Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: snappylt on December 09, 2013, 08:30:41 PM

Title: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: snappylt on December 09, 2013, 08:30:41 PM
EDITED TO ADD: UPDATE post #219.

One of my old friends started telling me the following story about something rude that happened at his family's most recent Thanksgiving dinner.

PLEASE NOTE: although our conversation was interrupted, and I never did hear the final outcome of the story, I think the etiquette issues it brings up are interesting enough to share what I did hear:


Back in early November my friend told me that his eldest aunt, who is 89, was planning to host what would probably be her last Thanksgiving meal in her own home later in the month.  (She is probably going to be moving to an assisted living apartment in January.)  She had announced to her extended family that she simply did not feel up to hosting as large a group as she had in the past, so this year, she was limiting her invitation to family members only.  No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members.

Well, one of my friend's cousins (let's call him "Larry") got very upset about their aunt's decision.  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. Even after talking with their aunt, Larry told my old friend that he didn't care what their aunt (the host) said, he was bringing his girlfriend no matter what.  My old friend told me that he had told Larry not to do that, that it would be very rude to bring a specifically not-invited guest.  My friend mentioned it to Larry's dad, too, who, my friend told me, was going to also tell Larry not to do that.


Last weekend I bumped into my old friend for the first time since Thanksgiving.  I asked him about his holiday.  He rolled his eyes and started to tell me that Larry did show up at their aunt's house with his new girlfriend even after their aunt (the host) and Larry's dad and my old friend all told Larry not to do that because this was a one-time family-only meal before their aunt goes into assisted living.

My old friend got started to tell me that when Larry and the uninvited girlfriend showed up at their aunt's door, their aunt got very upset and angry...

...and then someone else walked up and joined our conversation.  My friend changed the subject then, and I didn't get to hear the end of his story.  (Did their aunt calm down and allow Larry and his girlfriend to stay?  Did their aunt ask them to leave?  Next time I see my friend I'll want to hear the rest of the story!)


Here are my questions for any who care to share their opinions:

1.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly host to limit her invitations to family members only to keep her numbers down?  (I'm thinking if it is her dinner party she can invite whomever she pleases, and then they can decide whether or not they want to come.  But, are there different ways of looking at this?)

2.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly aunt to say "no" when Larry told her he wanted to bring his new girlfriend?

3.) Was it rude for my friend and Larry's dad to have shared their opinions with Larry, or should they have stayed out of the disagreement between the aunt and Larry?

4.) Larry was terribly rude to have brought his new girlfriend even after the host said no, wasn't he?  (I'm thinking the only polite thing Larry could have done was to have said, "I won't come without my girlfriend, so I will not be joining you this time," but do others disagree?)

5.) Once Larry did show up at the door, what were the elderly aunt's polite options at that point?  (I'm thinking that while it would have been gracious for the aunt to have invited the girlfriend in - it would have also been polite for the aunt to have said, in a polite tone of voice, as she ushered them out, "I am so sorry, but, as I explained to Larry, this is my last holiday in my own home, and I am limiting our day to family members only.  I am sorry you cannot join us today."  But what do other people think?)


Has this happened to anyone else?  How did you handle it?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 09, 2013, 08:44:13 PM
1) Yes, Aunt is entitled to invite whom she wishes, with the proviso that married, engaged, or cohabiting couples who are a publicly recognized social unit must be invited as a unit. 

2) Yes, Aunt is perfectly at liberty to clarify that Larry heard the invitation correctly.

3) It would be better for others to stay out of the discussion, but a private "please stop harassing and being rude to Elderly Aunt" is within bounds for a family relationship, IMO.

4) Yes, Larry was terribly rude to bring someone who was not invited.  As you say, if he did not wish to attend without NG, he had the option to not come.

5) I agree with your assessment - inviting the girlfriend in would be gracious, but if Aunt wishes to stick to her previously-stated limits, it is not by any means rude for her to do so.  I certainly hope she did not retaliate by creating a scene, but I can understand an elderly relative becoming visibly perturbed at having her wishes ignored and being put in such a terribly awkward position.

If, in fact, Larry and NG are already a social unit and the "new" factor is purely a matter of the family not accepting NG, or something, then that changes things - in that case Aunt would have been rude not to include NG.  However, that does not make it OK for Larry to drag her along (which is unkind to NG as well as obnoxious to Aunt.) If she were wrongfully excluded, the way for Larry to show support would be to spend the day with her doing something else, not force an ugly confrontation.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: lady_disdain on December 09, 2013, 09:08:57 PM
Inviting the girlfriend in, however, would send the message out that, yes, everyone can ignore Aunt's limits and would be rather unfair to those family members who did follow her clear invitations. If it had been a mistake, then it would have been gracious to invite them both in. However, Larry knew it and had been repeatedly told not to do it.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: doodlemor on December 09, 2013, 09:41:07 PM
Larry was totally rude in all of your questions.  I think that the aunt had every right to limit her party to those she wanted to invite.  In a family situation, I think that it was OK for Larry's dad and your friend to try and rectify the situation.  It sounds like Larry is a dunderhead.

When Larry and his new girlfriend showed up at the door, it may have been difficult to turn them away without putting a cloud over the Last Thanksgiving for the rest of the party.  Because of this, if I were the elderly aunt I would welcome them in, and kindly,charmingly befriend the girlfriend. 

Then, when the dinner was over, the claws would come out, and I'd play the dowager queen card.  I'd sweetly take girlfriend aside for a nice chat......... and tell her all of the dirt about Larry and his ex-wives. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 09, 2013, 09:53:18 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Allyson on December 09, 2013, 10:11:24 PM
Without knowing more details, I feel badly for the girlfriend, as I doubt Larry told her she was specifically not invited. How awkward would that be...either getting told to leave as not invited or allowed in grudgingly, eek.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 09, 2013, 10:22:56 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

I think Elderly Auntie has the absolute right to host whomever she wishes whenever she wishes.  I can certainly understand her desire to have this particular Thanksgiving for family members only -- no "newbies". 

Obviously, those who don't agree with those conditions or don't wish to follow those directives are totally and absolutely free to reject the invitation and have a different kind of more inclusive Thanksgiving somewhere else. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: esposita on December 09, 2013, 10:25:57 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

It wasn't a self-serving party, it was a quiet gathering for the close family of a woman who has reached the edge of her hosting days. I think the fact that two of her relatives jumped in to defend her is an example of how special she is to most of her family.
No dates means no dates. If you have a problem with that, and think that you're (general) being treated unfairly, make a stand by not coming, not by bringing an uninvited person along.

Also, it might have simply been a matter of logistics. A woman who is about to leave her home voluntarily just does not have the energy to take care of a bazillion people properly. People are free to not attend.

A woman who is practically 90 years old and who has been a kind and gracious host her entire life should be given a certain amount of respect when she is vulnerable with her family and asks for a lighter load.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 09, 2013, 10:32:58 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

"Hosting properly" does not mean accepting anybody who wants to show up at any time, all the time.  That is called running a hospitality establishment, and it is typically a service for which one pays.  If the family felt that Aunt was hijacking the family Thanksgiving for a retirement party, they could have made other arrangements.  Presumably, because they all showed up to support her, the family did not feel put upon.

Hosts absolutely get to decide who is invited, and a social unit does not form automatically when somebody shows up with somebody else. 

You are making interesting judgments about who Aunt would have invited had Larry still been married, as there is nothing to indicate animosity from the aunt in the OP.

Just because you are in better physical health does not give you the right to push an uninvited guest on your host and demand that she be accepted.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Erich L-ster on December 09, 2013, 10:44:50 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

Whoever felt this way would have certainly been able to decline the invitation, especially when it was thoroughly communicated to all the invitees.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 09, 2013, 10:58:00 PM
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others--these are full grown adults, we're talking about, not high schoolers--she should defer to someone else to host it who can accommodate everyone.
 
Larry has been married and presumably lived as an adult for a very long time.  To host Thanksgiving and say that he can't bring a date is rude.  If you do that then it is not a truly a family event because you would exclude your family member because he is only dating someone and not married to them.

If he was married, his aunt would have to invite his wife.  I don't think it should be any different just because this woman is his girlfriend and not his wife.

No one should be presuming that because Larry is divorced that he will come single.

What if Larry was gay and not able to marry his boyfriend?  Is Auntie's rule ok then?

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 09, 2013, 11:02:59 PM
...

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.

She isn't splitting up couples.  She's making a guest list.  People not on the guest list (or people who would prefer to spend Thanksgiving with someone not on the guest list) are absolutely free to DECLINE the invitation and host their own Thanksgiving dinner or go somewhere else. 

But no one has the right to demand an invitation to someone else's party!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gellchom on December 09, 2013, 11:18:00 PM
A date is not the same as a "significant other."  I disagree that a family Thanksgiving dinner is an event to which one should expect to be able to bring a date.

All we know is that this is Larry's new girlfriend.  "New" says to me not yet a social unit.  I do not think that the aunt was required to invite her, although I do agree that if they lived together or were otherwise an established couple, she should have.  But it doesn't sound like it.

And once she made her decision, even if she was wrong, Larry was wrong to disrespect it.

That said, I hope that Aunt was a gracious hostess and welcomed Larry and his guest without letting them see how irritating it was.  Turning away people at the door is pretty harsh, and we don't even know if the girlfriend knew she wasn't invited by Aunt.  As someone else said, it would throw cold water on the evening for everyone else, too.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 09, 2013, 11:20:45 PM
From what I understand, Larry had not been dating his girlfriend very long, and if this was the case then she doesn't automatically get invited to family things. This would be the case if Larry was gay as well.

People don't his all the time at weddings.

And Audrey, you're forgetting this is a 90 year old woman who wants to be with her family. She can't have too many holidays left in her, give her a break!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: sammycat on December 09, 2013, 11:22:41 PM
Aunt is perfectly entitled to invite whomever she want to her home/party. I'm sure all husbands and wives of blood family members were invited. Nothing indicates otherwise, so if Larry were still married (or newly married) I'm absolutely certain his wife would've been invited.

I can certainly understand Aunt wanting to restrict the guest list to an event in her own home to close family, and not her relatives' latest boy/girlfriend, who may not even be around by next Thanksgiving. I get the impression Larry's relationship is very new, and not a long term established one.

No one else seemed to have a problem with this invitation, except Larry, who was incredibly rude. I hope aunt refused him entry after pulling that little stunt. I also think that within a family that's it's fine for relatives to say 'pull your head in. If you don't like the invitation perimeters just politely decline; don't make a donkey of yourself'.

OP, I really hope you're able to find out what actually happened in the end!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: sammycat on December 09, 2013, 11:23:29 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

The only rude one in this entire scenario was Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 09, 2013, 11:47:11 PM
I don't think Larry--or anybody--gets to say "I don't care what the host says, I'm bringing my new girlfriend/boyfriend no matter what." This isn't "If I can't bring so-and-so, I'll go to their family instead" (which is polite so long as said other family has invited them). It's not "you'd let me bring 'Mary,' I should be able to bring Mark," or a long-established couple who either choose not to marry, or can't. (In that circumstance, the aunt still gets to say no, but Larry would, I think, have been more likely to say something like "Aunt Letitia, Ganymede has been to the last five family Thanksgivings, he'd be very hurt to be left out now" rather than "I'm bringing her even though you told me not to.")

If this would have been the first time that Larry's girlfriend met his family, I second the poster who said that he was really being (or trying to be) unkind to her, as well as to Elderly Aunt and to any other unmarried relatives who agreed not to bring their partners.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Library Dragon on December 09, 2013, 11:49:07 PM
Larry was not only rude to his aunt, but to his new girlfriend as well. He put her in the awkward position of being the uninvited guest.  No matter how gracious Aunt was it would be obvious that her presence brought tension.  Unless he told her, "Hey my aunt didn't invite you but we're going anyway," she might not know why the tension is there. 

She may be as insensitive as Larry, but I'd like to presume that she isn't.  She could be left wondering if the family isn't open to Larry having a new girlfriend.  Not a great way to begin incorporating your new girlfriend into family events and relationships.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: MariaE on December 10, 2013, 12:22:00 AM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

I could not disagree more. We don't know whether Larry and his gf form a social unit, but chances are that they don't or Aunt would probably have invited her. This isn't about her, specifically, it's about Aunt hosting the number of people she feels comfortable with, and we don't know the situation - if she invited Larry's gf, she might have had to invite several other "new girlfriends/boyfriends" as well. Nowhere did the OP state that Larry was the only person there without a date... And even if he were, it still wouldn't have been rude. "Only family and social units" is a completely reasonable and polite line to draw.

And even, if... if I could agree with you that Aunt should have invited gf, that still doesn't make Larry not-rude. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Larry's only polite options would have been to either A) come alone, or B) decline the invitation. What he actually did was rude, rude, rude, rude.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: AnnaJ on December 10, 2013, 12:51:23 AM
If Larry didn't like the option of not attending with his girlfriend, then he had to choice to decline the invitation and make other plans with her - this is the only polite choice he had and he managed to get it wrong.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 10, 2013, 12:55:04 AM
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Pen^2 on December 10, 2013, 01:19:02 AM
Wow, Larry was horribly self-centred. If you disagree with a host's rules, you absolutely do not go and challenge that on the day, making the entire event awkward for everyone. Especially if the host is an 89 year old woman who isn't as able to cope with these things and made the rules based on practicality.

She would have been within the realms of etiquette to turn him away, and that possibly might have been better for the guests. I can imagine it would have been very uncomfortable with him there, and he may have continued his entitlement throughout the meal with other things.

She invited him, and him only, to a family meal. He shows up with another person => he didn't accept the invitation that was offered. In effect, he made up his own version of the invitation, didn't inform her that he had done this, and expected her to be on board with it. Again, this is an 89 year old woman who is only just able to live on her own anymore and is trying to do something nice for her family before she no longer can. Since he didn't accept her invitation, it's perfectly polite to turn him away. I feel very sorry for his new girlfriend. I hope that this at least showed her what kind of person he was, and she moved on to someone who was above disrespecting the elderly.

It is perfectly acceptable for a host to limit attendees due to space, money, or practicality-based means. If you don't like that, then you don't go. Limiting it to blood family and married or long-term couples is an easy and largely accepted way to do this. Another often done thing is to say, "No-one under the age of 18." This is done at events with alcohol a lot, and is considered just as okay. What if an 18 year old has a new girlfriend who is a month shy of 18? Too bad. They deal with it, as any mature person should. It's not a personal jab, just a rule based on the practicality of what the host is able to offer. If a host can't create the extravaganza you want, then they are not obligated to book out a restaurant or hire a caterer. It's fine to scale back. If people still want a bigger party, they are always welcome to host one as well.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cicero on December 10, 2013, 01:30:00 AM
A date is not the same as a "significant other."  I disagree that a family Thanksgiving dinner is an event to which one should expect to be able to bring a date.

All we know is that this is Larry's new girlfriend.  "New" says to me not yet a social unit.  I do not think that the aunt was required to invite her, although I do agree that if they lived together or were otherwise an established couple, she should have.  But it doesn't sound like it.

And once she made her decision, even if she was wrong, Larry was wrong to disrespect it.

That said, I hope that Aunt was a gracious hostess and welcomed Larry and his guest without letting them see how irritating it was.  Turning away people at the door is pretty harsh, and we don't even know if the girlfriend knew she wasn't invited by Aunt.  As someone else said, it would throw cold water on the evening for everyone else, too.
I agree. and i think the fact that other family members stepped in to protect Aunt's stance speaks volumes.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 10, 2013, 02:52:08 AM
Wait a minute...  She's a "date."  The OP clearly says that shes is his girkfriend.

And, we'e not talking about dates beacuse Auntie's rule does not address dates, but instead secofically boyfriends and girlfriends.

The social unity is not up for others' debate.  That is their business.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: MariaE on December 10, 2013, 02:57:27 AM
Wait a minute...  She's a "date."  The OP clearly says that shes is his girkfriend.

And, we'e not talking about dates beacuse Auntie's rule does not address dates, but instead secofically boyfriends and girlfriends.

The social unity is not up for others' debate.  That is their business.

A fiancee is a social unit.

A married partner is a social unit.

A live-in partner is a social unit.

A girlfriend / boyfriend who doesn't fall into any of the above categories is not a social unit. Specifically so that people don't have to determine the "seriousness-factor" of other people's relationships.

Do some families still treat them as such? Of course! But it's not required by etiquette.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Iris on December 10, 2013, 03:09:53 AM
Wait a minute...  She's a "date."  The OP clearly says that shes is his girkfriend.

And, we'e not talking about dates beacuse Auntie's rule does not address dates, but instead secofically boyfriends and girlfriends.

The social unity is not up for others' debate.  That is their business.

??? People do this all the time. Any wedding where married/live-in/engaged partners are invited and boyfriends/girlfriends aren't does it - and surely weddings fall under 'family event' for many people.

I think you may be reading more into the relationship than is really there. If it was a snub to not invite this girlfriend then I'm sure that the other guests would have said something more like "I know, it's horrible gf isn't invited, but it's her last thanksgiving in her house is there any way we can work around this?" rather than the blunt "No, you can't take her. That's no okay" that is being portrayed here.

At any rate we know empirically that they are not engaged, married or living together and so putting everything else aside they simply are not a social unit under formal etiquette and so do not have to be invited as a couple.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cicero on December 10, 2013, 03:30:54 AM


Wait a minute...  She's a "date."  The OP clearly says that shes is his girkfriend.

And, we'e not talking about dates beacuse Auntie's rule does not address dates, but instead secofically boyfriends and girlfriends.

The social unity is not up for others' debate.  That is their business.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. whether she is a "date" or a "girlfriend" - she wasn't invited. And I think there is a huge difference between "a recent girlfriend" and a "long time significant other". and i think that there is a big difference between a large party/open house (where even a *casua* or *recent* girlfriend might be welcome, and a small, intimate "family only" event.

And while i think you are splitting hairs over the exact definition, it *was* actually addressed in the Aunt's rule - she said "family members only", no girlfriends, boyfriends, old family friends etc.

so this year, she was limiting her invitation to family members only.  No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members.


Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Runningstar on December 10, 2013, 05:51:08 AM
I had this happen to me long ago.  My then BF invited me to his Aunt's Thanksgiving dinner.  The Aunt welcomed me in, put a plate and found an extra chair - for one of her younger kids at the corner of the table.  I was seated in a regular spot (not at the squeezed in spot).  Had no clue that I wasn't expected or invited until the Aunt's son (who was about 25 years old, I was about 22 myself) told me quietly that the reason they ran out of the mashed potatoes was because of me and how rude BF was to bring me.   I was really embarrassed and then angry at the BF as I had my own family dinner (where the mashed potatoes never ran out). 
IMO Larry was the rude one, but that is assuming the new GF didn't know about the invitation parameters.  If she did (which I doubt) then she would also be rude.
I'm still mad about those potatoes.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cicero on December 10, 2013, 05:54:56 AM
I had this happen to me long ago.  My then BF invited me to his Aunt's Thanksgiving dinner.  The Aunt welcomed me in, put a plate and found an extra chair - for one of her younger kids at the corner of the table.  I was seated in a regular spot (not at the squeezed in spot).  Had no clue that I wasn't expected or invited until the Aunt's son (who was about 25 years old, I was about 22 myself) told me quietly that the reason they ran out of the mashed potatoes was because of me and how rude BF was to bring me.   I was really embarrassed and then angry at the BF as I had my own family dinner (where the mashed potatoes never ran out). 
IMO Larry was the rude one, but that is assuming the new GF didn't know about the invitation parameters.  If she did (which I doubt) then she would also be rude.
I'm still mad about those potatoes.
sorry for the 22 year old you that felt bad but i really doubt that *you* were the reason they ran out of potatoes! that's ridiculous - who makes *exactly* the precise amount of mashed potatoes at a t-giving dinner (with, i assume, a lot of guests)? your BF's cousin was a turd - if his mother very graciously invited you in and didn't make you feel that you were an "uninvited guest" he should have followed her lead.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Catananche on December 10, 2013, 06:08:11 AM
The aunt is free to dictate her guest-list and guests are free to accept invitations to the event (and by doing that accept the rules that come with the invitation) or decline if they can't accept those rules. Larry should have declined the invitation.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Oh Joy on December 10, 2013, 06:12:41 AM
Of course Larry was in the wrong.

And I defend the aunt on the presumption that there were many boyfriends and girlfriends, such as the guest list difference being 20 vs. 28, not 12 vs. 14.

In the aunt's shoes, I would act on the presumption that the girlfriend is innocent to Larry's game, greet them with a smile, and say 'It's so sweet of you two to stop by on the way to your dinner.  We have twenty minutes for everyone to visit before we eat.  Excuse me - I have duties in the kitchen - please pop in to say 'goodbye' before you leave.'
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: lady_disdain on December 10, 2013, 06:28:53 AM
In the aunt's shoes, I would act on the presumption that the girlfriend is innocent to Larry's game, greet them with a smile, and say 'It's so sweet of you two to stop by on the way to your dinner.  We have twenty minutes for everyone to visit before we eat.  Excuse me - I have duties in the kitchen - please pop in to say 'goodbye' before you leave.'

Good luck getting them out of the house before the meal, with or without a scene.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Runningstar on December 10, 2013, 06:31:24 AM
I had this happen to me long ago.  My then BF invited me to his Aunt's Thanksgiving dinner.  The Aunt welcomed me in, put a plate and found an extra chair - for one of her younger kids at the corner of the table.  I was seated in a regular spot (not at the squeezed in spot).  Had no clue that I wasn't expected or invited until the Aunt's son (who was about 25 years old, I was about 22 myself) told me quietly that the reason they ran out of the mashed potatoes was because of me and how rude BF was to bring me.   I was really embarrassed and then angry at the BF as I had my own family dinner (where the mashed potatoes never ran out). 
IMO Larry was the rude one, but that is assuming the new GF didn't know about the invitation parameters.  If she did (which I doubt) then she would also be rude.
I'm still mad about those potatoes.
sorry for the 22 year old you that felt bad but i really doubt that *you* were the reason they ran out of potatoes! that's ridiculous - who makes *exactly* the precise amount of mashed potatoes at a t-giving dinner (with, i assume, a lot of guests)? your BF's cousin was a turd - if his mother very graciously invited you in and didn't make you feel that you were an "uninvited guest" he should have followed her lead.
Totally agree with you Cicero - and that being a turd was also what the ex BF was for putting me in that situation.  The funny thing was that the kid who had to squeeze in at the corner never uttered a complaint or a word about it. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: esposita on December 10, 2013, 07:58:07 AM
Audrey, I don't understand how these two statements jive>>

"But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others--these are full grown adults, we're talking about, not high schoolers--"

and

"The social unity is not up for others' debate.  That is their business."

Why is it up for debate if its high-schoolers? I've known people who were married during high school; one couple, literally, in between classes in high school (the husband had to sit through detention for being late to his next class) and have been joyfully married for more than 50 years.

Even with my example, I would take the position that it is completely acceptable to say "no" to inviting (even serious) high-school boyfriends or girlfriends, just as its acceptable to not invite new girlfriends of nephews.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: nayberry on December 10, 2013, 08:36:51 AM
Larry was rude, no ifs, buts or maybe's.  he was told it was family only by more than one person and he ignored them.

Aunt was well within her rights to only invite who she wanted, if larry didn't like it, he didn't have to attend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: SamiHami on December 10, 2013, 09:00:58 AM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

Completely disagree. Aunt is free to invite anyone she wishes to her own home for a meal, whether it is a holiday or not. The invitees do not have to like the parameters of the invitation, and are free to accept or decline only-but not to try to change the terms of the invitation. The only rudeness here was Larry being a giant, entitled horses hiney for bringing along an uninvited and unwelcome guest.

And nowhere does it say she is "planning on dying before next Thanksgiving." The point is that she is going into assisted living so this would be the last holiday she would be hosting in her own home, which is a big deal IMO. It's a huge change in her life status, and she obviously wanted to host one last, intimate holiday for her family. I sincerely hope that Larry was booted out and that his girlfriend dumped his selfish, entitled you-know-what.

OP, any way to find out the outcome of this story? I'd love to know what happened.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: SamiHami on December 10, 2013, 09:11:15 AM
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others-

No. a girlfriend/boyfriend is not family.

Aunt was not trying to "own" Thanksgiving. She is issuing invitations to her own home with her own set of parameters. She, and only she, gets to decide who she entertains in her home, period.  No one was holding a gun to Larry's head, demanding that come to Aunt's house for Tday. How many times have we said that an invitation is not a summons? All he had to do was decline the invitation if he wanted to spend Tday with his girlfriend. What he doesn't get to do is bully an 89 year old woman and force her to serve the uninvited guests he chooses to force upon her.

There is no way around that fact that Larry was 100% inexcusably rude.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 10, 2013, 09:22:37 AM
A date is not the same as a "significant other."  I disagree that a family Thanksgiving dinner is an event to which one should expect to be able to bring a date.

All we know is that this is Larry's new girlfriend.  "New" says to me not yet a social unit.  I do not think that the aunt was required to invite her, although I do agree that if they lived together or were otherwise an established couple, she should have.  But it doesn't sound like it.

And once she made her decision, even if she was wrong, Larry was wrong to disrespect it.

That said, I hope that Aunt was a gracious hostess and welcomed Larry and his guest without letting them see how irritating it was.  Turning away people at the door is pretty harsh, and we don't even know if the girlfriend knew she wasn't invited by Aunt.  As someone else said, it would throw cold water on the evening for everyone else, too.

I agree with this, although if there was a way for Larry's dad to pull him aside and tell him to take himself and his date off altogether, that would be okay in my book.

My parents invited us to a cabin they were renting in X state. We live in Y state, my parents and brother live in Z state. Plans were locked and loaded one year in advance. 4 or 5 months into the year my brother starts dating Jean and quickly decides to cohabitate with her. My DD said, "Does this mean we have to vacation with a stranger next year?" I told her 'no'. I said that I doubted my Dad would put up with living in a cabin for a week with someone of such new acquaintance and if he did, we could graciously decline joining them because the parameters changed.

I didn't even bring the issue up with my parents or worry about it in anyway because I told my DD the whole world could change in 8 months and they might not even be living together or dating anyways. My mother never mentioned Jean joining the family even though she liked Jean and Mom talked about the vacation with frequency during phone calls, so I took my Mom's silence on Jean to mean that Jean was not invited. I'm normally pretty direct, but knowing my parents as I do, I really felt like silence was best in this regard.

Jean dumped my brother and moved out 3 months or so before the vacation so it became a total non-issue for DD. It already was a non-issue for me.

Even though Jean was a significant other, in a sense, she was a stranger to 4 of the 7 people who would be sharing the cabin. In our opinion and with our personalities that would not have been a great way to get to know each other. I do realize that could be different with different personalities.

None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others-

No. a girlfriend/boyfriend is not family.

Aunt was not trying to "own" Thanksgiving. She is issuing invitations to her own home with her own set of parameters. She, and only she, gets to decide who she entertains in her home, period.  No one was holding a gun to Larry's head, demanding that come to Aunt's house for Tday. How many times have we said that an invitation is not a summons? All he had to do was decline the invitation if he wanted to spend Tday with his girlfriend. What he doesn't get to do is bully an 89 year old woman and force her to serve the uninvited guests he chooses to force upon her.

There is no way around that fact that Larry was 100% inexcusably rude.

Truth.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Oh Joy on December 10, 2013, 09:24:07 AM
In the aunt's shoes, I would act on the presumption that the girlfriend is innocent to Larry's game, greet them with a smile, and say 'It's so sweet of you two to stop by on the way to your dinner.  We have twenty minutes for everyone to visit before we eat.  Excuse me - I have duties in the kitchen - please pop in to say 'goodbye' before you leave.'

Good luck getting them out of the house before the meal, with or without a scene.

Of course.  But why would I let that stop me from gracefully offering them a way out?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 10, 2013, 09:31:22 AM
Agreed.  This is an 89-year old woman, facing her last Thanksgiving holiday before going into assisted living, wanting to host her family "one last time."  It occurred to me that this woman wanted only her family for this dinner because they would be more accepting of any lapses in her hospitality and be willing to assist when needed.  Perhaps the aunt did not want a "new" person in her home because, frankly, she did not want a stranger to see that her home wasn't up to its former standards or that most of her stuff is in packing boxes. Or she didn't want a stranger to experience what may have been a dinner that wasn't up to previous levels.

Just imagine, Aunt was thinking, "Thank diety, it's only family.  They won't mind if the gravy has lumps or the pie crust is too brown.  Oh, and my back was hurting, so I wasn't able to dust the table or wash the good dishes beforehand - I'll ask great-niece to help me with that."  Then, the doorbell rings, and it's Larry foisting a strange girl on her.  Aunt would have every right to be upset.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 10, 2013, 10:24:50 AM
Great points, Barens Mom.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: scansons on December 10, 2013, 10:34:15 AM
Mostly posting for updates on this one. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Sweet_Thang on December 10, 2013, 10:41:41 AM
Great Point BarensMom!

Larry was downright rude and being self centered.  And the poor girl, to show up at a family only function not knowing would be such an embarrassment, I know to me.  She would have more than likely felt out of place and unwanted, even if the Auntie and family liked her.  (Been there, done that)


And Audrey, the Hostess decides the guest list.  If she specifically wants family only, then it's family only.  Not family only plus Larry's date; family only. 

I would love to hear the "rest of the story" and what happened. 

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TootsNYC on December 10, 2013, 10:42:09 AM
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.

I think this is useful background to establish that Larry's sense of "permanent relationship" or "important significant other" might not be in line with most other people's. Sure, people end up with more than one marriage, but by the time someone has ended -three- marriages, they're starting to deviate from the norm.
   One reason (only one reason, mind you--there are others, like death and youth and betrayal, etc., etc.) for this can be that commitments aren't taken as seriously--entered into lightly, discarded easily.
     I think that when people start to include that information about people like Larry, it is because they perceive (in this case, the OP, who actually knows him, may perceive) that the number of divorces -does- indicate something about this particular person.

And all the subsequent stuff we've learned about Larry makes me believe that this fact (he has married and divorced three wives) does indicate something important about him, something to factor in when regarding his outrage about his new girlfriend's being excluded.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Winterlight on December 10, 2013, 10:44:31 AM
Larry was not only rude to his aunt, but to his new girlfriend as well. He put her in the awkward position of being the uninvited guest.  No matter how gracious Aunt was it would be obvious that her presence brought tension.  Unless he told her, "Hey my aunt didn't invite you but we're going anyway," she might not know why the tension is there. 

