“Plus One” Guest Or Not At All

by admin on February 14, 2014

I need some advice regarding a party invitation. DH and I have a friend from college, now 20 years ago, whom I shall call Tom. Tom traditionally throws a party sometime around the holidays. Over the years the venue and timing have changed, as has the guest list, but it is typically a catered, dressy affair.

We have another mutual friend from college, Jenny. Jenny is often invited to the party, as are we, but neither of us is invited every year. We are not always invited the same year, which of course is Tom’s prerogative. Jenny is single and a little shy, so when the DH and I are there, she tends to stick with us; I wonder a little whether Tom separates us in order to encourage Jenny to mingle.

This year Jenny asked if DH and I would be attending Tom’s party. I told her we would not, as we had not been invited this year. She then suggested that I leave DH at home and attend as her “Plus one”. I felt that since I am often on the guest list, but was not this year, it would be inappropriate for me to attend as a guest of a guest. If Tom wanted me there this year he would have invited me! Jenny and several of her friends tried to convince me that Jenny could invite whoever she wanted to be her “plus-1”, but I still refused. Unhappily, Jenny declined the invitation, because she did not want to attend if she didn’t know anyone there.

About a week later, DH told me that we were invited! The invitation came from Tom’s business email account, so he had not recognized it at first. However, since Jenny had already declined because of us, I felt we had to decline as well, so none of us attended this year.

So Ehell readers, would it have been appropriate for me to attend as a plus-one in this situation? If I did not know Tom, would it be appropriate for me, as a female, to attend as an escort or is the plus-one assumed to be more of a dating-type relationship? I was sorry to disappoint Jenny but did not want to be rude to Tom.    0128-14

The question I have is whether Tom’s invitation offers a blank invitation for a “plus one” to his single guests or is it just assumed that a single person can bring an added guest?   I’m wondering why Jenny hasn’t brought along a “plus one” for prior parties.   Personally, I would have declined Jenny’s offer that I leave my husband to attend a party as her guest when at previous parties hosted by Tom my husband and I had always attended together.   To my thinking Jenny was inappropriate in asking that your social unit be split up simply because she lacked the courage to go by herself.

As for you declining Tom’s invitation on account of Jenny….why?   You truthfully told Jenny you had not received an invitation at the time she asked and she made her decision based on that information.   Jenny is responsible for the choices she makes and I’m not seeing why you felt the need to decline Tom’s invitation just because Jenny did as well.  You are not Jenny’s keepers or guardians yet it seems like you have a misplaced sense of obligation to Jenny. You could have told Jenny that you were mistaken, that the emailed invitation did come, that  you had not been aware of it at the time she asked if you were going and having now received it, you and your husband would be attending.  Jenny could have then dealt with the consequences of her choices or contacted Tom to tell him her plans have changed and she could come after all.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Glitter February 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

In general, if someone is invited as “Jane and Guest” I say Jane gets to dictate who “guest” is. And it’s not up to the host to decide if Jane’s guest is a romantic interest or not. Hey, Jane might want to date men, or women, or neither. The host left it open ended by giving Jane an “and guest”.

However in this specific instance, I feel it would have been odd to arrive to a party as Jenny’s guest, so you are often on the guest list yourself. It could look like you were trying to “get back” at Tom for not inviting you, even that’s obviously not your intent. However one of Jenny’s other fantastic helpful encouraging friends could have attended as her plus one. Not sure why they didn’t offer that up when encouraging you to go with Jenny.

I agree there was no reason for you and your husband to turn down the invitation. At the time Jenny questioned you, you thought you hadn’t received an invite. But it turned out you had. Jenny is an adult. Jenny choose not to attend a party because she didn’t think she’d know anybody. That’s Jenny choice. If she wants to change her mind upon finding you did get an invite and are attending, that’s also Jenny’s choice and she could work that out with Tom.


