Author Topic: HELP! When guests don't get along...  (Read 2769 times)

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MetalChick

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HELP! When guests don't get along...
« on: May 04, 2009, 02:56:47 PM »
What do you do when guests don't like each other?

BF and I are planning a party next month. We have two friends who don't get along (they dated the same guy). We're friends with them both, so I'd really like to invite them.

I know this is a common snag that comes up when planning a party, so I'm curious to hear other people's opinions.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 03:25:06 PM by MetalChick »

Xallanthia

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Re: When guests don't get along
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 03:02:48 PM »
If it's a small gathering, pick one and save yourself the heartache.  Or pick neither.

If it's a large gathering, large enough that they'd never have to speak, remind each that the other will be there, let them know that you won't be offended if they don't want to come to a party where the other will be, and tell them straight up that you expect them to behave or they WILL be asked to leave.

Then stick to it.

Worked well enough for me in high school, anyway.

Nornster

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Re: When guests don't get along
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 03:07:22 PM »
Maybe mention when you're inviting each one that the other will be invited, too.  If the invitee replies, "Oh, I really don't like X, I'll just have to avoid her," I'd think you'd be okay.  If she replies, "Oh, you'd better keep her away from me, or I'm likely to get all ignorant," I'd just say, "Oh, then it's probably best for you not to come after all, if you don't think you can be in the same room as her and stay civil."  If they BOTH say something along the lines of "I'm not coming if so-and-so is" better for NEITHER to get invited.

Now, if they both sound like they'll be behaved when you inform them of your guest list, and one does her best to avoid the other, but one goes out of her way to try to start something, then you'd know which one not to invite to your next party.  Of course, that does run the risk of drama at this party.

Sorry, I don't have any great solutions...just spitballin' here.

Lisbeth

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 03:30:20 PM »
I wouldn't tell either about the other coming unless there's more there than just dislike, like cheating or violence. That would just open the door for emotional blackmail: "If X comes, I won't."

At the party itself, do what you can to keep them separated.  If the party involves a seating arrangement, put them as far apart as possible, and step in to quench any arguments.  If necessary, take each one aside and tell them that your party isn't the place for them to rehash their differences.
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jimithing

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 05:17:39 PM »
How many people are going to be there? I have an ex-friend that is still somewhat friends with a good friend of mine. They would never invite her to a small dinner, and I would absolutely decline that kind of situation if I knew she was going to be there. But a larger gathering, I would be able to just be polite to her, but avoid her.

TootsNYC

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 05:23:44 PM »
I think when you know that two people don't like one another, you at the least owe it to them to say, "By the way, I'm inviting So-and-so."

Theoretically, you shouldn't have to say, "I am counting on you to behave like a grownup, and if you think you can't, you should stay home. If you get so upset during the party that you are tempted to make a scene, please have some respect for MY hospitality and simply leave, so that you don't ruin it for everyone else I have invited."



Master_Edward

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 12:02:48 AM »
I would never invite two friends of mine that didn't like each other to the same gathering. I'd either invite just one or neither of them. I refuse to play referee between two other people who can't get along. Life's too short for that.

Ed.

Bluenomi

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 12:54:40 AM »
If it is a large gathering where they can easily avoid each other if they want to just invite both. If it is small enough they can't avoid each other or are likely to start a fight or something else distructive, invite neither.

blarg314

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 03:53:35 AM »

Are we talking 'don't care for each other'  'likely to start a screaming fight'?

In the first case, for a largish, casual party I'd invite both, not tell them, and assume they will act like well mannered adults. For a small party, like a dinner party, I would avoid inviting two people who disliked each other strongly.  If they are likely to cause a scene, then I wouldn't invite them at all.

Basically, I figure the chances of everyone in an extended social circle liking everyone else in an extended social circle are pretty small - for any given person this is probably going to include things like both halves of exes, people who dislike each other, people who have unrequited crushes on another, people who have grievances against each other. For a casual largish party (cocktail style, or BBQ) I would only restrict invitations if it were something really big, like a couple going through a divorce when one of them was cheating on the other, or if I couldn't trust someone to be civil.

What I *wouldn't* do is phone one person to warn them that another person is coming. I find that too interfering in other people's relationships, plus it will build up the expectation that it is my responsibility to manage other people's personality conflicts.


lady_disdain

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 05:47:45 AM »
Making a guest list used to be considered one of the signs of a good hostess, and involved making sure there would be interesting conversation, balancing out the husband's business connections and the "interesting" people and making sure that the people invited would enjoy each other.

In that light, I wouldn't invite both to the same event. It would create stress, even if both behaved themselves and not created a scene. It might even affect others guests who know the backstory. Choose one and then invite the other to a different event at a later date.

MetalChick

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 01:02:04 PM »
Thanks for all of the advice.

It's going to be a semi-large cocktail party, maybe 30 people or so. But we're having it on the roof deck of our apartment building, so if they're both there, they're guaranteed to run across each other at some point.

Their relationship isn't so volatile that they can't be civil. I've seen them in the same public venues before and there was no blood. But considering the intimacy of this setting, and the fact that it's a cocktail party, I'm not sure I trust them to behave.

Lady_Disdain (such an apt user ID for this situation. lol) made a good point about the other guests. They know the back story too.

Of course, I'd like to avoid as much drama as possible. And of course, drama could ensue (for me) if I don't invite either of them.

Maybe the best thing is to just add a "by the way..." when I call to make sure they're attending.

**sigh** I'll have to talk this over with BF and see what he thinks.

Thanks again guys!

Twik

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 03:14:00 PM »
I would never invite two friends of mine that didn't like each other to the same gathering. I'd either invite just one or neither of them. I refuse to play referee between two other people who can't get along. Life's too short for that.

Ed.

Not to mention, it's hard on the friends. I might be able to avoid an "enemy" and remain civil all evening, but it doesn't sound like a great time, wandering around trying NOT to bump into the Hated Other, or making polite excuses when someone clumsily tries to include us both in one conversation.
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Ant V

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 09:38:24 AM »
If it's a big party, invite them and let them deal with it, it's their problem.  I would not invite feuding enemies to a small gathering of 8 or less. 

ACBNYC

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2009, 02:16:23 PM »
I would never invite two friends of mine that didn't like each other to the same gathering. I'd either invite just one or neither of them. I refuse to play referee between two other people who can't get along. Life's too short for that.
Ed.

I refuse to play referee, too, but I would invite both. If they're adults, they can decide for themselves what they can or cannot handle. I would give each friend a heads-up that the other was invited, but nothing beyond that.

Even at a small gathering, I wouldn't want to invite one and not the other, because the non-invitee will surely find out about it and then it becomes my problem.


kingsrings

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Re: HELP! When guests don't get along...
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2009, 02:59:50 PM »
I wouldn't tell either about the other coming unless there's more there than just dislike, like cheating or violence. That would just open the door for emotional blackmail: "If X comes, I won't."

ITA. Why set yourself up for a problem by even mentioning it in the first place?? It might never become a problem at all - unless you mention it. The way I feel is that both these women are adults who shouldn't have to coddled.

The disagreement is between the two of them and nobody else, it's nobody else's business. Invite them both, and let them deal with any issues themselves.