Author Topic: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219  (Read 31382 times)

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GreenEyedHawk

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #225 on: January 09, 2014, 01:23:10 AM »
I feel badly for the girlfriend, because I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that Larry did not tell her she wasn't invited.  How embarrassing for her.
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perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #226 on: January 09, 2014, 02:57:47 AM »
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

Aeris

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #227 on: January 09, 2014, 03:03:46 AM »
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish it within the same weekend - or even same month. Logistics and rental agreements being what they are. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but they likely had already made the decision to become one - excluding someone in that situation is not really the spirit of the concept.


Katana_Geldar

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #228 on: January 09, 2014, 03:30:07 AM »
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #229 on: January 09, 2014, 03:30:16 AM »
Pre-update I was one of the lone voices in support of Larry, although I agree that generally bringing an uninvited guest is a rude thing to do. Post-update, I think the family are horribly rude bordering on toxic and it's entirely possible this is what led to the situation in the first place. The aunt loudly chewed Larry out where everyone including the girlfriend could hear her? Really? How old does she think he is, twelve? Someone else pointedly sat at a different table and ignored Larry and his girlfriend? How unbelievably childish.

This sounds to me like a three-line-whip affair: "You will be there under the conditions we impose and you will like it", rather than any desire to make Aunt's last Thanksgiving a memorable one. Aunt treated Larry like a child where everyone could hear her, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that scenario.

And I'm with Turtledove - I still would like to know if Larry's girlfriend was the only SO not invited.

It's also interesting that Larry apparently moved in with the GF around Christmas. Most people that I know do not decide to move in with an SO and actually accomplish within the same weekend - or even same month. That would seem to strongly suggest that at the time of Thankgiving Larry and the GF had likely already decided to move in together.

This might have made them technically not-a-social-unit at Thanksgiving, but that is not really the spirit of the concept.

Yes, I was going to point that out but it's early here and my brain didn't get to it before I hit post  :) While of course there are times when people move in together rashly and too quickly, it's entirely possible that Larry's girlfriend is longterm and serious and this is a case of the family judging him for having a girlfriend after his marriage broke up and not inviting her as a result. Given the way they reacted so childishly to her presence I'd be willing to bet that this was the case.

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #230 on: January 09, 2014, 03:32:25 AM »
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #231 on: January 09, 2014, 03:38:47 AM »
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 03:50:58 AM by Katana_Geldar »

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #232 on: January 09, 2014, 04:31:22 AM »
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measley day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.

That is a valid point, but then that puts Larry in the position of having to choose between his serious partner (which as now ascertained, she is) and his Aunt on a very important family holiday. So he can either turn up alone or decline. And as I think I said upthread the first time this was open, I can easily see a situation where if Larry declines he gets it in the head for 'ruining Aunt's last Thanksgiving'. Given the reaction of the cousin at the event - pointedly sitting at a different table and ignoring him like a child - can you imagine the uproar if he'd declined to spend it with his partner instead? Poor guy would never have heard the end of it.

The family's reactions tell me pretty much what I need to know about their attitude towards this event.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #233 on: January 09, 2014, 04:54:10 AM »
If this girlfriend is Larry's serious partner, then there are other Thanksgivings they will no doubt spend together, possibly even ones where she can meet his family. Spending one without her won't make much difference.

I'm more ready to believe it was Larry who kicked up a stink about his girlfriend not bring able to come and thus the frosty reception they got when he turned up with her anyway.

There also isn't anything to indicate that it was only Larry's girlfriend who had been excluded. The Aunt ran the family event on the condition that it was only family. Larry did check, but rather than act gracefully and tell his girlfriend the truth, he decided to do what he wanted instead. This was Aunts thing, he tried to make it about himself.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 04:56:17 AM by Katana_Geldar »

menley

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #234 on: January 09, 2014, 05:09:45 AM »
Here's the thing - I can't tell you how many times I've read on here that someone else's rudeness does not justify you being rude in return.