Comradde PhysioProffe February 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

Agreed with all your analysis, but one thing you didn’t address has me puzzled. To me, it seems weird and creepy and passive-aggressive to have an annual party but differentially pick-and-choose whom you invite from among your friends from year to year. Like this Tom dude is getting off on the power trip of people’s uncertainty on any given year whether they’ll be granted the honor of an invitation. Personally, if I got the idea that one of my old college friends was doing what Tom did, I’d cross him off my list of old college friends and never attend his annual party.


Katy February 15, 2014 at 10:25 am

I also found this weird but the OP doesn’t seem to be offended by this detail. Plus, it’s a “catered, dressy affair” and the invitation was an e-mail to a business account. I guess I don’t have enough friends to be able to pick and choose from year to year who I want at my annual party.


Grey February 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Tom’s invitations seem easy for them to miss. Maybe they do get an invitation sent to them every year.


Daphne February 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I agree. Unless this is an event somehow related to business, it sounds like Tom is the rude one here. If it is a purely social gathering, I would like to know what are Tom’s criteria for inviting certain friends on different years? It just sounds like an awkward situation all around.


Windy citygirl February 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Not wierd or creepy about picking different people each year to attend your party! We hold parties all the thime with different people invited for various reasons !!


missminute February 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Personally I wondered if Tom isn’t just a bit of a messy planner – perhaps the business account mix up happens a lot and people don’t know they are invited?


kingsrings February 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I also found it strange that this is the same party every year, but Tom switches out his guest list from year to year. That doesn’t really make any sense to me, and I’d feel baffled, hurt, and would wonder what I did or didn’t do to make it on the guest list one year, but not another. This would make sense if it were different parties (different guest lists for different events), but if it’s the same party, held at the same time every year, I can’t figure out why the guest list wouldn’t be the same.


Kimstu February 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Wait, what?? I don’t know Tom and I don’t know anything about his personality, but it is certainly not rude, or weird, or creepy to have different guest lists for different parties, even within the same general social circle. (I really wonder how many of the people here who are chastising Tom simply for not inviting every single one of his friends to his holiday party every single year are themselves putting in the work of throwing an annual fancy party for their own social circle!)

No, you (generic you) are NOT entitled to attend every single one of your friend’s parties that you might like to go to, even if it’s an annual party and many of your other friends happen to be invited. It’s not as though your friendship is some kind of automatic free pass to all the social events that HE, not you, is going to the trouble of planning and hosting. Maybe, as @Mer suggested, there isn’t room enough to invite all his friends every year, or maybe he just likes to shake up the guest list a bit. It is NOT a snub to be invited to some of his parties but not to others.

This is why Miss Manners advises hosts not to throw the same sort of party for the same group of people every year at about the same time, but to take a year off now and then or mix up the party’s date/theme/size from year to year. Otherwise, guests tend to turn into entitled gimme-pigs who take the hosts’ hospitality so much for granted that they believe they have a perpetual right to it.

Are people really so clueless nowadays about social hospitality that they imagine an annual-party guest list as a sort of club membership, where you have to be included EVERY TIME or else it means they’re unkindly rejecting you? That’s just sad. If any of Tom’s friends really are writing him off for such a silly and self-centered reason, he’s probably better off without them.


Katharine G. February 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

You were working with the information you had. Declining wasn’t in poor taste. If you wanted to go as Jenny’s plus-one, and some concern were there, she might have checked with Tom. He likely wouldn’t have any problem with it.

Also, maybe it’s just me, but what part of a “catered, dressy affair” involves a emailed invitation?


lakey February 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

As someone who was previously socially shy, I completely agree with Administrator.
I reached a point as an adult where I felt comfortable going to events alone, including a bus tour of Europe. What got me to the point of being able to do this? Having an event I wanted to attend, but not having anyone to drag along. I’m surprised that, at her age, she hasn’t noticed that, when she is standing near the bar at a party, people standing near her will strike up conversations.


