Author Topic: everyone at work is invited, except for me - but I'm expected to give a gift....  (Read 11399 times)

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sammycat

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I can see the graduate's motivation for consulting with other co-workers. Runningstar said she seldom works with GCW. I can easily see a conversation that goes like:

GCW to imbecile CWs: I'm planning my party and wanted to invite everyone from work, but I hardly know Runnigstar since we seldom work together. Do you think she'd find it odd to be invited?
imbecile CWs: Oh, no. She doesn't like these types of things. I wouldn't worry about inviting her. She doesn't socialize with the rest of us.
GCW: Oh, ok. Thanks for the heads up.

I can see this happening BUT I would still err on the side of caution and invite her anyway.  With 250+ guests it's not as though one more is going to make much difference.

To invite all my other coworkers but not one, despite having a limited working relationship, just seems mean. And honestly, I'd probably be side eying someone who told me to deliberately exclude one person.

See, I would err on the side of caution and /not/ invite someone I didn't know very well. Especially for something like a graduation, where in my circles a gift is expected. I'd be thinking "This person doesn't even /know/ me, why would they care about me graduating? They'd probably just think that I want more cash!" No matter how nice you are, I'd feel like a heel inviting you, for no apparent reason, to a gifting event. I'd not invite you (and I could see myself checking with people that I thought knew you better) and make plans on inviting you to my next non-gift function.

We may have to agree to disagree on this. :)

I'd rather receive an invitation to something and think "huh? why did s/he invite me to this?" than discover that I was the only person out of an entire group not invited (barring toxicity between 2 people). 

I can't say I've ever received an invitation and immediately jumped to the gift grab train of thought. The present (if required) is usually low down on the ladder after things such as availability, overall desire to attend etc.

In this particular situation I'd either think "that's nice of coworker to invite me to her event. Maybe she wants us to become better acquainted" or, if I thought it was strange, I'd just think "weird", and then RSVP no gracefully. 

As it stands now, graduate doesn't come out looking too good at excluding one person, even if she is being used as a pawn by the other coworkers.

Runningstar

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After reading your update, my first question to you is; if you would have been invited, would you have gone to the party?

If so, then I think you need to talk to the grad directly at this point.  "Grad, do you mind if we chat?  I think there has been a misunderstanding.   I would love to come to your grad party if you will still have me.  I don't know why said co-workers are saying that I would have not wanted to attend.  Is the invite still open?".   

I am not good at wording, so I am sure someone can word it better.  But, it seems that someone needs to stop all the go between the grad and your co-workers on a situation that everyone has you involved in, but not really involving you, kwim?

If you do not want to go, then I would tell co-workers, if the subject is brought up again, that they should not speak for you and that you have no intentions of providing a gift for an event that you were not invited to, and unless I am getting paid, I will not be making said pastries for said event.

If I had been invited I probably would have gone if I was able to, and if I wasn't I'd have sent a gift.   Now?  No way would I go, even if an invitation would be given, as I'd see it as a pity/duty invite.  These co-workers and boss have been very nice for the last 5 years, but I admit that I'm hurt over this.   

Runningstar

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Thank you all for your replies!  I am actually feeling better about this as I'm prepared to use my e-hell responses now.  It was just the shock of this and I didn't have a chance to process it privately.  It occurred to me that 250 guests might be the maximum that wherever this event is being held can hold and that it was not a personal issue so much as a numbers thing.  Which would have been fine with me - if that or some reason along that line would have been given. 
The way it has been handled has made it extremely awkward.  If nothing had been said about it, I'd have most likely not been upset as I really would have understood that GCW and I are not close.  Work today will be very busy anyways as we have a huge order, so there won't be time for chats. 

weeblewobble

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Oh, how nice that they're worried that the aftereffects of their rudeness and presumption are now making GCW uncomfortable. It strikes me as mind-bogglign that they are showing absolutely no concern for your feelings. I hate to use the B word, but this sounds like bullying.

I would just ignore all future references to the party.  And if coworkers ask you if you are getting GCW a gift, just give them a dumbfounded look and ask, "Why would I give a gift for a party I'm not invited to?"  And then continue to play dumb. And I don't think I would accept a last minute invite, either. Have other plans.  This whole thing has been handled in stunningly bad way by both your meddling coworkers and GCW, who should have just asked you directly if you were interested in attending instead of relying on her gossipy coworkers.  She may be graduating, but she needs to grow up a little.

hopeful4

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I don't know about your graduating coworker but if it were me, I would be very uncomfortable receiving a gift from someone I don't know well and was thinking about inviting but was talked out of doing so.   That would be awkward.

bopper

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In this position, you have to accept are not invited. THe OP is cool with that.

