding.

                2. Kal*

                  As someone with what sounds like similar brain weasels to Ted, I don’t think we should really count this as handling it well.

                  Your reaction to something like this is to panic and possibly fight to defend yourself, even if that specific reaction is overblown for the situation. My and Ted’s type of reaction is to panic and hide all signs of any distress possible, to the point of sometimes even offering yourself up as a punching bag instead of doing anything to protect yourself. When you think that you might actually deserve what happened, its easy to dismiss your feelings as wrong and the other person isn’t actually a bad person so why would you do anything that could hurt them/their career/their social network. So of course you will just quietly try to hide those feelings and outwardly do your best to pretend that everything is fine, because that’s what you feel like you need to do to survive, just like how when you automatically default to fight its because your brain is telling you that’s what you have to do to survive.

                  Neither is a more healthy or positive reaction than the other, and these brain weasels have plenty of tricks to prevent you from seeking the help you need to manage it. Its like a cat that hides its pain until its so sick that treatment is quite serious, instead of showing it sooner when it would be a lot easier to treat.

                  If nothing else, I hope this whole thing can help prove to Ted that he’s not the wrong one here and he does deserve help, and that LW can support him in seeking and accessing that help.

          2. Cataclysm*

            Confirmation. Fearing they hate me is one thing. Finding out that my worst fears are in fact true is another.
            Sometimes, it feels like the only way you can withstand something is the possibility of doubt. Any hope you might have dies in the face of confirmation. As long as they never say it out loud

            1. bookworm*

              This also kind of explains his approach to the invites. Not inviting Sally + inviting rest of team + not telling them what Sally did = team members mad, dislike Ted, side with Sally. There is something perversely satisfying about self sabotaging and proving the brainweasels right, but as a result of something you control rather than something out of your control. A frequent topic with my own therapist!

              1. Solitary squirrel*

                Yeah, I’ve been there. Secretly fear that my colleagues think I’m flaky and disorganised? I obviously can’t prove I’m not (my brain says) so I might as well lean into that…

                It’s a very stupid brain game, but strangely hard to shake. There’s also “They don’t really want to spend time with me, so I will make myself scarce and not reach out to them.”

          3. Cold Fish*

            I know I’m late to the party, but… I think the LW should reach out to Alice and any of the other women refusing to come until Sally gets an invite with a quick “I was under the impression it was only Sally who prayed Ted would die in the car accident several months ago. As it appears you are also harboring ill will toward Ted, could you please return your invite. I only wish true friends at my wedding.” It may not be the most professional but a wedding is a personal event (not a work event).

            I would encourage Ted to bring up the incident to Boss & Bob at the very least. I think Ted would be pleasantly surprised by the outcome should Sally’s words surface but you can’t reason with someone else’s anxiety. It just doesn’t work that way.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              There’s certainly a visceral sense of satisfaction in doing something like this, but it’s not the most useful approach if what Ted wants is these people’s friendship back.

              At most, I might go to them and ask in a puzzled tone, “I was under the impression that only Sally was praying for Ted’s death. That’s what she said. Are you ill-wishing him too, now?” And then in probable shocked silence to follow, added, “Did you not know? We didn’t feel that we could invite her after she went out of her way to tell Ted that she had prayed for his death while he was recovering from the accident. He’s been absolutely devastated since then — he had thought he had friends here.”

              Attacking them is only going to make them dig their heels in. Guilting them while getting across what actually happened in the process may get somewhere.

              (And yeah, personally I’m not convinced that any of these people are worth keeping. There’s an awful lot of dysfunction here, both as a workplace and as a friend group. But it’s what Ted wants that counts, not what I do.)

        2. jm*

          i really relate to lw’s husband. that kind of thing would have me spiraling as well and i would not have the capacity to deal with it directly either.

          1. Hannah Lee*

            Especially when you consider he’s recently been hospitalized with serious injuries following a traumatic car accident. AND has been out of work for a while, which as anyone with even the *tiniest* bit of imposter syndrome will tell you, can make you really insecure about whether you deserve to have your job and whether you’re capable of doing it.

            (Years ago, I’d get pangs of that just after a long weekend, and have serious self-doubts after an actual 1 week vacation. Being out for weeks, months after being physically injured, hospitalized, medicated, not quite myself would have been really difficult until I got my sea legs again.)

          2. Gerry Keay*

            Yup, the combo of confirming all my worst fears about myself (or at least it feeling that way) + my deep fear of conflict would absolutely have me in a similar paralysis.

        3. irene adler*

          Learning this about Sally would make me (a co-worker) wonder what Sally thinks of me. That would be my first thought. I would not automatically concur with Sally’s sentiments.

          Quite frankly, it would disturb me greatly that someone I work with would have such thoughts.

          We had a situation where a certain manager was badly injured in bad car wreck where a death occurred. Despite some not liking this manager all that much, not one person expressed any sort of wish that he was the one that died in the accident. All were relieved he survived.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            At the bare minimum I would be wondering really hard about her judgement that she thought it was okay to say this out loud and that it wouldn’t change how the person I told this to thought of me.

      2. ObscureRelic*

        I suspect he was so shocked at the moment, and then hurt, and then plagued with doubts about the feelings of the rest of the team that he just shut down emotionally. No one wants to reveal their vulnerability or the fact that someone was able to hurt them like that. I’m tempted to say “especially men”, but I can see myself (she/her) reacting like that, too.

