Author Topic: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219  (Read 27099 times)

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mime

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2013, 11:46:24 AM »
1- I often read here that you host the gathering you can afford. I take that as more than just a financial decision. The aunt couldn't accommodate more than a small group of people, so she invited those she had the space and energy to host. She gets to do this as the host. She included spouses (no clarity on live-in partners or whether that was an issue at all). She did not include boyfriends or girlfriends. I don't think this is rude at all. Until a couple has made a move to demonstrate that they expect a future together-- engagement, marriage, move in-- a host can exclude them as 'not family'. I even think a long term dating arrangement without those signs of commitment can still be considered non-family, with exceptions granted on the host's option. I think this not because I want to diminish those relationships, but because there has to be a line somewhere. It doesn't sound like it was aunt's norm, and Larry didn't like it, but those don't make her rude.

2- Totally not rude of the aunt to still say "no" when Larry told her he wanted to bring his girlfriend. Her house, her invitation, her choice to enforce it. Depending on the relationship between Larry and aunt, it may or may not have been rude for Larry to even ask.

3- I don't think it was rude of Larry's dad to address it with Larry. I'm assuming here that they have the relaxed etiquette that parents/offspring have. The dad was making an effort to defend the aunt against Larry's rudeness and prevent an awkward situation and remind Larry of how to behave. I think he did well.

4- Larry was totally rude to bring her anyway. Even *if* aunt was rude in issuing her exclusive invitation, Larry was rude to ignore it. You just don't bring uninvited people to another person's home. Rude.

5- As for what the aunt should do, there must be a way for the aunt to stand up for herself and not let Larry walk all over her. Others who respected the invitation should not be sitting there thinking "wow, I should have just showed up with my new boyfriend, too!" Etiquette must have room for the aunt to turn away the uninvited guest. I think the suggestion below is great.

In the aunt's shoes, I would act on the presumption that the girlfriend is innocent to Larry's game, greet them with a smile, and say 'It's so sweet of you two to stop by on the way to your dinner.  We have twenty minutes for everyone to visit before we eat.  Excuse me - I have duties in the kitchen - please pop in to say 'goodbye' before you leave.'

Good luck getting them out of the house before the meal, with or without a scene.

Of course.  But why would I let that stop me from gracefully offering them a way out?

TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2013, 11:48:01 AM »
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.

I think this is useful background to establish that Larry's sense of "permanent relationship" or "important significant other" might not be in line with most other people's. Sure, people end up with more than one marriage, but by the time someone has ended -three- marriages, they're starting to deviate from the norm.
   One reason (only one reason, mind you--there are others, like death and youth and betrayal, etc., etc.) for this can be that commitments aren't taken as seriously--entered into lightly, discarded easily.
     I think that when people start to include that information about people like Larry, it is because they perceive (in this case, the OP, who actually knows him, may perceive) that the number of divorces -does- indicate something about this particular person.

And all the subsequent stuff we've learned about Larry makes me believe that this fact (he has married and divorced three wives) does indicate something important about him, something to factor in when regarding his outrage about his new girlfriend's being excluded.

Right - I am not saying the hostess did anything wrong by saying "no girlfriends," just that Larry was not likely wrong in taking it personally.

BarensMom

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2013, 11:49:43 AM »
Great points, Barens Mom.

I've been around elderly people for most of my life - my mom worked in nursing homes and as a housekeeper.  I also have an aunt who is 86, and she would definitely react the same way as the aunt in the story if someone showed up with an uninvited total stranger at her door.

Winterlight

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2013, 11:50:33 AM »
  Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner.

I get the sense this is a new relationship, so in that sense I can see standing firm that this is not a social unit situation. However, the bolded seems quite judgmental, which makes me think that fact is coloring this situation.  This decision was not about space at the Thanksgiving table, but rather about not including non-married partners.  Which, fine, but I can understand Larry feeling excluded by that stance.