She may be as insensitive as Larry, but I'd like to presume that she isn't.  She could be left wondering if the family isn't open to Larry having a new girlfriend.  Not a great way to begin incorporating your new girlfriend into family events and relationships.

Good point. I would be mortified in GF's place, apologize profusely to Aunt and dump Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: mime on December 10, 2013, 10:46:24 AM
1- I often read here that you host the gathering you can afford. I take that as more than just a financial decision. The aunt couldn't accommodate more than a small group of people, so she invited those she had the space and energy to host. She gets to do this as the host. She included spouses (no clarity on live-in partners or whether that was an issue at all). She did not include boyfriends or girlfriends. I don't think this is rude at all. Until a couple has made a move to demonstrate that they expect a future together-- engagement, marriage, move in-- a host can exclude them as 'not family'. I even think a long term dating arrangement without those signs of commitment can still be considered non-family, with exceptions granted on the host's option. I think this not because I want to diminish those relationships, but because there has to be a line somewhere. It doesn't sound like it was aunt's norm, and Larry didn't like it, but those don't make her rude.

2- Totally not rude of the aunt to still say "no" when Larry told her he wanted to bring his girlfriend. Her house, her invitation, her choice to enforce it. Depending on the relationship between Larry and aunt, it may or may not have been rude for Larry to even ask.

3- I don't think it was rude of Larry's dad to address it with Larry. I'm assuming here that they have the relaxed etiquette that parents/offspring have. The dad was making an effort to defend the aunt against Larry's rudeness and prevent an awkward situation and remind Larry of how to behave. I think he did well.

4- Larry was totally rude to bring her anyway. Even *if* aunt was rude in issuing her exclusive invitation, Larry was rude to ignore it. You just don't bring uninvited people to another person's home. Rude.

5- As for what the aunt should do, there must be a way for the aunt to stand up for herself and not let Larry walk all over her. Others who respected the invitation should not be sitting there thinking "wow, I should have just showed up with my new boyfriend, too!" Etiquette must have room for the aunt to turn away the uninvited guest. I think the suggestion below is great.

In the aunt's shoes, I would act on the presumption that the girlfriend is innocent to Larry's game, greet them with a smile, and say 'It's so sweet of you two to stop by on the way to your dinner.  We have twenty minutes for everyone to visit before we eat.  Excuse me - I have duties in the kitchen - please pop in to say 'goodbye' before you leave.'

Good luck getting them out of the house before the meal, with or without a scene.

Of course.  But why would I let that stop me from gracefully offering them a way out?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 10, 2013, 10:48:01 AM
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.

I think this is useful background to establish that Larry's sense of "permanent relationship" or "important significant other" might not be in line with most other people's. Sure, people end up with more than one marriage, but by the time someone has ended -three- marriages, they're starting to deviate from the norm.
   One reason (only one reason, mind you--there are others, like death and youth and betrayal, etc., etc.) for this can be that commitments aren't taken as seriously--entered into lightly, discarded easily.
     I think that when people start to include that information about people like Larry, it is because they perceive (in this case, the OP, who actually knows him, may perceive) that the number of divorces -does- indicate something about this particular person.

And all the subsequent stuff we've learned about Larry makes me believe that this fact (he has married and divorced three wives) does indicate something important about him, something to factor in when regarding his outrage about his new girlfriend's being excluded.

Right - I am not saying the hostess did anything wrong by saying "no girlfriends," just that Larry was not likely wrong in taking it personally.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 10, 2013, 10:49:43 AM
Great points, Barens Mom.

I've been around elderly people for most of my life - my mom worked in nursing homes and as a housekeeper.  I also have an aunt who is 86, and she would definitely react the same way as the aunt in the story if someone showed up with an uninvited total stranger at her door.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Winterlight on December 10, 2013, 10:50:33 AM
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.

I think this is useful background to establish that Larry's sense of "permanent relationship" or "important significant other" might not be in line with most other people's. Sure, people end up with more than one marriage, but by the time someone has ended -three- marriages, they're starting to deviate from the norm.
   One reason (only one reason, mind you--there are others, like death and youth and betrayal, etc., etc.) for this can be that commitments aren't taken as seriously--entered into lightly, discarded easily.
     I think that when people start to include that information about people like Larry, it is because they perceive (in this case, the OP, who actually knows him, may perceive) that the number of divorces -does- indicate something about this particular person.

And all the subsequent stuff we've learned about Larry makes me believe that this fact (he has married and divorced three wives) does indicate something important about him, something to factor in when regarding his outrage about his new girlfriend's being excluded.

Right - I am not saying the hostess did anything wrong by saying "no girlfriends," just that Larry was not likely wrong in taking it personally.

And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 10, 2013, 10:54:13 AM
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 10, 2013, 11:00:07 AM
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.

I do think Larry was wrong to feel slighted.  NO girlfriends or boyfriends were invited; he wasn't singled out.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 10, 2013, 11:03:07 AM
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.

Per the OP's post, it wasn't personal.  The Aunt just wanted family, not girl/boy friends, not lonely neighbors, not stray people who had nowhere else to go.  For Larry to flout her wishes to bring an uninvited person and risk her anger and what may result from that anger (the aunt is 89 and in declining health, remember) is so far past rude it falls off the edge of the world.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: shhh its me on December 10, 2013, 11:04:23 AM
  Larry was rude on all counts.  I think close family/best friends can tell you when you're being rude, especially a parent/mentor type  relative.

Girlfriends are not always SOs , there is a bright line between SO and not as far as etiquette is concerned.   It can a be a little grayer in application but not that much.  I would call a couple who have told me they are saving to by a house together but not living together currently a social unit. Once I started treating a couple as a social unit I would continue to do so.  At the same time I agree sometimes drawing that bright line can be just plain stupid and be destructive to relationships......You know he is looking for the ring but the words" will you marry me ?" haven't been uttered.  IS not a smart reason to not invite your brothers almost fiancee to your wedding.   
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 10, 2013, 11:06:20 AM
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 10, 2013, 01:04:09 PM
Partner and I got together a few months before Thanksgiving. Our first Thanksgiving we spent with our respective families, I didn't even think of asking to bring her along, the relationship was still pretty new. Our second Thanksgiving together her maternal grandma was coming into town and wanted to take her family out for a fancy Thanksgiving dinner. The guest list was Partner's mom and her boyfriend of over a decade, Partner, and Partner's brother (her sister was invited but lived out of state). I was not on the guest list. I didn't even think twice about not being invited. We'd been together a year, but we didn't live together, we weren't engaged, we were just dating each other.

So two years ago we've moved in together, we've been together three years, and grandma comes back to town and guess who gets an invite? Me! And it was a very fancy dinner. Why? Because we were now an official social unit. I was (and am) part of the family now. But way back when? I was the girl her granddaughter was seeing.

So yes, Larry very rude Aunt has every right to greet them at the door with "Oh, Larry didn't you understand, this is family only? I'm so sorry dear, I thought I made this clear to him, I'm just not able to host any extra people this year. It's nothing personal", because it's not. Family only, means family only. Now in my family family only means anyone whose willing to board the crazy train express. But in other families it means, blood, marriage, or another long term commitment made. Not, this is Susie, we've been together 3 whole weeks!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Goosey on December 10, 2013, 01:19:01 PM
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

I don't think it matters at all since not only GF/BFs were excluded. Sounds like it usually extended to friends, etc and those were not allowed either. If Larry took this personally, it's because he was being self-centered.

Quote
No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 10, 2013, 01:34:39 PM
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

I don't think it matters at all since not only GF/BFs were excluded. Sounds like it usually extended to friends, etc and those were not allowed either. If Larry took this personally, it's because he was being self-centered.

Quote
No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members

I disagree.  Again, I think Larry handled this poorly.  But if every other adult has his or her SO at Thanksgiving except Larry, I can see how he would feel bad about that.  Going through divorce is hard.  A recently divorced person is used to having a significant other with him at events.  If Larry were the only adult who was without an SO at the event, I can see him being upset.  Again, I don't think the aunt was wrong to exclude GFs and BFs etc.  I am saying that, while Larry handled this horribly, if everyone else had their SO at Thanksgiving aside from him, I can understand how that would make him feel bad. 

We are actually dealing with this in my family.  I recently married into a family where my SIL is a young widow.  Her husband died two years ago in January.  She has had various BFs since then, and several have attended family functions.  Of course these people are not part of the family.  But I can absolutely understand how it would be hard for my SIL to attend family functions and feel all alone.  I also felt that way after I got divorced from my first husband, and after my second husband died.  The family asks if she is bringing anyone, and if she does, well, she does.  She has been through enough that showing some compassion seems to be the right thing for our family to do.  I grasp not everyone sees it that way.  My only point was that, while Larry clearly handled this poorly, I can see that he is hurting.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 10, 2013, 01:40:40 PM
snip
Here are my questions for any who care to share their opinions:

1.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly host to limit her invitations to family members only to keep her numbers down?  (I'm thinking if it is her dinner party she can invite whomever she pleases, and then they can decide whether or not they want to come.  But, are there different ways of looking at this?)
Yes, she is in fully within her rights to invite who she chooses. The only caviate is she should invite social couples. So a couple who had been living together for 2 years but were unmarried should have been considered a social unit. I would also say that if there were underage step-children, they should be considered part of their parent's social unit and included.

2.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly aunt to say "no" when Larry told her he wanted to bring his new girlfriend?
Yes

3.) Was it rude for my friend and Larry's dad to have shared their opinions with Larry, or should they have stayed out of the disagreement between the aunt and Larry? No, Larry chose to discuss his plans with them so they are free to give their opinions and counsel.

4.) Larry was terribly rude to have brought his new girlfriend even after the host said no, wasn't he?  (I'm thinking the only polite thing Larry could have done was to have said, "I won't come without my girlfriend, so I will not be joining you this time," but do others disagree?) He was terribly rude. He should have declined.

5.) Once Larry did show up at the door, what were the elderly aunt's polite options at that point?  (I'm thinking that while it would have been gracious for the aunt to have invited the girlfriend in - it would have also been polite for the aunt to have said, in a polite tone of voice, as she ushered them out, "I am so sorry, but, as I explained to Larry, this is my last holiday in my own home, and I am limiting our day to family members only.  I am sorry you cannot join us today."  But what do other people think?) She should have said "Oh, Larry I didn't realize you were only stopping by for a visit. Come have a drink before my guests sit down to dinner but I'll need to ask you to leave in about half an hour."
"Dear it is so nice to meet you. Do you have family in town? Is that who and Larry will be having dinner with."

If Larry objects "Larry, I was very clear about only having immediate family this year and I know you understood. It would not be right to allow you to invite additional guest when others were not included. Dear, I'm sure you understand. I hope we'll get a chance to visit with you another day. Jerry, would you bring Larry and X their coats, they are going to need to rush off."


Has this happened to anyone else?  How did you handle it?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 10, 2013, 01:49:01 PM
...She had announced to her extended family that she simply did not feel up to hosting as large a group as she had in the past, so this year, she was limiting her invitation to family members only.  No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members.
...

This sounds very much like there were other family members who had boyfriends or girlfriends who were not included in the invitation.  Larry was absolutely in the wrong here - he was not being singled out, he was not the only one there without a 'date' or partner.  He might have been the only one of his generation but that is not Aunt's concern.  NO ONE was supposed to bring someone who wasn't part of a recognized couple (married, living together, engaged).
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cass2591 on December 10, 2013, 02:02:04 PM
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others--these are full grown adults, we're talking about, not high schoolers--she should defer to someone else to host it who can accommodate everyone.
 
Larry has been married and presumably lived as an adult for a very long time.  To host Thanksgiving and say that he can't bring a date is rude.  If you do that then it is not a truly a family event because you would exclude your family member because he is only dating someone and not married to them.

If he was married, his aunt would have to invite his wife.  I don't think it should be any different just because this woman is his girlfriend and not his wife.

No one should be presuming that because Larry is divorced that he will come single.

What if Larry was gay and not able to marry his boyfriend?  Is Auntie's rule ok then?

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.

I find it rather presumptuous to tell people they should care about the same things that you do. No one excluded family, the hostess just wanted an intimate gathering which didn't include a stranger to her.

As for owning Thanksgiving, where did that come from? I read nothing that she declared herself queen of the holiday. She does, however, have the right to invite who she wants. It's up to nephew how to handle that the girlfriend isn't invited, but the option of bringing her against objections of the host and family isn't one of them.

And Hmmmmm, as for the girlfriend's attendance, assuming she was unaware of the conflict, I hope the aunt and family were gracious and then expressed their anger later. How embarrassing and humiliating it would have been for the girlfriend to be either unwelcomed or turned away.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: DavidH on December 10, 2013, 02:10:11 PM
Taking Audrey's first comment, "I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party." and assuming that was what she was doing, then I can agree that this would be rude.  But, the correct solution to this problem would have been to ask, as he did if he could bring his GF.  Once it was clarified that he could not, the correct solution is not to crash the dinner, but to make other plans.  In some ways it doesn't matter if the invitation was rude or not, the correct solution is never to crash the party, but to decline. 

I'm not sure that hosting properly means inviting guests you want and anyone else they want to bring.  Further, society does judge the seriousness of relationships all the time.  Married vs. not is easy, deciding how significant one has to be to reach significant other is harder, but living together is not a bad way.  It doesn't account completely for the situation of living in different cities for work reasons, but have been together as a couple for many years, but a reasonable person would deal with unusual situations like that as they come up. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 10, 2013, 02:15:47 PM
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others--these are full grown adults, we're talking about, not high schoolers--she should defer to someone else to host it who can accommodate everyone.
 
Larry has been married and presumably lived as an adult for a very long time.  To host Thanksgiving and say that he can't bring a date is rude.  If you do that then it is not a truly a family event because you would exclude your family member because he is only dating someone and not married to them.

If he was married, his aunt would have to invite his wife.  I don't think it should be any different just because this woman is his girlfriend and not his wife.

No one should be presuming that because Larry is divorced that he will come single.

What if Larry was gay and not able to marry his boyfriend?  Is Auntie's rule ok then?

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.

I find it rather presumptuous to tell people they should care about the same things that you do. No one excluded family, the hostess just wanted an intimate gathering which didn't include a stranger to her.

As for owning Thanksgiving, where did that come from? I read nothing that she declared herself queen of the holiday. She does, however, have the right to invite who she wants. It's up to nephew how to handle that the girlfriend isn't invited, but the option of bringing her against objections of the host and family isn't one of them.

And Hmmmmm, as for the girlfriend's attendance, assuming she was unaware of the conflict, I hope the aunt and family were gracious and then expressed their anger later. How embarrassing and humiliating it would have been for the girlfriend to be either unwelcomed or turned away.

I guess it's a per person issue. As the girlfriend, I would much prefer to be turned away at the time and learn a little more about the man I was dating. It would be worse for me to learn months or even a year later that I was an unexepcted and explicitely uninvited guest. And in my experience these type of stories don't stay secret in most families. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 10, 2013, 02:25:19 PM
I guess it's a per person issue. As the girlfriend, I would much prefer to be turned away at the time and learn a little more about the man I was dating. It would be worse for me to learn months or even a year later that I was an unexepcted and explicitely uninvited guest. And in my experience these type of stories don't stay secret in most families.

Rip the bandaid off, eh?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Margo on December 10, 2013, 02:32:03 PM
I think that not inviting Larry's GF would only be rude if they were an established couple - for instance, cohabiting, married or engaged. And in that scenario, if GF wasn't invited, Larry could, I think, if he had a close relationship with Aunt, ask her whether she could include . However, if she said no, or if his relationship with her wasn't close enough that asking would be OK, then his *only* polite options would be to attend alone, or to decline the invitation.
Pushing it, and in particular turning up with an uninvited was staggeringly rude.

I do agree that if Larry was the only guest not to have a spouse or long-term partner and therefore the only one invited solo then it would be gracious of aunt to make an exception and invite his GF, but given that the invitation was clear from the outset, she would not be rude not to invite GF.

I don't think that Aunt in any way highjacked the holiday or failed to host properly - she invited the people she wanted and could manage.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Petticoats on December 10, 2013, 02:54:32 PM
My only point was that, while Larry clearly handled this poorly, I can see that he is hurting.

I don't see that. To me his actions suggested outraged egotism, but obviously neither of us knows what was going on in his head.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Mel the Redcap on December 10, 2013, 07:49:57 PM
I have to agree that Larry is definitely the rude one here. Aunt declares "only family" (and yes, my reading of the conditions does sound like other people were invited without girlfriends/boyfriends, not just Larry). Larry decides that shouldn't apply to him and asks for an exception. Aunt refuses the exception.

At this point Larry *should* have either attended alone, or gone elsewhere with his girlfriend. Instead, he goes around telling people "Aunt says not to bring her but I'm going to anyway!" He gets told not to by at least two people, and then does it. Rude, entitled, boorish, pushy, the list of possible adjectives goes on.

This is ENTIRELY SEPARATE from the question of whether Aunt should have made the restrictions, or was trying to make Thanksgiving her own party, or take over, or whatever. The information we have doesn't sound to me like Aunt was doing anything wrong, but I'll agree that further info (which I hope is forthcoming! ;D) could make it clear that she was herself being rude, or entitled, or whatever. For what it's worth, unless we get an update that tells us she was doing a full-on drama queen "you have to do everything my way because this is My Laaaaasssst Thaaaaanksgivinnnnng" act, I think she was perfectly within her rights to host a Thanksgiving dinner within her own abilities and with a restricted guest list.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 10, 2013, 08:13:21 PM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: *inviteseller on December 10, 2013, 08:24:46 PM
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

This is really harsh.  My dad wanted his birthday celebration (his  80th) a year ago the way he wanted because he was very ill and he knew he wouldn't have many more (managed 1 more..barely and he was too sick for us to do anything big) and he invited who he wanted.  It would have been rude for one of us to show up with someone he did not specifically invite just because we were dating (and I do not get this woman from the op was his LT gf..just someone he was dating so IMO not a social unit) and said "Well, just because you want a special family only celebration because you are gonna die soon, tough, this is what I want.".  The aunt wanted one last memory in her home with the people she was closest too..not cousin and his latest fling.  If the family knew this was a serious relationship, they could have said to aunt "Hey Cousin and X are really serious so we want her to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family too as she is a part of our family now.", instead even his own father said don't bring her, she is not part of the family.  Also, as it is her house, she can say who she wants to invite and if the invitees don't like the parameters she is setting for the guest list, they are free to decline the invitation instead of taking someones hospitality and throwing it in their face.

Also, I recently began working in an assisted living facility...the holidays are very tough on the residents as they remember all the times they had in their homes, surrounded by their families so to give her the last holiday she requests is the most generous thing the family can do for her.  Larry is a moron for only thinking of himself.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: *inviteseller on December 10, 2013, 09:02:41 PM
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

I don't think it matters at all since not only GF/BFs were excluded. Sounds like it usually extended to friends, etc and those were not allowed either. If Larry took this personally, it's because he was being self-centered.

Quote
No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members

I disagree.  Again, I think Larry handled this poorly.  But if every other adult has his or her SO at Thanksgiving except Larry, I can see how he would feel bad about that.  Going through divorce is hard.  A recently divorced person is used to having a significant other with him at events.  If Larry were the only adult who was without an SO at the event, I can see him being upset.  Again, I don't think the aunt was wrong to exclude GFs and BFs etc.  I am saying that, while Larry handled this horribly, if everyone else had their SO at Thanksgiving aside from him, I can understand how that would make him feel bad. 

We are actually dealing with this in my family.  I recently married into a family where my SIL is a young widow.  Her husband died two years ago in January.  She has had various BFs since then, and several have attended family functions.  Of course these people are not part of the family.  But I can absolutely understand how it would be hard for my SIL to attend family functions and feel all alone.  I also felt that way after I got divorced from my first husband, and after my second husband died.  The family asks if she is bringing anyone, and if she does, well, she does.  She has been through enough that showing some compassion seems to be the right thing for our family to do.  I grasp not everyone sees it that way.  My only point was that, while Larry clearly handled this poorly, I can see that he is hurting.

Well, after the 3 rd divorce, he should be used to what it feels like.  He sounds like a self centered jerk whose only cares about what he wanted, not helping an elderly family member celebrate her last holiday in her own home.  You can't even compare his situation to a widow/widower (I have been in both situations as you have).  He is not someone whose marriage broke up suddenly after many years or someone who is hurting over an untimely death of a spouse, or someone who was singled out to be the lonely one on Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: sammycat on December 10, 2013, 11:44:44 PM
Well, after the 3 rd divorce, he should be used to what it feels like.  He sounds like a self centered jerk whose only cares about what he wanted, not helping an elderly family member celebrate her last holiday in her own home.  You can't even compare his situation to a widow/widower (I have been in both situations as you have).  He is not someone whose marriage broke up suddenly after many years or someone who is hurting over an untimely death of a spouse, or someone who was singled out to be the lonely one on Thanksgiving.

Once again I agree with inviteseller.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cass2591 on December 11, 2013, 12:17:46 AM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.

Audrey, assuming that because someone chooses to move to an independent or assisted living facility means they are on death's door is ageist at best. What it mean is the kitchen is likely very small and there is less room to host. not to mention the amenities these places have, depending on need.

And surely you know that the host can invite whomever they choose. If the relationship evolved to the point of it being a social unit, likely the aunt would know or be informed.


Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: zyrs on December 11, 2013, 12:38:01 AM
1.)  It was not rude of the Aunt to set invitations to family only.

2.)  It was not rude for the Aunt to tell Larry 'No." about bringing his new girlfriend.

3.)  It was not rude for your friend or Larry's dad to share their opinions of the situation if Larry brought it up to them.

4.)  Larry was rude for bringing an uninvited guest. 

5.  I'm not sure how she could have handled it any better than some previous posters have mentioned.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: weeblewobble on December 11, 2013, 06:29:24 AM
1) It was not rude for auntie to set limits on the sort of event she wanted to host.  We encourage people to do that here all of the time.  Her home, her cooking/cleaning/efforts to host, her rules.

2) It was not rude for the Auntie to tell Larry he couldn't bring his girlfriend. See above.

3) It was not rude for other family members to discourage Larry from bringing his girlfriend. He opened the door to other people's opinions when he declared his intentions to directly violate auntie's wishes in his immature, "neener, neener" manner.

4) Larry was incredibly rude for bringing an uninvited guest. His behavior was all about HIS wants, HIS needs, HIS feelings. He didn't think about anybody else. If he wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend that badly, he should have made alternate plans.

5)  Hosts are under no obligation to open the door to people who they have made clear are not welcome in their homes.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: secretrebel on December 11, 2013, 06:56:20 AM
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 07:07:19 AM
I believe it was that ESTABLISHED couples are a social unit. Not every GF/BF couple.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: poundcake on December 11, 2013, 07:11:32 AM
This also wasn't about who is/isn't "established". It was a simple matter of numbers. Aunt can't accommodate more than ____ people, so, in the interest of fairness, she asked that it be closely related family members. I don't see anything rude about that at all.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: esposita on December 11, 2013, 07:17:16 AM
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

I don't think that I've seen that assertion here. I think that many are saying that a man who has just ended his third marriage and a new girlfriend are not an "established" couple.

This is not a couple who has decided that they do not wish to marry and are happy in that situation.

This is a couple who is still in the very beginning stages of getting to know each other.

If I knew that the man I was dating cared so little for an elderly relative that he was shoving me at them and making me intrude on an intimate Thanksgiving celebration... that would be a deal breaker.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 11, 2013, 08:11:07 AM
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

I think you might have missed in the description that Larry had "recently" divorced and wanted to bring his "new" girlfriend. Neither of those adjectives describe someone who is a partner.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: artk2002 on December 11, 2013, 09:04:06 AM
A lot of the debate here is around the "social unit" rule and whether Larry and his GF form one or not. This has been debated multiple times here and on Wedding Hells Bells. A few thoughts.

Through the mid 20th century, the definition of a social unit was pretty cut-and-dried: Married or engaged. It's since started to change, adding cohabiting couples and people in long-term relationships. One of the problems is that there is not yet a complete consensus, especially at the long-term relationship end. Most people, though, want to see some evidence that a relationship is more serious than casual. Because there are not  hard-and-fast criteria ("must be at least 22 dates, of longer than 4 hours each") it is up to the host to determine how far they want to stretch the rule. I'm sorry that a couple that thinks that they are established but haven't done enough to convince others that they are, are simply out of luck. They can try to buck social conventions but have to deal with the fact that there are social consequences for doing so.

In the case in the OP, it doesn't sound like anybody (aunt, father or friend) thought that Larry and his GF had met that family's standard of "established." The aunt chose not to stretch the social unit rule to extend to him, which is her prerogative as the host. It sounds like she was sticking to the earlier, well-defined form of the rule;  unsurprising given her age.

It's unfortunate if the GF was put in an awkward position by Larry's behavior, but that's between her and Larry and has nothing to do with the rest of the family. She might think "Great, he really cares for me and will stick up for me against his family" or "Wow, what a jerk, who can't even respect his elderly aunt's desires."
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on December 11, 2013, 09:14:03 AM
A lot of the debate here is around the "social unit" rule and whether Larry and his GF form one or not. This has been debated multiple times here and on Wedding Hells Bells. A few thoughts.

Through the mid 20th century, the definition of a social unit was pretty cut-and-dried: Married or engaged. It's since started to change, adding cohabiting couples and people in long-term relationships. One of the problems is that there is not yet a complete consensus, especially at the long-term relationship end. Most people, though, want to see some evidence that a relationship is more serious than casual. Because there are not  hard-and-fast criteria ("must be at least 22 dates, of longer than 4 hours each") it is up to the host to determine how far they want to stretch the rule. I'm sorry that a couple that thinks that they are established but haven't done enough to convince others that they are, are simply out of luck. They can try to buck social conventions but have to deal with the fact that there are social consequences for doing so.

In the case in the OP, it doesn't sound like anybody (aunt, father or friend) thought that Larry and his GF had met that family's standard of "established." The aunt chose not to stretch the social unit rule to extend to him, which is her prerogative as the host. It sounds like she was sticking to the earlier, well-defined form of the rule;  unsurprising given her age.

It's unfortunate if the GF was put in an awkward position by Larry's behavior, but that's between her and Larry and has nothing to do with the rest of the family. She might think "Great, he really cares for me and will stick up for me against his family" or "Wow, what a jerk, who can't even respect his elderly aunt's desires."

POD.  My parents are over 80 and they still see it this way.  I've never married, so it's the Kids' table for me no matter what and I'm well over 40.  I choose to spend my time elsewhere. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 11, 2013, 09:25:03 AM
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

Partner and I aren't married, and are only recently engaged. However we are an estblished couple. We've been together for 5 years, after the first year or so both our families saw us as a "social unit", we were obviously serious about our relationship at that point. And if one of us was welcomed to a family event so was the other (and in fact when we showed up solo we got grilled about where the other one was).

Larry just got divorced and has a new girlfriend. So girlfriend is pretty new. Thus, not a social unit yet. Eventually maybe, but right now, it's his new girlfriend. New being the key word.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: turtleIScream on December 11, 2013, 09:38:48 AM
My situation was not exactly the same, but there are some striking parallels, so I thought I would share.

My now-husband and I were very good friends throughout college. I visited his house once with a group of friends, but didn't really know his family at all. Two months before graduation, he broke up with his girlfriend of 4 years, and he and I started dating. We knew right away that we would get married, but of course nothing was official yet. Three weeks after we got together, his grandfather (who I had met once) passed away. We agreed that I would not attend services for his grandfather. It would have seemed too much like I was intruding on family time and trying to insert myself too soon. A grieving family shouldn't need to feel pressure to properly welcome and include a newbie. (obviously, I would not have made it all about me, but his family didn't know me yet to know that I wouldn't)

Clearly, Thanksgiving is different than a funeral. It is a national holiday that people expect to be part of some celebration. And Elderly Aunt isn't dead, or even at death's door. But, because she is looking at a very significant shift in her life, I think the whole family was aware that this Thanksgiving might have a very different feel; while not being mournful, it was not as likely to be as cheery as normal. I am used to holidays being memory-making events, so any new people coming in are adding to the festivities and merriment. In this case, however, I imagine there was more reminiscing and memory-sealing taking place. Adding a new person to the mix, who has had zero interactions with the family, would have completely changed the dynamic. Conversation might have been pleasant, but certainly not intimate.

Larry was rude for trying to change the nature of the event, and doubly rude for ignoring his hostess' request.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 11, 2013, 09:43:29 AM
I think this thread is a good illustration of the fact that different families handle these things differently.  In some families, as some posters have stated, "not married" means never getting to have a plus one - period.  In some families, the more the merrier - I had been dating the father of my daughter mere weeks before his family insisted that I come to Easter - that's just the way his family is.   I don't think there is a right or wrong. 

Again, here, I think the aunt could invite or not invite whomever she wanted and was fine to exclude GFs/BFs/friends.  But I also think it is unreasonable to expect that no one would have a problem with that or be hurt by it. 

As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: artk2002 on December 11, 2013, 09:52:24 AM
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: camlan on December 11, 2013, 09:57:30 AM

Quote
This is really harsh.  My dad wanted his birthday celebration (his  80th) a year ago the way he wanted because he was very ill and he knew he wouldn't have many more (managed 1 more..barely and he was too sick for us to do anything big) and he invited who he wanted.  It would have been rude for one of us to show up with someone he did not specifically invite just because we were dating (and I do not get this woman from the op was his LT gf..just someone he was dating so IMO not a social unit) and said "Well, just because you want a special family only celebration because you are gonna die soon, tough, this is what I want.".  The aunt wanted one last memory in her home with the people she was closest too..not cousin and his latest fling.  If the family knew this was a serious relationship, they could have said to aunt "Hey Cousin and X are really serious so we want her to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family too as she is a part of our family now.", instead even his own father said don't bring her, she is not part of the family.  Also, as it is her house, she can say who she wants to invite and if the invitees don't like the parameters she is setting for the guest list, they are free to decline the invitation instead of taking someones hospitality and throwing it in their face.


For my dad's 80th birthday, he wanted to have dinner with just his kids, not their spouses/SOs or grandchildren.

Sounds heartless, right? But he'd had hip replacement surgery a month before, and was still shaky. Plus, he didn't do well in crowds and seven kids, plus five spouses, plus 13 grandchildren--is a crowd. He was very introverted.