It doesn't matter if the elderly aunt was rude to not invite the girlfriend. It really doesn't. What matters is that she was specifically not invited and Larry brought her anyway. There is not any situation where it is appropriate to bring an uninvited guest, and especially after it was confirmed by several people that she was in fact not invited. It wasn't a misunderstanding - he knew she was not invited and brought her anyway. That is rude by anyone's definition of etiquette.

Was he in a difficult place? Of course. But he had two etiquette-approved choices (come without the girlfriend for a few hours or decline the invitation) and he chose neither.

Teenyweeny

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #235 on: January 09, 2014, 05:11:41 AM »
I still don't understand why the needs of an elderly woman hosting a family event in her own house come second to one selfish person who could do without seeing his girlfriend for one measly day.

Because if Larry and his girlfriend are a unit and she was the only one not invited, then Aunt was rude, and given that she chewed him out loudly where everyone including the girlfriend could hear, she's not exactly covering herself in glory, so I'm quite willing to assume she was rude about this, too. She doesn't get a pass just because she's old. Neither does the (cousin?) of Larry who pointedly sat at a different table and ignored him like a five year old.
I'm willing to bet that Larry's girlfriend was not the only one excluded. Aunts instructions about no one other than family give the indication that previously the invitation was a lot more open. This year, aunt probably found it rather difficult to cater to more people and she wanted to be around family for the last thanksgiving.
That's not too much to ask, and it's an easy way to limit invitations. It would have been no skin off Larry's nose to tell his girlfriend the truth, which he obviously did not do. Showing up with her and not telling her that she wasn't invited doesn't endear him at all in my book.
I admit that the aunt could have been more discreet in chewing out Larry, but it needed to happen. Had she been involved in this or known about it, it would have been the last straw.

This entire thing could have been avoided if Larry could have actually stuck to the conditions of the invitation, which was not bringing a guest. I don't see how it could have been any different if Larry had brought her to a wedding.

That is a valid point, but then that puts Larry in the position of having to choose between his serious partner (which as now ascertained, she is) and his Aunt on a very important family holiday. So he can either turn up alone or decline. And as I think I said upthread the first time this was open, I can easily see a situation where if Larry declines he gets it in the head for 'ruining Aunt's last Thanksgiving'. Given the reaction of the cousin at the event - pointedly sitting at a different table and ignoring him like a child - can you imagine the uproar if he'd declined to spend it with his partner instead? Poor guy would never have heard the end of it.

The family's reactions tell me pretty much what I need to know about their attitude towards this event.

Honestly, I now have no idea who to feel most sorry for. Nobody comes out of this looking awesome. It sounds like a lot of unhealthy dynamics all round.

Maybe Larry is an awful human being who pigheadedly brought his GF somewhere.

But Aunt doesn't exactly look great either. Who publicly berates another adult instead of just asking them to leave?

And I do have a strong suspicion that a decline from Larry would not exactly have been warmly received either (else why didn't the Aunt just ask him to leave? It's obviously not because she's conflict-averse.). Basically this is starting to sound like the only option that Larry has was to attend, sans GF. And I really don't think much of invitations like that.

Also, we still have no word on whether or not the exclusion of non-cohabiting partners actually affected anybody but Larry.

As I said upthread, my wife has 4 siblings. All but one of them is married. The other one has a GF who he doesn't live with, and who my MIL does not care for. My MIL could host a dinner and say "only married/cohabiting spouses are invited", but the effect of that would be exactly the same as saying, "Ted, don't bring Sarah". And we'd all know why. It would be a judgement couched in reasonable-sounding language so that my MIL has plausible deniability. And I really don't think that plausible deniability should be something that you think about when interacting with your family.

Look, I'm not saying that Larry smells of roses. You don't bring uninvited guests. But he's definitely not the only etiquette offender.





perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #236 on: January 09, 2014, 05:29:56 AM »
I just don't think a time like Thanksgiving is a good time to impose these kinds of limitations. Much like our Christmas over here, I presume it's a time for people who love each other to be together and I think Aunt rudely co-opted the holiday for her own ends and put Larry in an impossible position. I'd even go as far as to say that a gracious hostess should never have put a family member in the position of having to choose between his family and his partner in the first place. I can see this situation being posted on the board from the reverse angle: "My partner's family have invited him for Thanksgiving but deliberately excluded me because they want it to be 'family only' - his cousin has even lectured him prior to the event about how I'm not invited - should he go?" I can imagine the replies that would garner: "Partners come first, your partner should have your back, if he doesn't decline then he's not got your best interests at heart..." Etc. Well, the family's reaction at the event pretty much tells me what the family reaction would have been had Larry declined.

