I am wondering if fellow EHellions could help with a sticky situation. Soon my dear friend is to become Godmother to my daughter, and I am currently planning the details. This friend happens to be a well-known Minister (as in politically). She is also the daughter of an internationally-renowned author. I have known these two for years and while humble and gracious, you can never go anywhere without people accosting them about work, particularly in the Minister’s case, of course, people always want to have a go about politics. I am afraid my family and friends might be no different and I would love for the Godmother and her mum to enjoy the day as a day off from public duties. Is it ever okay to attach a polite note to an invitation requesting that these two be allowed a day to enjoy the occasion and to refrain from work issues? (The two will be instantly recognizable by the invitees.) This smacks of bossing people around and censoring what they can and can’t say (and not trusting my friends) but I see them regularly and it is wearing to discuss the same books and political issues EVERY single time you go out. I want them to relax, not be on the spot. If this IS ever ok, how would you word it? I have the best of intentions here, but please let me know if I am being overbearing. And no, I cannot trust my family. They are likely to weigh in on sensitive political topics and it would be embarrassing…but they are kind-hearted and if I approach it diplomatically they might behave! 0921-13
Part of being a public figure is that you are constantly “on” when out in public. With the benefits of celebrity status comes the downside of losing privacy. It was this recognition of the costs of being a public figure that fueled my decisions over the past 12 years to decline some very lucrative offers that would have made me far more recognizable but at a cost to my family’s privacy. I’m quite happy in my modest niche!
That said, I suspect your friends are quite adept at dodging questions they prefer to not answer. Public figures learn to bean dip early on. And while your intent to shield them is honorable, you cannot play conversation cop for everyone by crassly laying down the rules of communication in the invitations. Your best option is to speak privately with the relatives and friends most likely to annoy your celebrity guests with discussions of issues that have no relevance whatsoever to the theme of the party and request that they choose another occasion to have those politically charged discussions. And then you act as conversational gatekeeper at the party and steer any conversations away from talk of politics.