Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: twiggy on February 20, 2013, 02:39:52 AM

Title: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: twiggy on February 20, 2013, 02:39:52 AM
I am trying to keep this as short as possible and to avoid turning this post into a rant about SIL, who is actually a good person in general, with many admirable traits. The problem is that SIL moved across country several years ago, still keeps in contact with her old friends here in HomeState, usually visits during holidays/special events, and typically has a very full social schedule when she's in town. She has a Good Friend who SIL continues to invite to family gatherings. The problem I have with this is that I am the one hosting, cooking, and paying for these gatherings. I find it irritating to have a random woman sitting at my table eating Christmas Dinner (even if it's served closer to New Year's, that's when we are celebrating the holiday as an extended family), not to mention the rudeness of SIL either ignoring the family to chat with her friend, or ignoring her guest who knows no one else at the house to talk to family members. But I have never been able to bring myself to turn someone away from my door at the holidays. I've also had problems addressing it with SIL, preferring to hope that she won't do it again.

Last summer, DH graduated from college, and I held a party that ended up being at a park. Good Friend turned up, and I literally didn't recognize her when I saw her in the street.

Christmas of 2010 I tried a very passive approach to talking to SIL. I mentioned that I ended up eating a cold dinner because I was scrambling to throw together extra side dishes because of the unexpected guests. That's when I found out that Good Friend lives only a few miles from my house and SIL hadn't been able to arrange any other time to get together with her.

After the graduation party, SIL was complaining that Good Friend hadn't even spent much time with her. GF's son kept running off to other parts of the park and kept trying to join another birthday party. GF was constantly either running after him, or taking care of her baby. I told SIL that I didn't know why GF was even there. SIL made some noises about not thinking I would mind. My tone got a bit cold and I told her I did. Later MIL was telling me how sad and depressed SIL was that Good Friend had ignored her, and I said I didn't really want to hear about it. MIL scolded a bit (not in a mean, bad way, it's just that sometimes she forgets that I'm not her actual child, and that I'm not a teenager for her to correct ::) though she did a lot more raising of me back in my teen years than my mother did) and told me that SIL only has a limited amount of time in Home State, and it's hard for her to make time for everyone. My response was that SIL could choose to spend her time any way she wanted, but if hanging out with her friend was more important than DH's celebration, I wished they would just go to lunch and save me the hassle of feeding everyone. It's like neither of them got that having Good Friend at the party, and socializing with her there meant that SIL was NOT socializing or celebrating with DH. Nor was she socializing with the rest of the extended family: aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, kiddos.

The whole family is coming out for Easter weekend. BIL #1 has been looking for a job in HomeState, and has been working at an internship for the past month. He will still be out here for Easter, and their kids have Good Friday off from school, so SIL decided that was a good time to visit. MIL had been planning a trip for Feb, but decided to delay and travel with SIL + kids. FIL couldn't have come in Feb, but work will be slowing down, so he will be able to make it out for Easter. Taking all the scheduling into consideration, DH and I decided to postpone having our Baby Blessed in our church so that MIL/FIL could be here.

So, I will be hosting Easter dinner, and it will be a combination Easter Dinner/Blessing luncheon. There will be lots of family, and I'm worried that SIL will invite Good Friend again. Should I preemptively assume that SIL will invite GF and tell her before they even get on the plane that GF is not invited? I don't see how to work that into a conversation, and it seems off (or maybe just terrifying) to call SIL up out of the blue specifically to tell her that she is NOT to invite GF to my house.

If SIL does invite GF anyway, how do I turn her away?  I can't imagine simply shutting the door in the face of someone who was improperly invited. It seems like punishing the innocent bystander. After all, she doesn't know that her presence is irritating me. For all I know, she's asked SIL if I'm ok with her being there, and SIL has assured her that it is fine. Should I just think of her as collateral damage to SIL's actions?
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: secretrebel on February 20, 2013, 05:18:07 AM
Okay, first I think you need to work out what the source of the problem is for you.

Is it that SIL invites people to your house without asking?
Is it that SIL doesn't make more time to see you and your husband?
Is it that you actually dislike the good friend?

I am wondering if the third is playing more of a factor. You describe her as a "random woman" who you "didn't recognise when [you] saw her in the street". But this is someone who shares holiday meals with you often and comes to your parties. I don't understand why you don't know her better. You say that she doesn't know anyone at your family events except SIL but shouldn't the hosts be introducing her to the rest of the family and facilitating conversation. Have you tried talking to her yourself? Did you try but dislike the result? Or are you ignoring her because you think she's not really a guest because SIL invited her?

My advice to you would be either to tell SIL politely that you understand she wants to catch up with GF but you don't want to invite her to your home OR to make an effort to get to know this woman and make her welcome in the spirit of the holidays.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: cicero on February 20, 2013, 05:56:14 AM


So, I will be hosting Easter dinner, and it will be a combination Easter Dinner/Blessing luncheon. There will be lots of family, and I'm worried that SIL will invite Good Friend again. Should I preemptively assume that SIL will invite GF and tell her before they even get on the plane that GF is not invited? I don't see how to work that into a conversation, and it seems off (or maybe just terrifying) to call SIL up out of the blue specifically to tell her that she is NOT to invite GF to my house.

If SIL does invite GF anyway, how do I turn her away?  I can't imagine simply shutting the door in the face of someone who was improperly invited. It seems like punishing the innocent bystander. After all, she doesn't know that her presence is irritating me. For all I know, she's asked SIL if I'm ok with her being there, and SIL has assured her that it is fine. Should I just think of her as collateral damage to SIL's actions?
yes you need to be proactive and deal with this *before* easter, way before.

*now* that plans are being finalized, call/email your SIL and tell her - "SIL in the last few years you've invited GF to our house for events. I don't know if you were planning to do so for easter but we will have to ask you not to do so. We will not be able to host her at our events any more"

If she whines and kvetches just tell her "SIL, *you* are of course more than welcome but we cannot accommodate your friend any more". if she chooses to go to friend and not to your event, that is her loss (but be prepared that she will threaten/do just this)

We have (and i'm sure many of us have) some *close family friends* who are included in family events - but they are close family friends. not some person i knew a long time ago who ignores me at a family dinner...
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: buvezdevin on February 20, 2013, 06:47:50 AM
While I agree that it would be best to address this in advance, I also think it would make a difference if SIL had been routinely inviting her friend(s) to family events prior to your hosting, and the practice became the norm for that family.  While you don't know SIL's friend well, is she known to the rest of the family?  The fact that your MIL seems to have felt it was entirely fine for SIL to invite the friend to your DH's graduation celebration suggests that either your DH's family is used to being accepting of SIL's including one or more friends in family events, or that MIL sympathizes with SIL not having time to see all her friends during her visits to home town more than MIL cares to have celebrations limited to "family only."

