Author Topic: Just checking - am I okay here?  (Read 6416 times)

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Tea Drinker

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2012, 05:50:53 PM »
Next door to "we don't know what we're doing yet" is "that sounds great, but I'll need to check my calendar, can I call you back tomorrow?" I hope I would remember a social engagement, even well in the future, but I might remember it as "I've agreed to go to so-and-so's wedding/bar mitzvah/graduation" and a very approximate time, like "I think that's in June."

That said, in this case, the appropriate and polite Tea Drinker would check her book and get back to you, or at most pick up the phone and say "Cousin So-and-so, I forgot to write down the date of your graduation party, please remind me." A friend of mine is dealing with something that resembles this: they have accepted an invitation to see someone be awarded a Ph.D., and the school in question hasn't yet told anyone when they will be holding Commencement. (There are failures here, but not on the part of the person receiving the degree: you can't share information you don't have.) This leaves my friend keeping a significant chunk of time open, while they wait for more information. The best they can do is tell other people "Yes, that sounds fun, but I can't promise anything," and accept that this means they may not get to attend the event even if there doesn't turn out to be a conflict.

So, while I doubt the OP's friends were in a similar situation, if only because they would likely have been more specific, such things do happen, and not only for medical reasons.
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Captain Hastings

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2012, 05:53:24 PM »
This right there is the same as saying "we can't say yes because something better might come along."

When you are invited to something, then you either decline because you already have plans or you accept. Either way, yes, you do know what you are doing.

I think this is true a lot of the time, BUT I've also been in situations where friends had thrown around ideas about getting together around a certain date or event (and I would like to attend if it actually happened), but nothing had been set in stone when another invitation came along.

squeakers

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2012, 08:04:51 PM »
<snip>
 the new couple looked at each other and said they didn't know what they were doing yet.

This right there is the same as saying "we can't say yes because something better might come along."

When you are invited to something, then you either decline because you already have plans or you accept. Either way, yes, you do know what you are doing. Saying you don't know what you are doing means you are waiting for an offer to come along that is good enough to accept. Your offer didn't meet that criteria until the point at which it became clear that they weren't going to get a better offer after all.

In your place, even if there were room at my table, I'd have to seriously consider whether I wanted to include this couple. I think your text reply was perfect.

I don't think so... regarding knowing or not.  In my household I wouldn't just be checking with my DH but would also have to check and see what the kids have scheduled.  It could be sports, music or a birthday week (before or after.. have they decided when to celebrate etc).  We may not have heard yet what his family is doing (we don't do much celebrating with my FoO). Sometimes we know these things months ahead or only a few weeks ahead of time (just got notified of a wrestling meet for the second week of January though the schedule has been out since October.)  But I couldn't tell you the dates of any of the stuff happening until I look at my calendar.

That is the peril of a verbal invite: people don't always know for sure if they are available. A written invitation whether by mail/email/text allows the invitee time to check and then respond.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2012, 09:13:42 PM »
<snip>
 the new couple looked at each other and said they didn't know what they were doing yet.

This right there is the same as saying "we can't say yes because something better might come along."

When you are invited to something, then you either decline because you already have plans or you accept. Either way, yes, you do know what you are doing. Saying you don't know what you are doing means you are waiting for an offer to come along that is good enough to accept. Your offer didn't meet that criteria until the point at which it became clear that they weren't going to get a better offer after all.

In your place, even if there were room at my table, I'd have to seriously consider whether I wanted to include this couple. I think your text reply was perfect.

Well, perhaps the other thing you do is you say, "We should check out calendars," and then when you get in private, you discuss whether you want to go or whether you'll be out of town, or you call your other friend and say, "Are YOU having your party? Because if not, we want to accept this invitation."

And then you respond yes or no within 3 days. You don't have to accept on the spot (I think that's why technically invitations are sent by letter, so people don't feel they have to answer immediately). But you don't fudge like that.

HOWEVER, I also don't think it's polite to respond to "We don't know what we're doing yet" as the OP did, by saying, "I'll take that as a no, then," without allowing time for people to check their calendars. That's putting people on the spot. And it's sort of unwelcoming. It doesn't imply that their personal attendance is important.

I think the appropriate response is, "Please let me know by next Friday--I want to make my plans, and I need to know if you'll be accepting my invitation."