La February 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm

I can kind of see Jane as possibly having social anxiety. In that case it’s less “I want support because I’m shy” and more “if I have someone there, then I wont freeze up and be unable to speak and start twitching violently when someone talks to me, and when nobody’s talking to me I wonder what is wrong with me, and there’s a possibility I’ll spend the entire party holed up in a corner with the wi-fi password if I managed to get my hands on it because the internet has soothing kitty pictures and I won’t have to deal with people oh god.”

(I mean, I could use booze to relax myself, but after a pint of cider I tend to get into “very social as long as you’re interested in really weird stories about pets, my Sims game, and the contents of my private box” which would… not be suitable for a dressy affair, really.)


Ashley February 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Why turn things down because of Jenny? She’s her own person, she can make her own choices, and you could have easily explained that “we didn’t recognize it first because it came from Tom’s work email”


Tanya February 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

With regard to the OP’s question about whether it would’ve been appropriate for her to attend as Jenny’s “plus one,” I’m torn. I as a host would find it a little weird if someone brought along a friend who was not a significant other, to a private party to which I deliberately chose not to invite that friend. It would be like they were saying “I don’t care that you chose not to invite so-and-so to your party, so I’m going to take advantage of your generosity in offering me a plus-one, to get them there.” Obviously, Jenny wouldn’t really have been thinking that, but it could come across that way.

I’ve had some experience hosting in similar situations– once I threw a party for a smaller circle of friends than our usual “invite everyone we know” parties. One couple asked to bring a friend of theirs, who might have been invited to one of our larger parties, but was not invited to this one. We agreed to invite her, but felt awkward because we’d invited THEM, not them and their friends. On the other hand, at our wedding two of our guests separately asked if they could bring siblings as their (invited) plus-ones. We had no problem with it, because a) the party was big enough that it wouldn’t affect us, b) we didn’t know the siblings so it’s not like we deliberately excluded them, and c) the guest list was so disparate that there was no rudeness in implying that without the sibling, they might not know anyone else there.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: consider whether your attendance might make the host feel awkward in any way. I would say generally speaking, a non-romantic “plus one” is fine. But if there’s any indication that you were deliberately not invited (for whatever reason), I would advise against attending.


Wild Irish Rose February 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I had that same thought. Why turn down an invitation simply because someone else did? Sounds like Jenny needs some counseling to help her leave her shell.


Cecilia February 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm

If you, DH, Jenny & Tom were all college friends, I would assume he would invite other college friends to this get-together, so she should know someone, right?

She would be approximately 38-40, so I would think she would have at least one other friend she could invite.


PM February 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Jenny is making her social issues a burden on others – which I admit, sounds harsh- but she needs to find a way to manage her anxiety without putting that pressure on other people.


Lo February 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Regarding the plus one I’m of the opinion that you cannot actually invite anyone you want as a plus one.

For me a plus one means you could invite a partner, or a date, or a friend. However, in this situation I agree that you could not invite someone who the host knows well enough to invite himself but chose not to one year. That’s obviously awkward for the host. I’ll give Tom the benefit of the doubt that there is a good reason his guest list is in a state of constant flux despite no massive changes to your relationship with him.

I do understand Jenny’s position. Totally. I’m a lot like her. But that’s her problem. You shouldn’t have felt obligated to decline. It’s kind that you did it but not necessary.


Mer February 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

I would think reason for changing guest list might be finances. Having 20 college friends and can throw a annual party for 10? So he changes the guest list each year so no certain group is favored.


ALM February 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I’m terminally single. I have never had a person a significant other and my experience with ‘dates’ numbers in the single digits (and that’s pushing the definition of date). I have been invited with an ‘and guest’ (or asked if I wanted one) and I have never, ever had any person I could reasonably expect to go to a social function with me, particularly a classy, catered affair.

Even I wouldn’t think to bring a ‘friend’ who was not a significant other as a ‘plus one’. A ‘guest’ is a courtesy for your counterpart in a social unit, or in the case of someone with physical challenges, someone to help you out. It is not a social crutch so you can have someone to socialize with exclusively at a party. (That kind of defeats the purpose of a party, no?)