I also think he was remembering his 70th birthday, when my brother and SIL surprised him with a big party with about 60 people. He was overwhelmed, and not in a good way. He did not do well with surprises.

Add in that he was always concerned about making us spend money to see him--some of my siblings had to travel a couple of thousand miles to his hometown. And it would have been more expensive if they'd brought their spouses and children along.

So from the outside, it probably seemed like an odd request. But if you knew my dad, you'd understand the reasoning behind the request. He was not thinking, "How many people can I exclude/make upset?" He was thinking, "How can I get through this day that I know many people will want to celebrate with me and that I want to celebrate with them?" There's a difference.

One SIL kicked up a fuss. Everyone else was happy to make a separate trip to see Dad, or call or Skype with him on the days before or after his birthday.

Larry had choices. He could attend the Thanksgiving dinner by himself. I mean, it's his family, not a bunch of strangers. He should be able to find someone to talk to/have fun with at the dinner.

Or he could have chosen to go elsewhere for the day. Perhaps the GF's family celebration?

But inviting a guest to someone else's party? That's rude.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 11, 2013, 10:01:01 AM
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.

Agreed - Larry clearly handled this poorly.  Some of the comments led me to make my observation, however.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 11, 2013, 10:36:36 AM
I think this thread is a good illustration of the fact that different families handle these things differently.  In some families, as some posters have stated, "not married" means never getting to have a plus one - period.  In some families, the more the merrier - I had been dating the father of my daughter mere weeks before his family insisted that I come to Easter - that's just the way his family is.   I don't think there is a right or wrong. 

Again, here, I think the aunt could invite or not invite whomever she wanted and was fine to exclude GFs/BFs/friends.  But I also think it is unreasonable to expect that no one would have a problem with that or be hurt by it. 

As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

To me, it sounds like in the past, Larry's family had also been open to hosting a wide variety of individuals. That is why the Aunt had to ask for this years to not include neighbors, friends, girlfriends, and boyfriends.

Larry wasn't being singled out to not be allowed to bring a guest.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 10:41:56 AM
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.

I'm absolutely discounting Larry's "pain". From what we've heard in the OP, he's not going to be the only single person there (no bfs/gfs) and he hasn't at all been singled out. His entitled attitude in wanting to be the exception to the rule doesn't say "pain" to me except maybe "pain in the rear".
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: SamiHami on December 11, 2013, 10:44:33 AM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.

Audrey Quest, I have to admit I have a little trouble understanding your point of view. You have used quite a bit of charged terminology regarding the elderly aunt, including the bolded. Maybe I just am not getting your logic. The salient points, to me, seem to be:

-Aunt wishes to host Thanksgiving one last time before moving into assisted living.
-Aunt (for whatever reason) has decided she can only accommodate family members at this meal.
-Larry is unhappy with this and wants to bring an uninvited guest.
-Larry brings his uninvited guest to the meal even after being told by other family members not to.

So far, those points are ones we all can agree upon. It would seem to me that Larry has many options:

-Attend alone.
-Not attend.
-Host his own Thanksgiving meal, inviting everyone, but being prepared that they may (and likely will) decline in favor of going to Aunt's dinner.

I would also suggest the following to be correct:

-Aunt is the hostess. She gets to choose who is invited. It is her home.
-It is rude to bring an uninvited guest to any event.

So my disconnect with you is how aunt was wrong to invite family to a family holiday meal or why you think Larry was entitled to bring his uninvited guest. A lot of speculation has gone on here about how he might feel, and while his feelings are important, I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side and I just have to wonder where that is coming from.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 11, 2013, 11:00:18 AM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.

Audrey, you seem to be saying that because Thanksgiving is a major holiday, every family member is somehow required to invite all other family members - and anybody else they would like to bring along - to every event?  And every host, of every holiday-themed event, is obligated to allow an unlimited number of "plusses"?
And that only the wealthy, or those with large homes, should invite anyone because they can't accomodate EVERYONE?

That is just not a rule of etiquette. 

If Aunt wishes to exclude Larry, or Larry's girlfriend, or Cousin Susie, or all the left-handed people - she is entitled to do that.  You may not like it, or like her, or think she is being gracious....but she is not violating the rules of etiquette. 

Further to the point about "established couples" - one of the qualifiers of an "established couple", IMO, is that someone else in the family would have met this person before, and hopefully be acquainted with them. Or at the very least, know them by name so that they can recognize who you are talking about when you mention them. I don't see how anybody can be considered a "social unit" if they do not - you know- socialize together.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: DavidH on December 11, 2013, 11:13:40 AM
"He [Larry] is not someone whose marriage broke up suddenly after many years or someone who is hurting over an untimely death of a spouse, or someone who was singled out to be the lonely one on Thanksgiving."

"I'm absolutely discounting Larry's "pain". From what we've heard in the OP, he's not going to be the only single person there (no bfs/gfs) and he hasn't at all been singled out."

Unless the posters knows much more about Larry than has been written, I'm not sure that discounting any pain he may be feeling about his recent divorce is fair or reasonable, nor do we know whether he was the only person affected by the no bfs/gfs rule or not.  The divorce could have been a result of either his or his spouses behavior, or a mutually agreed upon decision, we just don't know. Everyone else at Thanksgiving could have been with their spouse making him the only single person or not, again, we just don't know. 

I completely agree that bringing his GF was rude, but there is a huge gap between making that choice deciding that he can't be in pain from his recent divorce and hasn't been singled out.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 11, 2013, 11:24:36 AM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.



I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 11, 2013, 11:31:23 AM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.



I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

If you believe other members of the family were upset about not being able to bring additional friends, neighbors, or BF/GF's then Larry should have discussed with them had the group discuss with the Aunt. "Aunt we understand your not up to hosting a large group this year but we as a family do not want to put restrictions on who can host. So we'd rather have the celebration at Larry's."

But there is no indication that anyone other than Larry was upset about this year's restriction and he chose to immaturely say "I'll show you. You can't tell me what to do."

For all you know, the majority of the family were thrilled to be celebrating Tday with a small group instead of any guest other family members chose to bring.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Petticoats on December 11, 2013, 11:43:59 AM
"He [Larry] is not someone whose marriage broke up suddenly after many years or someone who is hurting over an untimely death of a spouse, or someone who was singled out to be the lonely one on Thanksgiving."

"I'm absolutely discounting Larry's "pain". From what we've heard in the OP, he's not going to be the only single person there (no bfs/gfs) and he hasn't at all been singled out."

Unless the posters knows much more about Larry than has been written, I'm not sure that discounting any pain he may be feeling about his recent divorce is fair or reasonable, nor do we know whether he was the only person affected by the no bfs/gfs rule or not.  The divorce could have been a result of either his or his spouses behavior, or a mutually agreed upon decision, we just don't know. Everyone else at Thanksgiving could have been with their spouse making him the only single person or not, again, we just don't know. 

I completely agree that bringing his GF was rude, but there is a huge gap between making that choice deciding that he can't be in pain from his recent divorce and hasn't been singled out.

But he wasn't singled out. It was a blanket policy: no girlfriends or boyfriends for any of those invited.

I don't see why Larry's feelings are even a subject for discussion. It's his behavior that is the subject of the OP's post. Etiquette is about behavior, not feelings.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 11:51:45 AM
To be clear, I'm discounting his 'pain' because it's something people are projecting onto him and has not influence on my assessment of the situation or his behavior. Who knows, he could be like my brother and 3 other divorced people i know, who were downright jubilant after receiving their final divorce. I could just as easily say that larry was so happy with his current single and dating status that he was unhappy when an invite was not extended to his gf.

I could say that, but it has no baring on the matter because it's just making stuff up.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gellchom on December 11, 2013, 12:03:10 PM
AudreyQuest, I see your point.  It doesn't change my opinion of this story, but I see what you are saying.

Holidays and family traditions aren't like any other kind of party, because although the host is the host, it's true that family traditions "belong" to everyone, not just the host.  It doesn't mean no one can ever do anything different, but hosts have to be realistic about how people might feel and try to handle it diplomatically and kindly if they do something different from the family's custom (think of all the strings on destination weddings -- "I know you all would love to be there, and you are very precious to us, but this is what works best for us, so I hope we can count on your support" is a lot better than "It's OUR wedding, so tough for you if you don't like our plans.").  Maybe (and it appears likely) this family's long tradition was to make Thanksgiving a come-one-come-all, the-more-the-merrier occasion, and maybe many or all of them love it that way (and yes, of course it's possible that some or even many of them hated it).  If so, I can see people being disappointed at one person's, even the host's, unilaterally changing things. 

That said, in this situation, I understand why Aunt wanted to do it this way this one year, and if I were a disappointed relative, I'd just suck it up and wait til next year for the big group.  Whether or not the family dynamics are such that Aunt was wrong (not rude or in violation of etiquette, just wrong for THEM) to ask this, though, doesn't change the fact that Larry handled this very poorly.  It would have been okay, in my opinion, for him to ask Aunt if she would make an exception for his girlfriend, especially if they're starting to get serious and he wants her and the family to meet, but if she says no, she says no, and whether he's right or wrong, he's stuck with it and must attend alone if at all.

Remember, I also said that if he does turn up with Girlfriend, I think Aunt ought to welcome them in graciously if she possibly can.  Not because they deserve it, but because it will probably be better for everyone else there (how is Larry's mom going to feel through the rest of that meal if her son just got the bum's rush, even if she completely agrees that he was wrong?)  That is how I handle "crashers," and I have never regretted it.  I've never had to deal with one I thought would be violent or disruptive or hurtful to another guest, which I agree would change things; absent factors like that, though, in my experience, taking the high ground and being more gracious than required by etiquette or than the person "deserves" is the best choice.  It pays off in the long run; no one is ever sorry to have a reputation for graciousness and generosity.

The same principle applies in both cases: You can only control your own behavior.  So even if people are wrong, wrong, wrong and were rude first and you aren't required by etiquette to accommodate them, it is wise to be as polite, generous, and gracious as possible.

(Maybe I just have Nelson Mandela on the brain this week!)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2013, 12:03:51 PM
If Larry wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend, why didn't they go to HER family's celebration?  It's almost like he has the childish attitude of "NOBODY tells ME what to do!!"

I'm with those who don't really know or care about Larry's feelings about his divorce.  Whatever his 'feelings' are, they are totally irrelevant here.    I do care about Larry's lack of respect for his Aunt. 

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cwm on December 11, 2013, 12:05:18 PM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.



I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I don't agree with this at all. If someone wants to host an event, no matter how much tradition is associated with it, the host has the ultimate say on things. If the guests/invitees aren't comfortable with it, they have the choice not to attend. An invite is not a summons. But it is completely up to the host to decide on parameters of the gathering. Otherwise it's really easy to override the host with cries of "But it's traaaaaaaditionnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!" (reminiscent of "faaaaaaaaaaaamilyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!"), leaving the host little choice but to host an event that s/he did not plan.

If a guest, family or not, cannot or will not abide by the terms of the invite (no +1, black tie, potluck, whatever the host chooses to do) that guest should decline the invitation. End of story.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 11, 2013, 12:20:04 PM
And traditions change.

When my Mom was alive, Thanksgiving was always at my parent's house because her church had a big bazaar on the Saturday that people counted on to get their baking for Sunday/Monday (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October, officially).

The year she died and the following year, I still participated in the bazaar, in her memory so Thanksgiving was still at my Dad's.

After that, we started going up to my brother's camp.  But I didn't want to drive on the holiday Monday, so we started doing the dinner Saturday night instead of our usual Sunday night.

Now, my nephews are working weekends and can't get the time off to go to the camp so we do the dinner, still on Saturday, at my brother's place.

It makes absolutely no difference to my opinion of Larry if it is decided by the masses that Aunt was rude for asking to host one last Thanksgiving in her home and limiting the guest list to what she felt she could manage (and I don't think she is rude).

Larry, regardless of any hurt feelings he may or may not have, was absolutely rude to insist on bringing someone who wasn't invited.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gellchom on December 11, 2013, 12:34:44 PM
Quote
"But it's traaaaaaaditionnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!" (reminiscent of "faaaaaaaaaaaamilyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!"

This feels awfully harsh to me.

As I said, I agree that notwithstanding any family traditions, Aunt wasn't wrong to do things this way, and Larry was way, way out of line.  And traditions do indeed change.

But tradition and family aren't inherently worthless values, either, as this eHell meme seems to suggest.  Many people don't care a fig for either, and that's their privilege.  Many others care deeply about them, though, and they are not unreasonable to consider them important, both for their own feelings and also for parents who want to, and even feel obliged to, pass them on to their children.  I don't think that every time someone wants to have family traditions respected or at least considered it deserves this kind of mocking.

cwm, I don't mean to single you out -- I'm thinking of they way others have used this in the past -- and I know you just meant people being pushy or trying to trump others.  But whenever I see it put it like that on eHell, to me it suggests that that is the rule, not the exception, when people mention family.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: twiggy on December 11, 2013, 12:51:25 PM
Look it this another way. Aunt is nearly 90 years old. She has spend decades of her life entertaining and hosting others. During holidays, she has opened her home to not only her own family, not only her extended family, not only her own friends, but to everyone. Family members who have girlfriends/boyfriends, family members have brought lonely co-workers, friends have been invited. This is a woman who has spent decades taking in the "strays" out of the love that she has for others. Even if this event has always been potluck, she is still the one cleaning her home, organizing everything, and making it all happen. The tradition that Larry and Family have is a result of Aunt's generosity and welcoming nature.

Aunt has spent decades going above and beyond to show her love. Now she is in a position where she simply isn't up to hosting on that large scale. Her life is changing in a major way. This is the year for her family to say to each other, "Aunt has shown so much love to all of us, she has done so much for all of us, this is our chance to show Aunt how much we all love her." This is not an unreasonable request. For ONE year, Aunt would like to have a family only holiday. This is her last chance to do that. Larry can't put his own desires aside for ONE Thanksgiving? Aunt isn't allowed to make a simple request for ONE holiday after decades of giving of herself?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 11, 2013, 12:51:50 PM
The fact that family members independently stepped up and were urging Larry not to bring his GF tells me that Aunt was not perceived as having hi-jacked Thanksgiving by the others. 

It is also telling that Larry tramples on the wishes of those around him.  I acknowledge that I am projecting like mad here, but is this part of the reason that he is 3 time divorced?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: SamiHami on December 11, 2013, 12:58:25 PM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.


I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I guess that is our disconnect, then. I tend to think that just because things have been done one way for X number of years doesn't mean that exceptions can never be made or that traditions can never evolve to suit the changing needs of the people concerned.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cass2591 on December 11, 2013, 01:15:40 PM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.



I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.


Audrey, I think it's rather unrealistic to think that traditional celebrations don't evolve due to circumstances that can't be helped, and rather than complain one should try to adapt because that's life. If your traditions have remained the same, good for you.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 11, 2013, 01:20:24 PM
Um....so Aunt is not entitled to throw the party of her choice because it is supposed to be the "official" family Thanksgiving?

Since apparently most of these people are adults, presumably some of them have homes of their own, or jobs, or the means to book a restaurant - if they don't like it why not host a big family thanksgiving that everyone can come to?

I do not think, under any circumstances, a family is entitled to hijack one member's house - especially an elderly lady - and order her to invite a certain number, or group of people.

It is only the "family" celebration if the "family" deems it so. Aunt has not control over that. And if the family as a group decided that this would be their one and only gathering, Larry is even more out of line in crashing it with his uninvited guest.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Winterlight on December 11, 2013, 01:38:47 PM
If Larry wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend, why didn't they go to HER family's celebration?  It's almost like he has the childish attitude of "NOBODY tells ME what to do!!"

I'm with those who don't really know or care about Larry's feelings about his divorce.  Whatever his 'feelings' are, they are totally irrelevant here.    I do care about Larry's lack of respect for his Aunt.

Or done his own, or gone out with GF somewhere- restaurant/friends/group dinner... It's not like he had no options here. He just didn't have his preferred option.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 11, 2013, 02:03:29 PM
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.



I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side

I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.


Audrey, I think it's rather unrealistic to think that traditional celebrations don't evolve due to circumstances that can't be helped, and rather than complain one should try to adapt because that's life. If your traditions have remained the same, good for you.

It's not about whether things change or not.  Of course things change.  It's a matter of how those changes are handled.

My traditions have changed completely because both of my parents are now dead.  But, the conversation every year was about how we were all going to celebrate or not, not "this is the deal, take it or leave it.".

No one would just take over and decide that it was more important to them than anyone else.  And as far as significant others were concerned, adults were allowed to make those decisions for themselves.


I don't know what the exact circumstances of the OPs friend were, (if this was an annual family tradition, how many of his close relatives would be there whose company he could not enjoy) but where family holidays are concerned, i dont think the cut and dried rules about dinner parties always apply.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 02:07:07 PM
It sounds like everyone else was in support of the aunt.

And I do believe that the person who is impacted the most by traditions and how they change should have the last say. Otherwise, their family is just basically taking advantage of them, and that's not right.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2013, 02:13:54 PM
snappylt  ~~  Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this  :-[  but I really, really hope you find out soon how this scenario ended and come back to share with us.  I'd love to know how Aunt and the other family members handled this unfortunate turn of events.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 11, 2013, 02:18:50 PM
Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Actually, yes they do. That's why etiquette has the social unit rule. Married, engaged and (since late 20th century) cohabiting. Otherwise, every single social invitation would have to have an "and guest" attached to it.

If Larry feels his love is more burning than a million suns, and he can't bear to be apart from his GF for a few hours, he can turn down the invitation.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cass2591 on December 11, 2013, 03:16:59 PM
It's not about whether things change or not.  Of course things change.  It's a matter of how those changes are handled.

My traditions have changed completely because both of my parents are now dead.  But, the conversation every year was about how we were all going to celebrate or not, not "this is the deal, take it or leave it.".

No one would just take over and decide that it was more important to them than anyone else.  And as far as significant others were concerned, adults were allowed to make those decisions for themselves.

I don't know what the exact circumstances of the OPs friend were, (if this was an annual family tradition, how many of his close relatives would be there whose company he could not enjoy) but where family holidays are concerned, i dont think the cut and dried rules about dinner parties always apply.

So requesting a family only holiday, sanctioned by said immediate family members of the person in question, is taking over? And just because you think it should be done your way doesn't mean everyone has to do it your way.

And with that, I'm out of this discussion. The question was rhetorical.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: lowspark on December 11, 2013, 03:25:12 PM
I'm mainly posting just in case snappylt posts an update with what actually ended up happening.  :D

But I'm in the "traditions change over time and we have to adapt" camp. People move, die, get married, divorced, have children, etc. So just because TG has been at Aunt Martha's where she served exactly Turkey and Stuffing and six specific sides for the last 55 years, doesn't mean that it's going to happen exactly that way in year 56. Sooner or later, things are going to change.

You can either adapt or decline to attend and do your own deal. But yeah, showing up with your girlfriend after specifically being told not to is rude.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 11, 2013, 03:34:53 PM
Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Actually, yes they do. That's why etiquette has the social unit rule. Married, engaged and (since late 20th century) cohabiting. Otherwise, every single social invitation would have to have an "and guest" attached to it.

If Larry feels his love is more burning than a million suns, and he can't bear to be apart from his GF for a few hours, he can turn down the invitation.

The traditional rule here is that people can say "this is a significant relationship" by marrying/announcing an engagement (which just about everyone will accept); living together and making it clear that this is a romantic partnership, not non-romantic housemates (which many people will accept as creating a social unit, but not all; or by some version of "Marisol and I are serious about each other, and want to be treated as a couple even though we're not living together," which, again, some people will accept, but maybe fewer.

The only one of those where traditional etiquette demands that even the newest of partners be welcomed is marriage (even if you're convinced that the marriage can't last, because the couple married ten days after they met). Personally, I would wonder about the level of commitment of that marriage, and would privately take it less seriously than I do some long-term unmarried couples: but if you're playing by the old/formal rules even a little bit, it counts unless and until they split up. And those of us who are asking for acceptance of nonstandard relationships are usually also going to accept the standard ones: I may think it was silly of someone to get married after two weeks, but I also see that it's a pretty clear way of declaring themselves a serious couple.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: MariaE on December 11, 2013, 03:35:48 PM
gellchom, I understand your point about Aunt greeting them gracefully, but I disagree for one specific reason - if I were the gf and had attended in good faith, I would absolutely want to know what Larry had done, because it would be a dealbreaker to me. I wouldn't want to stay with a man that disrespectful. How could I trust him not to turn that lack of respect onto me?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: snappylt on December 11, 2013, 04:27:47 PM
snappylt  ~~  Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this  :-[  but I really, really hope you find out soon how this scenario ended and come back to share with us.  I'd love to know how Aunt and the other family members handled this unfortunate turn of events.

OP here again.

I don't have an update, yet.  Based on our past pattern, my old friend and I will probably get together for lunch or something in another month or two.  I'll come back and post an update then.

OK, I am curious enough that I am tempted to call him and ask for the rest of the story on the telephone, but that would be really out-of-character for the way this particular friend and I interact with each other.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2013, 04:43:15 PM
^^^  Yeah, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to tell him that a hundred or so total strangers also want to know the ultimate outcome.   ;D
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Luci on December 11, 2013, 04:56:30 PM
Bet it's far more than 100! I am following this avidly but haven't posted because someone else has said what I wanted to say, and said it better, and the tide is so extremely going my way.

Just for the record: Larry is a jerk. Respect the hostess and her age and present decisions, and adjust to change. It seems that Larry has gone through a LOT of changes in his personal life in the past many years, so I wouldn't call the new girlfriend family yet!

And I won't dogpile Audry, although I would love to know what past experiences led to her position on this.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 11, 2013, 05:18:26 PM
snappylt  ~~  Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this  :-[  but I really, really hope you find out soon how this scenario ended and come back to share with us.  I'd love to know how Aunt and the other family members handled this unfortunate turn of events.

OP here again.

I don't have an update, yet.  Based on our past pattern, my old friend and I will probably get together for lunch or something in another month or two.  I'll come back and post an update then.

OK, I am curious enough that I am tempted to call him and ask for the rest of the story on the telephone, but that would be really out-of-character for the way this particular friend and I interact with each other.

Oh, c'mon! Change that tradition!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: VorFemme on December 11, 2013, 05:42:17 PM
Set up an earlier lunch?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TootsNYC on December 11, 2013, 05:56:49 PM
Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Actually, yes they do. That's why etiquette has the social unit rule. Married, engaged and (since late 20th century) cohabiting. Otherwise, every single social invitation would have to have an "and guest" attached to it.


Actually, they don't. They have to go by the signals the people themselves send.

And the signals we recognize are the ones Twik identifies--"Married, engaged and (since late 20th century) cohabiting."

Unlike Twik (this is semantics only, but I think it's an important distinction), I believe that following those rules is actually not judging; it's "relying on the messages the couple themselves send to the rest of the world."

Every day, every week, every month, a couple has the option to get engaged; frequently (every year in the case of renters--more often in the case of those who live at home, are someone's roommate on a month-to-month, or own their own homes) they have the option to move in together. And they have the option always to marry (sometimes after a short waiting period).

If week after week, month after month, year after year?, pass and they do none of these things, how are the rest of us supposed to know how serious their relationship is? From all outward evidence, they are not serious.

   And it is not our business to pry into the inward feelings of their heart. We're *supposed* to mind our own business and not make assumptions. We're supposed to rely on the evidence--the evidence that the couple in question present us with every day.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: SamiHami on December 11, 2013, 06:25:59 PM
Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Actually, yes they do. That's why etiquette has the social unit rule. Married, engaged and (since late 20th century) cohabiting. Otherwise, every single social invitation would have to have an "and guest" attached to it.

If Larry feels his love is more burning than a million suns, and he can't bear to be apart from his GF for a few hours, he can turn down the invitation.

The traditional rule here is that people can say "this is a significant relationship" by marrying/announcing an engagement (which just about everyone will accept); living together and making it clear that this is a romantic partnership, not non-romantic housemates (which many people will accept as creating a social unit, but not all; or by some version of "Marisol and I are serious about each other, and want to be treated as a couple even though we're not living together," which, again, some people will accept, but maybe fewer.

The only one of those where traditional etiquette demands that even the newest of partners be welcomed is marriage (even if you're convinced that the marriage can't last, because the couple married ten days after they met). Personally, I would wonder about the level of commitment of that marriage, and would privately take it less seriously than I do some long-term unmarried couples: but if you're playing by the old/formal rules even a little bit, it counts unless and until they split up. And those of us who are asking for acceptance of nonstandard relationships are usually also going to accept the standard ones: I may think it was silly of someone to get married after two weeks, but I also see that it's a pretty clear way of declaring themselves a serious couple.

OT but I just had to comment that my parents dated for 3 weeks before they marred, and have been happily hitched for over 50 years, so you just never know! I'm sure that a lot of people though they would never last, but they certainly proved them wrong!

Not that I think whirlwind marriages are a good idea...without question Mom & Dad are an anomaly!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Jones on December 11, 2013, 06:37:25 PM
I used Thanksgiving to introduce my husband, boyfriend at the time, to the family. I figured he needed to see what he was getting into, as I have a large extended family. Other aunts, cousins and (later) my own siblings used Thanksgiving dinner the same way. In my case, he popped the question about a week later so I guess the meeting went well...

...That being said, if my gramma had said "no non-family attendees" that year, I would not have used that gathering as a Meet the Family, even if precedent had been set through my aunts and uncles prior to me.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: katycoo on December 11, 2013, 07:03:13 PM
I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

You plainly seem to this the situation in this thread is unfair to Larry, so lets address that.

In order to accomodate Larry's feelings, you believe that Grandma should have included Larry's GF in the party.
It is likely that if Larry's GF was invited, the other people who have GF/BF's would probably at least like an invitation extended to their partners too, whether they felt strongly about the partner attending or not. This becomes an equality thing.
This adds several people to the guest list, and now Grandma is unhappy.  So its not worked out to Grandma's good.

I understand that you don't feel that Grandma should trump Larry simply because she's hosting, but by that same token, why should Larry trump Grandma?  Pleasing everyone entirely is a nice idea which inherently unlikley.

Even if I agree that Grandma was rude, that in no way excuses Larry from turning up with his uninvited GF. That poor girl - I would be furious if that was me.  How embarassing.

I hope that Grandma welcomed the GF and gave her Larry's place and meal and let Lary have cereal as there wasn't enough dinner for everyone.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 11, 2013, 07:42:07 PM
snappylt  ~~  Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this  :-[  but I really, really hope you find out soon how this scenario ended and come back to share with us.  I'd love to know how Aunt and the other family members handled this unfortunate turn of events.

OP here again.

I don't have an update, yet.  Based on our past pattern, my old friend and I will probably get together for lunch or something in another month or two.  I'll come back and post an update then.

OK, I am curious enough that I am tempted to call him and ask for the rest of the story on the telephone, but that would be really out-of-character for the way this particular friend and I interact with each other.
Could you call to wish him a merry Christmas? Please?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: greencat on December 12, 2013, 12:16:06 AM
The guy I just started dating, although specifically invited to the Thanksgiving-with-friends celebration I attended (it was a more-the-merrier situation), didn't attend, because he felt like he would be "crashing" Thanksgiving dinner.  He is extremely polite. 

Aunt was so very not rude at all.  Having an intimate family-only Thanksgiving is something that goes along with that "Holiday Hill to Die On" thread.  That means only including spouses (and other long-term partners) of blood relatives.  A new boyfriend or girlfriend is not, by any measure I've ever seen, someone who should be considered a social unit by family.  Larry's dad, who arguably should have known if they were in a serious relationship, obviously didn't consider her family, since he tried to show Larry the light of the flames of EHell. 

I know a number of couples that I absolutely consider as social units, due to them living together (actual marriage is uncommon in my social circle) and one couple that I don't actually consider a social unit, even though they live together and have kids together, because they - by choice - have completely separate social lives.  During my very long serious relationship, both our families opted to treat us as a social unit as if we were married - his Grandmother, for example, permitted us to share the guest room at her place after the second year of our cohabiting, a treatment previously reserved for married couples.

Furthermore, I was always taught that the "social unit" invitation rule meant that if you were inviting anyone from that class of people, you needed to invite all the people from that class, so while it is okay to have a "just my children, not their spouses" gathering like one previous post, or a girl's night/boy's night, and not be in violation of etiquette, it is not okay to invite Susy's husband and Mike's wife and exclude Kelly's spouse just because you don't really like him/her.  It is not meant to mean that you must always invite both halves of the social unit to every event ever, just those where other people's equivalent partner types are invited.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Winterlight on December 12, 2013, 09:07:25 AM
gellchom, I understand your point about Aunt greeting them gracefully, but I disagree for one specific reason - if I were the gf and had attended in good faith, I would absolutely want to know what Larry had done, because it would be a dealbreaker to me. I wouldn't want to stay with a man that disrespectful. How could I trust him not to turn that lack of respect onto me?

Agreed. He's willing to be disrespectful of his elderly aunt, whom he has known all his life and who has made a reasonable request. What does that say about his behavior towards me?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 13, 2013, 10:30:11 AM
I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I must admit, I find this a very strange idea. Perhaps you have not had to deal with many elderly people, and do not know just how limited their strength and energy can be. Telling Aunt to "suck it up" will not make things work out "to everyone's good". It may well end up with a visit to the emergency ward on a holiday. This is not a good thing.

It would be wonderful if traditions remained constant. But things change. People get sick. People die. SIL who makes the best dressing ever gets divorced, and your brother shows up with a GF who can't boil water. Someone moves away, and forms their own family traditions. Elderly relatives start showing their mortality, and cannot do what they used to be able to do. Insisting that "It was this way last year, it must be the same way this year, and next year, and forever after!" is completely unrealistic.

The event absolutely belongs to the host, not the guests. If the host is not physically able to perform to the full value of the tradition, the guests must suck it up, or else persuade the host to turn over the duties. Is it kinder to tell an aunt who wants to host one last dinner that she can't, or to tell a new girlfriend that she will have to follow whatever her previous tradition was, for this year?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 13, 2013, 11:16:28 AM
I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I must admit, I find this a very strange idea. Perhaps you have not had to deal with many elderly people, and do not know just how limited their strength and energy can be. Telling Aunt to "suck it up" will not make things work out "to everyone's good". It may well end up with a visit to the emergency ward on a holiday. This is not a good thing.