        This is going to be hard, since the original awful incident is in the past, although the pain isn’t. I agree with him sitting down with Sally and just laying it out. If she possesses the smallest amount of grace, she will acknowledge it and apologize. If she gaslights him, he’s going to have to lay it out for the entire team, with LW supporting him. I can’t imagine Sally and SO being invited to the wedding, but if that’s the way it has to happen to keep the workplace functional, enlist a trusted friend to keep an eye on her (so that it doesn’t appear they are being frozen out) while the bride and groom essentially ignore them as much as possible.

        Jeez, this is painful.

      3. Use your words*

        I *don’t* applaud his restraint. Ted isn’t the bad guy here but his need to protect Sally has made him into the bad guy. This is dumb!

        1. pancakes*

          Or his fear, or anxiety. Keeping quiet about seriously upsetting behavior isn’t necessarily applause-worthy, and I definitely don’t think it is here.

          1. allathian*

            Yeah. I agree with you. I can understand, sort of, why Ted would react the way he has. But mainly I feel sorry for him, because his anxiety and lack of confidence have enabled Sally to walk all over him. It also seems like Sally holds the rest of the office in some sort of thrall, or else the other women wouldn’t have started giving Ted the cold shoulder.

      4. That weird moody one*

        Having worked with people like this, of course she’s going to lie about having said this. But it’s too weird and off-topic for him to make up.

    2. Typing All The Time*

      I can imagine him being shocked in that moment. Maybe he could say that Sally told you a remark that you thought was insulting and out of line and that it changed your views of her as a person and a friend. And that the fact you could have died in/from the accident, puts your feelings in perspective and that you wouldn’t want her there on one of the most important days of your lives.

  4. Justin*

    What in the absolute watermelon.

    Who prays for someone’s death and then tells them!?!?!?1

    Poor Ted, who survived only to deal with this nonsense. I hope he gets all the support he could possibly receive.

    1. Justice*

      And not only that, but she then tried to get the person whose death she prayed for to agree that the other person is just better than him!
      I gotta say, if these are the kind of things that come out of her mouth, I’m not surprised she’s had marital problems. How does someone who says things like this function in the world?

  5. SometimesALurker*

    I happened to click over to the site right at 11:00, so when I finished reading this post there were still 0 comments. I am not sure I’d ever seen that and for a quick second thought that everyone was just too stunned to comment, which would have been a first, but perhaps merited!

      1. CreepyPaper*

        I read this entire thing with my mouth open. I… what in the hecking boiled potatoes is going on? This has stunned me into silence. I have no other useful comment.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I took a sip of my tea just as I clicked on the site. Read the headline and almost spit it out all over my computer.

  6. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I wanted to add this into the post but it didn’t seem to fit and wasn’t the main point, but I’ll put it here:

    Letter writer, regardless of what happens with the rest of it, please nudge Ted to move past how much he’s been dwelling on Sally’s comment. There’s no reason to wonder if everyone else secretly feels like she does, or to worry he’s a “second tier” man (whatever that is!). Point out to Ted that by saying what she did, Sally demonstrated that her opinion counts for nothing — because a decent person with good judgment would not have said what she said (assuming no excuse like being drunk out of her mind or high on painkillers or so forth). Assuming nothing like that, the fact that she thought that was an okay thing to say is the exact thing that should tell him she’s not someone whose opinion should carry any weight with him.

    1. Pikachu*

      >> the fact that she thought that was an okay thing to say is the exact thing that should tell him she’s not someone whose opinion should carry any weight

      I needed to read this sentence today for so many reasons. You are the best, Alison!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        She has terrible judgement clearly.
        She thinks a saint because he gives her marriage advice and loans her money.
        Yeah, that is not the thought process of someone I’d worry about.

        1. Threeve*

          And Ted could think of it this way: if what Sally said doesn’t raise his opinion of Bob (and why tf would it?) it should have just as little impact on his confidence in himself.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            This is brilliant. Simply brilliant.
            How Ted heard “Bob provides emotional and financial support to me that I feel I can’t live without” and think anything other than Sallie is immature and inappropriate is amazing.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            Yup. I don’t even think it’s about having a physical or platonic relationship with Bob. It’s about having someone who provides her with whatever she feels she needs at the moment, money or attention.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Yes, you can’t let the Sallys of the world get to you. I remember when a co-worker was really yelled at for not doing something that she hadn’t even asked for. This was in front of some outside vendors. The CW told me she was embarrassed. I pointed out that it was the manager who has behaved in an embarrassing way.

    2. Meh*

      Was Sally involved in the accident too? Otherwise her being high seems unlikely. Maybe she’s just an awful person.

    3. Elizabeth*

      I would also urge Ted to get some therapy. He was in an accident that caused injuries severe enough to require surgery. He probably has some level of emotional trauma from that. Sally’s stupidity only compounded that. His pre-existing lack of confidence has complicated that. He needs help to unravel all of the contributing factors.

        1. Use your words*

          The person who said that to you clearly isn’t in therapy and should try it sometime. It’s life enhancing, not punishment.

          1. Spencer Hastings*

            I think some people have a knee-jerk reaction to this because they’ve had their feelings or arguments dismissed or invalidated — as a deliberate insult or not— with a suggestion that they get therapy. (The implication being that it’s not reasonable to feel a certain way or follow a certain logic, but rather that they need to change themselves.)

            1. aebhel*

              Yeah, in certain corners of the internet (and off it), ‘go to therapy’ is not even slightly intended as kindly advice.

