Author Topic: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit update post 69  (Read 14534 times)

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Adelaide

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My friends Paul and Olivia will have been married for a year in December. I met Olivia in college and Paul and I are from the same hometown and church, and we all got to know each other better in college. I was one of Oliva's bridesmaids.

I'm moving off in a few weeks and I'd like to have my friends over to play Risk with myself and my father. It's not really a party, we'll probably have some sodas and junk food, chicken fingers, stuff like that since there's only a few of us. Paul and Michael (who is single) are the only people I know who really love Risk. In the past I have hung out with Paul by himself (studying for Russian Lit, driving to meet friends, etc.) while we lived on the same campus and he wasn't married, but I think that (and my parents agree that) I would be lit on fire and sent to eHell if I just invited Paul and not Olivia to play Risk.

The problem with Olivia (who doesn't play) is that she a) can't stand to be away from Paul and b) can't understand that we can't talk about other things. We don't sit there in silence, but the only words coming out of our mouths have to do with the game and strategy. I have been in a room with Olivia while trying to play and she won't be quiet. She sits by Paul and tries to get him to talk to her, which slows him down, or tries to talk to all of us and we can't think. She'll remember to be quiet for about five minutes before she starts talking again.

My parents are of the opinion that in a year or so I could start inviting just Paul to play games like Risk (or chess, for that matter) but since they're Just Married it would be rude to not invite Olivia along with him. Is there any way around this and would it be weird/rude/awkward to text Paul and say "Hey, Michael and I are playing Risk with my father next Thursday, would you want to come?"
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 12:11:17 PM by Adelaide »

auntmeegs

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 04:16:58 PM »
I'm not sure why you think that, etiquette-wise, you have to invite Olivia if you invite Paul.  This isn't a wedding or something like that where is would be rude not to include someone's spouse.  This is a game night at your house, which IMO, does not have the same social unit obligation.  I wonder why Olivia would even want to come.  It doesn't sound like she enjoys or even understands the game.  And if she can't stand to be away from Paul, what does she do when they have to go to work/school/whatever? 

TurtleDove

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 04:17:19 PM »
Has Paul addressed this with Olivia?  I would invite them both, and if Olivia detracts from the game, talk to Paul about it and explain he either needs to talk to Olivia or you won't invite her anymore.  Do other things with Paul and Olivia.

Adelaide

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 04:28:35 PM »
Olivia doesn't enjoy or understand the game. But she'll cling to Paul and HAS to fill the silence with words. Even if it's just fiddling with his hair and saying "Paul, you need a haircut" or complaining about how the pieces are so small she doesn't see how we keep up with them.

I don't think that Paul has addressed it with Olivia beyond what I've seen. It doesn't actually seem to bother Paul that much. I remember studying for Russian Lit with Paul and a couple of other people and Olivia had to be right beside him. He'd say things like "Babe, we have to study now, I can't concentrate" and she'd pretend to get offended, and then they'd just sit there cooing at each other in baby talk.

As far as what she does at work, I suppose she pines away for him. When she's not at work, she's with him every second. I think that she has two settings: "Work" and "Paul time". When she's not at work, she thinks she has a god-given right to be right where Paul is, even if she doesn't understand the game (or the language!) that's the topic of conversation.

yokozbornak

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 04:29:54 PM »
I think that not inviting Olivia is not a good idea because you know she isn't going to take it well, and I'll be honest, I wouldn't like the idea of my husband going to hang out with one of my female friends and leaving me at home.  It just seems to be crossing a line even if it's perfectly innocent.

If Olivia is truly that bothersome, why not have Michael host and do the inviting?  I doubt of Olivia would blink an eye at skipping a game night with him as host. 

Adelaide

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2012, 04:36:45 PM »
I think that not inviting Olivia is not a good idea because you know she isn't going to take it well, and I'll be honest, I wouldn't like the idea of my husband going to hang out with one of my female friends and leaving me at home.  It just seems to be crossing a line even if it's perfectly innocent.

If Olivia is truly that bothersome, why not have Michael host and do the inviting?  I doubt of Olivia would blink an eye at skipping a game night with him as host.

That's what I was thinking, too. I thought it might seem a little weird (even if there were other guys + my dad there) for me to just invite Paul and not Olivia. As far as Michael goes, he won't do the hosting. He doesn't have game or food at his parents' house as they're in the process of moving. Michael lives way out of town and so we'd have to coordinate the game on a day he was crashing at his parents' anyway.

Ordinarily, I would say "Paul, would you and Olivia like to come play Risk next Thursday" but she's not the kind of person who gets hints-if she's willing to crash a Russian Lit study group and talk about nothing but shoes the whole time, I'm sure she would think nothing of reading that invitation like "Oh, Adelaide wants me over to chat".

SleepyKitty

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 04:45:21 PM »
I think you're kind of stuck in this situation. There's really only three options that I see.

1) Don't invite Paul.

