I’ve been reading through your archives when I was reminded of the worst event surrounding my husband’s and my wedding (and yes, I realize that I was very fortunate that this was the only issue!) This is truly my husband’s story, although I was privy to parts of it.
As a bit of background, my then Future Husband (FH) and I had met during college via a Live Action Role Play (LARP) group. After we graduated, he joined/helped start a group for the LARP in his hometown, which he invited a number of his coworkers to join. Most of them did, including one whom I’ll call Jay. Jay was one of those guys we’ve probably all encountered in college: a bit too loud, a bit socially awkward, but you’re pretty sure might possibly be coming from an okay place. Except in Jay’s case, once you got friendly, he began to overstep boundaries. Hard.
The worst case was one night while my FH and I were Skyping one another (we had a period of long-distance dating for a while), Jay showed up at FH’s place. At 3 AM. Unannounced and simply just to hang out. When FH told him it wasn’t possible and cited the fact that he and I were currently on the phone, Jay proceeded to make lewd remarks and sounds. Suffice to say, neither my FH or I were particularly happy with him for that one, and FH began to limit contact with Jay. This limiting was further helped by the fact that FH quit that particular job to work elsewhere.
But Jay was still a member of the local LARP chapter, so he knew when I moved in with FH that we were getting married soon.
So he began to pester FH for the date. FH beandipped as best he could for a while (he hasn’t had a lot of practice and tends to be fairly blunt), but eventually, after a LARP meeting, spilled the proverbial beans.
Jay’s immediate question after hearing the date: “So who am I riding down with? And where am I sleeping?”
Please note, FH nor myself had ever made any indication that he was going to be invited to our wedding. In fact, beyond FH’s best man, none of the LARP group had gotten an invitation. So his question was pretty stunning.
FH, trying to be polite about the fact that Jay wasn’t, in fact, invited, told Jay that there wasn’t enough room in cars or a set place to stay. At which point, Jay insisted that we, the wedding couple, could travel in separate cars so he could get a ride and that he’d be willing to sleep on my parents’ floor since that was where we’d be staying!
At that point, FH told Jay outright that he wasn’t invited. Jay at that point looked crestfallen and told my FH, “That cuts me deep, man. That really hurts.” He then got into his car and drove away.
And we’ve literally never heard from him again. 0126-14
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It is obvious that Jay was not socially adept enough to understand that you don’t invite yourself to someone’s wedding or simply assume because of your acquaintance that you are invited. A blunt question such as “Who am I riding down with?” should have been instantly met with an equally blunt answer: “You’re not invited.” No amount of bean dipping or subtlety was going to fend off Jay—he obviously needed the direct response, and the fact that he left and stayed away is probably the best thing that could have happened.
Jay cluelessly thought there was a closer friendship, which there was not. I wonder if anyone ever explained to him how unwelcome his actions were. Some are taught polite behavior growing up, and others learn along the way from peers or by learning from their mistakes (or by reading this blog!). And sadly some will never learn.
I had one of my friends ask me if he could catch a ride with FH and me – to our wedding. I told him no: it’s not possible to ride with the bride and groom, and that he could contact our MoC who could possible get him in touch with other people from his town coming to the wedding.
(It was a 1 hour, 1,5 hour drive tops for all attendees and the venue was close to a train station, so it wasn’t very difficult to arrange transport.)
He’s a sweetheart though, just a bit socially awkward. Not as awkward or assuming as Jay from the story, luckily! Good on OP’s husband for making it very clear. Else he might have actually shown up.
I don’t in the least blame FH, as all instinctively polite people have trouble summoning up the bluntness needed to deal with someone as dense as this; but with people that dense there is no substitute for bluntness, and the sooner it is applied the better. Ideally, when Jay said “So who am I riding down with? And where am I sleeping?” the answer should have been “Jay, we haven’t invited you. We’re not inviting the LARP group.” If Jay was deluded enough to think he was best mates enough with FH to be invited, finding out that actually he wasn’t was always going to hurt, and delaying the bad news would only make the news more painful, if anything.
Also, both of Jay’s questions are so presumptuous. If he HAD been invited, why would it be up to the bride and groom to get him a ride and accommodations?
Too bad! Think of all the Jay stories we’ve missed:
1. Made inappropriate speech – without being asked
2. Helped himself to cake before it was cut
3. Tried to “dirty dance” with 91-year-old relative.
Gena–do you know how lemon water feels when it comes out of your nose? I do now.