        2. Sparkles McFadden*

          I thought your therapy suggestion was good advice because it’s something that would be helpful for Ted.

          I actually think Ted should say “Hey, well, after the accident Sally told me she prayed that I should be the one to die because I’m not a good person” but it doesn’t sound like something Ted would do. He may very well be afraid that everyone else would say “Oh yeah, I can see that because Bob is a great guy.”

          Ted is insecure enough to take Sally’s hurtful (and insane) comment as a reflection on how his coworkers think of him. He’s actually comparing himself to Bob and questioning his own self-worth. He already suffered the trauma of the accident and had Sally’s nonsense on top of it, so therapy could only help.

        3. quill*

          I don’t think that person is feeling much like replying to the people who pointed out that “get therapy after physical and emotional trauma” is lay medical advice, not a dismissive “act normally!”

          Given that there’s at least fifteen of us and one of them.

      1. FYI*

        He also needs to get therapy to learn how to use his words. Everyone will claim that I am victim-blaming, but Ted compounded this problem, a lot, by not speaking up. Inviting everyone except her? And not saying anything at all about WHY? (Hint: everyone knows it’s not because of the size of the venue.) Then being surprised by the ensuing drama?
        It would have been fair to EVERYONE to simply communicate, to just say, “She said something extremely hurtful after the accident.”

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Not victim blaming, but putting a spotlight on Ted being the victim of Sally’s very unkind words.
          And like many victims, he’s trying to hide it, because HE feels he’s to blame. He doesn’t see it as “jerks are gonna jerk” which is compounding it. Giving the incident power that it should not have. He should take the power, take control of the narrative. State, “she said this to me. It hurt my feelings and I don’t want her at my wedding.”
          And THEN stop the conversation.
          Again, use his words, “no thank you. I am not going to change my mind and I don’t want to discuss it anymore.”
          Which will be so much easier with successful therapy. Which I hope he gets. He deserves to feel better about himself.

        2. Boof*

          Eh, well you kind of are victim blaming with that framing – I wouldn’t say “ted compounded the problem” so much as “ted did not know how to handle this and was feeling deeply rattled”. SALLY is the one at fault, sally is the aggressor. Yes there are better ways for Ted to protect himself but you just have to be careful to keep the stress on the fault being Sally’s / the aggressor’s. (but if the victim is asking for advice, not the aggressor, then the only helpful advice is what the victim can control – but I think it’s still helpful to remind them it’s not fair and not their fault, just this is what they can do)

        3. Me*

          Your framing is pretty victim blaming. I think a nicer way to say this would be Ted needs helps learning how to set boundaries.

          As we can clearly see by the many many many letters, boundary setting and sticking up for ones self are difficult difficult lemon difficult.

          And being told something horrible after an already traumatic experience and then saying well he just made it worse because xyz? Not the nicest thing to say. Many people, myself included would struggle with how to handle that situation.

            1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

              The work day version of hold my beer:
              hold my venti, decaf cappuccino with skim.
              (this is what my mom would order at Starbucks, so it’ burned into my long term memory!)

          1. Former Employee*

            It isn’t victim blaming to acknowledge that because Ted didn’t communicate what happened, it left his coworkers thinking that he was being mean by not inviting Sally to his wedding. Essentially, by not giving them the context, they created their own narrative. While the proximate cause of all this is clearly Sally, the coworkers can’t know that because they weren’t told.

            It reminds me of situations in which a person who is well liked is suddenly let go from their job with no explanation. It leaves a vacuum that is filled by conjecture. If no one likes the manager, it may be assumed the manager was jealous of the well liked former employee. When someone takes the former coworker’s place who appears to be liked by the manager, it may be assumed the manager got rid of the other person because they wanted to bring this one in.

            In truth, the person who was let go was embezzling or inappropriately sharing confidential information or just not doing the job, but had been good at covering it up. How would anyone know if they weren’t told?

    4. ecnaseener*

      Absolutely. Sally is extrapolating who deserves to live based on who she personally has stronger feelings for. She is not the arbiter of morality, she is one person with one limited set of experiences. She cannot know everything Ted has done in his life, and Ted sounds like someone who cares deeply about being a good person so I’m sure he has done a lot of good.

    5. Dust Bunny*

      Sally is an absolute tool who has no right to any further space in Ted’s head. Seriously, this has everything to do with how bizarre and inappropriate her behavior is and nothing, as far as we can tell, to do with anything about Ted.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        ecnaseener* “Sally is extrapolating who deserves to live based on who she personally has stronger feelings for.”
        translation:
        Dust Bunny* “Sally is an absolute tool who has no right to any further space in Ted’s head.”
        I LOVE THE COMMENTS HERE.

    6. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

      This is it. You cannot control how people feel and the weird emotions people have in extreme situations–often even your own. Bargaining thought processes are a thing.

      It’s the fact that, after the fact, she thought it was in any way acceptable to go up to Ted and tell him this. What was the point? The only non-bananas thing I can think was if she was trying to ease her guilt about having done it by explaining and apologizing? Like when people in AA are supposed to call up people from their past and apologize. But even then, she should know that it was going to cause more harm than good, and would only be for her own self-satisfaction.

      Regardless of why she did it in the first place, telling Ted was an incredibly bad judgment call, hurtful and unnecessary, and Ted should know that anyone who would SAY THAT is completely out of line, regardless.