2) Invite both Paul and Olivia, but have a come-to-deity talk with Paul beforehand. Tell him how distracting and (frankly) annoying Olivia's behaviour is when you're trying to play. Tell him frankly and in plain words, because if you try to be too nice about it, he likely won't get the hint. Ask him to speak to Olivia about being quiet before they come over, and see what happens.

3) Just invite Paul. If you go this route, I suggest you have the same frank conversation with him I mentioned in #2. Tell him you like Olivia, but she's a huge PITA when you're playing and you just don't want her there to ruin the game. Make it clear why she's not invited so that there is no hint of impropriety on your behalf. Then, leave the choice up to him. If he declines the invitation, then take your cues from there. If he accepts, then whatever the fallout from that is, is between him and Olivia.

When you describe Olivia, I get the sense that you're not terribly fond of her to begin with. I don't blame you, since she sounds like she would drive me bananas too. But Paul has chosen her as his wife, and you're kind of stuck sucking it up and dealing with her if he won't leave her at home.

hobish

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 04:56:13 PM »

You could try the approach that I used when a friend found out that we had “girl’s football” hangouts either at my house or my friend Kay’s. “Yeah, we usually watch straight on through from the 1pm game to the 4pm game at least, and sometimes the 8 game; but we really are there to watch football (and eat shushi). It’s football time, not time for talking about shoes or babies or comparing purses. In fact it started because she and I are the ones most likely to yell and scream at the tv. If you’re really interested in watching the game, that’s awesome, come on by…”
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2012, 04:56:56 PM »
This is not a formal event, therefore formal social units dont apply.  Invite paul casually, per the earlier text you mentioned and be done with it, not feeling badly at all. have fun!
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Adelaide

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 04:57:11 PM »

<snip>

When you describe Olivia, I get the sense that you're not terribly fond of her to begin with. I don't blame you, since she sounds like she would drive me bananas too. But Paul has chosen her as his wife, and you're kind of stuck sucking it up and dealing with her if he won't leave her at home.

I am fond of Olivia, but not this aspect of her, and that probably comes out in my posts. This One Particular Thing about her is irksome.

auntmeegs

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 04:59:40 PM »
OP you mention that you consider Olivia a friend and were even one of her bridesmaids.  Is there any chance that you could have a conversation with her about this?  Like, "Olivia you know I love handing out with you but not so much on Risk game nights. It kind of ruins the game if we can't focus and you don't really seem that interested in the game itself."

O'Dell

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 05:21:06 PM »
Etiquette-wise I think you are fine having a Risk party and only inviting Risk players. Sorta' like a girls or boys night where the social unit rule doesn't apply. And even if etiquette demanded it, for a "normal" couple you could invite both and the non-Risk player would just decline or hang out quietly while you all play.

To me it sounds like the couple causes a problem...not just Olivia. Sounds like Paul encourages her or at the least isn't very effective at dissuading her from talking or staying home. You'd be better off not inviting either of them. Or you could invite *more* people and set the non-Risk players up with other board games and you all take breaks at the same time and socialize.

If you really want to invite Paul, then maybe invite just him and then invite just Olivia to something else...like a girls night or just the 2 of you.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2012, 05:31:38 PM »
Since yo are close enough to Olivia to be a bridesmaid, address the invitation through her.

"Olivia, Michael, Dad, and I wanted to do a night of intense Risk playing and we thought Paul would enjoy playing with us.  But I know you don't enjoy just sitting there watching us play when no one wants to talk about anything other than the game.  I hate to not include Paul when I know he enjoys playing but I feel weird asking your husband and not you or asking you to a social event you won't enjoy." And then just see what she says.

Adelaide

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2012, 05:37:25 PM »
OP you mention that you consider Olivia a friend and were even one of her bridesmaids.  Is there any chance that you could have a conversation with her about this?  Like, "Olivia you know I love handing out with you but not so much on Risk game nights. It kind of ruins the game if we can't focus and you don't really seem that interested in the game itself."

Well, we don't see each other that much so all of our conversations take place via text nowadays, and I wouldn't be texting her about Risk, I'd be texting Paul. Of course, I'd emphasize that I would invite Olivia if she wanted to play Risk but I know that she doesn't, while making it very clear that I'm not inviting her.

We've had that conversation before. One of my other guy friends got irritated with her during Russian Lit study and said "Olivia, why are you even here?" She replied that Paul was there, so she was going to be there. She's a bit...childish in this aspect. She'll be quiet for a few minutes, then start talking, then fake pout when we shush her, then she'll try to distract people by trying to divert their attention to food or the internet, etc.

And O'Dell, your suggestion would work but there are very few of my friends who are still in town. As it is, none of them are friends with Olivia enough to hang out with her, and most of them are guys. We have maybe 3 people who would be interested in Risk at all. I might see if she wants to go to the mall or something the next day though, that's a good idea that shows I'm not intentionally excluding her.

SiotehCat

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Re: Questions on inviting one half of the social unit
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2012, 06:41:06 PM »
I don't think one should ever invite only half of a social unit, unless it's for some girls/ boys only activity.

As far as I know, the etiquette rule about social units is not limited to formal events only.

I would definitely be distancing myself from anyone that tried to do that to me or my DH.