Thanks for the laugh. And for being entirely correct!
Jay sounds a lot like a coworker my husband and I once had, many moons ago.
My husband was in sales and I was the receptionist at a fairly large office.
“Bill” was a recent hire and very friendly, too friendly in an attempt to fit in with other workers who had been there for years.
He inserted himself into many after work happy hours and such.
He was invited along until he started showing some less than desirable qualities.
He would be just generally obnoxious to everyone and thought he was being funny.
After a party at someone’s home where he got VERY drunk and abusive to the manager’s wife,
my husband and two other fellows had to LITERALLY wrestle his car keys away from him because after the awful and awkward scene he caused, he decided he was driving himself home!!!
Uh….no, you’re most certainly NOT DRIVING!!!
Anyway….he was into civil war reenactments on the weekends and once they were having a big party and he invited everyone from the office.
Repeatedly. For weeks. Several times a day….every damn day.
By the time the actual weekend rolled around, not one person from our office went.
Most folks had legitimate plans, others said he was so obnoxious about the whole thing, they refused to attend.
Come the Monday morning after and Bill was a complete jerk about no one showing up.
Back handed comments and flat out rude behavior because he was upset no one came.
He quit a few months later by simply not showing up one day, and no one ever heard from him again.
I have to ask: did anyone at the office, either a colleague or the boss or HR, ever have a tough word with Bill about his behaviour at after-hours gatherings, even after the insulting-the-manager’s-wife-and-attempted-drink-driving incident? If not, someone as dense as this might reasonably have assumed he was the life and soul of the company’s social life. And had you all told him outright at least once, ‘Sorry, can’t make this party, I have other plans’? If not, and you were all just ignoring his reminders and just failed to show, he was entitled to be fed up.
Yes, several folks did on many occasions.
His “cube mate” told him a lot his behavior isn’t doing him any favors.
That we like him, like having him around but obnoxious behavior on his part aren’t funny and he can’t treat folks that way.
The manager gave him a come to Jesus talk after the horrible way Bill treated the managers wife at the party, and threatened to fire him if he ever treated anyone that way again.
In one ear and out the other.
In relation to the party he asked us all to attend, most of us said that we had plans that weekend well in advance….a wedding to go to, daughter’s softball tournament ect.
“Well! Come AFTER the wedding!!! Your kid surely won’t mind if you blow off her tournament!!!” Those sort of comments….which really rubbed people the wrong way.
My family was the one with the softball tournament and my husband said to him “Our daughter is EIGHT, she will be heartbroken if we “blow off” her games….we aren’t going to”.
Well, that worked out just perfectly, didn’t it?
my thoughts exactly!! A story with a happy ending!
There are people in this world that subtlety just doesn’t work on. Jay definitely is one of them. Sometimes being blunt is the only thing that works. I know OP’s FH was trying to be a nice guy, but occasionally you have to use a figurative sledgehammer to get through to someone. (I speak from experience – I have a co-worker who LOVES to talk – and is completely incapable of taking any subtle hints that you’re too busy to talk to him about non-work-related stuff. I’ve had to be borderline rude with him a couple of times.)
Yeah, Jay doesn’t seem capable of getting unspoken language. I almost feel sorry for him, since he obviously believed he and FH were close friends, only to find out that FH did not agree. I don’t know what Jay’s problem is but those on the autistic spectrum often don’t differentiate between ‘acquaintance’ and ‘friend’. A person they bump into at a store, looking at the same items of interest, may later be described as a ‘friend’. They may treat everyone with the same level of intimacy, whether it’s their mother or the bank officer who helped them open a new account. It’s because they often don’t easily feel depth for a person they should, such as a parent, but they’re told that the love someone has for a parent is very different from the feelings a mere acquaintance inspires; and yet, the person feels almost the same thing for both parties, so the acquaintanceship must be deep, no? It can be so confusing to them. And incredibly frustrating to everyone else.
FH did the right thing in trying to be polite first. If Jay is that clueless then there is nothing else that can be done but to be blunt and upfront with the truth. It’s up to Jay to seek out help in learning cues and subtleties; no one else can do it for him.
I once worked with a newly divorced woman who at lunch would go into graphic sexual detail about her dates.
I mean GRAPHIC.
After a few lunchtime stories which would’ve made even the late Hugh Hefner blush, no one wanted to sit with her.
Someone finally told her why we didn’t want to eat with her and she stopped giving us the lowdown about last nights dreamboat.