      1. Empress Matilda*

        Even in AA, the “making amends” step specifically includes the words except when to do so would injure them or others. The whole point is to avoid causing further harm – and you do have to use some judgement to determine if that’s likely to happen. So whatever Sally’s intentions were, it’s clear that she has terrible judgement.

        What a giant mess this is, OP. I hope Ted gets things sorted out at his workplace, and you can both enjoy your wedding drama-free!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          As people have said upthread, perhaps Sally did it in the context of receiving forgiveness from her god through confession. But as I understand confession, at least from a Catholic standpoint, you’re supposed to confess TO THE LORD.

          I’m picturing her as Bev Keane from Midnight Mass and you can’t convince me otherwise. She’s a bully, plain and simple.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        And it sounds like she then tried to explain that it was somehow *right* to think Bob’s life was more valuable.

        1. Empress Matilda*

          Not only that, but she tried to explain that TO TED. To the person she had just said his life was worth less than the other person’s. How could she possibly think he could agree with something like that??

    7. Lurkittycat*

      I might be oversensitive, but as someone who has been subject to irrational thoughts, including the idea that everyone hates me or that no one would care if I died/disappeared, I would be careful with the idea of “nudge.” I think it’s very possible this might be something that requires more nuanced support, especially since he might still have some unresolved trauma from the accident–a few months is not a very long time out from a life-threatening experience, tbh. It might be better to gently encourage Ted to get some therapy to work through why he is internalizing/extrapolating from Sally’s comment, rather than trying to rationally argue him out of his feelings.

    8. JB*

      Although I agree that objectively Sally’s comment shouldn’t impact how Ted views himself or his relationship with others at the office, it might not be as easy as not dwelling on it. I expect I would be deeply affected if a coworker said this to me; it’s beyond a careless remark. It feels deeply malicious for Sally to have chosen to say this to Ted directly.

      Obviously, ‘I prayed for you to die’ sounds extra dramatic, but I can’t imagine ANY permutation of what was said that could possibly be interpreted as anything short of extremely aggressive bullying. Even taking prayer out of it, what she expressed is, “If it were in my power, I would choose for you to die so that Bob could live”.

    9. JelloStapler*

      Plus was made clear that Sally felt that way because of things Bob did for HER: lending HER money, listening to HER problems. It seemef like a selfish reason for a really selfish prayer.

    10. Student*

      No reason to give this particular case exemptions for drunkenness, being high on painkillers, or other potential explanations for Sally’s outrageous behavior.

      Ted needs some serious help to move past the cruel comment, regardless of whether the cause is Sally’s a run-of-the-mill jerk, or has a serious addiction, or mental disorder.

      I had to deal with comments of a similar quality from drunk people in my life. It doesn’t automatically help the victim to know they’re doing this out of a state of drunkenness when you’re the one who’s getting hurt by it – it can still be quite difficult to move on from drunken cruelty.

  7. Naomi*

    I wonder why Sally felt the need to tell Ted that she was more invested in Bob’s survival than his… but even more, I wonder why Sally thought she had to choose at all. She wasn’t deciding who to pull from a burning building, and it’s not like there was a quota where someone had to die. Prayers aren’t rationed! She could have prayed for both of them to live!

    1. Threeve*

      Could be that Sally thought Ted’s reaction would be to try to win her over by being more like Bob–“you’ve just been through a horrible experience, let me take advantage of it to get special treatment as you try to ‘measure up’ to Bob.” Negging, basically. (In a sociopath kind of way.)

      1. Jarissa*

        This is exactly what I imagined, Threeve: that Sally was laying groundwork for future grifting — probably not with a specific goal in mind yet, merely as a habit that she uses in every social circle when she spots an opportunity. Maybe she wanted him to defer to her in team decisions. Maybe she wanted him to let her have the last cup of coffee. Maybe she wanted him to try to comfort her over her “marital troubles”.

        Maybe she just wanted him to believe that Bob is her “special” friend, wink wink, nudge nudge, and Bob has no idea.

        1. Van Wilder*

          This didn’t occur to me because, honestly, I don’t associate with many users like this (people-users, not drug users). But this makes sense given the context. Borrowing money from a coworker calls her judgment into question.

      2. justpeachy86*

        The last thing I would want to do as Ted is give this woman marriage advice and money…. if that is Sally’s measure of a “top tier” person. Nah….. hard pass. Count yourself doubly blessed.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      The fact that she mentioned Bob has given her money and seemingly attention made me wonder if this wasn’t some kind of weird form of manipulation to get things out of Ted too, to prove he is “worthy” of being prayed for.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        But Ted clearly survived without her “help.” So, a logical person (something Sally clearly is not) would think, “Hmmm… Sally’s prayers don’t work. Also, that’s not how it’s supposed to work anyway.”

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            It’s Sally who’s being illogical to me. I think Ted is right to have hurt feelings about this. (And I understand how he’s projecting this onto the rest of the team.) But if Sally’s trying to get Ted to behave more like Bob & give her money & attention, it seems pretty obvious to me that her behavior would have the opposite effect.

    3. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

      The only thing that would be even a bit reasonable (to have it occur to her, not to actually do) would be if she felt guilty for having done that (sometimes we resort to illogical bargaining in emotionally stressful situations, so maybe she felt bad later) and felt like she needed to apologize? But that’s still not acceptable, because she should also know that it would be hurtful, and doing it would only be for her own self-satisfaction.

