For 10 years, I’ve belonged to a walking group of 12 women. We all raised our children together. We take long walks on Saturday mornings and have a lively group chat. We also go to dinner once a month. I feel lucky to be friends with these women. The problem: A woman who coordinates the group with me recently added her best friend, with whom I had a falling-out several years ago. She broached the idea of including her on the group chat on a day when I wasn’t checking my phone. (She knows about our falling-out.) I have not seen this other woman in years, and I have no interest in reconciling with her. This group was my most cherished social outlet; now, I no longer want to participate. What should I do?
Over time, affinity groups — like your walking group — take on lives of their own. No one owns them. And I suspect that trying to blackball a woman from joining friendly group walks on public roads would seem petty and meanspirited to your friends.
Forgive me if I misunderstand the setup, but you probably don’t walk 12 abreast or single file. I envision the group breaking into smaller subsets of three or four women who may shift companions over the course of a walk. So, even if you are committed to your estrangement from this other woman, it seems relatively easy to avoid walking with her (or sitting next to her at a monthly dinner).
Now, you haven’t shared the details of your falling-out. So I want to be respectful of your feelings while posing the essential question: Are you really willing to give up your “most cherished social outlet” over a years-old beef? I know (firsthand) that it can be hard to abandon old grudges, but I hope for your sake that you are willing to try. Otherwise, you are only spiting yourself.