The Mad Guest And The Tea Party

by admin on March 26, 2013

The backstory: Every year when the weather gets warm and my flowers start doing well I host a fancy tea party. I send out formal invitation with the RSVP information and a note that says this is a fancy dress party. Sunday best please! We serve fancy foods and home-brewed iced tea and pretend we’re high-society ladies who lunch for an afternoon instead of college students and young professionals.

But this year I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve gotten word via email that a specific girl (who we will call H) from last year’s party is attempting to invite herself. It should be noted that after her behavior last year I have severed ties with her and I do not intend to invite her this year.

In general I don’t consider this young lady to be a friend, but more of an aquaintance who I know via mutual friends. I invited her anyway as I wanted to be nice and I thought she would enjoy the event. In our group, she’s known for being a tad pretentious and a bit oblivious, but this takes the cake since we didn’t know just how downright mean she could actually be.

A week before the party, H RSVPd “no” because apparently she had another event she would be attending that day. That was fine. I planned on her not coming and cooked and baked accordingly.

The day of the party everyone was there and we were eating finger sandwiches and butter cookies and chatting. About an hour in, H shows up despite having told me she wasn’t coming. Okay, well, I did get a little excited while cooking and there’s more than enough food. Okay, not a problem. She’s in ripped jeans and a filthy t-shirt while her hair looks like she hasn’t brushed it since the night before. We’re all in dresses with nary a hair out of place (we get really into this). Still not a problem, if she wants to look out of place, that’s her choice since I know she owns several dresses that would have been more than appropriate.

It was that she started insulting my guests that made me kick her out. H walked up to one girl who has been trying to lose weight for awhile and says (quite loudly) “Oh no! It looks like that diet of yours isn’t working!” She says to another invitee who has been looking for work since graduating “Oh, you haven’t found a job yet? You must not be trying hard enough.” To another (who recently called off an engagement), “Well, you’re not married yet because you sleep with every boy you meet!” The poor girl went off crying. Note that all of this happened within ten minutes of H showing up.

I politely took H aside and asked her to leave. (I have no idea what else to do in this circumstance. If you have any suggestions I would be glad to hear them). She was livid. She started screaming about how I was an awful person and how I must be a terrible friend and then that I was some horrible social climber. I then escorted her to her car and told her it was time for her to go home.

The party broke up within 15 minutes of her leaving as H had largely destroyed the previously happy mood (telling someone they sleep around can do that). This year she is not going to be invited, and that is not going to be a subject for debate.

H has already sent me an email saying, “I can’t wait for your spring tea party this year! Here’s my address so you can get my invitation to me! I’m already planning on coming!” I tried ignoring her, but she’s now sent five more emails saying, “Hey, figured you didn’t get my last email. S says you’re still using it. I’m coming, right?” or something to that extent. You have to admire her persistence!

How do I tell her she’s not invited without looking like a terrible person? I want to come off as nice, but at the same time I don’t want her to think at all that she’s invited, nor do I want her knowing my new address. 0320-13

First you tell mutual friend “S” to please not give out your personal contact information.   Second, you ignore the persistent emails.  If you have broken all social ties to her, you are under no obligation to reply to any emails whatsoever.    You do not need to tell her she is not invited.   Your silence on this matter should scream volumes that she is not wanted at your soiree.   Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Just how would you look like a terrible person by refusing to invite someone who has insulted your guests, insulted you, behaved abominably, is a crass invitation grubber and whom you have no desire to have any acquaintance with…to the point you want your new address kept from her?   Kindness is best executed in this case by ignoring her. Responding to her in any way reinforces her delusion that there is some remnant of a relationship left and that her prior behavior has no consequences.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Lilya March 26, 2013 at 4:47 am

The best way to keep her away is not to let her know when the party is. Now, the only way she can get that kind of information is from your mutual friends, but at this point, you are the only one who knows how to approach them.
I’d let them all know H is not invited, so if she comes up to them and says “Gee, I misplaced my invitation, when’s OP party?” they’ll know it’s not true.