      And I really have no reason to think this IS why she did it, I was just looking for explanations that weren’t “Sally is an abject bully and wanted to tell Ted, after the fact, that she liked him less than Bob to the point of actively praying to trade his life.” Like, I wonder if she told this to Bob as well. That would be telling.

      1. Sal*

        This sounds possible to me. Like she kinda sorta meant to seek absolution but forgot to do the regret-and-apology part, and instead just collapsed back on seeking reassurance.

        What an absolute POS, wowee kazowee.

      2. JB*

        It doesn’t even sound like she apologized, though; she justified it by saying Bob is better and Ted ‘can’t compare’.

        1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          Some people have a messed up view of what an apology is. Even if she meant to “apologize” here, it was only for her own ego, so I would not be surprised if she considered “explanation=apology.”

          As Sal says above and Paulina below, if you’re not that emotionally intelligent you might just seek reassurance to ease your guilt and call it an apology.

      3. Paulina*

        I see it similarly; Sally felt guilty about her prayer and told Ted in order to clear her conscience. The fact that telling Ted is a hurt she actively chose to make against him doesn’t seem to have crossed her mind. I’ve known others who had similar thinking about apologies, in that they make them to ease themselves and don’t really consider whether what they say is good for the person they’re supposedly apologizing to. Sally even leaned on Ted to agree that she was right to have made the choice she did! That’s extra conscience-clearing.

    4. Beth*

      I can only guess that Sally felt guilty about having prayed for Ted’s death — so, clearly, the “right” thing to do was to confess and be forgiven. How dare Ted not immediately forgive her! She was being so honest!

      The Sallies of the world always know that they’re entitled to forgiveness, ’cause their narrow-minded god of entitlement just luvs them sooooo much.

    5. Artemesia*

      This. WHY did she have to voice this? If my kid and another were in a burning building and I saw a firefighter with one of the kids over his shoulder of course I would hope it was my child — but even then you would not tell the other parent ‘we hoped if only one could live, it would be ours.’ So many things we think we should never say.

      Ted needs to let his co-workers know WHY Sally is not included.

  8. EBStarr*

    Poor Ted! If he were more secure he’d probably be able to see that what happened says so much more about Sally than it does about him. But I suspect part of this is happening because he’s so humiliated by what she said that he doesn’t want to tell anyone. That makes me sad, but I totally sympathize–sometimes the shame takes over even when a person has nothing to be ashamed of.

    I hope you two have a lovely wedding day no matter what happens with the coworkers.

    1. CBB*

      Yes, I really feel for Ted. I suspect Sally targeted him with her mean comment because she knew it would get under his skin.

    2. Van Wilder*

      Ugh this makes me sad.

      My impulse would be to tell the team “Sally said something really unkind to me right after the accident. I don’t want to stir up drama but I don’t feel comfortable having her at the wedding because of her comment. I understand if some of you choose not to come.”

      But as I’m writing this, I feel it opens the door for the team to ask Sally what she said and Sally to spin it her way. The one thing I don’t think is an option is keeping it to himself. I get why he tried, but now it’s time to share.

    1. tangerineRose*

      Maybe she has no filter or just about no filter? I don’t understand that either. Maybe this is why her marriage is struggling – maybe she says every single thing she thinks.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        Using the term “thinks” loosely.

        A sentence wandering through someone’s head and out their mouth doesn’t necessarily mean they “thought.”

    2. Threeve*

      What Sally said is absolutely bonkers, but the general opinion that a confession immediately results in a clean slate is a fairly common one. Like, “yes, I cheated on her–but I came clean and apologized! Why is she still leaving me??”

    3. Karo*

      Right?! And it’s not like it’s something that would eventually come out anyway; no one is going around asking what each person prayed for immediately after the accident. This is admitting a transgression because you want to clear your conscience without thinking about how it will impact the other person.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Yeah, that would’ve been a great time for one of my favorite Midwestern “Why are you telling me this?” (said in an honestly confused, befuddled tone, with a facial expression to match.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I don’t think I could have filtered fast enough to keep from saying “Why on god’s green earth would you think that was something I needed to know?”

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I probably wouldn’t have chosen to filter it either, but even if I had wanted to ….

        1. quill*

          “Good lord, why are you telling me this?”

          It’s the kind of classic phrase you use when someone wants to dissect their recent bunion surgery, usually not when someone wants to confess that they prayed against you!

    5. Campfire Raccoon*

      Because Sally has to make everything about her, all the time. I have a sister like this. Not being invited to the wedding is the type of drama/misery she can suckle from for years to come.

      1. Former Young Lady*

        Yup. People who say asinine things to the grieving/convalescing person also tend to fly off the handle when they don’t get invited to weddings. You go out of your way to insult and alienate people, and then when you succeed, you play the victim.

        Sally sounds like the type of wedding guest who’d show up in a white gown and a tiara, anyway.

    6. Meep*

      Soooo one of my coworker made some very racist remarks about a Muslim child’s birthday party. She pointed out none of the fathers were present and that they were probably upstairs making bombs. Completely forgoing the fact that if the party had been predominately white then she wouldn’t bat an eye that it was hosted by the mother and her friends (and the kids’ moms). She KNEW she made me uncomfortable as my best friend is Muslim. She even acknowledged it and told me she didn’t want me to see her as a racist before doubling down on her previous comments.

      This isn’t the worst thing she has said. She is kind of an awful person in general, so Sally saying this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

      1. Use your words*

        Maybe I’ve just hit the end of my tolerance of racists but I’d make her pay for that. I’d make sure everyone knew exactly how she speaks about Muslims and what kind of person she is and let the natural consequences occur. That’s the kind of comment that should be recorded and shared.

