The Consequences of Inviting Oneself Can Be A Learning Experience

by admin on August 18, 2011

I had two best friends growing up. One of them we’ll call Sam and the other Kayla. I’d known Sam since I was born and Kayla for about a year but we’d become a trio.

Anyway, when we were about 10 years old the church was having a carnival and my Mom said I could invite ONE friend. So I invited Kayla, because she had just invited me to a soccer game the last week, and I wanted to say thank you. I knew from previous experience it was better if Sam never knew about the fact that Kayla and I were hanging out, because she would feel left out. I expressed my worry to my Mom who was very firm and told me, “Tough. One invite. Sam is old enough to know manners. When you’re not invited, you’re not invited and there’s no need to act up about it.”

Well the news leaked out by Kayla accidentally saying something at lunch one day. Sam was, of course, very sad and wanted desperately to go with us. I told her I was only allowed one person. She begged me to re-ask my mom, so I said I would try, but I told her I didn’t think it would happen. I did, however, tell her the name of the church. It was a public event geared towards charity, so I didn’t seem the harm of her coming separately. I thought perhaps her parents could drive her.

That night I ask my mom if Sam can come too and she says no. I call Sam and tell her so, and apologize and hang up. About 15 minutes later the phone rings and it’s Sam’s mom demanding to know what is going on. I ask what she means and she says that Sam is crying and angry and has told her that I invited her to a party and then uninvited her. She demands to talk with my mom.

Okay, I admit it, I do something I’m really embarrassed about to this day. I explain the story again (the truth mind you) and I BEG her not to talk to my mom. However she tells me that she wants to talk to her and I reluctantly hand over the phone.

I don’t know what they said, because I was so embarrassed that I didn’t want to stay in the room. But at 5:15, my mom told me to get in the car and we would pick up my friends. I could tell she was angry, so I got in the car. On the way she explained that only TWO people were going to this party, as originally planned. We would take Sam and Kayla there, we would come home. At 7 we would pick them up and take them home. We. Now I was the odd one out. I protested a little, but I felt like it was my fault, because I’d known what Sam was like, and I’d still said I would ask my mom one more time.

It was fairly miserable. We dropped them off (Mom allowed me to walk them to the door and explain). We picked them up and took them home. As we pulled into our own driveway, I very quietly apologized. To my surprise, my Mom apologized too.

“The event was all for charity- it’s not as though it was a private party,” she said. “And I know that Sam doesn’t often get to do fun things like this.”

It was perfectly true as well. Sam’s family had 7 kids and no money most of the time.

In case anyone is wondering, I’m still friends with both girls today. Sam’s actually a social butterfly, and goes to more events during the week that I get invited to in a month.

I don’t think my Mom was wrong in punishing me this way, I think the real victim of the whole story is Kayla, who had expected a fun night with me and ended up walking about with someone different, and from what I hear now it wasn’t that much fun. Both of them felt guilty that I was at home. But lesson learned! There was no more ‘inviting oneself’ from there on out! 0211-11

{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

--E August 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

Wink-n-Smile, I have never read Little Men, and now I am thoroughly creeped out and never will. Perhaps it comes across differently in the book, but your synopsis of that scene redlines my “ew” meter.

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acr August 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

I agree that the OP’s mom’s punishment was sort of unfair – but it sounds like it was effective. Assuming all of the girls were fairly sensitive:
1) Kayla learns to keep her mouth shut.
2) Sam learns not to wheedle.
3) OP learns not to ask “one more time.”

Also, I wonder if OP’s mom often had to pay for Sam (who now as an adult thinks she’s mean) and was tired of it.

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Maryann August 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm

@Aje: Well, I’m afraid your mom taught you your lesson remarkably well.

Sam had pushed both you and her around before, and she not only let it happen again, she was a willing participant. So now you feel unnecessarily guilty, to this very day, for the crime of having been bullied, and clearly feel the need to defend your mom in aiding and abetting your “friend’s” bullying behavior. And is it any wonder, really, that she’d do such things, given her mom’s interference?

I don’t know how old you are today, Aje, but I hope you’re still young and therefore have more time to unlearn the lessons of this situation. You don’t deserve to be punished for being pushed around while still trying to do what was asked of you. You deserve to be backed up by the people who’re supposed to be in your corner.

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Rob August 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

IDK. Sounds like the OP’s Mom got yelled at by Sam’s Mom and took it out on her daughter. Kind of sad she reacted that way but at least she realized her mistake and apologized to her daughter for her inappropriate actions.

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Ginger 630 August 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I think Sam’s mom was wrong. First, you don’t get involved in your children’s disagreements with friends. She could have consoled her daughter, but stayed out of it. I think the OP’s mom should have told the friend’s mother “I will not get involved. My daughter invited another friend to an event. She can only have one guest. Here’s the information if you would like to bring your daughter to the event.” Then say goodbye and hang up. I’m thinking the friend’s mother yelled and complained and the OP’s mom backed down and punished her own daughter. The OP did nothing wrong. She even said that she didn’t say anything to the friend, but word leaked out and the friend was left out. I understand feeling left out, but you do not invite yourself to something you weren’t invited to. Even at a young age I knew that. If I went home and told my mother about being left out, she would have consoled me and that’s it. You don’t get involved in your children’s involvements of this nature.

When I was about 12, my friend and I got into a fight with another friend. It was all silly stuff, but to us, at the time, it was serious business. Well, the friend got her mother on the phone and the mother talked to both me and my friend. She was nice, but even at at a young age I thought it was innappropriate to have one’s mother solve all her problems. Heck, I didn’t even TELL my parents about the fight. They would have told me to work it out myself. If it was something very serious, like bullying, then they would have stepped in.

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Ginger 630 August 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I just finished reading the comments and the rest of the story by the OP.