It would be wonderful if traditions remained constant. But things change. People get sick. People die. SIL who makes the best dressing ever gets divorced, and your brother shows up with a GF who can't boil water. Someone moves away, and forms their own family traditions. Elderly relatives start showing their mortality, and cannot do what they used to be able to do. Insisting that "It was this way last year, it must be the same way this year, and next year, and forever after!" is completely unrealistic.

The event absolutely belongs to the host, not the guests. If the host is not physically able to perform to the full value of the tradition, the guests must suck it up, or else persuade the host to turn over the duties. Is it kinder to tell an aunt who wants to host one last dinner that she can't, or to tell a new girlfriend that she will have to follow whatever her previous tradition was, for this year?

And frankly, if the family didn't like Aunt's idea for how she was hosting, they are perfectly capable of saying, "hey, Aunt if you're not up to doing the big traditional holiday, let's just do it at Suzy's house so everybody can come. We'll pick you up and drop you off." or

"Hey, guys, it's a shame to miss the whole big traditional family thing, but of course we can't expect Aunt to deal with all that.  Let's go to Aunt's thing and then do the big one tomorrow at our place."

But they didn't. So Aunt is not forcing anybody into anything.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 13, 2013, 02:06:36 PM
I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I must admit, I find this a very strange idea. Perhaps you have not had to deal with many elderly people, and do not know just how limited their strength and energy can be. Telling Aunt to "suck it up" will not make things work out "to everyone's good". It may well end up with a visit to the emergency ward on a holiday. This is not a good thing.

It would be wonderful if traditions remained constant. But things change. People get sick. People die. SIL who makes the best dressing ever gets divorced, and your brother shows up with a GF who can't boil water. Someone moves away, and forms their own family traditions. Elderly relatives start showing their mortality, and cannot do what they used to be able to do. Insisting that "It was this way last year, it must be the same way this year, and next year, and forever after!" is completely unrealistic.

The event absolutely belongs to the host, not the guests. If the host is not physically able to perform to the full value of the tradition, the guests must suck it up, or else persuade the host to turn over the duties. Is it kinder to tell an aunt who wants to host one last dinner that she can't, or to tell a new girlfriend that she will have to follow whatever her previous tradition was, for this year?

I never even came close to suggesting that an elderly person, or anyone, should suck it up.  Nor have I suggested that a group's traditions should remain the same.

Many family groups quite regularly coordinate amongst themselves for annual holiday events without forcing anyone to do all the work, or to come alone.  They work together to plan it.  And hosting means having the gathering at your home not doing everything yourself and making all the rules for everyone else.

For me and folks like me, its not about things not changing, its about how they change-- people coordinating with each other, not one person issuing edicts.







Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 13, 2013, 02:13:23 PM
For me, it depends upon who's issuing the "edicts" and the situation.  In the OP's case, my family would have no issue with going with the wishes of a beloved elderly family member and her last chance to host Thanksgiving.  If it were one of my aunts who's a total SS, I'm pretty sure the family would bow out or ignore her (she and my uncle never host, though, so there's no worries about any of this happening).

I couldn't imagine overriding the wishes of the beloved elderly family member in this case, and I don't think of her request as an edict.  Someone once pointed out in another thread about a year ago that we make allowances for and try to respect the wishes of our elderly (not always, but this would be one of those cases since several tried to talk Larry out of bringing his GF).
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 13, 2013, 02:55:16 PM
I have the impression that not only does Elderly Aunt like hosting for Thanksgiving, but there's a tradition of her hosting that goes back a few years. Perhaps she used to be able to host everyone, including non-family members, and she finds that she's just not up to it anymore. There's also the possibility she wants her last one to be special just with family, and that's why she's limiting the invites. It's an easy enough thing to do.

AQ, I don't understand why you're not thinking of the Aunt's needs ahead of "tradition" or a rather selfish person like Larry. She clearly WANTS to host for one last time. She has asked for her families help I making this happen and for the most part they have given it.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TootsNYC on December 13, 2013, 02:57:55 PM

Many family groups quite regularly coordinate amongst themselves for annual holiday events without forcing anyone to do all the work, or to come alone.  They work together to plan it.  And hosting means having the gathering at your home not doing everything yourself and making all the rules for everyone else.

For me and folks like me, its not about things not changing, its about how they change-- people coordinating with each other, not one person issuing edicts.

But they did coordinate! The aunt said, "I'd like to host, because it's probably the last time I'll be able to do so, since I'm getting old and my new place won't have room. But if I'm going to, I have to limit the guest list."

And they all said OK. Everybody but Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Sharnita on December 13, 2013, 03:01:16 PM
In some ways I agree with Audrey in that the holiday belongs to the family as a whole.  It sounds like the family, as a whole,  accepted the holiday as Aunt outlined it.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 13, 2013, 03:01:37 PM
I think that if a particular family group traditionally celebrates together in certain ways every year, that that celebration belongs to the group and not just the whoever is willing to host it.  And things should be worked out to everyone's good, not just for the good of the hostess.

I must admit, I find this a very strange idea. Perhaps you have not had to deal with many elderly people, and do not know just how limited their strength and energy can be. Telling Aunt to "suck it up" will not make things work out "to everyone's good". It may well end up with a visit to the emergency ward on a holiday. This is not a good thing.

It would be wonderful if traditions remained constant. But things change. People get sick. People die. SIL who makes the best dressing ever gets divorced, and your brother shows up with a GF who can't boil water. Someone moves away, and forms their own family traditions. Elderly relatives start showing their mortality, and cannot do what they used to be able to do. Insisting that "It was this way last year, it must be the same way this year, and next year, and forever after!" is completely unrealistic.

The event absolutely belongs to the host, not the guests. If the host is not physically able to perform to the full value of the tradition, the guests must suck it up, or else persuade the host to turn over the duties. Is it kinder to tell an aunt who wants to host one last dinner that she can't, or to tell a new girlfriend that she will have to follow whatever her previous tradition was, for this year?

I never even came close to suggesting that an elderly person, or anyone, should suck it up.  Nor have I suggested that a group's traditions should remain the same.

Many family groups quite regularly coordinate amongst themselves for annual holiday events without forcing anyone to do all the work, or to come alone.  They work together to plan it.  And hosting means having the gathering at your home not doing everything yourself and making all the rules for everyone else.

For me and folks like me, its not about things not changing, its about how they change-- people coordinating with each other, not one person issuing edicts.

I'm just not sure why you are convinced this was an edict issued by the Aunt. She said "I'll host but I'd like family only without additional guests added." There is nothing in the story to say that the other family members, other than Larry, had a problem with supporting her request. If there was lots of pushback it would seem that someone else from her generation or the next would have stepped up to offer to host.

Or do you feel because she was the hostess her making the request consitutes an edict that can't be questioned?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cwm on December 13, 2013, 03:06:21 PM
I never even came close to suggesting that an elderly person, or anyone, should suck it up.  Nor have I suggested that a group's traditions should remain the same.

Many family groups quite regularly coordinate amongst themselves for annual holiday events without forcing anyone to do all the work, or to come alone.  They work together to plan it.  And hosting means having the gathering at your home not doing everything yourself and making all the rules for everyone else.

For me and folks like me, its not about things not changing, its about how they change-- people coordinating with each other, not one person issuing edicts.

I think I'm seeing the differences between your opinion and mine. It sounds like you've got traditions that are planned by the whole family together, so when something has to change, everyone discusses it and it changes. That's great, it works for a lot of people, but it's not how everyone works.

My experience with family events is that one person or couple does everything. My grandma and aunt would be the sole planners, cooks/food directors, and hostesses for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They'd get together everything they would be cooking, tell my uncle and dad what they would be responsible for cooking (usually the same thing, dad did meats and uncle did drinks by tradition), they'd do most of the setup. Everything was planned by these two people, there was no discussion. When tradition had to change, it changed at their discretion. There was no group planning in the first place, so there was no group discussion about changes.

The one person/couple planning is also what's prevalent in both sides of my mom's family. The people hosting the holiday do so on their own terms, they issue the invites and everyone knows what to expect. If something major changes, the invitations reflect that. When my great uncle had his first of years of strokes, my great aunt who had for decades hosted a major holiday party limited it to only immediate family. There was no discussion, because she was the sole host of the party. The traditions were "owned" by the family, but the event itself was "owned" by the hostess.

Recently (last three years) my uncle and grandma have tried to get a Thanksgiving picnic together, or at least a picnic atmosphere inside if the weather is bad. My mom is somewhat onboard, but my sister and I just don't understand why they keep calling/texting us about it. We've never had the experience of being involved in planning. It's foreign to us entirely. We're told when to show up, what to bring, and the parameters of the party (i.e. who we can bring, level of formality, etc.).
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 13, 2013, 06:56:57 PM

Many family groups quite regularly coordinate amongst themselves for annual holiday events without forcing anyone to do all the work, or to come alone.  They work together to plan it.  And hosting means having the gathering at your home not doing everything yourself and making all the rules for everyone else.

For me and folks like me, its not about things not changing, its about how they change-- people coordinating with each other, not one person issuing edicts.

But they did coordinate! The aunt said, "I'd like to host, because it's probably the last time I'll be able to do so, since I'm getting old and my new place won't have room. But if I'm going to, I have to limit the guest list."

And they all said OK. Everybody but Larry.

She had announced to her extended family that she simply did not feel up to hosting as large a group as she had in the past, so this year, she was limiting her invitation to family members only.  No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members.

I don't look at that as "coordination."
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: AnnaJ on December 13, 2013, 08:01:13 PM
The point, however, is that everyone but Larry agreed to the invitation on Aunt's terms.  Maybe some were disappointed, or maybe not, but for whatever reason - they love Aunt and wanted to make her last hosted Thanksgiving happy, no one else wanted to host, they all thought it would be cool to have a 'just family' holiday - they agreed with Aunt's idea. 

Larry was rude and thoughtless, and the fact that multiple people told him so before the holiday just magnifies his rudeness.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: baglady on December 13, 2013, 08:42:22 PM
I'm not one to do the math (must be together X years) or make arbitrary rules (must live together/be engaged/be married) about social units. Bagman and I have been together for many years, although we don't live together, and our friends and his siblings invite us to events as a couple.

However, he spends Thanksgiving and Christmas with his ex's family, because that's where his daughters and granddaughter spend it (ex's mom is their last surviving grandparent), and I don't go along because even though I get along well with his ex, and I'm Facebook friends with her sister, it would be awkward. I spend those days with friends, and enjoy the heck out of them.

I think Larry would have the right to be miffed if he was living with his girlfriend, and she was excluded while live-in SO's of other cousins weren't. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. Aunt made a rule, and he decided on his own that he should be the exception to that rule. Not cool.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 14, 2013, 01:45:24 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: sammycat on December 14, 2013, 01:50:39 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Well said.

The mental energy that is required to interact with/host strangers can be very taxing for the best of us in normal circumstances, let alone when you're an elderly person having your last big shindig in your own home.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: cass2591 on December 14, 2013, 03:08:10 AM
Audrey, I know I said I was done with the discussion, and I wonder if that was why you continued to argue the point, but now you are being moderated. Let me be clear it is not because we disagreed but you were argumentative and just wouldn't let it go.

If you post in this thread again you will be banned. And I mean to anybody, including me defending your opinion.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: ClaireC79 on December 14, 2013, 06:56:41 AM
First up - he was rude to bring someone who wasn't invited (even more so after being specifically told no) however is there a chance that he tried to bow out of the dinner 'Susie and I want to spend the day together so I won't be coming' and then received a LOT of pressure from other family members 'but you HAVE to come, it's the last time we'll ever celebrate thanksgiving together this way as a family, it just won't be the same next year'

If that is the case I can see him feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place, doesn't mean he wasn't rude though
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Luci on December 14, 2013, 08:00:09 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Well said.

The mental energy that is required to interact with/host strangers can be very taxing for the best of us in normal circumstances, let alone when you're an elderly person having your last big shindig in your own home.

BarensMom, that is so sweet and understanding. I was thinking more of energy expenditure and wanting to spend her limited  time that day with special people. I hadn't thought about how she thinks she might appear to strangers - that is something I call maintaining dignity.

This beloved aunt sounds like she was giving and generous about guests all of her life and is making what amounts to a final request about her own entertaining. Sounds simple and something that should be respected, with or without considering the etiquette and family tradition aslpects.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 14, 2013, 09:29:12 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Sensitive observations and beautifully said. 

You know, I'm not NEARLY as old as the woman in question here, and even I no longer truly enjoy entertaining huge numbers of miscellaneous people any more. 
I kind of like things limited to the number I can actually seat without rearranging my whole house. 
I like everyone to have the same plates and silverware if possible for no other reason than just because it looks nice. 
I don't want them to notice that I need a couple of minor repairs that family sees but doesn't care, where a stranger might see and make judgments. 
I like being able to include everyone in the same conversation at the same time. 
I like being able to discuss slightly more intimate subjects and reveal more genuine emotions than I could in front of a stranger. 
And so on ...
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 14, 2013, 09:50:39 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Well said.

The mental energy that is required to interact with/host strangers can be very taxing for the best of us in normal circumstances, let alone when you're an elderly person having your last big shindig in your own home.

BarensMom, that is so sweet and understanding. I was thinking more of energy expenditure and wanting to spend her limited  time that day with special people. I hadn't thought about how she thinks she might appear to strangers - that is something I call maintaining dignity.

This beloved aunt sounds like she was giving and generous about guests all of her life and is making what amounts to a final request about her own entertaining. Sounds simple and something that should be respected, with or without considering the etiquette and family tradition aslpects.

Thanks for the kind words.

Indeed, one of the hardest things for the elderly is to be seen as helpless, dependent, and frail, especially by those who previously thought of them as strong and self-reliant. The loss of dignity and autonomy and the humiliation often signals the decline of a previously strong and independent individual.

Larry spoiled his aunt's desire for one last good memory of a happy Thanksgiving, because his desire to be seen with his girlfriend trumped any consideration he should given his elderly relative.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: secretrebel on December 15, 2013, 05:43:38 AM
Larry spoiled his aunt's desire for one last good memory of a happy Thanksgiving, because his desire to be seen with his girlfriend trumped any consideration he should given his elderly relative.

Hmm. I think an occasion (holiday, dinner, wedding etc) is only ever spoiled if you let it be. People focus too much on having an occasion be 'perfect' and think it is 'ruined' if something goes awry.

I don't think Larry was right to bring his GF - although I'm not sure I agree that she shouldn't have been invited.  But I hope the aunt didn't let it 'spoil' the holiday for her. I think the last part of the story we got was "their aunt got very upset and angry…" I hope she got over it and was able to make her peace with the GF's presence.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 15, 2013, 07:08:37 AM
Late to the party: Larry was rude to bring an uninvited guest and the etiquettely-correct move would be to decline and spend the holiday with his girlfriend, but on the other hand I can see where this kind of situation gets sticky, because if he declines, he's probably going to get it in the head for 'not showing up to Auntie's last Thanksgiving'. There aren't any easy winners in this situation, really.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hillia on December 15, 2013, 09:11:36 AM
I don't understand why Larry and his girlfriend absolutely, positively have to be together every second.  They can't stand to be out of each other's sight for a few hours on one day so Aunt can host her party the way she wants to?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Winterlight on December 15, 2013, 10:36:09 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Well said.

My father is facing this decision and the dead last thing he'd want would be a stranger there. His children seeing these intimate things would be painful enough. Someone he'd never met? Forget it.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Sharnita on December 15, 2013, 10:54:42 AM
There is also the question of whether gf wants to be on this level.  Does she know it is family only and aunt's last chance to host? That can be a pretty intense situation to walk into if you aren't committed.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: secretrebel on December 15, 2013, 11:07:23 AM
I don't understand why Larry and his girlfriend absolutely, positively have to be together every second.  They can't stand to be out of each other's sight for a few hours on one day so Aunt can host her party the way she wants to?

You could say that of anyone - a husband and wife don't *have to be* in each other's company but you'd expect to include both in a party. Larry's new GF might be new and his track history with relationships might suggest to some that the relationship isn't serious. But - clearly to Larry - he considers her his partner and wants her to be included in family events.

To aunt she might be a stranger now but some day she could be Larry's wife. Is it better for her first memory of the family to be that she was invited and warmly welcomed to their holiday partner or that she was turned away at the door because she and Larry had only been dating recently.

Now, array should not have brought her when she was not invited but I can see why he would expect her to be invited and feel upset by her being characterised as a "total stranger". She's not a stranger to Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Peppergirl on December 15, 2013, 11:22:47 AM
I don't understand why Larry and his girlfriend absolutely, positively have to be together every second.  They can't stand to be out of each other's sight for a few hours on one day so Aunt can host her party the way she wants to?

I thought this too, but assumed my fiercely independent single-girl ways were just clouding my judgment.  :D  Glad to see I wasn't the only one that was thinking this.  It's a few hours in a day.  The world certainly wont stop if you take the high road and cater to the (justified, imo) whim of an old lady.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 15, 2013, 11:43:34 AM
Even if they felt they couldn't be apart for even one second, Larry still had the option of not attending this function and doing something else with his girlfriend instead.  I'm sure the Aunt would have missed his presence, but I'm also sure she knew that her limits might possibly mean that a few people would be unable (or unwilling) to attend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: shhh its me on December 15, 2013, 11:58:32 AM
I don't understand why Larry and his girlfriend absolutely, positively have to be together every second.  They can't stand to be out of each other's sight for a few hours on one day so Aunt can host her party the way she wants to?

You could say that of anyone - a husband and wife don't *have to be* in each other's company but you'd expect to include both in a party. Larry's new GF might be new and his track history with relationships might suggest to some that the relationship isn't serious. But - clearly to Larry - he considers her his partner and wants her to be included in family events.

To aunt she might be a stranger now but some day she could be Larry's wife. Is it better for her first memory of the family to be that she was invited and warmly welcomed to their holiday partner or that she was turned away at the door because she and Larry had only been dating recently.

Now, array should not have brought her when she was not invited but I can see why he would expect her to be invited and feel upset by her being characterised as a "total stranger". She's not a stranger to Larry.

Just useing the last post making this type of point.

I do think that if someone close believes its important a person they're dating attend a family function , its wise and kind to consider closely before saying "no"  but its not rude or bad hosting to simply flatly refuse.

I would point out though its an assumption that Larry feels his GF is "family" and a possible future wife.  Plenty of people very casually date many families don't mind a casual date at holiday celebrations.  Quiet a few people may use the designation of BF/GF after a few dates knowing they will never get more serious and will only date a few months or weeks.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 15, 2013, 12:13:34 PM
Even if they felt they couldn't be apart for even one second, Larry still had the option of not attending this function and doing something else with his girlfriend instead. 

And, like I said a few posts up which nobody seems to have considered, perhaps he then runs the risk of getting it in the head for not attending Auntie's last Thanksgiving. He can't win.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: nayberry on December 15, 2013, 12:27:01 PM
Even if they felt they couldn't be apart for even one second, Larry still had the option of not attending this function and doing something else with his girlfriend instead. 

And, like I said a few posts up which nobody seems to have considered, perhaps he then runs the risk of getting it in the head for not attending Auntie's last Thanksgiving. He can't win.

so he says to his gf that he'll have a tg on the weekend with her but this is his aunts last year hosting as she's elderly and if the gf doesn't understand that then she's not a very nice person.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: greencat on December 15, 2013, 12:38:44 PM
Or even do what I did, the first year I was with my ex, when I knew he knew absolutely no one in town, and would be alone for the holidays, but our relationship was still far too new for him to attend my family's celebrations - I went to visit my family, but I cut it short instead of spending a long day there, and then came back and had dinner with him.  This worked because the big holiday meals in my family were being done at lunch.  Had they been done at dinner time I might have done it the other way around - have lunch with the bf, then eaten dinner with my family. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 15, 2013, 12:41:35 PM
Even if they felt they couldn't be apart for even one second, Larry still had the option of not attending this function and doing something else with his girlfriend instead. 

And, like I said a few posts up which nobody seems to have considered, perhaps he then runs the risk of getting it in the head for not attending Auntie's last Thanksgiving. He can't win.

Of course he can win!  He can attend Aunt's gathering for a while and spend the rest of the day with his girlfriend doing whatever they want!  Aunt and the rest of his family are happy he showed up.  Girlfriend is happy he showed up for her too.

He does need to explain the specifics of Aunt's request (and the why of it) to his girlfriend in advance so that she knows he's not deliberately leaving her out of the family festivities. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 15, 2013, 12:54:13 PM
I don't understand why Larry and his girlfriend absolutely, positively have to be together every second.  They can't stand to be out of each other's sight for a few hours on one day so Aunt can host her party the way she wants to?

You could say that of anyone - a husband and wife don't *have to be* in each other's company but you'd expect to include both in a party. Larry's new GF might be new and his track history with relationships might suggest to some that the relationship isn't serious. But - clearly to Larry - he considers her his partner and wants her to be included in family events.

To aunt she might be a stranger now but some day she could be Larry's wife. Is it better for her first memory of the family to be that she was invited and warmly welcomed to their holiday partner or that she was turned away at the door because she and Larry had only been dating recently.

Now, array should not have brought her when she was not invited but I can see why he would expect her to be invited and feel upset by her being characterised as a "total stranger". She's not a stranger to Larry.

I don't think any of us know why Larry insisted. Based on his behavior of insisting this new girlfriend be invited, I will admit I don't attribute his desire to wanting his partner with him on a major holiday. I'm inclined to seeing it as wanting to show off for either his family or the girlfriend.

During our mid 20s DH and I entered into a pretty committed relationship very quickly. We'd both dated a lot and knew within a few weeks that this was it. But if I had been invited to a family only event I wouldn't have expected my family to include him as part of the family, especially if they hadn't met him.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 15, 2013, 01:04:16 PM
Larry spoiled his aunt's desire for one last good memory of a happy Thanksgiving, because his desire to be seen with his girlfriend trumped any consideration he should given his elderly relative.

Hmm. I think an occasion (holiday, dinner, wedding etc) is only ever spoiled if you let it be. People focus too much on having an occasion be 'perfect' and think it is 'ruined' if something goes awry.

I don't think Larry was right to bring his GF - although I'm not sure I agree that she shouldn't have been invited.  But I hope the aunt didn't let it 'spoil' the holiday for her. I think the last part of the story we got was "their aunt got very upset and angry…" I hope she got over it and was able to make her peace with the GF's presence.

Yes, sometimes people will claim that a small thing "ruined" an event because they're focusing on details or want to fit something exactly to a script. It doesn't "ruin" a wedding if one of the attendants has the wrong hairdo, or cousin Jay is caught in traffic and misses the ceremony and half the reception. But that doesn't mean nothing can ruin an event; using the wedding example again, a huge fight between the bride's parents, or someone getting drunk and screaming insults at the groom, might ruin the wedding even if the happy couple were able to slip off to their honeymoon hotel and say "well, that's done with, and at least now we're married, so that's okay."

If the aunt was worried about her dignity, especially at a point where she had limited stamina, an uninvited guest could make her day unpleasant. It's not just "well, everyone got some turkey, and nobody died." From the etiquette viewpoint, if I plan to do something for which my expected outcome is "I hope the person who invited me will be able to make their peace with this," that's problematic. (The examples I can come up with that would strike me as not rude are things like telling a relative that you're converting to a different religion, or moving halfway across the world, and wanting to give the news face to face. I don't think they apply here.)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 15, 2013, 01:50:25 PM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position - you're elderly, you're infirm, you're facing having to leave the home you lived in with your husband or wife, raised your children and experienced many moments of happiness and sorrow.  You now have to move into an assisted living situation, among strangers, including those to whom you will have to submit in order to assist you in the most intimate physical details.

Since you'd be leaving your long-time home, you want one last intimate gathering of your family, as a good memory for them and for you to hold on to as you face the loss of your home, your independence, your health and your dignity.  You want your family to remember that one last good day as you were, instead of the person you are becoming.  However, since you are elderly, infirm, and emotional about leaving your home, you want this to be confined to your family, so they won't judge you.

Now, imagine, you are prepping for this last meal with your family.  You've set X number of places at the table, and it took you longer than it had previously, because the extra leaf in the table is almost more than you can handle and it took a good deal of effort to pull out X place settings and wash them by hand.  The turkey feels heavier than it used to, your hands hurt more when making the pies and mashing potatoes, and your legs and back hurts more from standing than it used to.  You're tired, you hurt, you know this is the last Thanksgiving you will ever host.  You're going to try to keep it together, but if you break down, it's just the family and they understand.

Now imagine, your nephew Larry shows up with some girl, a total stranger to you.  Now you need to rearrange the table, pull out that extra place setting, find the extra chair that you had put in the garage to be sent off.  Now you worry that there might not be enough biscuits, potatoes, or pie since you only made enough for X number of people.  Now you have to "perform" for a stranger instead of relaxing around family.

Now, Secretrebel,  whose feelings would you place first, the elderly aunt who is experiencing her last Thanksgiving as a independent host, or Larry, who has many years left of Thanksgivings he can spend with his girlfriend(s)?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: shhh its me on December 15, 2013, 01:55:22 PM
Even if they felt they couldn't be apart for even one second, Larry still had the option of not attending this function and doing something else with his girlfriend instead. 

And, like I said a few posts up which nobody seems to have considered, perhaps he then runs the risk of getting it in the head for not attending Auntie's last Thanksgiving. He can't win.

It's possible but I still don't think its rude to say " You are invited , you may not bring a guest and if you do not attend I will be disappointed/mad/whatever"   There are cases were that would be down right mean but it's not an absolute that those conditions would even be mildly unpleasant.   

IF we do assume that Larry was in one of those " you must come" and it was MEAN not to include his GF , then while he may deserve some sympathy for having a difficult family. He was still rude to bring his GF.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gramma dishes on December 15, 2013, 02:01:51 PM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position - you're elderly, you're infirm, you're facing having to leave the home you lived in with your husband or wife, raised your children and experienced many moments of happiness and sorrow.  You now have to move into an assisted living situation, among strangers, including those to whom you will have to submit in order to assist you in the most intimate physical details.

Since you'd be leaving your long-time home, you want one last intimate gathering of your family, as a good memory for them and for you to hold on to as you face the loss of your home, your independence, your health and your dignity.  You want your family to remember that one last good day as you were, instead of the person you are becoming.  However, since you are elderly, infirm, and emotional about leaving your home, you want this to be confined to your family, so they won't judge you.

Now, imagine, you are prepping for this last meal with your family.  You've set X number of places at the table, and it took you longer than it had previously, because the extra leaf in the table is almost more than you can handle and it took a good deal of effort to pull out X place settings and wash them by hand.  The turkey feels heavier than it used to, your hands hurt more when making the pies and mashing potatoes, and your legs and back hurts more from standing than it used to.  You're tired, you hurt, you know this is the last Thanksgiving you will ever host.  You're going to try to keep it together, but if you break down, it's just the family and they understand.

Now imagine, your nephew Larry shows up with some girl, a total stranger to you.  Now you need to rearrange the table, pull out that extra place setting, find the extra chair that you had put in the garage to be sent off.  Now you worry that there might not be enough biscuits, potatoes, or pie since you only made enough for X number of people.  Now you have to "perform" for a stranger instead of relaxing around family.


Beautifully said, BarensMom.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: doodlemor on December 15, 2013, 03:26:17 PM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position - you're elderly, you're infirm, you're facing having to leave the home you lived in with your husband or wife, raised your children and experienced many moments of happiness and sorrow.  You now have to move into an assisted living situation, among strangers, including those to whom you will have to submit in order to assist you in the most intimate physical details.

Since you'd be leaving your long-time home, you want one last intimate gathering of your family, as a good memory for them and for you to hold on to as you face the loss of your home, your independence, your health and your dignity.  You want your family to remember that one last good day as you were, instead of the person you are becoming.  However, since you are elderly, infirm, and emotional about leaving your home, you want this to be confined to your family, so they won't judge you.

Now, imagine, you are prepping for this last meal with your family.  You've set X number of places at the table, and it took you longer than it had previously, because the extra leaf in the table is almost more than you can handle and it took a good deal of effort to pull out X place settings and wash them by hand.  The turkey feels heavier than it used to, your hands hurt more when making the pies and mashing potatoes, and your legs and back hurts more from standing than it used to.  You're tired, you hurt, you know this is the last Thanksgiving you will ever host.  You're going to try to keep it together, but if you break down, it's just the family and they understand.

Now imagine, your nephew Larry shows up with some girl, a total stranger to you.  Now you need to rearrange the table, pull out that extra place setting, find the extra chair that you had put in the garage to be sent off.  Now you worry that there might not be enough biscuits, potatoes, or pie since you only made enough for X number of people.  Now you have to "perform" for a stranger instead of relaxing around family.

Now, Secretrebel,  whose feelings would you place first, the elderly aunt who is experiencing her last Thanksgiving as a independent host, or Larry, who has many years left of Thanksgivings he can spend with his girlfriend(s)?

Wow, BarensMom, your post brought tears to my eyes.  You really have captured the essence of the situation.  What a great piece of evocative writing!

IMHO, Larry is a brat.  I doubt that he really cares greatly about the new GF.  I think that he just wanted to show his family that he was still hot stuff enough to attract another woman after the 2nd divorce.  He was "saving face," so to speak.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Amara on December 15, 2013, 03:48:30 PM
Yes, BarensMom, you hit it exactly. My mother is 90--my dad died a year and a half ago--and it means the world to her to have her children and grandchildren around her for the holidays and to have the memories she created for us for so many years to still be there for her. The opportunity to give to the elderly something so meaningful is wonderful, and for someone to want to selfishly change that is thoroughly wrong. If you can help make meaning for them, do it. You have time after that for your own wants and desires. They may not.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: GlassHalfFull on December 15, 2013, 06:07:16 PM
Agreed.  This is an 89-year old woman, facing her last Thanksgiving holiday before going into assisted living, wanting to host her family "one last time."  It occurred to me that this woman wanted only her family for this dinner because they would be more accepting of any lapses in her hospitality and be willing to assist when needed.  Perhaps the aunt did not want a "new" person in her home because, frankly, she did not want a stranger to see that her home wasn't up to its former standards or that most of her stuff is in packing boxes. Or she didn't want a stranger to experience what may have been a dinner that wasn't up to previous levels.

Just imagine, Aunt was thinking, "Thank diety, it's only family.  They won't mind if the gravy has lumps or the pie crust is too brown.  Oh, and my back was hurting, so I wasn't able to dust the table or wash the good dishes beforehand - I'll ask great-niece to help me with that."  Then, the doorbell rings, and it's Larry foisting a strange girl on her.  Aunt would have every right to be upset.

