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No Room At The Birthday Party Inn

BG: My fiance Sam has known his best friend Robby since they were children and Robby has been with his wife Nicky for ten years, so Sam has been friends with them for a long time. I should probably admit right now that I’ve always found Robby and Nicky to be unbearably smug and pretentious, but I’ve gritted my teeth and dealt with it because of their long time connection with the man I love.

Also, there’s a five year age gap between Sam and myself. We got together when I was 22 and he was 27. Robby and Nicky (who are both Sam’s age) have made assumptions about me based on my age – before they even met me, they were asking Sam if he really wanted to get serious with someone so young and immature. Even now, whenever we get together they make jokes about having to hide the booze from me, or if we get together in the morning, they’ll ask if I’m still drunk.  I’d also heard that they’d told some of Sam’s other friends that I took drugs, but until I heard it myself, I ignored it. For the record, I don’t.

A couple of years ago, we received an invitation to Robby’s 30th. He had invited a bunch of their friends to spend the weekend at Nicky’s parents’ holiday house in the mountains. I rang Nicky the week of the trip and asked her if we needed to bring anything. “No, just your lovely selves,” she assured us.

At the time I was working in retail and couldn’t find a cover for my Saturday shift. One of Sam’s friends, Ben, also had to work Saturday so we arranged to leave Saturday afternoon and spend the night and all day Sunday there.

Ben drove. During the trip, we could hear a strange rattling sound so we pulled over several times, even pulled in to a service station at one point, but couldn’t locate the source of the sound. Sam and Ben couldn’t see any immediate danger so we continued, Ben driving very carefully.

We arrived at around 8pm.  There were about a dozen people there already.  We said our hellos and Sam asked Nicky where we should put our stuff.  Nicky developed a deer-in-the-headlights look.  “Uh, well if you’d arrived earlier, you wouldn’t have gotten a room,” she told us.  We assured her that we didn’t need our own room – a cot or a mattress would be fine.  That was when she dropped the first bombshell.  We wouldn’t be getting a cot, or a mattress, or a pillow, or a blanket.  She directed the three of us to the lounge room, where there was one small lounge and nothing else.  That would be our sleeping quarters.

Now, perhaps I hadn’t been clear enough when I’d rang her during the week.  Perhaps this was partially my fault.  Still, when you’re sending out written paper invitations to a pre-organized weekend retreat, isn’t ensuring that everyone has appropriate bedding kind of necessary? Also, they’d both known that we were arriving late.  Ben found a blanket in his car, so I slept on the lounge without a blanket, and Sam and Ben slept on the (tiled) floor, sharing the blanket.

The next morning, Nicky cooked breakfast while Robby informed us that heneeded to collect our money before we ate. Um, huh? I looked at Sam, who looked a little sheepish.  “Yeah, Robby told us that we all need to put in thirty dollars for the weekend,” he said.  Each, i.e. sixty dollars for Sam and me.

Sixty dollars to sleep on the floor of his wife’s parents’ place?  When we’d come here to celebrate his birthday?  And brought a present?  How could he even look us in the eye?  When Sam pointed this out, Robby dropped the rate to $10. Sam ended up paying, but Ben and I refused.

After breakfast, the boys went to take a look at Ben’s car.  They found that the wheel nuts had come loose, and that was what had been making the rattling sound.  This was more than a little frightening – to think how close we’d come to loosing a tire!  The car had been serviced by the manufacturer that week so Ben rang the manufacturer, who agreed to pay towing costs.  We arranged to get a lift with someone else and the whole thing was finished so far as I was concerned.  But when I was packing my stuff up, I heard Nicky and a couple of other girls in the kitchen talking about us.  Basically, they were saying how irresponsible we were for driving a car in that condition and that we must have been, “fully high on speed”.

I was cold, tired and grumpy.  I’d bitten my tongue for too long.  I went in to the kitchen and explained how the situation with the car had not been our fault, and how I resented her assuming that I’d taken drugs, when she had absolutely no basis for such an accusation (that weekend was actually the first time I’d gotten drunk in front of them – Sam and I have an arrangement where I’m DD for his friends events and he’s DD for mine.)  I started quietly and calmly, but was getting pretty heated towards the end. I realize that yelling at someone in their own house is unforgivably rude, and if I could do it again, I would have waited until we left before confronting her.  I’d just had enough.  Nicky played the injured party and for the entire next week, she put up Facebook updates about how, “Some people need to learn manners and not yell at people in their own homes,” and, “If I’d known I was going to get yelled at, I wouldn’t have bothered throwing a party.” How can you say you’re throwing a party when you’re making a profit from your guests?

I’ve not had a lot to do with Robby and Nicky since that weekend and Ben wiped them completely, but Sam is still close to them. It just goes to show – you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your partners friends! 0803-10

{ 63 comments… add one }
  • Me August 8, 2010, 7:30 pm

    No, I totally agree that five years is nothing – but that’s not the way that Robby and Nicky (and some of Sam’s other friends) saw it. Sam kind of had this, “Well if they just get to know you they’ll see how wonderful you are,” attitude when we first got together and so he tried to get us all to hang out all the time, but once we realised that their opinions weren’t going to change we agreed that it would be best if I stayed home when he went to see them.

  • Molly August 9, 2010, 4:20 am

    I’m surprised by everyone being so upset that this woman’s boyfriend didn’t stand up for her. She’s a grown woman, I say good for her for standing up for herself! I wouldn’t expect my partner to do it for me…

  • jenna August 9, 2010, 10:32 am

    I would not have yelled at Nicky in her own home, but I would have come into the room and said something along the lines of “You know, I can hear you. And for the record, I did not do drugs and do not do drugs. I will thank you for not spreading false and insulting rumors like that again.” Then left.