I don’t get the lack of a filter on that scale in a work environment, of all places. Almost makes me wonder if it wasn’t a case of “she doth protest too much”. (Is it possible that she shared her exceptionally racy and far too personal narratives in order to gain attention? Acceptance? To seem less lonely? Perhaps they were made up out of whole cloth?) It’s true that some people have an extra-active dating and love life. But many of those who do don’t talk about it much (if at all).
This gal married right out of high school and was enjoying her new found sex life.
Good on her, we were happy for her!
But….no one wanted to hear that her husband never once brought her to climax or enjoyed oral sex, but last nights date DID!!!
That worked out well, didn’t it?
I have a childhood acquaintance I will call “Jeff” who is less bumbling than Jay but still pretty clueless. He tends to assume that his friendship are closer than they are, and he describes my DH whom he has only met a handful of times in his life (we live on opposite coasts) as his “brother”, as he does all the men in our larger childhood social group. He is sweet and well-meaning, though, if a bit awkward. The only thing that rubbed us the wrong way about him is that he would refer to our children as his “godchildren” which they are not, as we are of two completely different religious traditions. We simply asked him kindly to not call them that as this term means something different in his religious tradition than in ours, and he was fine with it. We did tell him that we appreciate that he cares about our children deeply, and that we always appreciate his warmth towards us.
It sounds like Jay may have Aspbergers? (Sp?)
It really doesn’t matter if he did. That’s not an excuse for showing up at someone’s place at 3 in the morning, uninvited, and making lewd remarks and noises, or for assuming he was 1) invited to the wedding, and 2) entitled to have the HC provide transport and accommodation for him.
Aspergers is an excuse for awkwardly joining a conversation, or maybe not getting the clue that the evening is over and it’s time for guest to go home, now. It is NOT an excuse for being a jerk.
Also, no internet diagnoses, please.
Hm. 3 am visits were actually a normal thing …. when I was in college. Lots of fun memories there, actually.
This was in the immediate years after college. And would’ve been understandable if Jay had lived closer to Hubs. But Hubs was living in a single-wide trailer behind his mom’s house in a little neighborhood on top of a large hill at the time. So “showing up” wasn’t a “I’ll just walk over” thing. It was about a 15 to 20 minute drive from Jay’s neighborhood.
That takes it from awkward to downright weird.
Also, hanging out at 3, if it had once been normal, might be forgiven, but not the lewd comments, after Hubs had ALREADY said, “No.”
You dodged a bullet when he left forever.
College is one thing. After college is quite another.
Although what needed to be done was done, I know that I’m one of those people that subtly just doesn’t work on when it comes to conversations.
My brain can’t process conversations and such that quickly and for a good reaction/response I need at least half a minute to think about it, for EVERY response. But I know that in normal conversation, you should be able to come up with it pretty much right away or at least within a few seconds so I often end up over-stepping, saying something stupid, not getting it (even if you’re stomping on my foot to shut up!), and overall just not being a person to actually be friends with.
I honestly wish I could do something about this but that’s never going to happen. I do much better when it comes to posts on websites where I can type, look at what I type, perhaps correct what I type if it’s either wrong or mean, and then be able to send it out. What I’m saying is, I wish people would be more blunt and we didn’t teach this “the truth is mean so we have to hope that everyone gets this little song and dance that we never really teach people and they just have to learn from experience instead” thing.
Anon – Have you tried some sort of social skills training? With close family and friends you could tell them you need really blunt feedback when your behaviour is annoying, but that won’t work with acquaintances and strangers. I have a few family members who have autism or have a lot of autistic traits (I’d bet good money on a positive diagnosis with those ones, too) and they don’t learn social skills well on their own. Wishing others would be different to accommodate your needs never works well. The only person who can really change the situation is you.
Jay clearly was lacking in social skills. I can’t imagine assuming I was going someplace to which I’d received no invitation. Or that a bride and groom would drive me or invite me to stay at a parents’ house without the parents’ knowledge or consent. Let’s hope Jay learned a something and used it to better his manners.
While not as incredibly gauche, some of my daughter’s and son-in-law’s friends kept inviting themselves to their wedding, which was held in our church — a tiny building that held about 90, tops, and much of that would be large, extended family. Explaining that the wedding was very small so everyone could not be invited didn’t deter some of these people — they showed up anyway, and arrived early, so that some of the actually invited guests had to stand when they arrived at the more normal arrival time. The poor ushers were nearly going nuts trying to seat everyone while trying to be mindful of the guests who were family and close friends, many of whom they didn’t know by sight, so that those people could be seated, at least.