Or perhaps it was simply that she wanted a comfortable, close, family feeling for her last hosted holiday.  Either or any way, I'm with the majority; Larry is an entitled heel who should have made alternative plans if his new girlfriend's exclusion took precedence for him over his aunt's wishes.  An exclusion that did indeed sound global, not just anti-Larry, else the aunt would've said, "Everyone except for Larry's new girlfriend is invited"  She even excluded old friends for Pete's sake! 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: secretrebel on December 16, 2013, 06:44:55 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 16, 2013, 08:20:16 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

Patronizing?  Calling you a heartless monster?  Really, you think that's what I'm implying?  I'm sorry I came off as being that cruel - that was not my intention.  I don't have the wit nor the right to patronize anyone.

Hyperbole?  No, not really.  My previous post was based on my mother's actual reaction to being introduced to my nephew's new girlfriend at the family dinner.  We didn't even know my nephew had split with his wife (had seen wife the previous week) and nephew had told Mom he wasn't even coming.  Then he arrived with a new girlfriend, who proceeded to go into the fridge without asking and helped herself to the dessert before dinner had been served.  Mom was 80 at the time and their presumption angered and upset her, to the point that she had to go into her bedroom and lie down.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Stormtreader on December 16, 2013, 08:34:59 AM
You know, people, those posters that think that an elderly lady does not have the right to determine who she hosts in her own home, under the circumstances recounted in the original post, are making me very angry.

As was mentioned in the original post, this is an 89-year-old woman who can no longer live independently and is having to give up her home and most of her possessions to live in an assisted living situation.  She wanted a family-only Thanksgiving, perhaps because she needed assistance and she didn't want a total stranger to see that. Perhaps she didn't want a total stranger in her house if she got emotional at the thought of its being the last family dinner in her home.  Her house may be in the process of packing up and she didn't want a total stranger to see its condition.  She may have wanted only family present because she was going to pass out family heirlooms and having a total stranger present would be inappropriate.

With the elderly people I have known (and there have been many), when they make a request like the above, they always have a good reason.  No one has any right to pass judgement on a woman, that barring any toxicity issues, deserves only our respect and admiration for attempting to make one last meal for her family under difficult circumstances.

Well said, and id like to add something if I may - not all illnesses or hardships are visible or age-related and its not up to other people to decide what someone is capable of doing. Its anyones right to choose who they have in their home, that seemingly-well person may be dealing with hardships of a mental or physical nature that they dont want to share with the world and they shouldnt have to.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 16, 2013, 08:41:00 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

I agree with secretrebel completely.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: wolfie on December 16, 2013, 08:45:40 AM
BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

When did she become a fiance? In the OP's post she was the new girlfriend after the third marriage ended. I don't have a problem with a new girlfriend being excluded, but I would have a problem with a fiance being excluded.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 16, 2013, 09:03:05 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

I agree with secretrebel completely.

Ditto. I also agree with Perpetua's point that Larry was essentially being shoved between the devil and the deep blue sea, in some ways.

Larry can't bring the GF (and we all agree that he was rude to bring her, uninvited), and Larry probably can't realistically bow out, because it's 'Aunt's last thanksgiving'. I can see how that could be difficult for Larry, if the GF can't go to another celebration.

There's a lot of hyperbole going on here, and a lot of conjecture. What do we know?

1) Larry was asked to not bring his GF. We do not know the length of the relationship ('new' can mean virtually anything), whether or not she is usually included, and whether or not the 'no GF/BF' rule affected anybody apart from Larry.

2) Larry brought his GF. We don't know whether that 'ruined' thanksgiving, and we certainly do not know the mind of a lady who none of us have ever met.


That's it.

Larry could be a serial womaniser who brought some girl he picked up in a bar last night, and aunt could have had a breakdown in the pantry.

Larry could have a serious GF, who he has been seeing for almost a year, and who is usually included but was excluded from this event specifically. Aunt could have rolled her eyes and got somebody to pull up an extra chair.

I could go on. The point is, we don't know anything other than the facts I bolded. Yes, Larry was rude to bring the GF, but he's not necessarily a heinous, old-lady-upsetting monster. Or maybe he is. None of us knows!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: VorFemme on December 16, 2013, 09:08:01 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

Patronizing?  Calling you a heartless monster?  Really, you think that's what I'm implying?  I'm sorry I came off as being that cruel - that was not my intention.  I don't have the wit nor the right to patronize anyone.

Hyperbole?  No, not really.  My previous post was based on my mother's actual reaction to being introduced to my nephew's new girlfriend at the family dinner.  We didn't even know my nephew had split with his wife (had seen wife the previous week) and nephew had told Mom he wasn't even coming.  Then he arrived with a new girlfriend, who proceeded to go into the fridge without asking and helped herself to the dessert before dinner had been served.  Mom was 80 at the time and their presumption angered and upset her, to the point that she had to go into her bedroom and lie down.


That explains a lot about your perspective on the matter.

I agree that your brother was rude to break up with his wife that way and "tell" his family that he had done so by showing up with a new GF who was rude enough to help herself to dessert from the fridge BEFORE dinner.  Those two rudes would have me in in my room with the door shut for a while, too - and I'm ONLY 56!

Not that my son is married and DD seems to be extremely happy with DSIL and the grandbaby.  So - I don't expect that to happen - but part of what upset your mother was seeing her DDIL the week before without a clue what was coming down the road....as it were.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 16, 2013, 09:09:39 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

I agree with secretrebel completely.

Ditto. I also agree with Perpetua's point that Larry was essentially being shoved between the devil and the deep blue sea, in some ways.

Larry can't bring the GF (and we all agree that he was rude to bring her, uninvited), and Larry probably can't realistically bow out, because it's 'Aunt's last thanksgiving'. I can see how that could be difficult for Larry, if the GF can't go to another celebration.

There's a lot of hyperbole going on here, and a lot of conjecture. What do we know?

1) Larry was asked to not bring his GF. We do not know the length of the relationship ('new' can mean virtually anything), whether or not she is usually included, and whether or not the 'no GF/BF' rule affected anybody apart from Larry.

2) Larry brought his GF. We don't know whether that 'ruined' thanksgiving, and we certainly do not know the mind of a lady who none of us have ever met.


That's it.

Larry could be a serial womaniser who brought some girl he picked up in a bar last night, and aunt could have had a breakdown in the pantry.

Larry could have a serious GF, who he has been seeing for almost a year, and who is usually included but was excluded from this event specifically. Aunt could have rolled her eyes and got somebody to pull up an extra chair.

I could go on. The point is, we don't know anything other than the facts I bolded. Yes, Larry was rude to bring the GF, but he's not necessarily a heinous, old-lady-upsetting monster. Or maybe he is. None of us knows!

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.

Based on that, I don't see who we would even remotely assume he'd been dating this woman for a year or more.

I don't see how this puts Larry in a bad position. 3 family members (cousin, dad, aunt)  told him "no to your girlfriend". As an adult his choices were to not come or come alone. Why is that putting him in a bad position.

And it doesn't matter what the family reaction was. He was horribly rude to his aunt, his family, and his new girlfriend.

And why is it bad to refer to his girlfriend as a total stranger. She very well might be a total stranger to the aunt. Just because she isn't to Larry doesn't mean the other family members don't look upon her like that. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:15:37 AM
Secretrebel, in many cases, an elderly person is emotionally fragile, especially considering the myriad health problems they face.  This aunt is in a position of giving up her home and her independence.

I don't know how old you are or if you've ever had close elderly relatives, but imagine that someday you will be in this aunt's position...

BarensMom, I'm afraid I found this post very patronising. Yes, I have elderly relations. I do not lack imagination or compassion. And I have said all along that I don't think Larry should have brought his fiancé when she was not welcome.

In this thread I have simply being trying to point out that it is judgemental and unwelcoming to describe Larry's girlfriend as a "total stranger", "not family" and not in a serious relationship (all of which are views that have been expressed in this thread) and for the holiday to be considered 'ruined' by her attendance. It is those views I have been responding to.

But I am now going to bow out of this thread because the imagined viewpoint of an elderly woman moving into assisted living has reached a point of hyperbole that makes it impossible to put any alternative perspective without being characterised as a heartless monster.

I agree with secretrebel completely.

Ditto. I also agree with Perpetua's point that Larry was essentially being shoved between the devil and the deep blue sea, in some ways.

Larry can't bring the GF (and we all agree that he was rude to bring her, uninvited), and Larry probably can't realistically bow out, because it's 'Aunt's last thanksgiving'. I can see how that could be difficult for Larry, if the GF can't go to another celebration.

There's a lot of hyperbole going on here, and a lot of conjecture. What do we know?

1) Larry was asked to not bring his GF. We do not know the length of the relationship ('new' can mean virtually anything), whether or not she is usually included, and whether or not the 'no GF/BF' rule affected anybody apart from Larry.

2) Larry brought his GF. We don't know whether that 'ruined' thanksgiving, and we certainly do not know the mind of a lady who none of us have ever met.


That's it.

Larry could be a serial womaniser who brought some girl he picked up in a bar last night, and aunt could have had a breakdown in the pantry.

Larry could have a serious GF, who he has been seeing for almost a year, and who is usually included but was excluded from this event specifically. Aunt could have rolled her eyes and got somebody to pull up an extra chair.

I could go on. The point is, we don't know anything other than the facts I bolded. Yes, Larry was rude to bring the GF, but he's not necessarily a heinous, old-lady-upsetting monster. Or maybe he is. None of us knows!

Yeah, I'm with you, Teenyweeny. You said what I've been trying to think how to post all day. I also found the post a little patronising but was having trouble trying to verbalise why.

Additionally, I really don't hold with the notion that 'family' is some sacred thing to be catered to to the exclusion of everyone else who might be important, so I'm almost coming down on Larry's side if she's an established girlfriend (although I agree that flouting the invite and bringing her anyway wasn't a good thing to do). Who gets to decide who's included in 'family' events and who isn't? Larry's part of the 'family' too - perhaps his views should also count. Were other people's partners included? If so, who gets to judge who's an 'important' enough partner to get an invite and why are their opinions of the stability of Larry's relationship more important than his?

Splitting the day up as someone suggested so Larry has lunch with the family and then spends the rest of the day with his GF may not be practical. Perhaps she's staying with him for the holidays. Perhaps he'll get it in the head for turning up for lunch only at Auntie's then running. Perhaps he would like to have Thanksgiving lunch with his girlfriend but then he'll get it in the head for not turning up to Auntie's lunch.

Too many variables.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 16, 2013, 09:16:58 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend.

I don't see how this puts Larry in a bad position. 3 family members (cousin, dad, aunt)  told him "no to your girlfriend". As an adult his choices were to not come or come alone. Why is that putting him in a bad position.

And it doesn't matter what the family reaction was. He was horribly rude to his aunt, his family, and his new girlfriend.

And why is it bad to refer to his girlfriend as a total stranger. She very well might be a total stranger to the aunt. Just because she isn't to Larry doesn't mean the other family members don't look upon her like that.

But what does 'recently' mean? Last week? Last month? Last year? Gosh, some things that I would describe as 'recent' I now realise were 3 years ago!  ;D

And of course, he was rude. But it is possible he was put in a bad position, if we're going to allow ourselves to suppose things, based on not very much, we could suppose that too. Maybe GF is a partner of around a year, she has no family nearby, and she just recently moved to the area. Maybe Larry can't bring the GF, but feels like he can't back out either ('it's Aunt's last thanksgiving at home!').

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:17:19 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 16, 2013, 09:21:08 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

Larry gets to decide he and his girlfriend are a social unit but Aunt gets to decide if they are a social unit she'd like to invite for Thanksgiving. Apparently she decided they weren't, and Larry's cousin and father tried to stress that point to him.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:24:42 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

Larry gets to decide he and his girlfriend are a social unit but Aunt gets to decide if they are a social unit she'd like to invite for Thanksgiving. Apparently she decided they weren't, and Larry's cousin and father tried to stress that point to him.

Then she invites either both of them or none at all. Inviting one half of a social unit and excluding the other is rude.

If Larry and his g/f are a social unit and see themselves as such - and I don't believe anyone gets to decide that other than the couple themselves - then Auntie goofed by not inviting them both. And actually, it's worse than that, because not only did she not invite them, the family specifically pointed out that she wasn't welcome.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 16, 2013, 09:25:03 AM
Late to the party: Larry was rude to bring an uninvited guest and the etiquettely-correct move would be to decline and spend the holiday with his girlfriend, but on the other hand I can see where this kind of situation gets sticky, because if he declines, he's probably going to get it in the head for 'not showing up to Auntie's last Thanksgiving'. There aren't any easy winners in this situation, really.

Or accept, and spend Thanksgiving away from his girlfriend for a few hours. If this is their first year together, I suspect she has her own traditions with her own family, that she could keep.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:26:34 AM
Late to the party: Larry was rude to bring an uninvited guest and the etiquettely-correct move would be to decline and spend the holiday with his girlfriend, but on the other hand I can see where this kind of situation gets sticky, because if he declines, he's probably going to get it in the head for 'not showing up to Auntie's last Thanksgiving'. There aren't any easy winners in this situation, really.

Or accept, and spend Thanksgiving away from his girlfriend for a few hours. If this is their first year together, I suspect she has her own traditions with her own family, that she could keep.

But if they are a social unit, he shouldn't have to. That's the whole point of social units.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 16, 2013, 09:27:49 AM
It also irks me that an issue is being made of the fact that Larry has now been married three times. Why is this even relevant? If Larry's old enough to have an 89-year old aunt,  then he could easily be old enough to have had three 10-15 year marriages.

It's hardly serial philandering.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: mime on December 16, 2013, 09:28:19 AM
There's a way I can understand Larry's (possible) point of view: His third marriage ended, and he's with a new girlfriend. After three marriages, I wonder if Larry is the type of person who jumps into relationships with both feet and little thought. In his mind, NewGF could be significant even if they have only been together for a week. They could be discussing moving in together or getting married (although she is not presented as a fiancee at this time). Whether relationships are temporary and disposable to him or whether he falsely believes each time he has found a forever-wife isn't clear.

By (presumably) the Aunt's wording in her scaled-back invitation, in the past Thanksgiving has included girlfriends, boyfriends, family friends, and lonely neighbors. Larry may be envisioning a hierarchy of sorts. Why shouldn't his significant other be "higher than" a group of maybe: teenagers' boyfriends, neighbors who had no other plans, a family friend who is in town, etc? It also may not sound fair to him that he must come alone while his siblings get to bring a spouse and three kids. It may not sound fair to him that he can't have Thanksgiving the way he wants all because Aunt is getting old.

I can appreciate -- or at least have compassion for -- that point of view.

Audrey Quest helped me see that Thanksgiving could be viewed as either "our event at Aunt's house" or as "Aunt's event". Aunt seemed to have been very welcoming in the past, so everyone must have felt bit of ownership in the gathering. Aunt, as host, changed the rules this year, and that can be off-putting. Any of the guests could be thinking "That's not fair! That's not what WE have done for the last three decades!" I don't believe they would be wrong to have that reaction. *But* the Aunt has every right to limit access to her home to a guest list of her choosing, even if it is different from her choices in other years. The lines she drew were arguably within the norms of etiquette. The fact that is was a change from the past is hard to swallow, and it may be the trigger to lose some family guests, but it was not rude.

The invitees have the choice to say "thank you, no" and make other plans. For whatever reasons, they didn't. Maybe they adore her so much that she can do whatever she wants. Maybe they're happy to have a family-only gathering for once. Maybe they feel bad for her as she's facing such a major life change. Maybe they think "we'll just put up with crazy old Auntie for one more year, then we're free!" It is even possible that she is the family bully and Larry's dad only spoke up on her behalf to make Larry keep the peace by not upsetting her.

In any of those cases, I have the same conclusions over and over:
Aunt is not rude to limit the guest list in her home.
Larry is OK to be upset by the change.
Larry only gets to accept or reject the invitation.
Larry was rude to bring his girlfriend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 16, 2013, 09:29:59 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

Larry gets to decide he and his girlfriend are a social unit but Aunt gets to decide if they are a social unit she'd like to invite for Thanksgiving. Apparently she decided they weren't, and Larry's cousin and father tried to stress that point to him.

Then she invites either both of them or none at all. Inviting one half of a social unit and excluding the other is rude.

If Larry and his g/f are a social unit and see themselves as such - and I don't believe anyone gets to decide that other than the couple themselves - then Auntie goofed by not inviting them both.

Actually, society gets to make that decision. That's why it's called a "social unit". Because it's the call of society.

You do not get to declare that "Hey, X and I are sleeping together! Therefore, we must be invited everywhere!" You may *want* to go everywhere together, because you're just soooo in love, but the social unit rules still are, you are only *required* to invite couples if they are married, engaged or (late addition) living together. Just being in love, or lust, or loneliness, does not make you a social unit.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:31:23 AM
In any of those cases, I have the same conclusions over and over:
Aunt is not rude to limit the guest list in her home.
Larry is OK to be upset by the change.
Larry only gets to accept or reject the invitation.
Larry was rude to bring his girlfriend.

You raise some really good points in your post but if Larry and his GF are a social unit then Auntie *is* rude for not inviting both of them, whether it's 'in her own home' or not, and even ruder to tell Larry that she is specifically not welcome.

But again, we don't know. I'd love to get some more details from the OP if she has the opportunity to find out any more  :)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 16, 2013, 09:32:55 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

Larry gets to decide he and his girlfriend are a social unit but Aunt gets to decide if they are a social unit she'd like to invite for Thanksgiving. Apparently she decided they weren't, and Larry's cousin and father tried to stress that point to him.

Then she invites either both of them or none at all. Inviting one half of a social unit and excluding the other is rude.

If Larry and his g/f are a social unit and see themselves as such - and I don't believe anyone gets to decide that other than the couple themselves - then Auntie goofed by not inviting them both. And actually, it's worse than that, because not only did she not invite them, the family specifically pointed out that she wasn't welcome.

I guess I just disagree in all cases that might apply. If I was to host a gathering with a set guest list, and one of my guests had started dating someone 'recently' before the invite, if I was not inclined to host a stranger then I don't think the default assumption is that this person would have to be invited.

I just had a huge party and a friend I'd invited had started dating Holly. I met Holly a few months previous, so when I made my invite to my friend for the party, I told him to bring Holly if he liked. I did this for two reasons: I met Holly and liked her and it was a huge party so I was inclined to be more inclusive.

But a small dinner party with meaning and meaningful associates? I would feel it's within my rights to be a little more exclusive and just invite my friend with no mention of Holly, especially if I hadn't met her and I was aware that they were recently dating.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:34:27 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

Larry gets to decide he and his girlfriend are a social unit but Aunt gets to decide if they are a social unit she'd like to invite for Thanksgiving. Apparently she decided they weren't, and Larry's cousin and father tried to stress that point to him.

Then she invites either both of them or none at all. Inviting one half of a social unit and excluding the other is rude.

If Larry and his g/f are a social unit and see themselves as such - and I don't believe anyone gets to decide that other than the couple themselves - then Auntie goofed by not inviting them both.

Actually, society gets to make that decision. That's why it's called a "social unit". Because it's the call of society.

You do not get to declare that "Hey, X and I are sleeping together! Therefore, we must be invited everywhere!" You may *want* to go everywhere together, because you're just soooo in love, but the social unit rules still are, you are only *required* to invite couples if they are married, engaged or (late addition) living together. Just being in love, or lust, or loneliness, does not make you a social unit.

Then frankly I think it's time that society woke up to the changing times we live in. There are many established couples who could reasonably be considered a social unit and not fulfil any of those criteria.

What about - picking an example out of thin air - a long-term couple who aren't yet married or engaged, where one of them is serving in the military and is home on leave for the holidays and staying with the other? Is that person expected to stay home alone just because 'society' doesn't deem them 'together' enough to be invited to places as a couple?

ETA: Perhaps that's a discussion for a spin-off thread; there's probably enough material in that for a good few pages :)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 16, 2013, 09:36:38 AM
It also irks me that an issue is being made of the fact that Larry has now been married three times. Why is this even relevant? If Larry's old enough to have an 89-year old aunt,  then he could easily be old enough to have had three 10-15 year marriages.

It's hardly serial philandering.

POD.  I take offense to this as well.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 16, 2013, 09:39:14 AM
What about - picking an example out of thin air - a long-term couple who aren't yet married or engaged, where one of them is serving in the military and is home on leave for the holidays and staying with the other?

I would imagine that the society they associate with, would view them as a social unit. And then this wouldn't be an issue. Under those circumstances Aunt would (likely) view them as a social unit because they're long established (in other words not recent).
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:41:25 AM
What about - picking an example out of thin air - a long-term couple who aren't yet married or engaged, where one of them is serving in the military and is home on leave for the holidays and staying with the other?

I would imagine that the society they associate with, would view them as a social unit. And then this wouldn't be an issue. Under those circumstances Aunt would (likely) view them as a social unit because they're long established (in other words not recent).

Well yes, quite. But they don't fall under any of the official 'rules', so the lines are blurred.

I don't think anyone else should get to decide how serious a relationship is other than the couple involved in it, is all. I find it very judge-y.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 16, 2013, 09:43:29 AM
Yes. They do not have to be invited as a couple. Of course, their friends probably *will* invite them together, because they are their friends. But, in cases such as the OP, where there is a reason to keep the guest list small, they do not *have* to be invited together.

If the couple doesn't want to be parted, the invitation can be declined. But they can't go around saying that the invitation to one member of the couple only was rude, or in any way against etiquette. No matter how much service was given to their country, or how desperately in love they are. It is the hosts' choice to invite them.

BTW, your hypothetical couple in your post could make themselves a social unit by announcing themselves "engaged". If they do not feel able to take that step, they should not judge society harsh in saying that they are not a social unit yet.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 16, 2013, 09:44:07 AM
What about - picking an example out of thin air - a long-term couple who aren't yet married or engaged, where one of them is serving in the military and is home on leave for the holidays and staying with the other?

I would imagine that the society they associate with, would view them as a social unit. And then this wouldn't be an issue. Under those circumstances Aunt would (likely) view them as a social unit because they're long established (in other words not recent).

Well yes, quite. But they don't fall under any of the official 'rules', so the lines are blurred.

I don't think anyone else should get to decide how serious a relationship is other than the couple involved in it, is all. I find it very judge-y.

But I don't get to judge how serious someone else's relationship is from their standpoint, but for the purposes of who I invite to dinner, I get to make that determination for my house for those that don't make the seriousness of their relationship obvious (married/engaged/living together).

Btw, congrats on your 1000th post!  ;D
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: mime on December 16, 2013, 09:45:37 AM
In any of those cases, I have the same conclusions over and over:
Aunt is not rude to limit the guest list in her home.
Larry is OK to be upset by the change.
Larry only gets to accept or reject the invitation.
Larry was rude to bring his girlfriend.

You raise some really good points in your post but if Larry and his GF are a social unit then Auntie *is* rude for not inviting both of them, whether it's 'in her own home' or not, and even ruder to tell Larry that she is specifically not welcome.

But again, we don't know. I'd love to get some more details from the OP if she has the opportunity to find out any more  :)

I would declare Auntie rude if I also considered them to be a social unit.

I suppose where we fall on different sides is in our definitions of social unit, then? Since there was no outward sign of commitment (engagement announced, cohabitating, marriage) I assumed the social-unit-status is "not yet" at best. I'm guessing you and I have experienced different norms that lead us to different conclusions about their status. That definitely makes it easier for me to understand Larry being upset.

Oh I just had a fun thought-- what if Larry was planning to announce their engagment to the family on Thanksgiving?  ;D

I do agree that I'd love to know more of the details.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 09:46:47 AM
Yes. They do not have to be invited as a couple. Of course, their friends probably *will* invite them together, because they are their friends. But, in cases such as the OP, where there is a reason to keep the guest list small, they do not *have* to be invited together.

Not technically by the book, perhaps. But it will create bad feeling if they are not.

Quote
If the couple doesn't want to be parted, the invitation can be declined.

Yes, it can be. And then Larry gets it in the head for being 'the cousin who thought his girlfriend was more important than Auntie's last holiday before she goes into a home'. I wouldn't want to be in that position - would you?

Quote
But they can't go around saying that the invitation to one member of the couple only was rude, or in any way against etiquette. No matter how much service was given to their country, or how desperately in love they are. It is the hosts' choice to invite them.

Perhaps not, again, if they're going 'by the book'. But they would be quite within their rights to feel hurt at the exclusion.

Quote
BTW, your hypothetical couple in your post could make themselves a social unit by announcing themselves "engaged". If they do not feel able to take that step, they should not judge society harsh in saying that they are not a social unit yet.

I find that rather judgemental, honestly.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hillia on December 16, 2013, 10:00:33 AM
You know, if I were in that situation, and a family member *in this precise situation* asked me to come alone and not bring my new-to-her SO, I don't think it would be a big deal to me.  I think that for me, barring toxicity, the relative's desire for an intimate celebration would trump my desire to be accepted as a social unit or my need to be joined at the hip with my SO. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 16, 2013, 10:02:36 AM

What we do know is that
1. Larry is recently divorced.
2. Larry was told by cousin and father to not bring the girlfriend so they do not look upon the GF as a social unit with Larry.


Why do Larry's cousin and father get to decide whether Larry and his girlfriend are a social unit or not? Shouldn't that be Larry's decision?

As other's have previously pointed out "society" gets to decide who is a social unit. That's why it is referred to as a social unit. And current etiquette says married, engaged, living together couples always qualify as a social unit. A person's social circle can decide to make exceptions for that by recognizing a couple who has been dating for a long time but choses not to live together as a social unit. And if you want drive that point home with your social circle you start declining invites when your chosen partner is not included in the invitation. You don't stamp your foot and say "we are a social unit and you will treat us as one". That is not how etiquette or society works.

And as far being "part of the family" I don't believe one person gets to decide that all other family members must welcome someone as "part of the family" unless they make a committment of some sorts. We know this would be at a minimal the 4th woman Larry has asked the family to include as part of the family. I don't think that is fair to the other memembers. I've known serial monogomists. It can be emotionally exhausting to have a person be accepted as part of your family and then to have them dissapear because the person who brought them into the family group has now decided they don't value that relationship anymore.  So just because Larry has decided this woman is part of "his family" (even if that was his reason for bringing her) it's not fair of him to decide that others must feel the same way, especially when he was told by a cousin and a father that the family was not ready to welcome the woman into the fold. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Venus193 on December 16, 2013, 10:07:50 AM
The description to me of "new girlfriend" can mean either or both of the following:

1.  He just started dating her recently
2.  She has not yet been introduced to the family.

I hope we find out later what the case really is.  If it's either of the above, she certainly doesn't qualify under the current rules and Larry is being an entitled cad.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 10:16:04 AM
And if you want drive that point home with your social circle you start declining invites when your chosen partner is not included in the invitation. You don't stamp your foot and say "we are a social unit and you will treat us as one". That is not how etiquette or society works.

You know - normally I'd agree at least in part with that. But in this situation, which seems *so* emotionally charged, I really don't see how Larry could have done that without landing himself in even *more* trouble.  The family seem to have made such a huge deal about it being 'Auntie's Last Thanksgiving' - how could he have declined that invite without being seen as some kind of heartless oaf?

The description to me of "new girlfriend" can mean either or both of the following:

1.  He just started dating her recently
2.  She has not yet been introduced to the family.

I hope we find out later what the case really is.  If it's either of the above, she certainly doesn't qualify under the current rules and Larry is being an entitled cad.

I'd agree with the first but not necessarily with the second because there are plenty of scenarios I could think of in which people haven't been introduced to the family yet but they may have been an established couple for a long time. For instance - a couple who have been together for a couple of years living a long way away from the family and not been back for a visit yet. Should one half of that couple be excluded from an event?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Twik on December 16, 2013, 10:23:05 AM
Yes. They do not have to be invited as a couple. Of course, their friends probably *will* invite them together, because they are their friends. But, in cases such as the OP, where there is a reason to keep the guest list small, they do not *have* to be invited together.

Not technically by the book, perhaps. But it will create bad feeling if they are not.

Quote
If the couple doesn't want to be parted, the invitation can be declined.

Yes, it can be. And then Larry gets it in the head for being 'the cousin who thought his girlfriend was more important than Auntie's last holiday before she goes into a home'. I wouldn't want to be in that position - would you?

Quote
But they can't go around saying that the invitation to one member of the couple only was rude, or in any way against etiquette. No matter how much service was given to their country, or how desperately in love they are. It is the hosts' choice to invite them.

Perhaps not, again, if they're going 'by the book'. But they would be quite within their rights to feel hurt at the exclusion.

Quote
BTW, your hypothetical couple in your post could make themselves a social unit by announcing themselves "engaged". If they do not feel able to take that step, they should not judge society harsh in saying that they are not a social unit yet.

I find that rather judgemental, honestly.

No, that's the thing - they're not within their rights to feel slighted. Just being romantically involved does not make them a social unit. People can still choose to socialize with one, or both, as they wish, without being rude.

Will it create bad feeling? It shouldn't, if people are reasonable. Do you think it will create good feelings if Larry shows up with an uninvited guest? Or forces Aunt to choose between giving up her last party in her own home, or trying to put on an event that she is not physically capable of doing?

I think it's pretty darn judgmental of Larry to insist that his desire to spend every waking minute with his current girlfriend is more important than his aunt's happiness or health. And if his girlfriend is offended by this, I'd say Larry should cut and run, because she's a special snowflake.

The irony is that I'd bet good money that if Larry's guy friends called him up the week afterwards, and asked him to come hang for a guy's night, he'd not think twice about leaving his girlfriend behind. After all, I'm sure he'll say, it's not like they're joined at the hip, right?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 16, 2013, 10:24:14 AM
I'd agree with the first but not necessarily with the second because there are plenty of scenarios I could think of in which people haven't been introduced to the family yet but they may have been an established couple for a long time. For instance - a couple who have been together for a couple of years living a long way away from the family and not been back for a visit yet. Should one half of that couple be excluded from an event?

I think, in today's electronic world, it's very possible to introduce someone to the family without the family physically meeting them. Partner and I both have far flung family and friends, while in person there are people from each side we've never met, between skype, email, Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterst (yes, my family follows each other on pinterest), texting, and even good old fashioned phone calls, we've been thoroughly introduced to one another's brood.

