My husband and I are throwing a huge party to celebrate the completion of our year-long DIY home renovation. We are excited to invite all of our friends and family. We are going all out and hiring a Dj, a caterer, servers, bartenders and a photographer. We are expecting approximately 100 guests.
Now for the dilemma:
I have a dear friend that is a work colleague. She is in an extremely toxic on-again/off-again relationship with a man. Of course I’ve only heard her side of the story but he has a major problem with alcohol (he has an ankle bracelet that detects if he drinks). He is out on parole after going to jail for multiple DUIs. In addition to his drinking problem he just isn’t a pleasant person in general to be around. My friend is very sweet and because of her compassionate heart and giving spirit he talks his way back into her life constantly. Everyone that knows him despises him not only for his behavior but for the pain he has caused my friend. I hope that she finds the strength to leave this relationship for good one day and live her life away from him.
Currently they are “off”, which doesn’t mean they don’t see or talk to each other. He constantly shows up at our workplace, work functions and social gatherings he isn’t invited to but finds out about through social media or friends. My friend justifies his behavior by saying that this shows he is “at least making an effort”. To me and everyone else it feels stalker-like and controlling. They frequently fight at events, regardless of their relationship status.
You probably see where this is going. I mailed out invites to our event a few weeks back. It’s a family friendly event so I made sure to include the names of her children on the invite. It wasn’t until after I sent the invite that I realized this man could show up uninvited and unannounced at our home, get drunk, cause a scene or (God forbid) drive away from our party intoxicated.
My friend is convincing. Over the course of three years they have broken up 3 dozen times and every time she convinces me she is done with him forever. A month later they will be back together and she will sheepishly say that he has changed or had some life altering experience that is going to fix everything.
This time around they have been broken up longer than usual. I didn’t think about him when I sent the invite because I am optimistic that she really is done with him.
Even though they don’t live in the same residence, are not in a relationship and his name wasn’t on the invite, the possibility of him showing up at our event is pretty high. This concerns me for a number of reasons – mostly the safety of him, my friend and our guests – but selfishly it concerns me because I don’t want him/them to ruin our party.
My question to you is this: Is there a polite way to approach her and ask her to be discreet about her whereabouts on the night of the event because he is not welcome in our home, regardless of their relationship status on the night in question?
I don’t want to be rude but I also really don’t want him in our home. Help. 0929-16
This isn’t really about uninviting an invited guest because you have not extended an invitation to Sluggo, your friend’s on-and-off again boyfriend. One way to address the situation is to speak to your friend about the upcoming party in the context of her invitation. Example: “My husband and I are looking forward to a lovely, happy party for our guests. Did you receive YOUR invitation? I hope YOU are coming. I look forward to seeing YOU there. Now that you are finished with Sluggo, there are some wonderful single guys coming who I would like to introduce you to. You did tell me you were done with Sluggo, right?”
By her reactions you should be able to discern if she’s back with Sluggo or even thinking about it. If she mentions the possibility of bringing Sluggo, that is the point at which you say, “I’m sorry, we did not extend an invitation to him to attend. This party is for close friends and family.”
I do not think you should tell her to curb her talk to or around him. If he shows up, escort him from the property as soon as he steps onto it. Put a few of your brawniest guy friends on alert that they may be needed as back up and have your husband approach him to say, “I’m sorry but this is an invitation only party and I do not see your name on the guest list. I’ll have to ask you to leave immediately. The cars are parked over here, may I escort you to your vehicle?” If Sluggo starts even a hint of drama, have your husband take out his cell phone and say, “You have a choice. You can either leave quietly or I will call the police.” My guess is that Sluggo will leave.
READ THE UPDATE TO THIS STORY HERE.
Comments on this entry are closed.
I don’t see any reason to tiptoe around this. Just tell your friend that you want to be clear that her ex BF is not invited to this party, at all.
That what my thought as well. No tip-toeing around. If he shows up, ask him to leave and if he tries to argue, call the police to have him removed. It might put a little damper on the party but if you remain calm, I think your party would recover nicely.