OP, I’m sorry this girl ruined your party – it sounded wonderful. What a horrible, sad person she is. You definitely handled her better than I ever could.

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E March 26, 2013 at 5:37 am

I’m a bit confused about the advice here. What’s wrong with simply replying and saying, “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to accommodate you.” I think the woman is far more likely to show up and crash the party in the absence of a reply.

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Cherry March 26, 2013 at 5:49 am

I wonder if just ignoring this awful woman is the best way to approach this. It sounds like this woman is one of those people who would take this as explicit permission to come along, and then claim that not being told she was not invited is practically an invitation in itself.

It’s a real shame she ruined your party, this sounds like the kind of thing I would adore and be on my very best behaviour at!

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Anon March 26, 2013 at 6:08 am

I applaud the OP for telling her guest to leave. I had a similar situation with a guest who insulted several of my friends, telling one of them her haircut was terrible and another that she should not have had a child out of wedlock and should have had an abortion instead (!). I didn’t know what to do. I was too shocked at the time and asking her to leave would have had repercussions (she was my partner’s mother) so all I ended up doing was apologising to my friend, who now refuses to come to any gatherings this woman might be at. I try not to let her (the insulting one) near my friends any more but I can’t avoid her altogether as she is family. I wish I had spoken up sooner as the longer you leave these things the more awkward it gets, especially if they make similar comments again. It takes courage and sometimes quick thinking to step up and tell someone that their behaviour is not acceptable and they should leave.

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delislice March 26, 2013 at 6:30 am

H is in no sense a stalker, and I am not trying to suggest she is or minimize the problem of stalking. However: The books I have read that discuss stalking agree that ignoring the emails is the right course of action. One retired FBI agent and security adviser said: “If you refuse to take 41 phone calls from (him) and give in and answer the phone the 42nd time so that you can tell him to go away … all you have done is inform him that 42 phone calls is the price of ‘admission.’ ”

To email this person back, even to tell her, “Unfortunately you are not welcome at this year’s event,” would simply inform her that five or eight emails is the price of ‘admission.’ ”

I agree 100% with Admin on this one. Continue to ignore her. If (when?) she shows up, have a large persuasive friend or acquaintance on hand who is able and willing to grasp her gently but firmly by the bicep, walk her to the curb, and suggest that she leave on her own … or, that she has the option of standing there, still in his grip, until the police arrive.

Will you call the police? No. Does she need to know that? No.

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Lo March 26, 2013 at 6:41 am

I’m 100% with admin.

Just pretend this person doesn’t exist. She’s not asking for a second chance. She’s not offering any kind of apology. She’s just obliviously continuing the pretend that she’s you’re friend and that you must host her. No doubt she’s gone through life bullying her way into social situations. Simply don’t stand for it.

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o_gal March 26, 2013 at 6:45 am

Actually, in this case, this creature needs a very firm reply that she is NOT invited and should she show up, she will be escorted off the premises immediately. She has sent multiple emails, still assumes she’s invited, and is digging for info from “S”. She might obtain your new address by acting innocent in front of another mutual friend that she’s lost it. Shut her down politely and icily, NOW.

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Ripple March 26, 2013 at 6:48 am

Make sure you specifically tell “S” not to give “H” your address or the date of the tea party this year. If “S” is her only contact with your group, that should keep her from finding out where and when to come. Also don’t post anything on Facebook until after the party.
If she still shows up, then meet her at the door and tell her you’re sorry, the party is invitation only, and you did not invite her. Some people need to be hit by a clue by four to understand that their rudeness will not be tolerated. I agree with Admin that you are hardly terrible if you protect your other guests from a bad seed.

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Lynne March 26, 2013 at 6:50 am

The combination of her past behavior (immediately insulting AND late AND grungily dressed) indicates to me that she may have planned her past appearance as sabotage, and may well be intending to do a repeat performance as revenge for your having cut her off.

