Author Topic: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?  (Read 2984 times)

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Syrse

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The original thread reminded me how absolutely bad me and my husband are at this, but I didn't want to hijack the thread.
We have a few different interests, different friends, but also a very mixed pool. To us, an invite to one of us does not mean an automatic ticket for the other one, unless specified. If it's an activity I am not interested in at all, I see no reason to tag along.

However, where this approach worked fine in college, all of a sudden different rules seem to apply ever since we are all out of school. A few examples;

- A (female) friend invites my husband for a cup of coffee. He asks me if I mind, I say not at all, they decide on a date, and they go out for coffee. Husband arrives, and friend wants to know why I didn't come along. Err... because you just invited husband? No, apparently she meant both of us. Ok, fine... why can't you just say so?

- Husband gets invited over for poker with the guys. So I find something else to do. He comes back with a very confused look on his face. I ask him what's wrong, and apparently he was the only one who didn't bring his wife along. The host was apparently very annoyed that I decided to stay at home without warning. The kicker? Afterwards all the guys, including the host, complained about how distracting it was to have the girls just sitting there, bored, talking about anything but poker in the same room, including how boring poker is. 


A few examples from the other side:

- A friend organizes a Risk day. She invites me, inquires about husband, but he hates risk, so he's off the list. He doesn't mind one bit. She invites another friend, lets say friend X, and makes it clear it's supposed to be Risk only. I show up late to their house... and friend X's girlfriend, who absolutely hates Risk opens the door with a huge smile. I blurt out 'what are you doing here?' (I know, I know, major foot in mouth moment, may I burn in Ehell)
She goes 'oh, I was bored, so I decided to come along. Don't worry, I'll sit in the corner and read.' Which she didn't end up doing. Instead, she took a store catalog, plonked it almost on top of our board and started asking us what we thought of this and that, disrupting our game. I find out they never even called ahead to ask if it was ok if she came along, she just showed up because she didn't want to be alone. Hostess was annoyed at her, but still told me that I was the rude one, because they were a couple, so any invitation to him is one to her by default, so I just had to deal, and my foot in mouth moment was really rude.
(Keep in mind, I really do love this girl, but I was royally annoyed since I left my husband at home because the intent of the evening was very clear, and she kept interrupting our game)

- Me and husband sometimes organize movie marathons. They usually have a theme, and people just bring movies within that theme, and we decide then and there what to watch. One couple has been over to them before a few times, but the girl has mentioned that she absolutely hates SciFi. Eventually I plan a SciFi themed marathon, and since it wasn't to her interest, I don't invite her, just her boyfriend.
She gets upset, boyfriend gets upset, asks me what she did wrong and why am I mad at her. Meanwhile, I have single friends who keep missing out on the marathons because I now have to count every couple as a double.



So yes, any tips and tricks would be great, because I just can't seem to stop dropping the ball. It just confuses me to no end, I never know just how to invite, who to invite, and how not to step on any toes. Not to mention we can't ever seem to figure out if me, husband, or both are invited.

Is it so weird of me that I assume people are smart enough to go 'Hey the invite didn't list my girl, maybe I should call and ask if she can come along, so they can have a better head count' instead of just dragging her along? Or to realize 'Hey, they're going out for tennis with the four of them, and I really hate that game, so the invite probably wasn't for me.'

And I am especially tired of defending my marriage. 'No, my husband did not come along. Well you see, he really does not like tabletop, it's simply not for him. He can't very well just sit there and stare at us while we play, can he? ... oh, that's exactly what your wife is going to do? No, we're not heading towards a divorce. Please stop staring at me as if I am the strangest creature you ever saw.'


It just confuses me to no end. I understand it's rude to say 'You're invited, but leave the spouse at home', but to me, it's equally rude to assume you are invited when you did not receive a direct invitation. And yet, calling people out on that is, again, rude. I can't win.

Help me?  :)

artk2002

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 11:45:33 AM »
Your first two examples stem from the fact that English lacks a second person plural form (except in the southern US.) They meant you-plural and your DH (and you) heard you-singular. Both of these are failures on the inviter to make it clear. It's not different rules per se, just bad communication.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Syrse

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 12:56:14 PM »
Your first two examples stem from the fact that English lacks a second person plural form (except in the southern US.) They meant you-plural and your DH (and you) heard you-singular. Both of these are failures on the inviter to make it clear. It's not different rules per se, just bad communication.

Actually, I'm not from an English speaking country, and we actually do have a second person plural form  :) The invitation were always worded in the single form.

Sharnita

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2012, 01:31:03 PM »
I'm confused as to why the single friends have to keep missing out.

