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Author Topic: S/O: Multiple Invitees  (Read 4547 times)

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S/O: Multiple Invitees
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:30:51 AM »
A few recent threads about extending invites and what's okay vs. what's not, got me thinking about something similar.

When you invite someone over/to an event, are you obligated to tell the invitee who else has been invited?

The thread regarding the friend bringing her BF to a "girl's birthday tea" seems to be a good example. When the host invites her friends, is she supposed to tell them that her BF will be there? I could see how a bunch of her best friends might possibly upset to arrive at the event only to find her BF at what they expected to be a girls-only event. (I know my friends and I like to talk about things among one another that we'd never talk about in front of our SOs, so it can put a damper on conversation). This isn't a question of should BF attend. It's a question of should the host inform her guests that he will be attending.

Or say Kate invites Jill to have dinner with her. Jill assumes that since no one else was mentioned, it will be just the two of them. Jill arrives to find that Kate has also invited Beth and Sarah. Jill is disappointed because she thought it was going to be a one-on-one thing and was looking forward to it. Kate thinks Jill didn't need to be informed of who else she was inviting. After all, you don't send out a guest list along with written invitations.

What is the proper thing to do in these situations? Should the person extending the invitation inform the invitee who else is being invited? Is it the invitee's responsibility to ask who else is being invited if it is that important? Or is it rude to even ask?
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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 12:34:10 PM »
I think you need to be clear about the nature of the event when you invite someone. So, you don't need to say that you've invited Beth and Sarah, just that you're inviting a few girl friends over for dinner. That way, the person can judge based on the nature of the events.
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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 01:16:51 PM »
I agree with rashea - you are obligated to be clear in what the event is, and that should clue people in to the guest list in a general way.  You don't have to list names.  So you could say "girls night out" or "the office gang is going for happy hour" or "a dinner party" or "lunch for us to catch up" or "a group of us are going to the game" or "a double date" - and really each of those descriptors gives you an idea of the guest list, right?  "Lunch to catch up" is likely to be just you and 1 or two other people whereas a "dinner party" is likely to be 4 to 8 to 12 people in attendance, "double date" clues you to bring your SO, but "the office gang" lets you know its not really a bring your SO event.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 01:18:31 PM by WillyNilly »


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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 01:21:14 PM »
This thread interests me as I've noticed a new irritating trend -  The minute I invite someone to an event or a night out, their first response is "Well, who else is coming?"  I get why they are asking to a certain extent, but the message it gives me is that my company isn't enough for them.  I think it also shows evidence of a larger trend - people tend to create a group of friends around here and then they don't socialize beyond that.  The idea that there might be people present that they don't know is now a negative thing rather than just a matter of course fact of socializing.  I totally understand that some people have anxieties and conditions which necessitate prior knowledge and makes it difficult for them to interact with new people, but the feeling I have gotten from most of these people is that they simply don't want to make the effort to do small talk or go through the social niceties.


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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 01:30:49 PM »
I agree with rashea and WillyNilly. It's up to the person doing the inviting to make the nature of the get together clear. I think it's ok to ask for clarification of the nature of who will be there if the host doesn't make it clear. Generally, I think it's rude for the invited to ask who will be there if they are going to base their reply on the answer.

I recently got an invitation for a wine tasting party from a friend who I only ever see at a monthly girls only game night. The invitation didn't make it clear if it was girls only or not. I actually couldn't go that night anyway so I just declined, but I think it would have been ok for me to ask if husbands were included, considering the context of our friendship.

I have an annual party where generally the same group of people get invited every year. Sometimes I'll get asked by people who have already replied they will be there to tell them who all else is coming. So it's more of a question of curiosity if so-and-so is coming this year than trying to find out who the guest list is before they decide if they're coming.

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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 02:36:34 PM »
I think it depends on the friend and the event...

My best friend has a friend I detest.  My friend never offers the information that she was invited and I always have to ask.  If it's Thanksgiving dinner I am going to go no matter who shows up, if it's a girls night out where there will be lots of interaction I'm probably going to skip it.

Other than that situation I would probably never ask. 


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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 03:37:58 PM »
I agree with previous posters. You don't need to specifically tell them who is coming, but you should let them know the basics. For instance, I think it would be misleading, if not dishonest, to tell invitees that it was girls-only if you knew that there would be a man or men in attendance. Ditto inviting people over for drinks and implying that it was an adult evening when there would be a handful of young kids.

There is one exception, however. . . if you're inviting people who have a "history" and you know that it could create awkwardness or discomfort for one or both parties, do let them know. For example, if you made friends with both half of a couple and they break up, do let them know that their ex will be there (especially if the ex will be bringing a new snookums).
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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 04:47:40 PM »
Like others, I think the obligation on the host is to be clear on the nature of the event.  In the "Girls' Only" thread...the problem is not that she is obligated to tell her friends that her boyfriend is coming, it's that she advertized the event wrong.  It's not Girls only.  Perhaps she was trying to communicate that their SOs were not invited as well, but she did a poor job of communicating her event and it lead to confusion and apparently some bad feelings.

The same with Kate.  She's not obligated to tell Jill that Beth and Sarah are invited, but she is obligated to tell Jill that she's being invited to a group event vs a one-on-one thing.

And I think I understand why there's some heartburn about this.  On one hand, we say that the host is obligated to be clear on what the event is so that the invitee can make an informed decision on whether or not they would like to attend.  But at the same time, we say that the host isn't obligated to reveal the full guest list as it's rude for one person to make a decision on attending on anything other than their enjoyment of the hosts' company and the event at hand.  Considering that the guest list does add to or take away from the event dynamic, I understand why some people would like to know.

But, in general, I still think that it's best not to ask who else will be there before making a decision.  Not only because it can give the impression that you (general) may not like to spend time with the host unless someone "better" is also in attendance, but in the case where you just don't like someone, it can put the host in an awkward spot and basically asks them to constantly choose between you and the person you don't like.

So, if you really really can't stand someone that you know your intended host hangs out with, then it may be best to either not accept offers to group events or get to the point where you can tolerate their presence (at least at certain larger events/settings) and accept those invites.


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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 05:35:57 PM »
I might not ask about the entire guest list, but if I had a bad falling out with someone I may ask if that person was invited. If they don't want to tell me, they don't have to--but I probably would go ahead and decline just to be safe.


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Re: S/O: Multiple Invitees
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 10:19:55 PM »
I agree that the nature of the event should be made clear. And if you know that there may be awkwardness between two guests (like a couple who has recently broken up), it is definitely kind to let each one know the other person has been invited too.

I also think it's not rude for guests to ask for clarification if they're unsure. Eg "Are partners invited, or it is Girls Only?". I do think that it's rude to ask whether a specific person, or persons, are attending, as that implies the host's company isn't good enough.