Author Topic: "Please don't stand up for me" (UPDATE p2)  (Read 6557 times)

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Melle

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"Please don't stand up for me" (UPDATE p2)
« on: November 06, 2012, 10:45:42 AM »
Hello everybody, I find myself in a weird conundrum and I hope you can give me some insight.

For better distinction, let's name the protagonists:

# Me - okay, I don't think there's any danger of confusing me with anybody else.
# Angela - my best friend
# Betsy - a mutual friend
# Paul - her husband and another mutual friend
# A circle of even more mutual friends, part of which I became through my close friendship with Angela. We usually invite each other to our respective birthday parties.

A few months ago, Betsy sent an e-mail out to our entire circle of friends, asking us to contribute to Paul's (expensive) birthday present and please do so asap as it was a limited edition.
Paul's birthday, his 30th, is still a month away and to this day he hasn't sent out any invitations to his birthday party, the plans for which he had only hinted at to Angela and her husband.

This had been going on in that particular circle of friends for a while now: The call for present contributions, usually by the birthday girl/boy's partner, would go around before any party invitations were issued. I think that kind of procedure is quite tacky, so when Betsy's e-mail came, I took the liberty to not reply.

Three weeks ago, Betsy sent an invitation for her own birthday party, due this weekend, to Angela and her husband (who have other plans). I haven't received any invitation, which is the first time in about ten years.

At a gathering two weeks ago, I was told by a third person that she had spread the word that I hadn't replied to her aforementioned call for present contributions, was obviously irritated about this, and probably didn't invite me because of that. Since this was third-hand information, I didn't pay it much attention and continued being friendly and chatty with Betsy, who, if she was indeed irritated, didn't let on about it at all.

Now the time of Paul's birthday party draws nearer and neither Angela nor I have received any invitations yet. Since Angela is a lot more friendly with Betsy than I am and had also contributed to the gift immediately, I have little doubt that she and her husband will be invited. However, since Betsy plans all of Paul's celebrations for him (his own preference), I do not think I will be invited.

The problem for me is not my exclusion from these parties.
I am not particularly close with either Betsy or Paul, though I like both of them and we enjoy to chat on occasion. I have reason to believe that Betsy doesn't like me very much, simply because our personalities and particularly our sense of humor differ quite a bit. She probably views me as an "appendage" to Angela.
I think she shouldn't feel compelled to invite me just because we're part of the same social circle. Of course I'm a little sad I won't be part of the celebration and see everybody, but Betsy can invite whomever she wants, and since Paul leaves it up to her, the same is true for his parties as well.

Angela, however, is furious.
To her, it seems obvious that the only reason I'm not invited is because I wouldn't assure my monetary contribution to Paul's present. She thinks Betsy is materialistic and chooses her friends depending on how she can profit from them. Plus, Angela loves the heck out of me and is very protective, particularly because she knows I have deep self-esteem issues.

She has announced that, should her husband and her get invited and not me, she will confront Betsy about it in public at the party. I think that is a bad idea - for all the reasons I named above, but also because Betsy does not deal well with criticism and will likely make a scene. Since it's basically her party, this will probably not go over well for Angela.

I have a real problem with the thought of causing a rift in this group of friends, and I especially don't want Angela to be told off for defending me - and I have an irrational (?) fear that Betsy might convince the others that I'm not somebody they should be friends with.
But Angela has cast aside my explanations as to why it doesn't bother me all that much that I'm not getting invited to either of these parties.

What can I do to convince her not to have this encounter on my behalf?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 09:35:51 AM by Melle »

EMuir

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 11:04:01 AM »
I think she is really going to have the encounter on her own behalf and is using you as the catayst.  What if she doesn't want to donate to a present in the future?  She may have realized that her attendance at parties is due to her coughing up money, and doesn't want to believe it.  I can see how she feels she has to confront Betsy so that she can still feel good going to the parties. What I don't understand is why she expects Betsy to tell the truth.  I can see Betsy going "Oh I invited her, she must have lost the email." 