At any rate, in your shoes, I think I would speak with MIL first and explain *your* feelings.  Better to understand her views, and know if you are changing a long-standing practice/approach of their family before you address the matter with SIL.  Then speak with SIL.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: *inviteseller on February 20, 2013, 07:19:41 AM
I think you should calmly tell SIL (with your DH's backing) that this is going to be family only.  If she starts whinging on about not getting alot of time to socialize, point out that because of the distance you live from one another, you also don't get to see her alot and would love a family gathering to be just that, family.  And you are the hostess, not your SIL, so she doesn't get to do random invites, and correct me if I am wrong, but does she even tell you this woman is coming?  That is rude and you are ok, IMO by telling her no guests.  And if her or your MIL try to whine and try to get you to give in, tell them if they would like to host the family at a restaurant, and invite who they want, you will gladly hand over the hostess title.
You say that she doesn't know anyone at your family events except SIL but shouldn't the hosts be introducing her to the rest of the family and facilitating conversation. Have you tried talking to her yourself? Did you try but dislike the result? Or are you ignoring her because you think she's not really a guest because SIL invited her?


I don't think it's OP's place to become friends with this woman because she just keeps showing up at the gatherings, and it doesn't sound like the friend has gone out of the way to get to know the family that she keeps coming to dinner with.  She doesn't attempt to socialize with the family, just with the SIL and that makes her rude.  Why should a hostess go out of her way to make an uninvited guest feel more at ease, when she is also busy trying to find more food so as guest will at least get a meal?
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Kaypeep on February 20, 2013, 07:19:41 AM
I think you should contact the SIL and say something to her when you invite her to the dinner/celebration.  I'd say "Here are the details for Easter Dinner/Baby Blessing.   Also, I wanted to let you know what DH and I prefer to keep this event limited to our family and friends, so we'd appreciate it if you would not invite any of your local friends over for socializing during this time.  I hope you understand and I thank you for your cooperation on this."  I think your DH also needs to take a stand and speak to sis and reiterate this.  He can say "Look, we've said nothing when you invited her to xmas, graduation, etc.  but we're putting our foot down.  We host and pay for these events, and we don't appreciate having extra guests there that weren't even invited by us.  If you want to see GF, then by all means do so. But not on our time and not on our dime."  I disagree with the PP who said to consult with MIL.  Talk to your DH and see what HE thinks.  These are YOUR parties and you do have a say.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: YummyMummy66 on February 20, 2013, 09:09:02 AM
Is this your SIl through your brother or your dh's brother?  If this is the latter, than your DH needs to address this with his sister.   Hey, sis, just wanted to let you know that since we are gathering to celebrate not only Easter, but baby's baptism, this will be a family only event.  No one else is invited outside of our immediate family. 

If not through your dh, than you can state the above in your version.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: twiggy on February 20, 2013, 09:48:50 AM
SecretRebel
It's not that I dislike Good Friend. I nothing her. I only see her for a few hours per year, when I have a house full of people. I open the door, she greets me, I realize who she is, then I welcome her inside, offer her a drink, and make small talk, usually asking how the kids/husband are doing. I think I remember what her DH does for a living and how many kids they have, but I honestly don't know her. She seems nice, but a family gathering with 20 + people who are spread across 4 different states isn't exactly conducive to getting to know someone better.

buvezdevin
I'm not sure if Friend has always come to family functions. Around the time DH and I got married, MIL/FIL moved out of state, so I don't know if Friend has always been around. I think that Good Friend was a college roommate, or went to school with SIL, or they worked together right out of school. So MIL knows GF, from that time period, and because SIL keeps up with her and keeps MIL in the loop (SIL is currently living with MIL). I do know that when we go to extended family functions hosted by DH's Aunts/Uncles SIL doesn't invite GF. Also, when MIL/FIL are in town, we typically have everyone (3 families in Home State, plus whoever came from Other State) meet up for dinner at a restaurant least once. Friend has never come to the restaurant dinners either.
Now that I think about it, I don't remember seeing her in SIL's home when they still lived here and DH and I spent a lot of time with them. She might have been at Nephew's First Birthday party, but I don't remember seeing her any other time.

Kaypeep
DH doesn't really care. He is upset because he sees that I am upset. But he doesn't understand how much time/effort goes on behind the scenes.

I guess I have to call SIL. I am not looking forward to that conversation. I'm much better at being firm with my own family than with the in-laws.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: esteban on February 20, 2013, 09:59:34 AM
Would it be easier to just assume she is coming and prepare the food for that?

It doesn't sound like you dislike her, you don't love that she just shows up having been invited by someone else, but you are polite and work with it.

Why not plan for it, and if friend doesn't show up you have a bit more leftovers.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: AnnaJ on February 20, 2013, 10:00:38 AM
Later MIL was telling me how sad and depressed SIL was that Good Friend had ignored her, and I said I didn't really want to hear about it. MIL scolded a bit (not in a mean, bad way, it's just that sometimes she forgets that I'm not her actual child, and that I'm not a teenager for her to correct ::) though she did a lot more raising of me back in my teen years than my mother did) and told me that SIL only has a limited amount of time in Home State, and it's hard for her to make time for everyone. My response was that SIL could choose to spend her time any way she wanted, but if hanging out with her friend was more important than DH's celebration, I wished they would just go to lunch and save me the hassle of feeding everyone. It's like neither of them got that having Good Friend at the party, and socializing with her there meant that SIL was NOT socializing or celebrating with DH. Nor was she socializing with the rest of the extended family: aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, kiddos.


The bolded is what jumped out at me in the story, it sounds as though you spent a lot of time as a teenager with your future inlaws.  If so, there may be a pattern of the family believing that friends are welcome at family gatherings.  Given that your MIL doesn't agree with your assessment of SIL, it sounds like a difference of expectation.  Maybe it would help to ask yourself if you, as a friend of your future husband, would have been welcome at family graduation parties or baby blessings when you weren't family yourself.  That doesn't mean you need to invite your SIL's friend, but if such an invitation is the family norm you need to be prepared for some fallout.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: *inviteseller on February 20, 2013, 10:21:54 AM

[/quote]

The bolded is what jumped out at me in the story, it sounds as though you spent a lot of time as a teenager with your future inlaws.  If so, there may be a pattern of the family believing that friends are welcome at family gatherings.  Given that your MIL doesn't agree with your assessment of SIL, it sounds like a difference of expectation.  Maybe it would help to ask yourself if you, as a friend of your future husband, would have been welcome at family graduation parties or baby blessings when you weren't family yourself.  That doesn't mean you need to invite your SIL's friend, but if such an invitation is the family norm you need to be prepared for some fallout.
[/quote]