I agree w Admin’s advice, but I would also recommend mentally preparing yourself for what to do if she somehow shows up anyway. I’d recommend telling her that she needs to leave, then phoning the cops immediately to report a trespasser if she doesn’t. She might be gone before they’d get there, but that’s rather the point, isn’t it?

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Ally March 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

I disagree with the admin here. I think if the LW continues to ignore H, she’ll show up anyway. I get that it’s more polite not to call someone out on her behavior, but how delusional does this person have to be to think she’s invited to an event that she was expelled from last year?

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Kimberly March 26, 2013 at 7:11 am

Why in the world you want to come off as nice to this person? You have servered ties with her after your last party, (which I would have not pulled her aside to ask her to leave, I would have told her she is leaving), because of how she acted at your last party. You have not spoken in a year. You do not interact with her.

As for S, I would be telling her you have no idea where H got the idea that she would be invited to any event you ever hold again and that she should not be giving out your personal information without consulting you first. And I would let S know exactly how you feel and that you will be letting H know she is NOT invited to your annual tea party and you will be informing her of such, if you have not already done so.

As for H, I would not ignore her. She has stated to you she is already planning on coming. I would reply to her email, short and sweet. “H, I am replying to your numerous emails. I am not sure where you got the assumption that you would be invited to my annual tea party this year, especially after your actions from last year. This event is for my closest friends only and you are NOT invited. ”

And block her email address.

As for being a terrible person, if I was a guest at your annual tea party from last year and this person showed up and was invited back in because you wanted to be nice, I can guarantee you that this would be the last tea party of yours that I would be attending.

So, do you want to be nice and not a terrible person to H or your friends?

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Redwing March 26, 2013 at 7:28 am

I completely agree with the Admin. I also have a sneaking suspicion that horrible guest may have a plan to cause an even bigger problem at this year’s event since she was sked to leave last year. How can she be expected to be invited since the letter writer severed all ties with her a year ago? Maybe I’m just a suspicious person, but I do think she’s planning some shenanigans.

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Lauren March 26, 2013 at 7:31 am

I know the admin is right in her advice but I would be so tempted to write back that H’sbehavior the previous year has made her unwelcome. Maybe if she knew how her treatment of people made others feel she would rectify it for the future.

Tempted but I would not do it of course.

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ferretrick March 26, 2013 at 7:32 am

I disagree with admin on this one-if she’s being this persistent after what she pulled last year, she’s earned a firm, “I’m sorry, you are no longer welcome in my home. Please don’t contact me again.” After that, ignore any further rants, pleading, negotiating, etc.

What amazes me the most about this story though is not her behavior, but that of your other friends. You went to all the work to organize a lovely event, cooked fancy food, etc. and when a horrible guest got out of line, you dealt with it quickly and effectively and remained a gracious hostess. Yet your friends still allowed this tacky heathen to ruin the event you had worked so hard on, and left fifteen minutes later? Real friends would have taken the lead, and said, ok, we’re not going to let this spoil our fun, and returned to eating and drinking. It might take a few minutes for the party to recover it’s equilibrium, but it could have been done. Instead, your friends allowed one person’s bad behavior to spoil your event and abandoned you (and obviously didn’t offer to even help clean up, if they left w/in fifteen minutes). I wouldn’t be likely to hold the event again at all after that.

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Sarah March 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

Honestly, I’d be concerned that she’s find out when the party is and just show up. Sort of like she did last year. I’d tell her outright, “H, you’re not invited this year. Last year you didn’t seem to enjoy yourself, as you spent your time there insulting my guests instead of enjoying the party. I think it’s best that you don’t come this year.” And tell S to stop giving out my contact information.

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Kara March 26, 2013 at 7:38 am

Hm. First, I would be worried that if I didn’t say anything, that this person would find a way to just show up and try to gate-crash. So I recommend decisive action.

1 – Email “H” (and copy “S”) and tell her point blank that not only is she not invited due to her behavior at the last party, but that if she shows up anyway the police will be called.

2 – Email “S” and everyone else that you have invited and let them know that “H” is not invited, not welcome, and to please not share any information about your address or the party with her.

