General Etiquette > general

Brunch plans...

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I was at a bit of a loss for how to respond to my friend on the phone yesterday.

BG: I have three good girlfriends. Three of us live in one town, and the other lives about 40 minutes away. We are all going to a lakehouse next weekend with our spouses/significant others. However, because we haven't really gotten to get together very much in the past couple of months, we also planned to get together for brunch this weekend, on Sunday.

So on Friday I was talking to the friend that lives 40 minutes away, she told me that one of our other friends had to come to her town for some reason, so they got together for lunch or coffee. (We do prefer to get together with all of us, but we all do see each other singly and in other contexts, so no problem there.) In the course of the conversation about the lakehouse trip, my friend said, "Oh, and since A and I already got together today, we thought we would just cancel brunch and just see each other next weekend." Then she joked about not having enough news/gossip to sustain both a girls brunch and a weekend trip.

I was a bit taken aback that since they had their social needs met or whatever, that the other two of us who weren't there would just be ok with cancelling, and that they could just decide it for us. On the phone I just didn't respond and changed the subject, but I wondered if I should have said something in a jokey tone in the moment, like "Oh, well its great that you and A got together, so I guess E and I can just lump it!"

I actually ended up having brunch with E this morning, and I texted her something like "Oh, well I guess we're not having brunch tomorrow??" She hadn't heard from the other two, so she asked, "Oh, you don't want to anymore?" Then I filled her in on the "decision" and we had a bit of a laugh and eyeroll about it.

What would you have done in that situation?

I would have felt much better about the whole thing had my friend just appealed to being busy or whatever.

I would have replied that if they were unavailable that's fine, but I would still meet up with E as we had all planned. 

A host can unilaterally cancel an event they have planned.

A group event can't be cancelled by one person - or even two. If some of the group members don't want to come, they need to let the others know.  That is not "cancelling" - that is "declining" or, in a casual sense, "bailing".

If they don't show and don't tell the others who were not privy to their decision, that is called "being stood up".

Your friends need better communication skills.

I would have handled exactly as you did but I would have said something along the lines of, "Okay, I guess brunch will just be E and I," in a neutral tone of voice.  That would make it clear that it wasn't cancelled, it was just going to be a smaller affair.  It's definitely not okay for two people to cancel a group outing for the entire group unless they have preplanned and paid for it. 

I should add....sometimes when we are all trying to make plans, three out of four feels like the critical mass. If 2 can't go, then we end up not doing it. I think in the back of my mind I was still thinking that I would be going out to brunch on Sunday and anyone who wanted to join me, could. I think it became a moot point when I was able to arrange a brunch this morning with E and our respective husbands.

But behind their canceling of the brunch was the implication or assumption that E and I would probably not do it on our own, not that they would have cared if we did. It's so difficult and weird to articulate these group dynamics!

I think what was also galling for me was the implication that A and T really just wanted to catch up with each other, but they had less of an interesting in catching up with E and I. I could be reading too much into it though.


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