Author Topic: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219  (Read 30643 times)

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snappylt

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The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« on: December 09, 2013, 09:30:41 PM »
EDITED TO ADD: UPDATE post #219.

One of my old friends started telling me the following story about something rude that happened at his family's most recent Thanksgiving dinner.

PLEASE NOTE: although our conversation was interrupted, and I never did hear the final outcome of the story, I think the etiquette issues it brings up are interesting enough to share what I did hear:


Back in early November my friend told me that his eldest aunt, who is 89, was planning to host what would probably be her last Thanksgiving meal in her own home later in the month.  (She is probably going to be moving to an assisted living apartment in January.)  She had announced to her extended family that she simply did not feel up to hosting as large a group as she had in the past, so this year, she was limiting her invitation to family members only.  No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members.

Well, one of my friend's cousins (let's call him "Larry") got very upset about their aunt's decision.  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. Even after talking with their aunt, Larry told my old friend that he didn't care what their aunt (the host) said, he was bringing his girlfriend no matter what.  My old friend told me that he had told Larry not to do that, that it would be very rude to bring a specifically not-invited guest.  My friend mentioned it to Larry's dad, too, who, my friend told me, was going to also tell Larry not to do that.


Last weekend I bumped into my old friend for the first time since Thanksgiving.  I asked him about his holiday.  He rolled his eyes and started to tell me that Larry did show up at their aunt's house with his new girlfriend even after their aunt (the host) and Larry's dad and my old friend all told Larry not to do that because this was a one-time family-only meal before their aunt goes into assisted living.

My old friend got started to tell me that when Larry and the uninvited girlfriend showed up at their aunt's door, their aunt got very upset and angry...

...and then someone else walked up and joined our conversation.  My friend changed the subject then, and I didn't get to hear the end of his story.  (Did their aunt calm down and allow Larry and his girlfriend to stay?  Did their aunt ask them to leave?  Next time I see my friend I'll want to hear the rest of the story!)


Here are my questions for any who care to share their opinions:

1.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly host to limit her invitations to family members only to keep her numbers down?  (I'm thinking if it is her dinner party she can invite whomever she pleases, and then they can decide whether or not they want to come.  But, are there different ways of looking at this?)

2.) It was OK, wasn't it, for the elderly aunt to say "no" when Larry told her he wanted to bring his new girlfriend?

3.) Was it rude for my friend and Larry's dad to have shared their opinions with Larry, or should they have stayed out of the disagreement between the aunt and Larry?

4.) Larry was terribly rude to have brought his new girlfriend even after the host said no, wasn't he?  (I'm thinking the only polite thing Larry could have done was to have said, "I won't come without my girlfriend, so I will not be joining you this time," but do others disagree?)

5.) Once Larry did show up at the door, what were the elderly aunt's polite options at that point?  (I'm thinking that while it would have been gracious for the aunt to have invited the girlfriend in - it would have also been polite for the aunt to have said, in a polite tone of voice, as she ushered them out, "I am so sorry, but, as I explained to Larry, this is my last holiday in my own home, and I am limiting our day to family members only.  I am sorry you cannot join us today."  But what do other people think?)


Has this happened to anyone else?  How did you handle it?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 11:35:48 PM by snappylt »

EllenS

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 09:44:13 PM »
1) Yes, Aunt is entitled to invite whom she wishes, with the proviso that married, engaged, or cohabiting couples who are a publicly recognized social unit must be invited as a unit. 

2) Yes, Aunt is perfectly at liberty to clarify that Larry heard the invitation correctly.

3) It would be better for others to stay out of the discussion, but a private "please stop harassing and being rude to Elderly Aunt" is within bounds for a family relationship, IMO.

4) Yes, Larry was terribly rude to bring someone who was not invited.  As you say, if he did not wish to attend without NG, he had the option to not come.

5) I agree with your assessment - inviting the girlfriend in would be gracious, but if Aunt wishes to stick to her previously-stated limits, it is not by any means rude for her to do so.  I certainly hope she did not retaliate by creating a scene, but I can understand an elderly relative becoming visibly perturbed at having her wishes ignored and being put in such a terribly awkward position.

If, in fact, Larry and NG are already a social unit and the "new" factor is purely a matter of the family not accepting NG, or something, then that changes things - in that case Aunt would have been rude not to include NG.  However, that does not make it OK for Larry to drag her along (which is unkind to NG as well as obnoxious to Aunt.) If she were wrongfully excluded, the way for Larry to show support would be to spend the day with her doing something else, not force an ugly confrontation.
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lady_disdain

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 10:08:57 PM »
Inviting the girlfriend in, however, would send the message out that, yes, everyone can ignore Aunt's limits and would be rather unfair to those family members who did follow her clear invitations. If it had been a mistake, then it would have been gracious to invite them both in. However, Larry knew it and had been repeatedly told not to do it.

doodlemor

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 10:41:07 PM »
Larry was totally rude in all of your questions.  I think that the aunt had every right to limit her party to those she wanted to invite.  In a family situation, I think that it was OK for Larry's dad and your friend to try and rectify the situation.  It sounds like Larry is a dunderhead.

When Larry and his new girlfriend showed up at the door, it may have been difficult to turn them away without putting a cloud over the Last Thanksgiving for the rest of the party.  Because of this, if I were the elderly aunt I would welcome them in, and kindly,charmingly befriend the girlfriend. 

Then, when the dinner was over, the claws would come out, and I'd play the dowager queen card.  I'd sweetly take girlfriend aside for a nice chat......... and tell her all of the dirt about Larry and his ex-wives. 