If I am reading the OP correctly though (and correct me if I am wrong), OP spent a lot of time with her in laws family as a recognized SO and was invited by the family.  This woman is being invited by SIL for the expressed purpose of them catching up and visiting with each other, not the whole family.  And that is IMO rude, because this is not a casual bar b que with friends and family, this is a hosted holiday/special event meal that the hostess invited people to.  And, with the update, this woman is not going to any other family events hosted in others homes, just the OP, so that seems to show lack of respect by both SIL and friend for the OP and her hospitality.  When I lived out of state and my then DH and I would come home for a long weekend, we tried to cram in as much as possible, but sometimes some friends just didn't get seen that visit because we made more time for our families and those events, and I would never have invited anyone into a relatives home just because I wanted to see my friend.  It is just rude and disrespectful
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: NyaChan on February 20, 2013, 10:28:15 AM
I think this could be solved with some clear communication - tell SIL ahead of time that Good Friend is not invited, that this is invite only and she is not on the guest list.  Hold firm, and don't get taken in by any I-only-have-one-day-to-see-people excuses.  Prior to now, it seems that the only time you've really protested to her presence was after a party, and even then it was only in response to SIL bringing it up.  Your response did not clearly state that your events are invite-only and it seems that your SIL is not the type of person to take a hint unless it pleases her to do so  ::) 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Eden on February 20, 2013, 10:38:35 AM
While I agree with others that SIL was rude to invite Good Friend in the first place without ever asking OP, were I in the OP's situation, I would seriously consider if it was really worth it to me to address this. Here's my thinking:
1. This has clearly been a practice for awhile and gone unaddressed making it a bit of a tradition.
2. This is one person. The same person. It's not like SIL invites whomever she wants whenever she wants. I don't see that it requires much if any extra effort on the OP's part.

Because this has been happening for some time, it seems to me the potential fallout is pretty certain and probably not going to be minor. To me, it wouldn't be worth addressing at this point. But that is for the OP to decide.

OP, if you want to put a stop to this and are okay with whatever fallout may follow, I'd proactively contact SIL and say you'd like to keep Easter family only and would appreciate if she checks with you before inviting Good Friend to future gatherings.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: AnnaJ on February 20, 2013, 10:54:15 AM


The bolded is what jumped out at me in the story, it sounds as though you spent a lot of time as a teenager with your future inlaws.  If so, there may be a pattern of the family believing that friends are welcome at family gatherings.  Given that your MIL doesn't agree with your assessment of SIL, it sounds like a difference of expectation.  Maybe it would help to ask yourself if you, as a friend of your future husband, would have been welcome at family graduation parties or baby blessings when you weren't family yourself.  That doesn't mean you need to invite your SIL's friend, but if such an invitation is the family norm you need to be prepared for some fallout.
[/quote]

If I am reading the OP correctly though (and correct me if I am wrong), OP spent a lot of time with her in laws family as a recognized SO and was invited by the family.  This woman is being invited by SIL for the expressed purpose of them catching up and visiting with each other, not the whole family.  And that is IMO rude, because this is not a casual bar b que with friends and family, this is a hosted holiday/special event meal that the hostess invited people to.  And, with the update, this woman is not going to any other family events hosted in others homes, just the OP, so that seems to show lack of respect by both SIL and friend for the OP and her hospitality.  When I lived out of state and my then DH and I would come home for a long weekend, we tried to cram in as much as possible, but sometimes some friends just didn't get seen that visit because we made more time for our families and those events, and I would never have invited anyone into a relatives home just because I wanted to see my friend.  It is just rude and disrespectful
[/quote]

I read it differently, probably because the OP said "She has a Good Friend who SIL continues to invite to family gatherings." which made me think that this friend had always been welcome at family events, so this would be a change in that attitude.  I also don't see a lot of difference between boyfriend/girlfriend and friends being welcomed by a family - but then I tend to think of a SO in terms of adults, so wouldn't apply it to teens.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Deetee on February 20, 2013, 11:42:44 AM
The rule is that, as the host, you can decide who you want to invite and you are free to turn away anyone. In a case like this where the good friend has come to all the other events, I would consider that she has a "standing invite" and therefor you must make clear BEFORE she shows up that she is not invited. It would be cruel to someone who has come to numerous family events to turn them away at the door.

If you don't want her there you tell SIL in so  many words. You do not passive agressively talk about your cold meal because you had to make food for her uninvited guests. (I am confused as to whether SIL brought so many people without warning that you didn't have enough food. That is a different problem)

The other thing to consider is that when you are hosting a family dinner, there is a relaxing of the rules of invites. There is a difference between a dinner party where you invite specific people and a holiday dinner where someone will host and the guest list is already set by the family (not the hosts to the same extent). I'm saying anyone needs to invite a horrible, abusive guest just because they always have been there, but boring cousin Chad or cranky aunt May get Christmas invites regardless of the host (even if they don't get invites the rest of the year).

A final rule is that you either make the lack of invite clear OR you host ungrudgingly. Once someone is a guest, they are a full, welcome guest.

So, if you don't want the guest there, you call SIL right now and tell her that. You also must own that lack of invite and realise that some people who may be used to seeing her there and enjoy her company may find your actions unhospitible (as someone whose "family dinners" have often included close friends or distant relatives of other guests, I would find the sudden exclusion of a guest strange and a bit cold-It is totally, totally your right, as it is your house, your money, your effort, but I will admit that I don't understand your reasoning).
 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: twiggy on February 20, 2013, 12:17:38 PM
My reasoning is that I don't know her. DH doesn't know her. FIL doesn't know her. YSIL doesn't know her. OBIL doesn't know her. The only people she knows are SIL/BIL and MIL. And I'm tired of providing a venue for SIL's socialization. Friend has shown up for many, but not all Events, and I don't recall anyone having missed her.

The year I ate a cold dinner, I really was worried that there wouldn't be enough food. I had planned on X number of people, then Grandpa and Grandma were in town. Then YSIL was able to get off work early, so her family of 3 was able to make it. 4 adults and a toddler ate up (no pun intended) most of my 'food cushion' then there was another adult and 2 more kids.

The more I think about this, the more upset I am with SIL. This is a pattern for her, and I think that it's not so much about this particular person, as it is about setting limits for SIL and not letting her walk all over me. I can provide examples, but I don't want to start ranting/venting.

So, looks like I need to make a phone call and make sure that SIL knows I don't want her to invite her friend. If she does it anyway, what do I do then? I have never turned her away at the door, and I don't think I could bring myself to do it if I wanted to.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: WillyNilly on February 20, 2013, 12:25:04 PM
...This is one person. The same person. It's not like SIL invites whomever she wants whenever she wants. I don't see that it requires much if any extra effort on the OP's part...

Well on at least one occasion (the OP's DH's graduation party) this friend also brought at least 1 if not 2 of her children (wasn't clear if the kid running around was the same as the "baby" referenced).  So already this woman (or the SIL issuing the invites) is starting to include this woman's children.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Kaypeep on February 20, 2013, 12:29:20 PM
I understand the OP's frustration.  My SIL has a friend and this friend would come over every xmas to visit because she was in town.   She would stay for hours and sometimes stay for dinner.  She was pleasant enough, but it changed the dynamic of the gathering. (We're talking just my brother and SIL, me, mom and sis.  It's not the same as OP's situation but it's similar.  Having an uninvited guest (because SIL could never tell this girl "no" and make plans for another time) was just frustrating.  Even if no one else really minds, as the host it's annoying to have a guest bring along someone uninvited, especially someone who doesn't reciprocate or earn her keep. (Does she bring anything to these events?  Help to cleanup?  Does SIL????) 