      2. Empress Matilda*

        Pro tip to your coworker: any time you say “I’m not a racist, but…” – it’s an actual guarantee that you’re about to say something super racist. How about starting off by not saying any of that, hmmkay?

        1. Rachel in NYC*

          yeah, I had a new coworker use the n- word at a work event. Maybe 2 people heard him. The next day, he was looking for a new job.

        2. Working Hypothesis*

          It’s a variation on the old maxim that “The correct way to punctuate any statement which begins ‘This is really none of my business, but…’ is to put a period before the ‘but’ and stop there.” The correct way to punctuate any statement which begins “I’m not a racist, but…” is to put a period before the “I’m” and come up with something totally unrelated to say instead. :P

      3. generic_username*

        Uh, you need to report that ish to your HR. If that’s how comfortable your coworker feels voicing objectively racist statements, she’s probably (definitely) acting on biases and racist thoughts in the workplace. If you aren’t responding strongly to her statements in the moment, you risk being lumped in with her if someone overhears as well.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Definitely. That’s HR-worthy if anything is. I’m still trying to fit my eyeballs back into my head after reading it.

    7. CBB*

      She’s a bully who likes to cause drama. One deviously mean comment targeted at someone who she knew would be badly affected. And look at all the drama that continues to unfold.

      Like an arsonist who sets a building on fire with a single match.

    8. Allegra*

      Given her actions with the prayer and confession after, I think it comes from a particular kind of Christian mindset–I think it’s a leap to say she’s a bully or a toxic drama-stirrer. Among certain streams, people are considered spiritually on the hook for things that they even think about (I’m thinking about accounts I’ve read from folks who grew up LDS and had to avoid certain books because reading about sin was as bad as doing the sin themselves). There’s a lot of pressure in those streams to confess said thoughts/”sins”, and people are equally pressured to forgive people who wronged them as long as they confess.

      I feel like that’s what happened here–she felt bad about her thought-sins and confessed, expecting to be absolved. But for most of us outside of this particular Christian paradigm, forgiveness needs other things, like a meaningful apology and understanding of harm done, so Ted is quite reasonably *hurt* instead of being like “I forgive you because you told me”. There’s clearly a lot of boundary issues in this team and I don’t mean that what she said is okay at all! Just that it makes sense in a certain context.

      1. pancakes*

        So bullying isn’t bullying unless the bully is self-aware that that’s what they’re doing? Nah, that’s not how that works.

        1. Allegra*

          No, I meant people saying “she did this because she’s a narcissistic bully/she gets off on drama” seemed like a leap. People say hurtful things without it being bullying.

  9. S*

    This might be an opportunity for the letter writer to take one for the team, as it were. If there’s nothing Sally can say now that will fix the breach, Ted might be better off telling people that both he and the LW were very distressed by what Sally said, and LW was uncomfortable having her at the wedding. This takes some heat off Ted at work, and it may be something he’s more willing to say publicly. Telling people that someone hurt your feelings puts you in a pretty vulnerable position, and if Ted already feels like maybe all his coworkers prefer Bob to him, he may not be willing to be that honest. If it’s framed as LW’s (understandable!) anger at Sally’s death wish, it explains the substance of the issue without putting him in that spot.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah that might work. “Sally and I can still work together but my fiance isn’t comfortable with her coming to the wedding”, while not exactly true, might settle things a bit. And it’s not exactly false either, just not the whole picture.

      1. Threeve*

        “You know me, I don’t like to exclude people. But Fiance has this thing about celebrating life events with people who have openly hoped for my death. And marriage is about compromise.”

    2. anonymous73*

      I don’t like this at all. OP states that they were a close knit group who got together outside of work. Assuming it included SOs, the team knows the OP and throwing her under the bus will resolve nothing. Ted needs to speak up and tell the real reason he didn’t invite Sally to the wedding. Maybe even meet with his manager and let them know what happened and how they think best to handle it moving forward. But he needs to stop blaming the venue.

      1. FYI*

        Agreed. He can stop blaming the venue, the fiancée, and simply state the truth. “Sally prayed for me to die, so I don’t want her at the wedding.”

    3. The New Normal*

      I would 1000% take that one for my husband/fiancé. I would even dig shallowly into my frustration and anger at her audacity and act out.

    4. BRice*

      Here’s the thing – all the women in the office are freezing him out which leads me to believe Sally told them she suspects Ted’s fiancé thinks they’re “too close” and that’s why she wasn’t invited. I wouldn’t put anything past her. So I’d worry if he said that it would make things worse. Also I’m not a religious person but do prayers have to be triaged like that?

      1. Gracely*

        No, they do not. Which is also why her even making that prayer to begin with is so bizarre, let alone deciding she needed to tell Ted after the fact.

  10. Les*

    Another in a long line of examples why coworkers should not be invited to life events. Have some kind of office luncheon if one is deemed necessary, but it’s a poor idea to blur the boundaries between friends and those with whom one interacts while drawing a paycheck.

    1. Canadian Valkyrie*

      I think you can do it if it’s generally common known in your office that you’re friends with Ahsoka but you’re just coworkers with Obi Wan, Anakin, and Kanan. For example, it was never a problem in my office that I invited only this 1 coworker because everyone knew we carpooled due to her not having a car and that we had become friends outside of work as a result.