From the OP:
Quote
the new couple looked at each other and said they didn't know what they were doing yet. I said I understood, but as seating was limited I would accept that as a refusal. They didn't say anything else about it over the next two months.

and
Quote
Frankly if it had been me I would have either said "yes please" and planned my Christmas activities with that in consideration or I would have said "Sorry, I'd love to but other plans aren't finalised yet. When do you need to know by?" and then either declined or accepted by the due date.

I’m sort of puzzled why the OP didn’t herself say, “Let me know by X date” instead of saying immediately “I’ll take that as a no.”

(the other people are still wrong to be miffed by the idea that when they popped up so late, they weren’t included)

Surianne

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2012, 09:19:08 PM »
I agree it's pretty hard to accept an invitation when put on the spot in person.  OP, you really did that -- you invited them, and when they said they weren't sure, you told them right away that you'd see that as a "no."  That doesn't seem very kind to me.  Why not give them a couple of days to check their calendars and get back to you?  While your fancy dinner might be the most important thing in your mind, they might have events that trump it, but don't know the dates off the top of their heads.

So in the future, saying something like "It's a sit-down dinner so I need exact numbers by X date -- can you let me know by then?" would probably be less frustrating for you, and involve less pressure for your guests.

MariaE

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2012, 03:15:27 AM »
<snip>
 the new couple looked at each other and said they didn't know what they were doing yet.

This right there is the same as saying "we can't say yes because something better might come along."

When you are invited to something, then you either decline because you already have plans or you accept. Either way, yes, you do know what you are doing. Saying you don't know what you are doing means you are waiting for an offer to come along that is good enough to accept. Your offer didn't meet that criteria until the point at which it became clear that they weren't going to get a better offer after all.

In your place, even if there were room at my table, I'd have to seriously consider whether I wanted to include this couple. I think your text reply was perfect.

I mostly agree, although I do think it's acceptable to say "We just have to check our calendar when we get home. Can we get back to you tomorrow?"
 
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lowspark

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2012, 09:11:04 AM »
I think the fact that this invitation was for New Year's Eve makes things a little bit different. Sure, under normal circumstance, checking your calendar before replying is, of course, perfectly acceptable and expected. But I think New Year's Eve is a date that people normally know if they have booked.

Now, if they'd said something like,
- we normally have a standing invitation with X couple and are waiting to hear from them first
or even, as others have suggested,
- can we get back with you in a couple of days?

But the vague "we don't know what we're doing" with no further comment for two months, to me, indicates that they were, in fact, waiting for something better to come along. When they realized, about a week out, that they had not received a better invitation, that was when they decided that they'd better fish for that invitation from Bethalize again.

Sorry, but I can see no other explanation for this specific behavior.

MariaE

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #37 on: December 27, 2012, 10:27:49 AM »
Oh, I completely agree that the no reply for 2 months is unacceptable, however, even for New Years Eve my DH and I would need to check our calendar before we could reply - especially 2 months in advance. My DH works swing shifts, so before accepting an invitation for New Years Eve, we'd have to check:
* Does he have work on the 31st? If so, a morning, evening or night shift?
* Does he have work on the 1st? If so, is it a morning, evening or night shift?

We don't know his schedule off by heart, so we would have to check... even for something as 'big' as NYE.

(Actually, with DH's shifts it gets even more fun, because they aren't finalized until the 25th of the month before, so actually what we would have to reply is, "Looks like we'll be able to come, but we won't know for sure until November 25th when DH gets his finalized schedule. Is that okay with you, or would you rather that we just decline?")
 
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Decimus

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #38 on: December 27, 2012, 11:01:39 AM »
I think the fact that this invitation was for New Year's Eve makes things a little bit different. Sure, under normal circumstance, checking your calendar before replying is, of course, perfectly acceptable and expected. But I think New Year's Eve is a date that people normally know if they have booked.

Now, if they'd said something like,
- we normally have a standing invitation with X couple and are waiting to hear from them first
or even, as others have suggested,
- can we get back with you in a couple of days?

But the vague "we don't know what we're doing" with no further comment for two months, to me, indicates that they were, in fact, waiting for something better to come along. When they realized, about a week out, that they had not received a better invitation, that was when they decided that they'd better fish for that invitation from Bethalize again.

Sorry, but I can see no other explanation for this specific behavior.