I think a nice compromise is to inform SIL that the baby blessing/Easter event is invitation-only PLEASE, so no extra guests including GF.  However, let SIL know that perhaps next time when it's another less formal event like a potluck or picnic, this policy may be reconsidered. But for this event coming up, you'd appreciate it if she could limit her group to her husband and kids, only.

If SIL tries to pressure you just say "I understand but it's just not possible.  I have a set guest list and there's  no wiggle room. " and then beandip and get off the phone.  It's good your DH supports you.  He should still call SIL and reiterate the "no guests rule" and give a courtesy "thanks."  Maybe say "I know you've had friends over to our house in the past but I appreciate you following our request now that it's not possible to do that.  I'm calling because I know it's a big change and I appreciate your cooperation.  With new baby there will be a lot of adjusting so I wanted just let you know we appreciate you adjusting too." or something like that.  Give her a double warning.  If the friend shows up, then give her SIL's plate and let SIL know there's not enough food so since GF is HER friend, you're giving her SIL's meal instead.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: *inviteseller on February 20, 2013, 12:43:22 PM
Waitwaitwait!!!  Not only was she not invited by the hostess, but she also brought her 2 children?  I would have told her, nicely "Oh I'm so sorry, we are just sitting down with the family to eat, if you and your kids would like to wait in the living room while we eat, you are more than welcome."  No way would I have busted butt all day cleaning and cooking then dealing with the last minute changes the invited guests had, then foregone a hot meal with my family for a woman you did not invite and her kids, just so your SIL could socialize with her friend.  And if I was SIL's friend, I would never go to a holiday meal at someone I barely knows house during a meal time unless the hostess herself had invited me.  OP, maybe you can borrow my dad.  When I was growing up, if people dropped in, unannounced and uninvited, at a meal time, he would politely chat for a bit, then rise, go towards the door and tell them "it was nice of you to drop by, but it is the families dinner time.  Call me, and we can make plans to get together soon."  Polite, but let them know how my dad felt about unannounced 'guests'.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Eden on February 20, 2013, 01:33:16 PM
OP, it sounds like this goes beyond this one example and you're using this as grounds to begin setting boundaries for SIL. More power to you. I do want to point out though that it is not SIL's fault or responsibility that your grandparents or YSIL's plans changed in the example you provided.

Again, she is only responsible for inviting Good Friend and it is up to you if that is something you want to address.

If she does invite Good Friend, like you, I probably would not turn her away. It's not her fault after all. She was invited. Just not by you. But afterwards I'd let SIL know that was unacceptable and if she can't respect your wishes, she will no longer be invited either.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: lisastitch on February 20, 2013, 01:42:01 PM
Christmas of 2010 I tried a very passive approach to talking to SIL. I mentioned that I ended up eating a cold dinner because I was scrambling to throw together extra side dishes because of the unexpected guests. That's when I found out that Good Friend lives only a few miles from my house and SIL hadn't been able to arrange any other time to get together with her.
This sounds as if SIL's GF wasn't the only unexpected guest since I would assume that you had enough food to cover one unexpected guest. 
Are you able to say to the whole family that it's hard for you to deal with unexpected guests and to ask everyone not to bring extra people?  That way you aren't singling SIL out.
Or is there some other backstory that means that other unexpected guests are okay, but GF isn't? 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: JenJay on February 20, 2013, 01:45:16 PM
I think SIL is being rude because it sounds like she's using OP's dinners as her "catch up with friend" meeting place since OP and friend live close to each other. SIL justifies it by saying she didn't have a chance to see friend at any other time, yet she's making time to see other people. She's choosing not to set aside time with her friend because she knows it will be convenient for her to invite her friend to OP's dinners. She doesn't even bother to ask if it's convenient for OP.

I'd have no issue telling her I can't accommodate her friend. If she chooses not to prioritize seeing her friend while she's in town, and the friend never goes to see SIL, that's between them.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Amara on February 20, 2013, 01:47:37 PM
I can see how your SIL's presumption that her friend is always welcome came about. That said, you, as hostess, decide on the meal, the entertainment, and the guest list. These are not just privileges of the hostess and host but the responsibility too.

Things change over time. Events change. People change. relationships change. It shouldn't be rude for rules to change too. I think the SIL was rude to include her friend from the beginning but it was what it was and should have been accommodated politely (as it was). But the OP wants to change that now.

OP, you definitely have the right to change it. Your MIL and SIL should be gracious and understanding about your decision. I would be if I were in their place, not happy maybe, but gracious. I think the only thing you owe them is to let them know as soon as possible about your decision. Though you don't need to, I think I would explain why in a kindly way. And personally, I would make it clear that this "no invitation to friend" is not a one-time thing, but permanent unless you want to confront this repeatedly. ("But why not this time?") Be gracious but be firm. And, yes, I agree that having your DH also tell them, perhaps separately, perhaps together, that this is the new decision is a good idea. Otherwise, they might, if they are so inclined, go behind your back, possibly resulting in a split (good son/brother, bad DIL/SIL). Let them see it is a family decision.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: doodlemor on February 20, 2013, 02:08:37 PM
Christmas of 2010 I tried a very passive approach to talking to SIL. I mentioned that I ended up eating a cold dinner because I was scrambling to throw together extra side dishes because of the unexpected guests. That's when I found out that Good Friend lives only a few miles from my house and SIL hadn't been able to arrange any other time to get together with her.
This sounds as if SIL's GF wasn't the only unexpected guest since I would assume that you had enough food to cover one unexpected guest. 
Are you able to say to the whole family that it's hard for you to deal with unexpected guests and to ask everyone not to bring extra people?  That way you aren't singling SIL out.
Or is there some other backstory that means that other unexpected guests are okay, but GF isn't?

If indeed other members of the family are inviting unexpected guests to OP's home, then the matter needs to be addressed by both OP and DH. 

Amara is absolutely right when she says that OP's husband needs to support her in this.  It sounds like he has been enjoying the company of his relatives without doing his share.  When OP was scurrying around making extra food he should have been helping.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Promise on February 20, 2013, 02:15:42 PM
Why are you going to all this work? Tell everyone coming that you are going out to eat for Easter/blessing. Everyone pays their own way. Ask for a number and you'll make reservations. On any other nights that the family is getting together, order pizza or a large subway sub. Don't make it so hard.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: bopper on February 20, 2013, 03:10:34 PM
I think I would have your DH tell her "I am looking forward to seeing you at Easter.  I wanted to bring up something though...sometimes you invite Good Friend to these gatherings and we would prefer if you didn't as this is baby's christening and we would rather not have someone who has no relationship with baby there.  I am sure you can stop over for coffee later in the day.  Anyway, how is your son/husband/partner doing?..."
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: squeakers on February 20, 2013, 03:24:36 PM
Christmas of 2010 I tried a very passive approach to talking to SIL. I mentioned that I ended up eating a cold dinner because I was scrambling to throw together extra side dishes because of the unexpected guests. That's when I found out that Good Friend lives only a few miles from my house and SIL hadn't been able to arrange any other time to get together with her.
This sounds as if SIL's GF wasn't the only unexpected guest since I would assume that you had enough food to cover one unexpected guest. 
Are you able to say to the whole family that it's hard for you to deal with unexpected guests and to ask everyone not to bring extra people?  That way you aren't singling SIL out.
Or is there some other backstory that means that other unexpected guests are okay, but GF isn't?