      1. Reba*

        Right, it’s like the rule from elementary school — include the whole class, or less than [half or a third, I’ve heard both].

        I definitely don’t think you can never be “real” friends with work friends! But friend-group dynamics can be tricky. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other, less dramatic, instances of going along to keep the peace in the group, i.e. with 1-2 difficult group members, here.

        So the invitation thing really was a misstep, both in terms of etiquette and strategy for dealing with this Sally problem. But, I understand how the LW and Ted got to this point, as Ted seems very conflict-avoidant *and* he highly values the team relationships.

        You just can’t exclude one person from a group, refuse to say anything about why, and expect everyone else to… not react or not have questions about it. And Sally is filling that information vacuum.

        Best thing to do now is say your part. And then let go–you can’t control what people think! And try to enjoy your wedding.

    2. Heidi*

      I’ve been in offices where only some people were invited to weddings and it went fine. You just have to do it when everyone is pretty much sane, which…did not happen here.

      1. Smithy*

        With exception to circumstances like a team having one member based remotely out of state/country or a new team member joining in the last few weeks – I think it’s really hard to ever make a case of it being sane to invite everyone but one person from a team. Not that the exclusion of Sally doesn’t make sense, but there was never going to be a way to exclude only her and have it not ultimately cause issues.

        1. Loulou*

          Agreed. I do think that the team’s reaction is weird and extreme though. If this happened on my team everyone would privately think it was rude, gossip a little, and remain polite and collegial with Ted.

          1. Smithy*

            I’ve also worked on teams where this would be handled with the the polite and deranged fire of 1,000 passive aggressive suns. Especially considering how seniority balanced out. If Sally was more senior, this would be seen as a weird slight she’d just have to take – but if Ted is more senior then it would be seen as far more aggressive.

            All to say, there are a number of ways this could go pear shaped and whatever Ted hoped would happen seems preciously naïve to me.

      2. LDN Layabout*

        ‘Some people’ vs. ‘Everyone bar one’ is also very different. Even with a sane office, that’s putting the cat amongst the pigeons and pretty much deliberately trolling for drama.

      3. Becca*

        Well also, as Alison pointed out, inviting everybody except one person sends a very pointed message, just as OP was concerned about. The venue limits isn’t being accepted as an excuse because they managed to find room for the rest of the team, just not Sally. (To be clear, it’s understandable, but only with the context we have that the rest of the team doesn’t. On the other hand, the team picking sides in a way that makes it women vs men is… interesting.) It should be a few close people or the whole team.

      4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Me too. In functional environments with functional people, it is totally understandable that Yomy, Momy, and Tomy were invited to Stacie’s wedding, but Bony, Tony, and Nony weren’t since they aren’t ac close to her and her wife-to-be. Weddings are expensive for both the couple and the guest (e.g. clothes, gift, losing part of you off-work time), so most people understand that only folks you feel close to will be invited and the ones you are not close to will be fine with it.

        1. doreen*

          There’s a difference between inviting half of your co-workers and inviting everybody except one. And BTW , this doesn’t only apply to co-workers – if you invite all of your cousins/friends/people on your bowling team except one , you’re making a statement about them and will have drama.

          1. Recruited Recruiter*

            Spouse and I found out the hard way that inviting none of the aunts on one side of the family also causes drama. One would think that familial death threats would be enough reason to not invite someone without drama.

    3. Sad public health worker*

      Gotta say my response was also like “this is why you have to be SO careful about becoming actual friends with people at work”

        1. Sad public health worker*

          It’s def a particularly strange case, but for example, I work for a conservative state government in a public service role and I keep the fact that I’m gay not super locked down, but I’m not very open about it. You just never know how someone will react or what will happen so it makes sense to not have coworkers so involved in my life.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, this. If you’re not friends with your coworkers, nobody will wonder why they didn’t get an invitation to your wedding. I didn’t tell my coworkers about my wedding until after the fact. Long after the fact. Most of them found out on the day I returned from maternity leave, because I took my husband’s name when we got married. I told my manager as soon as we got married, and my new email alias worked on my first day back.

        I had to go on sick leave about 2 months before my due date, because I could neither sit nor stand for long periods, and spent most of my days reclining on the couch, even if I wasn’t on total bed rest. We got married two weeks later.

    4. anonymous73*

      Mature and reasonable adults can have friends at work. Mature and reasonable adults can even be real life friends with their boss (although rare, it IS possible). Clearly this does not involve mature reasonable adults.

    5. CTT*

      Although non-work advice columns would tell us that there can plenty of drama involving non-work friends and family members who make scenes in the lead-up to weddings and the couple ends up in similar situations to this, so the real lesson is to be on alert for the high-drama people in your life.

    6. Adrianne*

      That was my reaction as well, sounds like the professional boundaries were blown away LONG before the car accident – it’s one thing to form friendships at work, but another altogether to have that kind of reaction to a co-worker car accident, wedding, or lack of invitation to life events. I am more focused on the “all women on the team are on Sally’s side, and the men are on Ted’s side” thing – because that throws up a MASSIVE red flag for me as a manager. It makes me think that things were going off the rails for a while, but just hadn’t had the catalyst to make it clear to anyone outside the team until the invite fiasco.

    7. Kate*

      It’s so hard; I remember 16 years ago when there were people I really would have liked to invite from work (at my peer level, I was a manager), but the stakes were raised because the wedding was 4.5 hours away and on a Saturday evening so it was effectively a whole weekend and thus it all felt far more of a big deal as well. I ended up not inviting people I really wanted to come because it if I invited those five and their partners, it meant not inviting two out of seven folks on the same team and that would have been awkward and uncomfortable.

