Author Topic: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up  (Read 7105 times)

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TootsNYC

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Over on the Family & Children board, GlitterIsMyDrug had this scenario with her New Year's Eve party:

Quote
Then I text one of "Sure I'll make I think, maybe, but I'll totally be there if I can" people. Yes or No. Saying "No I can't make it" won't hurt my feelings. I get "Yes, but could you come and get me?", could I come and...what? How will you get home? No never mind, no I'm not coming to get you, no I'm not sending Partner or one of my other guests to come get you. Our city ran all public transportation until 2am for free, which I told her about and that it was up to her if she wanted to come. She said she'd "let me know", she never came, never called, never texted. I got a text from her this morning apologizing for not coming.

I've been pondering this. I know Glitter isn't the first person to have this happen to her--I've seen it in other posts over the years.

What makes people do this? Why do they think this is reasonable?

I see this as a bit different from the MIL who wants you to pick her up from the train station--you're family, you ask family for help, and some people don't think about taxis, etc., they get a lift to and from airports, etc.

But this is different--it's a guest, and it's the sort of thing where everyone else is expecting to show up under their own steam. What makes people think that a host has any obligation to pick them up?

I have a theory. And I was thinking of Glitter's specific situation, and remembered this:
Quote
Then I text one of "Sure I'll make I think, maybe, but I'll totally be there if I can" people. Yes or No.

I'm wondering if what goes on is that we've begun to redefine hosting and inviting people.

It used to be that hosting was considered a tremendous gift that someone gave you. And you were (and felt!) obligated to reciprocate, so you would invite them somewhere. And you wrote thank-you notes afterward. And you accepted what you were given graciously (unlike the crasher who said, "don't you have any better beer?").

But I've nowadays heard people say, "She wouldn't throw those parties if she didn't want to," and they say, "I have to go to a party."

And one of my favorite hobby horses: Hosts sometimes say "thank you for coming to my party," as if they were a merchant thanking customers for shopping there. (It's my favorite hobby horse because I used to do it, and I've had to consciously stop myself, and instead say, "I'm so glad you could join us," or "it was nice to see you." Subtle, but sometimes semantics matters, and I think it does here.)

And when Glitter followed up with the person who had been so wishywashy (rude in itself), the message she maybe have unknowingly sent was, "It's important to me that you come to my party, so important that I'll go out of my way [i.e., chase an already-iffy, essentially-already-"no" RSVP] to make it happen."
   And so subtly, subliminally, the guest gets the message that their attendance is a big favor for their host. And that's why (again, subtly, subliminally) they think it's reasonable to suggest that their host go to some inconvenience to make it happen.

   When these things come together (or sometimes when only one of these factors in), the guest feels overvalued. (The MIL at the train station may feel overvalued as well, actually--add in that family often feels *obligated* to attend kids' bday parties, etc., so maybe it is very similar, in that the guest feels more valuable than the host.)


What do you think--am I onto something? Is there any truth in my theory?

And if so, how do you head it off?

(One thing that might save you pre-party time is to treat any "iffy" RSVP as an automatic "no," and to never chase them. Though for planners, that's tough! And of course, sometimes you really would like your friend to come!)



lowspark

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 12:06:51 PM »
As far as chasing guests, yeah, I've been in that spot before. More times than I like. I have a particular women-only party every year and *most* people I invite absolutely love it and look forward to the invitations and reply fairly promtly. I mail the invitations via snail mail and give a deadline for replies so if I don't hear from someone, I sort of feel like I have to chase them down.

Because it's one of two situations:
1. A regular attendee who didn't reply. So I gotta wonder, did her invitation get lost? She always replies and usually comes so something is definitely amiss.
2. A new person I've never invited before. Again, gotta make sure the invitation didn't get lost since it's going through the mail and who knows if I messed up the address since it's the first time I've snail-mailed something to this person.

I do put a note on my invitation to this particular party that if you want to be invited next year, you must reply, whether it is affirmative or negative. This makes me feel even more like I have to chase down the delinquents. Their lack of response makes me suspect that something is askew.

However, I do make a note of those who I've chased down if their reply is such that they got the invitation but simply hadn't bothered to acknowledge it. I had one friend who fell into the first category. She came to my party and participated fully and enthusiastically for years. (She lived in another city and used to travel to make the party so I only talked to her occasionally and only saw her when one of us made the trip to visit the other.) I don't know what happened but three years in a row I had to chase her down. Normally I would have stopped after the first time and just scratched her off the list. But she was a good friend and I think she had a lot going on in her life, etc. After the third year, though, I just gave up. I figured she'd contact me if she still wanted to continue the friendship.