From a later post it was clarified that the other unexpected guests were the OPs grandmother, grandfather and YSIL.  IOWs .. family.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Kaypeep on February 20, 2013, 05:11:25 PM
Why are you going to all this work? Tell everyone coming that you are going out to eat for Easter/blessing. Everyone pays their own way. Ask for a number and you'll make reservations. On any other nights that the family is getting together, order pizza or a large subway sub. Don't make it so hard.

Because the OP is hosting, and hosts don't make their guests pay their own way.  She doesn't have a problem with the number of people coming or serving the people who do come, the problem is that her SIL keeps inviting an extra person (and their kids) without permission.  Your suggestion seems to miss the mark of what the OP is asking.  Also, as a catholic, Easter is the holiest day of the year.  And a blessing or baptism usually, for most people, warrants a celebration more cerebral and substantial than pizza or subway.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Marbles on February 20, 2013, 05:16:33 PM
I'd be pretty angry if my SIL invited a friend over to my house (for a meal... without asking...) just so she could catch up with her friend. If SIL is coming over for a family meal, then she should be catching up with her family, most especially her host and hostess.

Also, if this happens at the "official" family Christmas (even if off by a few days), how awkward is it to be opening up gifts in front of someone who is not a part of that generosity? I would be very uncomfortable about that.

OP, you are going to have to spell this out for your SIL. If you don't want her to invite Good Friend to Easter, then specify that. If you don't want her to invite Good Friend at all, then I think you need to be clearer that you don't want Good Friend invited to your holiday meals without your express permission.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Roses on February 20, 2013, 09:24:25 PM
I would send actual invitations for the event, specifically addressed to the people you want to include.  Ask for RSVP's.  When SIL RSVP's, use that as an opportunity to make it clear that the event is for family only as it's both a celebration of major milestone and Easter.  If she doesn't RSVP, then you can call her to check if she's coming and address it then.  If she mentions friend coming, then simply say, this event is family only and it won't be possible to accommodate friend.  We are sorry you won't be able to make it to our event, but I understand how you want to catch up with friend.  Her choice is to come alone or not come at all.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: KenveeB on February 20, 2013, 10:03:30 PM
I can understand your frustration with SIL using your events as a chance to catch up with her friend. But SIL is not a mindreader. GF has apparently been coming to these events for a long time now with no word that she was unwelcome. If you don't want SIL to invite her, you have to say so. If SIL keeps inviting her after that, THEN you can be mad. For now, it sounds like a simple situation of SIL thinking GF is "part of the family" and welcome at the events.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Bluenomi on February 20, 2013, 10:51:55 PM
I think invitations are a good idea if you don't feel comfortable with telling SIL don't invite your friend. When talking to SIL mention you are doing the dinner invite only. If friend still turns up, just tell her you are in the middle of a family function and you'll tell SIL to give her a call. Then close the door and walk away
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: JoyinVirginia on February 20, 2013, 11:13:45 PM
”sil, the Easter get together will be for family only. Do not ask gf over to my house.”
If she shows up at your door anyway ” this get together is for family only, sil should have told you. you will have to leave now and visit with sil another time.”
Practice saying both of these in the mirror. I have a feeling you may need to say both things. Unemotionally, just the facts.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 20, 2013, 11:56:27 PM
Call her about some other premise - check on when she's getting into town, or just to chat, or whatever.  Then drop in something like:

"Hey SIL, I also wanted to make sure you knew that if you want to make time to see GF this visit, to please arrange that ahead of time.  My Easter get-together is one of the few times I get to see you and the last several times GF has shown up at my gatherings, it felt kind of awkward.  She doesn't know me or DH or the kids so she spends all her time with you, which I know you look forward to, but it also means I and the family don't get to spend that time with you.  I'd really like to get to actually talk to you this year without having to be a hostess for someone I don't really know."
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Sophia on February 20, 2013, 11:59:49 PM
I think the easiest most effective method would be to tell SIL ahead of time on the phone.  I think an invitation would be too subtle for SIL.  Since saying something over the phone is scary to the OP, turning either of them away at the door isn't really likely to happen. 

The part that would really annoy me would be SIL basically using me as a free restaurant to visit with her friend.  It sounds like SIL is physically there, but really more interested in spending time with the friend. 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: kudeebee on February 21, 2013, 01:57:25 AM
I agree to call SIL ahead of time and tell her not to invite GF to the Easter event.  I think you will need to be very direct with her so that she doesn't think it is her choice whether to invite GF or not.  "SIL, we are looking forward to seeing you at Easter.  I do want to let you know that we want to keep this party family only, so do not invite GF to the party.  If you want to see her, you will have to make other arrangements.  Now, when will you be getting into town?"
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: cicero on February 21, 2013, 04:27:01 AM
OP, maybe you can borrow my dad.  When I was growing up, if people dropped in, unannounced and uninvited, at a meal time, he would politely chat for a bit, then rise, go towards the door and tell them "it was nice of you to drop by, but it is the families dinner time.  Call me, and we can make plans to get together soon."  Polite, but let them know how my dad felt about unannounced 'guests'.
OP you could use something like this if she actually does show up.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: strawbabies on February 21, 2013, 09:59:22 AM
I agree to call SIL ahead of time and tell her not to invite GF to the Easter event.  I think you will need to be very direct with her so that she doesn't think it is her choice whether to invite GF or not.  "SIL, we are looking forward to seeing you at Easter.  I do want to let you know that we want to keep this party family only, so do not invite GF to the party.  If you want to see her, you will have to make other arrangements.  Now, when will you be getting into town?"
I agree with this. 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: twiggy on February 21, 2013, 12:56:22 PM
I think the easiest most effective method would be to tell SIL ahead of time on the phone.  I think an invitation would be too subtle for SIL.  Since saying something over the phone is scary to the OP, turning either of them away at the door isn't really likely to happen. 

The part that would really annoy me would be SIL basically using me as a free restaurant to visit with her friend.  It sounds like SIL is physically there, but really more interested in spending time with the friend. 

^^sad right? :'(

I have a hard time being direct, and standing up for myself. As a kid I became fluent in passive aggressive so that I could vent frustration without being overt enough to get the stuffing beaten out of me.