      At the same time it would have been not only weird to invite those two in the spirit of inclusivity (since we weren’t friends, just people who work together) but because our workplace functioned seven days a week I knew that not all of the seven would be able to make it either. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I might end up having the two that I wasn’t close to at the wedding, with the others not able to make it because they were covering…and it was all a mess. So my solution was to invite…no one. :(

    1. PolarVortex*

      Right now Sally is looking like the saintly hurt party when this entire fubar’d situation began with her actions. If I was coworkers with Sally I’d want to know what kind of person I’m working with. I don’t wanna be working with someone who prays for a coworker to not live! So tell people Ted!

      (At least tell the manager, who clearly needs to keep an eye on Bob and Sally’s work relationship because I agree Sally’s got some kind of intense emotions about Bob. Which can be problematic for a team, although this situation is not the type of problem I would expect to happen..)

      ((Additionally LW, as someone who spent a lot of time internalizing people’s comments due to some pretty rough social anxiety. I get how this can cycle viciously for years (decades) and I hope Ted can find a way to work past that either by himself or with the help of a professional.))

    2. Jamie Starr*

      Not only that – but why would you even think that??! Like why not pray both of them live? I have the mindset of you don’t wish bad things or harm on people — even those you dislike, or even as a joke.

      1. Ace in the Hole*

        She might have prayed they both live, and then prayed this as a backup. Something along the lines of “please let them both be okay, but if one of them has to die please don’t take Bob.” That’s not even wishing harm on someone… it’s just favoritism. Not great, but not horrible either.

        The horrible part is TELLING him. That has no potential to do anything positive. Basically it seems like Sally knew it was kind of shitty to think what she’d thought, and wanted to tell Tim so he’d absolve her of any guilt. 100% about making herself feel better at Tim’s expense.

        1. Jamie Starr*

          I just don’t understand why you would even pray this as a back up. Admittedly I am not religious and don’t believe in prayer, but based on a childhood of forced Christian church/Sunday school attendance I seem to recall that you’re supposed to leave stuff like that to god’s will… Like that line in the Lord’s Prayer — thy will be done?

          And yes, it’s certainly horrible that she felt the need to tell him about it! I’m fond of this saying, “All truth is good, but not all truth is good to say.” She should keep her prayers between her and whomever she’s praying to.

          1. Ace in the Hole*

            We don’t know what her religion teaches about the power of prayer, God’s will, predestination, etc. We don’t even know what religion Sally follows, much less her denomination. Even if we did know, it’s none of our (or Tim’s) business how well Sally follows the tenets of her faith.

            I’m also not a fan of judging people’s private thoughts… especially in highly stressful crisis situations.

            The key thing is her actions: choosing to tell Tim what she thought. I’d have a very different opinion of the situation if Sally had tried to keep this private but Tim had somehow discovered it anyways – like if he’d seen it in her personal journal somehow, or if he’d seen a message not intended for him where she was seeking advice/help processing her feelings. But she chose to tell him and did so in a particularly cruel way to boot.

            1. Jamie Starr*

              That’s a good point about not knowing her religion or whether she’s following it properly. That being said, I will totally judge someone’s private thoughts when they make them public. It speaks to the type of person they are, and that is useful information to have when dealing with them. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

              1. Ace in the Hole*

                Yes, that’s my point exactly. The issue is not that she thought it, the issue is that she said those thoughts out loud to Ted.

                I think it’s really important to make that distinction because Sally will probably try to spin the narrative to make it seem like Ted is out to get her for her thoughts/feelings (aka things she can’t control) as opposed to her actions (things she can and should control). If he lets her get control of the story this way, she’ll just use it to gain more sympathy and support. He needs to be prepared to pull the conversation back on track by pointing out that even if she can’t choose how she feels, the choice to tell him about it was deliberate and extremely hurtful.

                1. pancakes*

                  Ah, got it. I think the people who have suggested taking to others in the office, not her, are probably on the right track, for that same reason – to the extent Sally gets a chance to weigh in on this, she is likely to twist it around rather than just apologize.

                2. Working Hypothesis*

                  While I think you’re correct about the strategy, and about the worst part of what she did, I do also think it’s fair to judge somebody for thoughts that they go out of their way to tell, unasked. If Sally hadn’t told anyone about her prayer but someone happened to overhear her whispering to her deity in what she thought was the privacy of her own office, I would feel strongly that what she prayed was her own business and not mine to judge, even if I found out about it because the person who overheard spread it around. But if she goes to Ted and tells him all about it, it’s not *only* true that she’s said something hurtful to Ted and that is a bad thing to do in itself (although all of that is true and it’s the most important piece of the puzzle). It’s *also* true that at that point, she is inviting people to have opinions on what her prayers contained. She obviously expected and hoped that Ted would agree with her that it was a proper and reasonable prayer. She’s offering it up for opinions; she doesn’t get to control who hears it at that point, or what opinions they have.

          2. Ally McBeal*

            I’m with you on this. I was raised Christian and am a different denomination of Christian now (& still actively religious, although deeply concerned about organized religion as a broad concept and my denomination specifically). The WORST part of this scenario was Sally telling Tim, but she really shouldn’t have been praying for one of them to die if it came down to some sort of one-or-the-other scenario.