Yvaine

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012, 01:49:28 PM »
I'm confused as to why the single friends have to keep missing out.

It sounds like not enough space for them after all the uninterested-but-attending partners are invited.

GSNW

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2012, 02:52:48 PM »
First of all, I think it's cool that you and your husband are relaxed about spending time apart, and I think it's healthy to cultivate separate interests.  So good for you ;)

There are a few ways you could be proactive about some situations.  Poker night?  Find out which guys are coming, organize a ladies' night out with the wives/girlfriends wh find poker boring.

Sci-fi night?  Call friend and explain the theme, stating that of course his sci-fi hating gf is welcome but hey.. fair warning.  If she attends and is a brat about the movie selection, I would just choose not to invite either of them in the future. 

Risk day?  Not sure what to say to that, maybe the only thing to do would have been to say, "can we talk about your catalog after the game is over?".

Zilla

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2012, 03:36:07 PM »
So there seem to be confusion in how the invitations are worded verbally. I would simply clarify, "Oh I would love to come for coffee/poker/etc, I am not sure if Srse will come but count on me.I will let you know later about Srse."


As for invitations for others, regarding your SciFi movie night. I wouldn't invite that couple knowing the drama she will start and just invite 2 of your single friends.  If the couple finds out about it, just let them know that the theme is SciFi and you know she doesn't like it but that the next one will be "legal thrillers" night. (or whatever)


It just sounds like lnstead of letting it happen over and over, just clarify or explain ahead of time.

greencat

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 10:19:50 AM »
With the singles getting excluded due to the couples - sometimes, make the invite list starting with the couples, and sometimes, make the invite list starting with the singles.  That way you aren't constantly excluding the singles in order to make room for significant others.

Also, I have to ask:  Why are so many adults acting so childish?  When you choose to attend an activity you don't particularly enjoy in order to accompany your SO, you should absolutely not act like you hate the activity and are being forced to be there (unless, like with the one poster's ex husband, you actually are being forced to attend).  I've had a few times when the group I was hanging out with voted to watch something I didn't like and I didn't sit there and complain about it.

LadyL

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 12:53:37 PM »
I struggle with this as well. As much as I am part of a social unit with LordL I am also an individual. We enjoy doing a lot of things together, that is a large part of why we are getting married. But we don't have identical interests either (that would be bizarre). There are times where we are happier if one of us is out, doing our thing at an interests-based gathering, and the other is home doing theirs instead of being bored silly becasue we don't share that interest. I am not sure why any of those scenarios should be cause for much confusion or offense to anyone. Nor do I think it's ever ok to show up somewhere and then be rude or pouty because the central activity, *which you knew about ahead of time*, is not to your tastes.

I sometimes think that the social unit invitation rule is one that is a bit dated and constrictive and leads to these "pouty significant other" scenarios that we all find so odious. It would be nice if we could both respect people's status as a couple while simultaneously acknowledging that people sometimes maintain separate interests and hobbies even once coupled.

SleepyKitty

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 01:41:41 PM »
I just want to POD others' frustration with the 'couples as a social unit' rule. It doesn't make sense very often, unless it's a generic get-together like a dinner party. It's led to a lot of awkward moments like what's described in the OP, but it's also led to awkward moments between my BF and myself.

Me: "Hey, do you want to come to X?"
BF, thinking to himself that he's supposed to come and therefore I will somehow be mad if he doesn't: "Sure, sounds like fun.
     Event is no fun for BF (although he is a good sport and doesn't try to drag anyone down).
Me: "Why in earth did you say you wanted to go if you weren't interested?"
BF: "I though I had to!"

Sigh.

artk2002

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 07:23:13 PM »
Your first two examples stem from the fact that English lacks a second person plural form (except in the southern US.) They meant you-plural and your DH (and you) heard you-singular. Both of these are failures on the inviter to make it clear. It's not different rules per se, just bad communication.

Actually, I'm not from an English speaking country, and we actually do have a second person plural form  :) The invitation were always worded in the single form.

ok. Then it's all on the inviters.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

learningtofly

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Re: S/O Questions on inviting one half of the social unit: rude or no?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2012, 08:48:57 AM »
DH and I go out separately.  There is a sport he loves and I'm just ok about it.  He goes to watch with friends.  The group consists of single people and couples.  Lovely people, but I have no interest in going to watch.  When we get together with this group for BBQs I am invited.  When there is a special event involving their sport DH extends an invite sometimes and sometimes he doesn't since he knows I don't want to go.  The only thing I've ever had to explain is that DH is married to me and not the woman who has been attending these events with him.  She has a husband.  we usually have to introduce new comers to him as well.