Physically, maybe you can't, but you could pick up a phone and say "Great-aunt Fanny, how are you? Me, well I'm seeing someone knew her name is Jane, she's right now, would you like to say hi?", and I would say that counts as a introduction.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: EllenS on December 16, 2013, 10:29:46 AM
I'd agree with the first but not necessarily with the second because there are plenty of scenarios I could think of in which people haven't been introduced to the family yet but they may have been an established couple for a long time. For instance - a couple who have been together for a couple of years living a long way away from the family and not been back for a visit yet. Should one half of that couple be excluded from an event?

I think, in today's electronic world, it's very possible to introduce someone to the family without the family physically meeting them. Partner and I both have far flung family and friends, while in person there are people from each side we've never met, between skype, email, Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterst (yes, my family follows each other on pinterest), texting, and even good old fashioned phone calls, we've been thoroughly introduced to one another's brood.

Physically, maybe you can't, but you could pick up a phone and say "Great-aunt Fanny, how are you? Me, well I'm seeing someone knew her name is Jane, she's right now, would you like to say hi?", and I would say that counts as a introduction.

Yes, it does.

And, besides all that, even if Auntie was as rude as the rudiest rudenick who ever ruded a rudeness,

It does not make Larry entitled to trample her hospitality and crash the dinner with an uninvited guest.

It just makes him even ruder than she was.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: bloo on December 16, 2013, 10:33:01 AM
And, besides all that, even if Auntie was as rude as the rudiest rudenick who ever ruded a rudeness,

Nothing useful, I just wanted to add that I love your use of alliteration! :D
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 16, 2013, 10:33:31 AM
I stated earlier that Partner and I spent our first two thanksgivings apart. The first because we'd only been together for a few months and neither of us wanted to invite the other to a family event quite yet. The second because her grandmother hosted a "family only" thanksgiving dinner. I didn't feel slighted or hurt or shut out. Sure I missed her a little, and when something funny happened I couldn't help think "Oh I wish Partner (then girlfriend) was here to see this!", but we saw each other the very next day. In the grand scheme of things, we're committing to each other for the rest of our lives, we'll have plenty more thanksgivings together. We've had plenty since. Those 2 apart didn't destroy our relationship with each other, or our relationships with our families. Her grandmother and I have met now and have spent several dinners together. She's a lovely woman who now would cheerfully include me in a "family only" invite.

However, had partner stamped her foot and insisted I be invited, or worse bring me without me being invited, that would've tarnished her relationship with her family, and probably her relationship with me. Not to mention my relationship with her family.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 10:37:39 AM
And, besides all that, even if Auntie was as rude as the rudiest rudenick who ever ruded a rudeness,

It does not make Larry entitled to trample her hospitality and crash the dinner with an uninvited guest.

It just makes him even ruder than she was.

Oh, of course. I don't think anyone's arguing with that. I'm just saying I can see how he might have been put in a very difficult position.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Elisabunny on December 16, 2013, 10:43:43 AM
And if you want drive that point home with your social circle you start declining invites when your chosen partner is not included in the invitation. You don't stamp your foot and say "we are a social unit and you will treat us as one". That is not how etiquette or society works.

You know - normally I'd agree at least in part with that. But in this situation, which seems *so* emotionally charged, I really don't see how Larry could have done that without landing himself in even *more* trouble.  The family seem to have made such a huge deal about it being 'Auntie's Last Thanksgiving' - how could he have declined that invite without being seen as some kind of heartless oaf?


How do we know that family made it "such a big deal"?  It sounds more like, Aunt sent out the word that, "Hey, this is my last time hosting, I'd like to make it [for whatever reason] family only.  No friends, no girlfriends or boyfriends."  The family said, Sure, sounds reasonable.  Then Larry came in, insisting that his new One True Love must be included.  At which point, his father and brother told him he was being a rude idiot (not necessarily in those words), and probably listed all the other people who would not be coming who would normally be included.

The way I see it, the only one making it a Big Deal is Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 11:31:46 AM
Just re-reading the OP, and at no point does it state that Larry does not live with his 'new' girlfriend ('new' could mean a number of different things). So for all we know, they could actually be a social unit according to the 'rules'. Until that's clarified (if it ever can be) then we don't know that Auntie and the rest of the family weren't rude in excluding her.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: wolfie on December 16, 2013, 11:34:26 AM
Just re-reading the OP, and at no point does it state that Larry does not live with his 'new' girlfriend ('new' could mean a number of different things). So for all we know, they could actually be a social unit according to the 'rules'. Until that's clarified (if it ever can be) then we don't know that Auntie and the rest of the family weren't rude in excluding her.

Since both his father and his cousin advised him that he shouldn't bring his girlfriend I think it is safe to assume he doesn't fall under the usual terms for social unit.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 11:35:36 AM
Just re-reading the OP, and at no point does it state that Larry does not live with his 'new' girlfriend ('new' could mean a number of different things). So for all we know, they could actually be a social unit according to the 'rules'. Until that's clarified (if it ever can be) then we don't know that Auntie and the rest of the family weren't rude in excluding her.

Since both his father and his cousin advised him that he shouldn't bring his girlfriend I think it is safe to assume he doesn't fall under the usual terms for social unit.

That's supposition, though. Perhaps they don't know the 'rule'.  Perhaps Auntie really did just want 'only family members' despite that, in which case she was the rude one.  We'd have to wait for the OP to see his friend again to clarify that, though. I can't wait for the update  :)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: wolfie on December 16, 2013, 11:38:37 AM
Just re-reading the OP, and at no point does it state that Larry does not live with his 'new' girlfriend ('new' could mean a number of different things). So for all we know, they could actually be a social unit according to the 'rules'. Until that's clarified (if it ever can be) then we don't know that Auntie and the rest of the family weren't rude in excluding her.

Since both his father and his cousin advised him that he shouldn't bring his girlfriend I think it is safe to assume he doesn't fall under the usual terms for social unit.

That's supposition, though. Perhaps they don't know the 'rule'.  Perhaps Auntie really did just want 'only family members' despite that, in which case she was the rude one.  We'd have to wait for the OP to see his friend again to clarify that, though. I can't wait for the update  :)

I think most people don't need to know the actual rule to know that you don't invite half of a household to an event like this. I can't wait for the update either.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: etiquettenut on December 16, 2013, 11:51:54 AM
While reading this thread, I was struck with one question that I must have answered before I can make my decision: Did the "no gf/bf" rule affect anyone other than Larry? If it did, and the people complied without issue, then he has no leg to stand on (not that anything excuses his rudeness of bringing an uninvited person).

However, if Larry was the only one affected by this, I would actually have sympathy for him and think that the Aunt was being, if not rude, unkind. If it was indeed only his new GF who was excluded, I would actually be on his side. If other family members were not allowed to bring bf/gf then he gets no support from me.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: BarensMom on December 16, 2013, 11:59:36 AM
While reading this thread, I was struck with one question that I must have answered before I can make my decision: Did the "no gf/bf" rule affect anyone other than Larry? If it did, and the people complied without issue, then he has no leg to stand on (not that anything excuses his rudeness of bringing an uninvited person).

However, if Larry was the only one affected by this, I would actually have sympathy for him and think that the Aunt was being, if not rude, unkind. If it was indeed only his new GF who was excluded, I would actually be on his side. If other family members were not allowed to bring bf/gf then he gets no support from me.

I think it was a blanket "no boy/girlfriends, friends, neighbors, or stray people" rule.  At least that what I picked up from the OP.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: gellchom on December 16, 2013, 12:00:46 PM
I'm just posting to thank TeenyWeeny and mime for their excellent, thoughtful posts.

It's so distressing to see people rush to presume the most extreme, one-sided facts and circumstances and crank up the drama and condemnation in every situation. 

Do "reality" TV shows have anything to do with this? 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: perpetua on December 16, 2013, 12:01:38 PM
While reading this thread, I was struck with one question that I must have answered before I can make my decision: Did the "no gf/bf" rule affect anyone other than Larry? If it did, and the people complied without issue, then he has no leg to stand on (not that anything excuses his rudeness of bringing an uninvited person).

However, if Larry was the only one affected by this, I would actually have sympathy for him and think that the Aunt was being, if not rude, unkind. If it was indeed only his new GF who was excluded, I would actually be on his side. If other family members were not allowed to bring bf/gf then he gets no support from me.

I think it was a blanket "no boy/girlfriends, friends, neighbors, or stray people" rule.  At least that what I picked up from the OP.

That's the impression that I got from the OP too. I suppose the question then is 'what if some of those boyfriends/girlfriends were live-in?' - does that still make Auntie the non-rude one, or is she rude to try and co-opt a big holiday in that way for her own pleasure?

One of those things we will never know, I suppose  :)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: TurtleDove on December 16, 2013, 12:23:12 PM
While reading this thread, I was struck with one question that I must have answered before I can make my decision: Did the "no gf/bf" rule affect anyone other than Larry? If it did, and the people complied without issue, then he has no leg to stand on (not that anything excuses his rudeness of bringing an uninvited person).

However, if Larry was the only one affected by this, I would actually have sympathy for him and think that the Aunt was being, if not rude, unkind. If it was indeed only his new GF who was excluded, I would actually be on his side. If other family members were not allowed to bring bf/gf then he gets no support from me.

I think it was a blanket "no boy/girlfriends, friends, neighbors, or stray people" rule.  At least that what I picked up from the OP.

We still do not know whether anyone else actually had a boyfriend or girlfriend (as opposed to a spouse). This was my concern from way upthread as well.  Given the obvious disdain for Larry's relationship history in the initial post, I got the sense it was pointedly against Larry.  I don't see this being about space because if Larry were still married presumably his wife would have been invited. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 16, 2013, 12:29:43 PM
Just re-reading the OP, and at no point does it state that Larry does not live with his 'new' girlfriend ('new' could mean a number of different things). So for all we know, they could actually be a social unit according to the 'rules'. Until that's clarified (if it ever can be) then we don't know that Auntie and the rest of the family weren't rude in excluding her.

Since both his father and his cousin advised him that he shouldn't bring his girlfriend I think it is safe to assume he doesn't fall under the usual terms for social unit.

That's supposition, though. Perhaps they don't know the 'rule'.  Perhaps Auntie really did just want 'only family members' despite that, in which case she was the rude one.  We'd have to wait for the OP to see his friend again to clarify that, though. I can't wait for the update  :)

But we've all said that if the GF fell into the socially accepteble standards (engaged, living together) then the Aunt shouldn't have excluded her because that goes against etiquette standards of inviting half of a social unit.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 16, 2013, 12:31:22 PM
While reading this thread, I was struck with one question that I must have answered before I can make my decision: Did the "no gf/bf" rule affect anyone other than Larry? If it did, and the people complied without issue, then he has no leg to stand on (not that anything excuses his rudeness of bringing an uninvited person).

However, if Larry was the only one affected by this, I would actually have sympathy for him and think that the Aunt was being, if not rude, unkind. If it was indeed only his new GF who was excluded, I would actually be on his side. If other family members were not allowed to bring bf/gf then he gets no support from me.

I think it was a blanket "no boy/girlfriends, friends, neighbors, or stray people" rule.  At least that what I picked up from the OP.

We still do not know whether anyone else actually had a boyfriend or girlfriend (as opposed to a spouse). This was my concern from way upthread as well.  Given the obvious disdain for Larry's relationship history in the initial post, I got the sense it was pointedly against Larry.  I don't see this being about space because if Larry were still married presumably his wife would have been invited.

Yeah, I mean my MIL could make a rule that only married spouses are invited to dinner, but in practice that means that she excludes only one person's partner, because all of the other siblings are married. Sure, she could say, "it's the same rule for everybody", but in reality it targets one specific person.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Wordgeek on December 16, 2013, 12:33:06 PM
Locked, because this is going in circles.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Wordgeek on January 08, 2014, 04:06:48 PM
And reopened, to allow an update.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 08, 2014, 06:43:19 PM
Interested in seeing this!
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
Post by: snappylt on January 08, 2014, 10:34:18 PM
OP here, with an update with more information.

I saw my friend briefly this weekend and I asked him to please finish his interrupted story about Thanksgiving at his elderly aunt's house.

(For those who asked, my friend said that he heard that Larry moved in with the girlfriend around Christmas - but at Thanksgiving they were not living together.)

When Larry showed up at the door with the guest who he was told not to bring, the elderly aunt got very upset.  My friend told me their aunt had Larry come with her into another room where she "chewed him out" very loudly for bringing a guest he had been told not to bring.  Larry and the aunt left the door to that other room open, and the aunt's angry comments were heard by all, including the girlfriend.

After that, the gathering went on as before.  Larry stayed, with his girlfriend, even after the angry comments from the hostess.  An extra place was made at one of the tables and Larry and his girlfriend stayed for Thanksgiving Dinner.

My friend was upset with Larry for upsetting their elderly aunt, so my friend sat at a different table and didn't speak to Larry or the girlfriend.  My friend said he felt like it was a very awkward meal when Larry and the girlfriend stayed on even after their aunt told him his guest was not welcome.



Comments?  (I felt sorry for the girlfriend!)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 08, 2014, 10:38:54 PM
I'd run for the hills if I were the girlfriend. She's immersing herself into a toxic brew.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Mel the Redcap on January 08, 2014, 10:53:35 PM
WOW. If I was the girlfriend, I would have apologised to the aunt and left, with or without Larry, even if that meant taking a taxi (if we'd come in his car) or stranding the jerk (if we'd come in mine). That assumes she didn't know she wasn't invited, of course, because if he told her "Aunt doesn't want anyone but family but I'm ignoring that" and she came anyway I think they're well suited. :P
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: sammycat on January 09, 2014, 12:03:48 AM
WOW. If I was the girlfriend, I would have apologised to the aunt and left, with or without Larry, even if that meant taking a taxi (if we'd come in his car) or stranding the jerk (if we'd come in mine). That assumes she didn't know she wasn't invited, of course, because if he told her "Aunt doesn't want anyone but family but I'm ignoring that" and she came anyway I think they're well suited. :P

I agree.

Assuming the gf didn't know she wasn't welcome, she needs to run as fast as she can from this selfish individual.

Shame on Larry for being such a self centred, selfish, person as to go out of his way to actively try and ruin an elderly lady's special occasion.  >:(
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 12:16:09 AM
Any word whether Larry was the only one who had an unwelcomed SO? I think this situation was quite awkward, but aunt handled it very poorly.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 12:21:04 AM
I think the aunt was well in her rights to chew Larry out after he brought an uninvited guest after he was told several times not to. If I was Larry's girlfriend I would have been mortified if I thought I wasn't welcome, that's not the way you introduce a SO into the family!

If Larry wanted to introduce his girlfriend so badly, he could have had her pop over before or after dinner without staying as long as it was made clear that she wasn't.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on January 09, 2014, 12:23:10 AM
I feel badly for the girlfriend, because I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that Larry did not tell her she wasn't invited.  How embarrassing for her.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 01:57:47 AM
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Aeris on January 09, 2014, 02:03:46 AM
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish it within the same weekend - or even same month. Logistics and rental agreements being what they are. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but they likely had already made the decision to become one - excluding someone in that situation is not really the spirit of the concept.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 02:30:07 AM
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 02:30:16 AM
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish within the same weekend - or even same month. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but that is not really the spirit of the concept.

Yes, I was going to point that out but it's early here and my brain didn't get to it before I hit post  :) While of course there are times when people move in together rashly and too quickly, it's entirely possible that Larry's girlfriend is longterm and serious and this is a case of the family judging him for having a girlfriend after his marriage broke up and not inviting her as a result. Given the way they reacted so childishly to her presence I'd be willing to bet that this was the case.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 02:32:25 AM
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 02:38:47 AM
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 03:31:22 AM
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.

That is a valid point, but then that puts Larry in the position of having to choose between his serious partner (which as now ascertained, she is) and his Aunt on a very important family holiday. So he can either turn up alone or decline. And as I think I said upthread the first time this was open, I can easily see a situation where if Larry declines he gets it in the head for 'ruining Aunt's last Thanksgiving'. Given the reaction of the cousin at the event - pointedly sitting at a different table and ignoring him like a child - can you imagine the uproar if he'd declined to spend it with his partner instead? Poor guy would never have heard the end of it.

The family's reactions tell me pretty much what I need to know about their attitude towards this event.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 03:54:10 AM
If this girlfriend is Larry's serious partner, then there are other Thanksgivings they will no doubt spend together, possibly even ones where she can meet his family. Spending one without her won't make much difference.

I'm more ready to believe it was Larry who kicked up a stink about his girlfriend not bring able to come and thus the frosty reception they got when he turned up with her anyway.

There also isn't anything to indicate that it was only Larry's girlfriend who had been excluded. The Aunt ran the family event on the condition that it was only family. Larry did check, but rather than act gracefully and tell his girlfriend the truth, he decided to do what he wanted instead. This was Aunts thing, he tried to make it about himself.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: menley on January 09, 2014, 04:09:45 AM
Here's the thing - I can't tell you how many times I've read on here that someone else's rudeness does not justify you being rude in return.

It doesn't matter if the elderly aunt was rude to not invite the girlfriend. It really doesn't. What matters is that she was specifically not invited and Larry brought her anyway. There is not any situation where it is appropriate to bring an uninvited guest, and especially after it was confirmed by several people that she was in fact not invited. It wasn't a misunderstanding - he knew she was not invited and brought her anyway. That is rude by anyone's definition of etiquette.

Was he in a difficult place? Of course. But he had two etiquette-approved choices (come without the girlfriend for a few hours or decline the invitation) and he chose neither.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 04:11:41 AM
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measly day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.

That is a valid point, but then that puts Larry in the position of having to choose between his serious partner (which as now ascertained, she is) and his Aunt on a very important family holiday. So he can either turn up alone or decline. And as I think I said upthread the first time this was open, I can easily see a situation where if Larry declines he gets it in the head for 'ruining Aunt's last Thanksgiving'. Given the reaction of the cousin at the event - pointedly sitting at a different table and ignoring him like a child - can you imagine the uproar if he'd declined to spend it with his partner instead? Poor guy would never have heard the end of it.

The family's reactions tell me pretty much what I need to know about their attitude towards this event.

Honestly, I now have no idea who to feel most sorry for. Nobody comes out of this looking awesome. It sounds like a lot of unhealthy dynamics all round.

Maybe Larry is an awful human being who pigheadedly brought his GF somewhere.

But Aunt doesn't exactly look great either. Who publicly berates another adult instead of just asking them to leave?

And I do have a strong suspicion that a decline from Larry would not exactly have been warmly received either (else why didn't the Aunt just ask him to leave? It's obviously not because she's conflict-averse.). Basically this is starting to sound like the only option that Larry has was to attend, sans GF. And I really don't think much of invitations like that.

Also, we still have no word on whether or not the exclusion of non-cohabiting partners actually affected anybody but Larry.

As I said upthread, my wife has 4 siblings. All but one of them is married. The other one has a GF who he doesn't live with, and who my MIL does not care for. My MIL could host a dinner and say "only married/cohabiting spouses are invited", but the effect of that would be exactly the same as saying, "Ted, don't bring Sarah". And we'd all know why. It would be a judgement couched in reasonable-sounding language so that my MIL has plausible deniability. And I really don't think that plausible deniability should be something that you think about when interacting with your family.

Look, I'm not saying that Larry smells of roses. You don't bring uninvited guests. But he's definitely not the only etiquette offender.


Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 04:29:56 AM
I just don't think a time like Thanksgiving is a good time to impose these kinds of limitations. Much like our Christmas over here, I presume it's a time for people who love each other to be together and I think Aunt rudely co-opted the holiday for her own ends and put Larry in an impossible position. I'd even go as far as to say that a gracious hostess should never have put a family member in the position of having to choose between his family and his partner in the first place. I can see this situation being posted on the board from the reverse angle: "My partner's family have invited him for Thanksgiving but deliberately excluded me because they want it to be 'family only' - his cousin has even lectured him prior to the event about how I'm not invited - should he go?" I can imagine the replies that would garner: "Partners come first, your partner should have your back, if he doesn't decline then he's not got your best interests at heart..." Etc. Well, the family's reaction at the event pretty much tells me what the family reaction would have been had Larry declined.

And I don't mean to diss on your friend, OP, but he really doesn't come out of this smelling of roses. First he chastises and lectures Larry prior the event, then he deliberately sits at a different table and ignores him at the event itself. In the OP itself, he also seems to go to great pains to point out how Larry is seeing someone else after a divorce. Given that, I'm inclined to think it's a family judgement of Larry's morals rather than anything else.

Perhaps I am a little biased in this situation. I've been in a relationship with a divorced man whose family did not approve of his divorce - no matter that he was unhappy in the marriage and happier out of it, a 'divorce in the family' was something dreadful. He was *so* scared of rocking the family boat by even admitting to the fact he was seeing someone months afterwards that it wasn't even funny. It became a choice between keeping the relationship and keeping his family. So, suspecting there may be a dynamic like this at play, I'm not going to judge Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: MariaE on January 09, 2014, 05:01:37 AM
Here's the thing - I can't tell you how many times I've read on here that someone else's rudeness does not justify you being rude in return.

It doesn't matter if the elderly aunt was rude to not invite the girlfriend. It really doesn't. What matters is that she was specifically not invited and Larry brought her anyway. There is not any situation where it is appropriate to bring an uninvited guest, and especially after it was confirmed by several people that she was in fact not invited. It wasn't a misunderstanding - he knew she was not invited and brought her anyway. That is rude by anyone's definition of etiquette.

Was he in a difficult place? Of course. But he had two etiquette-approved choices (come without the girlfriend for a few hours or decline the invitation) and he chose neither.

I completely agree. Whether or not the aunt was rude is a red herring. It doesn't matter. Her being rude doesn't make Larry not-rude. What Larry did was not etiquettely (that ought to be a word!) correct, no matter whether or not we think that he should have been allowed to bring his girlfriend.

There seems to be to be no basis for thinking the family wouldn't have responded well to Larry declining. I think that's a very uncharitable assumption to make. There's a huge difference between not being open towards somebody who brought an uninvited guest, and not graciously accepting that he declined coming at all.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Another Sarah on January 09, 2014, 05:10:20 AM
I'm not going to judge the aunt for telling off Larry - it sounds like she intended to do it in private and the door was left open by mistake. I'm also glad to note she's not quite the helpless old lady I previously imagined being put upon by an ungrateful nephew.

What I'm not sure about was how rude she was in the beginning - it sounds like the family knew this girlfriend was serious and I think previous posters are right about the potential for a bit of family snark about Larry - who would be equally in trouble no matter how he went about getting out of this situation, other than doing exactly what they wanted.

but it doesn't excuse Larry's behaviour - this was a family obligation - possibly an unfair one, but the right thing to do would have been to either fulfil it by showing up alone or take it on the chin for not being present at all. He put his girlfriend right in the middle, which was totally unfair to her.

From her perspective, I honestly don't know what I would have done in her shoes - sneaked out feeling like a criminal for going somewhere I was so obviously not wanted, or if Larry's aunt came back behaving as normal obviously thinking I hadn't heard, pretended I hadn't so as not to embarrass her.

I also agree with other posters that OP's friend was being a bit childish to refuse to speak to Larry, but I can certainly understand the temptation.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 05:26:01 AM
From her perspective, I honestly don't know what I would have done in her shoes - sneaked out feeling like a criminal for going somewhere I was so obviously not wanted, or if Larry's aunt came back behaving as normal obviously thinking I hadn't heard, pretended I hadn't so as not to embarrass her.

Good question. I think I would have left, if possible, then had a long hard talk with Larry afterwards about why family preferences do not trump my feelings as a partner.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Free Range Hippy Chick on January 09, 2014, 06:33:26 AM
From her perspective, I honestly don't know what I would have done in her shoes - sneaked out feeling like a criminal for going somewhere I was so obviously not wanted, or if Larry's aunt came back behaving as normal obviously thinking I hadn't heard, pretended I hadn't so as not to embarrass her.

Good question. I think I would have left, if possible, then had a long hard talk with Larry afterwards about why family preferences do not trump my feelings as a partner.

Agreed. Poor woman, whatever she did was probably going to be wrong. If she knew that she was specifically excluded, then she shouldn't have gone, I think most of us are agreed on that, but in that case if Larry went she would probably have been left feeling that he didn't value her, and if he didn't go, she would feel guilty (well, in her shoes, I would - obviously we know nothing about her so I'm guessing). If she knew she wasn't invited but went anyway, she's in the wrong. If she didn't know... how horrible! Then if she stays, she knows she's the reason for (although not responsible for) a family row that they've all heard and half of them are pretending they haven't while the rest snub her for something that isn't her fault. If she goes, the family row will probably be worse because there will be no pretending that it isn't happening and either Larry goes with her (bad for the family) or he stays (bad for her).

I think we simply don't know enough about the length/depth of her relation.ship with Larry, and as other posters have pointed out, the precise relation.ships/lack of relation.ships that other members of the family have, to judge whether the aunt was being fair not to invite her, but I think that Larry has managed to put her in a horrible position. If he felt so strongly about his relation.ship with her he should have said 'we come as a couple or I don't come at all' and then fought out that battle. Personally, I would have based it on whether Girlfriend had already been introduced to the rest of the family. If yes, then she's serious and should have been invited. If not, there's a case to be made for 'not this year, please, Larry'.

I do get that Aunt didn't want sundry hangers on - my family has a tendency to collect lame ducks, and Christmases when I was young included the alcoholic divorced wife of a friend, the foreign visitor whose passport had been stolen and who couldn't go home, the elderly neighbour, the vague acquaintance with nowhere else to go etc etc cont page 94. There were other times when we did just put our respective feet down and say 'family only'. But the catch of that was that we didn't say either 'everybody... except John' or 'family only... except John'.

I can understand OP's friend being chilly to Larry - ignoring him is probably a bit childish, but choosing to be engaged somewhere else is OK - but I do hope that having allowed her to stay, the family was civil to Girlfriend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: greencat on January 09, 2014, 08:03:36 AM
I definitely got the impression from the original message that Larry's family had the impression that the girlfriend was the flavor of the month - and, to be perfectly honest, I've known some people where even moving in together wasn't enough for me to start considering them a real social unit, because they would move in with people (or their new significant other would move in with them) after they'd only been dating a month.  If those relationships lasted more than four months, it was shocking.  Their relationships were always very ephemeral in nature, but they were incapable of seeing each new partner as anything less than The One.  If Larry is like this, especially as this was before the girlfriend moved in, I wouldn't be surprised that his family members were attempting to point out that his short-but-intense relationship didn't meet the criteria for a family-only dinner.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: sammycat on January 09, 2014, 08:09:23 AM
I definitely got the impression from the original message that Larry's family had the impression that the girlfriend was the flavor of the month - and, to be perfectly honest, I've known some people where even moving in together wasn't enough for me to start considering them a real social unit, because they would move in with people (or their new significant other would move in with them) after they'd only been dating a month.  If those relationships lasted more than four months, it was shocking.  Their relationships were always very ephemeral in nature, but they were incapable of seeing each new partner as anything less than The One.  If Larry is like this, especially as this was before the girlfriend moved in, I wouldn't be surprised that his family members were attempting to point out that his short-but-intense relationship didn't meet the criteria for a family-only dinner.

I agree.  For me, Larry still remains the only bad guy in this scenario (and the gf if she willingly came along despite knowing she wasn't invited).
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hillia on January 09, 2014, 08:27:45 AM
The only thing I have to fault Aunt for is not making sure that Larry's well deserved chewing out was not private.  That was a mistake.  Maybe she didn't realize others could hear, maybe she didn't care, but that should have been kept between the two of them - not for Larry's sake, but for everyone else's, including the girlfriend.

We often hear stories on eHell about invitations that the recipient doesn't like - their SO isn't invited, their kids aren't invited but everyone else's kids are, the host or another guest has a history of bad behavior towards the poster.  The advice is always, 'It's an invitation, not a summons'.  You don't have to attend an event if the conditions are intolerable to you.  You don't get to unilaterally change a host's invitation to suit your preferences.   Larry is just flat wrong all the way around.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: SamiHami on January 09, 2014, 08:28:33 AM
Larry created this situation through his own rude behavior. I give aunt a pass as she was probably emotional knowing it was her last time hosting and also probably hurt and frustrated that Larry was so blatantly rude and disrespectful of her.

At first I felt sorry for the girlfriend, but she still moved in with Larry after this happened. that says a lot about her own lack of character. Any guy who put me in such an awful position would be kicked to the curb immediately. What he did was not only rude and disrespectful to Aunt but also to the GF. The fact that she still felt okay moving in with this loser tells me that she is probably pretty special herself.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 08:29:48 AM
I definitely got the impression from the original message that Larry's family had the impression that the girlfriend was the flavor of the month - and, to be perfectly honest, I've known some people where even moving in together wasn't enough for me to start considering them a real social unit, because they would move in with people (or their new significant other would move in with them) after they'd only been dating a month.  If those relationships lasted more than four months, it was shocking.  Their relationships were always very ephemeral in nature, but they were incapable of seeing each new partner as anything less than The One.  If Larry is like this, especially as this was before the girlfriend moved in, I wouldn't be surprised that his family members were attempting to point out that his short-but-intense relationship didn't meet the criteria for a family-only dinner.

I know that can happen, I have a relative who is constantly meeting TheOneTM. Everything moves lightning fast, then TheOneTM turns out to be a waste of space. Relative swears off romance, then the cycle starts again.

Having said that, if we wanted relative not to bring the lastest squeeze, we'd tell them, and honestly. We wouldn't 'attempt to point it out'. We'd point it out. It's babyish to make a rule that, oops, somehow 'accidentally' achieves the result you want. Just be honest.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Winterlight on January 09, 2014, 08:30:42 AM
Quote
Even after talking with their aunt, Larry told my old friend that he didn't care what their aunt (the host) said, he was bringing his girlfriend no matter what.

That's from the OP. Larry was asked not to bring an univited guest. He did so anyway, making it clear that his hostess's feelings didn't matter.

Larry fails. Hard.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 08:33:09 AM
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

 I feel like Larry's girlfriend was the ultimate looser in this whole scenario.

I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry.
I understand that some feel that Larry felt his family demanded he attend the family dinner and his not attending would have ramifications. So he was either in the position of disappointing his family or his girlfriend.

But I can't wrap my head around a guy that has the brass b** to say "Dad I don't care if my girlfriend was not invited, I'm bringing her anyway." but not having the same ability to say "Dad if my girlfriend is not invited then I'm not attending."

How does someone who truly loves and respects his girlfriend take her into a situation where he knows that she is not wanted and has been told by the hostess and two other family members that she should not attend?