Frankly, I would not worry about looking like a “terrible person”. I would worry more about protecting myself and my other guests from “H” who sounds like a pretty terrible person herself.

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Laura March 26, 2013 at 7:58 am

I’m a bit confused. She was asked to leave the first party and was escorted out…how can it be possible that NOBODY mentioned this to her later? Even my nice friends would call her out on this. At least there’s an easy solution: do nothing and (if you are very lucky) she’ll go away.

Please write back to tell us what happens when you tell her she’s not invited and then she shows up anyway…You know she’s showing up. We ALL know she’s showing up.

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Wendy B. March 26, 2013 at 8:08 am

And be prepared for her to show up anyhow.

I don’t think it would be wrong, if she does show, to tell her that her behavior resulted in her being ejected last year and this year you cannot and will not allow her to set foot in the back yard, much less have opportunity to insult your guests. If she insists, call the police, because at this point she is tresspassing.

Otherwise…it sounds like a LOVELY event! I had the opportunity to participate in High Tea at a historic mansion several years ago and it was a highlight of my college career. Don’t let one spoil sport ruin it for you and everyone else. :)

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Dorothy Bruce March 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

Unless you are putting the date on Facebook where “H” can see it, I don’t see how she could know the date you’re having the tea party. I think putting the words “please do how share this information with anyone else” might not look right.

I would definitely have a few words with “S”, telling her that her friend will not be getting an invite and that, if “H” shows up, you will have to assume “S” told her the date.

Then throw them both out. If “S” knew how “H” acted at the party and shares the information with her anyway, “S” is definitely got rotten taste in friends and no common sense.

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Melnick March 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

I have to disagree with Admin about “S”. There is nothing more uncomfortable than being the person stuck in the middle. We had a friend who decided to end his friendship with another mutual friend except he had no desire to tell him. We had all been very close friends when we moved to a small town together. Instead, I was the one in the awkward position who wouldn’t give our good friend my mate’s contact details after he lost his phone and all of his numbers. It is absolutely not my place to have to hurt someone like that and I resented my other friend for putting me in that position. It is cowardly in my opinion to just freeze someone out and ignore them. How would it feel if it happened to you? Better to deal with it once head on. If it blows up after that, then you don’t need to work on it any further.

I do tend to see the best in people and would much rather give someone a chance to salvage something even if I thought the relationship beyond repair. If it were me, I would probably write something along the lines of “Hi H. I did receive your email and I’m sorry for the slow reply but I had wanted to avoid hurting your feelings. Unfortunately, you have not been invited to the soiree this year. I wish you all the best for your future. Kind regards, OP.”

If she asked why she wasn’t invited, I would offer one more thing “Last year you were invited and you said some hurtful things to a number of people who now feel uncomfortable in your presence.” There’s no need to go into the details but I believe that part of being an adult is dealing with situations whether you want to or not. Completely ignoring someone without giving them some insight as to why the relationship deteriorated is cruel in my opinion, particularly when you still have mutual friends in common who are the ones left to field the uncomfortable questions because you don’t want to.

OP, I admire your desire to be kind despite the nastiness she displayed to you.

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sillyme March 26, 2013 at 8:24 am

I shouldn’t presume anything about people I don’t know and situations I haven’t observed but that kind of behavior suggests substance abuse to me.

I disagree with admin. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. A simple statement that you’d rather her make other plans. Also, if she is having substance abuse problems, you’re not doing her any favors by allowing her to persist in her own denial that it’s not causing her problems in her relationships. Ignoring her will allow her to fuel her own delusions about an invitation.

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Liny March 26, 2013 at 8:28 am

I doubt that ignoring her is the best way to go. LW mentioned that this girl is pretty oblivious and I think her behaviour at last years tea party (RSVP-failure, inappropriate dress and behaving horribly to other guests) plus the fact that she won’t take the hint after receiving no reply after sending FIVE EMAILS. I honestly think it’s far more likely that she wrangles the address from S or any other would-be attendant and shows up unannounced.