    I do applaud her for sticking up for herself, but do also feel that Sam should have said something both long ago and in this situation – as in, you’re my friends, and you have to treat my girlfriend/fiancee with respect. If you don’t, you will be seeing a lot less of me.

    Had I been the OP, I would have done what Catwhisperer advised – left immediately upon hearing such rude comments. I am not sure I’d have even been so polite – “Yeah, uh, no. Not cool. I’ve got to go. Bye.” And I would have asked Sam to stand by me in this, though I wouldn’t force him to cut ties completely with his friends.

  • Bint August 9, 2010, 10:35 am

    Molly, it’s not about asking the boyfriend to stand up for the woman *in her place*. It’s about both of them standing together to tell these people that’s not acceptable. Standing up ‘for’ her is misleading…he needs to stand up ‘with’ her. If someone treated me like that I would speak to them, but I would 100% expect my husband to stand with me (or behind me) on it.

    By saying nothing to *his* friends, he is effectively saying that they have his blessing to insult his fiancee. Whether she can stand up for herself or not has nothing to do with it. If your partner’s friends were incredibly rude to you and he continued to be friends with them whilst saying nothing about their rudeness, would you be happy with this?

  • Michelle Prieur August 9, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Run for the hills, OP. If a guy won’t stand up for you now, he won’t ever. Save yourself the pain! The “friends” were beyond rude, and both the OP and her boyfriend had every right and obligation to defend themselves.

  • curtis August 10, 2010, 1:07 am

    Wow, it is extremely rude to invite people to ones home for a weekend and not have a place for them to sleep. If a person invites someone over night their home should be clean, reasonably comfortable, and their prospective guests should know in advance what the sleeping arrangements will be so they have the option of saying no thank you. As for the food; I have been going to and throwing parties for over 30 years now and have never heard of such a thing. If your fiancés friends were so strapped for money they should have put out a donation jar to pay for the food or simply had a potluck. Your fiancés friends are beyond rude and it is within reason for you to tell him that you want nothing further to do with them. Such people are toxic and while your anger may have caused an awkward situation it was reasonable. Personally the situation sounds so bad one wonders if it was a set up.

  • Maryann August 10, 2010, 1:25 am

    @LW aka Me:

    Your dad and his friends are two different things.

    Bad in-laws can be a fact of life, and if your dad isn’t being malicious (foot-in-mouth is usually just being thick, not being intentionally unkind), it’s entirely different from a pair of friends he’s basically forcing you to suffer. Not inviting them to one party isn’t good enough.

    Bint is right. You need this man to stand up with you, truly and seriously and permanently, right NOW. Not later, not when he feels like it, not when it’s convenient to him because he doesn’t feel like being friendly. Right freaking now… and forever.

  • jenna August 10, 2010, 4:56 am

    I’m with Bint. He doesn’t need to stand up FOR her, but he does need to stand up WITH her.

  • Mrelia August 12, 2010, 6:56 am

    Said with a full, toothy smile: “Thank you SO much for a lovely weekend. I DO hope that we will be able to repay you in KIND!”

  • Chelsey August 13, 2010, 3:34 pm

    I agree with Bint. By not “standing up ‘with’ her” he is essentially condoning their actions. They’re HIS friends, so he also should be putting his foot down. My husband would certainly have gotten an ear full if he had allowed his friends to treat me poorly, but he has enough sense to put them in their places when need be (especially at the beginning of a relationship–in my experience, when a woman stands up for herself to people she barely knows, it automatically makes her a bitch and said friends spend as much time as possible trying to get the guy to break up with her). Sam should have said something a long time ago.

  • Katrina September 12, 2010, 9:46 am

    I am really surprised that someone would make a big deal of a 5 year age difference. When you are in your teens that makes a lot of sense (like 13 and 18) but when you are in your twenties it really shouldn’t be an issue, with anyone. My boyfriend and I are 3 years apart. I’m 18 and he is 21. His close friends, who are 23-28, sometimes make jokes at my age, but it’s not really seen as a big deal. It really shows the maturity level of Sam’s friends I think.

  • CherryBlossom October 17, 2010, 10:40 pm

    I think in circumstances this extreme the basic rules of etiquette are off. When the OP lost her temper with Nicky, Nicky wasn’t just sniggering about her immaturity, she was accusing her of doing something ILLEGAL and dangerous. That’s more than bad etiquette, it’s slander. You never know who something like that could get back to – parents, bosses, professors, younger siblings who look up to you – the OP was called upon to defend herself then and there before it became fact in the minds of the people hearing it. If I saw someone get genuinely upset upon hearing such accusations I’d seriously begin to doubt those accusations, because I know if I caught someone saying something like that about me I’d be furious.

    Nicky was WAY out of line speaking about someone like that, especially someone who came so far to attend the party she was throwing for her husband, she got exactly what she deserved when she was yelled at. Personally I think the reaction of the OP was warranted, but she says in the post that if she could go back and do it differently she would so I don’t think she needs any more lectures on how to properly handle it from any of us.

    Also, just a side note, but aren’t R&N’s questions about whether or not Sam wants to ‘get serious with someone so young and immature’ particularly hypocritical given that apparently they married before they were even 22 as the OP is? (30 now and married for 10 years?)

  • StumpyHouse October 17, 2010, 11:09 pm

    Actually if you read the post, the OP says that multiple girls were standing around the kitchen talking about her. How would confronting Nicky later have solved this? Even if Nicky did find a shred of human decency and quit saying such mean things, it wouldn’t stop the other girls. And showing that she was the bigger person by keeping quiet likely wouldn’t have impressed anyone who willingly joined in with Nicky’s antics.

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