Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: nuit93 on October 08, 2013, 03:41:42 PM

Title: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: nuit93 on October 08, 2013, 03:41:42 PM
Last weekend I attended a baby shower for one of my cousins.  The invitation was emailed and my name was the only one on it, so like every single other shower I'd been to (or even heard of), I assumed it was ladies' only.  There was nothing on the invite to indicate that families/SO's were welcome to attend also.

So, I went by myself--and found I was the only one who had!  Everyone else had their entire families with them: children, spouses, etc.  Nothing in the invite indicated that this was a family event.  I've been living with my b/f for over seven years and we've always been invited to events as a unit before, so I was extremely surprised and a bit hurt by this.

Several people asked where he was so I politely lied and said he couldn't make it rather than state that we didn't know he was invited (which was partially true as he did end up having other plans that afternoon but would have liked to have made it to the party if he could have). 

Should I have said something to one of the hosts?  One of them (my sister) has my b/f's contact information and had plenty of opportunities to let me know that "oh, yea, of course he's invited also!" so he could have been sent an invite.  Or should I not have assumed that baby shower=smaller, ladies' only gathering?
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: NyaChan on October 08, 2013, 03:49:46 PM
I can't imagine why you would have thought he was invited under those circumstances.  I don't think it was necessary for you to lie at all.  It would not have been rude to say that you did not realize that the shower was a family event rather than a ladies party as the invitation only mentioned you by name.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Carotte on October 08, 2013, 04:06:56 PM
Oh, I know how you feel, well, mostly how your BF feels or felt or whathaveyou, with a twist.
Clearly you couldn't know it was a whole-familly thing if it was never the case before.
I think you were right with your little white lie, no need to make a big deal of it.
Unless you (general) felt that you or your SO was actually snubbed and not putting his/her name on the invite was deliberate and a reoccurring problem it's easier to let it pass and learn to check for next time.


I said I know the awkwardness with a twist because when my own BF tells me/invite me to a diner night or a BBQ with his colleagues or to diner with his father (who sometimes visits our city but stay in an hotel) or a weekend at his gran-pa house, I never know off the bat if the host actually invited me or if it's my SO assuming I was.
I'd be horrified meeting his dad or family and getting a "what is she doing here?" look.
Now I just ask him point blank if I was or not, blunt is a language he understand best :), sometimes he doesn't know if significant others where actually invited/expected.
(And even if I am indeed invited I'll decline a diner with only his work colleagues, I'd end up borred out of my mind   ;D)
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: nuit93 on October 08, 2013, 04:16:58 PM
I can't imagine why you would have thought he was invited under those circumstances.  I don't think it was necessary for you to lie at all.  It would not have been rude to say that you did not realize that the shower was a family event rather than a ladies party as the invitation only mentioned you by name.

It's kind of instinctual for me to tell a "little white lie to keep the peace".  I wanted to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an oversight, plus I didn't want to deal with a potential fallout reaction of "how DARE you make your sister look like a bad host!".

Also, I really wasn't sure what typical baby showers were like.  My experience had been that they were ladies' only events, but this was more like a family reunion.  Is this a universal thing?
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: sweetonsno on October 08, 2013, 04:25:09 PM
I don't think you were wrong for thinking that your boyfriend wasn't invited. You made the safe assumption. I agree that you didn't have to lie, though I can see why it may have been the more comfortable choice.

However, I think it's a mistake to assume that this was a deliberate slight rather than an oversight. Unless there's bad blood between your boyfriend and the host/guest of honor, it was probably simply an error. If the host thought that they'd emailed him an invitation (or included him on yours), I don't think they would mention to you that he was invited unless you had specifically asked for clarification. A second possibility is that the host did originally intend for it to be ladies only and the guests either assumed that it was a family event or asked if they could bring their charges along. The host may have been perfectly okay with this and just said, "Sure thing!" or she may have just not wanted to say no.

My point is that while I totally understand being sad that you couldn't share this event with your sweetie, I don't think you should assume that your friends don't like your boyfriend and/or don't honor your relationship with him. You're usually treated as a social unit, which makes me think that your friends see you as one. This was really probably just a mistake.

My vote is to let this one go. If one of the hosts or the GOH had asked where he was, I think a good response would have been, "When I got the invitation, I assumed it was a ladies' only event. Too bad, I know he would have enjoyed celebrating!" But I don't think it would have been good to say that he wasn't invited unless you knew for a fact that had been the intention. (Even in that case, doing so likely would have put a bit of a damper on everyone's good mood.)