MichelleP February 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Totally agree with admin. I’m not a social butterfly, but don’t expect others not to stay at home because of me. However, the letter never states that Jenny didn’t want LW to go because she didn’t want to. The LW declined out of her sense of obligation; unless I’m mistaken, Jenny didn’t give her a guilt trip about it.

I’m with other posters who are wondering why Tom invites the LW and her husband sometimes, but not always. The LW doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, and I don’t want to read anything more into it than there is, but I’m curious as to why.


Yet Another Laura February 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

In my experience, Plus Ones can be anyone the guest cares to invite. It’s churlish to invite a Plus One you know won’t get along with your hosts, but aside from that, Plus One carries no implied restrictions.

Several years ago, a friend was invited to a wedding as Guest Plus One. I’m friends with the bride and knew the groom a little. Not close friends, but close enough to potentially invite. He asked me to be his Plus One. I said yes. He RSVPed. About a week later, the bride emailed me and asked for my address so she could send me an invitation. I emailed back saying I was already Friend’s Plus One, but here’s my address anyway.

Wedding came and went and we all had fun and in the end, the bride and groom became husband and wife and nobody cared whether I attended on my own invitation or as someone else’s Plus One.


kingsrings February 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I was just wondering about this kind of situation recently. Two friends of mine are getting married in 7 months, and I wasn’t invited. It was kind of hard to gauge whether I would be invited or not, so I wasn’t surprised either way. However, since we have the same wide social group, it’s possible that I might attend as someone’s plus one, if they’re giving that option to their guests. I was wondering if that would be weird or not for me to attend, since I’m friends with the couple, but wasn’t on their invite list.


Library Diva February 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

That’s what I’ve always thought was the meaning of “and guest.” I invited a college friend “and guest” to my wedding. I knew she wasn’t in a serious relationship, but she would have had to travel to attend, and I figured that an out-of-town weekend alone might not be very much fun for her, she would probably have had some downtime since my wedding was in the evening and she wouldn’t know many people at my wedding. As it happened, she declined due to some last-minute financial turmoil, but I would not have cared a hoot who she brought as long as it wasn’t someone I hated or someone who would be deliberately disruptive. I just wanted her to have someone to sit with and to travel with.


theo February 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

“Jenny and several of her friends tried to convince me that Jenny could invite whoever she wanted to be her “plus-1?, but I still refused. Unhappily, Jenny declined the invitation, because she did not want to attend if she didn’t know anyone there.”

I don’t get this. Why didn’t Jenny ask one of these “several friends” to attend the party as her guest?


Rachel February 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Add me to the list of people who think Tom is either very strange or a jerk. Also don’t understand why Op was being so fussy. .


Wintershere February 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Why is Tom a jerk for inviting/not inviting who he wants at his party? Ive read that a couple times here and I would love Admin to jump in here on this thought. Why wouldnt it be okay to invite different people each time? Maybe one year it’s office friends, maybe the next year old acquaintances? Then maybe a group of family members and the next year his neighbors? What am I not getting here??


Miss-E February 17, 2014 at 8:55 am

I don’t think ‘plus one’ dictates that it can only be someone of a romantic nature. It seems rather discriminatory to single people. I get to go to a party with my husband because we’re married but my single sister has to always attend functions alone?