I agree with all of you.
Just come out and say it to your friend that ‘sluggo’ is not invited.
What you said, but I would also tell friend “If ‘Sluggo’ shows up, he’ll be asked to leave, and we will call the police if he makes problems about leaving.”
If friend starts to make excuses/apologies for “Sluggo’s” behavior, don’t engage in that conversation: just reiterate that “Sluggo” is not invited, will not be allowed in, and you will call police if there’s a scene.
It’s your house, your party. Those are boundaries that you have a right to enforce.
Why would you invite someone to an event who has repeatedly refused to disinclude a dangerous individual? Precedent in terms of bad judgement gives you some leeway. A simple “looking forward to seeing you. NO Sluggo. We couldn’t have anyone in our home who had treated a friend so poorly.” If he arrives, he leaves. She may accompany him or not, as she prefers.
stacey – Well said. I don’t think Sluggo is the OP’s problem; she has no relationship with him and does not want one. OP’s friend, on the other hand, IS the problem. She allows her bad decisions to challenge and endanger her friends and colleagues. She’s not really all that compassionate or giving, except where it suits her (Sluggo). OP needs to be really upfront about Sluggo not being welcome, and the friend, too, by extension, if she brings or even mentions the event to Sluggo. And then consider, accordingly, whether this person is worth having in her life after that.
agreed. Her friend may be sweet and compassionate in spirit. But in practice, she is NOT a great friend.
It appears to me that the writer is concerned he will show up whether the work colleague suggests it or not. She says “He constantly shows up at our workplace, work functions and social gatherings he isn’t invited to but finds out about through social media or friends. ” and also refers to him having stalker behavior.
There’s a pattern of behavior so I would be upfront with co-worker. “I know you and drunkard aren’t involved anymore but I’m aware he occasionally crashes events you are attending. I want you to have a good time and that we have a drama free night at our housewarming. Would you not mention to him, or anyone that might let him know, that you’re attending?”
Yes, I interpreted it that way too but inviting the co-worker increases the odds that Sluggo will show up. I would not have invited her and indeed would restrict her from viewing my social media accounts that might mention the party. She has to face the consequences of her choices at some point.
Even though the OP’s friend is a sweet person, she’s not exactly a great friend if she allows good people to repeatedly have their events spoiled by her on-again, off-again boyfriend. And I know the friend is not the one causing scenes and getting drunk – the boyfriend is clearly at fault – but I tend to get annoyed with people who have permanent blinders. It’s her business who she dates, but when her choices repeatedly have a negative effect on others, then she is partly to blame.
I wouldn’t say anything to her in advance – maybe they’re really broken up this time! – but if he showed up and she made the excuse that he’s trying and he loves her, then I would ask them both to leave.
Not only that, but seems to see his crashing these events as “progress” in their relationship! Because “at least he’s trying!”
I don’t understand why you want to be “polite” to your friend. It sounds like you really like her and it sounds like she is a person who does her best to see the good in people. I think she is deserving of your honesty. Tell her the event is a really big deal for you, you’ve invited people who are important to your family and who’s company you enjoy. You really want her to be there.
But after reflecting on history you realize there is a possibility that “he” may come. Tell her you have supported her through this relationship wether it’s on or off, and will continue to do so, in terms of emotional support. But this event is for your family, and she can choose to tolerate this mans behaviour, but you choose not too. He is not welcome. You sincerely hope that she will attend, but she must know he will be turned away if her appears.
This is much more kind to her than asking her to be dishonest to him. Have you ever hid from an abusive boyfriend? It’s terrifying. Whether the abuse is physical or not. She has a right to know this man she permits in her life, has a negative effect on others in her life. It’s not rude, it’s a reality check. And that’s what friends are for.
I’m totally with you on this.
