To all you married and otherwise coupled people out there with single friends and relatives:
Dearhearts: it’s not that we don’t love and cherish you, but with less than a week to Christmas, it’s time for you to please sit down and LISTEN UP!
Sorry to be so directive, just wanted to capture your attention for a moment.
The rules of etiquette for extending invitations to your single friends and family members are simple and they are few; in fact, only two:
– Extend the invitation to the person directly and
– Invite them to bring a guest
Is that hard? No! Then why are these “rules” not practiced as a matter of courtesy and common sense?
Perhaps it’s just a matter of education, so in that vein, please consider:
Implicit invitations are insulting and demeaning. You know the kind: “Well, you are ALWAYS welcome, we didn’t think we HAD to invite you.”
Read those words again: “we didn’t think we HAD to invite you”. If someone said that to you, you’d probably be at least a little hurt, wouldn’t you?
Here’s another for-instance: imagine how you’d feel if someone asked your family member (mother, child, in-law) to a party and asked her to extend the invitation to you on their behalf. The implication being that a phone call or an email directly to you would be an unnecessary effort, as if you were a minor child or a ward.
That’s not the message the hostess intended, is it? But think about it: how much time does it really take to make a phone call, or send an email? And do you round-robin your married friends, asking them to invite other couples to your shindig?
I think not. Anyway, think of this as being in your enlightened self-interest: you need a count of guests, even if your event is just a wine and cheese. You need to be sure that your guests know the correct time and place.
You want to provide ALL of your guests with the opportunity to ask questions: what to wear, what can they bring, etc.
How can you do this with implied or second-hand invitations? Answer: you can’t.
Here’s some enlightenment on the second “rule”: include the option of a guest in your invite.
This is less a matter of courtesy than simple practicality. If you sincerely want your single friend to have a good time at your function, then don’t you as a nice person want to ensure that they know at least one person beside you?
Or are you planning to hover around your single friend(s) during your entire event, ensuring that they are occupied with pleasant conversation and other social pleasantries?
You don’t want to do that, and we don’t want you to do that. We just want that which every couple has during your social event: at least one other person to talk with.
And we promise not to bring anyone who will pile their plate at the buffet or embarass you IN ANY WAY.
In other words, we will be good-natured, charming, even helpful if you wish, and not put you in the position of having to apologize for us or our guests.
There, I’ve said it. Thank you. I feel so much better.