I don’t think it can be an iron-fast rule. For our wedding we invited a bunch of friends without plus-ones because they knew a lot of people attending but other friends who didn’t know most of our guests were given a plus-one so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

Obviously, the sticky part here isn’t that the OP was a non-romantic plus-one but that she was not invited to a function she’s normally invited to (or so she thought, at least). So, declining made sense under these circumstances. But I agree that Jenny can invite whoever she wants as a plus-one in most cases.


gb February 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Agree with Glitter. If you didn’t know Tom, add long as your friend rsvp’ed with 2 guests it doesn’t matter the gender or dating status.


kingsrings February 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I’ve got an etiquette question that is kind of similar to this one. Last year, I received an invite to an annual, very large, big-deal party extravaganza that a friend of mine throws. I’d never been invited or attended before, but had heard a lot about it. The guest list is large, the host has all kinds of expensive bells-and-whistles entertainment things going on at this party. The invite specifically said many times (it was printed in large, block letters and lots of exclamation points several times throughout the invite) that only the invited guests were allowed to attend, and you couldn’t bring a plus-one or your friends. I was wondering if this was rude to those guests who have partners. The host might know the invited guests, but might not know all of their partners, hence the partner doesn’t get an invite. If I had a partner, I would feel conflicted and maybe a bit bent out of shape that I could go to this big extravaganza, but my partner wouldn’t be there to enjoy it with me. I would also feel left out if my partner received an invite, but I wasn’t allowed to attend. And I don’t know if this plays a part in this situation, but this was also a potluck event where the guests were asked to each bring a dish. Should being required to do that give them that right to invite a plus-one?


Miss-E February 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I would imagine that couples get invited together as they’re both friends of the host, like with a wedding where established couples are usually invited but new or casual significant others aren’t.

…and, personally, I do find it a little much to tell people that they have to bring a dish but can’t bring a person. But I’m not really sure the etiquette protocol there.


Kimstu February 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm

@kingsrings: “The invite specifically said many times (it was printed in large, block letters and lots of exclamation points several times throughout the invite) that only the invited guests were allowed to attend, and you couldn’t bring a plus-one or your friends. I was wondering if this was rude to those guests who have partners.”

It is not rude for a host to expect their guests not to bring along uninvited guests. It IS rude for a host to pre-emptively lecture their guests about it. Politeness requires that you must appear to take it for granted that all your guests will follow proper etiquette, even if sad experience teaches that some of them probably won’t.

And yes, if two people are known to be a recognized social unit (i.e., married/engaged/living together), then it’s not considered proper to invite one of them without the other. But the proper way to invite them is NOT by sending a generic “plus-one” invitation to one partner while ignoring the other. (DOES ANYBODY ACTUALLY SERIOUSLY THINK THIS WOULD BE OKAY?!? DEAR HEAVENS ABOVE, HAVE WE COME TO THIS?? —Ahem. Sorry. Let’s see, where was I?) Rather, the host is obligated to find out the other partner’s name and send an invitation to both of them as a couple.

Finally, it is not proper to assume the rights of a host (e.g., deciding who may attend and who may not) while delegating some of the host’s responsibilities to the guests (e.g, requiring them to bring a potluck dish). But it’s not appropriate for guests to retaliate for such rudeness by claiming they have a “right” to go against the “host”‘s express wishes by bringing uninvited guests. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Frankly, this whole event sounds like an etiquette disaster. Can’t your social circle just scrap it and start over with a more etiquette-aware approach to hospitality?


kingsrings February 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

It could be that the host doesn’t know the exact nature of each guest’s personal relationships, as about 200-300 were invited to this party. It’s kind of hard to keep track of each guest’s situation when it comes to that large of a guest list. That is why I wondered if that “rule” could result in a difficult situation should the host invite someone with an SO, but whom the host doesn’t know about yet. To me, it seems like the host should have added a ‘plus one’ to the invite, but I don’t know if that is correct or not as I don’t know much about invitation etiquette! Yes, the whole invite kind of turned me off the way it was worded. Not only that, but on the Facebook event invite it was on, the other host (two of them were hosting it) was leaving messages along the likes of, “You’d all better bring food or drink! Nobody wants to see any empty platters!!” I believe the hosts are acting that way because they spend so much time and money on this big extravaganza. They think they have the right to be that way. But it sure doesn’t lend an air of friendliness and invite to this event! Heck, I’d be afraid I was going to be shook down upon entering to make sure I’d followed all these rules, lol. That was one of the reasons I didn’t attend (I also had a conflicting event). It kind of scared me away!


