Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Word of mouth party invitations

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This is a murky issue.  It's pushing all my etiquette-violations buttons, though.

The Situation:

My best friend, R, has adopted me into her pre-existing circle of friends to the point that I now have independent friendships with several of her friends.  Every summer, a male friend of hers, T, has a cookout  at his home (a 1.5 hour drive from our hometown).  Now, I barely know T.  In fact I find him annoying, although he's a nice enough guy.  He's dating our friend P.

Two years running R has said "Oh, of course you're invited to T's party!" despite the fact that I (at that time) had barely ever met T and had not been invited by him.  Now, it's an informal party with word-of-mouth kind of invitations, but I didn't feel quite right showing up to a party where I had no acknowledgment from the host that I was expected.  I don't feel like I AM invited just because R assumes I am welcome.

Cut to this current year.  I hadn't given the party a thought and hadn't heard anything about it (the party is tomorrow, 6/9/07) until last weekend, when P (T's girlfriend) called me to ask if I was coming, because she and T wanted me to meet one of their male friends.  Sure, fine, whatever.  I said sure, I'd come.  This to me felt like an adequate word-of-mouth invitation since P is T's girlfriend.

R emailed me today to ask if I was riding down to the party with them.  She also asked what I was bringing?


Yes, apparently it's customary to bring something.  First I've heard of it.  The party is also themed...this year it's a paisley themed.  Again, first I've heard of it.  I remarked that I was kind of irritated by all this.  I STILL had no actual invitation, verbal or email or anything, from T himself and now I find that there are accepted customs to this party of which I am unaware.  Nor has anyone bothered to email me with the time the party begins, or how to get to T's house.

R seemed irritated that I was irritated, saying that it's all just informal and no one gets official invitations, it's word-of-mouth, yadda yadda.  Well, excuse me for living, but as a first-time attendee to this party, to have received NO acknowledgment from the host or information about the party at all is really rude.  It's great that everyone else seems to be in on this big word-of-mouth loop but it's like everyone is assuming I know everything and in fact I know nothing.  R also said that T had asked her for my email address, but to date I've received no messages from him.


No, I don't think you're being too sensitive.  I also think you should stay home.

Although the party sounds off-hand and very casual it seems to have a formal history and culture (each year is a theme, everybody brings something etc.)  It's a convenient way of identifying those who are 'initiates' so to speak.

From the sound of things, you aren't quite there yet.  I'd be a bit miffed in your situation but there isn't much you can do at this point without looking desperate.   

I agree with you not going when your friend invited you, but I think an invite from the girlfriend counts as a proper invite. You got it a week in advance, which sounds fine by me. As for the "word of mouth", you are included in the loop, as you now know the "theme" and that you are expected to bring something. Yes, it's short notice, but you know now. As for directions your friend R knows how to get there and has offered you a ride.

Maybe it's because this sort of party is fairly common in my circle of friends, but this seems just fine by me. Diffferent groups have different sorts of get togethers.

It's a fairly casual event and I see nothing wrong with it for this type of event.

If I may read a little something into your post, it sounds like you are looking for reasons not to go and possibly even looking for reasons to be offended/justified in not going? In this sort of entertaining, people who show up cheerfully and have a nice time are very welcome.

Also (and I really may be going a bit far here, but this type of entertaining is somewhat common in my circle) if someone didn't come after a direct phone call inviting them, I would NOT be inclined to issue a formal invitation next time. I would assume they didn't wish to hang out with me and leave it at that.

So if you want to go, go.

If not, don't go.

(But please don't sit around waiting for a more "official" invitation)

It sounds careless of the host, rather than rude.

I'd still go, if I want to be included in that group of friends. If you don't want to be included - even after a direct phone call from host's girlfriend - then you'd have to come up with a pretty good reason, and "I didn't get a formal invitation to a party that doesn't give out formal invitations" doesn't sound like a great reason.


--- Quote from: Deetee on June 08, 2007, 03:46:15 PM ---If I may read a little something into your post, it sounds like you are looking for reasons not to go and possibly even looking for reasons to be offended/justified in not going? In this sort of entertaining, people who show up cheerfully and have a nice time are very welcome.

--- End quote ---

No, it's really not that.  I'm fine with word-of-mouth invitations.  What bothers me is that NO ONE, not the host or any of my other friends who are going, bothered to clue me in about the details.  Time, place, theme, bringing should not be up to me to interrogate everybody to find out about the party I'm supposedly invited to.


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