Author Topic: Word of mouth party invitations  (Read 2460 times)

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MarieX

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Word of mouth party invitations
« on: June 08, 2007, 04:07:51 PM »
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?

Huh?

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.

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« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 04:25:31 PM by MadLori »

Thipu1

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Re: Am I being too sensitive?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 04:27:30 PM »
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.   

Deetee

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 04:46:15 PM »
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)

hollasa

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 04:48:08 PM »
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.

MarieX

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 04:49:33 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.


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 things...it should not be up to me to interrogate everybody to find out about the party I'm supposedly invited to.

Deetee

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 05:12:11 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.


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 things...it should not be up to me to interrogate everybody to find out about the party I'm supposedly invited to.

Hmm, if noone told you anything, there are few more details I would need to know. Did you mention you were going and sound excited about it? Did you talk to anyone since the invite last weekend. If people weren't sure you were going, they were actually being polite by not discussing details in front of you.

Also, most likely, they may all be assuming that R is keeping you in the loop. (I know that happens with couples or close friends, where you assume one half of the couple knows whats going one because someone told the other half-drives me batty sometimes).


MarieX

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 05:18:34 PM »

Hmm, if noone told you anything, there are few more details I would need to know. Did you mention you were going and sound excited about it? Did you talk to anyone since the invite last weekend. If people weren't sure you were going, they were actually being polite by not discussing details in front of you.

Also, most likely, they may all be assuming that R is keeping you in the loop. (I know that happens with couples or close friends, where you assume one half of the couple knows whats going one because someone told the other half-drives me batty sometimes).

That is probably exactly what is happening...everyone assumes that someone else is telling me things.  And see?  It drives you batty, too!

And honestly, I haven't actually SEEN any of these people since P's phone call, and so no one's discussing details in front of anybody else because none of us are ever in the same room together.

Mikayla

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 06:47:40 PM »

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 things...it should not be up to me to interrogate everybody to find out about the party I'm supposedly invited to.

That may be the problem, though.  It sounds like everyone assumed "someone else" would clue you in.  So I agree it's poor communication but not necessarily rude.

It sounds fun. If you like the group, I'd bite the bullet, bring something easy to buy/prepare, and hopefully have a good time!

mlogica

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 08:45:44 PM »
FWIW, I'll agree with those who think you're in the loop and already know about the theme and bringing something, because you know R. and it sounds like you know others in the group as well.  It may be careless but I don't get the feeling it's deliberate.

Also, since it sounds like this party tends to be kind of casual, perhaps no one has remembered that you haven't been to one before?  If you and some of the people who regularly attend the party have attended other parties together, they may very well have a mental picture of you at T's party, and just assume that you know how it works.  DH and I have both given and attended parties with somewhat overlapping social groups, and I would have a bit of a hard time recalling the exact guest list for any of them.

Hope it turns out to be a good party and that you have fun!

blarg314

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 06:05:12 AM »

I'm familiar with the type of house party or get together where the approach is to 'bring anyone and anything within reason' - in other words, it's fine to bring your roommates, a visiting friend, an SO, etc, along to the party without having to ask the host.   Sometimes it really is word of mouth with no official email or invitation. Because it is so informal and word of mouth, it's pretty standard to bring a snack (bag of chips etc) and any alcohol you are planning on drinking with you.

In that case, I'd say it's up to the friend who passed the information to you to make sure that you knew the place, time,  and theme.  If they weren't willing to give you the information, I'd bring the issue up with them, rather than the person hosting the party, who may still be unaware that you are coming.

Out of curiosity, what age range do you fall in?  My experience has been that this sort of party tends to be most common among students and people in their twenties - as they get older, more organised, formal socialising tends to take over from the cheerful chaos of the open house party.



 

Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2007, 11:09:27 AM »
Bite the bullet and call the host and ask if the invite you received from his girlfriend is legit.