Kimstu February 19, 2014 at 8:51 pm

@kingsrings: “It could be that the host doesn’t know the exact nature of each guest’s personal relationships, as about 200-300 were invited to this party.”

Then the host needs either a social secretary or a smaller guest list.

If you know and like somebody well enough to want them at your party, you should make the effort to find out the fundamental fact of whether they’re married/partnered. It is rude to use generic “plus one” invitations as a lazy alternative to providing a proper invitation to both members of a couple. (Although it’s even ruder, as you suspected, to send out an individual invitation that completely ignores the partner’s existence.)

The only proper use for a “plus one” invitation is as a friendly gesture to a guest that you know is single, in case they’d like to bring along a temporary date or companion whom you might not know about in advance. But even that isn’t mandatory: it’s perfectly proper to send invitations ONLY for people you know and their spouses/partners, which means that a single guest gets an individual invitation with no plus-one. If they can’t attend on their own and socialize with other guests like a grownup, they are free to stay home instead.

@kingsrings: “I believe the hosts are acting that way because they spend so much time and money on this big extravaganza. They think they have the right to be that way.”

Probably, but etiquette doesn’t recognize anybody’s “right” to be rude or inconsiderate towards others. No matter how big their party is or how much they’re spending on it.


Kate February 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I am surprised so many people think it is rude to change the guest list for an annual party from year to year. According to Emily Post and many other etiquette books, it is not rude at all! Depending on who else you invite, and the type of party, you can invite or not anyone whom you choose. From friends, family, acquaintances, and business associates, most people probably have a large group of potential attendees for any given event. However, it is not likely they have a similarly large budget.

Part of the fun of planning parties is changing it up. From a sit-down dinner party for 20 your business associates to a cocktail party for 1o of your closest friends, each event can have a specific goal or theme, a specific group of your friends you created that event for. That is what is so great about planning your own events. If you want to have a sushi/uno night with your girlfriends, or whatever, you can.


Miss-E February 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I agree. My BIL and SIL have a teeny tiny apartment and host a little movie party every year with a different round of people. Never bothered me in the slightest.


kingsrings February 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Yes, but in the cases you mentioned, these are different events. Perfectly okay to change it up to suit different events. However, if it’s the SAME event held annually, I think it’s kind of rude to invite people sometimes but not others. Like I said earlier, I’d be wondering what I did to rub the hosts the wrong way so I didn’t receive an invite like I did the previous year (s).


Miss-E February 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm

In my ILs case it is the same party every year. It’s a long complicated thing about how they met and got together that I won’t go into but they honor it by having a little Rocky Horror party and, because of their limited space, rotate the guest list. I’m sure someone in their universe is upset by it but it never seemed rude to me, they’re just making do with what they’ve got.

It’s similar to how another friend always gets Yankees tickets through her job. Usually it’s four tickets to two or three games scattered throughout the season and she and her husband always invite different people each time. They want to spread the love!


Kimstu February 19, 2014 at 9:10 pm

It’s not rude. An invitation to a particular event is specific to that event. It’s not a lifetime pass valid for admission to all similar events in the future.

What’s rude is taking your hosts’ generous hospitality so much for granted that you assume you’d be automatically perpetually invited to their party unless you get struck off the list for doing something wrong.


InTheEther February 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Based on what was said by OP, it isn’t the SAME event annually. It is made a point that that Tom simply does something, sometime around the holidays, with some people. This isn’t like an annual family Christmas dinner, where one relative is being purposefully excluded to make a statement. Or an office party where a couple of employees are purposefully excluded. This is not an official yearly party with a set group of attendees. I really don’t get all the hate that Tom is getting in the forum.

Seriously though, do people think that a host is required to invite every person they have ever invited to an event, forever more until death or public irreparable rift removes them from the guest list? Are people just entitled to an invitation for every single event just because they’ve been invited a couple of times before?