Your point about not thanking people for coming to your party, so as not to say that they are doing you a favor, is interesting. I've never thought of it that way. I think that by coming and participating in the event, they are sort of doing you a favor. A party is a success based on the people who come and how much they add by being there. If you throw a party and no one shows up, it ain't gonna be much of a party. So yeah, I do thank my guests for coming. Their presence most definitely added to the favorable outcome of the event.

Figgie

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 12:13:51 PM »
I quit having formal dinner parties.  Not because people failed to RSVP (everyone I invited was very good about that), but because people started treating the meal as if it were a restaurant meal and they could order what they wanted and reject what they didn't want.

I ended up spending way too much time trying to deal with other people's food issues and that pretty much sucked all of the joy out of hosting for me.  The only "hosting" I do nowadays is to provide a place for potlucks.  :)

jaxsue

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 12:26:19 PM »
Count me as someone who is  :o at the request that I pick them up for a party/dinner. It reminds me of a family reunion I was attending that required me to fly from NJ to Toronto. I flew to the big airport, had to rent a car, then drive through a city that, although I've visited a thousand times, is quite different when you're driving it yourself. I got a request - 3rd hand - to pick up a cousin in Toronto, then drive her to the reunion 1 hr north (she has agoraphobia and doesn't drive). Time was also tight, as in every minute was planned out.

Fortunately, my mom agreed that the request was ridiculous (cousin could catch a ride with other people), and I politely declined to pick cousin up. Yes, this is more complicated than picking someone up for a dinner party, but it's the same principle. I could see if the person asking is elderly or has medical issues that make driving difficult, and is close by. But IME the request has seemed rather *special.*

EllenS

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 12:35:23 PM »
I think the blurring of lines between social and business functions is involved here, too.  We see posts on here all the time about hosts or HC's who expect wedding guests to "cover their plate", i.e. pay for their meal with an appropriately priced gift.  And this extends to family charging for cooking a holiday meal, or party invitations that turn out to be MLM sales presentations, or fundraisers, or overgrown "birthday girls" or "birthday boys" who voluntell friends to pay for their dinner in a restaurant.

The restaurant and hotel business is now referred to as "the hospitality industry". Hospitality is not supposed to be an industry.  The greeter in a restaurant is now called a "host" or "hostess," but they are not hosting anything - in fact, they are often the most junior member of staff.  Customers at hotels and restaurants are called "guests", even though they are paying.

Society's expectations toward what it means to be a host or guest are a complete mess.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 01:21:09 PM »
FYI - there is another thread started on the same topic:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=131826.msg3080404#msg3080404

 :)
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 01:28:00 PM »
As a general rule I think it is rude to ask somebody to do something that you can do yourself.  I would be thrown if someone asked me to pick them up and if you are hosting you most likely wouldn't have the time to be someone's chauffeur.

I guess you have to ask yourself a few questions: "Why are they asking?  How important is the event?  Are they an entitled person in general or is this an unusual request?  How important is it that person be there?

For example.....my MIL can drive but likes to have someone pick her up an drop her off from family events like birthdays, holidays etc.  My SIL and myself think it's kind of entitled but DH and his brother don't seem to mind doing it so fine.  Because of this I can see how there could be a sense of "This party will not happen without me and someone will be jumping through hoops to make sure I'm there" with some people....because we've made it happen that way.  I know that if someone told my MIL ( she's not a bad person...but she is a little high maintenance and needy ) that she had to get herself to a family event not only would she not attend but there would be hell to pay.

I guess if you don't want to set a precedent don't even entertain the notion because yes....some people do overvalue themselves.

Honestly it would be a case by case basis for me.  I won't say I would never do it....but I sure wouldn't want to project an air of desperation either.

As far as thanking your guests for coming though....I don't see a problem.  They made the time and effort to attend so yeah....I do appreciate that.


jaxsue

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 01:28:49 PM »
FYI - there is another thread started on the same topic:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=131826.msg3080404#msg3080404

 :)

And this is one of the biggest problems with not having a "search" option. Mods, will that option ever come back?

lowspark

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2014, 01:30:37 PM »
I think it's back.
But really, although the two threads are titled similarly and are a spin off of the same original thread, the discussions are aimed in two different directions.

DCGirl

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 01:38:06 PM »
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.

MrTango

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 01:43:57 PM »
If I invited someone to an event and they asked me if I could pick them up, my response would come down to two relatively simple questions:
1) Do I value their presence more than I dislike the inconvenience of picking them up?
2) Will I be able to pick them up without negatively impacting my preparation for the event?

If the answer to either question is "No," then that's the answer I give to the person.

