Author Topic: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee  (Read 5345 times)

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Arila

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The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« on: April 28, 2014, 04:25:27 PM »
My husband and I as well as my sister and her boyfriend are all part of a group that frequently likes to get together for various activities at someoneís home. Invites are typically issued by email, but the genesis of the group was in a public Meet Up where anyone could join, so there may be some carry over of attitudes which explains (but does not excuse) the following.

ďAĒ issued the usual invitation to an email list of approximately 9 people, and issued a second-hand invitation to one personís girlfriend whose email he didnít have. Significant others are usually specifically invited, but in some cases they do not attend because of a lack of interest in the activity. This is the case for Bís wife. (I have met her one time in ~4 years, despite B hosting many times in their home.) Typically all RSVPs are by reply-all.

The last two invitations, B has responded for ďC and IĒ and also added her to the To: line (so he could not have missed the exclusion). C is not invited. C is not his wife. We are all pretty sure that B and C are having an affair. They have denied it in the past, but if not in the traditional (hah!) sense, he is at least spending more time with her socially than he does with his own wife, including arriving and departing in the same car to several events per week, and many overnight out of town trips (they both participate in a coed sport together). We have several divorcees in our group, so it isnít that we hold that against him, just the one foot in, one foot out approach that he seems to be taking.

Add to the above that, A, the host doesnít particularly care for C. Neither does at least half of the guest list. For most people the problem with C is that we tend to be a bit of a sarcastic lot, and C simply doesn't *get* sarcasm. This is but one example of how her personality just doesn't click with the group. There are many others.  C has earned much of her reputation based on her own ďmeritsĒ, but more impactful for me, is that C took advantage of my sister financially (over $1000, perhaps as much as $3k). Their arrangement did not end on particularly friendly terms, and my sister has declined to make ďpublicĒ amongst the group the nitty gritty details of the fiasco. The extent of general knowledge is "C and Sister used to be friendly and then fell out" without any knowledge of the reasons.

The possibility of her attendance to similar things (apparently her not being invited is no guarantee!) is really uncomfortable, which makes RSVPs difficult, and when we canít manage to avoid her, she ALSO doesnít *get* when we are standoffish. (Example: Months after their falling out, C and my sister were at the same event, and C made a big show of being friendly and hugging her repeatedly, despite a somewhat chilly reception from my sister). It is very difficult to avoid her without being rude ourselves, or creating drama.

My sister is somewhat relieved that this is happening on Aís watch, honestly, because it will be up to A to decide if he will start to treat them as a social unit (SO ICKY! Heís still MARRIED!), tell B straight up to stop adding her, or stop inviting B. When we host ourselves, we have gone with the last option, no longer inviting B. Itís somewhat disappointing, because before he took up with C, he was a great addition to a guest list and I had previously looked forward to seeing him.



So, on to the questions:

When I am a guest, I donít suppose there is anything that I can say or do to make her not want to attend? For hosts who are a bit more laid back and donít invite her but also donít make it clear that sheís not invited when the above occurs, is there any way to say that she and I are on a mutually exclusive guest list? To what extent (if any) can I make my wish for her to not be seen or heard by me (she is also loud!) clear, if at all?  If this were one event, I would totally just suck it up, but this represents a significant portion of our social life. I donít wish to be ďmeanĒ or the bad guy. Is that an impossible situation? Is there a tactic to be used jointly by my sister and I which could achieve these ends? (If, perhaps I were to put on my protective big-sister hat and say to hosts, without mentioning gossipy details that there was not merely a falling out, but that C had injured my sister, and she -and by extension I and our SOís- do not wish to associate with her?)

TootsNYC

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 04:34:25 PM »
As a guest, you have a responsibility to other guests to not make scenes. That's why the Cut Direct is considered to be a Big Deal.

It used to be that "you cheated my sister out of money and are dishonorable" was a reason to do this.
   You'll have fallout, and it might be unpleasant to everyone else. If they don't understand or agree with your reasons, they may judge you.

There are other levels of "cutting" someone.

You can avoid her like the plague. You can say, "Hmm," and wander off, or go to the bathroom, when she approaches your group.

You can even be a little stern or abrupt when you do this, since you consider her to be a cheat. And it would still be  not as uncomfortable for everyone as the Cut Direct.


As for being on a mutually exclusive guest list--
  You can leave when she arrives, first stopping by the host to say, "I'm sorry to leave--I regard C as a cheat and a dishonorable person, so I never attend any party that she is at. If I'd known you had invited her, or that she was coming, I would have told you earlier and stayed home. That's how strongly I feel about it. Goodbye."
   This then becomes their advance warning.

But you may find that no one else is going to exclude B, and no one is going to tell him he can't bring C. If you essentially ask them to choose, they're going to choose B and C instead of you. Because, they'll keep inviting you, and they'll tell themselves it's your problem, that you are the one with the problem.