Angela may decide to step back from these friends as well, based on how they treated you.  That's her decision, and it sounds like you're doing the right thing and letting her come to her own conclusions.

WillyNilly

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 11:30:29 AM »
Ok my take on this is the present contribution thing is like a bridal shower - you can only ask for a gift from those who are definitely on the guest list.  And just like with a shower - even if a person declines the shower (or doesn't bring a gift) the mere act of having invited them to the shower dictates they must be invited to the wedding.  Same too with this.  Whether you contributed to Paul's gift of not, if you were asked to, you must be invited to the birthday party.  So I agree with Angela that Betsy would be committing a major social sin by omitting you.

As for the confrontation?  Angela is a grown woman - you cannot control her actions.  I think Angela should take the high road and not confront anyone, especially at a celebration, as its A) not her place and B) just rude and tacky but ultimately what Angela does is on Angela, not on you.  Two wrongs won't make a right though and confronting Betsey is unlikely to get you future invites, its more likely to result in neither of you getting invites going forward.

Mikayla

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 02:44:02 PM »
I have a real problem with the thought of causing a rift in this group of friends.

This isn't your main issue, but it struck me.  You aren't causing a rift.  You may be somewhat of a catalyst, but this sounds like a group of post-college types starting to grow up and discovering that they're turning into adults with very differing values.  And birthdays are often the first symptom!  I've seen threads in here and seen it in real life. 

On what to say to Angela, I loved this: 

I think she is really going to have the encounter on her own behalf and is using you as the catayst. What if she doesn't want to donate to a present in the future?  She may have realized that her attendance at parties is due to her coughing up money, and doesn't want to believe it.  I can see how she feels she has to confront Betsy so that she can still feel good going to the parties. What I don't understand is why she expects Betsy to tell the truth.  I can see Betsy going "Oh I invited her, she must have lost the email." 


There are lots of ways to point out that you appreciate her loyalty, but you're uncomfortable with her using this loyalty to take on your battles.  This will probably end up as a slow drifting away, at least from Betsy.   

TootsNYC

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 03:10:33 PM »
I think  you could appeal to Angela on the idea that OTHER people who are subjected to this public scene will credit YOU with some of the unpleasantness.

Regardless of what actually happened, Angela's very public actions will leave them thinking that you complained to her.

Angela would *not* be doing you a good turn by acting supposedly on your behalf.
And she'll be rude to all the other people at the party because they'll be forced to participate in the scene, even if only as onlookers.

That would be the point I would make.

And if she is angry enough at Betsy to make a scene at the party, then she is too angry to *attend*. It's a bit like the brother on the other thread who accepted his uncle's hospitality and then refused to shake hands. If she's accepting the hospitality with plans to confront her hostess and the guest of honor, then she's doing something wrong.

And that's the other point I'd make: "If you're really this mad, Angela, you should own that. If you now think so poorly of Betsy, that's logical--but the NEXT logical conclusion is that you shouldn't attend the party at all. You don't accept hospitality from people that you would publicly reject at that very event, while you are accepting their hospitality. It'll make YOU look even worse!"

bloo

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 03:24:32 PM »
I have a real problem with the thought of causing a rift in this group of friends.

This isn't your main issue, but it struck me.  You aren't causing a rift.  You may be somewhat of a catalyst, but this sounds like a group of post-college types starting to grow up and discovering that they're turning into adults with very differing values.  And birthdays are often the first symptom!  I've seen threads in here and seen it in real life. 

On what to say to Angela, I loved this: 

I think she is really going to have the encounter on her own behalf and is using you as the catayst. What if she doesn't want to donate to a present in the future?  She may have realized that her attendance at parties is due to her coughing up money, and doesn't want to believe it.  I can see how she feels she has to confront Betsy so that she can still feel good going to the parties. What I don't understand is why she expects Betsy to tell the truth.  I can see Betsy going "Oh I invited her, she must have lost the email." 