In the future, I think you can make polite inquiries if you aren't sure about an event. If you want to go subtle, use the singular first person a bit more heavily than usual. If the host asks after boyfriend, say, "Oh, is he invited, too? He didn't mention getting an email. I'll tell him to check his spam folder. I'm sure he'd love to come. I'll have him call you."
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: *inviteseller on October 08, 2013, 08:36:01 PM
It seems a bit strange that it was like a family reunion, but you were not told this ahead of time and bf was not invited.  Did your sister ask you, at the party where bf was and apologize for not making it clear the invite was for you both?  If not, I would begin to wonder what she was thinking to invite everyone but him.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Zizi-K on October 08, 2013, 09:16:23 PM
If your sister was one of the hosts, why don't you just ask her? I don't know that there's anything wrong with a light "Hey, I was really confused to show up to the party expecting an all-ladies shower and instead finding everyone with their partners and families! What happened there?" It's possible that you did miss an insert, a text, a note, or an aside that would have communicated this to you. And if your BF is generally included and liked by family and friends, it probably was an oversight that could be explained away. However, this question does open you up if it is the case that they don't like him. "Well, after he got wasted and jumped in the pool fully clothed at Aunt Myrtle's, we thought it best he sit this one out."
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 08, 2013, 09:20:36 PM
You definitely weren't rude for assuming your boyfriend wasn't invited!

However, I wouldn't have lied to people about your boyfriend being unable to attend - I would have simply replied "I assumed this was a girls only event". You could have even added "The invitation was only addressed to me."

I also think it's odd how everyone else's partner and family was invited, but your boyfriend wasn't. I'd definitely ask your sister about it!
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: nuit93 on October 08, 2013, 09:21:05 PM
My sister did mention that she was bringing her husband, but this was well after my own BF had already ended up making other plans.  BIL made it sound more like he was being dragged to the party which was why I'd also been under the impression it wasn't a 'bring the whole family' event.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Zizi-K on October 08, 2013, 09:25:43 PM
My sister did mention that she was bringing her husband, but this was well after my own BF had already ended up making other plans.  BIL made it sound more like he was being dragged to the party which was why I'd also been under the impression it wasn't a 'bring the whole family' event.

Still, she didn't make it clear that YOUR boyfriend was invited, so my advice still stands - ask her!
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: RegionMom on October 08, 2013, 09:36:27 PM
Most of the baby showers I have been to have been ladies only, or they were with our Sunday School class and then it was couples.

Just last weekend, I helped host a shower, and several of the guests had asked the home hostess if their DDs could attend, age ranged from 11 to college.

My DD was out of town, and I doubt she would have enjoyed oohing and ahhing over diaper organizers and baby clothes, but I was surprised at the extra number the daughters added.  (Had planned games, and the girls added 5 unexpected people! So I had most of the games with adults only, or a few adults graciously shared with their DD)

Anyway, you cannot know to ask beforehand what you did not know about.  I guess next time, you will know to ask. 
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Itza on October 09, 2013, 04:07:06 AM
I don't think you were wrong for thinking that your boyfriend wasn't invited. You made the safe assumption. I agree that you didn't have to lie, though I can see why it may have been the more comfortable choice.

However, I think it's a mistake to assume that this was a deliberate slight rather than an oversight. Unless there's bad blood between your boyfriend and the host/guest of honor, it was probably simply an error. If the host thought that they'd emailed him an invitation (or included him on yours), I don't think they would mention to you that he was invited unless you had specifically asked for clarification. A second possibility is that the host did originally intend for it to be ladies only and the guests either assumed that it was a family event or asked if they could bring their charges along. The host may have been perfectly okay with this and just said, "Sure thing!" or she may have just not wanted to say no.

My point is that while I totally understand being sad that you couldn't share this event with your sweetie, I don't think you should assume that your friends don't like your boyfriend and/or don't honor your relationship with him. You're usually treated as a social unit, which makes me think that your friends see you as one. This was really probably just a mistake.

My vote is to let this one go. If one of the hosts or the GOH had asked where he was, I think a good response would have been, "When I got the invitation, I assumed it was a ladies' only event. Too bad, I know he would have enjoyed celebrating!" But I don't think it would have been good to say that he wasn't invited unless you knew for a fact that had been the intention. (Even in that case, doing so likely would have put a bit of a damper on everyone's good mood.)

In the future, I think you can make polite inquiries if you aren't sure about an event. If you want to go subtle, use the singular first person a bit more heavily than usual. If the host asks after boyfriend, say, "Oh, is he invited, too? He didn't mention getting an email. I'll tell him to check his spam folder. I'm sure he'd love to come. I'll have him call you."

I'm confused. I don't see anywhere where the OP has made these assumptions.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: bopper on October 09, 2013, 08:16:16 AM
Sometimes in my family the couple will drive over together, and then the men will go do something else.  It wouldn't be assumed to be a couples shower unless it was stated that way in the invite.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: lowspark on October 09, 2013, 09:00:02 AM
I don't think you were wrong to assume it was a females only event.

