“How do I tell people they are being rude — politely?”

My girlfriend and I had a housewarming a few weeks ago, and invited a bunch of our friends. The whole event went wonderfully overall, however there was one incident that really rocked me back and I’m not sure how to deal with it. My girlfriend and I were standing with two other couples, both of whom we’re fairly good friends with, but who are not friends directly with each other. We were having a grand time, until one couple proceeded to invite the other couple to a weekend on the Cape that they were planning, to which my girlfriend and I were NOT invited. We were standing right there. I know for a fact that it was not a general invitation, because there are other, unrelated reasons why my GF and I were not extended an invitation (other politics involving people on the guest list). So my question is this… Is there anything I can do to get across how utterly rude it was to come to my house and invite my friends to an event I am being excluded from? Is there any recourse? Or would responding at all be stooping to their level of rudeness?

This was unconscionable. Not that choosing who to invite is itself rude, but surely they could have chosen a better, more sensitive moment. If I had been in your shoes at that moment, I would have said brightly with a big smile, “Why don’t we just excuse ourselves so you can make your plans?” and walked away.

But shock probably kept your jaw dropped and mouth shut at the same time. (neat trick!)

Yes, you can get it across to them without stooping. Get to a mental place where you agree it’s fine for them to make plans with whomever they want whenever they want, (because it is their right.) But let the anger go. Don’t overreact. Recognize the emotion for what it truly is: hurt feelings. Then speak simply and neutrally, with those ever-lovin’ “I messages”.

In person or by email, whichever you think best, say only, “It really hurt Girlfriend and me when you and Other Couple were discussing plans to go to the Cape right in front of us even though we are not included. I respect you have the right to make whatever plans and they will not always include us, but we would appreciate a little more discretion next time. Thanks and we’ll see you [insert likely next occasion here].”

By saying “see you next time,” you offer the upnote that there will be continued social interaction, and by saying “more discretion,” you’re not calling them inconsiderate, oblivious, rude or thoughtless (all of which they were, but that doesn’t keep the peace.)

I don’t think the occasion and location are really important here, though I agree it adds an ironic note to the offense. Just sounds like blundering, not malice. Try not to hold a grudge. Good luck!


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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