Author Topic: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation  (Read 6725 times)

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sparksals

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Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« on: October 19, 2012, 04:41:58 PM »
*sigh.  This got long.  My apologies. There is quite a bit of backstory.
 
Players:  Core group of friends.  We get together frequently in couples and the girls separately for dinners, HH etc.  Felicia, Stan and I just went to a cooking class together last night.
 
 Me and DH
 Stan and Felicia
 Brad and Sally
 Sam and Gladys
 
Jane and Wilbur - new friend of mine, they fit in with above group very well and have been introduced and very welcome.  Jane and I clicked and have become very good friends.
 
MOnica and Felix - Felix works with DH.  I met Monica at an annual summer event they have and we have become friends.  We were closer at one time and I explain later in the thread why it has cooled off.
 
 
I live in the US but always celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving by inviting three couples over for the traditional meal on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend.   The same three couples mentioned above have been invited the last three years and they look forward to the invitation and menu.  Two of the three couples frequently ask us to dinner and vice versa.  I think we have dinner at each others houses a few times a year, so the hosting is pretty equal and reciprocated.  Felicia and Stan invite us to their US Thanksgiving, as an example.
 
This year, I invited another couple, Jane and Wilbur.  Jane and I have become close friends over the last year and really click. They are also new to the area and I have introduced them to this circle of friends, in which they fit in very well.  Felicia has taken to inviting Jane and Wilbur to events she is hosting, but Brad and Sally have not yet.  They are not a full time fixture, but eventually will.  They are always invited to anything we host at our house with this core group.
 
This has always been a sit down formal meal. I bring out the china, crystal and fully host.  In order to make room for Jane and Wilbur, I rented chairs from a local rental place so that all 10 chairs would fit around the table.  There is no way I can make room for anyone else for a sit down meal.  I just don't have the space and it would change my celebration to a more casual 'plate on lap' thing that I don't want.  For me, Thanksgiving is formal, always has been, and that is how I host it.  I only do two formal sit down dinners a year - Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Call it tradition for me.
 
DH works with Felix, married to Monica.  She and I have become friends over the years.    She knows I do Canadian TG as it is a major Canadian holiday, but I never discuss who is invited.  Unfortunately, Wilbur accidentally let it slip when leaving an evening at a restaurant the night before.  It was a larger group dinner that is sort of a once every other month kind of thing where about 8 to 10 couples participate.  I couldn't go that night as I was preparing for the TG dinner the next day and DH had a thing for his master's programme. Wilbur said to them as he was leaving, see you tomorrow at Mr and Mrs. Sparksals, to which Monica replied in a snarky tone they weren't invited.  It was a clueless thing Wilbur did without thinking and Jane reminded him he just can't do things like that in case people aren't invited. 
 
Jane told me about the slip when she arrived for the dinner and apologized profusely.  I told her it wasn't a big deal, I don't think Monica has any beef since they have never been invited before and we have never been invited to a similar dinner at their house.  Moreover, we host probably double or triple what they have in the past.  I told her not to worry about it, but I have since discovered that it has caused a problem. 
 
Monica and Felix have never been invited to my TG.  Wasn't even on the radar.  We have never been invited to their house for any type of holiday meal, celebration or dinner.  The only time we have been invited to their house is for an annual event they host in the summer with everyone from Felix' (and Dh) work.  We have been invited for the occasional game night or casual wine party, but never a sit down dinner and not to the degree they have been invited to our house in the past for hosted events.  In a nutshell, Monica and Felix do not reciprocate the invitations and are  not part of the core group invited to my TG dinner.
 
Monica and Felix know this core group of people, but are on the periphery - far periphery.  They were introduced to them through one of my meetups which are separate events from the events we have with this core group.  They come to those and sometimes they see these people there or if we have  a large party at our house, like our annual Boxing Day celebration.  They have never been invited to any of the core group events which are smaller and just the 3 couples and us.
 
Add to this, it came to my attention that Monica was making plans with people from the meetup group and being quite secretive about it.  I introduced her to the group, and while she can be friends with whomever she wishes, I was a bit put off that she was so secretive and didn't invite us to anything.  Ever.  Since I had introduced her to so many people and invited to to so many events outside the meetup, I thought she would reciprocate the invitations, so to speak.    I never said anything, but discovered several events to which she and Felix went/planned to which we weren't invited.  No biggie.
 
Monica has always kept her friend group close to her chest.  We have NEVER been invited to or included in their core group get togethers. Nothing.  Nada   It is a very cliquey group and we really don't have any interest in the group, but it sets the stage for what I consider to be a double standard or hypocrisy.   While she has not introduced us to any of her friends, she expects to be included in our core group and takes liberties behind my back and in secret to infiltrate my group of friends. 
 
