From the forums:
Needless to say, it was also humiliating to have to clear the four extra place settings and pretend with our other friends who made it that everything was just fine. The two couples that didn’t show are people that we hang out with on a regular basis and who I think are generally good people. I am at a loss for how to deal with the situation because I feel so disrespected. I feel like if they were true friends they would have made the effort to at least let us know they weren’t coming. These people are important to my boyfriend and so they are important to me, and I don’t think he would be happy if I didn’t include them in future gatherings (which we host frequently). How should I handle this? — Peeved About Dinner Date Flakes
There’s no question that what your friends did was rude and thoughtless, but I do think you’re over-reacting a bit, and I hope that you ignored some of the advice in the forum thread to never invite these people over again. If both couples were chronic flakes who had a habit of bailing on you, then, yes, it would make sense to stop inviting them to events where their presence would be especially missed if they RSVPd and then didn’t show up. But to ghost them after one no-show is a bit extreme and a good way to drive a wedge between you and your boyfriend.
You also don’t want to completely ignore their flakiness if it’s something that really bothered you — and understandably so — or resentment will build, but you also don’t want to be too aggressive about acknowledging it or it will put them on the defense and make them feel unwelcome at your home or in your presence. And since you don’t even know the reason both of these couples bailed on your dinner party, it’s best to assume it was something out of their control — something they couldn’t predict — and that the sheer unexpectedness and perhaps unpleasantness of whatever happened made them momentarily forget their manners, which is why they didn’t give you any notice that they wouldn’t be attending your party. Because… isn’t that plausible? Bad things do happen — fights are had, terrible news is received, people get diarrhea. And when these things happen to a person, a dinner party may be the last thing on his or her mind. It’s also possible your friends may have just felt lazy when they got home from work and didn’t feel like going out on a weeknight. But since you don’t know what the reason was and since neither couple has a history of flaking out, I would just assume it was something out of their control and it wasn’t personal.
And in that vein, I’d send a short email or make a quick call to whichever member of each couple you feel closest to, and say, “Hey, just wanted to check in and make sure you’re OK. We were concerned when you didn’t make it to our dinner Thursday after confirming just the day before. I hope it was just a matter of needing some down time and nothing too serious happened. But please let us know if you need anything. We’re thinking about you.” That way, you acknowledge the incident and give them a chance to explain, apologize, or just feel bad without sounding psycho about it. And if something bad really did happen, you aren’t in a position of being the asshole who kicked them when they were down by being all, “YOU BAILED ON MY DINNER PARTY, I’M NEVER INVITING YOU OVER AGAIN!”
Also! When you are hosting an event or a party, as long as someone shows up, it’s your job to show them a good time. So I hope you didn’t spend the whole night stewing about the people who didn’t come or you may find that the friends who did show up might not be returning again any time soon.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.