I agree. I wouldn’t even try to discuss with the friend whether Sluggo might be there, although I appreciate the admin’s aims there; the friend, after all, might change her mind between the conversation and the party! I’d just let the friend know, point blank, “We’d just love to see you and your children there, but I need to let you know, Sluggo is not welcome in our home. If he shows up, we will ask him to leave immediately, and we’ll call the police if he won’t leave. Please don’t tell him about the party and possibly put us in that awkward position. Thank you.”
Even if you have to throw Sluggo out, you will still have a great housewarming party, so please don’t let it worry you. People understand about these things – most everybody has been in a situation like this one with an acquaintance or relative. Have a great time; you’ve earned it!
I wonder if framing it in this way would work: “Nancy, out of concern for your safety and ours, please do not bring Sluggo or even tell him about our party. We’re excited to have you see our new and improved place but we’re worried about Sluggo showing up.”
I agree with other posters that Nancy may not be a true friend if she keeps bringing along this guy who ruins it for everyone else. But the OP needs to be a true friend by laying the cards on the table and stating her concerns for Nancy’s safety as well as that of the OP, her home, her family, and her guests.
I would go further than putting some guy friends on notice that they may have to act as bouncers: I would hire a private security guard. Depending on whether the person is armed (I wouldn’t want that) and background (off-duty or former cop? I would like that), the price might be $100 or $200. Considering the expense already being invested in this party and the likelihood of a scene if the guy does show up, I would want someone who was not a party guest to be standing by to call the police if necessary. Anyone who has not dealt with a crazy drunk just doesn’t know how bad it can be.
Exactly my thoughts, Elle!
I firmly agree with this suggestion. Let a professional handle it, especially given the time and money you’ve put into the party. That would take the worry off of you and your husband.
Best suggestion about the Private Security guard. The police are going to arrive as soon as the Security guard makes the phone call. The police are not at all interested in attending a call from a private person. Ask me how I know
I agree with this one. I have put myself through university by working as a bouncer and many of those shifts were for private parties, the uninvited guests are more likely to leave if confronted by someone hired to keep them out… it shows you are serious.
Agree so much: a big man with a red rope and clip board will save you a lot of stress and hassle
I agree with admin here. Politely but firmly broach the subject with friend about Sluggo. And get some bouncers sorted out so if he shows he can be shown the door and have someone ready to call 911 and video record if he doesn’t leave. It’s a pretty much given, if OP invited Friend that Sluggo will show according to past history. If more time has elapsed since average he may be getting frustrated, angry and mean, and may show up here to be worse than usual. Pray for the best, plan for the worst.
OP’s friend doesn’t sound sweet to me–more like codependent. This man has the potential to be dangerous, and she shouldn’t be allowing him into her life and by extension the lives of her community.
Why can’t a person with a sweet personality be co-dependant? Or stuck in a horrible relationship? Or self deceptive? People who mean well, make terrible mistakes all the time.
Sure, and imagine if everyone acted reasonably and considerately all the time. We’d have no need of this website.
The labeled codependent friend might be sweet to everyone, and have the defect of associating with nasty people. Now the question for you as a friend is: does that association mean terminating the friendship? I have answered both affirmatively and negatively to that question in the past. The author of the post wants to keep her in her life but not Sluggo, and asking advice in that regard. Saying “she shouldn’t be allowing him into her life” is obvious and correct, but there’s a reason that hasn’t happened, no?
I agree with admin. Any uninvited guest should not be admitted, told to leave and the police called if he refuses to leave quietly.
This person isn’t your friend. This person has continued to involve you in her personal drama at the expense of your emotional health. This person is an active participant in the dysfunctional dynamic she has with her ex, and is now dragging you into it. Going back once or twice is one thing. This is a lifestyle choice.
You don’t need to be an unwilling participant.
Explain to your friend that you know her ex has followed her places he wasn’t invited in the past and that you have her covered because if he shows up at your house he will be escorted from the premises since he isn’t invited.
And just follow through – if you and the people doing the escorting stay calm, then it shouldn’t be a huge blip on the party.