Monica knows Jane, she tried the same thing with her, to get together behind my back and Jane picked up on it.  She thought it was strange that Monica kept contacting her to meet separately from me when I was the one who introduced them.   Monica and I were rather close, but after her antics, I pulled back b/c I felt like I could not trust her as a friend and she had motives other than being my friend.  Jane was not comfortable with Monica's 'advances' literally right after they were introduced and she doesn't get together with Monica separately.  She has no desire to as she thought it was strange what Monica was doing. 
 
I was caught VERY off guard when Monica told me she was hurt she and Felix weren't invited.  She didn't stop to think that it is a huge meal, a traditional holiday,  that I intentionally keep it small because of limited space and the same people come every year.  AFAIK, it wasn't an issue until Jane and Wilbur were invited.  She feels b/c Jane and Wilbur were invited, she and Felix should have been too.  I was so shocked, so caught off guard, that I said they could come next year.  It was one of those moments where I didn't realize I had been manipulated until after it happened and I had time to think.  I am so angry!
 
The problem is, by being put in this position, my formal sit down dinner has to change and I feel like I have been guilted and manipulated into it.  Is there any way to disinvite them given these circumstances?  My only other alternative is to cancel it next year which upsets me a great deal. 
 
I don't think this revolves around hurt at not being invited.  I think she doesn't like that Jane and I have become close.   Jane/Wilbur and myself and DH do many things separately without Monica/Felix.  We have NEVER gotten together as the three couples.  Monica/Jane and myself get together occasionally for happy hour or lunch maybe once a month, but Jane and I try to do it weekly.  We have been to Jane and Wilbur's house for dinner several times, and they have been to ours. 
 
I want to have a chat with Monica and ask her if it is really the TG invite or a feeling of discomfort that Jane and I have become close.  I don't want to bring up any of Monica's actions b/c I don't want it to be confrontational.  Although, maybe it might be prudent to say, "I always thought you kept your friends separate as we have never been invited to anything when you all get together, so I wouldn't think to include you in our core group either".   That is what I originally thought when I noticed the lack of introduction of friends, but she was being introduced to many of mine.  Then, "I'm sorry, I was so caught off guard, I just don't have room for you and Felix without changing the formality of my event from a sit down dinner to a plate on the lap thing". 
 
I'm sorry this is so long and I hope it is not too confusing.  I just don't want them at my TG dinner.  I talked to Felicia about it last night and told her I may have to cancel it next year and why.  She felt I had every right to sit her down and explain the nature of the event and that I just can't include them.  To me, that is rescinding an invitation which I know etiquette says can't be done.  Is this an exception?
 
Help!
 
 
 
 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 04:45:02 PM by sparksals »

gramma dishes

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 05:01:06 PM »
Sparksals, the next Canadian Thanksgiving is nearly a whole year away.  A lot can happen in a year. 

It is easy to understand how it happened that put under that kind of pressure you would blurt out that Monica and Felix "could come" next year, and who knows?  Maybe by next year you'll no longer be speaking to them at all or other things will have sorted themselves out and Monica will be your best, best friend.  I think it's a little too soon to start losing sleep over it.

I just wouldn't mention it again to anyone until it comes closer in time to next year's event.  The problem is that if they come once, they will consider themselves to be part of the core group and will expect to be invited every year for the rest of their (and your) lives. 

I have a feeling that enough 'things' will happen during the next several months that may make it obvious that either they belong or do not belong at your party next year.  And further, I'm guessing that it will lean toward "not belong".   




buvezdevin

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 05:22:40 PM »
Well, POD to gramma dishes, and - yikes, do you want to continue any socializing with Manipulative Monica?

I think Monica's self-image may have been bruised by not being a sought after part of your event, and things your core group does - she may be like a very few other folks I have met who assume they would *of course* be *desired* as guests, though they didn't reciprocate in kind beyond the folks they viewed as worthwhile for them to *host*.

At any rate, however and whenever you may choose or need to address this further with Monica, you are under no obligation to cancel your TG dinner in future, nor to host someone who forced the issue upon you when they weren't invited this year.  If you feel an explanation is needed, I think it would be completely on point and reasonable to say "Monica, I wanted to follow up and correct something - when you mentioned you were hurt not to be invited to my TG, I mentioned next year - when all I should have said was, that of course you and I socialize with friends on our own as we both have always done, and my space for hosting a formal TG is limited so I cannot enlarge those invited."

I would be tempted to add "if you ever reciprocate the hospitality we routinely *do* extend to you, your chances of an invitation to a formal dinner would improve, but I can't promise."
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
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Deetee

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 05:32:25 PM »
Two things

1) You can rescind your invition (It was not formal, the event is a year away,)
2) It's a year away. I actually think it's OK to let the invitation drift. I'll bet there will be some more reasons to drift away from Monica and by the time of the actual invitation you will make NO sense to invite. (Or maybe it will. ) You can wait.

sparksals

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 05:36:14 PM »
Sparksals, the next Canadian Thanksgiving is nearly a whole year away.  A lot can happen in a year. 

It is easy to understand how it happened that put under that kind of pressure you would blurt out that Monica and Felix "could come" next year, and who knows?  Maybe by next year you'll no longer be speaking to them at all or other things will have sorted themselves out and Monica will be your best, best friend.  I think it's a little too soon to start losing sleep over it.