Also, like everyone has said, of course you do not need to give a gift. If you are not close enough to be invited, you are not close enough to give a gift.

You don't need to say anything except "Have a good time!" and "Congratulations!". Don't say anything about gifts.

If anyone mentions your lack of giving a gift afterward, you say "Seriously? If a person is not close enough to the guest of honor to be invited to their party, why would they be expecting a gift?  I totally get that we are not that close and she has space constraints. No problems. But don't come back to me and ask where the gift is."

TootsNYC

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I don't know about your graduating coworker but if it were me, I would be very uncomfortable receiving a gift from someone I don't know well and was thinking about inviting but was talked out of doing so.   That would be awkward.

And I think this GCW would also be uncomfortable with it. She's already uncomfortable with the "talking about the party in front of her" idea. And tried even to be discreet about -that-, since saying, "hey guys, let's not talk bout the party in front of Runningstar, bcs she's not invited," would be rubbing salt in the wound. And she's reported (by the cretins, so take that with a grain of salt--not the same salt, though, LOL!) to have said, "It's not about the gift," when pondering whether to invite Runningstar.

So if the gift comes up, absolutely, you can say, "It would be so awkward for GCW, since she didn't invite me to the party. If I give her a gift, it's going to make her feel really bad."


Trogdor

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This may be a bit cynical, but given that the company OP works for is catering this event, is it possible that rudeboss and CW engineered things so that the OP would be free to work the event? If everyone else is going, who is going to deliver/set up/attend to/clean up the pastries?

JeanFromBNA

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I think you could just line up the EHell phrases and use them one after another:

They want you to do a day of unpaid work for a party to which you aren't invited? 'I'm sorry, that won't be possible.'

They say you'll be giving a gift? 'Why would I want to do that?'

They told her you wouldn't want to go to her party? 'What an interesting assumption,' and 'how kind of you to take an interest'.

They're talking about the party? Bean dip, very pointedly, about some completely irrelevant subject.

They don't stop talking about the party? Dead silence, particularly if they address you on the subject.

This is pretty much exactly what I was thinking.  And that I was glad that I didn't need to worry about socializing with these dolts.

You've been there for five years (which makes what they did even worse - I was thinking that you were a recent hire, which could partly explain what they said because they didn't know you).  Maybe it's time to move on?

Cherry91

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This may be a bit cynical, but given that the company OP works for is catering this event, is it possible that rudeboss and CW engineered things so that the OP would be free to work the event? If everyone else is going, who is going to deliver/set up/attend to/clean up the pastries?

You know, now you've said it... it fits.

I know it's not always easy if you're not that extroverted, but I'd be making it pretty clear I had no intentions of getting a gift, but then that's because nothing makes me dig my heels in harder than attempts to railroad.

LifeOnPluto

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For me, the worst part of this, is how the boss and co-workers talked about the party in front of the OP. Then afterwards, they basically told the OP "Ha ha, whoopsies, weren't we all just so rude, talking about the party in front of you, when you aren't invited?"

OP, I would have looked them in the eye and said "Actually yes. You WERE rude for doing that."

Going forward, this is what I'd do:

1. Speak to your boss/co-workers when the graduate is not around. Tell them "Just for the record, I would have been glad to have attended GCW's party. I have no idea why you think that I don't like parties. That is simply untrue. If this ever happens again, please do not presume to speak on my behalf. Tell the person to just invite me, and let me make up my own mind."

2. If you haven't done so already, congratulate GCW, and make it clear that you wish her well. You don't have to bring up the party (unless she does), but let her know that you have no ill-will toward her.

3. Be on your guard at work. Frankly, if something like this happened to me, I'd never be able to look at these co-workers the same way ever again, no matter how "nice" they'd been over the last 5 years. I'd be wary of them in future. I certainly wouldn't be as warm and friendly towards them.

I also wondered this:

This may be a bit cynical, but given that the company OP works for is catering this event, is it possible that rudeboss and CW engineered things so that the OP would be free to work the event? If everyone else is going, who is going to deliver/set up/attend to/clean up the pastries?

OP, you should do what you feel comfortable with, but I can tell you there's no way in heck that I'd be helping to cater this party. I can easily imagine your boss and co-workers trying to guilt you into helping ("Come on, Runningstar, don't you want to do something nice for GCW? You really aren't being much of a team player by refusing!") but I'd stand firm, and tell them you have "other plans" that day.