Your sister could reveal all of the details about the financial transaction in hopes of getting everyone to understand and agree with your reasoning. That leaves you (sorry for the slight legal tanget; I just want to mention -that- there may be an issue) possibly open for slander. And it leaves you, etiquettewise, open for some negative judgment. People don't react well to this sort of stuff--they consider it to be airing of dirty laundry or gossiping.

Mikayla

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2014, 05:58:56 PM »

When I am a guest, I donít suppose there is anything that I can say or do to make her not want to attend? For hosts who are a bit more laid back and donít invite her but also donít make it clear that sheís not invited when the above occurs, is there any way to say that she and I are on a mutually exclusive guest list?

First, you have my sympathies.  She sounds awful.  (Who doesn't get sarcastic humor?!)

But I think your logic starts to go a little south here and you may end up with some unintended consequences.  The good news is it sounds like things are trending in your "direction", but not everyone will be on your exact timetable.   If you try to tell a host of an upcoming event that C and you are on a mutually exclusive guest list, you could easily put this person in a really tough spot.   You're asking them to choose between you and B. 

I also think it could be a mistake to try to join forces with your sister.  All of you are adults and any host/hostess is free to set any guest list they want.  When it's your turn, you can decide on your own if you'd rather exclude B altogether, or invite him but just make it clear C isn't welcome in your home.

So I think it's better to lead by example rather than force the issue.  If most people don't like her, it sounds like it's inevitable she won't last too long.

bah12

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 06:51:30 PM »
When I am a guest, I donít suppose there is anything that I can say or do to make her not want to attend? For hosts who are a bit more laid back and donít invite her but also donít make it clear that sheís not invited when the above occurs, is there any way to say that she and I are on a mutually exclusive guest list? To what extent (if any) can I make my wish for her to not be seen or heard by me (she is also loud!) clear, if at all?  If this were one event, I would totally just suck it up, but this represents a significant portion of our social life. I donít wish to be ďmeanĒ or the bad guy. Is that an impossible situation? Is there a tactic to be used jointly by my sister and I which could achieve these ends? (If, perhaps I were to put on my protective big-sister hat and say to hosts, without mentioning gossipy details that there was not merely a falling out, but that C had injured my sister, and she -and by extension I and our SOís- do not wish to associate with her?)

To answer your questions directly:
There is a lot you can do or say to make her not want to attend...but all of them will be rude.  You are a guest and as long as the host allows her to attend his event, the only choice you have is whether or not you choose to attend knowing that.

I'm not sure what you mean about being on a mutually exclusive guest list.  If you're asking whether or not it would be ok to ask your friends not to invite both of you to the same event, my answer is 'no.'  You are an adult and I think perfectly capable of managing your own relationships without help or interference from your friends.  Again, if you don't want to be at the same event as she is, then it's up to you to decline the invitation. 

I also don't understand what kind of request you can make (and to whom) that you never have to see or hear from her.  You don't like her. I get it.  But if you can't stand being around her at all, you need to take steps to avoid her.  It's not ok to drag others into it.  And I do think that you need to be prepared for how you will act around her and react to her when you do see her, because it sounds like she socializes in your same circle and 100% avoidance may not be possible.  And I don't think ganging up on her with your sister is good form either.

My advice is this:  It's fine not to like her, but assuming that she is dating your friend (I'd be careful about accusing them of an affair though...that's  a huge accusation to make), you have some choices. Either stop socializing with him or learn how to deal with her.  You can also certainly choose not to go to any party that she's invited to, but I don't think that hurts anyone but you.  If you know that there's no way you can deal with her, then for your own sake, that may be the best choice, but I would encourage you to figure out how to be in the same space as her and how you'll react to her in a way that doesn't cause drama if you want to keep your same set of friends.  I wouldn't worry too much if she does something to cause drama...that's on her.  Don't let her drag you down too.

Cherry91

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 07:26:22 PM »
Personally, I think the most important thing is to respect your sister's privacy. She doesn't want the details of her and C's issues discussed, and if you make a big show of disliking C, that's exactly what will happen.

Be distant, don't let her try to hug you or draw you into conversation, but if you're overly unfriendly, the fallout could effect your sister.

Arila

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 12:14:43 PM »
Honestly, I'm OK with not attending when she's there. It may be amplified by my general dislike, but every 5 minutes she is doing something which is like nails on a chalkboard to me. As I suspected, there's really no good answers.  I just thought that someone more etiquettely clever than me could determine the right course, given that etiquette was also supposedly useful in bringing people into alignment with expectations, since they are breaking some fundamental rules...The answer, it seems is that if I were the host I would have options, but since I am not, I don't, except to decline as my first, timely response to the initial invitation.


Something funny -- I read the other day on another social media site: "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." I laughed, because I thought, "Boy, some people on eHell should take that to heart." Oh, the irony! Haha

TootsNYC

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 01:37:56 PM »
Quote
.The answer, it seems is that if I were the host I would have options, but since I am not, I don't, except to decline as my first, timely response to the initial invitation.