I did end up calling SIL this morning. I started by saying that we're looking forward to their visit, and asked what her plans are during her visit (almost a week) and told her that I would love to get the kids together in addition to the Baby Blessing on Easter Sunday, but I know that she's always so busy. We chatted for a while, and I specifically asked her when is she going to get together with Good Friend and her kiddos. She didn't have plans yet, but was sure that she would find time. Then I took a deep breath and told SIL that I hope she gets a chance to visit with her friend, but that GF isn't invited to the house on Sunday. At first she was indignant and confused, like why was I even saying that, SIL would never invite GF to a Blessing luncheon, that's for Baby. I brought up the graduation party and she pointed out "that was at a park." So apparently SIL would never invite someone to an event with a GOH, but anything that happens at a park is open to the public.  ::) Shortly after that 'the dog was getting into the garbage can' so I had to go. I'm glad it's done, but now I'm stressing out worrying that either 1. MIL will call and tell me how sad SIL is; 2. MIL will call DH and tell him that I really upset SIL; or 3. SIL will call DH and ask why I hate her so much.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: kakack on February 21, 2013, 02:06:35 PM
I think the easiest most effective method would be to tell SIL ahead of time on the phone.  I think an invitation would be too subtle for SIL.  Since saying something over the phone is scary to the OP, turning either of them away at the door isn't really likely to happen. 

The part that would really annoy me would be SIL basically using me as a free restaurant to visit with her friend.  It sounds like SIL is physically there, but really more interested in spending time with the friend. 

^^sad right? :'(

I have a hard time being direct, and standing up for myself. As a kid I became fluent in passive aggressive so that I could vent frustration without being overt enough to get the stuffing beaten out of me.

I did end up calling SIL this morning. I started by saying that we're looking forward to their visit, and asked what her plans are during her visit (almost a week) and told her that I would love to get the kids together in addition to the Baby Blessing on Easter Sunday, but I know that she's always so busy. We chatted for a while, and I specifically asked her when is she going to get together with Good Friend and her kiddos. She didn't have plans yet, but was sure that she would find time. Then I took a deep breath and told SIL that I hope she gets a chance to visit with her friend, but that GF isn't invited to the house on Sunday. At first she was indignant and confused, like why was I even saying that, SIL would never invite GF to a Blessing luncheon, that's for Baby. I brought up the graduation party and she pointed out "that was at a park." So apparently SIL would never invite someone to an event with a GOH, but anything that happens at a park is open to the public.  ::) Shortly after that 'the dog was getting into the garbage can' so I had to go. I'm glad it's done, but now I'm stressing out worrying that either 1. MIL will call and tell me how sad SIL is; 2. MIL will call DH and tell him that I really upset SIL; or 3. SIL will call DH and ask why I hate her so much.

So a graduation party doesn't have a GOH?  What does she think the graduate is?
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Deetee on February 21, 2013, 02:16:00 PM
I'm glad it's done, but now I'm stressing out worrying that either 1. MIL will call and tell me how sad SIL is; 2. MIL will call DH and tell him that I really upset SIL; or 3. SIL will call DH and ask why I hate her so much.

Not your problem. Not your problem. Not your problem.

Actually I take that back. Please call your DH. Tell him you talked to SIL and it was hard but you did it (Go You!). Tell him you are a little shook up and you really need his help with this. Tell him that if your MIL or SIL call him you NEED him to totally and openly have your back on this and to let them know that a) He COMPLETELY supports your decision. b) He thinks it's reasonable. c) He is glad that you were clear about it before it became anyone got invited. (Basically let him protect you a bit and make it clear that you want that)

Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Redneck Gravy on February 21, 2013, 02:42:57 PM
I'm glad it's done, but now I'm stressing out worrying that either 1. MIL will call and tell me how sad SIL is; 2. MIL will call DH and tell him that I really upset SIL; or 3. SIL will call DH and ask why I hate her so much.

Not your problem. Not your problem. Not your problem.

Actually I take that back. Please call your DH. Tell him you talked to SIL and it was hard but you did it (Go You!). Tell him you are a little shook up and you really need his help with this. Tell him that if your MIL or SIL call him you NEED him to totally and openly have your back on this and to let them know that a) He COMPLETELY supports your decision. b) He thinks it's reasonable. c) He is glad that you were clear about it before it became anyone got invited. (Basically let him protect you a bit and make it clear that you want that)

POD

He shouldn't have to be told but I would just to be sure he is clear on this. 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: kudeebee on February 21, 2013, 02:54:12 PM
I'm glad it's done, but now I'm stressing out worrying that either 1. MIL will call and tell me how sad SIL is; 2. MIL will call DH and tell him that I really upset SIL; or 3. SIL will call DH and ask why I hate her so much.

Not your problem. Not your problem. Not your problem.

Actually I take that back. Please call your DH. Tell him you talked to SIL and it was hard but you did it (Go You!). Tell him you are a little shook up and you really need his help with this. Tell him that if your MIL or SIL call him you NEED him to totally and openly have your back on this and to let them know that a) He COMPLETELY supports your decision. this is a decision that the two of you made together about inviting GF to family get togethersb) He thinks it's reasonable. c) He is glad that you were clear about it before it became anyone Gf or anyone else besides those on your invite listgot invited. (Basically let him protect you a bit and make it clear that you want that)

I agree with the above, but would make the changes in red.  DH needs to make it clear to mil that this is a decision that the two of you made together.  He needs to let her know that you are a united front.  He also needs to tell MIL that he is sorry SIL is disappointed but she can make other arrangements to meet with GF and that you do not hate SIL and it is silly to think that just because the two of you want to have the celebration remain just your family/close friends.  You are not friends with Gf so why would she be on the list.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: doodlemor on February 21, 2013, 03:27:40 PM
I agree with the PP who say that you need to call DH and tell him to have your back.

If any of those 3 scenarios develop you and DH need to be completely, thoroughly, utterly astounded that SIL would make such illogical deductions.  Don't give in and acknowledge that such behavior deserves an apology from you, or even much discussion.

"Why in the world should SIL be sad?  She has all week to visit her friend."

"That's bizarre.  Why should SIL be upset by the arrangements for our child's party?"

"Nonsense.  Twiggy is looking forward to seeing her during the visit."

Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: EllenS on February 21, 2013, 04:26:02 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: *inviteseller on February 21, 2013, 04:32:16 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
I don't feel sorry for her at all.  She obviously has her own family so she should be spending holidays with them.  From OP's posts, the GF has not made any effort to get to know anyone but the SIL and her DH.  If I was going to continuously show up at these events, I would be bringing something, dessert perhaps, and I would socialize with the whole family.  They are just using the OP as a meeting place.

WTG Twiggy !  It is not easy to have a spine o' steel with family, but you did it, you did it politely, and now just get ready to enjoy your baby's blessing.  I POD the other posters who say to let hubby know what you said so if he gets a call, he is ready.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Twik on February 21, 2013, 05:47:09 PM
Would it be easier to just assume she is coming and prepare the food for that?


I suppose it is "easier" to allow guests to invite third parties to your functions, without speaking up. But easier is not always best.