This is why ushers should be given a list of invited attendees. If you’re not on the list, you either don’t get in at all, or are put in “Standing Room Only” at the back.
If you have a huge venue, it’s not such an issue, but with limited seating, you should look at those invitations as tickets to a show – one ticket = one seat.
People without tickets do not get seated at the theater just because they arrived earlier than the people who bought their tickets in advance.
Tickets? To a church? I don’t think many of the priests I’ve met would stand for that… maybe it’s a denomination thing. Simply put, anyone can turn up to a church service- if people are turning up when they’ve specifically been told not to by the couple I’d question what sort of friend they are. But also I’d question if the couple did tell their friends not to come? I’ve known people have their arms twisted by parents to invite their 2nd cousin whom they’ve never met so if the Rector said “the door is open” would happily relay that to their “real friends”.
This should have been warning that there needed to be a guest list and bouncers at the door to keep the guest list to those invited. The friends that invited themselves should have been kept out.
When Prince Charles married Camilla, they broadcast it live on some cable channel. I was watching because up and not much else interested me… and I can read lips. People showed up at this one door, on cam, and though there wasn’t a microphone you could see everyone clearly as they pulled up and came into the venue. People came, someone was letting them in after affirming who they were. Almost all produced a card sized piece of paper, must have been the invitation. Then a pause and a nice car showed, and an older woman very dolled up and a man in tux sort of beside/behind her. She showed to the door. Discussion ensued. She was so and so. Did she have an invite (apparently what was asked). She seem to have misplaced it. But surely the happy couple would be happy she was there to see them getting married. She was rebuffed politely but firmly it seems, her face was less than pleasant and she and her fellow reversed and headed back for the curb. Gate crashing thwarted. I wish I would have recorded and kept that bit as it was classic bluffing gate crasher.
So anywhere, anywhen, anytime, there are those that tread where they were not welcome.
Guest list and bouncers at the door to a church? I doubt any good priest would want to see anyone barred from the entrance to a church without good reason (i.e. they would disrupt the ceremony or cause a security concern).
In the case of Prince Charles and Camilla it was a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall so as a non-religious place it’s easier to bar entry. However, in the UK Royals can limit entry to churches very easily if they wish i.e. close the roads on approach, deploy troops as guards and directly overrule the officiant and allow non-invitees to be barred entry (as the Queen is head of the CofE)
I do marry people. Sometimes a bouncer at the door is a necessary thing because there are some that want to be there JUST TO CAUSE AN ISSUE. This I can understand. Been there and burned that flag. Some might not want to have some people there. Some may have not enough space.
If the space is being used for a private event, yes attendance can be restricted. If I’m conducting an open service and mass, then all are welcome. There’s a difference. You book the chapel for 10 am that Saturday and it seats only so many, you sort out who attends and I do what is contracted. I hold regular service and mass at 2 pm as normal schedule, you’re welcome until the chapel is full…
“If the space is being used for a private event, yes attendance can be restricted”… I think that’s the real difference- I’m used to marriage in a church as a public event in a public space. If people just want to sit quietly in a pew and watch they can. Note: I’m used to the idea you don’t and can’t “hire” a church for a religious ceremony. Your local priest is duty bound to perform a religious ceremony for you if you live within his parish. You must hire a legal attendant (and pay an admin fee to the officiant if you are out of parish). But the ceremony /venue is never paid for.
Also, it may be sacrosanct, and therefore a priest would be entitled to stop people from behaving or even dressing inappropriately (I’ve seen a woman being told to put a shawl on)… but legally you must let people in to ceremony who have legal objections at least- and that would cause an issue.
A place of worship is usually meant as a public place and usually is open to everyone. It is the congregation’s property most of the time, built by them and kept up by them. The minister or priest is one that answered the call and is usually supported by the congregation, to do what needs to be done for the congregation’s spiritual needs.
For events such as weddings, baptisms, funerals and certain other events; the site can be reserved. That usually means it is scheduled, deposit and rent fee paid; and at the correct time the event is held. The ones doing the reserving have the right to and often do issue invitations to the event, which restricts who may attend. This is outside of a normal schedule of services that is expected and held at set times through the week.