I don't think that's true. I think you can go, and then leave if she arrives.
Maybe you'll decide you don't want to explain to your host that you're avoiding her--pretty high drama quotient, that--but you can certainly quietly make your excuses and leave.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 01:55:07 PM »
In the interest of not making waves, as a host, I would just stop inviting B.  If someone else then invites B, who then invites C, I'd tell someone that I really wish they hadn't done that.  And at that point, I'd have to call B and tell him that while he is welcome, C is not.

As a guest at someone else's event, I wouldn't employ the cut direct, although I do think C is completely worthy of a cut direct from you and your sister.  What I would do is that any time she tried to engage me in conversation, I would suddenly need to use the bathroom or get a drink or get some more food.  When I came back from my errand, I'd join a different conversational group.  And any attempted hugs would get a hand up and a forceful, 'Do not touch me.'

I'd do my best not to make it awkward for the other guests but I wouldn't put up with her nonsense, either.  If she continued to hound me, I would make my excuses to the host and head home.  And if that meant that the group chose B over me for the next event?  I'd have to live with that.
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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2014, 02:01:17 PM »
given that etiquette was also supposedly useful in bringing people into alignment with expectations, since they are breaking some fundamental rules...

I am not sure what you mean by that. If you mean because B brings C when C wasn't invited - that is something for the host to bring up. If you mean they are having an affair - that goes a lot deeper then who gets invited to a party and is generally not something that other people can stop. All you can do is stop associating with them. Ultimately you can't change anyone else - all you can do is change your reactions to them.

TootsNYC

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2014, 02:28:24 PM »
One of the things about etiquette--it can't really bring people into alignment with expectations, because it has relatively little force.

There is no higher authority to come along and order people around, and impose consequences.

Individuals can impose their own consequences--stiff-arming a hugger, saying sharp things to them, avoiding them, refusing to invite them, giving them the cold shoulder.

But the only strength that etiquette has is in the voluntary participation of people, and perhaps in the peer pressure that a bunch of like-minded people can impose.

SamiHami

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2014, 02:38:08 PM »
You don't know for certain that they are having an affair...you just think they do based on observations of their behavior. Therefore, there is no reason at all for to refrain from saying, every time you see them, "B! How good to see you. Hey, how is your wife? We really need to get together sometime, just us couples and do something." or "I saw X at a store that made me think of your wife! She is just such a lovely woman. You really are lucky to have her! Why don't you ever bring her along to these get togethers! We all just love her so much and wish she would come out with us more!"

Quite frankly I think B and C are both horrible people. Cheaters, and those that willingly get involved with cheaters, are both beneath contempt.

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Arila

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2014, 02:59:49 PM »
given that etiquette was also supposedly useful in bringing people into alignment with expectations, since they are breaking some fundamental rules...

I am not sure what you mean by that. If you mean because B brings C when C wasn't invited - that is something for the host to bring up. If you mean they are having an affair - that goes a lot deeper then who gets invited to a party and is generally not something that other people can stop. All you can do is stop associating with them. Ultimately you can't change anyone else - all you can do is change your reactions to them.

I meant just the invitation scenario, really. I agree with you that people who are willing to have an affair probably won't suddenly see the light because I give them a withering stare.

Deetee

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2014, 04:08:29 PM »
I think you've got the right attitude as a host by not inviting B anymore.

As a guest you are much more limited because you have accepted hospitality and you have an obligation to be civil to fellow guests. Here you have 3 reasons to dislike her.

1) She cheated your sister on a financial transaction.

2) She is involved in an (alleged, but at least emotional) affair

3) She is just an annoying person who doesn't mesh with the group

So while she is an unpleasant person, your actions are limited to a quiet coolness while you are both guests. You can't shun her in someone's home. You can refuse to attend events if she is there. You can mention to the host that you will not attend events if she is there (but in an informational way, not a threatening way)

katycoo

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2014, 10:35:32 PM »
Are you certain its an affair, and that B simply has separated from his wife?

gramma dishes

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Re: The Unwanted Second-Hand Invitee
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2014, 11:02:13 PM »
...   Significant others are usually specifically invited, but in some cases they do not attend because of a lack of interest in the activity. This is the case for Bís wife. (I have met her one time in ~4 years, despite B hosting many times in their home.) ...

I appreciate the awkwardness of your situation, but this sentence keeps coming back into my head.  If you've only met his wife once in roughly four years, it sounds like she really doesn't want too much to do with your group of friends either.  Not that that excuses his having an affair of any kind if he's still married!  But it does raise a question mark in my mind.

I agree with your own ultimate suggestions to yourself and those of others in previous posts.  You can just not invite B when you are hosting and if you must see him with his new whatever at other social events you can either ignore them or just get up and leave.  If she's as grating as your description of her has indicated, I expect other hosts will eventually follow your lead and stop inviting him (and therefore her) too. 

But I wouldn't go so far as to tell future hosts the line about "If she's going to be there, I'm not coming."  Sounds a bit too junior high.  Not to DO it (-- not go), but to announce it in advance.  It would put your host in a very ugly position.  Whatever decision he/she/they make has to be because THEY made that choice on their own, not because someone or even lots of someones threatened not to come if they didn't approve of the guest list.