So Sam is still like this? Why are you still friends with her? It reminds me of the old saying “The sqeaky wheel gets the grease.” The person who complains the loudest and most will eventually get their way in order to shut them up. Sam sounds like a whiny little brat and OP’s mother punished her own daughter to “teach her a lesson.” What lesson is this? Whine more? Get mommy involved? Tell the truth and do nothing wrong but get punished anyway? Sam and her mother got her way, OP and Kayla got the short end of the stick – OP couldn’t enjoy the carnival and Kayla had to hang out with Sam even though she was supposed to hang out with OP.

I certainly hope that you & Kayla distance yourself from Sam. Friends like that aren’t worth your time.

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Cat August 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Sam lied to her mother to try to force herself into the day when she knew she was not invited and it was unlikely that you would be able to invite her.

I had a girl do the same thing to me-told my mother that I had promised to give her one of my pets when I had never said any such thing. I gave her the pet since she felt it was so important that she was willing to lie to get it, and had nothing further to do with her.

I hate liars and lying to me is the quickest way to end our friendship.

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starstruck August 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

so , sam lied about being invited,then gets to go anyway, and you get punished? yea i disagree with you on who the victom of this story is. its not kayla, its you! i have two daughters so i deal with this crap all the time. this is how the senerio should have gone.

sam didnt get invited.
tough.
her mom calls your mom.
tough.
your mom says, iam sorry but there was a misunderstanding. my daughter can only bring one friend.
end of scenerio.

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IzzyforRealz August 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I have to disagree with the posters who think that the OP’s mother was being mean and unfair. I think the punishment was brilliantly done, and what seems to be an apology looks more to me like an explanation. Punishments aren’t meant to be fun–they need to be uncomfortable for the lesson to stick, and from the sound of things it did. However, a key part is making the child understand what they did and why it was wrong.

I have a large family, and the only reason we could go to any outings at all was because my parents budgeted like no other. If I had been in the OP’s place there’s no way that another child would have been allowed simply because there would not be any money for their admission. Yes, Sam took it upon herself to warp the truth and get herself invited via her Mom, but it was the OP’s job to tell her no. She didn’t. The shadow of a doubt that existed is what allowed Sam to twist the situation to her own benefit. The OP’s mom demonstrated both that we are responsible for our friends (and I believe that to an extent we are) and that manipulating people can have unintended and negative consequences (i.e. the OP didn’t get to go to the carnival).

Guilt can be a wonderful punishment, because it is only possible to feel guilty when we believe that what we are doing is wrong. Someone who truly didn’t care would not feel guilty. Allowing Sam to go to the carnival but preventing the OP also might have gotten the OP angry enough to confront Sam about her persistent lying and manipulating. Everyone has ground rules for friends. When I was younger I was friends with several people who hated each other. Every year I had a bonfire, to which all of my friends (including those who didn’t get along) were invited. They knew that when they were in my backyard there was to be no fighting what-so-ever, on pain of being evicted and no longer being my friend. Each and every one of them, even those who really could not stand each other, respected my rules because they respected me, and we all had a great time.

I guess my bottom line is that no one was hurt, and the punishment served its purpose. It may seem harsh to some, but to me it looks like a quick lesson in consequences, and the sooner they learn that lesson, the better.

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Riva August 21, 2011 at 1:51 am

@ Wink-n-Smile
I was pleased someone else loves one of my favorite books, too! “Little Men” is great. I don’t think the analogy works in this case, though. It would be more like if the Professor had forced the guilty boy to spank an innocent boy in order to teach the guilty boy a lesson.

Sacrificing one’s daughter’s feelings to teach someone else’s child a lesson isn’t the same as sacrificing oneself to teach that child a lesson.

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MellowedOne August 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

But people WERE hurt.

Kayla for one, who had done nothing wrong, had to spend the day with someone other than whom she planned (and may not even have known that well).

And even the OP, who as a child was just trying to keep the peace in her friendship triangle. That is quite commendable–she either wanted both her friends there or to not hurt the feelings of the one that couldn’t be invited. And SHE didn’t invite the 3rd child..it was forced on her and she, being a child, tried to make it all better by saying she’d check w/her Mom. She did even tell Sam she didn’t think it would happen.

The OP’s mother is the one who set the bad example..by ‘talking the talk’ but not ‘walking the walk’. The OP write, “I knew from previous experience it was better if Sam never knew about the fact that Kayla and I were hanging out, because she would feel left out. I expressed my worry to my Mom who was very firm and told me, “Tough. One invite. Sam is old enough to know manners. When you’re not invited, you’re not invited and there’s no need to act up about it.”

When Sam’s mother called, the OP’s mother’s action should have indicated her view (above). The fact it didn’t to me says that although she knew it was Sam who instigated the situation she chose to use the OP as the ‘fall guy’ to teach a “lesson” that never needed to be taught.

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RP July 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Even if the OP deserved to be punished for asking a 2nd time to be able to invite Sam (which I don’t agree with) why does Sam deserve to be rewarded for what Maryann correctly describes as bullying? I can only assume that the OP’s mom thought that Sam was telling the truth but why her mom would side with the child whom she knows to be manipulative against her own daughter is beyond me. This makes zero sense if she knew Sam was lying/wrong about being invited.

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Teddah July 14, 2012 at 4:54 am

I believe that the mother was mean but unfairly because OP has asked her mom again that night she just believed Sam’s mom that OP invited her daughter and then uninvited her. Hey it happens my dad broke my phone in HALF and I was blamed for it. Why when I had nothing to do with it? My mom said it’s because it’s just easier to blame me for everything than to deal with an older man who plays poor me every chance he gets. This is also the family once I move out there’s no looking back. I’m tired of getting blamed for everything when most of it doesn’t make sense.

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