JoieGirl7

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 10:53:18 PM »
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

Allyson

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 11:11:24 PM »
Without knowing more details, I feel badly for the girlfriend, as I doubt Larry told her she was specifically not invited. How awkward would that be...either getting told to leave as not invited or allowed in grudgingly, eek.

gramma dishes

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 11:22:56 PM »
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

I think Elderly Auntie has the absolute right to host whomever she wishes whenever she wishes.  I can certainly understand her desire to have this particular Thanksgiving for family members only -- no "newbies". 

Obviously, those who don't agree with those conditions or don't wish to follow those directives are totally and absolutely free to reject the invitation and have a different kind of more inclusive Thanksgiving somewhere else. 

esposita

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 11:25:57 PM »
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

It wasn't a self-serving party, it was a quiet gathering for the close family of a woman who has reached the edge of her hosting days. I think the fact that two of her relatives jumped in to defend her is an example of how special she is to most of her family.
No dates means no dates. If you have a problem with that, and think that you're (general) being treated unfairly, make a stand by not coming, not by bringing an uninvited person along.

Also, it might have simply been a matter of logistics. A woman who is about to leave her home voluntarily just does not have the energy to take care of a bazillion people properly. People are free to not attend.

A woman who is practically 90 years old and who has been a kind and gracious host her entire life should be given a certain amount of respect when she is vulnerable with her family and asks for a lighter load.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 11:32:58 PM »
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

"Hosting properly" does not mean accepting anybody who wants to show up at any time, all the time.  That is called running a hospitality establishment, and it is typically a service for which one pays.  If the family felt that Aunt was hijacking the family Thanksgiving for a retirement party, they could have made other arrangements.  Presumably, because they all showed up to support her, the family did not feel put upon.

Hosts absolutely get to decide who is invited, and a social unit does not form automatically when somebody shows up with somebody else. 

You are making interesting judgments about who Aunt would have invited had Larry still been married, as there is nothing to indicate animosity from the aunt in the OP.

Just because you are in better physical health does not give you the right to push an uninvited guest on your host and demand that she be accepted.

Erich L-ster

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 11:44:50 PM »
I think it was rude for Auntie to turn Thanksgiving into her own "going into the an assisted living apartment" party.

If she didn't feel she could host properly, she should not have been hosting.  Presumably, had Larry still been married and not divorced, his wife would have been welcome.  Or, would she have simply not invited them at all? 

Adults form social units and others do not get to judge how significant someone else's significant other is.  I think the "rule" was rude to begin with and she should have known better.

Just because you are planning on dying before next Thanksgiving doesn't give you a right to push other people around.

Whoever felt this way would have certainly been able to decline the invitation, especially when it was thoroughly communicated to all the invitees.

JoieGirl7

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 11:58:00 PM »
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.

She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving.  She can have all the dinner parties she wants.  But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others--these are full grown adults, we're talking about, not high schoolers--she should defer to someone else to host it who can accommodate everyone.
 
Larry has been married and presumably lived as an adult for a very long time.  To host Thanksgiving and say that he can't bring a date is rude.  If you do that then it is not a truly a family event because you would exclude your family member because he is only dating someone and not married to them.

If he was married, his aunt would have to invite his wife.  I don't think it should be any different just because this woman is his girlfriend and not his wife.

No one should be presuming that because Larry is divorced that he will come single.

What if Larry was gay and not able to marry his boyfriend?  Is Auntie's rule ok then?

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.

gramma dishes

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 12:02:59 AM »
...

You don't split up social couples and its not up to someone else to decide what constitutes a social couple for a adult.

She isn't splitting up couples.  She's making a guest list.  People not on the guest list (or people who would prefer to spend Thanksgiving with someone not on the guest list) are absolutely free to DECLINE the invitation and host their own Thanksgiving dinner or go somewhere else. 

But no one has the right to demand an invitation to someone else's party!

gellchom

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 12:18:00 AM »
A date is not the same as a "significant other."  I disagree that a family Thanksgiving dinner is an event to which one should expect to be able to bring a date.

All we know is that this is Larry's new girlfriend.  "New" says to me not yet a social unit.  I do not think that the aunt was required to invite her, although I do agree that if they lived together or were otherwise an established couple, she should have.  But it doesn't sound like it.

And once she made her decision, even if she was wrong, Larry was wrong to disrespect it.

That said, I hope that Aunt was a gracious hostess and welcomed Larry and his guest without letting them see how irritating it was.  Turning away people at the door is pretty harsh, and we don't even know if the girlfriend knew she wasn't invited by Aunt.  As someone else said, it would throw cold water on the evening for everyone else, too.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 12:20:45 AM »
From what I understand, Larry had not been dating his girlfriend very long, and if this was the case then she doesn't automatically get invited to family things. This would be the case if Larry was gay as well.

People don't his all the time at weddings.

And Audrey, you're forgetting this is a 90 year old woman who wants to be with her family. She can't have too many holidays left in her, give her a break!

sammycat

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 12:22:41 AM »
Aunt is perfectly entitled to invite whomever she want to her home/party. I'm sure all husbands and wives of blood family members were invited. Nothing indicates otherwise, so if Larry were still married (or newly married) I'm absolutely certain his wife would've been invited.

I can certainly understand Aunt wanting to restrict the guest list to an event in her own home to close family, and not her relatives' latest boy/girlfriend, who may not even be around by next Thanksgiving. I get the impression Larry's relationship is very new, and not a long term established one.

No one else seemed to have a problem with this invitation, except Larry, who was incredibly rude. I hope aunt refused him entry after pulling that little stunt. I also think that within a family that's it's fine for relatives to say 'pull your head in. If you don't like the invitation perimeters just politely decline; don't make a donkey of yourself'.

OP, I really hope you're able to find out what actually happened in the end!