Author Topic: Who to invite to birthday party?  (Read 6241 times)

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shygirl

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Who to invite to birthday party?
« on: January 10, 2013, 06:17:14 PM »
I'm planning to have a party for my son in the summer, when he turns 3.  We'll be in my hometown, where I grew up and where my parents and most of my close friends live.  I don't live there anymore.

So, I will definitely be inviting my best friend, who is practically family at this point. 

I had also wanted to invite someone else, let's call him Dan.  Dan, BFF and I all went to the same high school.  Dan and my BFF dated for quite a while in college, and were very serious.  BFF was planning to marry him, however, Dan broke up with her, pretty much crushing her.  That was years and years ago.  Now BFF is happily married, and has a child of her own who will be 1 at the time of this party.

The reason I'm considering inviting Dan at all is because when my son was born, he reached out to me.  My son was a preemie, and I posted a little about the circumstances on facebook when he was born.  Dan has twins who were also preemies, and he talked to me about his experience.  It was really helpful, and I appreciated that he took the time to talk to me, even though we really didn't keep in touch besides some facebook stuff.

So anyway, I'm having this party and I was going to invite some other people from high school.  I thought it might be strange if I invited other people from high school, but not Dan.  But, I don't know how BFF would feel about it.  I don't really want to ask her, because I feel like she would feel obligated to say "sure!", when she doesn't really feel like it.

I see these as my options:

A)  Ask BFF what she thinks about inviting Dan, and follow her lead.
B)  Don't invite Dan, but invite the other high school friends I wanted to.
C)  Don't invite any of the high school friends, and catch up with them separately.
D)  Invite Dan, and just let BFF know.

I really don't want to do Option A, and I'm definitely not doing Option D.

Any other options I'm not seeing?  Advice or suggestions?

MsMarjorie

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 06:56:01 PM »
I think you need to have two parties - 1, to celebrate your son's 3rd birthday and another to catch up with your highschool friends.  Does your son have any friends in the area of about the same age?

katycoo

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 06:57:21 PM »
BFF and Dan broke up years ago.  Both are happily in other relationships.  I'd assume they'll both handle it like adults.  Its not like you're forcing them to talk to each other.

But, I agree that your 3 y/o's party is not the place for a high school reunion unless those people have a place in your child's life.

mstigerlily

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 07:00:34 PM »
I think option D is the best option. If your BFF can't manage to be polite around an old ex for a couple of hours maybe she isn't mature enough to be at the party.

SamiHami

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 07:06:55 PM »
Well, is this a birthday party for your 3 year old, or a reunion for you and your old friends? I doubt if much of the focus will be on the little guy if you are all busy catching up and talking about old times.

IMHO I think you should have a small family party for your son where he gets to be the center of attention, and get together with your friends another time. Then you can work out whether or not you want to put the former couple together again.

I do have one question, though-why would you definitely not go with option D? No matter what you do it would be extremely unkind to surprise your BFF without warning. Even though they've both moved on, they may still be very uncomfortable around each other, especially if you spring it on them. Doesn't sound like something one BFF would do to the other.

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Shoo

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 07:12:22 PM »
I vote for C.  Keep the two occasions separate.

Frankly, unless a child is a close relative, as an adult I find going to kids' birthday parties excruciating.

Surianne

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 07:13:40 PM »
I think you need to have two parties - 1, to celebrate your son's 3rd birthday and another to catch up with your highschool friends.  Does your son have any friends in the area of about the same age?

I think this would be simplest.  I don't know that many old friends would show up for a 3-year-old's birthday, anyway, unless they'd had a lot of contact with him.  So I'm for option C. 

I do want to say thought that I don't think your friend would be immature if she was bothered by being around Dan.  He hurt her significantly, and even though she's 100% happy with someone else, she may still not want to interact with someone who had a large impact on her happiness in the past.  I would ask her first before inviting Dan, and if you're not willing to do that, I would absolutely let her know in advance so she could choose to stay home rather than to see him.

Would inviting Dan out to lunch/coffee to catch up and say thank you for his help be an option?  That might be less uncomfortable and more meaningful than inviting him to the birthday. 

shygirl

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 07:18:36 PM »
Well, is this a birthday party for your 3 year old, or a reunion for you and your old friends? I doubt if much of the focus will be on the little guy if you are all busy catching up and talking about old times.

IMHO I think you should have a small family party for your son where he gets to be the center of attention, and get together with your friends another time. Then you can work out whether or not you want to put the former couple together again.

I do have one question, though-why would you definitely not go with option D? No matter what you do it would be extremely unkind to surprise your BFF without warning. Even though they've both moved on, they may still be very uncomfortable around each other, especially if you spring it on them. Doesn't sound like something one BFF would do to the other.

I probably should have mentioned that the friends (just 2 other couples) have kids around my son's age.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be inviting them to a kid's party.

I definitely don't want to D because that would be the most hurtful option, don't you think?  To just invite her ex without any input from her, and just let her know?  Are you suggesting that Option D is a good option?

