Well this happened early this morning and it’s now 5pm and I’m still annoyed.
I woke up this morning to a notification saying that I’d been invited to a friend’s birthday party. The party is two hours drive away, and would require an overnight stay. I was given four days notice.
My initial thought was, “Wow, they’ve left it last minute”. But then I had a closer look at the event chat. The Book of Faces event was created in March. Posts were made asking for addresses in September. I was being invited four days ahead of the party and oh look, there are some posts from the night before my invite from people pulling out at the last second.
It could not be more obvious that mine was a last minute invite to cover places already paid for because people had dropped out of the party. All of our mutual friends from the same friends group have been invited. It would have hurt to not be invited but somehow it’s more hurtful being the last ditch desperate attempt at filling a missing place. (I know I should never *expect* an invite, but in practice it hurts knowing you’re left out, especially when photos of everyone having fun without you will follow.)
This is a friend that I grew up with and we were close. Over the years we have drifted apart somewhat. She moved to a city four hours away and we just don’t see each other as often as we used to. I still consider her a good friend but this is making me reevaluate the situation.
Luckily I already had plans involving a very early start the next morning so I had an easy way to politely decline, but realistically as it was a milestone birthday had I received an invite at the beginning of the month I still would have been on the B list but would have moved things around and attended. It simply would not be possible to do so now and my plans for the weekend mean that a two hour trip each way is now three hours.
This all leads me to ask – what is the etiquette for last minute invites? Am I being unreasonable in thinking four days doesn’t cut it when others have clearly had six months or more to plan their attendance?
One last thing to add, because I know it will come up in the comments: where I am from it is expected that adults will organise their own birthday celebration. Normally this is picking a bar or restaurant and everyone pays their own way (including the birthday person). 1023-18
It stands to reason that if a person is so self-absorbed to plan their own birthday party for months, then that person is also too self-absorbed to care about the feeling of others when it comes to the execution of those party plans. Guests are just a means to an end. The fact that the birthday woman is also the one issuing the invitations makes this a distressing situation. She determined the guest list and you didn’t make the first, second or third cut.
In cases where someone else hosted the party, one could make the case that the host made a mistake or wasn’t aware of all of the birthday guest of honor’s good friends that should be invited. Something could have been lost in the communication between host and birthday person. However, that is not the case here. Bottom line, your old friend did not consider your friendship to be valuable and therefore you were not at the top of her guest list of must-have guests.
Me? I’d retain some personal dignity and decline the invitation. Nothing is as demeaning as appearing to be thrilled to be slighted.