I think this is useful background to establish that Larry's sense of "permanent relationship" or "important significant other" might not be in line with most other people's. Sure, people end up with more than one marriage, but by the time someone has ended -three- marriages, they're starting to deviate from the norm.
   One reason (only one reason, mind you--there are others, like death and youth and betrayal, etc., etc.) for this can be that commitments aren't taken as seriously--entered into lightly, discarded easily.
     I think that when people start to include that information about people like Larry, it is because they perceive (in this case, the OP, who actually knows him, may perceive) that the number of divorces -does- indicate something about this particular person.

And all the subsequent stuff we've learned about Larry makes me believe that this fact (he has married and divorced three wives) does indicate something important about him, something to factor in when regarding his outrage about his new girlfriend's being excluded.

Right - I am not saying the hostess did anything wrong by saying "no girlfriends," just that Larry was not likely wrong in taking it personally.

And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.
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TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2013, 11:54:13 AM »
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2013, 12:00:07 PM »
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.

I do think Larry was wrong to feel slighted.  NO girlfriends or boyfriends were invited; he wasn't singled out.
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BarensMom

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2013, 12:03:07 PM »
And if he did take it personally, then the polite thing to do would have been to decline rather than put his GF and aunt in uncomfortable positions. I don't think much of Larry.

Larry absolutely didn't handle this appropriately.  I don't think he was wrong to feel slighted, however.  The exclusion of his girlfriend seems to have been personal.

Per the OP's post, it wasn't personal.  The Aunt just wanted family, not girl/boy friends, not lonely neighbors, not stray people who had nowhere else to go.  For Larry to flout her wishes to bring an uninvited person and risk her anger and what may result from that anger (the aunt is 89 and in declining health, remember) is so far past rude it falls off the edge of the world.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 10:09:08 AM by BarensMom »

shhh its me

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2013, 12:04:23 PM »
  Larry was rude on all counts.  I think close family/best friends can tell you when you're being rude, especially a parent/mentor type  relative.

Girlfriends are not always SOs , there is a bright line between SO and not as far as etiquette is concerned.   It can a be a little grayer in application but not that much.  I would call a couple who have told me they are saving to by a house together but not living together currently a social unit. Once I started treating a couple as a social unit I would continue to do so.  At the same time I agree sometimes drawing that bright line can be just plain stupid and be destructive to relationships......You know he is looking for the ring but the words" will you marry me ?" haven't been uttered.  IS not a smart reason to not invite your brothers almost fiancee to your wedding.   

TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #53 on: December 10, 2013, 12:06:20 PM »
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #54 on: December 10, 2013, 02:04:09 PM »
Partner and I got together a few months before Thanksgiving. Our first Thanksgiving we spent with our respective families, I didn't even think of asking to bring her along, the relationship was still pretty new. Our second Thanksgiving together her maternal grandma was coming into town and wanted to take her family out for a fancy Thanksgiving dinner. The guest list was Partner's mom and her boyfriend of over a decade, Partner, and Partner's brother (her sister was invited but lived out of state). I was not on the guest list. I didn't even think twice about not being invited. We'd been together a year, but we didn't live together, we weren't engaged, we were just dating each other.

So two years ago we've moved in together, we've been together three years, and grandma comes back to town and guess who gets an invite? Me! And it was a very fancy dinner. Why? Because we were now an official social unit. I was (and am) part of the family now. But way back when? I was the girl her granddaughter was seeing.

So yes, Larry very rude Aunt has every right to greet them at the door with "Oh, Larry didn't you understand, this is family only? I'm so sorry dear, I thought I made this clear to him, I'm just not able to host any extra people this year. It's nothing personal", because it's not. Family only, means family only. Now in my family family only means anyone whose willing to board the crazy train express. But in other families it means, blood, marriage, or another long term commitment made. Not, this is Susie, we've been together 3 whole weeks!

Goosey

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #55 on: December 10, 2013, 02:19:01 PM »
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

I don't think it matters at all since not only GF/BFs were excluded. Sounds like it usually extended to friends, etc and those were not allowed either. If Larry took this personally, it's because he was being self-centered.