There are lots of ways to point out that you appreciate her loyalty, but you're uncomfortable with her using this loyalty to take on your battles.  This will probably end up as a slow drifting away, at least from Betsy.

Totally thought the same thing as Emuir and Mikayla.

I've got 3 friend/acquaintances that are like this. They CANNOT be direct with each other as regards their own feelings. So they think nothing of throwing someone outside their circle under a bus to prove a point.

To give an example, I'll call the triad: Gretel, Jill & Octavia. Octavia hosted a pool party at a house she was sitting for. She has two little kids. She invited a lot of persons to this pool party with the caveat of 'no kids'. Having teenagers, we declined to go since we figured our kids would have more fun than us anyway. Whatever...their party their rules. What rankled me is knowing Octavia's personality, I would've staked my life on the fact that HER kids would be there. And since she doesn't chase after her own kids I didn't relish the thought of leaving my kids at home and watching HERS to make sure they didn't drown. These assumptions are based on previous experience, btw.

Sure enough, I found out that Octavia's kids were there by one of my annoyed friends who was complaining about having to leave her kids at home and still had to save one of Octavia's kids from almost DROWNING! I made sympathetic noises but was inwardly smiling that I saved myself the aggravation. Well those sympathetic noises ended up causing me aggravation since it got back to Gretel (Octavia's BFF) that I was 'all mad that she had this party and I couldn't bring my kids but hers were there'. Gretel takes this info to Octavia, who ends up getting very upset, thinking I'm 'all mad' at her.

Was Gretel standing up for me? NO! Gretel was mad that she couldn't bring her kid so she decided to throw me under the bus to let her BFF, Octavia, know how 'wrong' it was to have the party with no kids. Gretel couldn't just directly tell Octavia how annoyed she was that everyone had to leave their kids at home and still deal with Octavia's.

I've got enough stories of this kind of behavior from this trifecta to fill a book, but the point is what I think EMuir and Mikayla picked up on.

OP, all I got for you is let Angela handle it however she does, since you've already let her know you'd prefer her not to. It'll be a shame if Angela frames it that you were 'crying on her shoulder' about it. I hope that Angela frames it that SHE is displeased with these perceived flaws of Betsy's. And, frankly, it's not very adult or polite to handle this in the middle of a party. I mean, seriously, PLANNING to cause a scene that will make others uncomfortable?

Why doesn't Betsy just call her beforehand and have a heart-to-heart? I think I know why. Angela is angry at Betsy; for a LOT of things.

Melle

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 11:31:34 AM »
Thank you all for the great input! I've gotten a quite a new perspective on this issue.

Betsy's birthday is today and she replied very friendly (and promptly) to my congratulatory e-mail - she didn't mention the party, but neither did I, so I suppose we're both okay with this level of closeness (or distance, as it were).

As to Angela, she's still determined to confront Betsy, and with your replies in mind, I don't think I'll put any more energy into talking her out of it, other than probably repeating that I don't mind my exclusion all that much. I know her well enough to know she's going to do as she sees fit anyway.

But I do see now that this is probably as much on her own behalf as it is on mine. I think I can live with that; hers is the only friendship in this circle I couldn't possibly bear losing.

I'm not sure how I would deal if I was approached about - or even blamed for - this possible encounter, though... part of me kind of wants to make it clear that I'm not moping about not being invited and have my friend fight my battle for me...

bloo

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 11:50:06 AM »
Good for you. Let the chips fall where they may. If Angela's friendship is the only one you really care about preserving than doing nothing beyond what you've already done is the only thing you can do.

Curious about something: From what you know about Betsy, is she likely to call you up after this possible 'showdown' with Angela? If so, what is she likely to say? You might want to have some responses handy in case she decides to contact you (either to apologize, make excuses or ream you out). I hate to put negative thoughts in your head - after all Angela could change her mind and decide to talk to her at another time OR not to discuss it with her at all and then there would be all this mental energy spent for nothing.

Of course it's highly unlikely Betsy will call to apologize for being such an inhospitable, materialistic person after being verbally confronted by a friend at her husband's B-day party. But she might contact you depending on how Angela frames her complaints.