Getting insulted because a friend had some get-together and didn’t invite you seems less an error on the host’s part and more and issue with the wannabe invitee. If something is meant to be a personal insult then the person doing the insulting will usually put forth the extra effort to make it really obvious. Chances are better that the issue’s just all in your head. Even if the person is being passive aggressive, by letting it roll off your back you can save yourself a lot of grief/stress and the other person can sit and stew, get over it, or actually bring the issue into the open according to their own preferences. Honestly, some of the posters seem like their just looking for an excuse to get insulted.


KarenK February 18, 2014 at 9:24 am

Also, with regard to the changing guest lists – how many posts have we had on this board about how to not invite one unwanted person or couple, but “If I didn’t, it would be obvious, because we always socialize as a group, and what if they find out about the party? How to I tell them they’re not invited?” If the guest list changes all the time, you could leave people off for any number of reasons.

That being said, were I the LW, I would not have declined the invitation out of solidarity with Jenny. I’d have told her that it looks like we were invited anyway, and let the chips fall where they may.

Unless, the LW and her DH were invited after Jenny RSVP’ed no, as in, “Oh, Jenny can’t come. Let’s add LW and her DH!”


Harley Granny February 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

As a very very very shy person, I understand where Jenny is coming from. If I only know one person attending I would also decline….assuming the host will be busy hosting the affair and shouldn’t have to worry about entertaining me. It’s easy to say..”Mingle and make new friends” but in reality for shy people it’s terrifying.

With the new information now in the LW’s hands, I would accept the invitation if I truly wanted to go, tell Jenny what happened and then let her make up her own mind on how to either try to change her RSVP or keep it the same. To not let her know just seems, I don’t know, like you’re keeping something from her. And if you don’t tell her then when she finds out you did indeed go, how would that make her feel?
Why not just put it out there to start with?
No the LW isn’t resposible for Jenny’s social life but this is an easy fix without potentially hurting anyone’s feelings.


Enna February 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Personaly I think it is Tom’s party he can invite who he wants: he might not have room for everyone he wants to invite so he might have invite people in turns – even if this is not the case he invites who he wants to. Jenny does sound a bit odd to me – if she can’t cope going on her own then she can decline. It is rude for her to ask OP or her husband to come along as a plus one if there is no such specification on the invitation. I see no problems in the OP and her husband going to the party after all it was a geninue mistkae, OP can explain that to Jenny and Tom. If Tom is a good sort who understands that Jenny is a bit nervous and shy then he might be happe to let her come or she can say that her plans have changed and she can now make it.


InTheEther February 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I was kinda wondering the same thing, specifically why Jenny doesn’t just outright decide not to go. I won’t say that I’m ridiculously shy or have social anxiety, but I’m just not all that social. If I get invited to something and I forsee myself just clinging to the one or two people I know, then I choose to pass. Sometimes I just don’t think I’ll have enough in common with the group as a whole to really mingle, or I just don’t feel like repeating “Hi, I’m [name].” and then repeating the same exact answers to questions about school, what I’m studying, ect. to every person I come across. If she isn’t going to enjoy herself then she should decline. If she wants to hang out with the OP then that could be better achieved by just the two of you going out and doing something.

Of course I don’t know everybody personally. Maybe Jenny really does need to come out of her shell some. It’s still not going to happen unless she decided she needs to get along with new people better, or at the very least takes the advice of someone else and makes a conscious decision to try.

Went a little off track there. In any case, she’s a full grown adult. She shouldn’t need a babysitter or personal companion, and it isn’t the OPs responsibility to be one. I’d think the best option would be to just call or send a message saying, “Oh, we actually did get an invitation, we just misplaced it/didn’t see it at first. We’re planning on going, you can probably call Tom and say that things changed and you’ll be able to come after all if you want. Either way, have a nice [weekend, day, ect.]”. If Jenny feels too awkward to do that then she’ll probably be happier not attending anyway. If your presence makes her want to go then she can call him. Put it in her court and let her make the decision.


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