Can I just say how much I love the links?
Overdue update: I did end up missing the birthday party because my daughter got sick, so about a week later I contacted Megan to see if she'd like to have a playdate. We met up later that week at a playground near her house.
Since this thread had confirmed to me that I'm not a crazy person, I had decided to be more direct with her if she brought up the birthday party again. I really think I equivocated a lot when she asked me the first time, in part because I didn't want to hurt her feelings and in part because I was kind of stunned by the question.
The kids played together for about an hour, but turns out she didn't bring up the party at all. However, she did ask if it would be possible for me to make a slight change to the time when I host the playgroup at my house. She was only asking to move the time by 30 minutes, and she was very clear that if that didn't work then she totally understood. I'm not sure how to convey the tone, but she was very polite and I could tell she would genuinely have understood if my own schedule made the change impossible.
I told her that I was pretty sure that would work for us, and that I wanted them to be able to come, and also mentioned that I was going to send out an invitation for the next week's playgroup that evening. She thanked me. So, that evening when I sent out the invitation, I went ahead and made the half-hour time change that she had asked about. Maybe an hour later, I received this text:
"Hi Zora! Just wanted to let you know not to worry about changing the time of the group for us, I signed daughter up for swimming classes that day of the week."
So . . . I was pretty . . . miffed by that exchange. She has just seemed so anxious to get to know people, and especially to establish a network of friends within religious community for her family. I was baffled that she would ask me to change the time for her because she "really wanted to attend" the group, and then hours later go "meh, I'd rather do swim classes at that time."
However, upon contemplation, I think she's just a person with a really unusual social blind spot, in that she seems to have NO IDEA how to make friends with people that are new to her (as opposed to people with whom she has some automatic connection - family, friend of family, etc). She has continued to contact me, so I think she just doesn't have an idea how she's coming across, or of certain social norms in general, if that makes sense. I know she has only lived in her home city, and in a second city where she had a huge family, so I'm sympathetic to the fact that she's alone and trying to make friends on her own for the first time as an adult in her thirties. The real problem, in my opinion, is that she doesn't know what she doesn't know, if that makes sense. As an aside, she also ended up purchasing a house is SUPER far away from where I live.
So anyway, I'll continue to try and be welcoming to her, but frankly given the distance I think more likely that she'll start getting to know people who live closer to her.