I’m also not sure what “severed ties” with means in this context. Did LW just fade away from this person and stop keeping in touch? That is not an obvious hint to everyone. There could be a million more benign reasons a person stops being in touch (busy, studies, family life, a new baby, career, etc.)

This is the kind of person who will only understand when you are straight-up with them. There is nothing wrong, or rude about being honest with someone.

This is what I would do: send an email to everyone else who are invited and ask them not to give out your contact info to this person. If they were there last year they’ll understand why.

Send ONE response to this person. Either you can be completely honest and say that due to how things turned out last year she is not invited as you want your other guests to be happy and comfortable. In your email clearly state that you are not interested in discussing this any further. Or, you can make up a less confrontational reason and say that you have limited space and chose to invite people you hang out with more frequently.

But really, make it CLEAR she’s not invited. Don’t leave her room to show up at your door step with any sort of plausible deniability about not understanding she’s not invited.

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ElizabethD March 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

I agree with Admin but also feel that you must prepare yourself for her possibly crashing the event. If she is this clueless, she isn’t going to ‘get’ Admin’s suggestions of ignore, ignore, ignore. And she is persistent, right? She’s going to find out where the party is located this year. I suggest you rehearse some words and recruit a friend or two to keep watch for her arrival. She is coming and you will have to intercept her upon arrival and ask for her to leave. Ugh – please send us an update.

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Angela March 26, 2013 at 8:30 am

With all due respect, this woman sounds irrational enough to show up uninvited, if she can worm the date and time out of mutual acquaintances. Hopefully those acquaintances will maintain a discreet silence. Otherwise it’s a hard call.

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Barb March 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

I disagree on the silent treatment, I would email her and say, “After you insulted the other guests and ruined the party last year, you are NOT INVITED. Do NOT plan on showing up.”

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Shalamar March 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

I don’t agree with “You do not need to tell her she is not invited.” Frankly, I think H is going to show up unless it’s made VERY CLEAR that she is not welcome.

I’m wondering if she was drunk or high the previous year (her appearance and behaviour seem to indicate that she was on SOMETHING). Not that that excuses anything, of course.

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hakayama March 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

A question of practical nature arises now: What to do if the brass balled woman shows up anyway?
Given that the circle of friends is not “leak proof”, she is likely to know the date…
Could/would a cold categorical response acknowledging her inquiry, but making it clear that her presence is not desired, be preferable to risking an ugly scene? Again?
Some people choose to ignore ignoring. Subtle signals are not for them.

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Cat March 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

Ah the rude and unschooled in basic manners! Reminds me of a first cousin once-removed I invited to Christmas eve dinner although I had never met nor spoken to him. He told his grandfather and his great-aunt at the dinner table that he “wished XXX (a good friend for over sixty years) was dead with a stake through her heart!” He had never met the lady. His mother dislikes her.
He then saw my Christmas gift to his grandfather and I cannot repeat what he said, but it was enough that I decided not to invite him back. He’s over twenty-one and that is old enough not to insult guests while a guest in my home.
When his mother invited him to my Thanksgiving dinner, and I explained that he was not welcome until he apologized for his behavior, she refused to come to dinner or to allow her father to come. Her son would not apologize. He felt he had a right to say whatever he wished. Not while a guest in my home he doesn’t.
Ignore the emails and, if she shows up, explain at the door that she is neither invited nor welcome. Then close the door.

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Library Diva March 26, 2013 at 8:57 am

Wow…this behavior just defies explanation. Why would you think you’d ever be welcomed to return to a place you’d been kicked out of? I can’t believe she still has any friends left in your group after her behavior — was S unable to make your tea party last year? Best of luck. I think admin has a good approach. I just hope it’s an effective one — I hope she doesn’t find out where and when your party is by some other means and show up to ruin this year’s gathering, too.

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--Lia March 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

She likes needling you and getting attention, so you have to pay her as little attention as possible. Trouble as it is, you’re going to have to arrange for some sort of security to lead her off the premises should she show up. Warn your friends that she may show up and insult them. If they’re prepared, they’ll know to ignore her until she can be forced to leave. Continue to ignore her emails and calls. If she corners you in person, say as little as possible. Deal with her the way you would with a criminal trespasser or stalker, not as a friend you’re trying to be polite to.