Please update...even if nothing happens (which IMO would be best)! Civil but distant sounds best for your relationship with Betsy since she only seems to care about what you can give her.

Melle

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 12:14:29 PM »
From what I know about Betsy, she's not likely to approach me directly at all, no matter what conclusion she reaches for herself after the encounter. If anything, she might send an e-mail, but I doubt that.

It is very much possible, though, that she will badmouth me to other friends in the circle she's closer to. That's what I'm a little afraid of, because she has a way of pulling people on her side.

According to Betsy's former best friend, now a close friend of mine, she has done so before - but since the two of them had quite a vicious falling out, I'm sceptical about her views on Betsy.

I'll keep you posted :)

kittytongue

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"sure why a
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 03:51:19 PM »

I'm not sure how I would deal if I was approached about - or even blamed for - this possible encounter, though... part of me kind of wants to make it clear that I'm not moping about not being invited and have my friend fight my battle for me...

 I'm not sure why Angela thinks ruining someone's birthday party is an acceptable way to handle this. That is really making my head hurt. Can you talk to her again and get her to see how this is all going to end with you getting both the blame and the backlash? No offense but Angela isn't thinking about you at all on this. She's really only considering herself and how she feels. She's really throwing you under the bus on this.

Can you show Angela this thread? Would that help?

zyrs

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 01:31:56 AM »
I might try again to talk to Angela to try to convince her not to have the confrontation at the party.  If she wants to confront her, fine - but do it in private when it's not making other people uncomfortable.

bopper

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 01:25:24 PM »
"Angela...although you are close to Betsy and you are close to me, Betsy and I are not as close with each other.  That is why I didn't want to spend $50 for Paul's birthday party and she didn't invite me to his party.  I don't want you to make a scene with Betsy at her party for something I don't feel strongly about.  It is up to her to invite who she wants, and it is up to you accept invitations or decline them, but not to accept and then go yell at her about who she invites."

Deetee

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 02:11:41 PM »

And if she is angry enough at Betsy to make a scene at the party, then she is too angry to *attend*. It's a bit like the brother on the other thread who accepted his uncle's hospitality and then refused to shake hands. If she's accepting the hospitality with plans to confront her hostess and the guest of honor, then she's doing something wrong.


I know the party is tonight, but I wanted to pull this out because it is key and this is an etiquette forum.

I feel strongly that you are free to issue (almost) any invitation and it is not rude. I also feel strongly that anyone, for any reason can refuse (almost) any invitation and that is also not rude.
Hurt feelings may result but note rudeness.

However, once an invitation is accepted, you have an absolute obligation to accept the hospitality graciously. You simply DO NOT accept an invitation to a person's house with the express purpose of throwing a scene. I'm not sure how clear I can make that.

Can you end the friendship? Yes.
Can you let them know why? Yes.
But you simply do not do that at their house after drinking their drink and eating their food.

TootsNYC

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 06:08:06 PM »
There's a philosophy that seems to exist that's backwards from traditional, proper etiquette:

"It's my house, and I'm the host, so I have rights!"
    and
"I'm the guest, so I have rights!"

It's really:

"I'm the host, so I have responsibilities to please my guests."
   and
"I'm the guest, so I have a responsibility to be gracious and participate in the party."

And since BOTH of those roles are completely voluntary, that *obligation* is VERY strong.

LeveeWoman

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Re: "Please don't stand up for me"
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 06:20:29 PM »
There's a philosophy that seems to exist that's backwards from traditional, proper etiquette:

"It's my house, and I'm the host, so I have rights!"
    and
"I'm the guest, so I have rights!"

It's really:

"I'm the host, so I have responsibilities to please my guests."
   and
"I'm the guest, so I have a responsibility to be gracious and participate in the party."

And since BOTH of those roles are completely voluntary, that *obligation* is VERY strong.

 You put your finger on what's taken place in the realm of citizenship as well, Toots.