The SIL has been doing something that is expressly against etiquette, and which has not only annoyed the OP but cost her time and money. The solution should not be to shrug and accept it.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Kaypeep on February 21, 2013, 07:32:12 PM
Would it be easier to just assume she is coming and prepare the food for that?


I suppose it is "easier" to allow guests to invite third parties to your functions, without speaking up. But easier is not always best.

The SIL has been doing something that is expressly against etiquette, and which has not only annoyed the OP but cost her time and money. The solution should not be to shrug and accept it.

Exactly.  And it's not just the friend, it's her kids, too. (and husband?)  This is 3 or 4 people.  And what's to stop SIL from inviting other old friends to visit at OP's while she's in town?  Where does it end?

Bravo OP for making that call.  I hope SIL doesn't stir up any drama but if she does, DH should have your back on this one.  SIL seems to forget it was't just the graduation party but xmas and other events as well.  Enough is enough.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: AnnaJ on February 21, 2013, 08:03:05 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
I don't feel sorry for her at all.  She obviously has her own family so she should be spending holidays with them.  From OP's posts, the GF has not made any effort to get to know anyone but the SIL and her DH.  If I was going to continuously show up at these events, I would be bringing something, dessert perhaps, and I would socialize with the whole family.  They are just using the OP as a meeting place.

WTG Twiggy !  It is not easy to have a spine o' steel with family, but you did it, you did it politely, and now just get ready to enjoy your baby's blessing.  I POD the other posters who say to let hubby know what you said so if he gets a call, he is ready.

There are many people who do not spend holidays with families - several posters here included - and instead spend them with friends.  In this case the friend had two children, so arguably she wouldn't be alone on holidays; however, do you think that anyone without a family, or who doesn't get along with their family, or lives away from family should spend their holidays alone because it's rude to spend the holidays with someone else's family?  I don't, my family didn't, and fortunately my friends and their families do not.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Poppea on February 21, 2013, 09:23:28 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
I don't feel sorry for her at all.  She obviously has her own family so she should be spending holidays with them.  From OP's posts, the GF has not made any effort to get to know anyone but the SIL and her DH.  If I was going to continuously show up at these events, I would be bringing something, dessert perhaps, and I would socialize with the whole family.  They are just using the OP as a meeting place.

WTG Twiggy !  It is not easy to have a spine o' steel with family, but you did it, you did it politely, and now just get ready to enjoy your baby's blessing.  I POD the other posters who say to let hubby know what you said so if he gets a call, he is ready.

There are many people who do not spend holidays with families - several posters here included - and instead spend them with friends.  In this case the friend had two children, so arguably she wouldn't be alone on holidays; however, do you think that anyone without a family, or who doesn't get along with their family, or lives away from family should spend their holidays alone because it's rude to spend the holidays with someone else's family?  I don't, my family didn't, and fortunately my friends and their families do not.

I think that its not the OP's problem where the SIL's friend spends her holidays. 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: *inviteseller on February 21, 2013, 09:44:01 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
I don't feel sorry for her at all.  She obviously has her own family so she should be spending holidays with them.  From OP's posts, the GF has not made any effort to get to know anyone but the SIL and her DH.  If I was going to continuously show up at these events, I would be bringing something, dessert perhaps, and I would socialize with the whole family.  They are just using the OP as a meeting place.

WTG Twiggy !  It is not easy to have a spine o' steel with family, but you did it, you did it politely, and now just get ready to enjoy your baby's blessing.  I POD the other posters who say to let hubby know what you said so if he gets a call, he is ready.

There are many people who do not spend holidays with families - several posters here included - and instead spend them with friends.  In this case the friend had two children, so arguably she wouldn't be alone on holidays; however, do you think that anyone without a family, or who doesn't get along with their family, or lives away from family should spend their holidays alone because it's rude to spend the holidays with someone else's family?  I don't, my family didn't, and fortunately my friends and their families do not.
The problem is, she is NOT being invited by the OP because her and her kids have no where to go for holidays, she is showing up just to socialize with SIL, and mooching off OP.  I think one of the kindest things to do is invite those you know who may be alone to join you for a meal on a holiday, but this does not seem to be the case here. This is, from the OP a married woman with 2 kids, so there's a family.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: weeblewobble on February 21, 2013, 10:30:34 PM
Also, pretending not to know why you think SIL would DO such a thing as inviting someone to one of your family's parties, is classic gaslighting technique.  It allows her to

1. Disavow any fault.  (She doesn't even know what you're talking about!)

2. Be insulted that you would think she is rude.  (She goes on the offensive, making you defensive - when it's her behavior causing the problem in the first place.)

3. Pretend ignorance, so she might be able to get away with it again.  (Ohhhh, I didn't realize you meant you didn't want me to invite GF to ALL family parties, I thought you just wanted her to stay away from the blessing party.) 

My DH's aunt used to invite whatever random person who crossed her path to holiday meals.  It was just as awkward as the OP described. If any of aunt's contemporaries (the hosts) started to mention "limited the guest list" aunt would interrupt to tell the tragic story of her coworker/church acquaintance/guy she met at a gas station and how she invited this person to Christmas because she ONLY WANT TO HELP them by providing a place for them to celebrate the holiday.  (which she wasn't hosting.)  So the hosts dropped the subject and aunt continued as she pleased. As the younger generation married and had kids, there was less and less room for the extra people. So the hosts worked up the nerve to tell her no more random guests. 

Aunt was incensed that the hosts would suggest she could do such a thing!  She would never put the hosts out like that!   All of those extra people she'd invited over the years?  They were exceptions due to XYZ.  (Like, "but that was at the park!")  Hosts were left confused, but at least the random extra people at holidays came to an end.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: twiggy on February 21, 2013, 11:01:25 PM
I think you are doing the right thing, but I can't help feeling sorry for GF.  I mean, from her perspective she was invited by a family member to family events - and probably told by SIL that "of course, you're welcome!  You're my friend!". 

Of course, it was not SIL's right to do so, but I mean - she's spending nearly every major holiday for apparently YEARS at your house, and suddenly she is told that she's not welcome (and I'm not sure SIL will be gracious about it).  Not your problem, but like I said, I just feel bad for her.  How awful to realize after the fact that you were not wanted.  Ugh.

How unfair of SIL to put her friend in the middle like that.
I don't feel sorry for her at all.  She obviously has her own family so she should be spending holidays with them.  From OP's posts, the GF has not made any effort to get to know anyone but the SIL and her DH.  If I was going to continuously show up at these events, I would be bringing something, dessert perhaps, and I would socialize with the whole family.  They are just using the OP as a meeting place.

WTG Twiggy !  It is not easy to have a spine o' steel with family, but you did it, you did it politely, and now just get ready to enjoy your baby's blessing.  I POD the other posters who say to let hubby know what you said so if he gets a call, he is ready.