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another Laura March 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

Your tea party sounds awesome! You did the right thing last year. In the off chance that this party pooper manages to discover date, time and location of this year’s party, is there a guy friend (who wouldn’t be one of the guests) who could run interference, sort of act as a bouncer?

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Rap March 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

I’m going to disagree with Admin a little on this. Yes, your silence should speak volumes but based on how you’re describing this person, I don’t think she’s going to get why you’re not responding.

Respond once. Be very clear with “Based on your behavior last year, I’ve decided to not invite you. Do not show up.”

Trust me, this type of person, if you don’t tell them NO, they always assume yes.

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Mae March 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

Agree with many previous posters. Ignore her and if she shows up, tell her to leave or call the police to remove her.

IF you have a friend that will act as “security” for the hours of the party, maybe offer a small stipend and leftover goodies or maybe a special only-for-them goody.

I am sorry that she ruined your wonderful party. It sounds like a great time!

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Goldie March 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

I’m in agreement with those that said OP needs to spell it out to this woman in very clear terms that there is no way she can come to the party. If the says nothing, the woman will assume she’s invited, get the new address from mutual friends, and show up. I also wouldn’t be surprised if she says “I told you I was coming, you didn’t say anything, so I assumed you were okay with it”. After all, she seems to have no idea whatsoever that OP has severed ties with her!

OP, I would not worry about being nice. She wasn’t nice to your guests. It’s a matter of protecting your guests. I would make the message brief and to the point, with no room for misunderstanding.

Just had another thought, she may be able to get your new address online without any help from mutual friends. I had a stalkerish friend/boss many years ago, that I hadn’t had any contact with in seven years. During that time, I got a divorce and moved twice. Last fall, I ran into him on the street and he surprised me by telling me my own new address. He’d gotten it off the internet (I bought a house, so it is unfortunately a public record). There are sites like spokeo, etc where people can get all of your contact info for no fee or a small fee. And speaking of severing ties, I’d ignored his Facebook friend requests four times in a row, messaged him saying that we shouldn’t be FB friends, blocked him on FB, all of this five years ago, and he still thought we were friends. He also still had my phone number in his contacts. This is all to say that I don’t believe ignoring H’s messages is going to do the trick for OP. My guess is, H will need a more direct message than that.

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Lola March 26, 2013 at 9:29 am

I disagree with the admin on the “ignore, ignore, ignore” party line (no pun intended.) H is indicating she will not be ignored and is conniving enough to con mutual friends into giving out party info. And the past history is indication that she’s not shy about showing up without RSVP. What I think LW should do is accept being labeled “a terrible person” by this H lady and tell her straight-up that she is not invited, nor will she ever be. You don’t owe her a reason, and in fact, if you provide one, she sounds like the kind of a person who will try to refute it point-by-point. If you end up feeling compelled to offer one, go the “it’s not you, it’s me route” for that precise reason. Something like, “I’m completely within my rights to limit the attendee list of my private party to only the people I enjoy spending time with. I’m also completely within my rights to engage the law enforcement, should any belligerent uninvited guests intrude on my and my guests’ privacy.” Boom! Done. Good luck, LW!

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WildIrishRose March 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

I disagree with Admin on this one. I think you should talk with two people: S and H.

H gets told that she’s not invited, period. If she has the unmitigated audacity to ask why not, tell her. She sounds like one of those filterless fools who think that if it pops into their heads, it needs to come out of their mouths. Personally, I think these conversations are better held in person than through e-mail, but that’s just me. It’s your call. Make it crystal clear that if she does show up, she will be considered a trespasser and you will call the police to have her removed.

S needs to be told not to give your personal information out to ANYONE without your permission. In fact, everyone should be told that.