It's his complete lack of care for his girlfriend's feelings that makes me feel like Larry is one of those people who does want he wants to the devil with anyone else.

And since he is older than a twelve year old, I'm pretty sure he has the ability to shut a door if he didn't want the rest of the family to hear.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Twik on January 09, 2014, 08:46:45 AM
And as I think I said upthread the first time this was open, I can easily see a situation where if Larry declines he gets it in the head for 'ruining Aunt's last Thanksgiving'. Given the reaction of the cousin at the event - pointedly sitting at a different table and ignoring him like a child - can you imagine the uproar if he'd declined to spend it with his partner instead? Poor guy would never have heard the end of it.

The family's reactions tell me pretty much what I need to know about their attitude towards this event.

Of course, it is completely conjectural that anyone would have objected if Larry didn't attend.

The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family..
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Virg on January 09, 2014, 08:54:27 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 09:03:00 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 09:18:07 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

No sorry, it's still not tracking for me. If he's fed up with being kicked around by the family the logical action would be to say "Enough, I'm tired of you people trying to control my life. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I'll be spending it with someone who really cares about me." Not "I'm coming and bringing whoever I want and you can't do anything to stop me." I mean we are talking about an adult with at least two previous marriages; not a 5 year old.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 09:24:10 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

No sorry, it's still not tracking for me. If he's fed up with being kicked around by the family the logical action would be to say "Enough, I'm tired of you people trying to control my life. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I'll be spending it with someone who really cares about me." Not "I'm coming and bringing whoever I want and you can't do anything to stop me." I mean we are talking about an adult with at least two previous marriages; not a 5 year old.

Oh, I don't think tha anybody is saying that it's a-OK that Larry brought an univited guest. I think the point people are making is that there seems to be several people at fault. I can't see anybody who comes out of this smelling of roses, expect possibly the GF.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: etiquettenut on January 09, 2014, 09:31:46 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.

I agree with all of this. Look, no one, absolutely no one, has argued that Larry was anything other than rude to bring an uninvited guest. However, I also don't buy the, "oh poor frail old lady who only wanted her family with her at her last Thanksgiving and everyone was so horrible to her" side either. While she has a right to invite whomever she wishes, I think she erred here. It is very insulting to be pointedly told that your SO isn't welcome, especially at a holiday dinner.

And since we're citing the idea that retaliatory rudeness is not OK (and I agree), I think the aunt was rude to Larry and the rest of the guests by publicly berating him, and incredibly rude to the GF by complaining about her while she could hear. Then, everyone just goes about the dinner but some completely ignore the two of them? What a childish reaction. If their presence was so disturbing they should have been asked to leave (though if I were the GF I would have already run out in tears), not allowed to stay but then be treated like second class citizens.

(And I still must know if that rule actually affected anyone but Larry! Please ask if you can, OP?)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: lowspark on January 09, 2014, 09:31:59 AM
I'm still on the side of the Aunt as far as getting to decide who she wants to invite. It's Larry's perogative to either come alone or skip the event, but bringing the uninvited gf was rude. No question.

However, with the update, I think the Aunt went haywire berating Larry within earshot of the rest of the company. That is rude. She had two choices (as we've discussed at length in some other recent threads): Graciously accept the gf as a guest and treat her as such or (difficult but it can be done) turn them both away at the door.

I don't see yelling at Larry as an option, whether it was in private or not. She could have taken him aside quietly and said, sorry GF wasn't invited and you'll both have to leave but that's not what she did.

As for the GF, I'm going to assume she didn't know she wasn't invited. If I were her, first thing I would have done would have been to take Larry aside and confirm that he indeed brought me knowing full well I wasn't invited. Then I would have apologized to the Aunt (even though I personally had nothing to apologize for) and made my excuses and left. I would not want to sit at the table and eat knowing that I was not welcome!

Now, I can see that there may be an underlying theme of the family not accepting the gf due to Larry's track record, but really, that is between Larry and the family. It was pretty horrible of him to put GF in the middle of all that.

And if Larry was really torn between spending the holiday with GF and facing the wrath of the family for not showing up as some have suggested was a possibility, then the thing to do would have been to show up at Aunt's for a limited period of time, an hour or two at most, then make his excuses and spend the rest of the day with GF.

So here's the score as I see it:
Aunt: -1 for yelling at Larry, -1 for doing it so everyone could hear = -2
Larry: -2 for bringing uninvited GF, (-1 because it was rude to the Aunt and -1 because it was rude to the GF)
GF: -1 for staying for dinner knowing she wasn't invited, but I give her a pass because I can imagine not really knowing what to do in such a situation.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: CrochetFanatic on January 09, 2014, 09:38:58 AM
Do you think it's possible that the aunt didn't realize how loud she was being?  I'm wondering if her hearing isn't quite what it was, and maybe she thought she was being discreet.  My grandfather is 91, and when he thinks he's whispering, he really isn't.  That's led to some interesting looks from passers by. 

It's just speculation, though.  Larry was wrong, that's the only thing I'm 100% sure of.  I feel sorry for the girlfriend.  She might have stayed because she didn't know what else to do.  I know that when I'm extremely embarrassed in a social situation, I freeze, lock up, and do absolutely nothing.  :-\
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 09:43:16 AM
I find it a little hilariously ironic that the "frail elderly lady just trying to enjoy her last Thanksgiving" loudly and publicly berated Larry.  I think her etiquette violations are the worst of the bunch, and the cousin who pointedly ignored Larry is not much better.  Again, as several of us continue to ask, I do think it makes a huge difference whether Larry was the only one who was asked not to bring his SO. 

I get the strong sense, especially because the cousin seemed to think he was really proving a point by being rude to Larry, that the family has harshly judged Larry for his morals.  Well, so be it, but then be honest about it.  Personally, I would not want to be around family like that.  And personally, since I have been in a similar situation to Larry for different reasons, I am very glad that when I called my family out on their judgment they responded in love.  What does Larry's family want him to do?  Be unhappy for the rest of his life so they can approve of his non-divorced status?  Whatever.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 09:48:02 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.

I agree with all of this. Look, no one, absolutely no one, has argued that Larry was anything other than rude to bring an uninvited guest. However, I also don't buy the, "oh poor frail old lady who only wanted her family with her at her last Thanksgiving and everyone was so horrible to her" side either. While she has a right to invite whomever she wishes, I think she erred here. It is very insulting to be pointedly told that your SO isn't welcome, especially at a holiday dinner.

And since we're citing the idea that retaliatory rudeness is not OK (and I agree), I think the aunt was rude to Larry and the rest of the guests by publicly berating him, and incredibly rude to the GF by complaining about her while she could hear. Then, everyone just goes about the dinner but some completely ignore the two of them? What a childish reaction. If their presence was so disturbing they should have been asked to leave (though if I were the GF I would have already run out in tears), not allowed to stay but then be treated like second class citizens.

(And I still must know if that rule actually affected anyone but Larry! Please ask if you can, OP?)

I guess that's what I thought the berating was. Aunt: I told you she wasn't invited and you need to leave. Larry: No, we are staying.

And if he was so insulted "DON'T GO!"
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: gramma dishes on January 09, 2014, 09:52:12 AM
In this particular case I feel the exact opposite of Turtledove. 

The Aunt knew this was absolutely, positively going to be the last family meal she would ever be serving.  I think she had the right to set up the parameters in any way she liked.  It doesn't sound like there had EVER before this year been restrictions as it sounds like anyone had been free to invite whomever they chose to bring without regard as to whether they were family or not.  So this event was a one time thing and I think she had the right to decide how many people and which people would be included.

There is no indication that Larry was the only person subjected to this restriction.  It's just that Larry was apparently the only one who decided to blatantly ignore it and do what he wanted, regardless of the circumstances.  Nobody mattered but him.

As far as the girlfriend is concerned, I can see why she might have been frozen and stayed for the dinner simply for lack of knowing anything else to do.  If he drove and didn't want to leave, how would she leave? ...  and so on.  But the fact that he put her in this incredibly awkward position (apparently without her knowledge beforehand) and then went on to move in with him after she knew what had happened there doesn't speak particularly glowingly of her either.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 09:56:06 AM
Here's the thing - I can't tell you how many times I've read on here that someone else's rudeness does not justify you being rude in return.

It doesn't matter if the elderly aunt was rude to not invite the girlfriend. It really doesn't. What matters is that she was specifically not invited and Larry brought her anyway. There is not any situation where it is appropriate to bring an uninvited guest, and especially after it was confirmed by several people that she was in fact not invited. It wasn't a misunderstanding - he knew she was not invited and brought her anyway. That is rude by anyone's definition of etiquette.

Was he in a difficult place? Of course. But he had two etiquette-approved choices (come without the girlfriend for a few hours or decline the invitation) and he chose neither.

I agree with bolded, but not in quite the same say.

I think the first rudeness was Larry's.

If he thought his girlfriend was so important (it apparently wasn't the opinion of his own father or the OP's friend, who knew the specifics of Larry's life), he should have gone politely to his aunt and explained the situation.

And then he should have lived with the answer.

The *second* rudeness was the aunt's.

Lowspark put it well:
I'm still on the side of the Aunt as far as getting to decide who she wants to invite. It's Larry's perogative to either come alone or skip the event, but bringing the uninvited gf was rude. No question.

However, with the update, I think the Aunt went haywire berating Larry within earshot of the rest of the company. That is rude. She had two choices (as we've discussed at length in some other recent threads): Graciously accept the gf as a guest and treat her as such or (difficult but it can be done) turn them both away at the door.

I don't see yelling at Larry as an option, whether it was in private or not. She could have taken him aside quietly and said, sorry GF wasn't invited and you'll both have to leave but that's not what she did.

I agree. Well, I think in private she could yell at Larry; he's not a stranger to her, and so I think you can yell at people you have an actual relationship with. You might tick them off, but that's all a relationship issue.

Quote
So here's the score as I see it:
Aunt: -1 for yelling at Larry, -1 for doing it so everyone could hear = -2
Larry: -2 for bringing uninvited GF, (-1 because it was rude to the Aunt and -1 because it was rude to the GF)
GF: -1 for staying for dinner knowing she wasn't invited, but I give her a pass because I can imagine not really knowing what to do in such a situation.


I'd modify the score:
Aunt: -1 for yelling at Larry where everyone could hear
Larry: -2 for bringing the girlfriend, just because it's such a BIGGER rudeness and was done with such forethought (after warnings from two people); -1 for being rude to girlfriend.
GF: 0; I don't think she should have left after the whole "she wasn't invited" thing unless Larry initiated it.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Erich L-ster on January 09, 2014, 09:57:14 AM

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.



So how about not going? If you don't like the invitation's terms, don't accept. If I were the girlfriend I wouldn't sit down and eat a meal knowing I was absolutely not wanted there.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 10:03:25 AM
In this particular case I feel the exact opposite of Turtledove. 

The Aunt knew this was absolutely, positively going to be the last family meal she would ever be serving.  I think she had the right to set up the parameters in any way she liked. 

For a normal family dinner? I'd agree. But to put someone in the position of having to choose between his partner and his family of origin on an important holiday, knowing that if he goes he'll be spending the holiday away from his partner *and* somewhere that it's been specifically stated that she isn't welcome to boot? Very selfish.


If he thought his girlfriend was so important (it apparently wasn't the opinion of his own father or the OP's friend, who knew the specifics of Larry's life), he should have gone politely to his aunt and explained the situation.


I don't think it's the place of either Larry's father or cousin to decide whether or not Larry's girlfriend is important to him.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 10:05:43 AM

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.



So how about not going? If you don't like the invitation's terms, don't accept. If I were the girlfriend I wouldn't sit down and eat a meal knowing I was absolutely not wanted there.

Ah, Perpetua is making a reference to a practice in UK politics. Each party has a kind of 'enforcer', known as the 'chief whip'. It is the party whip's job to make sure that MPs turn up to vote in the house of commons, among other things.

If the vote is expected to be especially close, the chief whip will issue what is known as a 'three line whip'.  This means DO AS I SAY, or face the consequences. If you don't obey a three line whip, it's basically mutiny within the party, and newsworthy.

In other words, extrapolating from that analogy, Perpetua is saying that she thinks that non-attendance may not have been presented as a workable option for Larry.

/threadjack
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 10:07:25 AM

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.



So how about not going? If you don't like the invitation's terms, don't accept. If I were the girlfriend I wouldn't sit down and eat a meal knowing I was absolutely not wanted there.

Ah, Perpetua is making a reference to a practice in UK politics. Each party has a kind of 'enforcer', known as the 'whip'. It is the party whip's job to make sure that MPs turn up to vote in the house of commons, among otherthings.

If the vote is expected to be especially close, the whip will issue what is known as a 'three line whip'.  This means DO AS I SAY, or face the consequences. If you don't obey a three line whip, it's basically mutiny within the party, and newsworthy.

In other words, extrapolating from that analogy, Perpetua is saying that she thinks that non-attendance may not have been presented as a workable option for Larry.

/threadjack

Yep. That's exactly what I was trying to say - sorry, an oft-used figure of speech over here that may not have translated. A 'three-line-whip' situation means "You will be there or else".
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 10:08:20 AM
Quote
But the fact that he put her in this incredibly awkward position (apparently without her knowledge beforehand) and then went on to move in with him after she knew what had happened there doesn't speak particularly glowingly of her either.

Aw, c'mon--you don't love someone who screws up sometimes? Or who has some flaws?

To me the thing that makes Larry's rudeness so clear is that *two* people told him not to. He got in arguments with *two* people, people who actually know him, who have accurate information about his extended-family life (ie, they would know whether the girlfriend had been included in the extended family yet) and his personality.
   Two people told him, "don't bring your girlfriend, you're wrong, this is out of line on your part." Two people tried to talk him out of it.
   Two people.

And he did it anyway. That's what makes him flamingly rude. He had time to think. He had time to speak with aunt about how important this was to him. He had time and opportunity to persuade other family members to advocate for him--he failed.

That's why I'm willing to believe that Larry's romance was new enough that it was completely reasonable for Aunt to say, "family only, no sweethearts," and for that to NOT include the girlfriend.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 10:13:04 AM


It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish it within the same weekend - or even same month. Logistics and rental agreements being what they are. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but they likely had already made the decision to become one - excluding someone in that situation is not really the spirit of the concept.

However, are most people that you know in a new romance shortly after the end of their third marriage?

I think that piece of info makes it quite likely that Larry's a bit of a serial monogomast, that he enters and leaves relationships easily and quickly.

And in my (admittedly limited) experience, people in *other* parts of the world (ie, not the NYC area that you and I are in) move in quite easily--they're in month-to-month leases, or they own their own homes. And then it's just a matter of moving their stuff.


And anyway, even if they were that serious already, then Larry's route would have been to go to his aunt and make his case.
   And to make this case to his dad and his cousin, who could have advocated for Larry.

But this just makes me realize how clear things were back when you were either engaged/married or you weren't, period. "dating" was not considered a deep connection then; nowadays people insist we recognize is at such, and that creates confusion in situations like this.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 09, 2014, 10:17:09 AM
Larry:  -2 for bringing girlfriend in the first place; -1 more for sticking around when it was clear that his aunt was very unhappy with the situation
Aunt:  -1 for berating Larry in the earshot of others.  He deserved the dressing down but no one else, particularly the GF should have had to hear it
GF:  0 for the event; -5 for not kicking Larry to the curb and still moving in with the lout  ;)
OP's friend:  +1 for the event for choosing to sit at another table, rather than near Larry, to avoid making more of a scene than had already been made.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 10:23:12 AM


It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish it within the same weekend - or even same month. Logistics and rental agreements being what they are. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but they likely had already made the decision to become one - excluding someone in that situation is not really the spirit of the concept.

However, are most people that you know in a new romance shortly after the end of their third marriage?

I think that piece of info makes it quite likely that Larry's a bit of a serial monogamist, that he enters and leaves relationships easily and quickly.

And in my (admittedly limited) experience, people in *other* parts of the world (ie, not the NYC area that you and I are in) move in quite easily--they're in month-to-month leases, or they own their own homes. And then it's just a matter of moving their stuff.


And anyway, even if they were that serious already, then Larry's route would have been to go to his aunt and make his case.
   And to make this case to his dad and his cousin, who could have advocated for Larry.

But this just makes me realize how clear things were back when you were either engaged/married or you weren't, period. "dating" was not considered a deep connection then; nowadays people insist we recognize is at such, and that creates confusion in situations like this.

I'm tired of this part of the story.

Larry's Aunt is 89. That means that Larry could very easily be in his 70s (and I'd be surprised if he was younger than 50).

Even a 50 year old could have three decade-long marriages, albeit in reasonably quick succession.

All we know is that he's been married three times, and divorced 'recently'. As I've said before, 'recently' could mean last month, last year, or even a couple of years ago to some people.

Larry could easily have had three marriages of over a decade each, divorced early last year, and just now be moving in with the new GF. Hardly some kind of Lothario.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: nayberry on January 09, 2014, 10:28:57 AM
update doesn't change my opinion, Larry was beyond rude.  he was invited to dinner and told the condtion that noone other than family was invited, two people told him to either do as requested or stay away, he gatecrashed with his gf.

he's lucky he was allowed to stay for the meal as i'm certain that if a member of my family did this they'd be kicked out and told that they'd only be welcome back another day if it were to apologise.

i'll let the gf off, as we don't know whether she knew in adance that she wasn't invited.

and Auntie gets a bravo for letting him know what she thought of him!
i have no problem telling people off, as its worse to bottle it up imo
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 10:32:17 AM
update doesn't change my opinion, Larry was beyond rude.  he was invited to dinner and told the condtion that noone other than family was invited, two people told him to either do as requested or stay away,

Small but important point of order: That's not what was said. He was told not to bring the girlfriend. He wasn't told to stay away. For all we know at that stage that could mean 'you WILL be here and your girlfriend isn't welcome'.  We don't know if not going was even presented as an option.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 10:32:51 AM
update doesn't change my opinion, Larry was beyond rude.  he was invited to dinner and told the condtion that noone other than family was invited, two people told him to either do as requested or stay away, he gatecrashed with his gf.

he's lucky he was allowed to stay for the meal as i'm certain that if a member of my family did this they'd be kicked out and told that they'd only be welcome back another day if it were to apologise.

i'll let the gf off, as we don't know whether she knew in adance that she wasn't invited.

and Auntie gets a bravo for letting him know what she thought of him!
i have no problem telling people off, as its worse to bottle it up imo

You can tell somebody that they've crossed a line without berating them. In fact, it's usually more effective (in my experience) to be calm, firm, factual, and private about these things. You don't have to be rude to be emotionally healthy.

It would also have been less rude to simply show them both the door, especially where the other hapless guests are concerned. I'd have hated sitting in what I'm sure was a very chilly atmosphere.


Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: lowspark on January 09, 2014, 10:34:48 AM
<snip>
As far as the girlfriend is concerned, I can see why she might have been frozen and stayed for the dinner simply for lack of knowing anything else to do.  If he drove and didn't want to leave, how would she leave? ...  and so on.  But the fact that he put her in this incredibly awkward position (apparently without her knowledge beforehand) and then went on to move in with him after she knew what had happened there doesn't speak particularly glowingly of her either.

In her place, the first thing I'd do is insist he take me home. If he wants to return after that, it's his perogative but I'd want out of there. If he refused, I'd ask for his keys and say that I'll pick him up later or he can catch a ride home with a relative. If he refused that, then yeah, I'd probably be calling a cab.

I think the GF needed to at least express her regrest to Aunt because in her place I'd want to make sure that Aunt knew I came thinking I'd been invited. And this moment would be Aunt's opportunity to say something like, I'm sorry you had to hear all that but of course you're welcome to stay!

And if that didn't happen, there's just no way I'd sit and eat. No way. I couldn't do it.

Now, as I said, I understand not everyone could/would react that way. And it's forgivable if the GF just doesn't know what to do and stays. I'm just saying what I'd do.

And I also agree with Toots. In and of itself, Larry's actions as they played out would not necessarily be enough for me to break up with him. I think it would definitely be enough to instigate some serious conversation at a later time about expectations of how to deal with this kind of thing in the future. And maybe how his family sees me, his relationship with his family and how it affects us, etc. If we're in the process of forming a permanent relationship, then these are things that need to be ironed out but I don't see them as unforgivable.

Now, if I wanted to leave and Larry let me take a cab instead of working out something somehow, then I'd probably be examining his motivations a little bit more closely.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: lowspark on January 09, 2014, 10:43:21 AM

<snip>

Lowspark put it well:
I'm still on the side of the Aunt as far as getting to decide who she wants to invite. It's Larry's perogative to either come alone or skip the event, but bringing the uninvited gf was rude. No question.

However, with the update, I think the Aunt went haywire berating Larry within earshot of the rest of the company. That is rude. She had two choices (as we've discussed at length in some other recent threads): Graciously accept the gf as a guest and treat her as such or (difficult but it can be done) turn them both away at the door.

I don't see yelling at Larry as an option, whether it was in private or not. She could have taken him aside quietly and said, sorry GF wasn't invited and you'll both have to leave but that's not what she did.

I agree. Well, I think in private she could yell at Larry; he's not a stranger to her, and so I think you can yell at people you have an actual relationship with. You might tick them off, but that's all a relationship issue.

I think in private she can yell at Larry some other time. I just don't think that the family Thanksgiving gathering with everyone in the family in the other room is the right time for angry yelling. Because honestly, if she is literally yelling, a closed door is not likely to block off the sound.

To be honest, any situation where it is noticeable that Aunt has taken Larry off to a room for more than a minute or two is rude to all gathered.

Like I said, I think it would have been ok to (I'm adding this word:) discreetly take Larry off to the side and say, sorry, y'all gotta go (in so many words). But to yell at him or berate him in that particular situation -- I just don't see that as ok.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Dr. F. on January 09, 2014, 10:45:07 AM
For those who are saying, effectively, that Aunt had no right to set her own invitation list because Thanksgiving is an important holiday, so she HAD to issue an invitation for family and whoever they would like to bring, would your opinion change if the event was a wedding?

After all, Thanksgiving happens every year, weddings happen once in a person's life (or only a few times).

So, let's recast this as a wedding. Aunt is getting married, and, for whatever reason, wants a small ceremony. She issues invitations to family members only, but including spouses using the 'social unit' rule. Larry wants to bring his new girlfriend. Two people tell him not to, as the ceremony is planned to be a small one. Larry ignores their advice, and brings GF anyway. Aunt goes off on him.

In this case, I think everyone would admit that Larry was rude. I don't see the actual situation as being any different.

1. There is no evidence that the GF was a serious one BEFORE the Thanksgiving event, as such, the social unit rule does not come into play
2. There is no evidence that anyone is censuring Larry's morals. His behavior in bringing an uninvited guest when he'd been warned not to? Yes, absolutely.
3. There is no evidence that not attending would have had any impact on Larry. I can't see how it could be worse than what he actually did.

Aunt offered to host a gathering she could manage. The notion that that it was Thanksgiving meant that she HAD to invite all and sundry whether she liked it or not is a red herring, I think. Frankly, Thanksgiving is a holiday, but not one of such overwhelming importance that a person CANNOT be separated from their SO for a few hours. An invitation is not a summons. Someone else could have hosted. Larry could have gone elsewhere.

I am firmly on Team Aunt.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: nayberry on January 09, 2014, 10:46:29 AM
update doesn't change my opinion, Larry was beyond rude.  he was invited to dinner and told the condtion that noone other than family was invited, two people told him to either do as requested or stay away,

Small but important point of order: That's not what was said. He was told not to bring the girlfriend. He wasn't told to stay away. For all we know at that stage that could mean 'you WILL be here and your girlfriend isn't welcome'.  We don't know if not going was even presented as an option.


it was family only,  that means he attends alone or he doesn't go,


Teeny - i agree, but i can understand that aunt would have been emotional and uoset by his rudeness
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: BarensMom on January 09, 2014, 10:53:33 AM
Here are the facts as I see them:

Fact:  Aunt is 89 years old and is obviously infirm enough that she is going into assisted living.
Fact:  She requested a "family-only" Thanksgiving dinner.
Fact:  Larry was "recently" divorced and just started a new relationship.
Fact:  Larry ignored his aunt's wishes and brought an uninvited guest.
Fact:  Aunt was angry and upset that someone (Larry) insisted on bringing a "stranger" into her home.
Fact:  Aunt had a "deer-snot uprising" with Larry in earshot of the other guests and the uninvited girlfriend.
Fact:  Aunt ended up allowed Larry and girlfriend to remain.

Conclusion:  It is still Aunt's house, Larry had absolutely no right to bring girlfriend.  Larry was still rude.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on January 09, 2014, 10:54:23 AM
For those who are saying, effectively, that Aunt had no right to set her own invitation list because Thanksgiving is an important holiday, so she HAD to issue an invitation for family and whoever they would like to bring, would your opinion change if the event was a wedding?

After all, Thanksgiving happens every year, weddings happen once in a person's life (or only a few times).

So, let's recast this as a wedding. Aunt is getting married, and, for whatever reason, wants a small ceremony. She issues invitations to family members only, but including spouses using the 'social unit' rule. Larry wants to bring his new girlfriend. Two people tell him not to, as the ceremony is planned to be a small one. Larry ignores their advice, and brings GF anyway. Aunt goes off on him.

In this case, I think everyone would admit that Larry was rude. I don't see the actual situation as being any different.

1. There is no evidence that the GF was a serious one BEFORE the Thanksgiving event, as such, the social unit rule does not come into play
2. There is no evidence that anyone is censuring Larry's morals. His behavior in bringing an uninvited guest when he'd been warned not to? Yes, absolutely.
3. There is no evidence that not attending would have had any impact on Larry. I can't see how it could be worse than what he actually did.

Aunt offered to host a gathering she could manage. The notion that that it was Thanksgiving meant that she HAD to invite all and sundry whether she liked it or not is a red herring, I think. Frankly, Thanksgiving is a holiday, but not one of such overwhelming importance that a person CANNOT be separated from their SO for a few hours. An invitation is not a summons. Someone else could have hosted. Larry could have gone elsewhere.

I am firmly on Team Aunt.

POD
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: VorFemme on January 09, 2014, 10:55:36 AM
In order of the rude:

Larry showed up KNOWING without a doubt that he was supposed to show up by himself, since he was divorced (recently or not), to a family-only party with a GF in tow.  He deliberately chose to flout the "rules" for the last family dinner that Aunt could host - rather selfish, thoughtless, and he dragged someone into the event that he didn't seem to have warned "you aren't invited - but I'm bringing you anyway" - making them witness the entire fiasco - minimum score is Rudeness level 3 (knowing and flouting the terms of the invitation is two points, doing so in a way calculated to maximize the offense as there will be no later dinner party to smooth over the memories of the LAST dinner party Aunt had before leaving her home for other living arrangements gives him one more point).

Aunt - issued the invitation to minimize the work for her at her age - not rude - a recognition that she isn't up for fixing food for four generations with entourages for her last dinner party for the holiday.  Taking him out of the room to talk to him wasn't rude.  If she's having issues with hearing or memory - forgetting to shut the door MIGHT or might not be deliberately rude.  It might be an oversight - we weren't there and we don't KNOW for a fact what all is going on with her health.  But she still gets one Rude point for the combination of chewing Larry out too publically and then letting the GF know, by her behavior, that the GF was NOT an invited guest. 

GF - can't tell whether she knew she was being brought along to enact a drama or not...no Rudeness points - but no Polite points for making her excuses & telling Larry that she'd come back for him in a couple of hours (or even extricating both of them as politely as possibly, as they had only dropped by on their way to *other location* just to say "hi!" to the family). 

Rest of the family?  Hard to say - they may have avoided being near Larry because they knew that he'd drag them into a "we TOLD you what Aunt said about no guests"; "well, you didn't tell me she was going to go haywire about it"; and "we told you so, you didn't listen again" cycle of argument (yes, I have seen a few conversations with the Larry of that family insisting that they did NOTHING wrong because nobody told them that they really, truly, cross your heart & hope to die, etc. should follow the explicitly stated rules THIS time for whatever reason....because they'd always ignored the rules in the past and gotten away with it....or at least they thought so). 

Mini-strokes left the elderly host/hostess with a bit less control over their tongue & "Larry" found out that he was no longer the curly haired moppet who could do no wrong...and had outgrown that status at least two decades earlier.   They had a medical excuse for calling Larry on the carpet - but it didn't make it any easier to hear about from everyone else later....both Larry and the rest of the family....
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 10:55:51 AM
In this case, I think everyone would admit that Larry was rude. I don't see the actual situation as being any different.

1. There is no evidence that the GF was a serious one BEFORE the Thanksgiving event, as such, the social unit rule does not come into play
2. There is no evidence that anyone is censuring Larry's morals. His behavior in bringing an uninvited guest when he'd been warned not to? Yes, absolutely.
3. There is no evidence that not attending would have had any impact on Larry. I can't see how it could be worse than what he actually did.

Not a single poster has argued that Larry was not rude.  However, some of us see problems with the aunt and family's behavior as well.

Again, it matters very much to me whether Larry was the only adult affected by the "no GF/BFs" rule.  He is not a child.  He is not a teenager.  He is a full-grown adult.  The OP and the words used lead me to believe that the family and aunt do not like Larry and believe him to be beneath them, as are his relationships, because of his divorced status.  The OP still has not clarified, but I got the sense from the beginning based on tone that the family actively wants their disapproval of Larry and his relationship status to be known, and that the "no BF/GFs" rule was intended to punish Larry while giving the family a veneer of "what do you mean?  We aren't judgmental people more focused on appearance than Larry's happiness!"

The fact that the family seemed to smugly "allow" Larry and the GF to stay while making it very clear they feel superior to Larry and the GF leads me to have some sympathy for Larry.  This is not a family I would want to be a part of, personally.

I have such a difficult time picturing this "elderly aunt" (what does that mean anyway) being so decrepit that she needs to go into a nursing home, yet so with it that she would actively and loudly berate a relative rather than just go with the flow and enjoy her Thanksgiving.  It wasn't an issue of space - the GF was easily accomodated.  I strongly get the sense this was an issue of, "We want to show Larry we disapprove of his morals."  I am not cool with that.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: gramma dishes on January 09, 2014, 10:57:56 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 11:00:35 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: lowspark on January 09, 2014, 11:02:06 AM
For those who are saying, effectively, that Aunt had no right to set her own invitation list because Thanksgiving is an important holiday, so she HAD to issue an invitation for family and whoever they would like to bring, would your opinion change if the event was a wedding?