I know that these social word of mouth and bring whoever you want invites are standard in some social circles, including mine, but if you are that unsure, then just do it. I know it will probably be awkward, and he might act like you are crazy for not assuming that you were but you just want to make sure. I have never been offended by someone calling to confirm an invite, in fact, I appreciate that the person was that considerate and did not just want to show up and assume I wanted them there. (I am blessed with friends who do not just invite every Tom, wingadingdingy, and Harry but people that will have a good time, respect my property, and are gracious) But that may just be me.

Or, you could call and ask for directions from him directly. It is a more subtle way to find out if he even knows your coming. Just tell him that you did not come last year and are really excited about it and don't want to get lost.

I may be wrong though, some of these ladies are more versed in etiquette than I am.


BittyB

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 12:06:17 PM »
Ahhhh, the mostly informal bbq party!  I am quite familiar with that in our circle.  I even let DF plan them and oh  my, those were the worst planned bbqs we ever had.  >:D  However, it did mean he very suddenly learned to no longer complain about the way I host or to underappreciate how much work it was to plan the bbqs.

Since P (the girlfriend) is the one who called you up, I'd call her back and get the details.  It does sound like everyone else is assuming you know the drill, and I'm guessing if the girlfriend called you it's because she is the one who conciously realized that you don't know the drill and you don't feel comfortable just showing up.  This makes her the most likely candidate, in my opinion, to give you all the juicy details on expected customs at this shindig since she may already be aware of your uncomfortableness.

When we have new people join the circle I always try to clue them in on what is expected, and what they can expect in return, so I completely understand being in your position and being uncomfortable because you don't know what to expect or what is expected of you ahead of time. 

I would not worry about whether or not the invite from P is "legit" though - that seems a bit overzealous for a party you already know is informal and you've already been invited to for three years.  Get the skinny on what to bring and have a good time at the party!

MarieX

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 02:57:18 PM »
Thanks everyone...I had a lovely time at the party!

There was one moment of awkwardness, though...I mentioned that P and T had a friend they wanted me to meet, right?  They told me what he does (we share a profession, one of the reasons they thought of me) but didn't tell me his name.  I learned his name from R, so when he arrived at the party I knew that this was the guy I was supposed to meet, but I had no idea how much he knew about ME.

As it happened I ended up at a table chatting with him and another woman who I'd just met, casually.  After about an hour of this, the guy turned around and asked T, who was standing right behind us, "Say, wasn't there somebody you wanted me to meet at this party?"

Oops.

T grinned and said, "Yes, Lori!"  I was like "Uh...hi there."  A bit embarrassing. 

He did ask for my number, though, although I frankly wasn't too enthused about him.

Sibby

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2007, 10:54:52 AM »
Ok I understand this after the fact but on this topic in general...

My friends & I have these types of parties often.  we have otehr parties with invitations or evites as well, but these word-of-mouth, open parties are not uncommon.

In general if you get a verbal invitation, you are supposed to ask for details - like what time, how to get there, should I bring anything, etc.  The whole point of a verbal invite is that it follows a conversation model, not a a written model where the details are just listed.  It's a back-n-forth of information and questions.

Also, regardless of type of party, don't you always bring something?  A gift if it's a celebration (shower, b-day, holiday) or a host/hostess gift if it's a housewarming or dinner party, and a 'something for the party' if it's a casual affair (could range from a bouquet of flowers to a case of beer/bottle of wine or liquor to a big bowl of potato salad).  One should never, ever show up at a party empty handed! 

Lynn

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Re: Word of mouth party invitations
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2007, 11:36:06 AM »
I usually DO show up at parties empty handed (unless we are talking about showers or graduation parties and the like).  I ask the host or hostess if I could bring anything and if the answer is "No, we have everything covered," then I don't run out and buy a gift. And usually the answer is no but if it isn't then of course I'm happy to bring something.  If I'm having the party, I decline offers.

My friends have everything they need.  They don't want gifts. Neither do I.  I'd like to get rid of some of the stuff I've accumulated over the years!  In fact I I've been making a trek to Goodwill every week now for months. 

And everyone is busy.  It just adds to someone's stress if they have to be thinking, Oh Saturday is Lynn's dinner party and I need to find time to go get her a hostess gift. I just want them to come and relax and have a great time. Every social occasion does not need to be a gift giving occasion.