Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Not inviting someone in group

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DinnerPartyAnimal:
I'm flying a bit under the radar here because I don't want it traced back to my username (if you need my username for whatever reason, just PM me)...

Several people - colleagues in both my professions, and a few friends besides - have asked that I host a party at my new place. I'm known for giving great parties, but have never been able to entertain at my home before because I had a cramped studio apartment. A local restaurant has been quite happy to host my affairs so far since I choose dead nights and they wind up making a couple thousand dollars extra whenever I set something up. What I'd like to do is set up a nice wine-and-cheese affair with some appetizers and desserts to show off my cooking, and add to that a couple of acoustic bands. (Neighbors are fine with this. They hold a lot of parties too. We have thick walls.) So far, so good. Then we come to the guest list.

I've thus far been a real "the more, the merrier" type and my parties previously tended to the freewheeling debauchery, but this has to be a much smaller, more low-key affair. The problem comes not with the colleagues, but with the friends. I'm inviting people who are... I suppose "quieter" and geared towards the cocktail party atmosphere. The problem is that there's someone who considers herself my best friend, constantly causes problems with at least one member of my friend group and sometimes several at one time, and hasn't talked to me in several weeks since she got overly sensitive when I failed to do a rather large favor for her quickly enough. When she hears of this party, she will want to invite herself - but I'm being very clear that this is direct-invitation-only. One of the friends I've invited actually gets panic attacks near this woman, in fact, and while she did not ask for this abrasive woman to be excluded, I told her to have an anxiety-free evening. The abrasive woman would also not enjoy the party - she has several allergies and would spend most of the evening being passive-aggressive about not being able to eat anything, and where she's not allergic to something she tends to judge people who eat things she doesn't like. For a change, I just want to cook my specialties (which can't be altered to make them "safe"), have people enjoy music and wine, and have adult conversations without someone dominating the conversation, getting drunk, or demanding favors. It's old-fashioned, I suppose, to select your party guests according to who gets along with whom, particularly when mixing groups and introducing people; but I can have modern parties any time.

What, exactly, do I say when she inevitably invites herself and I have to say no, sorry? She'll be passive-aggressive and throw a tantrum either way, so there's no real avoiding that; but would it be sufficient for a reasonable person to be told that it's a very small, intimate affair, that the food and drink would not be suitable and are sort of central to the party, and that it's not intended for all my friends to attend? I haven't decided whether or not I want to be friends with her at all and I haven't totally pondered the ramifications to other people in our group, so I'm not ready to have that conversation yet. I just figure when her other friends hear about what a witch I am (again), and they ask her what I said, she should have to make the decision about whether to lie or to look like she's being overly sensitive and demanding (again). (Her other friends have gone through this a million times as well.) Suggestions appreciated, and/or stories of your own experience excluding people for the purpose of party dynamic.

altoidsaddict:
Well - you said she hasn't contacted you in a while, right?

Invite everyone you're going to invite first. Let them know it's not a word-of-mouth situation. Set up a cap of people - how many people do you want? 15? 20? Make sure you've hit that cap before she gets word that you're having a party, then when she invited herself you can honestly say that you can't overstuff the space. I've got to do the same thing myself a few times - sadly, we can't cram in everyone who wants to come to every party, and that's life.

caranfin:
Could you tell her it's not a friend party, it's a work party?

DinnerPartyAnimal:

--- Quote from: caranfin on June 24, 2007, 10:33:53 PM ---Could you tell her it's not a friend party, it's a work party?

--- End quote ---

Unfortunately not. I expect it will get around to her when a couple of friends mention it, so she'll know that friends are invited - just specific friends with that cocktail party mindset, you know? So she's not the only one I'm not inviting out of that group by any means, just the only one who will throw a fit about it.

caranfin:
Well, I'd be tempted then to let her find out, and let her throw her little fit. And stand there and listen quietly. And when she's done I'd say "See? This is why I didn't invite you." But that probably wouldn't be right.  ;D

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