There are many people who do not spend holidays with families - several posters here included - and instead spend them with friends.  In this case the friend had two children, so arguably she wouldn't be alone on holidays; however, do you think that anyone without a family, or who doesn't get along with their family, or lives away from family should spend their holidays alone because it's rude to spend the holidays with someone else's family?  I don't, my family didn't, and fortunately my friends and their families do not.

I think that its not the OP's problem where the SIL's friend spends her holidays. 

^^Friend isn't spending the actual holiday day with us, just a day during the holiday season (to an outside perspective). Typically the out of staters spend Christmas Day at home and then travel here for the last week of December/first week of Jan time frame. So while it is DH Family Christmas Gathering, it's happening anywhere from Dec. 28- Jan. 9 so Friend may not even be picking up that it's a Holiday Dinner as opposed to big family gathering because people are in town. So I'm assuming that SIL is saying, "hey, we're having dinner at Twiggy's house, why don't you drop by" as opposed to "My family's Christmas Celebration is tomorrow. You should come"

DH is in my corner. He doesn't quite get why it's a big deal to me, but since it's a big deal to me, it's a deal to him. Last time SIL called to ask why I hate her, he let her vent, told her I don't hate her, and basically let her know that he didn't see a problem with what had gone down.
Which is a big change. He used to comfort her, roll his eyes, tell her how much we all love her, and that he was sure I wasn't trying to hurt her feelings, etc. etc. etc. Then when he finally got off the phone, he would ask me why I couldn't just play nice/apologize to keep the peace, even though it wasn't my fault. DH is the peacekeeper in his family.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: Poppea on February 22, 2013, 09:39:58 AM
Not that it really has much to do with the question at hand, but I wonder why the aunt (in one story) and the OP's SIL feel the need to invite others to family parties?  Do they see themselves as outsiders needing reinforcement?  Is it an ego thing, when they want their fangirl at the dinner?  Are they trying to show how generous they are (on someone else's dime).
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: sparksals on February 22, 2013, 11:04:58 AM
Later MIL was telling me how sad and depressed SIL was that Good Friend had ignored her, and I said I didn't really want to hear about it. MIL scolded a bit (not in a mean, bad way, it's just that sometimes she forgets that I'm not her actual child, and that I'm not a teenager for her to correct ::) though she did a lot more raising of me back in my teen years than my mother did) and told me that SIL only has a limited amount of time in Home State, and it's hard for her to make time for everyone. My response was that SIL could choose to spend her time any way she wanted, but if hanging out with her friend was more important than DH's celebration, I wished they would just go to lunch and save me the hassle of feeding everyone. It's like neither of them got that having Good Friend at the party, and socializing with her there meant that SIL was NOT socializing or celebrating with DH. Nor was she socializing with the rest of the extended family: aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, kiddos.


The bolded is what jumped out at me in the story, it sounds as though you spent a lot of time as a teenager with your future inlaws.  If so, there may be a pattern of the family believing that friends are welcome at family gatherings.  Given that your MIL doesn't agree with your assessment of SIL, it sounds like a difference of expectation.  Maybe it would help to ask yourself if you, as a friend of your future husband, would have been welcome at family graduation parties or baby blessings when you weren't family yourself.  That doesn't mean you need to invite your SIL's friend, but if such an invitation is the family norm you need to be prepared for some fallout.

 I disagree.  The OP as hostess has the right to establish and maintain her own norm.  The ILs can't expect her to pick up every single tradition of theirs.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: sparksals on February 22, 2013, 11:08:45 AM
While I agree with others that SIL was rude to invite Good Friend in the first place without ever asking OP, were I in the OP's situation, I would seriously consider if it was really worth it to me to address this. Here's my thinking:
1. This has clearly been a practice for awhile and gone unaddressed making it a bit of a tradition.
2. This is one person. The same person. It's not like SIL invites whomever she wants whenever she wants. I don't see that it requires much if any extra effort on the OP's part.

Because this has been happening for some time, it seems to me the potential fallout is pretty certain and probably not going to be minor. To me, it wouldn't be worth addressing at this point. But that is for the OP to decide.

OP, if you want to put a stop to this and are okay with whatever fallout may follow, I'd proactively contact SIL and say you'd like to keep Easter family only and would appreciate if she checks with you before inviting Good Friend  does not invite friend to future gatherings.


I think this is a good way to address it.  I don't understand what fallout could happen.  This is the OP's home with her DH.  She goes to get time, effort and expense to entertain the entire family.  It is not her job to make room for SIL's friend at her gatherings.  The family doesn't seem to be thinking how this situation makes the OP feel.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: sparksals on February 22, 2013, 11:12:28 AM
My reasoning is that I don't know her. DH doesn't know her. FIL doesn't know her. YSIL doesn't know her. OBIL doesn't know her. The only people she knows are SIL/BIL and MIL. And I'm tired of providing a venue for SIL's socialization. Friend has shown up for many, but not all Events, and I don't recall anyone having missed her.

The year I ate a cold dinner, I really was worried that there wouldn't be enough food. I had planned on X number of people, then Grandpa and Grandma were in town. Then YSIL was able to get off work early, so her family of 3 was able to make it. 4 adults and a toddler ate up (no pun intended) most of my 'food cushion' then there was another adult and 2 more kids.

The more I think about this, the more upset I am with SIL. This is a pattern for her, and I think that it's not so much about this particular person, as it is about setting limits for SIL and not letting her walk all over me. I can provide examples, but I don't want to start ranting/venting.

So, looks like I need to make a phone call and make sure that SIL knows I don't want her to invite her friend. If she does it anyway, what do I do then? I have never turned her away at the door, and I don't think I could bring myself to do it if I wanted to.

I'm with you on all counts. Your SIL is being extremely disrespectful to you and is pushing major boundaries.   

She would be pretty brazen to invite her anyway.  If she does, I think your DH needs to sit SIL down and have a very serious talk with her. 
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: sparksals on February 22, 2013, 11:15:21 AM
OP, it sounds like this goes beyond this one example and you're using this as grounds to begin setting boundaries for SIL. More power to you. I do want to point out though that it is not SIL's fault or responsibility that your grandparents or YSIL's plans changed in the example you provided.

Again, she is only responsible for inviting Good Friend and it is up to you if that is something you want to address.

If she does invite Good Friend, like you, I probably would not turn her away. It's not her fault after all. She was invited. Just not by you. But afterwards I'd let SIL know that was unacceptable and if she can't respect your wishes, she will no longer be invited either.

Actually, the GF should not be showing up on the SILs invitation since she is not the hostess.  We have discussed many times 2nd hand invitations and it is not polite to accept them.
Title: Re: Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit
Post by: sparksals on February 22, 2013, 11:19:38 AM
Why are you going to all this work? Tell everyone coming that you are going out to eat for Easter/blessing. Everyone pays their own way. Ask for a number and you'll make reservations. On any other nights that the family is getting together, order pizza or a large subway sub. Don't make it so hard.

It sounds like the OP likes to host more formal events.  It would be extremely ungracious and against etiquette to invite people and then expect them to pay.