But at this point, I would definitely talk to your sister and see what happened. Was it a mistake, as in, she meant to put him on the invitation but he somehow got left off? Or was it deliberate, as in, in sis's eyes, he's not part of the family?

I don't think there's anything wrong with asking the hosts in advance of an event like this in the future. "Is this females only or are the guys invited too?" I've gotten asked that question on parties I've hosted and I just give the answer and it's accepted. But I can certainly see, for a baby shower especially, not even thinking to ask.

If it was indeed, just an oversight, it's no big deal, these things happen. But if he was deliberately not invited, it's probably time to clear this up for the future. Since you've always been invited together before, it sounds like it was just an oversight. But at least sis should know so she'll be more careful in the future.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: lmyrs on October 09, 2013, 01:28:24 PM
It's odd that every single other person at the party knew it was a family event so I'd wonder if you didn't miss a note or an insert or some subtext somewhere that everyone else understood and then just assumed that you also understood it. So, I'd ask your sister if it is normal for showers to be family events in your family or if you missed something obvious so you don't miss it next time.

My sister did mention that she was bringing her husband, but this was well after my own BF had already ended up making other plans.  BIL made it sound more like he was being dragged to the party which was why I'd also been under the impression it wasn't a 'bring the whole family' event.

I understand that by this time, your BF already had plans so it was too late. But, this interaction with your sister and BIL should have been taken as proof positive that this wasn't ladies only. Once your BIL is being "dragged" to an event, it is definitely not ladies only. I'm a bit confused about why you still thought it was ladies only once you knew your BIL was going to be there.

That all said, I'm not trying to blame you for the mix up at all. I just think that you should take it as a learning opportunity to figure out what signals were out there that you didn't know about so it doesn't happen again.

And, if it all turns out that your BF was deliberately not invited because your sister thinks he has cooties or something, well then you can move on with that understanding and decided where to go from there. But, until you know, you'll just tie yourself in knots wondering.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Sharnita on October 09, 2013, 01:34:23 PM
"I got the e-vite and I guess I misread it or something because I didn't realize this was co-ed"
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: sweetonsno on October 09, 2013, 01:41:31 PM
I don't think you were wrong for thinking that your boyfriend wasn't invited. You made the safe assumption. I agree that you didn't have to lie, though I can see why it may have been the more comfortable choice.

However, I think it's a mistake to assume that this was a deliberate slight rather than an oversight. Unless there's bad blood between your boyfriend and the host/guest of honor, it was probably simply an error. If the host thought that they'd emailed him an invitation (or included him on yours), I don't think they would mention to you that he was invited unless you had specifically asked for clarification. A second possibility is that the host did originally intend for it to be ladies only and the guests either assumed that it was a family event or asked if they could bring their charges along. The host may have been perfectly okay with this and just said, "Sure thing!" or she may have just not wanted to say no.

My point is that while I totally understand being sad that you couldn't share this event with your sweetie, I don't think you should assume that your friends don't like your boyfriend and/or don't honor your relationship with him. You're usually treated as a social unit, which makes me think that your friends see you as one. This was really probably just a mistake.

My vote is to let this one go. If one of the hosts or the GOH had asked where he was, I think a good response would have been, "When I got the invitation, I assumed it was a ladies' only event. Too bad, I know he would have enjoyed celebrating!" But I don't think it would have been good to say that he wasn't invited unless you knew for a fact that had been the intention. (Even in that case, doing so likely would have put a bit of a damper on everyone's good mood.)

In the future, I think you can make polite inquiries if you aren't sure about an event. If you want to go subtle, use the singular first person a bit more heavily than usual. If the host asks after boyfriend, say, "Oh, is he invited, too? He didn't mention getting an email. I'll tell him to check his spam folder. I'm sure he'd love to come. I'll have him call you."

I'm confused. I don't see anywhere where the OP has made these assumptions.

The OP said that she felt hurt. I understood that to mean that she thought her BF was being deliberately excluded.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: bopper on October 11, 2013, 07:56:47 AM
"Oh, we didn't know he was invited! The invitation was only addressed to me."
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?" UPDATE
Post by: nuit93 on October 11, 2013, 10:46:08 AM
So, I asked my sister about it the other day.  She hadn't written the invites, one of the other hosts did that.

She went on the defensive at first and asked if I was implying something underhanded, I assured her I wasn't and that there were no hard feelings, I just was requesting clarification.