Otterpop

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Your co-workers sound so grade-school.  Five years working there?!   That's long enough to be worthy of inclusion, especially since OP is the only person from the entire company to be excluded.  It sounds like someone has a personal beef or the group made a big faux-pas and are digging the hole deeper (as people usually do).

As a younger employee, I would have let this event pass and silently be hurt.  I'd be professional and distant to everyone after this and start looking for other employment.  As a 40 something now, I'm more inclined to speak my mind.  No sense feeling the hurt and shame when it so clearly belongs to your coworkers.

I would have a private talk with GCW and tell her that it would have been nice to have been invited.  Coworkers should not have spoken for you and it's painful to be the only one excluded, but what's done is done.  Wish her well and go on professionally from there.  No gift, no card, no explanation necessary.

So sorry you have to deal with this Runningstar.  The event and the feelings will pass.  Hopefully your co-workers will deal better with you in the future, or, you will have more quality co-workers in the future.  Either way, YOU have done NOTHING wrong here.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 10:53:55 AM by Otterpop »

whatsanenigma

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I'd rather receive an invitation to something and think "huh? why did s/he invite me to this?" than discover that I was the only person out of an entire group not invited (barring toxicity between 2 people). 

I can't say I've ever received an invitation and immediately jumped to the gift grab train of thought. The present (if required) is usually low down on the ladder after things such as availability, overall desire to attend etc.

In this particular situation I'd either think "that's nice of coworker to invite me to her event. Maybe she wants us to become better acquainted" or, if I thought it was strange, I'd just think "weird", and then RSVP no gracefully. 

As it stands now, graduate doesn't come out looking too good at excluding one person, even if she is being used as a pawn by the other coworkers.

I agree with this.  Especially in the case where literally everyone is invited.  Some would be  close enough to want to give an expensive gift, perhaps, while some would not feel close, but the feelings would range widely.  If someone

I did not know very well but had no negative feelings toward invited me to something like this, I would probably use it as a chance to try to get to know them better by giving a card and maybe a token gift (I'm talking something small enough to fit in a card, probably, like along the lines of a bookmark). 

But that would be under normal circumstances, and the circumstances of the OP are, to put it charitably, weird.

And, believe it or not, given the other posts I have been making here, I really, really do agree with this last sentence.  If only some co-workers were invited, that would be one thing, and easily explained by her knowing some better than others, an attempt to keep the guest list manageable, or any number of other reasons as suggested by other posters.

But this? This looks awful.  She really doesn't come out looking good at all.

And for exactly that reason, I would suggest that the OP try to see what's going on.  If GCW is just naive and has somehow been manipulated into this, it's not very kind to her to tar her with the same brush as the other co-workers.  It isn't required, but I think it would be kind to somehow address her privately with at least a card, and help her to understand how badly what she did could be taken.   And that there aren't any hard feelings.

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that GCW is just a "mean girl" by nature and she found some other mean girls and was in her element and they all had great fun messing with the OP.  I don't get that sense, but of course it is possible.  But that would be something OP could find out for herself with a private talk.  Even if there isn't time for one before the actual party. 

And I agree also with all of the other advice about "watch your back".  Something weird went down here.  It needs to be paid attention to.  It isn't necessary to freak out and jump to any conclusions.  But I think attention needs to be paid.

Raintree

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I think it's pretty bad that the BOSS advised GCW to exclude one person. What kind of work environment is she trying to manage here? Boss should have stayed out of it. Coworkers should have stayed out of it. GCW should have decided her own guest list. If she was special friends with 1 out of 5 coworkers, fine. If she was friends with 4 out of 25 coworkers, fine. But inviting 4 out of 5, including (I think) the boss, that's pretty bad.

whatsanenigma

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I think it's pretty bad that the BOSS advised GCW to exclude one person. What kind of work environment is she trying to manage here? Boss should have stayed out of it. Coworkers should have stayed out of it. GCW should have decided her own guest list. If she was special friends with 1 out of 5 coworkers, fine. If she was friends with 4 out of 25 coworkers, fine. But inviting 4 out of 5, including (I think) the boss, that's pretty bad.

Very good point.  I wasn't remembering that the boss was involved in this.

The involvement of the boss would go a long way to explain the actions of GCW, actually.  Maybe she would have thought it was "off" and not gone along with it if it had only been co-workers, but the word of the boss carries more weight.

ETA: And also, it gives more weight to what others have said above-OP, watch your back!