I just wouldn't mention it again to anyone until it comes closer in time to next year's event.  The problem is that if they come once, they will consider themselves to be part of the core group and will expect to be invited every year for the rest of their (and your) lives. 

I have a feeling that enough 'things' will happen during the next several months that may make it obvious that either they belong or do not belong at your party next year.  And further, I'm guessing that it will lean toward "not belong".

I don't see her being my best friend at all.  Her manipulations and actions made me lose trust in her.  It is sad because I didn't think she was like that. 

That is EXACTLY my worry.  If invited once, she will expect an annual invitation. 

sparksals

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 05:38:31 PM »
I didn't realize a verbal 'under duress' invitation (lol) isn't considered an official invitation. 

buvezdevin

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 05:45:34 PM »
I didn't realize a verbal 'under duress' invitation (lol) isn't considered an official invitation.

Mitigating circumstances can reduce the severity of a charge.  In this case, I would say you were not rescinding an invitation, you were correcting an "oops". :)
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
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sparksals

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 05:47:16 PM »
Well, POD to gramma dishes, and - yikes, do you want to continue any socializing with Manipulative Monica?



To be honest, I have toned down the socialization a lot since the secretiveness was discovered. 

The thing that set all this off was an event where many people from Felix and DH's work were going to participate in a charity 'event'.  She never mentioned to me they were going, and I happened to ask her if she and Felix were.  She stumbled, hemmed and hawed a bit and said yes.  I said, oh, so are we.  What time are you going?  Again she stumbled.  They were meeting their cliquey little group and she didn't tell me that nor did she invite us to join them.  Her prerogative, but it really opened my eyes.

It appeared to me she was being intentionally exclusionary, but then again, no one is entitled to an invitation.  It seemed like she just wanted to keep her little clique.  I thought it was a bit weird.  If the situation was reversed, I would have said please join us! That is what I have always done and look what it got me!  I don't do that with her anymore and I think she has noticed that.

So DH and I got to the event and we hook up with a large group of his coworkers.  Monica and Felix were there, but they got a little private room and were waiting for their group.  Well, they waited for a long time b/c no one in that group showed up for about 2 hours. We were having a bang on time while they sat alone in this tiny little room waiting for the others in their group and even before their 'friends' joined them, they joined our table with the majority of the coworkers.   

O'Dell

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 05:50:27 PM »
I agree with those saying to wait. If Monica is still in your life next year when you are making out your guest list, then call her up and tell her "I know I said last year that you could come, but in the process of making plans for this years CTG dinner, I realize it just won't be possible. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding and hope you understand."

I don't think "no JADEing" is something that always applies, but from your description, Monica is just the sort of person it's meant for.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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sparksals

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 05:53:24 PM »
What is JADEing?

buvezdevin

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 05:54:56 PM »
Justify.Apologize.Defend.Explain
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

O'Dell

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 05:56:58 PM »
What is JADEing?

"Justifying, Arguing, Defending, Explain" Don't do any of those things when telling Monica that she's not invited. People like her use those as openings to try to manipulate you some more. Don't give her the chance!!
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

FoxPaws

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 06:01:45 PM »
I agree with O'Dell (and others) who said to wait this out. If it becomes necessary to say something next year, you could try:

I know you asked about coming this year, but we've decided to stick with our traditional dinner for close friends rather than expand it to include other couples. Hope we get to see you at [next event that you'll both be attending].

I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

gramma dishes

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2012, 08:13:13 PM »
I agree with O'Dell (and others) who said to wait this out. If it becomes necessary to say something next year, you could try:

I know you asked about coming this year, but we've decided to stick with our traditional dinner for close friends rather than expand it to include other couples. Hope we get to see you at [next event that you'll both be attending].


Ooo ...   I like this!  It really hits the nail on the head and while still being polite, makes it clear that they were never really invited.  They had effectively invited themselves.

JenJay

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Re: Thanksgiving Invite Guilt Trip & Manipulation
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2012, 09:25:36 PM »
It sounds like Monica is annoyed that "the new girl" has quickly been invited into your core group while she's been around much longer and hasn't been. Funny it hasn't occurred to her that she's never shown much interest in being BFFs with you, nor offered to reciprocate the level of friendship she seems to think she's entitled to enjoy.

I would go on as usual and then next year, if she makes noises about being invited, say "I'm confused. When you expressed a desire to be invited to our Thanksgiving meal I assumed you were indicating a desire to develop a closer friendship. As the year progressed you had a number of dinner parties that I wasn't invited to, which is absolutely fine, but that then indicated to me that you preferred we remain casual friends. It certainly wasn't my intent to hurt your feelings, but I'm afraid I just don't have the space to host Thanksgiving for more than a few couples DH and I are especially close with." Or, in other words "You wanna come to my beautiful dinner when I'm barely invited to your BBQs? As if!"  :P