None of the males had apparently received personal invites, but all three hosts had thought it would be obvious that since the invite read "Cousin and Cousin's husband baby shower" that people would know it was a family event (as opposed to "Cousin's baby shower" which would imply it was a ladies' only event).  I read the invite again and while it did read "C and C's H" in the title, there was still nothing indicating "bring the family!".

So, looks like either an oversight or a miscommunication--which is what I'd kind of figured all along.  I kind of feel silly having asked my sister for clarification in the first place since I guess it was obvious to everyone but me that it was an open event.  Oh well!
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: lowspark on October 11, 2013, 10:52:56 AM
Yeah, I have to say that if the invitation read "Suzy & Bob's Baby Shower" I'd probably assume it meant couples were invited. At minimum, I probably would have asked when sending in my reply. Oh, and even more so when I found out your sister's husband was going. These two things together really do point to it being an invitation to you both.

I wouldn't have expected a separate email to both of our email addresses either. So I think it was definitely a misunderstanding of the invitation.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: WillyNilly on October 11, 2013, 11:08:42 AM
I absolutely would not have gotten the hidden hint it was a co-ed deal just because it said "Suzy & Bob's Baby Shower". I would have assumed that Bob's name was there simply to identify which Suzy out of all the possible Suzys a person might know it was. Maybe its because I have a ridiculously common name so I always am clarified by a last name or my husbands name or by what organization I'm from, etc, so I just assume other people are clarifying names.

To me a baby shower is always a female only event unless very explicitly and specifically stated as otherwise.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: rose red on October 11, 2013, 01:26:06 PM
I went to a baby shower where the husband and the couple's dads were there (formal lunch, gifts, no games), but everybody else invited were just women.  So I would have still concluded the OP's invitation was only for the OP, no plus one. 
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: EllenS on October 11, 2013, 01:38:14 PM
I would have found the wording "Suzy & Bob's Baby Shower" confusing.  I would not be sure if it meant couples were welcome, or that it was for Suzy & Bob's baby. 

Invitations for both of us usually are addressed to both of us. 

Most baby showers I have been to were women only.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: nuit93 on October 11, 2013, 01:51:41 PM
Interesting...I'm glad to know I'm not the only one (well, aside from the rest of the party attendees) who would have been confused by that!
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: esposita on October 11, 2013, 02:04:05 PM
I'm with lowspark. If his name were included in the party's title, that would make him a guest of honor and I would guess that other men, if not the whole family, were invited.

Since it was an e-vite, perhaps it wasn't able to be formatted to have both of your names in the subject line?
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: nuit93 on October 11, 2013, 02:22:29 PM
I think if I were the one issuing the invites, I would have either 1) put the names of spouses/SO's in the subject line, 2) gotten their email addresses so they could also be sent an invite, or 3) specified in the message body somehow that families were welcome.  At least that's what would have struck me as obvious, though with this being informal and not like, say, a wedding I can see why that might not have been done.

I didn't find out that BIL was going until a week before the event, when my BF had already lined up other plans.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Lynn2000 on October 11, 2013, 10:56:56 PM
I think you made a safe assumption, and I'm glad you checked with your sister, because "Suzy and Bob's Baby Shower" wouldn't necessarily have jumped out to me as a co-ed, bring the whole family cue. I think in the future, if a host is someone that close to you, it would be perfectly okay to ask, "Hey, is this co-ed or girls only?" Bridal and baby showers can go either way, I think, especially the more casual ones. Or you could ask about the general plan for the party--food, activities, etc. that might give you a clue. Just something to get a host talking about it. As long as you aren't saying, "Is Justin invited? He wants to come. Save a place for him next to me. And buy his favorite cookies." I think general inquiries are okay.
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Eeep! on October 12, 2013, 08:04:13 AM
I totally missed that it was an evite. I always get a bit befuddled who to send ether to if I'm inviting a couple because they have the ability to respond for themselves and add additional guests so if you send it to both people and one responds for both of then then the other person end up looking like they haven't responded. So I most odor send it to the member I am either closer to it that I know is better at responding.
I do agree that the organizers should have used the message feature to make it more clear. We had a coed sh owe and the hosts made sure it was really obvious so it wouldn't be confusing.
However, the wording with both of the couples name in the title probably would have made me look at the guest list to see how others were responding (assuming it was public).
Title: Re: "Where's your boyfriend?" "He...wasn't invited?"
Post by: Sharnita on October 12, 2013, 08:10:53 AM
No way on earth would I assume "Suzy and Bob's Baby Shower" meant that men were automatically invited.  I have been to plenty of baby showers where the dad was there but all the guests were women.  It might make me think of a gift that would appeal to to dads but other than that, it really misses the mark.

The problem is they want to make it easy on themselves - one email, no personalized names in the body of the message, etc.