And I don't mean to diss on your friend, OP, but he really doesn't come out of this smelling of roses. First he chastises and lectures Larry prior the event, then he deliberately sits at a different table and ignores him at the event itself. In the OP itself, he also seems to go to great pains to point out how Larry is seeing someone else after a divorce. Given that, I'm inclined to think it's a family judgement of Larry's morals rather than anything else.

Perhaps I am a little biased in this situation. I've been in a relationship with a divorced man whose family did not approve of his divorce - no matter that he was unhappy in the marriage and happier out of it, a 'divorce in the family' was something dreadful. He was *so* scared of rocking the family boat by even admitting to the fact he was seeing someone months afterwards that it wasn't even funny. It became a choice between keeping the relationship and keeping his family. So, suspecting there may be a dynamic like this at play, I'm not going to judge Larry.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 05:31:53 AM by perpetua »

MariaE

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #237 on: January 09, 2014, 06:01:37 AM »
Here's the thing - I can't tell you how many times I've read on here that someone else's rudeness does not justify you being rude in return.

It doesn't matter if the elderly aunt was rude to not invite the girlfriend. It really doesn't. What matters is that she was specifically not invited and Larry brought her anyway. There is not any situation where it is appropriate to bring an uninvited guest, and especially after it was confirmed by several people that she was in fact not invited. It wasn't a misunderstanding - he knew she was not invited and brought her anyway. That is rude by anyone's definition of etiquette.

Was he in a difficult place? Of course. But he had two etiquette-approved choices (come without the girlfriend for a few hours or decline the invitation) and he chose neither.

I completely agree. Whether or not the aunt was rude is a red herring. It doesn't matter. Her being rude doesn't make Larry not-rude. What Larry did was not etiquettely (that ought to be a word!) correct, no matter whether or not we think that he should have been allowed to bring his girlfriend.

There seems to be to be no basis for thinking the family wouldn't have responded well to Larry declining. I think that's a very uncharitable assumption to make. There's a huge difference between not being open towards somebody who brought an uninvited guest, and not graciously accepting that he declined coming at all.
 
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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #238 on: January 09, 2014, 06:10:20 AM »
I'm not going to judge the aunt for telling off Larry - it sounds like she intended to do it in private and the door was left open by mistake. I'm also glad to note she's not quite the helpless old lady I previously imagined being put upon by an ungrateful nephew.

What I'm not sure about was how rude she was in the beginning - it sounds like the family knew this girlfriend was serious and I think previous posters are right about the potential for a bit of family snark about Larry - who would be equally in trouble no matter how he went about getting out of this situation, other than doing exactly what they wanted.

but it doesn't excuse Larry's behaviour - this was a family obligation - possibly an unfair one, but the right thing to do would have been to either fulfil it by showing up alone or take it on the chin for not being present at all. He put his girlfriend right in the middle, which was totally unfair to her.

From her perspective, I honestly don't know what I would have done in her shoes - sneaked out feeling like a criminal for going somewhere I was so obviously not wanted, or if Larry's aunt came back behaving as normal obviously thinking I hadn't heard, pretended I hadn't so as not to embarrass her.

I also agree with other posters that OP's friend was being a bit childish to refuse to speak to Larry, but I can certainly understand the temptation.

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #239 on: January 09, 2014, 06:26:01 AM »
From her perspective, I honestly don't know what I would have done in her shoes - sneaked out feeling like a criminal for going somewhere I was so obviously not wanted, or if Larry's aunt came back behaving as normal obviously thinking I hadn't heard, pretended I hadn't so as not to embarrass her.

Good question. I think I would have left, if possible, then had a long hard talk with Larry afterwards about why family preferences do not trump my feelings as a partner.