The one person who nearly always gets a "Yes" answer to question #1 is my nephew who is 18, but does not drive and lives in an area where there is very little public transit.  If his mother isn't coming to an event I'm hosting and I'm able to make it work, then either LadyTango or I will pick him up.

One other thing I want to comment on: The OP seems to put a lot of effort into tracking people down.  I'm not saying that it's wrong of her to do that, but I feel it's unnecessary.  If I don't hear back from someone by my deadline, I assume that they aren't coming and plan accordingly.

bah12

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 02:03:19 PM »
For picking people up for a party, I guess I don't see anything wrong with stating that a ride is needed for attendance.  It really annoys me when people complain that they have limitations (car isn't working, no babysitter, etc), but don't really do anything to change it.  So, if I invited someone to a party and they had transportation issues, I wouldn't be offended if they said "I'd love to come, but unfortunately my car is in the shop and I don't have a way to get there.  Do you know of someone else that's coming that could possibly pick me up on the way or would you be able to give me a ride if it doesn't interfere with your planning?"  As long as they accept "no" as an answer, I dont' see an issue with asking.  Sure, I wouldn't like it if someone called me up the day of and said "come get me at 7", but my friends just aren't like that (those kinds of people wouldn't have been invited to my party to begin with).

As for the non-commital ones, my parties usually don't require that I have exact 'yeses' or 'nos' so I pretty much ignore the one person who can't figure out if they want to come or not (again, I don't have the experience that my friends are like this all the time).  I do remember many many moons ago when DH and I were receiving RSVPs for our wedding and one of the guests responded positively to coming and indicated a +1 (maybe).  It was DHs friend so I just had him call the offending party up and say that since we were catering/paying by the head we kind of needed a definite on that plus one. This person indicated that they were hoping to find a date before the wedding, but considering they didn't have one before the RSVP deadline, they'd just come solo.  There was no arguments, no whining, nothing. 

Finally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with thanking people for coming to a party.  Maybe I don't do parties right (and I don't care), but I don't really see my hosting as some great sacrifice/gift on my part and don't expect reciprocation.  Just like any gift (if we use that analogy), I give it because I want to and not to get something in return.  I thank people for coming to my parties, because I'm thankful for their time and their company. I enjoy my parties just as much as the next person and part of what makes them enjoyable is the quality of the people that attend them.  They thank me for the invite, I thank them for coming and we all end up happy.  I really think that when hosting gets to the point that it stresses you out and makes you resent your friends for not being appreciative enough is the time that you either need a new group of friends or you need to take a break from hosting.  Just my opinion.   

Raintree

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2014, 03:07:44 PM »
I have a dear friend who assumed I would go pick her up when I invited her for dinner. I gently explained that I would be busy getting dinner ready, and she did manage to get there on her own steam. We live in a city that is safe for walking and also has plenty of public transportation. I did drive her home as it was late, and the "party" consisted of just her and me. But generally I think the onus is on the guest to figure out how to get to and from the party. And it's OK to ask to hop in with another guest who is going your way, IMO, as long as you don't complain they are leaving too soon or too late and you are ready when they are ready and generally don't cause them extra hassle.

I once organized a larger gathering in a place that was admittedly a bit complicated to get to. Still, I thought everyone would should be perfectly capable of figuring out how to get themselves there given the directions and transportation options I outlined on the Facebook invitation. Most people managed just fine. But I was subjected to one person messaging me with, "Nobody wants to carpool with me; I don't want to drive out there on my own, how will I get there, I don't want to go X way or Y way, oh woe is me, I asked Susie to carpool and I couldn't get an answer...." People!!! I'm busy putting this party together; find a way to get yourselves there or decline, but don't involve me in these exhausting details. Incidentally, Susie showed up on her own steam using public transportation.

YummyMummy66

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2014, 03:24:19 PM »
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.

In this case, honeslty, I think the host/hostess should be made aware of this situation if not already aware of it and how this person makes her guests uncomfortable.  The hostess needs to tell her guest that if she wishes to attend the event, she needs to have arrangements to and from the party and not put her other guests on the spot.

DCGirl

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Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2014, 03:59:16 PM »
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.

In this case, honeslty, I think the host/hostess should be made aware of this situation if not already aware of it and how this person makes her guests uncomfortable.  The hostess needs to tell her guest that if she wishes to attend the event, she needs to have arrangements to and from the party and not put her other guests on the spot.

If it happens again next year, I definitely will.  Because we did it once in the past, she seems to think that makes us just that much more willing to do it again.   I lost count of how many times I said, "I'm afraid that won't be possible" this year.