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No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members

TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #56 on: December 10, 2013, 02:34:39 PM »
As another poster pointed out, I think it matters whether there were other excluded boyfriends and girlfriends, or whether everyone else was married and therefore had their SO there.  It can be hurtful to attend family events alone when everyone else has an SO with them.  Again, I am not saying the Aunt was wrong and I agree Larry handled it poorly.  I just can understand that he would feel hurt, especially if he was the only adult attending without his SO.

I don't think it matters at all since not only GF/BFs were excluded. Sounds like it usually extended to friends, etc and those were not allowed either. If Larry took this personally, it's because he was being self-centered.

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No girlfriends or boyfriends, no lonely neighbors, no old family friends this year, just family members

I disagree.  Again, I think Larry handled this poorly.  But if every other adult has his or her SO at Thanksgiving except Larry, I can see how he would feel bad about that.  Going through divorce is hard.  A recently divorced person is used to having a significant other with him at events.  If Larry were the only adult who was without an SO at the event, I can see him being upset.  Again, I don't think the aunt was wrong to exclude GFs and BFs etc.  I am saying that, while Larry handled this horribly, if everyone else had their SO at Thanksgiving aside from him, I can understand how that would make him feel bad. 

We are actually dealing with this in my family.  I recently married into a family where my SIL is a young widow.  Her husband died two years ago in January.  She has had various BFs since then, and several have attended family functions.  Of course these people are not part of the family.  But I can absolutely understand how it would be hard for my SIL to attend family functions and feel all alone.  I also felt that way after I got divorced from my first husband, and after my second husband died.  The family asks if she is bringing anyone, and if she does, well, she does.  She has been through enough that showing some compassion seems to be the right thing for our family to do.  I grasp not everyone sees it that way.  My only point was that, while Larry clearly handled this poorly, I can see that he is hurting.

Hmmmmm

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #57 on: December 10, 2013, 02:40:40 PM »
snip
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?)
Yes, she is in fully within her rights to invite who she chooses. The only caviate is she should invite social couples. So a couple who had been living together for 2 years but were unmarried should have been considered a social unit. I would also say that if there were underage step-children, they should be considered part of their parent's social unit and included.

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?
Yes

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? No, Larry chose to discuss his plans with them so they are free to give their opinions and counsel.

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?) He was terribly rude. He should have declined.

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?) She should have said "Oh, Larry I didn't realize you were only stopping by for a visit. Come have a drink before my guests sit down to dinner but I'll need to ask you to leave in about half an hour."
"Dear it is so nice to meet you. Do you have family in town? Is that who and Larry will be having dinner with."

If Larry objects "Larry, I was very clear about only having immediate family this year and I know you understood. It would not be right to allow you to invite additional guest when others were not included. Dear, I'm sure you understand. I hope we'll get a chance to visit with you another day. Jerry, would you bring Larry and X their coats, they are going to need to rush off."


Has this happened to anyone else?  How did you handle it?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2013, 02:49:01 PM »
...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.
...

This sounds very much like there were other family members who had boyfriends or girlfriends who were not included in the invitation.  Larry was absolutely in the wrong here - he was not being singled out, he was not the only one there without a 'date' or partner.  He might have been the only one of his generation but that is not Aunt's concern.  NO ONE was supposed to bring someone who wasn't part of a recognized couple (married, living together, engaged).
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cass2591

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #59 on: December 10, 2013, 03:02:04 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.

I find it rather presumptuous to tell people they should care about the same things that you do. No one excluded family, the hostess just wanted an intimate gathering which didn't include a stranger to her.

As for owning Thanksgiving, where did that come from? I read nothing that she declared herself queen of the holiday. She does, however, have the right to invite who she wants. It's up to nephew how to handle that the girlfriend isn't invited, but the option of bringing her against objections of the host and family isn't one of them.

And Hmmmmm, as for the girlfriend's attendance, assuming she was unaware of the conflict, I hope the aunt and family were gracious and then expressed their anger later. How embarrassing and humiliating it would have been for the girlfriend to be either unwelcomed or turned away.
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