New Years Eve makes it more likely they were waiting for other offers, but not guaranteed.  I've certainly been told things like "Come to my birthday party, it will be either the 14th or the 15th" or "We're having Christmas Dinner.  Either the evening of the 24th or the afternoon of the 25th."  If someone subsequently invited me to a christmas eve party, I'd be unable to say yes OR no immediately.  It's possible -- not likely, perhaps, but possible -- they were waiting to hear more details on something to which they'd agreed to go.  Or maybe it was a timing event.  If someone was hosting a New Year's Eve Lunch 6 hours drive away, they probably won't be able to attend a party that evening.  So sometimes it's better to grant people leeway.

Bethalize

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2012, 11:13:51 AM »
I don't accept the idea that you shouldn't make a verbal invitation to a friend in case they feel put on the spot. There are many ways to handle such an invitation. All I want when I make such an invitation to such a big event in such good time is an expression of interest. I didn't get even the barest hint of interest. I got an unenthusiastic dismissal without any pleasure or gratitude. That's why I said that I would take their response as a decline. It looked like they took no pleasure in getting the invitation and whilst they didn't want to be the bad guys saying "no" they expressed nothing to make me think they would even consider accepting.

My feelings and needs are important too. I have something that is going to take a lot of time and effort and money that I want to share with people as a gift to them, and also as a shared experience. If they don't value what I'm offering or even show that they understand it is valuable to me then I'm not going to run rings trying to get them to change their mind. Everyone has different priorities in life and if something that is my priority is not going to register on your priority scale then it's best that we don't end up in a situation where I'm disappointed that you aren't meeting my needs and you are resentful that I expect something from you that you don't want to give.

I said that I would take their response as a decline. If they hadn't meant that they could have said: "Oh, no, we'd love to come, we just have to..." or even just corrected me and said when they could let me know. They could have done anything other than leave me hanging, waiting for them to decide if they wanted to accept this invitation. It was only my decisive action that avoided me being left hanging for months. I'm over my geek social fallacies and my doormat tendencies. Invitations for dinner parties are limited and valuable. Anyone who doesn't get that or agree with that is not going to be included. Being a polite grown up and showing a normal amount of courtesy and consideration is all that is required to make the world go around.

Allyson

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2012, 11:55:47 AM »
Yes, the unenthusiasm would really do it for me. If I'm doing, say, a game night, I personally want people who are *really* into whatever we are doing, not people who are just wanting to hang out that night. There are other times for me, say a movie night, when 'just wanting to hang out' would be totally fine. This is the kind of event that I think the OP wanted people who's response to 'New Year's Eve Dinner Party' was excitement.

And there *are* ways to convey that even if you aren't totally sure about the date. "Oh, wow, that sounds amazing! I'd love to go, but we need to check with family/work/best friends who might be in town for their once a year visit." I don't think having other events they would prioritize above it is the issue, but rather seeming 'meh' about it and then not ever following up. I find sometimes a 'gee, I don't know, we'll see what we're doing...' can actually be a too-passive polite decline with some people.

lowspark

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2012, 12:21:16 PM »
Wow, Bethalize, that was beautifully put. I agree completely. I have a similar situation in a party which I have once a year. It's a sort of involved event that takes a whole lot of work on my part but, for the people who attend, it is a really great party. I have "regulars" who never miss it, and some who come most of the time, and then there are some who just don't get it and for them it's not only not a priority, but it's a matter of, well, if I happen to find myself at loose ends that night, maybe I'll show up.

That last group just get dropped from my invitation list. Like I said, the party involves a lot of work for me (which I love doing but only inasmuch as it is appreciated), including a certain amount of work to personalize certain preparations according to the specific people attending. So for people who don't show up at the last minute or can't be bothered to do their part in the particpation really don't need to be invited in the future.

Regarding work or a situation where you have a previous commitment for which the date is not yet set, again, I think it's perfectly acceptable to convey that information to the person who is inviting you. Then the person can say they need to know by a certain date or whatever, but as Bethalize pointed out, at least you'd be showing interest!

Tea Drinker

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Re: Just checking - am I okay here?
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2012, 01:42:02 PM »
Bethalize,

If you'd mentioned their apparent lack of interest at the time, I'd forgotten. Yes, that makes a huge difference. Even if it's something like "I don't know if I'll have to work" or "it sounds good, but we're on call for my father's possible surgery," it matters a lot whether the person wants to be there, or seems to be thinking "well, if we have to...maybe I can schedule my root canal for that week."
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