SamiHami

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 07:27:25 PM »
Well, is this a birthday party for your 3 year old, or a reunion for you and your old friends? I doubt if much of the focus will be on the little guy if you are all busy catching up and talking about old times.

IMHO I think you should have a small family party for your son where he gets to be the center of attention, and get together with your friends another time. Then you can work out whether or not you want to put the former couple together again.

I do have one question, though-why would you definitely not go with option D? No matter what you do it would be extremely unkind to surprise your BFF without warning. Even though they've both moved on, they may still be very uncomfortable around each other, especially if you spring it on them. Doesn't sound like something one BFF would do to the other.

I probably should have mentioned that the friends (just 2 other couples) have kids around my son's age.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be inviting them to a kid's party.

I definitely don't want to D because that would be the most hurtful option, don't you think?  To just invite her ex without any input from her, and just let her know?  Are you suggesting that Option D is a good option?

Perhaps I misunderstood, then. I thought you were considering inviting both and not letting her know in advance, which would be just plain mean. In other words, if you are determined to invite both of them, it would be wrong to not let them both know the other will be there. I can't imagine why anyone would want to put their friends in a potentially uncomfortable or distressing situation.

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shygirl

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 07:30:13 PM »
Yes, you misunderstood.

I listed it as an option, because it is potentially an option.  But I definitely would not do that.

Inviting Dan and NOT letting BFF know is not an option.  There's no way I would even consider blindsiding her like that.

SamiHami

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 07:37:19 PM »
Gotcha-sorry I misunderstood!

I do think two separate gatherings are probably for the best, though. That way you can focus on your son during his party and on your friends during another get-together.

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Promise

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 07:46:32 PM »
I don't think you should invite your friends just because they have 3 year olds. Are their 3 year olds friends with your son? If he has a real relationship with them, then by all means invite them. Otherwise you are using your child as an excuse for either more gifts (I don't think that's your intention but they might) or for your reunion. Keep your child's party focused on your child with only people he knows. It's supposed to be about him. Do the reunion thing as a bbq or drinks somewhere.

Lynn2000

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 08:07:51 PM »
I vote for keeping the two occasions separate. Invite people who have a relationship with your son (like your BFF) to the birthday party. At 3, I think the party starts to become much more about the kid and he'll be more aware of what's going on, and you may have your hands full with the young guests. Especially if you foresee discomfort between Dan and BFF, you want to be able to focus on that, and not be running off after a little one.

Then, have a reunion with your HS friends--you could do kid-free out someplace, or you could do a backyard BBQ and invite them to bring their kids. You know your BFF best, but personally I wouldn't make a big deal out of inviting Dan. I might say to her, "On the 17th I'm throwing a backyard BBQ for some of our old high school buddies! I'm inviting Laurie, Pat, Dan, Amy, Mark, and Susan. Hopefully they'll bring their spouses and kids." Then she'll know Dan's on the guest list in advance, and if she thinks she would really be uncomfortable with him, she can choose not to attend, or otherwise talk to you about it. You might also want to let Dan know the guest list in a similar way, in case he feels too awkward around BFF.

I've been in the position where someone was worried I would be uncomfortable with something, and they told me about it in a very ginger way, and kind of walked on eggshells with me about it the whole time. Turned out, the something didn't really make me uncomfortable; but the attitude of keeping an eye on me to see if it did, made me very self-conscious... and uncomfortable. I felt like I had to live up (down?) to their expectations.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 08:49:01 PM »

If they both still live in the same town, isn't it likely that they've been at other social situations with other friends over the years? 

Have you ever mentioned to your BFF that Dan reached out to you at your son's birth?  If not, why?

If not, I wouldn't invite Dan.  You said your son is now 3. how much interaction have you had with him during the last year? 


TootsNYC

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Re: Who to invite to birthday party?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 09:01:32 PM »
I think you need to have two parties - 1, to celebrate your son's 3rd birthday and another to catch up with your highschool friends.  Does your son have any friends in the area of about the same age?

I agree. i would think it weird to be invited to a 3yo's b'day party unless I personally knew the 3yo pretty well.

A 1yo, maybe it wouldn't seem as strange, bcs the b'day kid is still very  much a baby, and sometimes the party is viewed as more for the grownups / parents / new family than it is for the guest of honor.

But by 3, this is his birthday. If I don't know him well, I'm going to think you're a bit odd, and maybe even gift grabby, if you invite me when I barely know the kid.

So have two parties.

Now, your BFF would be a sensible person to invite; she has a relationship to your kid. Dan, it might be OK to invite if you mention, "I always think of your encouragement when Joey was born, so I thought it might be fun to introduce him to you at his b'day party." But if you never had much in the way of contact, then don't impose on him. The other high-school friend, I wouldn't invite; not unless you arrange playdates for the kids in advance.

And I don't think you need to worry about inviting people who used to date, even to a small party where they might have to interact.

And this is your BFF, no? Surely you could check in w/ her and see if she's got any insight about how awkward it might be, before you issue any invitations.