H definitely sounds like the type of person who would crash your party, so I doubt that ignoring her would even work. You shouldn’t have to have a “bouncer,” but again, that’s your call. Good luck, and your parties sound like a lot of fun otherwise!

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Lisa S. March 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

This is another example of someone confusing the word “nice” with “backbone.”

Why are you so worried about looking nice to this buffoon? You should be more worried about appearing “nice” and “polite” to your invited guests. It’s so amazing to me how people spend more energy on the problem person, rather than focusing on the good people and making sure that they are happy.

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Erin March 26, 2013 at 9:42 am

I agree with the admin about ignoring her emails – she’ll might show up anyway, but she sounds like the kind of person who would take “You aren’t invited, sorry,” as “SHOW UP AND RUIN EVERYTHING!” Like delislice said, she’ll likely see it as the price of admission.

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Lynette March 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

If I were the OP, I believe I would get a guy friend in a nice suit to play doorman at your proper party (even better if he can do a lovely Jeeves-ish voice). Give him a list of invited guests. Let him lead them to the garden and announce their arrivals. And if H shows up, as seems likely, let him deal with her. “I’m sorry, but you don’t appear on the guest list. I cannot allow you to interrupt Madame while she is entertaining. Do you have transportation home or shall I ring the police to have you escorted off the property?”

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Otter March 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

I don’t understand “ignoring” the party wrecker. I would respond directly with the reasons why she is not being invited. “Due to your insults to no less than 3 party goers last year and my having to escort you from the premises, in no way will you be invited or even allowed to step foot on my property again, ever.”

Why confuse being “polite” with assertively protecting your guests?

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admin March 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm

The OP has stated that she made a firm, decisive break with “H” last year and has not spoken to, emailed or in any way socially interacted with her since then. To respond to H’s fifth email is to make a conscience decision to play the verbal game by returning the conversational “tennis ball” H has repeatedly lobbed in the OP’s direction. Once you engage in the game, your ability to extricate yourself from the game becomes increasingly problematic. H is nothing more than a living, breathing troll and engaging her in dialog of any kind merely validates her behavior, at least in her mind.

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Anonymous March 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

E–I think Admin advised the OP to ignore H, because as soon as she replies, even with a solid “no,” like “I won’t be able to accommodate you,” or “I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” or similar, then H will start arguing, and the two of them will be engaged in a conversation/battle of wills. She probably knows that she behaved badly last year (insulting people, making someone cry, AND getting kicked out, within ten minutes of arrival), and she might only want to come back to this year’s party, so she can ruin it again. She probably has it all rationalized in her mind, that the tea party is “snobbish,” and you’re “just playacting,” and that you “need to be informed” of all your flaws and shortcomings. I think that’s nonsense, and sometimes a little escapism can be fun. For example, this past Halloween, I dressed as a zombie, and acted the part in a haunted house where the price of admission was a canned food item for the food bank. This doesn’t mean that I actually believe that I’m a zombie, or that I skulk around trying to feast on people’s brains–it was all just a fantasy for one event, and after it was over, I went home, washed off my make-up, and became myself once more. I see the tea party as being the same basic concept.

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aka Cat March 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

It doesn’t sound like S gave out any contact information — H had already emailed the OP and had the address. S just confirmed that H had the correct address. Most people won’t think twice about confirming or denying something.

It also sound like H may be friends with more of the invitees than just S. (Though heaven knows why, after her atrocious behavior.) The OP should probably give everyone a head’s up that H is not invited and not to be given the date of the event.

I like another Laura’s idea — especially if she has a guy friend who wouldn’t mind dressing up a bit and playing at being the butler for the afternoon (just to announce everyone as they arrive — no serving duties or anything). The invited guests can get a bit of extra posh for the afternoon, and H can be discretely told to leave the premises should she show up.

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Cora March 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

First: there is a vast gap between “terrible person” and “having a spine.” H is the former, you are the latter. You have behaved impeccably. (Yeah, I said it: impeccably. Vocabulary is fun.)

If it were me, I wouldn’t respond at all, because I think she thrives on drama. I’d also change my email address and let everyone know except her, with the explicit “please do not share this email address with anyone” without mentioning names.