After all, Thanksgiving happens every year, weddings happen once in a person's life (or only a few times).

So, let's recast this as a wedding. Aunt is getting married, and, for whatever reason, wants a small ceremony. She issues invitations to family members only, but including spouses using the 'social unit' rule. Larry wants to bring his new girlfriend. Two people tell him not to, as the ceremony is planned to be a small one. Larry ignores their advice, and brings GF anyway. Aunt goes off on him.

In this case, I think everyone would admit that Larry was rude. I don't see the actual situation as being any different.

1. There is no evidence that the GF was a serious one BEFORE the Thanksgiving event, as such, the social unit rule does not come into play
2. There is no evidence that anyone is censuring Larry's morals. His behavior in bringing an uninvited guest when he'd been warned not to? Yes, absolutely.
3. There is no evidence that not attending would have had any impact on Larry. I can't see how it could be worse than what he actually did.

Aunt offered to host a gathering she could manage. The notion that that it was Thanksgiving meant that she HAD to invite all and sundry whether she liked it or not is a red herring, I think. Frankly, Thanksgiving is a holiday, but not one of such overwhelming importance that a person CANNOT be separated from their SO for a few hours. An invitation is not a summons. Someone else could have hosted. Larry could have gone elsewhere.

I am firmly on Team Aunt.

Can you imagine being at an intimate family wedding and, when someone brought an uninvited guest along, the bride loudly berated that person within earshot of the entirety of the invited guests?

I'd be mortified. It would completely lower the bride's esteem in my eyes. I would be completly uncomfortable for the rest of the event, and I'd leave as soon as politely possible.

Yeah, the guest would be completely in the wrong. But ugh, who would want to hear that berating at a wedding? And by the same token, at any gathering?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: nayberry on January 09, 2014, 11:03:22 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: wolfie on January 09, 2014, 11:04:30 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

I don't understand where you are getting that from. No where in the OP's post did she say that the family was upset with Larry for moving on after a divorce. In fact since he has had 3 of them him moving on should be standard operating procedure by now and expected from the family.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: BarensMom on January 09, 2014, 11:05:19 AM

I have such a difficult time picturing this "elderly aunt" (what does that mean anyway) being so decrepit that she needs to go into a nursing home, yet so with it that she would actively and loudly berate a relative rather than just go with the flow and enjoy her Thanksgiving.  It wasn't an issue of space - the GF was easily accomodated.  I strongly get the sense this was an issue of, "We want to show Larry we disapprove of his morals."  I am not cool with that.

From the post, I don't get the "we disapprove of his morals," only his rudeness to his Aunt's wishes.

Why do you have difficulty believing that Aunt is decrepit enough to need assisted living but is verbal enough to be able to defend the boundaries of her home?  It could be that her mind is sharp, but her body is breaking down.  It's not a question of accommodation - it's that Aunt did not want a stranger in her home.  Under the same circumstances as Aunt (leaving a beloved home, physical limitations), would you want a total stranger appearing at your home expecting hospitality?

I have a 95-year old Aunt currently in a nursing home who could tell you the ins and outs of Obamacare, but is unable to move from her bed to her chair without a lift machine.  Yet, if you cross her, she would have no trouble telling you how the milk got into the cocoanut.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: gramma dishes on January 09, 2014, 11:10:07 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

I read nothing in either the original story or the follow up post that would lead me to believe that anyone in the family thought they were "morally superior" to Larry.  What they thought was "Aunt doesn't want strangers in her house on this ONE occasion and Larry is stubbornly insisting that he's going to bring along a stranger anyway."

That has nothing to do with morals and everything to do with character.  Two different things.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: MariaE on January 09, 2014, 11:12:04 AM
update doesn't change my opinion, Larry was beyond rude.  he was invited to dinner and told the condtion that noone other than family was invited, two people told him to either do as requested or stay away,

Small but important point of order: That's not what was said. He was told not to bring the girlfriend. He wasn't told to stay away. For all we know at that stage that could mean 'you WILL be here and your girlfriend isn't welcome'.  We don't know if not going was even presented as an option.
And for all we know it could have meant "don't bring her. We will understand if that means you won't be there either."

We have NO REASON to suspect the family wouldn't have accepted if he declined the invitation. NONE. I don't know why you persist in painting that as the more likely choice. We don't know either way.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 11:12:19 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 11:15:40 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

Wait, where are you getting that?
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: wolfie on January 09, 2014, 11:19:56 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: White Lotus on January 09, 2014, 11:23:27 AM
Assisted living is not a nursing home.  Essentially, around here, it is a serviced apartment with meals, and some care options (medication monitoring, dressing assistance) available as needed.  People usually move to these in anticipation of needing increasing help.  The apartments tend to be quite small and there are many common areas, activities, and transportation options available, and usually a nursing home facility is attached or affiliated when or if someone needs it.  It is rather like the old-style "apartment hotels" that I always thought were a great idea.
It did just occur to me that perhaps Aunt wanted to limit the gathering to "family including recognized social units" because she wanted to talk about giving her china, silver, crystal, books, piano, furniture, etc., away, because she won't have room for very much at all after she moves.  That is not the kind of conversation one might have with random strangers, or even with friends -- unless they are to be included in the distribution -- around.  No piano for Larry, and I can quite understand Aunt being fried at having her plans derailed, though Aunt could have closed that door, as could Larry.  As soon as she know the score, GF could have said, "Ms. Aunt, I am so sorry.  Larry didn't say this was a sit down dinner with limited space!  Let me call a cab, and I am gone.  I'd like to meet you another time, though."  This gives Aunt the chance to say, "No, Martha (GF). Not your fault, and we're happy to meet you.  Please do stay, we'll just set another place," or "Thank you for understanding, Martha, I look forward to seeing you another time, after I have moved."  And then called that cab for Martha, or point Martha to the phone.  If she froze, though, which I can understand, and Larry kept whispering "it's fINE" and cabs aren't readily available in the area, she did the best she could.  She sounds kind of clueless, though.  She moved in with this clown?  Sigh.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 09, 2014, 11:25:42 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

Wait, where are you getting that?

I have reread this thread to see if I missed something and do not see any inkling of that.

I have an associate that is a frequent relationship changer. Only issue is that he gets married each time, we are up to the 5th one. The marriages never last longer than a year. We invite him to an annual event and each time he brings a plus one that is a different woman.

We do not act morally superior.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 11:30:36 AM
And again, it very much matters whether Larry is the only adult who was told not to have his SO present at Thanksgiving. Since Larry was "chewed out" and the aunt was "very angry" and the cousin actively ignored Larry, I believe this was more than a situation of "Aunt doesn't have space for 21 people, only 20!"  It is a situation of, "we don't believe Larry that his GF is important to him and we don't want his SO here." Presumably, had Larry still been married, his wife would have been welcomed.  So it is a judgment on his relationship, and if his relationship was the only one affected, I absolutely see him - an adult, and likely not a young adult - being hurt by that.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 11:30:49 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

I guess everyone's experiences are shaping how they read that statement. To me it was explaining that he'd gone through multiple breakups, has a new girlfriend and wanted to use Thanksgiving as a way to introduce her to the extended family. No morally judgement. Just a way of explaining why it seemed so important to Larry to bring the GF.

And I still say anyone who has the gumption to bring someone specifically not invited would have the gumption to not attend "3 whips or not". If you want to use that analogy, he not only didn't attend and vote the way his whip wanted him to vote, he went and voted for the opposition.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 11:31:29 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 11:33:12 AM
TeenyWeeny said it better.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: BarensMom on January 09, 2014, 11:34:59 AM
Assisted living is not a nursing home.  Essentially, around here, it is a serviced apartment with meals, and some care options (medication monitoring, dressing assistance) available as needed.  People usually move to these in anticipation of needing increasing help.  The apartments tend to be quite small and there are many common areas, activities, and transportation options available, and usually a nursing home facility is attached or affiliated when or if someone needs it.  It is rather like the old-style "apartment hotels" that I always thought were a great idea.
It did just occur to me that perhaps Aunt wanted to limit the gathering to "family including recognized social units" because she wanted to talk about giving her china, silver, crystal, books, piano, furniture, etc., away, because she won't have room for very much at all after she moves.  That is not the kind of conversation one might have with random strangers, or even with friends -- unless they are to be included in the distribution -- around. 

It's not quite a nursing home, but it's still a situation where the elder has to divest themselves of a great many things, including their independence.

It also occurred to me that is why Aunt had specified "family only."  In which case, a total stranger showing up totally derailed that plan.  Even if the distribution of items were not on the table, the idea of an "family" gathering was spoiled by the presence of the new girlfriend (she wasn't living with Larry as yet). 

Bottom line, the right of Aunt to control the guest list at HER home was violated by Larry's need to show off his new girlfriend. 
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: wolfie on January 09, 2014, 11:35:52 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

I don't agree. Lots of people add info that isn't really needed and then get chastised for it later because people say "you only added that because you wanted people to feel a certain way". Most of the time people add the info because they think that it is better to add more rather then less. And if they didn't say it was a recent girlfriend there would have been people on this thread asking how long they had been together and making assumptions that way. Honestly I doubt the OP can win here.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 11:39:21 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

I don't agree. Lots of people add info that isn't really needed and then get chastised for it later because people say "you only added that because you wanted people to feel a certain way". Most of the time people add the info because they think that it is better to add more rather then less. And if they didn't say it was a recent girlfriend there would have been people on this thread asking how long they had been together and making assumptions that way. Honestly I doubt the OP can win here.

Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 11:43:37 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

I don't agree. Lots of people add info that isn't really needed and then get chastised for it later because people say "you only added that because you wanted people to feel a certain way". Most of the time people add the info because they think that it is better to add more rather then less. And if they didn't say it was a recent girlfriend there would have been people on this thread asking how long they had been together and making assumptions that way. Honestly I doubt the OP can win here.

Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.

I agree, and also, it wasn't the OP who added the unnecessary info: it was Larry's cousin who added it in the telling of the tale to the OP. So that immediately puts a slant on it for me, and why I'm thinking there's probably a bit of judgement going on from the family, and why I think the GF has been discounted by them as so unimportant.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 11:43:57 AM
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.
[/quote]

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.   
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Dr. F. on January 09, 2014, 11:45:16 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

OK, so let's pretend that it was that Larry's wife died, etc., as you suggest.

Larry would still be in the wrong. Period. Aunt still was not required to invite the new GF.

I don't care about Larry's morals. His behavior is atrocious. The only relevant information is the "recent girlfriend," which, as I said before does NOT invoke the social unit rule. You may not like the social unit rule, but it is widely accepted in etiquette. It might have been nice and inclusive for Aunt to invite the GF, but it was not rude of her not to.

Also, the OP is only a friend of the family. Dissecting her words as indicating anything about the attitude of the family is pointless.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 11:47:46 AM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

OK, so let's pretend that it was that Larry's wife died, etc., as you suggest.

Larry would still be in the wrong. Period. Aunt still was not required to invite the new GF.

I don't care about Larry's morals. His behavior is atrocious. The only relevant information is the "recent girlfriend," which, as I said before does NOT invoke the social unit rule. You may not like the social unit rule, but it is widely accepted in etiquette. It might have been nice and inclusive for Aunt to invite the GF, but it was not rude of her not to.

Also, the OP is only a friend of the family. Dissecting her words as indicating anything about the attitude of the family is pointless.

I don't think anyone's dissecting the OP's words, simply because it was Larry's cousin who included them in the telling of the tale. They're the family's words, not the OP's, and I think they're telling.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 11:50:01 AM


Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.

and they were mentioned by someone who actually -knows- Larry (Larry's cousin, the OP's friend, who was telling her the story). That cousin thinks it's relevant to the situation.

If Larry had lost his first wife to cancer after 25 years, etc., etc., I think it's not that likely that the cousin who knows him in real life would have been counting how many marriages it was. I think the fact that the cousin included this info about Larry, when telling the OP of the situation, indicates the cousin's attitude toward Larry (whom he knows in real life) and Larry's current relationship.

I also think the fact that the cousin specified the girlfriend was new, and the fact that both Larry's cousin *and* Larry's dad thought it was reasonable to exclude her, tell us something. These are the people who are close to the situation. They have real info, and we are only making up stuff.

From the third-hand account available to us, people who know Larry *first hand* think he was really out of line. I trust them.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Teenyweeny on January 09, 2014, 11:50:27 AM
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.
[/quote]

Well, because most people's aunts are of a similar age to their parents, who tend to be around 20-40 years older than their children. Of course, there can be older half-siblings and so on, but then, I did say 'almost certain'.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Jones on January 09, 2014, 11:51:34 AM
Well. Auntie certainly isn't a Margo, when Claudia shows up unexpected.

No one doubts that Larry was rude, I think. But Auntie and the cousins weren't exactly gracious, either.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 11:53:26 AM


Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.

and they were mentioned by someone who actually -knows- Larry (Larry's cousin, the OP's friend, who was telling her the story). That cousin thinks it's relevant to the situation.

If Larry had lost his first wife to cancer after 25 years, etc., etc., I think it's not that likely that the cousin who knows him in real life would have been counting how many marriages it was. I think the fact that the cousin included this info about Larry, when telling the OP of the situation, indicates the cousin's attitude toward Larry (whom he knows in real life) and Larry's current relationship.

I also think the fact that the cousin specified the girlfriend was new, and the fact that both Larry's cousin *and* Larry's dad thought it was reasonable to exclude her, tell us something. These are the people who are close to the situation. They have real info, and we are only making up stuff.

From the third-hand account available to us, people who know Larry *first hand* think he was really out of line. I trust them.

I would be inclined to 'trust them', had I not been in a situation myself where a family was *so* hung up on divorces being a terrible thing. My ex was almost disowned by his family after his divorce, simply because he'd got one. There are families out there like that, so, without confirmation one way or the other, I'm not going to assume that they don't feel like that about Larry.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: wolfie on January 09, 2014, 11:57:23 AM
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.

Well, because most people's aunts are of a similar age to their parents, who tend to be around 20-40 years older than their children. Of course, there can be older half-siblings and so on, but then, I did say 'almost certain'.
[/quote]

And lots of families refer to people as Aunts even if they are great aunts. Plus this is OP's friend's aunt - we don't know what the exact familial relationship between the aunt and Larry is. Could be his great aunt, his grandmother (doubtful) or his aunt.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 12:09:02 PM
All the comments about how this family knows Larry and that's why they don't want to recognize his GF as important prove my point. The family has judged Larry, unfavorably, and it is important to the family to make their judgment and disapproval clear. That, to me, is rude. It also makes it probable that the exclusion of Larry's GF was personal.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: gollymolly2 on January 09, 2014, 12:09:16 PM
I have no idea whether Larry's romantic post factored into the family's or OP's feelings.

But speaking only for myself, I could understand if it was a factor, and I don't think it's about pearl-clutching or being judgmental about divorce.

Under the social unit rule, Aunt was only obligated to invite spouses/fiancees/live-ins. Anyone beyond that is in her discretion. Maybe if Uncle Larry hadn't dated anyone in a while, the family would be really glad he had companionship/seemed happy and would invite her along. Or maybe if theyd met her and really liked her and felt she was like family or whatever, they'd want her to be there.  Or whatever.

But sometimes we have people in our lives who exhaust us with their revolving door of romantic partners. And there's nothing wrong with dating lots of people or whatever. But in some cases, you'll have to accept that with each successive partner you bring to the family, and each successive wedding you have, your family members and friends may be less eager to form attachments to your new partners. 

I actually coincidentally have an uncle who has been divorced three times  People get divorced. It happens. Actually, I think most of my uncles have been divorced once, now that I think about it. So it's not a case of us feeling like divorce is a failing of some sort.  But with this particular uncle, it is harder to muster any feeling of "welcome to the family" for his new girlfriends for a while - it takes some time. It's not that we don't love or respect the uncle, and it's not like were not nice to the girlfriends, it just takes longer to think of them as long-term parts of the family.

So, to me at least,  IF the family took into account Larry's past relationships in deciding whether his girlfriend was welcome at a family-only party, then I don't see anything wrong with that.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TurtleDove on January 09, 2014, 12:12:29 PM
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: gollymolly2 on January 09, 2014, 12:14:40 PM
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."

Well I have no idea if thats how the family feels or if that's what motivated them.

I'm just saying if it was a motivating factor, I don't think it was rude or unreasonable.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: wolfie on January 09, 2014, 12:15:05 PM
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."

How do you know that? We don't know what the other guest's romantic situations were like. For all we know 10 other people left their GF/BF at home too. We just know that the family felt that Larry had not been seeing his GF long enough that she was considered part of the family. A few dates does not make someone "the one".
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: snappylt on January 09, 2014, 12:15:25 PM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

bolding above is mine


Hmmmmm,

OP here. I repeated a story told me by an old friend whom I see maybe five or six times a year. I thought his story brought up some interesting etiquette questions.

I've never even met the rest of my friend's family, let alone been rude to them myself!  Did you intend to say that my friend was rude, not me?

     SnappyLT


(Edited to correct the addressee.)
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: snappylt on January 09, 2014, 12:30:32 PM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.

I agree with all of this. Look, no one, absolutely no one, has argued that Larry was anything other than rude to bring an uninvited guest. However, I also don't buy the, "oh poor frail old lady who only wanted her family with her at her last Thanksgiving and everyone was so horrible to her" side either. While she has a right to invite whomever she wishes, I think she erred here. It is very insulting to be pointedly told that your SO isn't welcome, especially at a holiday dinner.

And since we're citing the idea that retaliatory rudeness is not OK (and I agree), I think the aunt was rude to Larry and the rest of the guests by publicly berating him, and incredibly rude to the GF by complaining about her while she could hear. Then, everyone just goes about the dinner but some completely ignore the two of them? What a childish reaction. If their presence was so disturbing they should have been asked to leave (though if I were the GF I would have already run out in tears), not allowed to stay but then be treated like second class citizens.

(And I still must know if that rule actually affected anyone but Larry! Please ask if you can, OP?)

bolding mine immediately above

OP here again.

I only see my friend every month or two, so it will be a while before I ask him.

My friend did not mention anyone else being upset, but there could have been others who were.  When he first told me the story, my friend referred to the woman as "Larry's new girlfriend" but I have no idea how long they had been a couple.

I do not know how other people there behaved that day.  I know my friend said he sat at another table and didn't speak to Larry or the girlfriend, but I didn't think to ask how other people behaved.

From my own point of view, I felt sorry for the girlfriend.  I don't know whether or not she knew Larry had been told not to bring her.  I assume that she didn't know - but I am only assuming that because I can't imagine her coming if she had known the hostess said she wasn't welcome.  (Then again, I cannot imagine Larry bringing her after the hostess said not to, either, so I'm over my head in this one.)

I didn't like the thought of the hostess being upset within earshot of the girlfriend.  I think it would have been far more polite for the hostess to have done one of two things: either 1.) welcome the girlfriend graciously, or 2.) turn her away at the door, gently but firmly.

But then again, I wasn't there and these people are not my family!

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: etiquettenut on January 09, 2014, 01:15:36 PM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.

I agree with all of this. Look, no one, absolutely no one, has argued that Larry was anything other than rude to bring an uninvited guest. However, I also don't buy the, "oh poor frail old lady who only wanted her family with her at her last Thanksgiving and everyone was so horrible to her" side either. While she has a right to invite whomever she wishes, I think she erred here. It is very insulting to be pointedly told that your SO isn't welcome, especially at a holiday dinner.

And since we're citing the idea that retaliatory rudeness is not OK (and I agree), I think the aunt was rude to Larry and the rest of the guests by publicly berating him, and incredibly rude to the GF by complaining about her while she could hear. Then, everyone just goes about the dinner but some completely ignore the two of them? What a childish reaction. If their presence was so disturbing they should have been asked to leave (though if I were the GF I would have already run out in tears), not allowed to stay but then be treated like second class citizens.

(And I still must know if that rule actually affected anyone but Larry! Please ask if you can, OP?)

I guess that's what I thought the berating was. Aunt: I told you she wasn't invited and you need to leave. Larry: No, we are staying.

And if he was so insulted "DON'T GO!"


True, I do agree that that's what he should have done. It would have sent a much stronger message to the family about including his new GF than ignoring the invitation and doing whatever he wanted.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 01:45:30 PM
Since this was Aunt's last thanksgiving she's hosting, and possibly she doesn't have that many left in her, I wonder if Larry in any way thought about his Aunt when he insisted on bringing his girlfriend. It's quite obvious that he didn't. He chose instead to make it all about himself instead. People are going to remember Aunt's last thanksgiving as "the one Larry brought his girlfriend to and was chewed out by aunt ".

Aunt wanted her last one hosting to be stress free and be there with the support of her family. Larry ruined that.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 01:49:05 PM
All the comments about how this family knows Larry and that's why they don't want to recognize his GF as important prove my point. The family has judged Larry, unfavorably, and it is important to the family to make their judgment and disapproval clear. That, to me, is rude. It also makes it probable that the exclusion of Larry's GF was personal.

Well, the only evidence *we* have is that people in Larry's family opposed his action of --bringing his girlfriend--, which I would feel even if I loved the girlfriend and was hopeful for Larry's happiness.

Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: silvercelt on January 09, 2014, 02:19:31 PM
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

While I am firmly on the side of the aunt in this scenario, I have agreed with various points of your arguments.  This, however, is so far out there... this is such extreme conjecture that I'm not quite sure *how* you came to these conclusions from anything you read.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 02:27:47 PM
There's quite a bit if that in this thread which is why, for the most part, I've tried to stick to facts not conjecture.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: perpetua on January 09, 2014, 02:30:08 PM
Since this was Aunt's last thanksgiving she's hosting, and possibly she doesn't have that many left in her, I wonder if Larry in any way thought about his Aunt when he insisted on bringing his girlfriend. It's quite obvious that he didn't. He chose instead to make it all about himself instead. People are going to remember Aunt's last thanksgiving as "the one Larry brought his girlfriend to and was chewed out by aunt ".

Aunt wanted her last one hosting to be stress free and be there with the support of her family. Larry ruined that.

See, my view is the complete opposite to that: Aunt took a major holiday and made it all about herself.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 09, 2014, 02:38:48 PM
There's simply no evidence of that, it looks as if what Aunt said about family only was a request that the other family members (with the exception of Larry) were willing to allow.

I admit we don't know much about Aunt, she might be a self-centred "it's all about MEEE" person, but from her behaviour as described I don't think there's any reason it could be so. The only thing bad we know about her is her outburst at Larry which is completely justifiable. The only person I can see displaying this sort of behaviour is Larry.

Aunt's reasons for having a smaller gathering were also justifiable. She can only feel she can cater to so many people as she is finding it a bit more difficult these days.

I'm much more willing to believe a woman in her eighties, who for all intents and purposes looks like she was very generous other years.

You could look at it on a smaller scale. For instance if you usually hosted a big family gathering at Christmas with parents, grandparents, siblings etc but for some reason you don't feel up to doing it this year. Maybe you had a new baby, or a recent tragedy and just want things to be small. How could it be wrong to say "We just want it to be small this year and have close family". I can't see that as hijacking a holiday for your own purposes.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on January 09, 2014, 02:49:59 PM
I don't really see how Larry was being punished. Aunt doesn't want to host everyone under the sun, because she's old, she's tired, and oh yeah it's her house and she doesn't want too. Aunt counts Larry's new girlfriend as not family. Because the relationship is new. Prior to Thanksgiving they hadn't moved in yet, and post-Christmas they had. Ok, that's about a month, the relationship changed in a month's time, good for them. I've known people to start living together a week after they started dating. Everyone's time lines are different. But at Thanksgiving, they weren't living together. Maybe they were talking about it, maybe they were planning on it, but as far I can see, Larry didn't tell his Aunt this.

If Larry had sat Aunt down and said "Listen, Aunt, I know I haven't been with Jane for a long time, but we're pretty serious about each other, we're even planning on moving in with each other within the next month, I'd really love to have her at Thanksgiving to meet the family", Aunt still had the right to say no in that circumstance, but I think a lot less feather ruffling would have happened. And at least his family would've understood his stance. I'd have a lot more sympathy for him at least, if he'd acted like a grown up.

To me, he acted like a teenager at best. He wants his way. He will stamp his feet and hold his breath until he gets his way. And when they won't give in, he'll just do what he wants anyways.

Should Aunt have chewed him out in front of everyone? No. But that doesn't make Larry right either. I'm assuming Aunt was blindsided and understandably upset (I would've been), but no causing a scene won't fix anything. I know, my family loves causing scenes and it's yet to fix a single thing. If Aunt had closed the door and chewed Larry out, well, I wouldn't really have a problem with that. I'd probably do it. Then walk out, insist girlfriend sit by me, and act like she was the most fascinating person to every cross my threshold so that when Larry grumbled about getting chewed out on the way home girlfriend could say "What are you talking about, your aunt was fantastic!", but I can just be downright evil.

This Christmas my best friend's mother requested he attend the Christmas gathering alone. See his religious brother and SIL were in town. And well, best friend's finance is boy and so is best friend. And well...they love Best Friend of course, but it's just a bit awkward and golly son it'd make Christmas so much better if we could just pretend you're straight and single. BTW, fiance, 3 year relationship, living together, so committed. Fiance told him to go to his family on Christmas, he'd come with us to my grandparents, he understood, he loves Best Friend, and while he felt hurt by his future MIL, he wasn't going to ruffle feathers. Best Friend went, was peaceful and made his excuses to leave early in the evening and joined up with us.

I was hurt my Best Friend's mom. And it wasn't even directed at me or involving me. But that is an example of a family punishing another member for their life choices. When they deny girlfriend access to the next family function (now they live together and are seen as a social unit), or when they refuse to attend the wedding, then we can talk about punishing Larry. Until then, Larry wanted his way come hell or high water, and he was just going to do what he wanted no matter the consequence.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: Iris on January 09, 2014, 03:02:27 PM
Since this was Aunt's last thanksgiving she's hosting, and possibly she doesn't have that many left in her, I wonder if Larry in any way thought about his Aunt when he insisted on bringing his girlfriend. It's quite obvious that he didn't. He chose instead to make it all about himself instead. People are going to remember Aunt's last thanksgiving as "the one Larry brought his girlfriend to and was chewed out by aunt ".

Aunt wanted her last one hosting to be stress free and be there with the support of her family. Larry ruined that.

See, my view is the complete opposite to that: Aunt took a major holiday and made it all about herself.

But there is *actual evidence* in that in the past aunt has been willing to host everyone, including waifs and strays, to imply that this particular woman has been a generous host. Larry *may* have been judged or unfairly treated but there is no actual evidence of that, in fact there is evidence that the rest of his family thought that Larry was the unreasonable one.

At some point speculation based on personal experiences does not apply anymore. There are some interesting points of etiquette here, especially regarding what should have been done once Larry had turned up but there is just no reasonable evidence for some of the claims being made.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: MizA on January 09, 2014, 03:04:45 PM
I don't really see how Larry was being punished. Aunt doesn't want to host everyone under the sun, because she's old, she's tired, and oh yeah it's her house and she doesn't want too. Aunt counts Larry's new girlfriend as not family. Because the relationship is new. Prior to Thanksgiving they hadn't moved in yet, and post-Christmas they had. Ok, that's about a month, the relationship changed in a month's time, good for them. I've known people to start living together a week after they started dating. Everyone's time lines are different. But at Thanksgiving, they weren't living together. Maybe they were talking about it, maybe they were planning on it, but as far I can see, Larry didn't tell his Aunt this.

If Larry had sat Aunt down and said "Listen, Aunt, I know I haven't been with Jane for a long time, but we're pretty serious about each other, we're even planning on moving in with each other within the next month, I'd really love to have her at Thanksgiving to meet the family", Aunt still had the right to say no in that circumstance, but I think a lot less feather ruffling would have happened. And at least his family would've understood his stance. I'd have a lot more sympathy for him at least, if he'd acted like a grown up.

To me, he acted like a teenager at best. He wants his way. He will stamp his feet and hold his breath until he gets his way. And when they won't give in, he'll just do what he wants anyways.

Should Aunt have chewed him out in front of everyone? No. But that doesn't make Larry right either. I'm assuming Aunt was blindsided and understandably upset (I would've been), but no causing a scene won't fix anything. I know, my family loves causing scenes and it's yet to fix a single thing. If Aunt had closed the door and chewed Larry out, well, I wouldn't really have a problem with that. I'd probably do it. Then walk out, insist girlfriend sit by me, and act like she was the most fascinating person to every cross my threshold so that when Larry grumbled about getting chewed out on the way home girlfriend could say "What are you talking about, your aunt was fantastic!", but I can just be downright evil.

This Christmas my best friend's mother requested he attend the Christmas gathering alone. See his religious brother and SIL were in town. And well, best friend's finance is boy and so is best friend. And well...they love Best Friend of course, but it's just a bit awkward and golly son it'd make Christmas so much better if we could just pretend you're straight and single. BTW, fiance, 3 year relationship, living together, so committed. Fiance told him to go to his family on Christmas, he'd come with us to my grandparents, he understood, he loves Best Friend, and while he felt hurt by his future MIL, he wasn't going to ruffle feathers. Best Friend went, was peaceful and made his excuses to leave early in the evening and joined up with us.

I was hurt my Best Friend's mom. And it wasn't even directed at me or involving me. But that is an example of a family punishing another member for their life choices. When they deny girlfriend access to the next family function (now they live together and are seen as a social unit), or when they refuse to attend the wedding, then we can talk about punishing Larry. Until then, Larry wanted his way come hell or high water, and he was just going to do what he wanted no matter the consequence.

Twinkle fingers to this. You said it WAY better than I could have.
Title: Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
Post by: JeanFromBNA on January 09, 2014, 03:32:41 PM
Since this was Aunt's last thanksgiving she's hosting, and possibly she doesn't have that many left in her, I wonder if Larry in any way thought about his Aunt when he insisted on bringing his girlfriend. It's quite obvious that he didn't. He chose instead to make it all about himself instead. People are going to remember Aunt's last thanksgiving as "the one Larry brought his girlfriend to and was chewed out by aunt ".

Aunt wanted her last one hosting to be stress free and be there with the support of her family. Larry ruined that.

See, my view is the complete opposite to that: Aunt took a major holiday and made it all about herself.
After previous holidays that she seems to have hosted in which all were welcome.  For this last holiday in her own home, she just wanted family. 

Why Larry couldn't suck it up for one day (more like two or three hours) is beyond my comprehension, but I'm a grown-up.