The normal schedule, everything is most often open to everyone. A privately reserved event or service, can be restricted. If it is a reserved event, the officiant should be recompensed for their time as well.
If a couple goes to the priest or minister and asks at the end of today’s normal service, to have a marriage performed and have otherwise sorted it all out (banns and counseling already done if needed and the marriage license in hand) then the priest or minister will announce it at the end of the service and invite those there to stay and witness. (I’ve been present when this has happened). In that case anyone would be there. Most church/chapel/temple weddings or baptisms I’ve been to were invitation only as they were a privately scheduled event, not a regular service.
Yes if you are a part of my congregation you could and would expect me to baptize you, bless you, marry you, bury you… and I should and would take care of those needs. Consider this point-if you summon the person to a particular place and time to perform a service for you, reimburse them for being on call to you.
I think it’s either a denomination or culture thing. Although I checked with a Catholic friend (as I’m protestant) and she said that her Priest would not like the idea of barring entry at all. In fact she said he once did a wedding in a hotel and a later small ceremony /blessing in the church. Apparently the groom had an ex-partner that may cause some commotion and the Priest refused to do a full closed door ceremony, so they “advertised” the big /legal one (on private property to no-ex). then told a hand full of people there would be another thing on the Sunday at Church.
Although it is true that church is said to be “reserved” for a wedding here these are not considered a “privately scheduled event” even if they are not part of a regular service. I know their is a fee but this will not include any form of “exclusivity deal”. If the subject of payment for the Priest came up you would be told it is normal to contribute to the church upkeep fund or similar (in fact traditionally this sum should match the standard costs /fee). But Priests I’ve met would say they are just answering the call by officiating a wedding in their own church and would never accept any payment. Note: Priests I’m familiar with are given a “stipend” or “living allowance” by the church not “pay” or a “wage”. One of my pet hates is seeing these “priests” who “own a church” raking in millions… it’s all very un-Christian from my point of view (Matthew 19:23-26).
Wow, this hardly ever happens–an Assertiveness Heck story with a happy ending. OP, your husband did a great job handling Jay. Hopefully, in future, Jay will know not to invite himself to other people’s events; especially not something formal like a wedding. He may have been hurt at the time, but if he ever relayed that incident to a third party (like, say, another friend, family member, counselor or therapist, etiquette board like this one), then that third party would probably set him straight.
The 3 am unannounced arrival with sound effects while the two of you were talking would have been a deal breaker for most. Why not just have called him on his behavior then and ended the friendship?
My husband was — and is — fairly socially awkward himself. While he did chew Jay out and limit conversations with him to work and LARP time, he wasn’t sure how to pull the trigger or if he wanted to because Jay *could* improve.
Alas, he didn’t and from what we’ve heard from Jay’s brother (who Hubs needed up working with some time after), he still hasn’t.
This is why one should never JADE: Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain. If you do, some people believe it is a negotiation and your excuses are mere problems to be overcome. “No seats” or “nowhere to sleep” become “that’s no problem. We can work a way around that”.
“And we’ve literally never heard from him again.”
I love it when a story has a happy ending.
When my now ex husband and I were about two months from our wedding, a girl that I had only met once about a year prior texted me (how she got my number is another faux pas but all the same) and asked how I was. Once I figured out who she was I just said I was fine and how was she. She said a mutual friend had told her I was getting married and she wanted to know where she should pick up her bridesmaid’s dress.
Once I collected myself I told her that my bridesmaids were chosen, she as a near stranger was not among them, and I hoped she had a nice day.
She said she was disappointed but understood. Didn’t hear from her again until 5 years later, and it wasn’t even directly. She signed me up to be consulted by someone who worked in an MLM type setup and was seeking clients. To her credit, the sales rep was unbelievably embarrassed and apologized profusely for contacting me. She said that Madam Clueless had spoken about me as if we were practically sisters.
“She said a mutual friend had told her I was getting married and she wanted to know where she should pick up her bridesmaid’s dress.”
Oh, my goodness! My jaw hurts from dropping so hard.
But anyone who could imagine that she was going to be a bridesmaid to someone she had only met once isn’t just ‘dense’, ‘clueless, ‘socially inept’ or even on the autistic spectrum; she’s outright delusional. And dealing with that is surely out of etiquette territory and into how-best-to-handle-the nutjob.
This one is pretty incredible but. I’m sure there are more where this one came from. (shakes head). It was good at least that the MLM rep was and could be embarrassed and apologized.