She sounds like the kind of person that would stomp right into your mutual friend S’ home and look for the formal invitation — either sneakily, or announcing it as she does so. So, she may find out. Do you have a brother, a boy friend, a friend from sports or church or something? Does one of the invitees have a brother, an uncle, or the like? Hire him as your bouncer. You can explain that this is an actual job for three or four hours you have your party and he has to wear an appropriate suit. He can sit unobtrusively by the door with his gadget and snacks; I mean, what guy doesn’t want to watch the game on his phone uninterrupted these days?

If she never shows, well that’s great! And he gets to take home some delicious party food! As long as you don’t force him, as long as he sees this as a fun one-time thing, and as long as you spell out exactly what he needs to do if Monster shows (see delislice’s excellent suggestion above), it should be fine.

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Jewel March 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

In case the OP has more friends like “S” (who lose their wits and give “H” information she shouldn’t have), I suggest the OP add a line at the bottom of this year’s party invitation to this effect:

I hope you can attend my party — it’ll be so much fun to see you! Please keep the party details confidential as attendance to this event is by-invitation only.

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Lily March 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

I`m sure tea party guests dont want to be treated as bouncers.
Well, maybe I`m not sure, there are people who enjoy a fight afterall…

I would email her once telling her she is unwelcome.
Make it clear, with no room for argument.

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Stacey Frith-Smith March 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

I’m wholly with the “ignore” crowd. If she does show up, she’s to be denied entrance. You must stand up for the peace and sanctity of your home. This means that you must also have a Plan B, as the party is outdoors. Only you know your crowd well enough to have an idea of what would be easy and effective. A few guy friends who don’t mind joining in for tea and frills? Anyway- if she shows up and protests that she has NO idea why you wouldn’t want her there, you can simply say “you were so very unhappy at this event last year that I simply couldn’t have that happen again. It is regrettable, but you will not be able to attend this year.” (Or any year, EVER, but you don’t need to draw a circle around that.) Good luck, OP.

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The Elf March 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

I love the idea of this party!

About H, I’m with the admin to ignore, ignore, ignore…. But eventually, H might not get the hint, might find out when and where, and might overtly state that she is coming invitation or no. That’s when you need to whip out a solid “No”. Do it like a band-aid and just say it. Then end the conversation as quickly as you can. That conversation is going to be really awkward, but it’s better than H showing up.

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Nancy March 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

Oh no, I think this is one of those times when you have to whup out the “come to Jesus” talk with someone. How she had a wonderful time considering she was escorted from the premises is beyond me, but she obviously feels that she should be included, and if you DON’T say anything, she is going to show up. Yeah, S “shouldn’t” tell her what the location is, but if I’m reading her right, she is one of those people who WILL. NOT. GIVE. UP. until they get what they want. So you need to email her or contact her and say, in no uncertain terms that she is not invited, and you do not consider her a friend on account of x, y and z, and if she insists on showing up, she will not be let in the house, and you will call the police to have her escorted from the premises. I hate to say it, but folks who behave like this have a lot of mental tenacity, and they know that they can generally wear someone down to get what they want.

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Heather March 26, 2013 at 11:16 am

Take Admin’s advice, plus the advice of several commenters: ask all your friends not to give out the date nor your new address, and consider asking a strong friend to be a “bouncer.”

Then, go read the “Polite Spine” section of this website, and murmur this mantra to yourself ten times daily: “Having a spine does not make me a terrible person.”

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chechina March 26, 2013 at 11:23 am

I agree with Admin and delislice’s quote from the FBI agent above is wonderful. This woman was deliberately rude to you and cruel to your friends. Do not get into a discussion with her by e-mail.

As far as being “nice”, re-frame this less about being “nice” to her and more about being “nice” to yourself and to your friends. You treated her with politeness at your party when she was cruel and it doesn’t seem you have been bad-mouthing her behind her back. That’s all you owe, and you definitely never own anyone your friendship.

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