And thank you for thinking about your guests comfort – I have been to a few parties where an uninvited guest has caused a huge disturbance for everyone
I agree that it should be clear to the friend that only she is invited. However OP can bring herself to phrase it, I feel like it needs to be said. I worked with a woman who was on-again-off-again with a stalker type who wasn’t a drunk or a druggie, and I even had to “testify” to our boss as to how he called her at work, using foul language, suggesting she was sleeping with our male co-workers and calling as much as 20 times in an hour. Since he worked for the same company we did, he got six months layoff without pay to think that one over. And then four of us females had to work on a Saturday morning in an empty building, so we locked the door, but who showed up? The stalker; our co-worker had left the door unlocked when she came in last, because she knew he was coming since they were now dating again. This was over six months after all the uproar and his dismissal. We definitely told her that who she dated was her choice, but she was NOT to allow him in our building or bring him to any work events, ever again. They eventually broke up for good, thank heaven, about a year later. To pay her back, he broke into her house and stole back the jewelry he’d given her and set fire to her lawn.
FWIW, many horrific incidents of workplace violence, including mass shootings, involve someone at the workplace who is in an abusive relationship that spills over into the workplace. If you have a co-worker who is involved with someone who has behaved abusively and shown a disregard for boundaries, then you are in danger. A person who has been separated from the company by either layoff or disciplinary leave, who shows up at the workplace, is a disaster waiting to happen. This is beyond etiquette. This is time to get police and HR involved.
Well, I agree with Admin’s advice. Actually I would pre-emptively say “I need to let you know that Sluggo is not invited and we will be ejecting him from the party if she shows up. Please keep the details to yourself.”
I would not have invited co-worker to such a carefully planned, important and elaborate event. It’s just not worth it. And however sweet she may be, she has to start facing the consequences of her choices. Her continued association with this person is having a detrimental effect on her friends and I shudder to think of exposing her children to him. If she finds herself ostracized from polite society due to her choice of mate, well, she won’t be the first woman to choose between her friends and a bad boy. That is her problem but you are not required in etiquette or in any other way to make it yours.
I disagree with Administrator. I think you should tell your friend that since her ex-boyfriend has a habit of showing up at HER social functions uninvited, you would like her to not talk about this party, including on social media. Since he has multiple DUI’s and she has broken up with him 36 times, she knows very well why you wouldn’t want him at your home.
It would be much better to have him never find out about the party, than for your husband and male guests to have to eject an out of control drunk from your home. With the kind of alcohol problems he has, he could very well be intoxicated before he arrives.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. It helped a lot!
I would love to hear the update on this
No!! He must not find out about this event. His showing up, and having to involve “guy friends” and the police to escort him out would absolutely ruin the party. Don’t sugarcoat it. Tell your friend that you do not want him there, so please would she not share information about this event with him.
Best of luck to you, OP.
I’m with the other comments, you should be up front with your friend and tell her if Sluggo (Ha!) shows up he will be shown the door.
I had a friend like this year’s ago who was a “fixer”, and dated for years one hell of a fixer-upper.
He would cheat….she’d take him back.
He was abusive….show up crying, she’d take him back.
She finally got fed up with the emotional tug of war, after he cheated with one of her good “friends”, and blamed it on my friend!!! “It’s YOUR fault because you wouldn’t see me!!!” Yeah…Ok….
That was the straw that broke the camels back and it was a rough road for her for a few months.
He finally got the message after trying to win her back, and she wasn’t having it.
She was like a new person and we were all so proud of her….but, SHE had to see it for herself, and she did.
I would take your friend out for coffee, tell her you won’t be inviting her and tell her exactly why. She needs to learn there are repercussions to staying with a partner like that and one repercussion is social isolation . She may be willing to put up with him but the sooner she learns others won’t tolerate him or his behavior the better off she will be. No way would I take a snowballs chance of these people being at my open house.
To: “The OP of this post”
Is there an update you can share?
Not yet but will update when I have one!